Dec 4, 2013

Being Painterly - Autumn Elk

Here's another one of my attempts to be more "painterly" in my art style. This is, obviously, an elk in an autumn setting.

8"x10" oil on Multimedia Artboard

I have made several attempts to loosen up and develop a more painterly style over the past year. I find it fun and challenging and, since it's not my usual detailed style, I've actually been pretty happy with the results of my painterly attempts.

But ... I must admit ... while I may be happy with the results, I'm not really satisfied. There's a bit of a difference between being happy with the results of your efforts, and being satisfied with what you've done.

I have been told by galleries, critics, and other artists that I should develop a more "painterly" style, so I've made several attempts to do so. Now that I think about it, though, I'm not actually sure why I've been told this. Is this because that is what art collectors want? Is that what wins competitions? Or is it just because that's what the "experts" think paintings should be like? 

I admire the painterly style. I really do. Many of my favorite artists paint in this style. And it's a lot harder than it looks! One would think that less detail would be easier but, trust me, it's not! At least not for me. I find it more challenging. To make something look good with fewer brush strokes is actually hard. So I have the utmost respect for those who can do it well.

But I think I've decided it's just not for me. Somehow I find it fun, but I just don't find it satisfying to leave out the details. No matter how hard I try to let go of it, I just crave the detail.

I don't think I'll make any more attempts to be "painterly" anytime soon. I admire the style but it's just not "me" and I don't think I should do it because some gallery, critic, or artist told me I should. Even if my painterly paintings turn out great, I think you can tell there's something missing from it. I need detail! And when it's not there, something of me is not there, and it shows. I need to be myself in my art, not what others tell me to be, or it's just not mine anymore.

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