Monday, April 21, 2014

Finding your style

 Study for a boat painting

 How do I find my style? Its a question that I get asked by artists starting their journey and my answer is " You don't. It finds you."

A style is something that makes your work recognizable as you. It can be a subject, a medium, a palette choice or technique of applying paint to a surface.  Whatever it is, it becomes associated with you - your style of working in art.

Development of a style comes over time.  Initially there is a lot of experimentation with technique and materials and subject matter until you find yourself doing the same thing over and over.  The repetition shows how something pulls your interest and never leaves.  You spend your time expanding your knowledge of the subject and honing your ability with a technique and realizing that is now your comfort zone.  It becomes almost like a comfortable chair.  You sink into it, knowing the contours, creating colours is intuitive and you could draw/paint it in your sleep.

But it does take time.  And experimentation.  And hard work.   Style  doesn't come easily or instantly usually.  As artists evolve over their lifetimes, style will change and adapt, and the artist may explore other aspects of a subject or medium, testing its limits through abstraction to realism or vice versa or toss the brush and reach for the knife instead.   

If you lined up all the work you have produced, what would be a common element in them?  Colour, subject, or technique?  You should see a thread connecting them all, even if it is just a glimmer.  Continuing to build on that thread by constant painting and drawing constantly. 

Step outside the box of safety and really paint using instinct as well as theory.  See what is there or invent it. Choose your own colours, not what you see in front of you.  Become an artist, not a copyist.

Be prepared to fail.  Not every painting will be good.  A lot will be horribly bad.  That is a good thing.  Its how we learn.  Keep painting.

Your style will find you.  Paint your path and meet it half way.


Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

i really think i have found my style yet, but i have time :)

Jeanette Jobson said...

I think I know the direction you're heading. :)

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

probably printmaking :) but that will take a lot of work and study :)

Jo Castillo said...

I never think I have a style, but if I see my paintings all together I see lots of bright color .... so, maybe. Nice post to get us thinking!

Jo Castillo said...

Oh, and I like your colorful boat! Fun.

Jeanette Jobson said...

Hi Jo. Yes colour can be a signature style that people associate with an artist. Still life is another I associate with you as well as landscapes.

I can never resist a boat :)

Katherine Thomas said...

Jeanette, I love that line ..."you don't find your style, IT finds YOU". And I think that we are constantly defining our style. The more pieces that I complete, the more I suddenly become aware of consistencies in all my work, that I didn't consciously intend to do. Also, when you have several pieces displayed together, people sometimes comment about a particular characteristic in your work that you never really considered until they pointed it out, and then you see it so clearly. I enjoy your insights very much! And your artwork is wonderful!