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Finding Your Style

“I REALLY want to find my style,” that’s what a recent student posted on our Facebook student group. Most of us can relate to this yearning. We see artists other artists and what they're doing and we want so much to not necessarily create what they create but create something equally beautiful and original but also authentically ours. This is often referred to as “finding your style” or “finding your artistic voice.” We know it when we see it right? We see artists whose work looks very similar and you can just see their signature look in their work and we want that for ourselves. The thing is this is an evolution. It's not a straight path, it's more like a series of loops where you go forward and make progress, and then it feels like you're looping back. It’s part of the process and evolution of an artist. It can be uncomfortable and frustrating (especially if you’re like me and like things resolved and humming along nicely). I love how Nancy Hillis describes it in her book, The Artist’s Journey: “A never-ending wrestling match with the dark angels of self-doubt.” Yep! She nailed it for me. Part of the artist's journey is learning who you are. Actually, that is the whole artist journey is learning who your authentic self is. We do that by finding clues and piecing things together with practice. The best way that I know to find those clues is through the lens of identifying work and things that you love. And then identifying what it is you love about that work and then practicing it. I'll have more to share about this journey through my YouTube channel and I may do a "finding your style" online class because it's such a source of frustration for so many of us. This is, in part, what it means to be an artist. We aren’t comfortable for long because that edge of trying new things and going deeper into what we love is an ever-evolving peeling of layers. As long as we are creating, making lots of ugly paintings, playing with color, mediums, texture, shape, values, whatever - then we are growing. It may not feel like it but we are! Lately, I've been into these abstract gardeny, landscape compositions. I recently released a bunch of originals in this style below and they are really captivating me right now. They seem to come out of myself, to almost create themselves with a little bit of help from me but they feel very authentic, which I'm really enjoying. So if you're just starting out or you are newer in your journey or even if you've been at it a while just know that this looping back this hitting a plateau is a part of the journey and be kind to yourself. Allow yourself to freely experiment and explore so that you learn to trust yourself and have fun with the process. As Nancy says, “Only by trusting yourself will you be willing to experiment, explore, and not know what will emerge in your work that day.”

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