My Medium?

Firstly, I want to credit my blogging friend Steven at Ordinary Handsome for graciously giving me permission to paint this amazing photo. I’ve (very) loosely interpreted it, and I hope you all enjoy it. Thanks again, Steven! I also want to credit another blogging friend, Debi Riley, for her gracious words of wisdom on countless occasions. Her blog is chock full of watercolor lessons for beginners, and Debi, if you ever write an instructional book, I’ll be first in line to buy it! Thank you.

5 x 7
“Flying Free” watercolor, 5 x 7″ Arches 140#

I think my July watercolor experiment was a success. I feel like I’m finally starting to find my style and my footing in the medium.Β Β  Loose and almost semi-abstract(?) is, I believe, where I fit, and how I’d like to interpret nature in my work.

My question to my artist friends out there is this: How do you know when you’ve found your medium? I’ve always felt that watercolor was mine, because I fell in love with it right away, but does one’s medium always come naturally and easily? If so, then I should keep looking, I guess lol. πŸ™‚

I wish you and yours a joyful and peaceful weekend of buzzing around, or not…..as suits you best.Β Β  Peace.

83 thoughts on “My Medium?

  1. You’ve made me stop and think because I feel exactly the same. For some reason I’m determined to work in watercolour. It frustrates and annoys me and I just keep crawling back for more! The thought of trying oils or other media really doesn’t appeal at all for some reason.

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    1. I do enjoy lots of other media, but no other paint calls at all. I have zero desire to try oil and acrylic really doesn’t make want to explore it either. So I guess we don’t have to be “a natural” at the medium we focus on, then? Is anyone a stone-cold watercolor natural? There’s always a learning curve, right? I just have no clue, and would really like to know!

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      1. Yes you’re right, I like pencil and ink etc but if I’m adding colour then I just wouldn’t think of anything other than watercolour. I think the learning curve is steepest for drawing, composition, values etc and this is common to all media. Watercolour has it’s own little quirks that you have to know about but someone who is already brilliant at oils say would get up to speed with watercolour quicker than a total beginner. I think using watercolour to learn composition, perspective, etc is more difficult because it doesn’t tolerate mistakes. If you were learning in acrylic then you could just keep going over and over the same bit until you got it right.

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  2. Another smile to start my morning.
    Natural and easy is good. Collage and textiles are like that for me. Painting always scares me, which is why I need a lot of time and space to do it. But I do like change, and variety, and a challenge, so…

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    1. Ok, still trying to understand, sorry I keep going on lol…..natural and easy is good. Natural, yes, I’ve always felt that way, easy though? Using Arches paper definitely made it a TON easier, by a mile. But easy? I don’t think so, for me. Colored pencil was much easier but paint is totally different from pencils. It’s getting much easier now I’m doing it every day. This one was fairly easy (the flower), because I’ve done several coneflowers and I was purposely going for an interpretation vs being a slave to the photo (which for me is huge, btw)…..I don’t think I’d care too much if I wasn’t pretty determined to start another business in my non-busy season (May-Dec). Although that seems totally asinine when I consider how little I know. Sorry for the ramble, but I feel the need to sort this.

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      1. Talking out loud is good.
        Business? Always a gamble. Go with what you really want to do. I think you always regret not following that dream, even if it doesn’t work out the way you want it to.

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          1. Well I’m going to keep doing my beginning of the month/haiku inspired grid for sure. I’ve also done another embroidered one, I will post soon (working on how I want to hang it). And I do want to get back to the color explorations that I did in my 100-day project. Not ready yet though.

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      2. Lol really, when I read this it sounded like me talking! Ha ha, we must have similar thoughts about the direction to go in with painting, just I feel nervous of myself ability, eek.
        I have to say it is an interesting thought about which medium, I began with coloured pencil ( for years and years) then decided I should grow up? Not sure why, I just thought people appreciate one of the three main mediums, I have changed my mind since that. I went onto acrylic, which I got on fine with, so then due to its limitations I tried oil, wow, really loved them, but in a small house and requiring places to store and dry each canvas before I could get onto the next step ( having 5 cats that seem to aim their paws at wet paint) so practically oil is hard for me to use, but leaves a lot of options for change, when you mix a colour, it is still available for use days/ weeks later( covered) it was not until man 2015 I began watercolour, having previously loathed it, now I am loving it, and experimenting with trying to find my style, and trying different techniques with it, plus using other mediums with it.
        Keep up the good work, I love reading your blog, and seeing your paintings. I can’t afford to join art classes, so following blog friends is inspirational, being able to share thought is a bonus. Thank you

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        1. Thank you, Rebecca, and thanks for sharing your story. I’m so glad you’re enjoying my blog, as I do yours also. 😊 haha, I’m glad someone else is wondering about this also. My “day job” is accounting, and I think I’m still sooo left-brained that I just want a map, a plan, I feel like I need structure and steps. So, while art is a total escape from that, which is why I love it…..yet when push come to shove I still want some structure around it, a way to proceed. I’m feeling very unsure. I like many different subjects and mediums and not at all sure where to put my focus. Wow, you’ve had quite a journey through so many mediums! Another blogger friend combines colored pencil with watercolor. Two mediums I love and I’ve never combined them. Maybe that’s something to think about next? I really appreciate your insights, Rebecca! πŸ’›

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  3. Kerfe, I hate these new comment boxes, I always press send by mistake when I’m not done! I’m not sure what I was going to add, except that while focus is good in many ways, I think we should always be ready and open for something different and new.

