|Sunflower Field, oil by Sandi Parker|
But does the axiom “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” apply to artists?
When it comes to themes, personally, I’m really into cityscapes – and by into, I mean when I see a good one by an artist, I quite often purchase it because I’m in awe. And the reason I’m in awe is because I know how challenging they can be in any medium. When I attempt to do one myself, the work doesn’t flow easily the way it does if I’m doing a landscape or a seascape. Landscapes and seascapes to me – a beautiful field of flowers, sand and ocean – are generally stress-free. But, I’ll admit – not so challenging.
|Crossing Delancey, oil by Sandi Parker|
The same applies to trying a new medium. Nothing is scarier to an artist than having to buy a bunch of new and strange materials and signing up for a class where you’re convinced every other student has been practicing this medium for decades. That probably won’t be the case, and even if it is – so, you’ll learn from them.
|Summer Swimmers, Gouache by Sandi Parker|
You may end up deciding, as I did, that a certain medium may work well for working en plein air. I have been struggling for ages trying to come up with a medium that is more portable than lugging oil painting materials into fields and towns. After being introduced to gouache, a water medium that lugs like watercolor but looks like oil? I now am less likely to shy away from plein air painting opportunities. It won’t ever take the place of oil for me, but I love the idea that I can do a little painting on the beach with minimal cleanup, and materials that tuck into my beach bag.
If you jump out of your comfort zone now and then, you’ll have an amazing sense of accomplishment after getting a handle on a completely different subject matter, medium or technique . And being able to add these to your website and business card? Icing on the cake.
Sandi Parker is Director of Gallery Underground and an artist who works in oil, acrylic - and now - pastel and gouache.