My First Style
Early in my learning phase the idea of an artist having a trademark style or brand was introduced. With each ensuing workshop, I searched for that elusive “artistic style” that would eventually become my own. Then I found it.
In mid-July 2017, five months into my artistic journey – learning new methods to improve my craft – I took a two-day workshop for Intuitive Painting. The Intuitive Painting class had a unique approach: each of us focusing on our own creative journey making marks on the canvases and connecting more authentically with ourselves through personal expression. During that workshop, I was fascinated by the process of abstract mark making. The experience of bringing hidden images into existence from within the abstract was magical.
Knowing that a dozen other people could look at the same abstract, each seeing something different, and that no other individual would create the same painting from the same underpainting filled me with awe. What I saw and teased out of the colorful tangle of marks is a reflection of my vision. I see what I see because of who I am. Whatever came out of that abstract is every bit as part of me, my personality, my spirit, and the experiences I've had. My unconscious thoughts all manifest on that canvas in a way that speaks to me.
After the workshop, I continued to work on my first painting at home. I poured all of me into that painting. Truthfully, I became obsessed with it. Sometimes spending fifteen-hour days over the course of two months getting it just right. All in all, I put more than 300 hours into that first intuitive painting. Yes, I was new and perhaps slower than a more practiced artist but this painting had me in its grips. I later came to understand that I was in a state of flow.
Throughout the process I was asked "when will it be done?" or "how will you know when it's done?" the best answer I could give was "when it's done" and "I will just know".
When I paint, it is akin to a spiritual connection to my work, I see but I don't just depend on my eyes. I feel it at a much deeper level. When I look at the piece and experience a rush from deep within my heart and soul, I know it is right.
I named that first painting Epiphany because while working on it I felt as if I was coming into my own, and realized this was not only my calling - I had finally found my artistic style.
One last thought
Even though I found my first style, other ways of making art still piqued my curiosity. My naturally inquisitive nature compels me to explore new things; which leads to new opportunities and sometimes new opportunities lead to new ways of making art.
By continued explorations, I soon realized an artist can have more than one style, and can have more than one body of work within those styles. For example: The Voices in My Head started out as an Intuitive Painting but, after experimenting with the addition of words to the mark making phase coupled with a call to action from a symposium I attended, I was inspired to create a new series that was intentional rather than intuitive.