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Finding your 'Signature Style'

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  • #75296

    Hi All –

    My name’s Tracey and I’m an artist living near Mackay.

    One thing I am struggling with is finding a ‘style’ for myself. I look at my work, and it looks like it could have been done by 3 or 4 different people (well, it does to me, anyway). I LIKE painting in different styles (painterly, abstract realism, realism) and get inspired differently from day to day, but I don’t know if this jumping from one style to another is hurting my potential career in that, my work won’t be recognisable as being mine.

    Does anyone else have this drama? Should I just go with the flow, and accept that different styles appeal to different people and therefore will expand my potential customer base, or should I focus on a signature style/subject to make my work instantly recognisable?

    Any advice would be appreciated :) Thanks in advance


    Hi Tracey,

    I recognize your “drama” :-)

    Some years ago I was “artist in residence” with a gallery owner, who wanted to launch my watercolors on the European continent. But, he said that I had to find my style first, because my paintings looked too different… He asked me to think about what kind of style I could stand working with for a long time, and stick to that so that people could see it was made by me. I looked at all my pictures and decided about a certain kind of paintings that I had much fun in doing. Unfortunately I was only able to hang my new watercolors in Kitzbuhel, Austria, before the gallery owner suddenly died of a heart attack, the gallery was closed, and I was on my own again.

    But I want to pass on to you the advice of an American art teacher, who told me that if I painted no matter what at least two hours a day, I would develop my own style, unconsciously. The brain and the hands would learn a certain way to work together, without my personal interference, so to speak. And I have found that whatever motive I want to capture, I have my own unconscious way of representing it, that in the end makes it look like “me”. This teacher also told me to change my palette once a year, by swapping a couple of colors for others. And also at least once a year to leave my comfort zone, trying things I don’t believe I can do. My painting style would follow in my tracks, he promised me.

    Most famous painters change their style after some years, when they find that their way of painting has become a boring routine. All the same their work most often continue to bear their signature, because the brain and the hands have developed their own special way of cooperating.

    I wish you good luck finding your style!

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 4 months ago by BeqArt.
    Rob McGregor

    I agree with the American art teacher quoted above. All the children in a class of students who are taught to write by the same teacher, develop their own style of script despite the teacher’s best efforts to have them emulate her /him. You recognise the writing on an envelope (if anyone still writes letters) before opening. You’ll develop your own style whether you want to or not. Cheers.

    Natascha Wernick

    That’s great advice, Rex. Good on you for following it and congratulations on your success.
    Thanks for sharing.

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