Art Discussions – Consistent Art. What is it?

Consistent art, what is it-Hi Everyone…There is something I struggle with a lot, and its that of feeling not having ‘a style’, and by extension, I feel as if I create work that is a bit all over the place. This is often followed by some self-excuses and reasoning and me justifying it by saying…‘but I want to try everything!’.

Most of us want to be able to commit to a focus and make more consistent art at least some of the time, but it’s not always as easy as it might seem. I recently stumbled across an artist who…just from her first blog post got me excited….no not in that way….She basically expressed exactly what I’ve been feeling and going through and she is an artist that wants to help. That got me excited…SHE UNDERSTANDS!!

Her name is Tara Leaver and this is what she said……..

“If I’ve learned one thing over the last decade, it’s that *consistency in your art does not, for most of us, happen overnight*.I’ve also noticed that the *frustration tends to come from feeling we ought or want to be more consistent* way before it makes sense for that to happen, ie. when we’re still in the early stages of learning to express ourselves through art. And the early stages can take years, friends. That’s completely normal {if a total bummer at times}.

There seems to be this standard way of thinking about it.

We notice that our paintings are coming out different from each other without any apparent common theme or thread.We also notice that we’re far too curious about all sorts of different subjects, styles, techniques and media to feel able to commit to just one.

**So we assume there’s something wrong with us,** that we’re not ‘real artists’. That we will never be able to make consistent work.

I don’t like the word amateur at all; it seems to come laced with judgement whenever it’s used. But I do think if we were able to accept early on that those other ‘further along’ words we may want to claim – professional, experienced, skilled, ‘good at what we do’ – may take longer to apply than we imagine or might like, {especially if we don’t yet have a regular artistic practice}, the whole process of finding our way might be a little less painful.”

Her words hit home to me. I’ve been feeling that way for the past 3-4 years of my painting life. But she has been painting for many years and I am still a fledgling, so I expect what I’m going through is all a part of the “growing up” process. Its good to know this though as there are times when I feel like I want to give up in frustration. Especially when I also want my art out there and no one is buying.

There are hundreds of artist here in Trinidad and as I always reiterate, only a few are established and make money, the rest do it as a hobby or because as Tara mentioned it’s inside of us and we need to let it out.

There have been times when I wanted to cry because I feel as if there is something inside of me that wants to burst out but I haven’t found the key to release it yet and it leaves me sad, frustrated and upset. Then I have to let the feeling ride, bury it and deal with it another day because life has to go on.

That’s why Tara resonated with me so strongly. She empathies with what we artist go through. I especially needed to read these next words from her…..

“So my first tip, in light of the above, would be to really try to let it sink in that

a} everything takes a lot longer than you think it ought to, and

b} in the beginning, you likely will want to try a lot of different things, your work therefore will probably look inconsistent {although there will also be common threads so stay alert for those}, and this is all totally ok and normal. Frustrating as all hell, but normal. In fact, I consider it a significant part of fully becoming your artist self.”
Thank you Tara. Your words helped me feel a lot better about myself and these crazy emotions that pop up at intervals especially when looking at the work of other artists. i would feel lost and like a fake. The one thing that did make me feel better before seeing her words was the fact that when I did my markets people expounded that my work was beautiful and very lovely, I mean…..that is all well and good but when you know inside you haven’t reached that point where what you create soothes that crushing need for expression and release., then hearing that is short lived. It soothes you for a short period only.

Tara recommended a few exercises which I try as they were also mentioned by another artist I again stumbled upon…Nancy Hillis……what they both basically indicated is that we should:

1. Work in multiples. Start at least 3-5 pieces at the same time.

2. That prevents you from getting too detailed and tight as you paint.

3. Move from one to the other, it also gets you to paint a lot looser.

4. Choose a theme, something you’re passionate about or excited about

5. Or challenge yourself by doing a specific number of pieces within a one week period.

So as I like to say let’s see how that goes. I hope what I read and learned from Tara and Nancy will help you as well. Read more of my other ramblings, as…

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE….

>Highs & Lows

>Research, research, research

>How I Create My Art

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