There is a connection, or a parallel as I see it, between my personal style evolution and my growth as an artist. In both areas I have experimented. As my personal style has developed in both clothing and in painting, it sometimes takes me awhile to figure out what is wrong if I have not quite been true to myself. Other influences might creep in and send me in an experimental direction, but there are certain things that just feel right, feel like me and this is the case both with what I chose to wear and how I chose to paint. Dressing in a way that is not true to my personal style makes me feel like I am in a costume. Painting in a way that is not true to my personal style makes me feel a painting isn't finished.
In exploring clothing, it became evident that while I am attracted to earthy and softer colours they do not suit me best. I am better in jewel tones, rich colours and with medium to high contrast. In pale colours and low contrast I look lacklustre or washed out and I don't quite feel myself. In my paintings I have experimented with softer colours, subtlety and small details as well as a very colourful, vivid and expressionist way of representing things and have concluded that it is the latter that feels like a true expression of myself. Some of the paintings I had done, which were hung around my home allowing me to observe them and ponder, were too soft and subtle but it took me awhile to pinpoint why they felt unfinished or wrong to me.
When it dawned on me, when I suddenly realised they needed to be more vivid and contain more contrast, that it really is my signature style to outline most of the shapes in black, to use big bold and blobby paint strokes and lots of colour, I couldn't rest but had to get at those paintings right away. Whether I have made them better or worse is perhaps a matter of taste and opinion but in my mind I have made them authentic and I am much happier. It has been a similar experience to finding just what type of clothing I wish to wear, only painting makes me happier than dressing does. Painting, when it goes well, makes me happier than just about anything I can think of and I feel very fortunate to have discovered that.
Realism ain't my bag, baby. And neither is photography as these are not the best photos but I may or may not get around to taking another photo. I may be too busy painting things Bigger Bolder Faster. When I let myself paint that way it feels true. The more I paint that way the more I know myself. I can stare at a painting and find flaws just as I can stare at myself in a photo or in the mirror and find flaws but I would rather just be happy with what is, learn from it and move forward. That's why I post pictures of myself in outfits that are not the best ones, or that I have forgotten to accessorise, why I share first draft writing (which each blog entry always is) and paintings which may not be finished. It's okay for everything to be a work in progress, to not be perfect, to be a little bit undone. I am not in any way trying to model perfection, but the joy of trying and learning.
Perfection, well I'm not much good at that. What I do know how to do is to keep trying, to keep going, and to learn something along the way.