How to find your art style in painting + 3 tips

How to find your art style in painting? This is a question i asked myself for a long time and that many people ask themselves. I think you can compare finding your art style to life, your life, and all the evolutions and experiences that you go through. The more you experience life the closer you get to your style. At least this was my personal experience.

For me it was not something that i decided like “Ah now i am going to paint like this and it is going to be great”! It was a natural process. My art style affirmed itself after deep changes inside of me. From that moment things were just more obvious and natural when i painted. My art style was more fluid.

« Fatherhood » detail, Annelies Adriaensen, 2019

think finding your own art style is not something you can force, it comes in a natural way. Being inspired by other artists and their work can be very important here. It even might be the starting point for your work and style. You will surely try different things before you find your own art style.

At least for me it worked like that.

Your art style will confirm itself throughout your experiences and art courses you may follow. And your teacher can also be important to develop your own art style, to help you on your way.

What is an art style in painting?

An art style is a technique of creating to express the story you would like to tell. It is our personal language of expression and we will try to find the form that fits with the story.

Art history in a nutshell

Throughout the art history of mankind you may have more then hundreds even more then thousands of styles. Starting with prehistoric art more then 73 000 years ago until the modern and contemporary art of today.

Parietal wall painting, cave of Lascaux, France -15000

Remarkable here is how every new style is a reaction of what existed before and how mankind tries to renew himself endlessly. Mankind also feels this need to push back the boundaries and this process is very noteworthy in the arts, painting, sculpture, music, cinema. It is the reflection of the spirit of the age.

We have iconic art, gothic art, renaissance, baroque, rococo, mannerism, romanticism, and then modern art with impressionism, expressionism, cubism, surrealism, realism and pop-art, drip-art, action-painting, street-art, land-art and so on.

And here I am only talking about the art styles invented in the western world. I haven’t spoken about all the native or tribal art. Here you have another incredible range of different kinds of art. For example, i like this painting of Pablo Picasso, he represents here a bull and is searching to represent it in a kind of primary way with lines and geometric shapes. It may refer to the wall paintings of the prehistoric period.

« The bull » Pablo Picasso 1945-1946

This gives us an enormous freedom because so many things have been invented already. It’s like a real play ground, we can go out and experiment as much as we like .

What is the Art style of today?

Today’s Art is not linked anymore to a religion or to the authority of the government or the church. But it used to be like that for many centuries. Artists had to fight to show their vision or authentic style! (There are great examples of Michael Angelo and his vision on art during the renaissance)

Today an artist is more free to go on an exploration of the artistic universe! This couldn’t be more fun could it?

If we take a look at the painting of today, called “modern painting” we see an evolution to abstract art. We see a lot of lines, surfaces and compositions filled with color. This is what we can see on this painting made by a friend of mine, Bryan Claessen a dutch painter.

« The slide » Bryan Claessen 2019

Also contrast seems to play an important role. We still see realistic paintings, but they are painted in a contemporary style. And if we see realist elements appear in a painting, it is often combined in a modern composition.

I think it is very interesting to see this evolution, because here again it shows the spirit of our age. Lines and surfaces may symbolise our modern era. Realist elements remind us of our humanity.

How did I find my art style?

For many years i worked on different subjects in my art painting. I had periods where i painted a lot of flowers, then trees, then landscapes, animals or portraits. But the goal of all those paintings was the same. Trying to represent the essence of my subject in its purest and most concentrated form.

I always made realist paintings, often people called them “photorealistic”. But I wanted to get away from this, i wanted to find a more personal style of painting, to be more free in my art work. And I was searching to find this way of painting.

Then in 2018 I experienced a personal transformation after a difficult period in my life. And it seems I needed that transformation to find my own art style.

I went back to my art supply store and bought very large canvases, way bigger then before. I bought a whole new range of brushes, and renewed my tubes of acrylic paint.

From then on I started to listen more to my feeling and what my intuition told me to do. I went into the most “funny” part of creation. I inspired myself from pictures of my childhood. Most of all, I wasn’t scared anymore to fail ! I just enjoyed the funniest part of it, like going to the play ground.

« Motherhood » Annelies Adriaensen 2019

I started to use a lot of color, and a lot of contrast in my painting. I turned my canvases upside down and continued to paint like this. Every time i felt i was “stuck” i got away from it for a while, and only went back when it felt right to me;

The result was paintings which looked more alive and vibrant. I felt that i had found my art style. My paintings still where painted like photorealism but i felt more free about my choice of color and composition.

So it is possible that you ask yourself these questions :

If you click on these links you can read the articles.

Here are some tips for how you can find your art style?

1 : getting inspired by other artists

You can do this by reading art-books or watching art-documentaries.

I explain this in my Free E-Book which you can download, in the chapter « How inspiration will find you » or you can read my article here to find out more about this subject, finding-inspiration.

2 : Enjoy your creation

When you go into your creative bubble it is to have fun. You can learn a new technique but the most important thing is to listen to what your feeling tells you. Go into the moment and enjoy it.

3 : Keep on painting with all your energy

The more you paint and create the closer you get to find your own art style. It is by doing, trying, missing and trying again that we learn, evolve and make progress. But also by listening to what your feeling and intuition tells you.

So, to find your own art style i think you can start by looking what is created in the artworld. By consulting art-books and reading about artists, their work and their lives. You can refer to what you like about the style of that artist but without copying him or her. This may be a starting point for you.

Thank you for reading this article and i hope you learned something about it, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on the facebook page of Live&Create.