I've been lurking on The Documented Life Project and amazed at the artwork I'm seeing. Lots of bright, bold colors, doodling, white-pen work and busy, busy pages. I like it, but I can not do it; it just doesn't work for me. I had a couple of frustrating days in my studio this week, trying to create something whimsical, colorful, outside my comfort zone and it was so freakin' stressful. My vision was stylized flowers on a paint-splattered background. What I got was something that looked like mutant jellyfish surrounded by a haze of dots.
This got me thinking about personal style. I follow several mixed media artists and can usually tell whose work I'm looking at because of their personal style. I also see that some of them can keep their work fresh, even though their style is immediately recognizable.
I've wondered if maybe I was just being lazy and not challenging myself to try new things, like lots of color , bold markings and busy layouts. I think I've decided that the artists who keep their work fresh yet have an easily identified personal style do it by using new techniques, subjects and formats are the ones I like best. I'm good with finding and creating a personal art style while appreciating different ones. Sort of like finding a personal fashion style. I'll never be wearing big, bold prints or harem pants - not going to happen.
So, back to my studio for some recovery therapy, doing what I like best - understated color, simpler designs, and some vintage vibe. And guess what ? No stress, just playing and having fun!
I stamped some with gray dye ink and like the muted look. Sometimes the bold black seems too much for a soft background color. Added a few bits of stuff - washi tape, rub-ons and fibers dragged through the same ink and done!
Think I'm getting comfortable with appreciating others' style without needing to go there myself. I could be a bit more adventurous with color, but probably will never feel comfortable with lots of bright colored doodled designs outlined in bold black or white. On the other hand, if I ever need to make mutant jellies, I now know how !