Style?? I don't have any of that!

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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.