In Part 1, two weeks ago, we recognized that one aspect of artistic style depends on the artist’s personality and way of viewing the world, selecting subject matter, and applying an intellectual and emotional approach suited to his or her nature.
Another aspect of style depends on mechanics of the craft—the way an artist typically uses both skill and available materials. Each artist will resolve certain issues inherent in the painting process in a unique way by applying his or her understanding of the mechanics involved and the materials at hand. For a painter, mastery of materials includes knowing what can be expected of the various types, sizes, and shapes of brushes; pigment characteristics and typical interactions; characteristics of various painting surfaces; supplemental materials such as frisket, screens, sponges, drawing implements and mediums, and so much more).
An artist’s style will reflect her level of mastery of technique and her understanding of the medium. Understanding and control of those mechanics and the characteristics of the materials being used will influence her decisions when it comes to problem solving. If she typically wields her brush a certain way, or uses a characteristic selection of colors, or consistently applies certain techniques to her work, these elements will eventually become a trademark of her style.
In Part 3 we will look at the importance of the artist’s personal aesthetic.