After a few years of just accepting that fact and riding the train where ever it took me, I suddenly realized that there are some repetitive traits about my work, there is a fingerprint if you will, to what I do.
Fer instance.....I just finished this (for me) gigantic (24" x 48") piece:
I Lift Up My Eyes
oil on gallery wrap canvas, 24 x 48
I tend to drag these pieces around the house as I approach finish so I can judge them in different lights. My husband saw it and did a "hmmm." "Hmmm: what?" I asked, "is something wrong?" "It's just so dark," he explained, "so, so bold." I 'hmmed' him back and sat down to think about it. Yes, it is dark, and bingo: bold. But that is the way I saw this yummy long view of the mountains. Gentle hills with bold color statements.
I wandered back in memory to the first adult art lesson I had: the proverbial apple still life. I finished and the teacher gave it a serious look. "Have you always been this bold and colorful?" she asked. I explained that I had not painted in many years. "No, I mean in life," she clarified, "your personality."
"A Ha"....an ah ha moment...no, I do not think of myself as bold but I do admit to loving color. Maybe, that's my style?! More pondering is needed, however...
...think about this story when you next view a body of work by one artist. WHAT is consistent among the pieces? What trait or line or technique or.... is repeatedly seen, however obscured, in each thing she or he produces. Maybe that is the "style", or at least a clue to the personality, of the artist. Styles morph and develop (as do personalities) but hidden on the canvas, or in the clay or on the fabric, is a clue to the creator, how he or she views the world, what they pick out as important, what they emphasize or downplay.
I guess I have to own it: no soft gentle florals for me, no wispy pastels fading in and out of view, every time I try to emulate that gorgeous misty technique I end up with a dash of hot pink or a streak of violet ruining the effect. Its inauthentic for me. I buy it, I hang it, but I cannot paint it.
So play psychologist the next time you enter an artists' booth. Ask yourself what they deem important, how do they consistently use a particular technique to portray it and what does that tell you about the rest of the person and their demeanor. It's just one more way to enjoy art.