Friday, October 16, 2015

Are you Uninhibited or Style Conscious?

"Prayer Circles" Acrylic on 24 x 18 canvas
We always wonder if our personal artwork presents a style that is unique and recognizable by others. The answer is yes. Even though your style may be imperfect and perhaps full of “beginner’s” mistakes or careless errors, your style is evident in almost every painting.

Art Biz Coach, Alyson Stanfield, describes it this way: “Style is a characteristic or group of characteristics that we can identify as constant, recurring, coherent, etc. that is identified with an individual.”

And from the late Robert Genn: “Each artist’s uniqueness and individualism brings endless variations. The dynamism invites the “keeping-in-mind-God” to play a part in the work’s evolution, enriching the process. The job becomes an intellectual as well as a technical and emotional exercise. The idea is to stretch your brain so your act of art is your very own.

There are also designated types of art that differentiate themselves, one from another. For instance, impressionism, realism, surrealism, expressionism, painterly, folksy, primitive, abstraction, etc. Most of us learned about these different genres in school. But within each category, there are definitive components such as the compositional elements, the brush strokes; are they flamboyant and wide, or detailed and soft?

"#hopeful in India" Acrylic, 24 x 18 canvas
And what about color? The hues and values chosen and the way they have been applied are all recognizable; even the lines and shapes and how they’re rendered are unique to each artist. Your style is a combination of the mediums, techniques, and subject matter you choose. It’s the extra things you do to distinguish your work from other artists.

As you gain experience, your work evolves. Your colors become more sophisticated. The composition more interesting and leading. Increased subtleties and innuendo begin to tone down the brasher elements and enhance the message. The painting becomes a soft-spoken message from your heart that is both appealing and convincing.

You the artist become an expert at playful seduction and illusion. There are often multiple messages that beckon and coalesce into one cohesive center of interest. You begin to sense where and when intensity is needed to mirror your own passion. You triumph when this melding of heart and soul on canvas are transfixed in the viewer’s mind long after they have left the scene.

Some may be riveted in place, studying the twists and turns of your color and vision. This may not happen overnight. This evolution of style is like giving birth. The process may be long and hard, but you know it will eventually happen. The struggle to overcome and to achieve has been done before by all those who profess to be artists.

"Fish Market" Acrylic on 24 x 18 canvas
Is it worth the intensity of emotion and the grief of failure? Is climbing to the top of Mount Everest ever worth the risks? Only those who reach the top may feel exultation. The building blocks you leave behind (those crass unfinished canvases, those embarrassing compositions and tacky mistakes) litter the highways and byways of your history and become the building blocks of your destiny. It is not over until you lay down the brush and either give up or give in to the overwhelming hold artistry has on you.