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Recently I have been exploring how to use different art media to cross-pollinate visual ideas. Across the ages, of course, artists have developed sketches in one medium (whether with a drawing or a watercolor) to create large-scale compositions in their “formal” painting medium (i.e., oil paint).

Today’s art environment offers a wealth of options for working up compositions and ideas. At the same time, I also see artists “staying in their lanes” and ONLY working in a single medium (such as watercolor or acrylic or oil).

I love the mental challenge of working in different media. When I work in watercolor, I use a different method (starting with lighter tones, then adding darks). Acrylics and oils, on the other hand, start with darks and add lights last.

Another medium I have ventured into is block printing, thanks to some workshops offered by Molly Hashimoto at the WInslow Art Center. Molly, an accomplished nature artist, works in watercolor, block-printing, and etching. She’ll sometimes take the same idea and render it in all three media.

Inspired in part by her methodologies, I used the same starting point (from a photo I took of Ooms Conservation Area in Chatham, NY), and did a very small color study in gouache (shown above).

This guided me in doing the (somewhat larger) watercolor painting:

painting of a pond with trees in the background

Watercolor (9 x 12″)





Finally, the same composition was used in the background for a hand-colored block print of a Mallard pair:

block print of a Mallard pair on a pond


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