Sketchbook Pages: Finding my Style

Hey friends, Happy Monday! Today I wanted to share a bit of experimenting I’ve been doing recently.  If you watched last Saturday’s video, you saw the creation of this little abstract experimental study I did:

abstract experimental painting

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about my own painting style, and it’s something I’m really going to focus on developing throughout the rest of the year. I’ve done a few paintings in the past where I feel that there was a shift in the way I painted, specifically in this one and this one. and this one.  I really enjoyed incorporating abstract elements to those portrait-type works, and I especially loved adding some doodles and designs in among the acrylic paint.

So I’ve been playing around in my sketchbook and thinking about the imagery and symbols that I seem to always refer back to when I’m doodling, and thinking about how I can incorporate more of them into painting.

doodles in my sketchbook
These symbols and doodles are always popping up for me when I’m not thinking about what I’m drawing.

There’s always some combination of organic, nature-inspired shapes mixed with geometrics like triangles and straight lines.  I like the balance between the two.  I think this is why I’m drawn to do more of the kinds of things I did in those three paintings, because they mix the rigid with the organic.  Portraiture with abstract painting.  The control of the brush needed for making deliberate lines and shapes of the face juxtaposed with the freedom of letting the brush glide and wash over the canvas loosely in abstract painting.

I’ve been working on some more experimental pieces, and I’m starting to see where this might be going. I like painting abstractly, but I also like drawing on my canvas and adding little deliberate marks here and there. So I think I’m going to attempt to start doing both at the same time, and seeing what happens.

a current abstract WIP
A current experimental work in progress

I can see my acrylic paintings on canvas being abstract, but with deliberate focused details added in.  This can also be a portrait, but I want to keep it open to more simple images as well. I think going in this direction will really start to define my style, which is something I’ve really been struggling with lately.

Of course, I still enjoy doing watercolor illustrations, and those will remain part of my style as well, but I’d like to start incorporating a touch of the abstract and doodle works into that too, to make everything a bit more cohesive. I feel like right now if someone looked at a watercolor illustration of mine, and then looked at a recent painting like one of the ones I liked to above, they wouldn’t think they were done by the same person.  So I’m going to really focus inwards on myself and how I feel when I paint to start letting my natural tendencies emerge, and start to bring my two favorite ways to create art (acrylic on canvas and drawing/watercolors on paper) together a bit more, so they can be different but still contain threads that show they’re related to each other through me.

I hope that makes sense and I’m not just rambling in this post. Defining your style is the biggest thing I think people struggle with when it’s time to move their art from the learning and experimenting phase into the “this is me” phase. Learning various art techniques like the ones I share on this site is super important, but finding ways to combine the various techniques and painting styles you enjoy into something that is truly yours is also super important.

Of course, I’ll still continue to share the types of tutorials I have been on here, that won’t change, because my goal for this site is to help anyone who’s new to painting.  And when you’re new to painting, you don’t have to worry about finding your style, just focus on learning the techniques behind the painting, so in the future you can make art whichever way you want. But I do hope that you’re also looking forward to my journey finding my own style, and maybe it will inspire you to do the same whenever you feel you’re also at that point.

So that’s enough of my rambling for now.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, leave me a comment if you did, and till next time, keep creating!

-Ashley <3

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