Finding a style as an artist can be a struggle. I want to share 3 tips, techniques and ideas on how to develop your own style! These are all things that have helped me as well as my students, so I hope they will help you too.
I want to share a message I got from Lisa P., a subscriber on my email list. She said, “My biggest challenge right now with my artwork is trying to find my style. I think I’m pretty good at drawing and painting, but I find my paintings to be boring. I want to love my work. I like it, but don’t love it.”
Any of y’all ever feel like that?
“I’m not sure if that can really be taught. I paint every day with the goal of someday loving what I practice, what I produce, I’m loving the process, but get frustrated at times.”
Hey there. I’m Mary Gilkerson. And today we’re going to be talking about finding a style as an artist.
It can be a real struggle. I know I’ve gone through that at one time or another. In fact, I don’t think any artists can honestly say they haven’t faced that struggle it one point in their career or in their practice.
So I want to share three tips in particular, three tips, techniques, or ideas about how to really develop your own style. These are things that have helped me as well as my students hope they’ll help you too.
The first thing to understand is you really don’t find your style. You create it.
Style doesn’t happen by you going out and making this search through the universe for where your style is. Like the children’s book titled, Are You My Mother? I’ve been reading that to my granddaughter lately.
And you know, the little bird goes around going, are you my mother? Are you my mother?
Well, we tend to do that as artists. It’s not super effective style happens by your creating it in it. You create it. As Terry says right here, it finds you. You create it through the act of painting. So you’ve got to paint.
Painting creates style.
Style happens through the act of painting on a consistent basis. So let’s talk first about some of those things that can happen, things that you can do to create that style.
I’ve talked in the past, not that long ago, maybe about two weeks ago, about how to find more time to paint and developing that regular painting practice.
That’s the first thing to do.
If you paint on a consistent regular basis, your style can’t help but develop. You will be creating it.
Whether you’re spending 10 minutes a day, or two hours a day or five minutes a day, do something towards your painting practice. That’s the first, first very first thing that will make a difference.
The next thing to think about is to work in a series. Working in a series is one of the fastest ways to jump start to creating your style.
First, let’s talk about what a series is. A series is any art that’s connected together by a theme or a subject or a color or a size.
It is art, a body of art that when you look at it, you know, That it was created by the same artist. So there’s some sort of visual connection there. So when you work in a series, some of the benefits why you should think about doing it is when you focus on something it’s going to make better art. It’s going to help you create better art because when you work on something consistently over time, It’s going to improve the SACA benefit to working in a series is that when you paint in a series, you’ll come to understand your subject matter better.
You’ll connect to it on a much deeper level. And when you’re working with the same subject matter over and over and over and over again, building that deep connection, you’ll begin to relate to it in a consistent way. It’s that consistency thing here out comes up over and over again as a theme over and over.
So working consistently with the same subject, you’ll create a style. So. Third thing that will happen when you work in a series, the third benefit is it makes it easier for your audience to figure out what you’re doing and why it makes it easier for your audience to figure out what you’re talking about and not just your audience out there, but your audience in here too, you’ll have a better idea of what it is that makes you want to paint.
When you create a series, you will be able to talk more clearly to yourself about what’s important when you work in a series. So think about working in a series in order to create your style show up consistently work in a series.
And here’s the third tip. Write about your art as much as you paint. And by that, I mean, get a journal, use your sketch book, but jot down ideas as you’re painting, give yourself some reflective time as you paint.
I used to tell my students at the college that they needed to spend as much time sitting in a chair and looking at their paintings as they did painting their paintings. Because that reflective time helps you figure out where you’re going and what you’re doing. It helps you figure out why you’re doing it.
Don’t try to figure it out all ahead of time. It’s a process that you’ve got to participate in that process. So let’s reflect on those three things. Again, the first work consistently, the second is work in a series. So that you can create your style. And the third is reflect on your work because in that reflection, you’ll begin to see where the consistent threads are.
Look for those consistent threats. I hope this has been helpful if it’s helped you. I hope you share it with a friend and let’s look here in the comments. Oh, Hey DD. And Pam, Pam says I’m all over the place and it drives me crazy. Well, one of the ways to get out of that, Pam is to think about picking one subject.
And really focusing in on that doesn’t mean you’re not going to paint those other subjects later, but it means that you’re going to give that subject your attention right now and what you focus on grows. So if you give your attention to that subject right now, it’s going to help you develop that consistent style.
And here’s the real secret sauce. The real secret benefit of doing this when you work in a series. You get led to the next thing and it truly doesn’t matter. Once you develop your style, what you paint, it’s gonna look like it came from you because you’ve gotten your signature, you found your voice and isn’t that what most of us really want.
So focus on that one thing for a little while, and it really will help that that actually true is true for almost anything. You know, when our culture gives us this myth tells us this myth that we can multitask, that we can do multiple things all at one time, the truth is human beings. Can’t multitask. We have a real short attention span and it’s getting shorter and shorter.
And if we try to multitask, we’re not focusing on any one thing with any depth. Pick that one thing. And then when you’re F you feel like you’ve come to completion on focusing on that one thing, then move to the next thing. So hope that helps there and let’s see. Oh, Nancy says Nancy Alexander says, I think I’ve finally found my style after several years.
Awesome. That is a really good feeling and good place to be. Hey Sally Chan and Sandy Roberts and Oren Thompson. We’ll move the comments up here. Second. See them a little closer to the camera and I’m not looking down then. Hey, Laura, Laurie Miller. I’m glad that’s helpful. And Warren Thompson. Awesome to see y’all.
Hey, Yvonne. I’m glad to hear from you too. And Don, I’m glad that’s helpful. Yeah. YouTube Kim, huh? Yeah, it really helps when you focus on one thing. So working a series, which is another way, simply a focusing on one thing, show up consistently and then give yourself some time for reflection. And also, I think Leslie Miller is bringing up a really great part of that.
She says, I, it took me a long time, but through experimenting, I found my style through experimentation. We don’t give ourselves enough time to experiment. Give yourself plenty of time to experiment and to play. Play is an underrated activity. Play happens when you let go of the outcome and you just enjoy the process.
So dive into that process, enjoy it and let yourself experiment, definitely experiment with it. So hope that’s been helpful. Thank you for joining me here this evening. I’m going to be hopping on again soon. Talking about how you plan out a series of paintings. So the how to have a series of paintings and not just the why.
So in the meantime, play experiment, focus on that one thing. Show up consistently. And give yourself time for reflection. This has been helpful. I hope you’ll pass it on to a friend. Happy painting everybody. Remember to stay resilient and paint on bye bye for now.
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