With close to 50 artists represented at Anne Neilson Fine Art, we see a wide variety of art mediums. An artwork’s medium refers to the different materials or supplies that an artist utilizes in order to create a work of art. In painting, medium can refer to both the type of paint used (oil, acrylic, watercolor, etc) and the base or ground to which the paint is applied (canvas, wood, paper, etc). Knowing the paint medium when you look at a work of art is key because it greatly affects the way one can perceive the color, texture, and overall appearance of an artwork.
At the gallery, our artists utilize a variety of media. This permits differences between artworks where the style and subject matter cannot compete. Below we’ve highlighted a few examples to show you why medium matters and how it contributes to the diversification of our fine art collection.
Painting: Oil vs. Acrylic vs. Watercolor
Oil on Canvas: Sandy Ostrau, Joe Vinson
Oil is a type of slow drying paint. It consists of particular pigments suspended in a drying oil. This kind of medium does not dry quickly. It blends into the surroundings and allows the blending of color. It produces vivid colors with a natural sheen and distinct context. It provides a surface translucency similar to human skin making it an ideal for portrait painting. Oil paint eventually became the principal medium used for creating artworks as its advantages became widely known. The transition began with Early Netherlandish painting in northern Europe, and by the height of the Renaissance oil painting techniques had almost completely replaced tempera paints in the majority of Europe.
Sandy Ostrau, Outdoor Seating, 18×12
Art Critic, John Seed describes Sandy Ostrau and her work, “An intuitive artist who loves paint as a substance — and who has a tendency to obliterate her imagery with painterly gestures — Ostrau doesn’t go all the way to abstraction. To do so would remove the emotional connection she wants viewers to have with her source material. “I’m not a fully abstract painter,” she explains: “I want people to feel the landscape.”
Joe Vinson, Tangerine, 24×24
Joe Vinson explains his love for oil painting, “I love painting, especially oil painting. There is something wonderful and unique about the immediacy and totality of this art form. I love its long history and the many forms that it has taken.”
Acrylic: Stuart Coleman Budd, Adele Yonchak
Acrylic is a fast drying paint allowing far less time than oil to blend colors and apply minute details unto the painting. It contains pigments suspended in polymer emulsion. Acrylic paints are usually diluted with waters, but become water resistant when dry. Using acrylic, the artist must work far more quickly than if they were using oil.
Stuart Coleman Budd, Folly, 44×72
Adele Yonchak, Viaduct View, 30×30
Watercolor: Ellen Levine Dodd
Watercolor is a painting method in which the paints are made of pigments suspended in a water-soluble vehicle. The traditional and most common support for watercolor paintings is paper; other supports include papyrus, bark papers, plastics, vellum or leather, fabric, wood and canvas. The art of water color began with the cave paintings of Paleolithic Europe, used in the manuscript illumination by the Egyptians, and continued to flourish during the European Renaissance. Water color paint consist of four principal ingredients; colorant (commonly pigment), binder, the substance that holds the pigment in suspension and fixes the pigment to the painting surface, additives, substance that alter the viscosity, hiding, durability or color of the pigment and vehicle mixture, lastly, the solvent, the substance use to thin or dilute the paint for application and that evaporates when the paint hardens or dry.
Ellen Dodd, Saguaro Sunset, 11×15
Ellen Dodd, Sea Bluff, 4×3
Mixed Media: Ken Tate, Kinuko Hoffman or Kim Fonder
Wait…. What does “Mixed Media” mean? Mixed media indicates that an artist used a variety (two or more) of mediums to produce a single artwork.
Ken Tate, Burberry, 31×25
Kim Fonder, Cieli Grigi E Blu Delle Nuvole, 60×72
Kinuko Hoffman, Bliss II, 50×40
CAUTION: Medium is not Texture!
Sometimes the best of us confuse medium with texture. Although medium contributes to the texture of a painting, the two terms are completely different. Texture refers to the tactile qualities of a work. Does it look smooth and glossy? Or rough, like sandpaper? Is the painting built up in drips/globs? The texture will differ depending on the medium that the artist chooses. We will discuss more of texture in a later post, so check in soon!