I just bought my first original artwork. I found the artist in a Facebook group.
I fell in love with her style and a specific piece of her artwork. When the cheetah (Untamed) went up for sale, it was more money than I thought I should spend. But her technique was intriguing and I went to her website to find something smaller that was like it. I found a pair of ducks that used a similar style. Not as cool as the $1800 cheetah, but nice. I was holding out, waiting to see if she would produce something else that made my heart sing. She was producing quite a bit at the time. As she put things up for sale, either they went quickly, or I liked the ducks better. Then I realized that her style had started to change. Ever so slightly. She might not produce another painting in the specific style that enchanted me. I knew that if I wanted an original--and by this time a print wasn’t going to cut it for me--I needed to act.
An artist changes, grows, develops. No two paintings are ever going to be the same. Look at Picasso’s work. He produced only a handful of paintings in each style. He produced a lot of work in a lot of styles. A few he is famous for. But I don't think you can choose just one style to define who he was as an artist.
As I worked on my 15 paintings of aliens in March 2021, I felt like the style I had used in my 2020 alien paintings was holding me back. I worried that my fans were expecting me to paint this next set in exactly the same way. I was holding myself back too. I wanted to please my fans. But I also needed to learn and to grow. What if no one likes the new paintings? How can I recreate what everyone likes about those paintings? If I use a different technique or experiment, will they still look like they belong to the same world? I had to give myself permission to relax. To try something new.
I tried a different painting technique where you pick up several colors of paint on your brush at the same time and then lay them down. I found I liked the effect and the speed I could finish a painting with this technique.
I tried doing a midtone ground first and then painted my drawings on top. I found that they really helped the whites of the eyes to pop off the page better than the previous technique. I also found that I could leave space between colors to create a unique line. I really like the effect of the whites of the eyes popping off and the midtone showing through to make a line between colors.
I stumbled upon leaving the white transfer paper line onto the mid tone ground as a way to add interest to a piece. The rubbing left over on the mid tone ground also provided an interesting texture.
As I learn new (to me) techniques and stumble upon things I like the effect of, my artwork will change. I’m going to experiment. I want to try some abstract backgrounds with artwork collaged on top. I might try some more figurative but still abstract background with painted aliens on top. I’m not sure of all the different paths I will explore as I continue to put this alien exhibit together.
You might find that I have different styles in several of these paintings, but overall, they will belong to the same world. Each piece of art I make is not always going to look the same. Maybe in 20 years, I might be one of those illustrators who can say, “I have 2 styles.” But I’m not there yet. And I’m going to be really old in 20 years.
If you like my current style, I suggest you buy it. Because, I feel a change coming on.
My artwork from 2020 is up for sale on my website right now. My 2021 Exhibit will open in the fall and you’ll be able to see all the artwork I’ve been working on this year and finally be able to buy it. Now is a good time to start saving your money!
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