“Style has no formula, but it has a secret key. It is the extension of your personality. The summation of this indefinable net of your feeling, knowledge, and experience.” Ernst Haas
Art in any form, is like our personalities which get molded by experiences and insights while we grow but maintain something unmistakable within us, like a mark that is expressed in everything we do, most of the time unconsciously but perceived by a keen observer.
STEP ONE – INSPIRATION
At the beginning of your journey much depends by your artistic background. Who have been the Artists that have inspired you, those that have made your heart rejoice or grabbed your attention. The teachers that have shown you the basic techniques.
“A great man does not confine himself to one school; but combines many schools, as well as reads and listens to the arguments of his predecessors, thereby slowly forming a style of his own. “Kuo His
Our tendency is to repeat those works, like safety nets which later will become our point of reference when we get lost. But work after work, once you learn how to leave all that and trust in your own intuition, you will feel the urge to venture into something new and take the plunge. As a result of how you are going to respond, slowly but steadily something will start to emerge.
STEP TWO – OBSERVATION
When you have accumulated a certain number of works, and kept records, in case you have given them all away, or you are so talented that you have already sold them all, take a step back and see all your works together. Observe them carefully and look at similarities between them. It does not matter whether you have used different mediums, represented different subjects. The more works you have the better and the longer the period too. It may also help the objective opinions of others, better if they do not belong to your closed circle of friends or family.
Through Instagram, I love to see the beginning of a feed of any Artists and see the evolution in time, especially those that have started from scratch. That gave me hope and patience with myself when I started there and through my new journey of self-discovery. Because, believe me, you may have to go through this process various times during your life!
STEP THREE – FOCUS
Once you have realized what is that uniqueness, that special twist that your eyes recognize and your soul rejoice, you can now focus on expanding it through study, research and finding new ways of expression. That will become your center which always pushes you forward and shows you what to do next.
Experimenting with something new, going out of our comfort zone is the key to grow and discover new perspectives, which then lead to new ideas and insights.
Remember that sometimes you will encounter moments that you will feel stagnant, or Dark Forests and Artists Block, but I believe those are necessary steps when we need to rest and retreat, like the cocoon stages of the butterfly, which does not mean that nothing is happening but the work is going on internally and unconsciously, and when it will be ready it will bear fruit, if you are patient enough.
The words, the style always reflects a habit of mind. And the habit of mind comes in from a different angle… and then something strange and wonderful happens. And you see things differently. You see a different light is shed on it.
John Leonard, critic
My first encounter and awareness that I even had a style were at a very early stage of my artistic adventure, just coming out of high school. Art had been my favorite subject, of course, but as an expression of colors and imagination, nothing very serious, although my teacher thought otherwise.
Until one day, just before I was going to move to another country, an acquaintance said that she would recognize my art anywhere. I was so surprised, I could not understand. But thanks to her pointing out, she made me realize that all my paintings always followed the same pattern, many tiny lines of colors forming a picture. Both with acrylics and oils. Hadn’t she said that, I would have never noticed.
But we can also get lost sometimes. When we lose our center and do not know who we are anymore, it is like starting from the beginning.
“When doodling, you are not trying to emulate anyone else but subconsciously developing a vocabulary of shapes and hand movements that are simply and wonderfully your own. Doodling seems to be one way to develop a personal style”
John Stuart Pryce
Continue to sketch, to practice, and let it all out again, in whatever ways it wants to come out, in any way it feels right at that moment. It does not have to be like anything you already know. Relax and Enjoy.
At this point, everything is just raw and has no sense or meaning. But over time, maybe years, you will connect to your true voice again and you will recognize that pattern again, some will be new but enchanting the old.
Ever changing, always evolving but always connected to the center of your true being. It is just that now you are aware, and you can focus forward, channeling your energies towards one point and perfect it.
What have been your experiences discovering your style, anything more you would like to add to the list? Would love to know in the comments. Happy Creating!