Since I seriously started thinking about becoming a working artist, I constantly asked myself, how do I develop a style? I chatted with other artists, friends, family, and read blogs and other articles relating to this subject. The consensus I got was to just paint - a lot.
On the other hand, collectors and galleries want to see a consistant, full body of work that's not all over the place. Since I started this blog and dedicated myself to developing my first consistant body of work, I have been sidetracked twice with paintings that I thought would fit but didn't. I set them aside, unfinished, and felt a twinge of shame for doing so because a few people said "but isn't that the process?".
Then I read an article in the Fine Art Views daily newsletter that I receive called "The Wiper" by a frequent writer, Keith Bond. In it he decribed one artist he admired that completely wiped clean his palette or canvass if he didn't feel it was worth continuing or up to his personal standard. I started to not feel so bad anymore. I think this can also be part of the process. I think it's easier to erase your mistakes and start fresh, than to keep working on them. Some may disagree and say that those "mistakes" can become our acheivements and maybe so, but it's up to the artist to determine that in the end before he/she publishes their work for sale.
I don't think those unsuccessful paintings were a waste of time either because I did learn what does and doesn't work for me in terms of preferences in technique and style. If I don't enjoy the process, the painting won't turn out the way I think is successful. I also learned to funnel my subject matter more accurately. In the end, after those two unnsuccesful, unfinished paintings, I am in process of another that I absolutely love and adore and hope to share with you in the next few weeks. Stay tuned for postings of the ones that will get wiped, and the one that won't!