How do you find your artistic voice? Where did it get lost? Read more!

Very often a new coaching client will lament the fact that she “hasn’t found her painting style yet” or “hasn’t found her artistic voice yet.” She looks at her paintings and maybe likes them well enough—and maybe others do to, which leads to sales—but for some reason they don’t feel “really hers.”

What exactly is a unique style or voice in the visual arts? In a the end it is the artist’s signature, the way we know a Van Gogh, a Monet, or a Picasso at first glance. But that is the end result. Ultimately that signature style is the fruit of the ideas and passions that have caused the artist to paint.

Van Gogh’s signature style arises because he has ideas, about complementary colors, about the art of Japan, about “owning” sunflowers and cypresses, and so on. He ends up with his signature style because he is following his ideas, not because he is “trying to be unique.”

Therefore the answer to the question, “How do I find my style” isn’t “Go look for it,” as if it were a wallet lost on the train. Rather, the answer is, “Have ideas and passions and manifest them!” If in reply you say, “Well, I just want to paint pretty things,” it probably shouldn’t surprise you that your result may look pretty enough but not inspiring. Inspiration, after all, wasn’t your goal!

Begin with some energy. Have the desire to tackle something rich, interesting, fascinating, bewildering – lead with power. That power, passion, and energy will drive you in the direction of voice and style. If painting to you is a ho-hum activity, expect a ho-hum result that confounds your desire to speak in your true voice. Voice and style are not to be found, they are to be earned!


Next San Francisco Deep Writing Workshop: October 28 – November 1, 2013



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