23-Searching for Style

“Most students at some period of their learning become enamored of the idea that everything depends on the cultivation of a good style. They are obsessed over one style of expression today, over another tomorrow and so on. They see a picture which is good because every single thing is full of detail. Another wherein detail is entirely omitted, or one in which a wonderful effect is obtained by broad simple strokes. So they spend their time in trying these out amongst other methods forgetting that every method is the result of an artist’s individual ideas and aims.

Students should forget style as something to be practiced and think about what it is he or she wanted to say. What was their aim? To have no aims means that style can’t be achieved.  This is because style has little or no meaning unless it results in disclosing what the artist aimed to create.

Let us say that a subject is being tackled which is comprised of a church set amidst trees, and backed by a hill covered with trees. The whole is in dull light. But the sun creeps through a cloud and just touches the church tower and part of the roof. Those touches of sunlight must be the most important note in the painting; all the rest must be kept in lower tone. The trees and grass are bathed in dew or rain and are fresh and luscious in color.

Now it is your aim to bring out these things. The sunlit tower and the roof, the remainder low tone yet fresh and juicy in color. You have to concentrate on these things, forgetting style- it will take care of itself. Your job is to get that sunlight to look and feel like real light. If you do that you will do it in your own way without ever thinking about how another artist might do it.”

Adapted from The Artist by Cecil A. Hunt

I think it’s wonderful to try different methods of putting the material down, to stretch yourself and change. But keeping an intention is the best way to find your unique way of painting or style!

One might say that these three pieces are different in “style” than most of my work. But I intended to say something about the light streaming onto the small silver of water. So I used thin glazes of hard pastel over soft layers to achieve the effect that I wanted. This resulted in what you might call a style.

With Warmest Regards,

Marla