Finding Your Inspiration + Your Style

In the beginning I really worried about whether I would ever find "my painting style"--something unique that would distinguish my work. I also had doubts about just "what" to paint? After reading lots about learning to paint and having many teachers tell me "my style would show up" I stumbled on my solution which was keeping what I call my "Painting Notes." I began to put all of my inspirations, thoughts, lecture notes, photos, lists of songs, just anything that influenced me into a spiral sketchbook which became my Painting Notes. As I continued to paint, I realized those Painting Notes were invaluable as references for painting and I pushed a bit further to develop a method to find my painting style. From "Adult Learning Theory" which I studied in graduate school and from reading books like Austin Kleon's "Steal Like an Artist" I began to see that all artists learn from artists before them. In other words, understanding what moves us, what really attracts our eye and makes us swoon we can begin to piece together our very own "style" of painting. As I shared in one of my books, because I love gardens and flowers I went to a botanical drawing class and quickly realized that was not my style. I had to take a step back and look at which artwork portraying flowers and gardens most attracted my eye. It turns out it was the expressive work of painters such as Matisse that really grabbed my attention. From there I began to analyze other work which captured my eye and then I took the next step and put those elements together and that is how I developed my own style! You can do the same through the use of your "Painting Notes". Take a look at the videos here and start to collect your influences and then walk yourself through analyzing what it is that attracts you and then "aim your paintings" in that direction! It works.

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