Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Winter Sunset, Tonalist Painting,Poll Results, & Finding your Unique Style

copyright 2009, Jan Blencowe, Connecticut, USA
Winter Sunset, 10x10, acrylic on linen, unframed
View this painting in a sample frame here
Visit my website http://www.janblencowe.com/
Need to contact me? jan.blencowe@comcast.net

Have you ever seen a sunset like this in the winter, when there are low, thin clouds near the horizon which seem to ignite when the sun sinks to a certain level? It is an absolutely stunning sight! It makes the entire marsh light up in a fierce and wild way. Seeing such a sight always makes me imagine the Connecticut marshes long before humans set foot upon them when huge, now long extinct mammals, roamed about. Something about this time of year and these type of sunsets ignites my imagination.

The Poll Results

A big Thank You to eveyone who answered my poll question! There were 95 responses and I think that's a pretty good sampling!

Developing your own voice or style came in only 1 percentage point behind Help with sales and marketing, the number one need among the artists who answered the poll question.

I find this very interesting. Three times more artists wanted to know about developing their style and marketing their work and those two things go hand in hand. 

BEFORE you invest any time or money in marketing your work, you need to have a recognizable style to market.  When someone mentions your name other people should immediately be able to recall what your work looks like and put a word or to together in their minds to describe it.

It should go something like this:

Mary:  I just got back from a gallery and saw work by this incredible artist, Sasha Travetsky.
Susan: Oh my gosh I know her work! She does those very colorful, semi-abstract florals in watercolor. They're gorgeous!

See! So here's a little exercise for you. Put your name in place of our fictious artist, Sasha Travetsky.  Then play Susan's role and see if you can produce three juicy adjectives that describe 95% of your paintings. (Don't forget to tell yourself they're gorgeous!)

If you can define the majority of your paintings with 3 keywords, that's great!  If you can't, why not? Do you dabble in different styles, genres, & mediums?  Or is it because you can't easily find words that define your style, techinques, subjects? 

If you have the former problem get out your paintings and begin sorting them into groups with similar characteristics. Then, order them from your favorite group of paintings to your least favorite. Start thinking about your favorite group and why you chose it. This will help you clarify the direction you should continue in. It doesn't mean you will never go back to other mediums or other ways of working, but it will give you one direction to work on first.

If you have the latter problem, difficulty finding words that adequately describe your work, get a note book and begin brain storming a list of words that define or you think define, your work. Shoot for 50 words. Try to get beyond the obvious,(as in the example above) and dig deep to find meaningful, personal words. These words will hold the key to unlocking the seeds of your own personal visual voice and style.

Unsure? Just do both exercises!


AutumnLeaves said...

This is so beautiful!! Funny what you see in such paintings, Jan. I come a few centuries ahead and envision when the land was roamed by buffalo and Native Americans! LOL At any rate, I know what you mean about brilliant sunsets such as this one. I see them occasionally here too. Amazing what sunlight, clouds, and refraction and reflection can do in the soul of an artist, isn't it?

Jan Blencowe said...

There's nothing like light to inspire an artist!

Suzanne McLean said...

What wonderful exercises. Thanks, Jan. As an emerging artist I am still dabbling in many different styles trying to find what feels right to me. But it's coming!

Winter Sunset is so beautifully vibrant. Didn't imagine any animals walking through it, but did feel the wonderful vibrtion of the colours.

Happy day!

Jan Blencowe said...

Hi Suzanne,

It's very hard for creative people who are able to do many different things and are inspired and excited by many different styles to discipline themselves to focus on one. But if gallery representation is one of your goals it is a good thing to do, and it does make marketing your work much easier!