Many artists and the art world advises that one find their "style" and stick with it, so that you have a recognizable brand and name to back that up. When someone looks at your work they should immediately see it as your art. But how does playing it safe, make you a better artist? Does it help you to expand, grow and become even better at your craft?
For me I love to be creative and explore new ideas, materials, and interesting subjects. It keeps me engaged in the painting process and I learn so much from the challenge of trying out something different. For a couple of months I have playing around with abstract painting more specifically on a slick nonabsorbent surface called yupo. In the past my abstract painting experiments have been anything but pleasing. I know you think anybody could paint abstractly even your 4 year old, but have you ever tried painting a really good abstract painting? How do you know what to paint? How do you arrange, the colors, textures, shapes, lines to create interest, rythym, balance and unity? It is a complex task and difficult task! These three painting are the better abstracts I have created as an artist so far, and they don't necessarily reflect my current "style" of painting-- but they are Adam VanHouten originals.
One only has to look at Picasso, who never kept the same style! He was constantly evolving trying new things and seeing where that might lead him in his artistic journey. While the "style" your in right now might be a safe zone and one that people admire, try something new and different. Continue the joy of growing, searching and learning and your art will continue to change for the better.. keep painting.
As a middle school art Instructor the thing that I enjoy most about my day job is creating art with the students. These sketches were created during class for a unit on sculpting figures. When I say the word "drawing" students are often so fearful, that they freeze up. We did a whole series of 1 minute drawings of figures dancing, snowboarding, musicians, parkour and many more. The objective was to loosen up, let go and not worry about the final outcome. (who has time to worry in 1 minute?) And practice, practice, more practice! Don't let fear get the best of you... what's the worst that can happen? So you mess up a lot of times and get a few good sketches while learning in the process. It is a good lesson for all artists as we work to perfect our craft, we get so invested in our work that we forget to set aside the anxiety. Stop thinking and let the artwork speak for itself... Overcome the fear of making a mistake.