Discovering my style - part one

When I'd finished painting my Moobaacluck orders today the sun had begun to lower in the sky. I looked around for something to do while I was waiting for the varnish to dry - on two cats, a moon and a pirate bear star.

I tend to have unfinished canvases or pieces of board stacked up against the book case behind me and works on paper or smaller pieces of wood in drawers.

Now that the Christmas madness is over I shall have more time to spend on the business rather than in it. More on that tomorrow.

Part of my 'evolution' this year is to discover what I want, which means really investigating what I like and not worrying that there are conflicts initially. Just looking a few things today I can see that I love texture. I also love clear graphic shapes. Here are just a few magazine cuttings that drew me today over the top of one of my painted backgrounds.

Strong floral shapes are important to me and I need to explore colour more. Here I just rolled on a mixture of purple, cream and brown to cover the boat underneath; these were the paints I had left from finishing those Moobaa commissions. Many of my paintings are stacked in the house and I realise that I use purple far too much...

I've often been someone who squeezes out the same few colours believing that I will be mixing a variety of shades, observing from life usually.. but in future I am going to be far more deliberate about colour palette. For example I really LOVE these rusty warm colours and the wonderful texture:

I can't be sure what magazine I tore this from - probably a Country Living. I have a strong urge to set up a simple still life and restrict myself to this palette. I should be able to start on Friday. Whether or not I will end up with a more traditional still life like these tulips I painted 20 years ago, or something more abstract like this blue painting from last summer, will be interesting to find out.

Maybe I'll do a series and see which approach I like best.

How do you approach your 'style' or way of working? If you're established do you try different ways of working? Do you find your clients - galleries or buyers prefer you not to deviate from the style they love? I wonder how many professional artists ever feel they have restricted themselves - at least publicly.


  1. Hi Gabriella! I came across the link to this post in the FB group and thought I'd have a nosey…what a lovely blog. The idea of restriction is an interesting one but not one I've found….I have been lucky to work as a professional illustrator all my working life & straight from leaving art school. My style grew and developed over the years but I never felt restricted because my style or way of approaching a project was almost like a toolbox that I could rely on and allowed me to get on with the job without worrying about how I was going to do it. The only negative thing was that after 12 years of working in such a way it did become very predictable. After taking time out to have my children I retrained in everything digital and now I work quite differently to before, under a new name, and this has opened up a whole new way of working which I love & added more tools to the tool box if you like … I think the most useful thing I can say is that it's not really about the style in which you work, although that does have to be there & be you, but really more about the different type of briefs and projects that you work on. That's the thing that keeps things interesting. There are always new avenues to pursue if you are open and versatile.

    One more thing! I do know of artists that have a couple of different styles and they solve the problem by working under a different name for each style. Keeps things simple. As Lilla said on the MATS course, with constant working and honing, all these different ways of working do become one eventually anyhow...


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