At Art Club this week we were asked to produce a painting of white china on a black ground, any style, any medium. At the end of the session, all the paintings were put up for our usual group chat and appreciation session. We have found that we can all learn lots by looking at each others work, asking questions about technique and composition, and because it is a really positive exercise, even the weakest members are happy to take part.
As one of the organisers of the group, it has often fallen to me to lead this session and sometimes suggest discussion points. When I have done this, I have nearly always been able to put a name to a painting for at least two thirds of the group. The beginner's work is sometimes a bit more tricky as they have not yet developed a distinct approach to their art.
I hesitate to use the word style as I am not sure that even the more established painters amongst us always paint in the same way.
This was highlighted today as the confines of the white china and black ground seemed to do away with all the usually recognisable paintings, and I would not have known whose painting belonged to whom, except that I finished a little early and had a wander around all of the group.
So, what I am asking is this......At the level at which a club like ours paints, are we really developing a style of our own or are we simply working in a way which reflects the work of artists we admire. Had they never put paint brush to paper, how might we have developed? Are we capable of painting in a really individual way which would be easily recognised as 'ours'.
I am sure that for all the years I have been painting, there are lots of different ways in which I produce paintings depending on the subject, the medium and my mood. I say thank goodness for that. it keeps me fresh, encourages me to try new things and stops me trying so hard to paint in a certain style that I lose my way completely.
I have put together half a dozen paintings of the same basic subject. Are they recognisable as mine? Am I developing a style of my own, or am I just striving to produce work based on those artists I admire.
I actually do not care. I do not think anything except my health would stop me painting, even if I never sold another painting!