It’s got to be me.

Being an artist is complicated. I love to create. When it comes to fine art there are many mediums and styles available. I want to try them all but at the same time I struggle with this. If I am all over the board trying so many styles or mediums, how will anyone know who I am? How will I know who I am? I feel an urgency to find my own style.

I sign up and take a few “ Paint like (fill in the artist) classes. Hans Hofmann, Cezanne and Georgia O’Keeffe were a few.   Each of these artists has distinct styles. With each class I was convinced that this is it, I love “this “style. This is how I want to paint. And I did paint each style. The paintings were good. As I continued painting I was developing a portfolio that encompassed many styles. Hanging side by side they looked more like a group show than a solo one.  While each painting by itself was good, the reality was none of these were my own style; they were the style of artists’ I loved.

My sense of urgency was still there. I enrolled in a workshop that was based around fundamentals. Color, subject matter, brushstrokes all the basics and some great demos. The instructor had a distinct style. I would definitely be able to pick out his painting in a room full of others. So at the end of the workshop I asked the question “How did you develop your style?”…He looked confused, pondered the question for a moment and then answered: “ I just paint.” That was it, “I just paint”. I paused. I sat there as if my breath had been taken away. And it hits me. I can’t force a style on myself. I have to allow it to evolve. Let go. Explore all possibilities until finally it’s there. Find the common factor in all I explore and merge it into my own distinct style. It could happen next week, in a few years or maybe not for a lifetime. But I need to allow it to happen on its own. That’s not to say I can’t drive it, but it’s fruitless to try to be someone I’m not.

Turns out that many artists have explored more than one medium when creating art. So in the spirit of artists like Picasso and Matisse, “ Just paint”. That’s my plan; I hope it’s yours.


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