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    1. Thanks, Jodi! I do enjoy the closeups of just one flower, and I’m really enjoying more of an “interpretation”. This phase of my painting is in large part inspired by the work you’re doing. I love it! I’m so glad you’re painting! πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ

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  4. I know when I’ve found a medium when working with it gives me more joy than headaches. πŸ˜‰ But I have than more than one favorite medium. I love ink, charcoal, chalk pastel, and watercolor. I can see and feel the joy in your watercolors! Great painting!

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    1. Thanks, Teresa, and I think that’s a great way to sum it up. More joy than headaches. Not to say that’s always been the case with me and watercolor, but it’s been awhile since I wanted to throw my brushes and palette across the room lol. I do think a daily practice has made a huge difference. Thanks again, as always, for your feedback. πŸ’œ

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  5. Oh Laura this is lovely πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘ How do you know when you’ve found your medium? Please tell me when you find out!πŸ˜„ Like you I have no desire for oils, acrylic I feel meh about and can take it or leave it but pencil, ink and watercolour are a joy to work with (even if my results might be less than delightful!). Seeing your progress is such an inspiration for me to paint, thank you πŸ’œπŸ’šπŸ’›

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  6. Nice work I enjoy watching your progress. How do you know you have found your medium? I thought I had found it in colored pencil. I worked in colored pencil for 13 years..very realistic work. One day I stopped now I have been jumping around ever since and enjoying the ride. I guess keep your options open!

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  7. This is beautiful Laura!!! Very nice…I love your style. As for medium…I always hated painting in school. Lol…I preferred to sketch. Then when I discovered watercolor last month, I was hooked for some reason. I didn’t question it much, but I was positive I’d found my medium. Though I have a LOT to learn!! Hehe

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  8. well done Laura! you’ve kept to a loose interpretative colourful approach which works really well! background is soft blurred, πŸ™‚ petals are not too outlined/hard edged, πŸ™‚ your tonal values overall- LMD work !! this is Great Laura, I’m smiling for you. cheers, Debi

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  9. Oh what a gorgeous painting Laura! Love the loose style and easy energy the flower has taken on. I’ve found my go-to medium in oil pastels, but love working underpaintings in acrylics and one day I’ve vowed to try painting a real scene in watercolor, acrylics and oil. Okay I can imagine how old I’ll be before I achieve that goal – but kidding aside I love OPs and the every day challenges they give me. Your flower is filled with technical know-how.

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    1. Thanks, Mary! Sometimes they just work out that way. I had tried this photo three times already, and maybe all of that had something to do with how easily this one just flowed. It sure doesn’t always work out that way for me in WC, but when it does, it’s like magic. (It really does feel like a blessing of some kind, not something I did at all, when it does turn out, to be honest.) Thanks as always for your feedback!

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  10. Most things in life that are worth doing aren’t easy, but they can be immensely rewarding if you put in the effort – as you know well. I think that what matters is not whether you find it easy, but whether your brain shouts ‘I Want More!’ when you have to stop. If watercolour stops being rewarding (and I’m not talking about the daily ups and downs), try something else. You might just need a brief flirtation with another medium. However, if watercolour (or any other medium) keeps giving you joy, keep at it. It’s simple! πŸ™‚

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    1. Thanks, Rebecca! That does found like great advice! I always want more. You raise a great point. Do you have a favorite medium? You seem to work in so many so well.

      As a side note, would you call this abstract realism? For better or worse, this one is the first painting I’ve really done lately where I feel like my style is actually starting to come forward. Not sure what to call it! Thanks as always for your thoughts. πŸ’›

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      1. Thank you Laura. I have to admit that as much as watercolour frustrates me, it delights me too; it’s probably my favourite at the moment. I don’t know much about art terms and labels, but I do agree that you’re growing your own delightful style. It’s lovely to see it developing with your confidence. πŸ™‚

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  11. I’m not much of an painter, sculptor, or really amazing sketcher, but I do like photography and loose sketching. I was super excited when I realized I could draw, but photography has always been a part of my life. I’m so happy you’ve found your medium! I love your pictures!

