5 Steps to Finding Your Style

5 Steps to Finding Your Style

Becky Joy

As artists we talk about "style" all the time, but what does it mean. Wikipedia defines it as a "...distinctive manner which permits the grouping of works into related categories." or it refers to the visual appearance of a work of art that relates it to other works by the same artist or one from the same period, training, location, "school" or art movement.

Style is something we all aspire to in our art, we want to develop our own unique style. But, how do we do it. Some artists say that it is organic, that it has to come naturally. You can't force it. I agree, but we can nurture it, discover it and help it along.
A distinctive style that I could call my own was something that I felt I was lacking in my artwork for a long time. I wanted to develop "my style".
There were exercises and contemplation that I did to help me.
1. I thought about what I liked in painting, to do and to see. What was important for me to see in other artists' paintings. What did I like. I also wanted to be sure that anything I explored would be something I wanted to do.
2. I then made an imaginary artist statement with things I felt I wanted in my paintings, the direction I wanted to explore and how I felt about aspects of my paintings. This was all what I wanted, not what I felt I had at that time.
3. I then set off on a direction of exploration. For instance brushwork was important to me. So I used a blank canvas to explore and practice brushwork. For color, I experimented and learned more through workshops and painting. I challenged myself to paint 100 sunsets.
4. After exploring. experimenting and working, I rewrote my artist statement. (At this point, it was for my use only) Again how did I feel about my art, what was important to me and what direction did I want to go. This helped me to stay focused and to think about my art.
5. Then it was continue to paint, refine, and practice.
I feel at this point that my paintings are recognizable as being mine. My art will continue to evolve and so will my style. But I feel confident in what I am doing and know that any direction that I take will be my direction.

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