In today’s art podcast we ask “Is time to evolve your art style?”
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It seemed appropriate to talk about this today because Sandra’s at a bit of a crossroads and we both always try to share our own experiences as artists with you.
When might it be time to Evolve Your Art Style?
What are the tell tale signs that you’re ready to evolve, or even change direction completely?
Well I think the first indication is when your work feels too easy and you no longer feel challenged by it.
Now I don’t know about you, but I like a bit of a challenge and one of the challenges I set myself a long time ago was to learn to paint. And I can do that. And I love it. The problem is, that when I reach a goal, I feel I need to move the goal post so I’m always making some kind of a progression. If you don’t do that, then things start getting a bit too easy. And when that happens, you lose that sense of achievement when you’ve created something new.
And I guess that when you already know what your finished piece will look like, before you even start it, then there’s no puzzle to it anymore, and that puzzle is half the fun,
- When you miss ‘learning’ – what we mean by this is you have already mastered what you have been doing to a good degree and feel the need to learn something new and make new discoveries.
- When you have forgotten what a happy accident feels like – When you know exactly what you are doing you get fewer mistakes and so you don’t get those happy accidents. I can’t tell you how much I love a happy accident. It has definitely led me to the work I create now.
- When you find other people’s art more exciting than your own – Your likes and dislikes may be changing over time. Maybe the art you used to like is not the same as what you like now.
- When you just feel ‘in a rut’ – Sometimes you just need to make a change because you are a bit bored.
When I’ve got a painting on the go, I’m normally itching to get to it.
That’s an obvious sign that I’m loving the process and I’m enjoying what I’m doing.
But if you find yourself procrastinating between paintings, and deciding that cleaning the toilet is more important, that might be a sign that you need to change things up a little bit.
Now of course it might also be a sign that you’re scared to fail, in which case that’s not a time to shake things up, that’s a time to stick with what your doing until you’ve nailed it.
- When you envy the way other artists approach their own work – that may just because because you see the freedom their style allows them to work in. I used to look at Lewis Rossignol’s work and be very envious of how free he appeared to be in his art.
- When you want to get lost in your painting and feel “in the zone” but your current style feels too methodical – When I used to paint the very colourful faces at first it was challenging and interesting, but I could never really lose myself in them and be completely expressive. Changing how I worked gave me the feeling I wanted when creating my art.
When you feel that you have become too predictable, that’s another indication to try something different. And it doesn’t mean you have to change your style. It might just mean you want to try a new subject or a new medium. Or maybe you just want to add an interesting element to your paintings.
When you keep producing the same sort of art because you feel you should, because that’s what your collectors or followers are expecting, then there is that danger of becoming a bit predictable. And it’s way more important that you follow your own path as an artist, than to do what everyone thinks you should be doing. The worst thing you could do is become bored of your own work, because it will show.
There are also good reasons NOT to change your art style
Don’t evolve your style to please others – maybe someone has said to you that your art is very traditional or on the other extreme a bit “out there” in a not very complementary way. Maybe they have suggested you should change your art a bit. Don’t do it unless you agree with them. Art will always be better if you make the art you like.
You don’t need to ‘change’ your style… There is a difference between evolving and changing. This is obviously important if you are a selling artist and you are known for something in particular.
I was looking at some work by Christian Hook the other day in a Gallery, and I noticed that he’d started adding random text to some of his recent work, which I hadn’t seen from him before…
There were a few other elements that were different to his normal approach… But what was clever is that the ‘bones’ of the work were still very obviously his… He had just added some interesting things to his paintings which gave them that element of surprise.
You may not even need to evolve your art style, maybe you just need a brief change. To try something new and see if it’s a direction you want to pursue.
Remember that this doesn’t mean you have to change your style forever. It might just mean that you experiment and come back to what you are doing with fresh eyes. Or maybe you might just incorporate one thing from your experiments.
Idea for evolving your art style
If you do feel that you are ready to evolve your art style try changing slowly
If you go too radical, you might find yourself feeling like a beginner again and that could cause you to lose your confidence, and you really want to avoid that..
Following on from above – change one thing at a time, ie don’t suddenly switch from watercolour landscapes to abstract oil paintings, unless of course it’s something you always wanted to try or you feel like a completely radical change.
If your not sure where to start, set yourself a challenge to do something you have always wanted to try but were afraid to in case you failed. Or find an existing art challenge to help you discover new things, and of course we have got loads of challenges to choose from on our site, so take a look if you haven’t already.
Take a course, maybe one with multiple teachers to get new inspiration. Remember that it’s always better to gain inspiration from multiple sources. You don’t want to copy another artist’s style. Instead, you want to take elements from lots of different places
If you decide to make a change, then give yourself permission for it to go wrong!
It might take a while to get your head around what your trying to achieve. So don’t expect your first few attempts to be as well received as your usual work. It will take a bit of time.
- Be prepared to ruin a painting, If you work on something new and it starts being too controlled, don’t be afraid to ruin it by trying something new on it.
- Above all, be brave. Because if you are at that crossroads, if you don’t change direction now, when will you?
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This week’s creative question
Q. Picasso was famous for his blue period. In fact he had four art periods. So, as an artist, how many ‘art periods’ have you had?
The best answers will be read out on a future podcast.
You can Tweet us your answers @KickCreatives or let us know in the Facebook Group, which by the way if you haven’t already joined, I highly recommend that you do! We will put the question up there and also on the Facebook page… and of course, on our Instagram page @kickinthecreatives.
If you have any suggestions for the podcast or our challenges please feel free to get in touch.