Thursday, February 21, 2013

Developing a Painting Style

'A Gentle Reminder of Spring'          11x14       pastel      ©Karen Margulis
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Quick. Before you read any further grab a piece of paper and write down three words or phrases that describe how you speak.

'Tiny Eggs'       2.5 x 3.5     pastel
What does this have to do with painting style?  Many artists struggle with the idea of a painting style. Perhaps they want to change their style or they are new to painting and don't know how to describe their style or if it has even developed.

 I believe that a painting style develops over time and changes as the artists grows and learn .....but also that everyone possesses natural tendencies that can be very hard to completely get away from. I like to encourage my students to embrace their natural tendencies and refine them and make them work for them....rather than fighting what comes natural. How do we know what our tendencies are?

  • Take out 5 of your recent paintings and line them up. Study them. How are they similar? What is the common thread? Is it color choice? The way you make your marks? The way you compose?
  • Take out the paper that you wrote on. Look at those three words/phrases. How do they correlate to your paintings?
I read a quote from Robert Genn that intrigued me.

"Your style is the way you talk in Paint"

Perhaps this is true for you and can give you insight into your painting style. And if it is true it can also give you insight into how you can tweak your style to use what comes natural to you and make it even better.  Just think about how you can change the way you speak to achieve a different result. Now apply this same idea to your paintings.

By the way, the phrases I wrote down were shy and quiet but loud and strong when needed. I think this  accurately describes my painting style. 

In my classes this week we all painted from the same photo so we could compare and see our unique painting styles.  It is always fun to see how each person interprets the same scene in their own unique way. And in many cases their paintings matched their personalities!

Collage of student nest paintings....evening class

8 comments:

M. J. Joachim said...

So pretty!

Karen said...

Thank you! It was fun to paint!

Bev Griggs said...

Thank you so much for this info. Very timely for me as I am struggling to find my "style". This should help...i like the idea. Also love your blog..you have been SO helpful and inspirational to me.

Karen said...

Thanks Bev! I appreciate you following my blog!!

Regina Willard said...

Love this post! The way I speak directly relates to my painting style. Thank you for this valuable info and always sharing. I enjoy your work. So inspiring.

pattisjarrett said...

That's a great quote, and it is true for me. It is interesting to see how the colors and strokes vary from person to person in your collage of nests.

Suzanne said...

I didn't think much about it when first I read this post but, as I mulled it through the day, it became apparent to me that the way I speak is definitely reflected in my artwork. How is that? Loud and clear. :-)

Thank you for another thought-provoking post.

Karen said...

Thank you all for the comments! I really appreciate your insights. It is funny how it works for some of us! I know it is true for me !