For many artists, working in a single medium is popular and regularly practised. There is no doubt that many of these artists become experts in what they do. Careful selection of each subject will (usually) result in success. Choosing what ‘works’ with a particular medium is vital as each have their own characteristics.

For nearly 25 years I have almost exclusively worked with coloured pencils. I only paint what I know will work as this medium has its limitations.

Lately I have started to ‘drift’ in regards to mediums. I’ve worked in oils, acrylics, oil pastel and now soft pastels, while still maintaining my interest in coloured pencils, the latter because of 2 paintings that I am currently working on along with a series of pastel landscapes.

The reason for this ‘departure’ is due to change in my approach to my art. I’m now basing all my work on “ideas first, medium second”. I want all my work to be ‘about something’, not ‘of something’.

Once I have an idea I then choose the appropriate medium. If I can’t decide, then I leave it and move to something else.


Maybe it’s time to work with several mediums if it’s appropriate.


Today’s photos show what’s happening in my studio this week. I have 3 paintings ‘on-the-go’, two in coloured pencil, the other in soft pastel.


I have included a detail from each painting and as you can see, they are very different from each other.

I do enjoy variety!






About artkleko

artist, art curator, art teacher, art judge, art critic
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  1. gerryart says:

    Very true Richard – its great to get a good grip and understanding of your chosen medium but I also love others as well and now I don’t fight it – if something works better in oils rather than say watercolour then is paint it in that. I am liking your foray into pastels very much.

    • artkleko says:

      I do so value variety as I get older Gerry! The set of 5 pastels I’ve just finished served as preparation for something quite new. I shall post an update on fb in the next day or two.

  2. Perhaps, Richard, you were writing this when I was responding to Kim O’Brien re working with different mediums…… connected vibes???? I so agree with what you wrote here. I too like to choose a medium according to whether it “fits” for all sorts of reasons with my aim. The aim can be many things from enjoying the “play”/exploration, pushing boundaries, feeling safe, addressing a brief, meditation, perfecting skill in reproducing a liked photo, making a political statement, decoration, telling a story…… you know them all,
    Again I read your post with interest as a relatively inexerienced artist (but wow it has been about 20 years and I feel I have so much more to learn) reading the thoughts of a highly respected professional.

  3. I have something of the same approach Richard. I am self taught, taking up painting years ago after my family had grown. Always having a great interest and love in art from the time I was a child. I started off with watercolours and charcoal drawings which I still love. I then progressed to oils and was using them for a long time and loved the flow of them, the buttery feel of the paint and even the smells of the oil and turps but the length of drying time annoyed me so I changed to acrylics which I have stuck with till now. But lately I have the yearning to get more of myself into my work and the grittiness and feel of the subject that I am painting and I have been experimenting with textures in mixed media and collage which I have to say, I adore! I love this way of painting so much.
    Your work is beautiful Richard in any of your mediums and its so interesting to see your progression from previous work to your latest. Looking forward to seeing these finished! And I didn’t realise the first one was so big ! Beautiful!

    • artkleko says:

      It’s great to see how far you’ve come in your artistic journey, Eileen. Your passion for your own art and the art of others is admirable. Art is so process-driven, the product is the bonus. The more one experiments, the more one realises that any idea can become a reality.
      Keep up the good work and thanks for your interest in my work.

  4. Christine Lillas says:

    I can certainly identify with Eileen loving the variety of texture and other effects that can happen with mixed media. It seems to be an ongoing exploratory journey (when I can be strong with myself and just sit down and keep doing it!) to which there is really no end in sight. What a wonderful challenge to face for the rest of my life!

  5. Gillian says:

    You seem to be having fun with your art, Richard and I can tell that new ideas are bubbling up. You have an infectious way of transmitting your thoughts and that obviously comes over in your articles too. Congrats for that, by the way.
    I enjoy varied media and also changing styles from time to time. Even Picasso did that, after all.
    The new works are stunning!

    • artkleko says:

      I am enjoying the change Gillian, but time will tell if it works out. Thanks for your encouraging words. I am enjoying your latest works. Like you, I love “saying a lot with very little”, and this can only happen through experience.

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