On Developing Artistic Style

Are you there yet? You’re so not there yet. Or maybe you are there. How does one know?

I think I’m starting to get it, so here I am to share with you what I’ve been learning throughout my own journey in and out of the studio.

I think I’m starting to get there myself; into my own artistic style I mean. I’ve been all over the place, truthfully.

But it all starts in the same place for all of us: experimentation.

At first, you experiment. You do everything you think you want to do.

Pouring? You try it. Spray paint? Let’s go. Larger brushes, darker paint, scrappers, glitter, collage, burning, tearing, masking, dry brushing, pointillism… some of it works and some of it doesn’t, but you try it anyway because you’ll never know if you don’t.

GO HAM. Break the “rules” of art. Try all kinds of shit.

At some point, amidst all of your experimenting, you will find techniques and styles that work for you. You will discover methods of creating that directly lend themselves to the messages you’re trying to convey.

Because not every method, or style, will work for what you’re trying to accomplish.

I’ve been there. I’m still here.

I experiment often, and mostly without fear. This is key.

Don’t be afraid of the result. Don’t fear “f*cking it up”. You’re gonna. You gotta. You’ll see.

I’m beginning to see my own style emerge in the work I’ve been creating. It still has a long way to go – there is still more experimenting to do – but I see her forming.

I think it’s also important to note that ultimately, style is naturally going to change and develop over time.

We’re going to get bored one day, or we’ll want to try something totally different, or new and I’m telling you, we gotta just go for it! Artistic style evolves because we as people – and as artists – evolve. If we don’t, if you don’t, if I don’t… I’d be concerned.

And from what I can tell, this process is so organic, you may not even realize that it’s happening until years later, looking back at your work.

That’s how I started to see that I’m settling into a style right now… abstract, high contrast, textual, and emotional. Looking back on the paintings I’ve made in the last year or so, I can see it. Taking a step back and looking at the whole can be really useful in all areas of life, but certainly in analyzing a body of work.

It’s great! I’m looking at this like WOO, alright, COOL! But I want to refine.

What’s working? What do I like? What don’t I like? Are there any “never do it again” moments? Maybe I like this method but I want it to be more sophisticated. Maybe it’s time to scale up and try on something twice my size. I’ve written about doing this kind of analyzation previously in regards to my general process. Taking a step back works wonders.

Which reminds me…

What I keep thinking more than anything is that maybe it’s time to go back to oil paints.

I’ve been using acrylic for a while now because it’s cheaper, dries faster, the clean up is quick and there is no major risk of inhaling harmful chemicals because of poor ventilation.

BUT OILS.

So rich. So juicy. The blends!

But I’m also really jiving with collage and that doesn’t really work with oil because the paper will simply soak up the actual oil from the paint, rendering it relatively useless.

But I’ll figure it out. I’ll keep playing around and experimenting and goofing, and asking questions and everything will keep coming together.

When the fruit is ripe, it will fall from the tree.

And not before.

Patiently Yours,
Leah

 

 

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