All artists are expected to find their "style" or "identity" which sets them apart from others.  This can be a very daunting task.  One which has many stressing over what they will focus on or what style they can develop.  

    Sadly, many art schools no longer teach the fundamentals of art, focusing instead on telling the students to "do your own thing" in order to allow freedom to develop an individual style.  The reasoning is: if one is taught how to paint, it will interfere with a natural outworking of individuality.

    There are leading artists who disagree with this school of thought, chief among them being Richard Schmid, one of the foremost art masters of modern history.  In his book "Alla Prima" he debunks this theory in favor of learning the skill of painting, and THEN allowing one's natural style to emerge through practice.  He believed that it is in the constant practice of one's skill where this individuality develops. I happen to agree with him.

    One learns over time, and with lots of practice, what they enjoy doing most and thus find their style in the process. It can be a choice of subject matter, a particular way of laying down brushstrokes, a favorite medium, colors, etc. I helps to pay attention to your own body of work; do you seem to favor a particular set of colors? Do you have favorite subject to paint?  Is your work loose and free, or tight and realistic? Take the time to observe, take photos of ALL your work (which you should be doing anyway) and you will likely have developed a pattern that you may not even be aware of.  I have had others comment on my choice of earth colors that are consistent through my work. I hadn't even noticed until it was pointed out to me. I have gone through phases, but I always seem to come back to those colors. I also have noticed that I am in love with water!  I love watching the constant movement and moods of the ocean, and oh the tannins found in water here in Florida! The mystery in the deep brown colors; what secrets hide beneath? Watching light play on the plant life floating above and the warm depths full of life..I think I found my "thing!"

    Ok, I think you get my point.  Do your homework and hang in there. Go to museums, look up artists and study their work. What ties their work together? In other words, what is similar or common to each painting? I also suggest you ask a good friend to take a look at your work, one who's judgement you trust. They may see a pattern or common theme running through your paintings that you don't see.  At the very least, pay attention to what others say about your work. You can even set up several pieces side-by-side and go away for a day or so. When you return, it will likely hit you when you see them together. If you don't see a pattern in your work, don't fret.  Keep painting, keep practicing your skills, try to paint every day, even if only for an hour.  Your skills will rapidly increase and best of all, sooner or later you WILL see an emerging quality or style that is "unique" to you

                                   "Lower Matecumbe Key, FL"

                                                   8 x 10


                                           painting in progress 

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