Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Following your muse....

guest blog by Barbara Bechtel of Floridity

Don't worry about your originality. You couldn't get rid of it even if you wanted to. It will stick with you and show up for better or worse in spite of all you or anyone else can do. ~ Robert Henri

People often ask me how I arrived at my current style. Being a little shy when it comes to discussing my work, I'm often unsure how to answer. Most often, I divert the question by talking about my methods, my inspiration, and current ideas in the works.

Style is a topic that is ephemeral at best. Everybody likes it and most want it. Some are sure they have it, other think they may never have it. Think of your favorite designers and artisans...be they high-brow or low-brow...most have a style. Some have arrived at it deliberately, some have arrived at it by accident, some have worked very careful to cultivate it.

Being a mixed media artist, and a painter by education, I've never felt I had a recognizable style. I want to be identified...like Georgia O'Keefe or Frank Lloyd Wright. Until recently, this always distressed me greatly. So, I decided to look critically at all of my work and identify patterns.

Identifying patterns is very important. It is through patterns that you recognize what you are doing cohesively from one piece to another.

By identifying these patterns, you can adjust or refine your working method to help you cultivate your own unique style.


What colors do I consistently use? Do I like these colors? Do I want to use different colors? How can I experiment differently with my color palette? I take out the paints I use. I identify the hues on a color chart. I am a scientist with my process....



What shapes or forms do I consistently use? Am I drawn to geometric forms or organic forms? Why am I drawn to them? I make a list....



Texture. Do I prefer clean lines or a rustic pattern? Why do I prefer that? What other objects in my home and my life personify this texture? How can I translate this texture to my work?


How are you evaluating your own process to better identify your own personal style?

How do you feel about style? How would you like to define it? for yourself? for others?

Can you translate your style into this month's Art Spark? Be sure to check it out and submit to win a host of nice things and challenge your creativity!

9 comments:

MaCarroll Beads said...

What a great post! Thanks Barbara :O) As for style.... I'm not sure I've totally arrived there yet, since I love to just go with whatever feels right at the moment. I want to put together some new jewelry creations soon and that isn't something I do as often as making beads. I've been looking at some of my favorite beads (that happened to have a "happy run" in the kiln and come up with a design that will make that bead unique.... my end result is, "I want to look at it when it is all finished and say, that is so COOL!" ..... not pretty, nor gorgeous.... but COOL!!! MaryAnn

mairedodd said...

a very thought-full post... thank you so much barbara! i hadn't thought about the choices one makes beyond 'going with the gut' while working... but we do make choices each and every step of the way... your work is beautiful and definitively yours...
i have the great privilege of owning one of your rumi wings, it was given as a gift by a caring friend and i treasure both...

D'Arsie Manzella said...

This is a wonderful way to get to the bottom of the-"what's my style?"-question. I will be taking some time to answer these questions for myself as I am transforming in my life and work at the moment. I love the quote in the beginnig of the post! Reading that eases all anxiety I ever had about originality. Bravo and thanks for being a guest on LMAJ!

Izzy said...

I perused your shop this morning. Love the little blue eggs, love the Erudite collection, love the shells, geez Barbara, I love everything!!! =) (Great post too!)

Barbara said...

Thank you so much for your kind words! I really appreciate it!

Patty said...

I love this kind of thought-provoking homework. Somewhere I read that perhaps others can be helpful in this process too, by pointing out when they can pick your work out from the sea of others, and what it is that makes yours "yours". Thanks for stopping by, Barbara!

Anna Lear said...

Thanks so much for posting this! I'm just starting this process of evaluating and more clearly defining my style, and your advice on looking for patterns will help a LOT. And really, it makes me realize that since our art expresses who we are, understanding it better helps us understand ourselves better, too...

Barbara said...

I think most of us work "from the gut" but too often, I think we also forget to step back and ask ourselves why we are making those particular choices. Sometimes if we take a critical look at the why and how, it can help us open up other avenues that can either help us better refine our style or expand it in new and exciting directions!

Kelli said...

Great post!!! That's a tough question... I know what my style is, and people recognize my work, but I'm not quite sure I could define it. Looks like I have some homework!

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