In The Studio: Break Out A New Medium

I spent the first 30 some years of my painting career working exclusively in watercolor, and most of that was watercolor used in the traditional transparent approach.  I love watercolor and find pushing the medium as far as it will go to be an exciting and rewarding experience but I have come to the point where I need to expand my horizons. 

24 x 18 Watercolor on Arches Rough “Waterfall Demo”

Several years ago I took up acrylics and had a great time applying the paint in my abstract paintings, I never intended to use acrylics in a traditional representational fashion.  I wanted the texture and depth that only acrylics could give me and their fast drying qualities definitely appealed to me, since I was a fairly impatient artist.  24 x 24 Acrylic on Canvas “Desert Rust”

After several years I needed a little more of a nuanced medium and I have recently  picked up oils and I must say that they seem to be intoxicating and very exciting.  I have only painted several paintings and make no claim to having mastered or perfected any aspect of this wonderful medium but I do find they have really given me back some of the excitement that I experienced when I first began to get a handle on watercolors.  16 x16 Oil on Canvas “Dusk Prouts Neck Marsh”
My reason for putting up this blog is not to show you a really beautiful gallery of new oil paintings but rather to implore you to try something new in your art.  Give a new medium a try even if the results are less than successful.  We are on this path to become artists, not experts in one medium.  Many of our prejudices against a certain approach will keep us from finding out how to best express the inner vision that we desire to express.  The challenge is to become a totally creative and expressive artist so give yourself permission to try something new, something intimidating and perhaps scary and the results might be that you finally move up to realizing the potential you have that is greater than anything you imagine at the moment.24 x 24 Oil on Canvas “Plains Virginia”

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  • PatMay 21, 2012 - 5:45 pm

    Bravo Steve–your new paintings–your instruction and reminders for your students!ReplyCancel

  • Colleen SaboMay 21, 2012 - 5:58 pm

    Wow–you can paint anything with anything! Love the new oils too. Your work is the whole package…ReplyCancel

  • —Christine GacharnaMay 21, 2012 - 9:24 pm


    “We are on this path to become artists, not experts in one medium.”

    This is the crux of everything I’ve learned from you. When I stumbled into your watercolor class, my photographs had become predictable and I was getting a bit bored with it all. WHAM nothing like exploring another medium to learn to see light all over again.

    Oil agrees with you. I imagine writing does, too, and I look forward to reading your books one day. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Roberta LoflinMay 21, 2012 - 9:24 pm

    I have really enjoyed your posts. I was one of your students in Alexandria – in a different lifetime (1990’s)! I enjoyed your classes and appreciate your sharing your process and the insights you have in working in art. Keep it up!ReplyCancel

  • mary sortinoMay 22, 2012 - 12:37 pm

    very good, teacher… thanks , always thanks. I am paint now.ReplyCancel