Do you fret about finding your creative style?
Do you know what kind of artist you are or want to be?
I have spent countless hours on these questions and frankly still struggle.
Recently I was part of a webinar panel discussing “Finding One’s Artistic Style.” We were all artist-presenters for Creative Jumpstart 2021, Nathalie Kalbach’s brainchild going on 10 years now! Many on my panel were StencilGirl Designers — Nathalie Kalbach, Jane LaFazio, Rae Missigman, Tina Walker, and me. If you have registered for Creative Jumpstart 2021, you have access to the full webinar and others involving different artists in the series. (If you are NOT registered for Creative Jumpstart 2021, do it right now! You’ll find StencilGirl Designers Mary Beth Shaw, Seth Apter, Nancy Curry, Caroline Dube, Gwen Lafleur and so many other amazing artists. I love the short video format to give you the kick-in-the-pants needed in January to Jumpstart your Creativity! But I digress…)
Ironically, one of my 2020 New Year’s Resolutions was to pull back on my artistic “inputs” — classes, new types of art, supplies — and focus on “my style.” Ahem. Right? Karma? Regardless, I was able to spend a good bit of 2020 making rather than absorbing which has been the silver lining of the Pandemic, for me.
|Newer inspiration from nature|
I’m not going to give away the whole webinar; there’s no way to encapsulate all the great information. But I was scribbling notes like crazy and, with Nathalie’s permission, would like to share some ideas and suggestions that resonated strongly with me having been consciously down the path of “What is my Style” this past year.
One of the issues I was worried about in finding “my style” is the fact that I like to do SO. MANY. TYPES OF ART. I was relieved to hear other artists say that they don’t feel compelled to do just one and consider their styles fluid across many mediums. Last year I felt like I had to commit to stitching or abstract painting or art journaling or realistic painting and not only was that impossible for me to do, I have found permission not to! In fact, mixing it all together makes it even more “me.” I think it was Rae Missigman who said in the webinar that she was a "creative snowball" picking up bits and pieces along the way. Great analogy!
Although it is terrific advice to experiment, play, take classes and purchase new art supplies for inspiration to find your style, I found myself at the beginning of 2020 needing to quit “drinking from the firehouse.” Having taken so many classes as a result of hosting them here at Ephemera Paducah, I was spending most of my art time copying or learning others’ styles. Add that to something Michael DeMeng told me years ago which has stuck with me ever since is (and I am paraphrasing) “don’t underestimate how much of art-making is knowing what the products can do.” Between a proficiency with supplies and access to great instruction, I became lost in a sea of styles and wondered what mine was.
To find my way back, I’ve been making art (and need to make so much more).
In a conversation with Mary Beth Shaw about this topic, she made the observation that we ALL have an inherent style whether we recognize it or not. We dress ourselves, decorate our homes, have favorite colors. It’s there. In the same conversation, Debi Adams remarked that it is worth the time to analyze your work, try to define your style, and understand when you are consciously branching out to test it.
Mary Beth shared that her recent 31 Days of Painting project had a profound impact on her. She admitted that on day one she was “flat-footed” with the commitment to create a painting daily and post it. In the end, she was decidedly pleased with the results and exercise. What’s the adage? 10,000 hour? It is about doing the work. Accountability can be your friend.
We all love a good Rabbit Hole to avoid putting in the work, and one suggestion during the webinar to combat this came from Martice Smith. I loved it when she suggested doubling your looking time with doing. If she spends an hour on Pinterest scrolling, she puts in two (2) hours in the Studio. Brilliant.
One last piece of advice that made so much sense to me was from many artists talking about taking classes. As we have all turned into online learners this year, it is overwhelming that we can access so much information so easily. Many of the artists take advantage of this but shared tips like just watch the video one time and take from it what makes sense for you. Don't follow along and make exactly what the presenter is showing, but use your colors, style, materials and adapt the techniques to what you like to do. That makes so much sense for my journey.
Hopefully, some of this resonates with you as you refine or find your Creative Style. I so appreciated being a part of it and think I got more out of it than I gave! If these types of discussion interest you The Left-Brain Artist Podcast is a great resource and Nathalie Kalbach has a monthly webinar on the last Friday of each month called Spill Your heART starting Feb. 26th.
Go make art!! And use Stencils!! And HAVE FUN!!
|A LOVE of Stitching and flowers. Always flowers.|