Had an interesting question from someone today about finding their own style. Thought you might like to read some thoughts on it...

QUESTION:
"Hi Richard, I'm an artist living and working in London. I have been hoping to 'find my own style' recently. Yet I've been frightened to 'let go' as it were. Do you have any advice with this?"

ANSWER:
"Your question's a tricky one - better discussed over a coffee in front of the easel I think. Everyone's different so I can only tell you about my experience. I guess I have a style now which is sort of recognizable. I remember aiming for that when I started out - it was something I really wanted. What it is though is just miles of canvas under the brush I think. I mean, you can latch onto a particular subject or coloring or paint application and milk it for all it's worth in multiple series, but I don't know if that's your 'style'. It's part of it. I think your style becomes recognizable when you're doing what you love and you've done it so often you are CONFIDENT with it - you know all the dozens of little things that work and the hundreds of little things that don't 'work'. So maybe that's it, a process of eliminating the stuff that doesn't work - what did Michaelangelo say about sculpting, 'just take out the bits that aren't the figure'? Something like that.

Another thing I've found REALLY helpful is emulating the style of other artists work I love. That to me is the biggest key to finding my own voice because when my heart jumps out of my chest when I see a Turner or a Monet or Quang Ho or Pino or Sorolla or Sargeant or Royo, that's says to me YES, THAT's how I want to paint. And of course you don't end up painting just like that, but it all goes into the mix and out comes your personal style. Someone said good artists borrow and great artists steal - so great artists take something from another artist and make it their own - it's just a springboard to something better.

Some artist's don't like the idea of having a recognizable style. Look at Picasso for instance, someone asked him why he didn't have a personal style and he said 'Does God have a style?' :-)

All up to you, but there's my penny's worth.

All the best,
Richard"

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Comment by Caryl Park on May 20, 2013 at 6:31

That was a pounds worth.

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