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Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Why Try a New Medium?

'A Day to Remember'        5x7          oil on panel         ©Karen Margulis  purchase here $100
I waited six years to try a new medium. I'm glad I did. I am also glad that I decided to give oils a try. I was somewhat resistant. I was quite content with my pastels. I had gotten the hang of them and knew how to get the effects I wanted. Why would I want to try something new and have to go through all of the learning curves?  I had heard of the benefits of working in more than one medium...".It will help your pastels" they would say. I tried oils once or twice and it wasn't fun and I made mud. I wasn't ready. I didn't understand enough about my first medium and about painting in general to have success with another medium.

So now some have asked me why now? Why am I giving oils a try. What was it that made me do it? I mentioned in an earlier post that I felt left out at the plein air convention. The majority of the artists were painting in oils... but I had been toying with the idea before that. I made excuses that I just didn't have room to set up another easel and I didn't have time to practice oils and do my pastels. How could I make excuses! I realized that I give my students the advice to practice with daily paintings and yet I wasn't practicing what I was preaching! I have now made space and made time for practicing with oils and so far I am loving it.

What have I learned?  That is yet to be discovered.  Each day and each painting is a new adventure. It doesn't matter if they turn out. It just matters that I cannot wait to get down into my studio each morning to work on my daily oil. I am painting in my sleep even!  I am sure that I will realize the benefits of learning a new medium and how it might improve my pastels but for now the best thing that has happened to me is this wonderful giant spark of excitement to paint. And that was worth waiting for!

What are your thoughts or experiences with trying a new medium?  How has it helped you improve your work?


BJR said...

You inspired me to try pastels... and I am enjoying it! Everything I'm going to draw, I think of how I'd do it in pastel, instead of ink and watercolor. Thanks for the inspiration...and good luck with your oils. I enjoy seeing your efforts. BJR

robertsloan2art said...

This reminds me so much of how I drifted from colored pencils into pastels. I used to love colored pencils realism. I still do when I see others doing it or if I want to do a small piece.

Once I expanded to using pastels, I started learning so much more that now I'm better with my pastels than I was with colored pencils. If I go back to my old medium, I handle it differently. I look back at old colored pencils paintings that I thought were perfect - and they look stiff compared to my pastels, the colors are accurate but not as lively.

New mediums always bring some new knowledge that improves my skill in all my mediums. Getting into transparent watercolor taught me to reserve whites, now negative painting comes into my pastel painting.

My problem with oils has mostly been logistic. Using thinners indoors when I live in one small room and most of all when I don't have a safe place to put wet paintings and let them take days and weeks to dry is frustrating. But I might start getting into them more or ease toward them by using interactive acrylics.

Karen said...

Thank you BJR! I am always happy to know of a new pastel convert! I'm glad you are enjoying them. Pastels are so versatile which is one of the things I really like about them. I am certainly enjoying the oils and it is fun to venture into something new!

Karen said...

Robert I started with colored pencils too!! I was doing pet portraits and now when I look back at them they are awful! I think part of it is as we grow as artists we bring this new knowledge and understanding of painting concepts to new mediums and as you say we then use what we learn into our old mediums. So much fun!