What is the impact of the medium used by an artist on his work of art?

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lhc's profile pic

lhc | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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In the case of the Impressionists, it is particularly interesting because artists such as Monet became experts at using both brushes and palette knives to place paint in thick layers.  The wonder of the Impressionist paintings is created in viewing them both up close, where one tends to see thick brushstrokes and layers of paint, and then stepping back where almost miraculously one is viewing a landscape of flickering light.  Later in his career, Monet became fascinated with the effects of light on his subjects, as many of the Impressionists were, but Monet took this to a new level by identifying subjects such as haystacks and painting them at several different times of day to reflect the changing light and its effect on the subject.  Art historians familiar with Monet's Water Lilies series have noted the enormous layering of paints beneath what the eye actually sees--as if Monet had painted a section and deciding he didn't like it, repainted it over and over.  Interestingly, the time that was apparently invested in the Water Lilies paintings with evidence of painting and repainting, seems to conflict with the typical spontaneousness of the Impressionists' practice, whereby an artist would journey into an open space and quickly record what he saw; these paintings of one's impressions led to the coining of what was intended to be a derogatory term "Impressionist".

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arrellbelle's profile pic

arrellbelle | Student, College Sophomore | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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I use different types of mediums in my art, graphite pencils, acrylic paint, and pastels. When I used graphite pencils, I have an easier time controlling the medium since I can use different types of lead, soft or hard, to create a very detailed drawing. However, when using acrylic paint, I find it harder to create the colors and variations in tones since I have to mix and match different colors to create the color i'm looking for. However, in the case of acrylic paint, I get smoother, but bolder strokes in my paint brushes. In the case of pastels, my drawings look more loose and free in comparison with the graphite pencils because I have to use my fingers to smudge the pastels around the paper. Pastels help create a dream-like picture.

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