MEDIUM is the materials that an artist works in, most of my art is painting. I work in oil, acrylic and watercolor. Sometimes I also work in graphite (pencil) or charcoal for drawing. Mixed media refers to a combination of mediums. The following is an explanation of the media I work in.
Oil painting has been around since the 1400’s. Essentially pigment, which is fine powered color is mixed with oil. The pigment can be from many different sources organic and inorganic. An important quality of the pigment is that it remain relatively stable and not change color over time. Linseed is the most common oil used for oil painting. The painting surface is often material such as canvas or linen. The material is stretched over a wood frame and primed with a gesso paint, usually white. This helps stop the oil paint from absorbing into the material and reflect the color off the surface. I find one of the most pleasing qualities of oil painting is the transparency of the paint. By building up layers of glazes or thin coats of paint, the light is allowed to pass through and reflect back, creating a rich glowing effect. Another surface that is often used by oil painters is wood. Thin sheets of can be sanded smooth and gessoed. It is more suitable for smaller works, since wood has a tendency to warp or crack. Today many hardboard materials such as Masonite are used by painters. The pressed and glued wood fibers are very sable and have shown to last for many years. In the last few years a variety of new painting surface materials have emerged with a various kinds of surface textures to fit you style or technique. Most of my larger oil paintings are on done on stretched canvas and the smaller ones on hardboard.
Acrylics were first used in the 1940s, became popular in the 1950s, when they became commercially available. They use the same pigments that the other paints but the binder or vehicle is an acrylic polymer emulsion. This medium offers several advantages over oil. One being that they are water based which allows for easy cleanup and no strong odors. They also dry quickly, sometimes too quickly and can be applied very thick or very thin often resembling a watercolor painting. The slower drying time of the oils allow for extended mixing time which is necessary to achieve a soft edge or graduated background. To achieve this same effect with acrylic, often an air brush employed. Another advantage of oils is the transparency effect that can be achieved by building up layers of paint combined with linseed oil, allowing the light to pass through and reflect back through the layers creating a depth and rich patina on the surface. Acrylic paintings like oils are painted on the same backgrounds except acrylics can be painted on paper also.
Watercolor has been used for thousands of years but became a prominent medium during the Renaissance. With the exception of a few artists, watercolor was mainly used as a preliminary sketch media before an oil painting. One thing that makes watercolor unique is that white is not normally used. A lighter value is achieved by diluting the paint with water and allowing the background color to show through which is usually the white of the paper. The higher quality watercolor paper is made from cotton and referred to as “rag” many are handmade and come in various thicknesses or weight. The standard size for a sheet is about 22×30 but larger sheets can be found. Another popular surface for watercolor is illustration board which is a thin watercolor paper that is laminated to a heavy paper board.
What I like about watercolor is the variety of techniques that can be applied in a watercolor painting. There is also a spontaneity when doing a watercolor that creates an unpredictable look. Because watercolor is transparent the light reflecting off the surface passes through a layer of paint to the paper surface and back through the same layer of paint producing a brilliance that is similar to glazing in oil paints.
Since the 20th. century watercolor has enjoyed a surge in popularity with hundreds of watercolor groups forming all over the world. I am a signature member of the Central New York Watercolor Society and the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society. As a member you may see a CNYWS or/and PWS on the painting after the signature. As you will see in my following KNOWN WORKS section, I worked mostly in watercolor for the first few decades but now I work more in oils and acrylic.