Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cohesiveness, Style and How to Get There

One of our participants here, the wonderful painter Ghislain Bruno raised a question on the Wetcanvas forum about the need to focus.

What a great topic to think about!

You do hear it, that you need a cohesive style, subject, etc., to be considered by galleries and shows, etc.

I'm all for cohesiveness, but at the proper time! Especially for those of us who are basically self taught, we need time to explore (and spend money on art supplies!!)

Keep in mind that formally trained artists are exposed to a variety of techniques, media, subject matter, etc. Some requirements that are dreaded can turn out to the be very thing that they love! So those of us on our own, also need to discovery exactly what we like and don't like.

I love watercolor paintings, but I hate doing it. Can't tell you why, but I just don't like the act of painting in watercolor.

Also thought I would love pastels. Nope. Same for still life. Except my foray into painting flowers made them look like they all had personalities!

Love really good abstracts...but have no natural ability to even start down that road.

Now, there's all different techniques and palettes in oil painting, as well. Some folks jut love to glaze. Others? no. It takes TIME at the easel/drawing board to discovery all this and it's personal. Nobody can predict. AND you have to master the various techniques/media/subject matter etc. well enough to give it a good shot and KNOW that it's not for you.

Only then can we really begin to think about cohesiveness...which is tied to style imo.

Now, I know I have a style. I don't know where it came from, lol! But I've drawn, painted, pastelled and relief printed animals and folks familiar with my work tell me they can tell I did it. So I'm guessing that's style.

Every single choice we make, color, value, subject, stroke, etc. reveals us.

But I think that only comes when we feel good and relaxed and confident with our materials and skills...not following books, or really even much advice. THEN, I think it's time to worry about cohesiveness. Because until then, really it's kind of artifical and strained. IMO!

But enough from me, now, I'd love to hear what you all think about cohesiveness and developing a style.

If you've just visited this blog for the first time, let me introduce! I'm Robin Zebley, my pet portrait website is My blog about animals and art is and if you'd like to read this whole blog, just click on the banner at the top and don't forget to look at the older posts at the bottom.

And don't forget to comment...I love opinions and if you disagree or not, love to hear from you! Robin


Ghislaine Bruno said...

Robin, I raised this question because my opinion is that beeing more focused might help me to achieve two things : first, being taken more seriously as an artist, and second, studying in a more organised way. I was advised to work in series and I'm going to try this. However, I do agree with you about the necessity to experiment multiple subjects, mediums and techniques first. And we might add the necessity to study the basics first as well...

Robin said...

Oh, I agree, and you are obviously AT the point where focusing becomes important. I should have said fact, I will edit it! The beauty of the internet!

I think it's important, though, to not rush that experiemental phase.