Yes, I know, I am there too! For years I struggled with the same idea, there are days I still have my doubts and concerns but I figured out that I will never be at peace with my art unless I let go of this idea and just keep on working, learning, progressing. I love a lot of styles and some will really pull me inn as soon as I get in touch with them like the whimsical and illustration world but then I am faced to a realistic portrait and it makes me wanna try that and go deeper and deeper in that area but then I go to a gallery and I wonder how the masters studied and how they become masters and so I want to study more! Finally, surfing on the Internet I find some cool workshops by independent artist and suddenly I am wanting to do that to and learning from them influences my work! Sounds familiar?
Here is a sample of what I mean, you can see four different styles of the same subject, faces, which I adore to paint, now ask me if I bother about them being so different! Well, the answer is... Nop! I call this practice! When you are learning, (and that`s a forever task) you have to try things to understand what you like, how this or that is done and you will be experimenting and learning a lot along the way, this can take a long time until you master painting or drawing or whatever your craft and that`s were keeping an art journal comes handy for you can experiment freely! In there you are free of judging eyes (even your own) or your potential clients and also, you don not have to worry about having one style or defined direction, I believe doing this for so long for my self has taught me so much in so short time, I think every artist should try many different things in order to understand more. I see many artist doing one thing only, one style and sometimes their art can end up tight or with a sense of stiffness for not trying different things or learning new stuff.
In time, (speaking from my experience) you develop your true style, which I think is different than doing the same thing over and over, to me, that`s just staying in the comfort zone and that`s Ok if you want that but I am guessing you want to evolve and create amazing art, one that stands out and speaks truly from your soul! I know because I am one of those, I used to have amazing visions as a kid and for sometime I was frustrated I could´t go any close to that vision when I came to paint them!
So here is a little tip that maybe can help you and me to create consistence which is what you are probably looking for, to me, style is who you are and how you do things, what you like and what you express of your self and it will evolve as you do, will change as you do, I don´t know it all but I hope it is useful!
Work on series
Use your sketches or past works as a starting point and create new work based on that, remember the techniques used, the materials and how the inspiration came to you, then make as many paintings as you can using that inspiration and techniques, for example, let`s say I use my first image in the photo up here and make 10 pieces like that, small, large and extra large, I will end up with something to show in a gallery right? Change the colors and add more stuff to that same idea like collage or use different mediums but use the same foundations of the original or even use different tools!
I also wanna say it is important to keep on trying new things, only that way you will improve and learn, taking classes can help you learn how other´s do it and you will take that knowledge and make it your own, first copy what the instructor is teaching you, that way you will learn what she or he is trying to share, then, go to your studio and try the same techniques from your perspective, use a new subject and try mixing it with other techniques you already know, this way you´ll keep on developing your own style, no one will ever learn and do the same things as you do!
Here are some samples of my first work used as a starting point and how can they be used in a series, hope you like them!
I used collage from scrapbook papers and then painted with a brush and acrylics very loosely but the key point is to use the colors as how they come in the bottle and very little mixing so that´s why they look like this! Having the original in my art journal helps me remember what I did!
Aren´t they cute? I had fun working like this, after I finished I knew I was right about this, working in a series can show consistence in your work, for me it´s had to do so for I love learning the next new thing and be challenged but I know I can come to this in the future if I want to offer a show in a gallery which is also in my plans but not just now.
I hope you enjoyed and please share if this helps you or if you have a great idea or thought about how can we stop our fears and doubts about our work jumping from here to there, is there a magic recipe you have and would love to share?