Red Tulips

Red Tulips
Red Tulips

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Creating a Style for your Work

On Friday night, I attended the reception for the McDonough Arts Society annual art show at the Winsor Gallery, where 3 of my paintings were being shown.
My paintings are the blue heron on the left, the bicycle in the middle, and the peppers on the right

It was a great show!  I was so honored to be featured next to amazing artists in the community.  Looking at the artwork made me start to think about how artists create a style for themselves.

As I was browsing the show, I could spot a painting across the room and almost guarantee it was work by the same artist I was currently viewing just because of the style.  I have been working with my AP Studio Art students about creating a style as well and have come to several conclusions about how you can create a style to your artwork.

  1. Medium - The medium you use can be an important step to creating a style; almost a jumping off point.  If you are a painter, which paint do you use most successfully or which paint would you like to do more of?  If you are more of a realistic artist, you might want to avoid oil pastels (although it has been done!).  Additionally, many artists create mixed media pieces that are beautiful!
  2. Technique - How you use the material you've selected is another important step in creating a style.  For example, Salvador Dali paints very smooth with hardly any texture on his canvas.  Colors are blended for a realistic look.  Compare this to the work of a palette knife painter, who uses thick application of paint for an almost impressionistic look.  The mark-making, tonal qualities, and tools used are all important to consider when using a technique to create your style.
  3. Subject Matter - Many artists who have developed a style are known for painting, drawing, photographing, sculpting, etc. similar things.  Some people may consider Monet a landscape artist, while Dorothea Lange is most known for her photojournalist pictures of people.  Of course, artists grow and their interests change, so this does not mean you stick to the same subject matter for your entire life.  However, when you are first starting off or about to introduce new paintings to a gallery, it is a good idea to have paintings with similar subject matter so your work is cohesive.
  4. Meaning - A final way to create a style to your work is to have a message behind each work that is similar, which will help your audience to connect with your work.  For example, you could explore the topic of natural disasters that have occurred and place an emotional context behind each image you create.   Seeing all of your work together, your audience will easily be able to tell your purpose.
If you have any other suggestions as to what would help an artist create a style, I would love to hear them!

Speaking of styles, I've been working on my tulip series for a while now and have a new tulip painting (I think I'm craving some warmer weather!)