top: "the anatomy of adrenalin"
bottom: "the three fates"
both 10 x 30" acrylic on canvas
I did have one of my usual posts that is about nothing in particular planned for tonight -- actually, I think it was going to focus on shampoos (how exciting!) -- but there were some questions posed in the comments of the last style post that I really thought were good. So I'd like to take another post to talk about those. I'll keep answering them as long as you guys keep asking them. And feel free to answer other commenter's questions in the comments as well -- there are a wealth of talented artists who frequent my blog (and I'm humbled to say that), and I know they have their own version of the style story.
Becca asked: How long did it take you to find your groove?
The short answer is 3 years. Though I'd been drawing and doodling every since I was a tiny maggot, I didn't really think I was going to do anything in particular with my art until I was out of college. And then I threw myself into the "painting a day" movement -- I produced over 400 pieces inbetween 2006-7. Believe me, that accelerates the process a little. But also keep in mind that for a lot of that, I was completely unguided and didn't even realize I wanted to be working towards a cohesive style.
Tracy Wall asked: Did your previous patrons give you any grief for not producing what they originally fell in love with?
I got some agonized e-mails from collectors of my cityscapes when I stopped selling them, but they were understanding when I explained why I was moving in another direction. And then my colored pencil clients (who were paying higher prices because the pieces took longer and because I had more credentials to my "colored pencil" name)(since I had to basically market my two styles separately) were perfectly pleased to continue buying from me, since the injection of pizazz from my acrylic cityscape style only improved the colored pencil work. And my income went up when I dropped the cityscapes.
And Autumn Willow asked: As with others who've commented, I'm at that crucial point of figuring out a style. My problem is... doesn't it get kind of monotonous and boring to use the same style and medium pretty much all the time?
I had this question in mind when I picked the two paintings for this blog post. They're two of my favorite paintings ever, but as you've probably immediately noticed, they don't look like anything else I've ever done. So here's my answer. Yes, it would be intensely monotonous and boring to use the same style and medium all the time. Plus, you'd get stale. One of the great things about artists is that we're always growing and changing. So yes, for my shows and for my portrait clients, I do my usual style, colored pencil with wild flairs. But on Sundays, as you guys have probably noticed, I do art for me. I pull out my pastels, get myself covered with paint, pretend I'm someone else -- do something that I never intend on selling. And sometimes it's a tremendous mess and failure. And sometimes it's wonderful, and I can file that information away for later.
But I don't put these experimental pieces into my booth. The only way I ever show my experimental pieces is if I do enough of them to be a series -- so it looks on purpose. You know, the section of the art history book where they show 10 large full-color plates and the caption is "Maggie Stiefvater's so-called "Splatter" Phase in the early part of the century."
So those two Adrenalin pieces stay in my studio, waiting for me to do more of the series. And one day I will. And then I will pull them out proudly. Until then, I'll incorporate what I liked from those pieces into my current style and watch it slowly evolve.