Friday, 13 July 2018

Finding your art style, sometimes it's best not to try so hard. How an accident turned into a blessing.

For years I have tried to find my style. Flitting from one medium to the next and generally feeling like a 'Jack of all Trades' and master to none.... know the feeling? Well last year I finally had an halelluah moment. and do you know what, it came about completely by accident!

I have been experimenting with my art for many many years now and have painted with all different mediums and in different styles to find that niche that felt right. I have loved experimenting, but I won't lie it has been incredibly frustrating as well! Hours and hours of work goes into trying to perfect your craft, and we are our own worst critics, so if it doesn't feel right we tend to beat ourselves up over it. I have always felt like a Jekyl and Hyde character with my art, one minute you can be all airy fair and little miss positivity and the next minute it's self sabotage / abuse and a heady mix of anger and frustration... or maybe that's just me ha ha

Anyway I have pretty much dabbled with all sorts of styles and techniques over the years, you would be forgiven to think that my work had been done by different artists as my portfolio is that diverse. I would always admire artists that had their style and just focused on that, it seemed so alien to me as one minute I would be drawing cartoon characters, the next a landscape, or a decorative piece and if I was feeling the need for a release, something dark.  Nothing seemed to flow at all.

Last year something changed all of that. I was going through quite a lull with things,  work had dried up and I had totally lost my art mojo. I had well and truly hit a wall career wise and wasn't sure where I was heading at all. I had been given some acrylic inks for my 40th birthday earlier that year but what with broken legs and hip replacements I hadn't had a chance to use them. So when I saw the official Inktober list appear in my newsfeed I thought why the hell not, what better excuse to try these babies out.  

For those that don't now the Inktober challenge is held every year and invites all artists to create something every day in October in ink and share it online under the hashtag #inktober

So I did a very quick study of a swift and popped it on Facebook and Instagram. I didn't really put any effort into it, it took literally half an hour and was a half hour of pure enjoyment for me. I just fancied trying my new inks out. So I posted my little creation online and what happened next blew my little mind, loads of people went gaga over it. That one little painting had more attention and sales than anything had done over my entire art career....crazy!  I started getting asked if I would sell prints, then I was getting requests to do inky creations for their own ideas. As each day went on more requests started coming in, to the point that I couldn't continue  with Inktober as I had a backlog of orders to get through. Then it went on to dog portraits and what with it coming up to Christmas I landed up doing loads of them.

Fast forward nearly a year and I am still painting with inks and still taking commissions, the latest being portraits. I have done some big  pieces now and experimenting with different backgrounds, but it is safe to say that these are staying! I just love working with them, and each piece is a joy to do. I  have opened up an online store to start selling them wider afield, but that requires a fair bit of marketing which is going to be my next challenge. I am not claiming that I am a hugely successful artist now, but what I can say is that sometimes it is best not to try so hard and just to go back to the basics of loving what you do. 

Have you got a similar story of how you found your style? Curious to know if this resonates with other creatives out there :)