Does this sound familiar? You’re a creative person and you love to build. You may have a medium of choice (oil paint) but you find yourself tinkering with other mediums (watercolor, ink, clay, wood, charcoal, stone). At the same time, professional art sellers tell you to focus on one thing if you want to be successful. And they don’t just mean one medium. They want one type of subject, one audience, one way. If you want to sell more art, this may be good advice.
However, from the viewpoint of a creative, growing artist, we need to be always pushing ourselves and working on our craft in new ways. How boring is it to paint the same thing year after year? I love to draw. It makes no difference if I’m using pencils, charcoal, conte’ crayons, or ink. When I work with oil paint, half the enjoyment is the initial drawing with dirty turpentine and burnt sienna. In a workshop with Charlie Hunter, he had us drawing with paper towels and Q-tips.
Here’s something to consider: every two years take a workshop with either an artist, a medium, or a subject matter that you have little experience with. I’ve done it and I’ve been pleasantly surprised often. This makes us work in new ways and at a rate much faster than trying something new on our own. Work! That’s what’s important. It’s the process that helps us to grow. Visions and dreams are just visions and dreams until you do the work. Go get your hands dirty making something. If it rubs off elsewhere in your work, great! If it doesn’t, wash up and move on. You’ll see the dirt under your nails and know you dug in and tried something new.