Finding Your Artistic Style, your voice within the art world.

Your Artistic Style.  All famous artists have a distinct style. Some call this "voice".  It is a combination of subject, medium and technique.  Technique includes style.  

How to discover your style / voice: (I allude to a little bit here in crashing through the blank canvas article).

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But let's jump in with both feet here, and really get wet!
In developing your artistic style, it is best to make sure all aspects of your being are lined up with your art.

What do I mean?

Let’s say you’ve figured out how to paint certain subjects really well, but you are stuck with the blank canvas. Your heart & mind are not aligned with your abilities, and you’re not sure which road to travel.  I talk in more detail here.

Let’s say the opposite is true, in that your mind is exploding with ideas, and your heart aches to be able to communicate something deep, yet, your hands just don’t seem to know how to put it down on canvas.  You don’t know the technical aspect of how to create your art.  You need the technical training to discover your voice, your artistic style.  This website is dedicated in helping in that part of the equation. So read on….

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Artistic Style

(a little talk about portraits) 

Most beginners love to jump right into portraiture work. They believe falsely, that because they know the human face they can reproduce it.  The problem with that is most folks do indeed recognize certain faces,(especially close family, they’ve been looking at them for years.)  It is indeed the most recognizable thing our human brains do.  The skill set and control of medium required usually requires some formal training. Because a 1/16 of an inch mistake in a lip line, eye lid or nose placement can completely destroy a likeness, it is one of the most difficult genres to attempt.  The modeling alone of the human face with its fine subtleties are something no beginner should attempt.  So, with that said, keep it in the back of your mind as you develop your voice.  If your artistic style will include Portraits in the future? Great!  Just don’t leap too soon, and have your dreams crushed!

 …if it’s the technical skill set you are short on, then get the best training you can afford.  Plain and simple!

Do you already have what you feel are good technical skills, but not sure which direction to take your artistic style and voice.  How do you align your heart and mind with your hand and eyes?

Try this!

Finding your voice & artistic style using an artist hard bound sketch pad!Keep a journal! (Artist notebook or a visual diary)  Even Leonardo da Vinci kept one.  It should be a bound book with unlined pages.  Large enough to be able to make comfortable drawings but small enough that you don’t feel encumbered to keep it with you at all times.

Work in it daily jotting down notes of the flimsical to the profound epiphanies.  Sketching ideas and writing down insights.  After a month or so, a pattern will emerge. 

Maybe do this first thing in the morning with your morning java, while planning your day?  Maybe in the evening, before bed, when you are winding down.  But at least do it!  For at least 30 days.  Like most good habits, do it for thirty days and it becomes an ingrained habit.

Limit yourself from 3 to 7 minutes to accomplish this.  The ideas put in your journal don’t have to be strokes of genius or major works of art.  Don’t feel you have to follow up on every thing that jotted down.  It’s like any brain storming session where you put down quickly, the flow of your thoughts.

After a time ( a few weeks) a pattern will emerge (your artistic style).  You will review these ideas, and some will seem exciting and deep.  Your heart will ache to do them.  Pay attention to these ideas as when anything is tugging at your heart strings, your conscience and subconscious (that yet small voice inside you) is speaking.

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Keeping focused:

  • Do paint subjects you know about.
  • Don’t paint subjects you don’t know about.. in other words, if you’re a city dweller, and never ridden a horse, don’t paint westerns, no matter how much you love the sunsets.  You’ll soon be exposed as a fraud.
  • Stick to one medium.  If you paint using watercolors and oils, the looks of your paintings will be confusing to your customers.  They will have completely different looks and feels.  You must decide at some point and time, to stick to one medium.  For me, it was easy, I couldn’t control the watercolor, and oils allowed me to play with the paint longer.  But you may have a strong command of both mediums.  It will be difficult for you.  In the early days of painting, the artist was trained with water colors first, then moved to the more expensive mediums of oil.  Today, with modern manufacturing techniques, cost is not a factor.  Oils have been recognized as having the better longevity of the two.  Oil can be made to appear like a watercolor.  I’ve not found this to be true the other way round.  (Am I preaching!  Sorry)
  • Whatever your medium, find out what works best for you, then stick with it!
  • As time goes by, limit first your medium, then subject matter, then style (technique) in order to become more focused.  This is done for the sake of your art and your customers.

Success will come when you have mastered the medium, you know the subject matter well, and from painting to painting, a specific artistic style will be readily seen.  Then, you will be able to hear your “Voice” strong and loud.  As will your customers!

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