Finding your style (by Dimitra Milan)
Your voice is: Your aesthetic (what you find beautiful) + your taste (you should always work to elevate your taste) + your process (your materials and how you go about producing your painting)
Your style should evolve slowly over time but alway be cohesive and recognizable.
Your voice should be totally YOU to the core, and be authentic and genuine.
Your process should reflect your personality and temperament. You should LOVE your process and not feel stifled, bored, or uninspired.
How I Found My Voice
I first got into painting when I was about 12 years old. It started out as a hobby, I painted for fun in my mom’s art classes. Then I became more serious when I started selling a few pieces, and this really motivated me. I mostly painted horses, and abstracts. People told me my work looked just like my parents! I didn’t like to hear that at all, and I was desperate to find my own style.
I decided to take a portfolio class from my mom. She worked with 12 students and we met once a week for a critique, for 8 weeks. It was basically art bootcamp! Every week we had to create 4 completed pieces of art. We also had to find 10 artists we really admired and printed out pictures of their work. While creating our portfolio, we were influenced by our favorite artists and eventually this helped us evolve into our unique style.
By the end of the class, I had a cohesive style going that was totally different from my usual work, but I wasn’t happy with these paintings. It didn’t really feel like me. I sold some of the pieces, and I decided to take that class again.
I was looking at art from Anke Schofield, and Maxfield Parrish. I loved their work and tried to implement some of their styles. By looking at my paintings, you could never tell that they were my influence.
I did the portfolio class a total of three times! Finally on the third try, I discovered something new that made me fall in love with my art. I started combining girls and animals and layered them with collaged poetry. I started telling stories through my art. From there, it really took off and I was able to launch my art career.
My style and voice has since developed into something much greater. Every year I evolve and make new discoveries within my art. I believe a great artist continues to push themselves and constantly explore new ways of expressing themself and how they want to say it. There will never be an end to it, a good artist will never feel like they’ve “arrived”. As long as you are painting, you will always be chasing that elusive vision in your heart. You will never quite reach it, you may come close, but this is what motivates us to continue to create.
Tips to Finding Your Voice
Find 10 artists you really love and admire their talent
Consume yourself with art, you must breathe it in
Look at different interiors, and imagine where you would want to see your art hanging
Paint, paint, paint! The ONLY way you can find your style is by hours and hours behind the paint brush
Try our 100 Paintings Challenge
Find out what makes you cry and what makes you angry. This will give you knowledge on finding out what matters to you, and ultimately what your voice is. Your voice will always line up with your destiny, and what you were meant to say to the world. All artists have something inside to say and express, its innate in each of us. You have to dig deep and find out what it is.
Look at the world around you, and find what is beautiful. Everybody sees beauty differently. This is what makes your voice unique!