A Different Approach…


…or two.  I tell ya, I honestly feel crazy sometimes when I think about how I would like to draw or paint something.  Pastels? Pens? Watercolor? Crayons? Charcoal? My mind races around the many materials at hand and often I end up doing multiple versions.  This is charcoal and pastel from the same photo of Gracie that I did the pen and Caran D’Ache version in the previous post.  And here is yet another approach with marker and Caran D’Ache :


Each is done very quickly…a sketch.  Sometimes I just want to see how each medium would turn out.  Sometimes I’m actually searching for a certain “look”.  If I were commissioned to do a portrait–charcoal and pastel are my favorites.  But for sketching and exploring, anything goes.

I have to confess:  I have this nagging thought in the back of my head that says I should have one main medium as an artist.  The voice tells me that no serious artist bounces back and forth from this to that to the other…but rather has a medium he/she employs for sketching and then a medium he/she employs for “paintings”.  Case in point–Wolf Kahn.  I’ve been re-reading his book of pastels (which I totally recommend).  He seems to sketch/paint with pastels, and then when making larger works, he uses oils.  Straightforward.  No fuss.  No quandary about which medium to play with next.  Even his sketches as a whole have an overall continuity in their execution, and this is easily carried over to his large oil paintings.  My stuff?  It seems all over the place.

But I have to wonder…perhaps many mediums IS my medium.  Maybe I shouldn’t try forcing myself to “settle down” to one medium.  (Indeed it seems a lot of the fun would be taken away.) Perhaps Mr. Kahn actually uses multiple approaches much of the time and the books and exhibits merely assemble works that are within one vein only.  Then again, maybe not.  But I am encouraged by a particular quote in his book.  He says, “I have tried to avoid looking for a single style, trusting instead that every work will by necessity exhibit Kahn-ish elements; after all, I made each of them.”

I think I’ll trust this to be true for all of us!

0 thoughts on “A Different Approach…

  1. hememd says:

    I’m impressed that you can make such a cute baby in many different mediums! Picasso used many – including sculpture and ceramics – and each of them had a little bits of Picasso style so they are all recognizable as his. One of my favorite posters of his was done totally in crayon!

  2. Alex says:

    I think it’s awesome using and trying out with different medias. This is definitely something you’d probably find in art/drawing books you usually find in stores showing what kind of result you’d get from using different tools. I love the colors and shading!

  3. Ujwala says:

    i believe a lot of artists dabble in many mediums for quite a while before settling on one or a combination of 2 or 3. I agree completely with Kahn’s quote dont force yourself to “settle down”.

    • jenpedwards says:

      Thank you to ALL of you for your comments! Picasso is wonderful encouragement…so is Matisse. Thanks also for the encouragement not to force myself to “settle down”…I actually think I thrive on the variaton. It is some outside standard floating around in my head that I impose on myself. Must stop that!

  4. anntnem says:

    Thank you for this post! I struggle with the same issue, thinking I should have more consistency in my work. Yet when I view your work I am inspired and impressed no matter what the media you are working in. I am looking for that Wolf Kahn book you recommend. Is it Wolf Kahn Pastels or America?

  5. Deborah says:

    I am SO GLAD that someone else feels exactly as I do – kindred spirits… I think my problem (or is it a problem) is that I LOVE color – anything that gives me bold, brilliant color is like candy – I cannot resist it. Like the Caran d’Ache crayons, Prismacolor markers, colored pencils, watercolor, acrylic – color squashing around on the paper is the whole joy of it. I also love line almost as much I have to have strong lines. So I like marker pen or pencil with my paintings. I think if I didn’t dabble in all of it – I would be bored. But I too sometimes think – shouldn’t I stick with one medium and perfect it and not go all over the place. I try… but I can’t do it.

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