Still Life with Blueberry Muffin
37" x 26-1/2"
Gouache on museum board
Painted by Daniel K. Tennant
In more than four decades of making artwork, I have noticed that there are two types of artistic people. There are those who love all kinds of media—each time I meet them I notice they are using a different medium—and there are those artists who stick to one medium. What should it be? For people like Pablo Picasso—who was recognized as a prodigy when he was a teen—branching off into many different venues of expression was natural for him. He had so much energy and so many ideas that he could work in oils, engraving, sculpture, drawing and lithography—just to name a few.
For those of us who are not as gifted naturally as he was, finding the right medium has been a slow progression. We took art classes in high school and by doing many different projects we narrowed down our interest to perhaps two or three mediums and as we matured eventually discovered that we had a real affinity for water media or oils or 3-D work.
When one uses a particular medium with authority it makes artistic expression become more second nature. There is not as much technical struggling and the act of creating becomes more natural and easier. Personally, I've used opaque watercolors (gouache) almost solely for 33 years and although they are my favorite medium they can still at times give me struggles. One can always improve no matter how many years one has used a particular medium. The medium should also be an extension of the way the artist thinks. I happen to paint quickly and like to finish areas in one sitting. I don't like to wait for things to dry so gouache is a wonderful medium for that reason alone.
There are no rules set in stone but my observations about success is that most really successful artists have found their own medium and stayed with it. Some have mastered two mediums, but it takes a lifetime for most of us to master even one. The old saying, "A jack of all trades and a master of none," has some relevance here. Trying to master too many media can actually be detrimental. Try finding your medium and stay with it and become a true master of it. To learn more about Daniel K. Tennant, visit