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  12. This is so beautiful! You definitely make watercolors work for you. Regarding finding one’s medium: I’m not sure. My primary medium is letters. I started reading at a very young age and just always liked language and stories. But I think “your medium,” whenever you find it, is simply whatever you want to try

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      1. That’s a great observation, thanks! If that’s what it means, then WC is definitely one, but I’d probably have to add a whole bunch of others as well. Great food for thought; I appreciate it! I really enjoy your writing and your drawings too! πŸ’›

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  13. Lovely painting!
    To your question about finding one’s medium… I’m honestly not sure, because I love the continually exploring and working with different mediums. I also think it will be different for each artist, as each of our personality types ranges. I started out working only with pencil, but over the last ten years I have really been expanding with color pencil, pen, and watercolor. I love them all, so I don’t know if will ever find a constant medium that is the only one I will go to. I think through them all… you can still find your style… your voice. Art takes time, and you will want to find your flow. If it was easy you would get board quickly. If it was too hard you would give up. Where is the happy place that you can find the challenge and the easy? That is where I find my medium(s) πŸ™‚

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      1. You’re welcome! A couple years ago while I was visiting some relatives my cousin talked about “Finding Your Flow”. There are books on it or at least subjects in college on it. I have not read any, but it would be worth finding as you search for your medium. πŸ™‚

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  14. Hi Laura! I like where you are going with the niche you are seeking. I’ve been thinking that is where I want to be as well, so it is fun to find someone else thinking so. As to medium….what are your goals? Some “experts” will tell you that there is a hierarchy in terms of sales, with oil paint commanding the highest prices, and watercolor coming in lower. However, many feel (myself included) that watercolor is so sparklingly beautiful it deserves higher prices. Also, it is a very difficult medium…that should count for something! For myself, I paint in the medium that brings me joy.

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    1. I’ve heard the same, Melissa, and I’m stunned watercolor isn’t the top one. As to goals, I’d like to start a business, but the more research I do, the more I’m tempted to keep it as a hobby. I also feel I have art ADD, to some extent, so I’m trying to figure what mediums/subjects to put my focus. Do you ever struggle with this?

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      1. I do. I have one toe in oil paint, because my preferred medium, acrylic, is really plastic and I’m having a hard time justifying that to myself. As nearly as I can tell the manufacture of it is pretty hard on the planet. I’ve found a source of environmentally friendly pigments I can mix with walnut oil…but that means switching and I’m having trouble with that! Oh, the dilemma! I really enjoy seeing your work. Don’t be afraid to follow your dream of starting a business. You can do it! πŸ™‚ It’s true that it isn’t easy, but if it is a dream, then it is worth it.

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        1. Thanks, Melissa; I appreciate your input. I have a small tax/accounting business, and boy, it’s much easier to make a go of it there – because people “need” what you are offering. Whole different ball game there. I always had a dream to have a business and now I have one, and realize the ups and downs that go with being self-employed. I would like to make art for a living, but I’m sure lots of people would! So we’ll see. Thanks for the encouragement.

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          1. That is awesome! I so admire people who can use both sides of their minds, as you do. Tax/accounting and art! Great combination. If you make the leap you’ll know what you are doing regarding keeping the books. You are right, I often wish people needed art as they do accounting services. I am learning that with art, what people are really buying is you. And that is a good thing πŸ™‚

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    1. Thanks, Karen! Patience was never my strong suit. I feel like I wanna skip ahead and know exactly what medium and what subjects I should be working in and with. I realize that’s not what the art journey is about, but I just wanna have the answers lol. I don’t mind putting in the time and practice. I’ve seen that work I do in one place helps what I do elsewhere, but if I’m never going to be good at watercolor, for example, then I’d just like to put it aside and focus on something that I will be good at. My “day job” is accounting, and I think the left brain is just trying to run things, as usual. I really appreciate your input.

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      1. That does sound very left-brained! I guess it depends on whether you enjoy the process of learning watercolor or not. Since I vascillate back and forth on whether I’m any “good” at watercolor, depending on how my piece is going at the time (I still get frustrated with the medium), I would probably quit all the time! I do admire people who can stick with one medium for their whole life and get awesome at it. That’s just not me… πŸ™‚

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  15. Somehow I don’t think the “right” medium necessarily always comes freely and naturally. I’ve come to see watercolor as a spiritual journey for me. What I often find is that “as in life, so in watercolor” (this has become my personal watercolor mantra). Watercolor brings up the same ego voices and left brain control issues that come up in life. I wonder if another medium would do the same? Regardless, I’m in love with watercolor and have no interest in trying something else out! I love your flower and bee — it looks very loose and easy. πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you so much, David! I totally agree with you – as in life, so in watercolor. I think you’ve put my feelings into words exactly. I do enjoy trying different mediums, but fell in love with watercolor first and it calls me loudest. Your stained glass painting was so inspiring; I enjoyed revisiting that post last night and browsing around in your blog. If I could paint like you, I’d probably not try anything else either! I’m glad you enjoyed my flower and bee.

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