At first it was to determine what to take to John Burroughs High School Arts For All Day. You can see how I went from cramming every spare inch with artwork to a less cluttered display.
I have created hundreds of paintings and while I can see my personal expression in all of them, I understand that it isn't always recognizable for other people, especially as I group them together and pay attention to how different they are.
Insights are coming to me directly and indirectly:
In response to my Facebook query, naturally evolving, completely distinctive portrait artist, Gwenn Seemel asked if I could recognize a hand in my work if not a style. She referenced her blog post 'The difference between style and hand,' which I read. I also followed the links to where she spoke about the evolution of her style and even mentioned the criticism she received for having one!
In the most recent Painter's Keys newsletter from Robert Genn, he recommended, "The next time you're painting, ask yourself how much story plays a part in your work. Are you trying to speak, sing, inform, protest, depress, honour, lead, monumentalize, mystify, convert, entertain, tease, uplift, amuse, eulogize or cause people to think? Or is your story a tribute to your process and your way of working--mannerisms that softly or harshly speak your name to yourself and others? Knowing your work's story (or non-story) helps define not only your work, but you." Hmmmm.
In the other method, I am experimenting with materials and letting the materials speak to me. These paintings are more like exciting conversations with abundant variables often with a symbol thrown in for reference sake (heart, diamond, sun). Though experimentation has motivated me, it is usually quite unstructured and unscientific It is in the experimental works that "The curiosity drives me," as sculptor, David Abhari so aptly described.
My experiments often create problems to be solved that challenge my abilities to invent composition and interest without a preformed concept. (Considering the last line of Robert Genn's quote, it is eye opening to think I might create problems for myself in more ways than my artwork...)
Until then I will continue looking at my work in various groupings with the intent of understanding my art story and identifying the distinctive qualities of my hand while I learn to present myself and my artwork with clarity and confidence. Woo Hoo!!
I'm curious. Do you have a singular recognizable style? If you do, did it come naturally or did you have to work at it? If you don't, is it on purpose or natural?