Monday, March 9, 2009

In Defense of the Eclectic Artist

Many art professionals completely ignore any artist who does not develop a distinctive visual style.
They remain oblivious to those artists whose motivation for creating art is not to create art history, or develop a signature style, but to create a work of art simply because it pleases them -- and hopefully will please others.

If an artist wishes to develop a distinctive style all they need to do is relax and doodle. The natural human inclination is to repeat something you feel has been successful. Since repetition is second nature to most people, a signature style will naturally emerge.

The difficult part is to avoid repetition. This is especially true for paintings that one sells or for which one recieves some sort of acclaim. If your favorite color is blue, chances are you'll have a lot of blue in your paintings. If you are pleased by the texture of your most recent painting, it is not surprising that your next painting will have a similar, if not identical, texture. If you discover that your landscapes get more attention than your portraits, then landscapes become your specialty. And so forth.

What would a print look like as a painting? How would that painting look in different colors? How would that sculpture look as a painting. Since I can't afford the work of world famous artists whose work I enjoy, I paint a variation for myself. By that I don't mean I attempt an exact copy, but a variation using those parts that I find most pleasing. (music composers are particularly adept at variations on a theme).

Visitors to my studio at the Pendelton Art Center in Cincinnati are often perplexed with the variety of images on my studio walls. The answer is simple. I'm an eclectic painter and printmaker and I love variety -- and I love to experiment, to problem solve. I'm not a specialist.

I paint in oil, acrylic, pastels. I'm an etcher, engraver, and do woodcuts and collographs as well.
I'm enchanted by the visual arts.

For those artists who choose to be eclectic, perseverance is a must. Although limited, there is a market for the eclectic artist. And occassionaly being eclectic has its advantages. When I was living in New York State, I was juried in to several shows at the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum as much because I had something in my art inventory that suited the monthly theme as for the quality of my work.

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