Style in art is a personal matter

     Picasso. Thomas Kincade. Mary Cassatt. Norman Rockwell. Georgia O’Keeffe. Can you visualize a certain kind of artwork for each name? This is because each of these artists has a unique personal style.

     “Style,” in art, is a way of describing an artist’s individual manner of working. It can also describe the identifying characteristics of an art movement or group, such as Impressionist or Baroque style.

     Some novice artists think that if they copy the style of someone they admire, they will become as successful as that person. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. When an artist copies the style of another, more skilled artist, the resulting artwork often looks unnatural and forced. Style isn’t something that can be forced. Artists should try to develop their own distinctive, personal style that reflects their own personality – not that of a teacher or another artist.

     One of the best ways to develop your own style is to find out what you really enjoy about creating art. It might not be what you think it is! You may find that your taste in artwork has changed. You might even find you want to change direction from your current work. Begin by listing the kinds of artwork that you enjoy seeing in magazines and galleries. Look for anything that gives you a good feeling, or a sense of excitement, and write it down.

“Holding on to the Farm” by artist Jan Boone, Cincinnati, Ohio, oil, canvas 18 x 24 in.

     After listing what you like, reduce it to essential concepts that attract you. These could include line, shape, texture, specific themes, colors, drawing style, etc. Once you have a list of the concepts you like, think about how to bring these things into your own art.

     The big question is, of course, “How do I begin?” This is different for each person. One artist read her lists and realized she liked whimsical collage work. She got inexpensive, simple materials so she wouldn’t feel pressure to create something “good,” and began making one small collage a day. After a couple of months, she found herself smiling while she worked. She had found her creative style.

     To make your own lists, it’s important to begin by looking at books and magazines that show a wide variety of different types of art. You don’t want to look at artwork that all has the same style. When you see a piece you enjoy, write down what you like about it. If you can, break it down to key components like line, color, shapes, texture, theme, etc. This way you’ll learn what you really enjoy, and you won’t risk copying the artist or duplicating their work directly.

     Once you know what inspires you, begin by making at least one small artwork a day. Use inexpensive materials so that you don’t feel inhibited. Work as quickly as you can without thinking about what you should or shouldn’t be doing. Enjoy the process. Note how you feel while you’re working. If you are having fun and are excited by what you’re doing, you’re on the right track. If not, you might be thinking about it too hard.

     After about a month, lay out your mini-artworks and look at them in a group. Ask yourself what you like about them, and what you’d like to see more of. Line? Texture? Themes? Make a list and do some more art. You’re on your way to discovering your own style!

cc SOURCE: Art-to-Art Palette Journal print edition




Published by on December 2012. Filed under Art-to-Art Palette Journal, Paint Box Section. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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