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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A personal style in art making

A personal style in art making is not the same thing as a style of art in history, or culture.  A personal style in art is a deep reflection of how I, as an artist,  respond to the world.  I am thinking of the visual arts because I am a painter, but this response to the world is parallel for writers and dancers and musicians; for all creative effort.
To catch a glimmering of my personal style in art, I look for patterns that emerge across the years of my art making, and not just within individual pieces.  I have discovered three patterns of apprehending and responding to my lived world that form a core of my personal style as an artist.

I attend to density.  Every part, and every part between the part, is whole.  Density is not just physical complication, it is a feeling tone that suffuses every mark and material.

This painting originated from a failed drum head intended to be a frame drum whose surface just kept inviting me in and then in again--layer upon dense layer until I realized I was creating an ovum and the sperm were reaching its rim and the blood was coursing around the feather soft nest of the mother dreaming her child to her.  In my art making, my style is saying density is not a result of confusion or a welter of data, it comes from a full weight of meaning.

I attend to edges.  The lost and found edges in these original paintings for the  Journey Oracle cards are what pulls me into the mystery of who and what I am seeing.  We are none of us complete, and when I allow an image to be incomplete, I feel a kindred vibration. 

Even a simple sketch of the BC coastline made while leaning on a ferry railing can become suffused with awe if I do not anchor the sensory impression to my urge to control the form.

Perhaps the most predominant aspect of my personal style in art is my love of curves.  I seem to not be able to render a form with a hard angle--

no matter how sharp and dramatic are the angles of the total composition.

The qualities of a personal style in art are mostly unconscious.  These Oracle cards are filled with lines, and yet the overall sensation is of density, lost and found edges, and curves.  We each respond to the feeling tone of forms and spaces based on our unique way of being in the world.

 If you are not sure you have a personal style in art, just look at your signature.  The pressure, width of line, boldness of stroke, size and flourish are all a mirror of the patterns and preferences that flow from your fingers whenever you sign your name.

Of course, there are times when the Art in nature conspires to show the human artist a deeper version of her style.  For this remarkable image on a frame drum I only added the eyes, the ochre and black iron oxide of the nose, and the lines defining the mouth.  It was mostly painted by mold as it grew the dense, curved, indeterminate edges of its art across the hide surface while the skin was drying.