Ok, i have a silly question. While in class last Monday we were setting up and i asked my teacher about pastels, just a basic "what is the difference, etc etc" anywho, her reply was. " oh, forget about pastels, they dont sell, they are like at the bottom of the totem pole. Why dont you just concentrate on oil and dont worry about the other styles, you should just concentrate on one medium, dont worry about trying the others till you get proficient at oil". I was taken back by her answer but just left it at that.

My question is, do you all think a beginer like myself should concentrate on just one medium or try all of them? My thought (and again being new at art im sure im wrong) is to try all the mediums and see what i like the best. I do love oil, i like pen and ink. Not crazy about watercolor and would like to try pastels and get better at basic drawing/sketching. I havent put alot of money into anything but oils (she MADE us get Winton/newton paints and all kinds of very expensive supplies) and i already had quite a selection of oils, brushes etc etc. I have invested in some sharpies, copy paper, sketch pencils and thats about it. So its not like im going hog wild and pilling up on supplies.

I love the idea of sitting someplace with a sketch pad and sketching, bringing it home and maybe painting it. I know im no where near selling any of my art (although i have sold a couple oils).

Ok, so what are your thoughts? Any comments or suggestions would be helpful.

Christina

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Hi Christina,

There was actually a spirited discussion about this a few months ago in the Beginners group.  Here is the link: http://community.art-is-fun.com/group/beginners/forum/topics/sugges...

There are 2 ways of looking at it, in my opinion.  If your goal is to either (1) become a professional artist and/or (2) draw or paint realistically, then starting with just one medium makes sense, because by focusing on one medium, you can gain proficiency in that medium without distractions.  Many instructors suggest starting with pencil or charcoal drawing first, then once you have a firm grasp on the basics, moving into color (whether via colored pencil, pastel, oils, etc). This is the way I learned when I took classes - although on my own, I dabbled in all kinds of media because it was fun!  I don't think dabbling in multiple media was a hindrance to my learning.  That said, I do understand the point of focusing on just one media while you are just starting out, but it depends on what your goals are. 

So on the other hand, if you're not concerned about ever selling anything because your ultimate goals are to simply have fun while making art, and discover new ways of expressing yourself, then I think it makes sense to experiment with whatever medium strikes your fancy.  Why limit yourself?  If you stick to just oils but find that you hate it, you might give up art without ever trying pastels, and that would be too bad, because pastels might be just the thing that is perfect for you. That's not to say that if you experiment just for fun, you won't wind up selling those pieces someday - you might!  An artist's enthusiasm often shows up in his/her work and buyers can pick up on that and feel an immediate attraction to the work.

I think you should go with your gut feeling and do what feels right to you.  As you can see if you read the link above, there are lots of strong opinions on this subject, and I can see both sides of the debate.

Hope this helps!

wow, that was some thread y'all had going on. I can see both sides and hind sight is 20/20. If i had it to do all over again i would of started with pencil. But 6 months ago i wasnt interested in pencil and stumbled across an oil painting class.I had never picked up a paint brush in my life.  I just recently started sketching (and i know, im definately not good but everyone has to start somewhere and with each one i learn something new). Kind of like the Zentangles. Some say "thats not art" but i disagree!!! and i love making those. Not sure about the statement made " how can you paint if you cant draw?" none of the paintings ive done have i drawn first. I just kind of "winged" it. My gut tells me to try anything i want to try. Im not trying to impress anyone, not trying to sell....i just want to get a feel for them all then stick to what suits me best. Thats what my gut is telling me. I didnt relize there had been a previous discussion on this and i hope i dont get everyone rilled up again. lol. :)

I think you should do what you want with what you want and your teacher shouldn't tell you to forget it because "it doesn't sell". What is the point of art?

I am new to it and I started with acrylic painting. Knowing that I can't draw well, but that doesn' t stop me :-). Now after a while I start wanting to improve my drawing and I bought me some colour pencil and it is fun. I also play around with charcoal and pencil. Because I want it and not because someone said I am not supposed to paint as long as I can't draw well.

