This year I was determined to open my pool early and get ahead of the curve. But after a long hard winter that caved in my pool cover, the bottom of my pool was stacked up with leaves. I did what I could to scoop them out, but I started to get impatient. So I did what any red blooded impatient male would do, I dumped a bunch of chemicals in it hoping to clear things up. Then I added more. And some more. But it got worse. I couldn't see a thing.
Against my pride, I took a sample to the local pool place expecting a pricey remedy, but a remedy none the less. What I got was "Keep blindly scooping and vacuuming leaves". I couldn't add any more chemicals. It was off the charts already in chlorine. So I have been slowly, inch by inch, hour by hour, blindly moving forward, hoping that clarity will come the next morning.
If you've ever been a part of discussions with artists when talking about a "signature style" and you don't feel you have one, it might feel like you're poking around on the bottom of a green pool searching for the answers. Honestly, we all want the magic chemical to bring clarity. Or we want to go to the experts to have them tell us the answers.
But in the search for a signature style, the answer is the same I got for my pool: show up everyday and put the work in, sometimes blindly.
There are no shortcuts to finding your style. No one is going to do it for you. You aren't born with it. You DISCOVER it.
I embarked upon 2 years (and into my third currently) of 365 daily drawings / paintings. This journey was priceless. Was it hard work? yes. Did I feel like skipping some days? Yes. But I pushed on. And something clicked. It happened. Somewhere through the course of showing up and working consistently - my style emerged.
Perhaps in your journey, you are desperately wanting to discover your signature style. You've been reading, searching, hoping maybe today will be the day. If I can offer any word of encouragement from my own journey - just keep showing up and doing the work. Play. Discover. Experiment. Don't be so critical of yourself. Don't restrain yourself so much.
Maybe you're like me. You need to work in time bound projects. Do a thirty day series of drawings or paintings of a certain subject. Then do another thirty days. Or take on a 100 Day Project. Do it with some friends. If you feel like you don't have any local artists to connect with join some Facebook groups or other artist groups online. The truth is, if you want it, you'll figure it out.
Stop trying to dump chemicals in, or seeking the counsel of the experts. Roll up your sleeves and dive in. Now excuse me, I have to take another pass at cleaning my pool. Here's to clarity!