Once you know that all artist’s have a personal style, if you haven’t already, it’s time to develop a unique style. So where is the best place to start? Do you choose a topic to focus on? More than one topic? What about paint? Are you a watercolorist? Or maybe an acrylic painter? Oil may be your preferred medium. Pastel, charcoal, ink, the possibilities are endless. Then there is sculpture, ceramics, wood and more.
One of my favorite teachers, Ellen Soderquist in Dallas, TX said something to the effect of, “be sure you like what you choose as subject and medium because once people know and love what you are doing, it is hard to change.” In other words, choose something you don’t think you will get tired of. Does this mean you can never change? No, of course not. It means if you gain some success with a particular style you will probably want to continue with it. If you like what you are doing, then it won’t be difficult to continue. You’ll enjoy your art and so will other people.
- Concentrate first on knowing what you like.
- Test different materials and mediums.
- Try out various subject matter or no subject, (abstract).
Now that you’ve narrowed down the medium and subject, it’s time to get to work. Christine Nishiyama, in a post on her blog, Might-could.com, says one way to develop your style is to make lots of art. She goes on to say that it is important to pay attention to any patterns or repeated elements you may notice developing in your work. When you see patterns or anything that repeats, focus on it. Spend more time working with those things that are repeating. See where they go. As Nishyama says, “Make lots of art.”
In a podcast for Laura Horn Art, Australian artist, Amica Whincop says she gave herself 6 months of painting everyday. That may be a bit stressful to put a goal that strict. A more casual goal might be to plan to spend some quality time making art for the next 6 months and see what develops. During that 6 months, you can experiment more with the different materials you have narrowed down, as well as subject matter. Take photos and look at them for comparison. Sometimes you see things in a photo that you don’t notice in the physical.
It’s important not to stress over any of this. The goal is to make art and enjoy the process. If it’s pushed to the point of becoming a burden, you will risk burn out.
So get going with your art making. Find what you like and run with it. Don’t think about it. Just do it and see what happens. You may come up with some interesting surprises. Think how exciting it will be when you begin to see your style emerging! Have fun! Happy painting!