Perhaps it is more of something you uncover. It is like finding out who you are. A popular expression is 'you can be anything you want to be'. Most people over a certain age know this isn't really true. I am 5' 10" and no matter how hard I worked I wasn't going to be a jockey, or a muscleman, or a carpenter (something I actually considered). I have little muscle mass, and am not very good at practical things. I actually get ill if I don't get enough time alone, so politician is probably out as well. And so on. I am suited to be an artist, and isn't it grand that that is what I love to be? This is often the case and enough proof of a benevolent higher power for me.
So slowly I progressed from irritation that my work looked like something I would do to thinking there could be some value there. I appreciate subtlety, have a good eye for detail and love a good story. Okay, maybe I am not suited for abstract expressionism. I love Kandinsky but when I tried to do anything abstract I just couldn't keep interested. But when I went to life drawing I found it endlessly fascinating.
From the beginning I wanted to draw and paint realistically. I went back to university in '89 and no one was interested in naturalistic painting. I am pretty sure the teachers had not learned to work that way. It was considered old fashioned and not cool. When I asked for advice on how to paint, skin say, my teacher would say "however you want". I felt intimidated and 'wrong'.
But realism was always what I wanted to do. I realise now that I wanted to be able to create other realities. That is what art is for me. Even though I went off and learned how to paint traditionally I was never interested in painting what was in front of me. I wanted to paint the invisible world. And I wanted to do it in a way that expressed it as 'real'. This combination of natural abilities and natural interests now combine to make my 'style'.
Thank you for the thoughtful and intelligent comments on the last post. I love that with blogging we can have this back and forth and it isn't just about me giving my opinion. I learn from your comments and it changes what I think.
Jeanie commented that style can change and evolve over time. I think it must really, if we are to continue to grow.
I want to add that I am still thinking about this whole concept of style. I understand that the galleries need to sell work and that if artists have a recognisable look to their work it helps with that. But I do think this is a tricky thing for the artists as most creatives are driven to keep experimenting and changing. I know I am.