One of the most frustrating things beginning painters face is, ‘what is my style?’ I don’t have any style! How do I get a style? I’m pretty sure I should have a style!
I have a rather uncomfortable memory reading something by a successful, rather local artist, who had a show early in her career. A critic said of her work that it lacked consistency. She said the critique was a very important step in her development as a painter. I read this with painful awareness that I had no consistency whatsoever. Did I want consistency? Well, and then, more to the point, what was consistency in an artist? This bothered me enough that I asked around and not one, single soul could offer up anything remotely satisfactory. I would like to think this bothers everyone, but maybe not.
But perversity wins out here. I have been thinking about this uncomfortably for several months, and honestly, I have no success whatsoever. I don’t want my paintings to devolve into formula paintings … think Robert Kincaid (oh God, don’t think of him! Dreadful artist!).
I am nowhere near managing to develop a successful formula, considering the one consistency I do have – I rub out a lot of starts. A LOT! I’m still on the Learner’s Permit.
I gather I do have some sort of style because people tell me they can recognize my paintings. But I tend to paint a little of everything. I’m still doing still lifes, flowers, fruits, the occasional portrait of a person or even a dog. I seem to drift toward landscapes more than anything else, because I am getting more comfortable there than some of the other subject matter’ Most likely, that is because it does not have to be accurate. I just can’t draw that well.
So I’ll probably continue to get a hankering to paint a lily or a sloppy, wet peach. It requires a different skill set. So consistency in subject matter is off the table.
I mostly paint with a brush – several brushes in fact. But then I will want a change up and haul out a palette knife. I’ve never had any training at all, and it gives a wholly different feel – and certainly not consistent with most of my work.
So I guess I shall just plod on with my Lerner’s Permit in painting until I can figure out what style is and what consistency means, and hope for the best. It’s all a crap shoot anyway.