Little Church at Golden
Acrylic on Canvas
28 x 22 in (71 x 56 cm)
Today’s blog is about discovering your artistic style. By that I mean, finding out how you create your artwork; that is, how it appears or is perceived by the viewer. I’m talking about the “look and feel” of your art that makes it uniquely yours over time. I don’t know what my artistic style is—yet—and you may not know either. Today’s Image is a recent acrylic I did while in the process of discovering my artistic style.
It’s seeing a piece of art, and I’m speaking primarily of paintings now, and instantly recognizing who the artist is. Or if you can’t instantly tell, you’re able to at least narrow the field to just a few.
Here’s at little test. Look over the following list of well-known painters and see if you don’t immediately (or almost immediately) think of their artistic styles. I don’t mean being able to name the painter’s style, but being able to see one or more of their paintings in your “mind’s eye” or being able to say to yourself, “I think that’s a Picasso,” or whoever.
- Georgia O’Keeffe
- Claude Monet
- Mark Rothko
- Edward Hopper
- Frieda Kahlo
- Jackson Pollack
Were you able to visualize these artists’ styles? If you have studied any art history or taken any time at all, actually, to view art either in an art museum or online, then you should be able to relate to the above-mentioned artists’ styles.
Artistic style is, of course, a very personal and unique thing. It’s what comes from your creativity and, I think, is one of the great wonders of being an artist. I, for one, believe your artistic style is innate. It comes from within. Your genetic make-up is partly responsible at least for your technique, if not your artistic style—how well you see, how your arms and hands are shaped, how calm or nervous you are. Your artistic style, if you have one yet, is also due to your interests, surroundings, and likes and dislikes, so it’s also nature versus nurture.
I also believe the primary subjects of your art, your chosen medium, and your technique determine your artistic style. If you are a pastel portrait painter, you may have discovered your artistic style to be photo-realistic with a somber tone, just as an example. If you’re a landscape oil painter, it may be an openly broad technique in the Impressionistic style. If you paint with acrylics, your artistic style may be colorful abstract expressionism.
So, how do you find out what your artistic style is? Well, it’s not that simple to discover. If you don’t know, then you don’t have an artistic style yet. It’s only after time and a body of work that you can say, “I think my artistic style is (fill in the blank).”
You don’t need to worry about your artistic style, though. In fact, you shouldn’t, because this is where I believe artists can really break new ground. If you’re striving to invent an artistic style, then you’re thinking too much about it, and it may even be inhibiting your artwork. However, if you let it happen naturally, then you will work and experiment and create your very own artistic style that will one day be apparent to you and everyone else.