At Art group this week we were asked to produce a painting.....'White China On Black.' Any size, any medium. Not something that proved to be easy, especially as the ground for most of the members work was not really meant for wet media, and lots of us tried to use acrylic inks! As usual, at the end of the session we put the paintings up against the wall, and had a look at what we had produced. Members enjoy seeing what others have produced, and we all believe we learn from looking at each others work. There is such a supportive atmosphere, that even the weaker members of the group are happy to take part.
At these sessions, as one of the organisers of the group, I often start the ball rolling and have become so accustomed to looking at members paintings, that I can recognise 75% of them from their style of painting. The weaker members are a bit more tricky as they have not really developed a style of their own yet.
This week, however, it was much more difficult and the only reason I knew one painting from another was that I had finished a little early and taken a stroll around the room.
I do not know if it was the very limited subject or the unusual process of painting directly onto a black background, but there seemed to be no recognisable styles present. Everyone seemed outside of their comfort zone to some degree or other.
This got me thinking of the much used phrase of.......'developing a style of ones own'. Do we really do that or do we in fact, mostly try to emulate the work of well known artists that we admire, and so are generally just working towards their style? Maybe only the exceptionally talented can actually be so innovative that the resultant style can truly be called their own.
True, there are artists whose work I really admire, and a style of painting that I would like to see in my work, but that does not mean a style of my own. What I am trying to do is produce paintings that contain to a small degree, something of their individual style.
All this is very theoretical, and really doesn't matter that much except as an interesting concept, and whoever or whatever I tend towards, and whether I have any sort of 'style', whilst health and enthusiasm continues I will continue to paint in my way!
As an exercise I have collected together a few of my paintings of the same basic subject to see if one would suggest that they all were done by the same artist. See what you think.