Well, maybe I am too fun-oriented and I don't plan making money with it :-). But I don't believe it is going to help your art if you use material you don't really like.

I think you should give pastels a try if that's what you want to do & as you say it's good to try different mediums & see which you like best. I've always liked watercolour until last year when I treated myself to some pastel pencils which I love !! It's good to try something new & of course to enjoy your art !!

I'm a beginner as well. But after missing out on 20+ years of art due to My putting too much stock in someone else's opinion,  I say follow your fancies. You may never find out where your true talent lays until you've dabbled a little in all that interests you. Never allow yourself to look back years down the line and say "I wish I had or I wonder if...". After starting over, I see the growth I've had in just the last few years and I wonder what my work would look like now if I hadn't let that one hurtful nearsighted person destroy a dream I had since childhood. Yes, you need to learn the basics, but don't limit yourself based on someone else's possibly prejudiced opinion. Have fun with your art doing what YOU want to do.  I'm through preaching now. :)

Stacy, dont worry i dont consider constructive advice "preaching". Yea, after writting that blog awhile back i did decide to just try everything!! I will probably focus in on oils and pen/ink. I have found i am more comfortable with those mediums than anything else. Ive not had professional training but took an oil class a few months back (totally waste of money) and i am signed up for a beginners basic drawing class (i really think i need that!!). I never knew i had any talent till a year ago (im 54 now) but i guess its never to late. Ive always had that crafty side in me but never really investigated it till i found myself unemployed and time on my hands.

Im glad your back and im sorry you've missed out on a majority of your art life!! I wouldnt dwell on it, pick yourself up, wipe yourself off and get your "art on" LOL
 
Stacy Woolsey said:

I'm a beginner as well. But after missing out on 20+ years of art due to My putting too much stock in someone else's opinion,  I say follow your fancies. You may never find out where your true talent lays until you've dabbled a little in all that interests you. Never allow yourself to look back years down the line and say "I wish I had or I wonder if...". After starting over, I see the growth I've had in just the last few years and I wonder what my work would look like now if I hadn't let that one hurtful nearsighted person destroy a dream I had since childhood. Yes, you need to learn the basics, but don't limit yourself based on someone else's possibly prejudiced opinion. Have fun with your art doing what YOU want to do.  I'm through preaching now. :)

Christina, whilst I can understand your art teacher's point about mastering one medium before moving on to others I have to say the way she communicated it was quite telling - her remark seems to hint that she sees being able to generate money from the creative process as a fairly high priority and this makes me quite sad to be honest.  There is so much to be gotten from creating in a medium within which you enjoy - regardless of whether or not it sells!  Granted, if you want to make a living out of art then you will need to think about creating work that people want to buy but to suggest that should be your only concern is slightly narrow-minded in my opinion.  I have a very distinctive style of work that I continue to paint and sell however I also spend plenty of time working on pieces that I may never even show to anyone else let alone trying to sell it.  I do this work for no reason other than that I enjoy experimenting and want to try different things.  There's nothing wrong with doing something purely for pleasure!

Life is too short for you to live it in a certain way just because somebody else has a strong opinion about what you should and shouldn't do.  If you want to try other mediums in your spare time, I say go for it.  I find that you can learn something new and different in each medium you try and that experience will only culminate to make you a more rounded artist.  

I too agree with mastering one since I believe it give you insight into working with other mediums.  But as an artist I believe you will be doing yourself a disservice if you dont experiment with other mediums.  I love acrylics and hated oil pastels.  Now I think Im going to have an affair with soft pastels because they are sooo versatile and easy to use.  Like most of the people here I have not had any formal art training.  But allowing myself to work with acrylics to get a hang of shading, mixing, tinting etc. really helped and I have been able to use some of that info while experimenting or working with other mediums.

So.....why not do both? Focus on one while experimenting with the others.  After all YOU are the author of your reality. And, YOU need to know why you are taking this journey.  It has to be meaningful to YOU.

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