How To Develop A Personal Style
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Some Thoughts

 

 

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The purpose of painting is wall decoration.

 

I didn't say that,

Vincent Van Gogh said it,

and his paintings sell for eighty two and one half million dollars.

 

Yes, that's right $ 82,500,000.00    In 1990.     What's it worth today?

 

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In the twentieth century something weird happened. It became unacceptable to paint a "pretty" picture. If you were after pretty, then you were already a third rate artist.

 

Other weird stuff happened. It became sacrilegious to paint realistically. Curators and critics told us that depth was a bad thing. That we must paint only the "picture plane".

 

Worst of all, they told us that we must have our own style. They said that if you had a style that you loved, and were good at, it was only acceptable if it was absolutely unique. Otherwise you were diminished as an artist.

 

My opinion: That's nothing but arrogance. Much of the art theory of the twentieth century may not survive the test of time.

 

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I have so may friends who turned themselves inside out trying to achieve this ridiculous goal of unique style. It didn't make them better painters, it made them frustrated painters and it made some of them quit.

 

You say you are in search of a style? Nonsense. You already have a style. You have achieved that style by traveling a path, and I hope it was your own path. If it was not your own path, then you have some work to do. You are going to have to create some honesty with yourself. You are going to have to ask; "Why am I doing this". Understanding your reasons will go a long way to illuminate your journey. Here are some suggestions:

 

  • I am trying to please my dead father who respected watercolorists.
  • I would like to make some money and this seems like it might work.
  • I want to furnish my home with good art, cheaply.
  • I need a creative outlet, and watercolor cleans up easily.

 

Your style will evolve naturally. Evolution is inevitable. Listen to your own muse. Let your personality, ( and nothing else ), be your guide. Go to museums, there are many online. Read up on art history. Join art associations and let the feelings of other artists seep into your psyche. Go to art shows. Understand what your contemporaries are doing. Never be afraid to ask "Why".

 

And finally, if anyone tells you how your art is supposed to go, tell them where to go.

 

I cannot promise you that your paintings will sell for $40,000,000, but maybe.

 

 

PS I am still not sure why I am doing it; BUT the example reasons do apply to me.