Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Diminutive, and the benefits of working in more than one medium

8" x 8" acrylic on canvas panel

When I was little my parents got me a pony that I just loved. But she, on the other hand, was not too fond of me when we first met. She was very shy and wouldn't let me get too close to her. So I did what any rational ten year old girl would do: I stuffed my pockets full of apple slices and headed out to the pasture to make friends with her.

It took a few days of patiently following after her, and watching her prance away from me, but eventually she let me get closer and closer to her, and soon she was eating the apples out of my hand and following me around.

This painting is not of my childhood pony. The pony in 'Diminutive' belongs to my Facebook friend, Alpha Farm Horses, and when I saw the photo I based this painting on it reminded me so much of my own pony that I had to ask my friend if I could paint her. I can almost feel her warm breath in my palm and the sticky sweet apple slices in my pocket again. Good times. :)

This painting was actually my second attempt. The first painting was a smaller size and MUCH brighter in color. So much in fact that when I finished painting it I stepped back, tilted my head and said to myself:

"Dude. I just painted a My Little Pony."

Pony in Technicolor was not the look I was after. But, being annoyingly persistent, I painted it again, a larger size this time, and really liked the results.

This year I've kind of felt like several different artists crammed into one person. I paint in watercolor, then switch to colored pencil, then back to watercolor, then switch to acrylics, then back to watercolor. . . You get the picture.

Even though sometimes this has made me feel a little, um. . . crazy, it has been really great for me as an artist. Because it requires me to think differently with every medium. Color mixing with acrylics is so much more direct, I can mix brighter colors right off the bat (remember Pony in Technicolor?), and it satisfies that part of me that wants to paint looser and more impressionistic-like.

So, when I go back to painting with watercolors I bring everything that I've learned with acrylics and try to apply it in some way. Which results in more growth, and an appreciation for the familiarity I've gained with watercolors after years and years of work.

And, switching back and forth, always trying something new, is GREAT for keeping artist's block at bay. At least it has been for me, so far. I'll try not to jinx it. :)

How about you guys? Anyone else seen the benefits of working with more than one medium?

Until next week my friends! Huzzah!



  1. "My Little Pony" funny:) Love your picture and I bet it was fun to travel down memory lane! Lovely light in this painting.

  2. Crystal,
    What a lovely story about you and your Pony and apple slices (in guess appearance) :). And this one is so loose and has an extra ounce of energy.. Look at those broken colors and the brush strokes.. They really bring a lot to the painting..

    I also change my medium sometimes.. But generally it will be gouche or charcoal.. I am too lazy for acrylic. The last one I made was 1.5 years back, though I have new canvases lying with me for a while.. :)

    And thank you for your wishes for my exhibition. I surely need them.

  3. i love the painting and the story! so inspirational...i don't even dream of trying another medium..again your sharing really helps inspire..and the pony is just wonderful!!

  4. I totally get it about different mediums! Pastel is my strongest in ability. Next is acrylic, pen & ink and I love to 'play' with watercolors. I used to do oils but the turp clean-up fumes are too much for me.

    I feel very adult ADD but I do agree it helps with the artist block times. Love your story about your pony - how blessed you are to have this great memory. As always I love your treatment of color & light!

  5. Nice acrylic. You know I support many approches to doing art. What is important is growing and having fun.

  6. Hi Crystal,
    Oh, how fun to have a pony; every girl needs one! Reading your story I can just feel the soft velvet nose...so sweet. Your painting is wonderful and so full of energy.

    I, too, work in a multitude of mediums and find it often helps to switch back and forth. As you mentioned, one can lend learning to the other.

    Thanks for the nice post; I really enjoyed it.

  7. We have horses too and boy do they love apples! Too funny! Great painting!

  8. This is really sweet Crystal! I can relate to switching back and forth as I have been trying a little acrylic work here and there in between watercolor paintings. Every know and then I want to try oil painting...but haven't tried it yet!

  9. You really captured a free and easy spirit of this pony, Crystal. I think you know my feeling about going back and forth between watercolors and acrylics; quit challenging for me. As far as growth; hmmmm, I think it takes me back a step but maybe I'll realize the growth at a later time when something clicks. You know what I mean? Enjoy your evening!

  10. Love how you have captured the movement! and wonderful to read the story behind it too :) I too switch between color pencils and watercolors quite often combining the two :) I recently inherited a set of acrylics and just today started playing with --painting with it like watercolors so I don't know if that really counts!

  11. I love this little horse. The colors and brush strokes are wonderful for such a small piece.
    I haven't painted with water colors for at least two years and it would take some getting used to after painting with nothing but acrylics for the past year. I have done some work with my colored pencils, but not much. Since I started sculpting again it's all I want to do however I do like changing my sculpting style and painting to keep things fresh.

  12. The painting is gorgeous . I love the lovely rich and bright colours. The painting I guess assumes an extra dimension with the lovely story you have told here. Thanks for sharing the painting and the story.
    I agree with the thing about working in more than one medium. My media of choice are watercolours and oils. However I find watercolours a little more demanding in terms of technique and skill and so at times find it difficult to go back to them after doing a few oils.

  13. You can feel the movement of this pony, worth painting twice, it's a stunner!

  14. Love the feeling on movement in this pony - and the warmth that exudes from the painting too. Well done xx

  15. Loved your post for I was immersed in the my little pony world and real pony world with my daughter for years. I embrace any and all mediums and surfaces to see where it'll take me. Oils, goache and charcoal are my favorites and acrylic is one I can't seem to make friends with-too gooey. I also love trying all kinds of pencils and inks and collage in moleskins.

  16. Sweet pony story and love your piece. I wouldn´t have it any other way ...I love watercolor for what it does and I love acrylic for what it does and I love gouache for what it does and collage and bookbinding and card designing...I know I am probably leaving something out but you get the jist....they all interact and
    embellish each other and as long as I am creating something and happy well, what more could a girl ask for!!!

  17. Haha, I remember My Little Pony - but I think Strawberry Shortcake was my favorite. She smelled so good. :)

  18. I love the painting! It's so colourful, but in a subtle way. And there is life and movement from those visible brush strokes which I love!
    Like you, I am also experimenting with lots of styles and mediums in the hope that one day I will find a stlye that suits me best. I love to try different things and I agree that it is great for preventing artists block! :0)

  19. I'd say you've hit your stride :-) This turned out beautifully, it's always good to mix it up with various mediums, keeps us fresh, just so long as we don't wind up resisting our own style!

  20. Wonderful! You really know lighting and making it pop, but in such a lovely way! Hmmm...I just work in watercolors right now, then add textures and such in Photoshop. That seems to be my thing!

    I love the image of you patiently feeding her apple slices--got a little teary eyed, actually. :)

  21. Beautiful work!
    Spectacular colors and work execution.

  22. Crystal...I love this painting and the story behind it. Excellent colors .. this horse looks like he's in motion! wonderful job. As you know, I love pastels..but in the last month or so, I've been working with oils which I truly love. So I will be switching from time to time with both of these mediums.

  23. Beautiful shadow colors! Lovely painting.

  24. Hi your horse painting is just beautiful. Love your color chorces.


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment they really do mean so much to me! Because not all bloggers have their email enabled so I can reply directly through email I will try to reply here in the comments. If I don't please forgive me, life must have been hectic that day! :)) Huzzah!!

Related Posts with Thumbnails