I love painting loose abstract modern watercolours. I also love creating highly detailed watercolour animal portraits. I love painting loose landscapes or drawing meticulously in ink. When I think of all the things I paint and draw, it’s a pretty long list of subjects. Seeing so many different things all in one place caused so much confusion and almost a type of “artist paralysis.”
What in the heck is my style? How will I ever succeed if I don’t have a distinct style? What even is style?!
My thoughts generally went round and round in circles over questions like that. Then inevitably, the creative blues kicked in and I was suddenly spiralling into some weird and ridiculous identity/career crisis territory. I mean, really, come on now. Talk about a waste of time!
It was only recently when I was discussing said spiral that a friend said: “I think you are using this idea of style as a crutch, as a delay tactic in just going for it.” I have to say, it took all of 2 seconds for me to hear it and totally agree. Then she asked me: “Are you willing to let this idea of ‘style’ go? Can you commit to action and embrace all avenues of your art?”
I really wanted to say yes at that moment but, like quitting a bad habit, I knew letting go of the “style struggle” wasn’t going to happen with the snap of my fingers. I expect it’s going to be an up and down battle to let go and commit to what drives the paintbrush to move in my hand.
However, I do think that the tides have turned thanks to that one conversation. It’s become easier to stop the spiral faster and many days it can be avoided entirely! As an artist and freelancer, these types of mental blips are abound to happen, but when they do, they won’t seem so dramatic as they have in the past.
You may not always see your style but trust in the creative process and embrace all aspects of your creativity. You’ll be so glad you did!