Thursday, October 09, 2008


"September Reflections"
Oil on Panel

I think that an artist's personal style is mostly the result of covering a lot of canvas outdoors or in the studio, and doesn't require as much deliberation as we artists tend to think.

I also think that any artist who is trying new things and working to improve is going to have their style evolve over time. When I was uploading pictures of my recent show paintings to my website last week, I realized that my work has been changing a bit over the past year as I try different things, and it was interesting to see where I'm at right now and think about where I want to be.

In the past year, I've transitioned from using canvas to using smooth panels almost exclusively. I went through a phase at the start of this year where I was really focusing on greys and lower contrast. I've gone from using all thick paint, everywhere, to using thick paint more sparingly and using transparent passages for contrast. More recently, I've been going a lot brighter and higher contrast again, which I think is more of a natural inclination for me.

So, who knows where I'll be a month from now, but I know I'd like to work on utilizing more greys to offset the brighter colors in my paintings, as a way to move the eye throughout the composition. I'm experimenting with some different types of linen as possible surfaces for larger paintings too, so we'll see how that goes. One thing I'm also doing is small studies to prep for every painting. I want to decrease the number of scrapers I do, and planning beforehand is key.

Now, if I could just find the TIME to try all these things!


  1. Oh Stacey, your work is beautiful! Your style, composition and subjects simply make me happy.

    I have also found my style changing now that I have time to work more than a two hours at a time. Who knows where life or our styles will go. That adventure is one of the more delightful mysteries of an artist's life.

    Interesting that you mention small work. This morning I prepared a couple dozen 5" x 6" panels for some quick paintings. Not so much for prep, but to force me to stay loose. It should be interesting to see how that effects my larger work.

    It will be interesting to see what our work looks like in five years. I know I will be watching yours with a lot of admiration.

  2. This is beautiful work ,love the composition as well the mood and paint application.
    good thoughts.
    What you say is right about the style..furthet i would like to say style is more about the choice and process than the look...
    anyway..Nice to have found you ,thanks to Theresa Rankin.

  3. Hi Stacey,

    I like your comments about style. I think you are right on. Style isn't something we need to think about at all... we just need to paint a TON of paintings to evolve into our own work. I used to worry about how my paintings were so derivative of my favorite painters, but as I kept painting my work moved into it's own look.

    And I also really like what you say about, "any artist who is trying new things and working to improve is going to have their style evolve over time." It seems most important that we keep srtiving for more, no matter how much we learn. When we just keep trying to paint something new, we can go beyond our abilitites. Great post!

  4. Right on Stacey...A striking piece. Your style is evident....and it seems to me it is probably much like the person's personality on an emotional level. Miles on the brush is what I have always heard!

  5. Very interesting comments, Stacey.

    I want to play more with paint thickness/thinness myself. One artist I know uses it to such a degree that it's become an element in his work itself. Not like you might think, though...

    He did a night scene on the water's edge. You could "sense" that out of view, away from the beach there was the ocean but it was only implied.

    It was so black, you couldn't immediately see what was going on. But as you moved around the painting, you could see that some of the brush strokes appeared as "waves" as they reflected the gallery lghts. Only, the real suggestion he was after (and got) was that they looked like waves reflecting moonlight! There were no "painted" waves in the painting at all. Great illusion! Very clever use of brush strokes.

  6. That water and the reflections are stunning.

  7. I agree this is beautiful... just beautiful... amazing...

  8. I agree with what you're saying about style, and I love your work, but the reason I just HAD to comment on this particular one... the foreground water, where it goes from reflected trees to reflected sky- that passage absolutely took my breath away. As a small image. On a computer screen. Which officially makes you my hero for the day :)

  9. Michael - thanks so much - what better compliment than my working making someone happy!

    Milindmulick - glad you found me - thanks for commenting!

    Colin - I also used to worry about being derivative of my favorite painters, but once I stopped worrying about it, I seemed to develop my own style - funny how that works.

    Theresa - yup, miles on the brush! I'm also often surprised at how much each artist's personality is reflected in their painting style.

    Brian - that sounds like a really cool way to use paint texture - wish I could see it in person!

    Alexandre and Sylvia - thanks so much. This is second time I've painted this scene - I think I'm getter closer to what I wanted to do with it...

    Kellie - thanks also! I know this is odd, but I've always aimed for my paintings to look good as thumbnails - if the fundamental design of a painting is solid, the painting should look good even small scale. No amount of fancy brushwork or color will hide bad design!

  10. Yeah, as an artist, your natural style happens when you let your ego get out of the way.
    Like you said, trying new things and painting LOTS of paintings is what will help it evolve.
    I wonder sometimes when I see an artist's work that remains exactly the same. I wonder why they don't push themselves.

  11. I love the water in this painting. I was also interested in your musing on developing a style. I worried about this myself for a while, but now I'm just enjoying trying any idea/style or medium that takes my fancy. Eventually I guess a consistent dominant style will emerge. but for the moment I'm still enjoying the journey


  12. Frank - I totally agree with you - I think the same thing when I see an artist whose work remains the same!

    Ryan - the journey is what it's all about!

  13. no words to explain the beauty!!

    excellent paintings.

    graet use of color!!..

    it is a good place to learn for me!

  14. This is so beautiful -

  15. Hi Stacy . . ! It has been a long time since I have visited. This work has exquisite harmonies! Your restraint with values makes me very jealous! And your work is indeed changing in such a gorgeous way. Keep up the good work . . .and take some time for you!

  16. What a great design and execution!

    Lovely painting.