Should artists keep to one painting style?

Version 2This is a question that I was recently asked. In fact, I have been asked by a number of people over the years. Thanks to Elese in the United States for asking the question which reminded me that this is a good topic to blog. Here’s my answer.

I have worked as a professional artist my whole life. The first 20 years as a full time graphic artist working in advertising and arts education, and the next 20 years as a full time fine artist. I have been teaching in both fields for a combined 34 years. I have always questioned what galleries and art critics said when they told me to establish one style of painting.

Personally I don’t think it matters if you have one or more styles. If you are an exhibiting artist then yes I agree, it is a good practice to exhibit a body of work that is undeniably ‘yours’. It’s great when people can walk into an exhibition or see a painting and recognise your style. But at your next exhibition you might produce another body of work with a slightly different theme, style of painting, medium or topic.

A truly dedicated, soulful artist will abhor the idea of working continually in one style especially if it is for the sheer purpose of keeping a gallery happy. It is perhaps easier for them to market you but not at the expense of limiting your growth as an artist. You don’t want to end up throwing in the towel because painting has lost its appeal and spontaneity because you are trying to manufacture a ‘look’ which sells.

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I might be slightly rebellious in this regard. As a graphic artist I was required to be as diversified as possible but as a fine artist it was suggested I develop one style uniquely mine. Problem was I had at the time about 5 styles, all completely different but the colour palette mostly the same. When people came to my gallery they often asked if all the artists were local, and I would answer ‘yes they are, these are all my works’. There was often a look of amazement but never a negative comment about the diversity of my work. The upside for me is that I sell a good amount of work because my paintings appeal to a wide audience…those who like abstracts, semi-abstracts, florals, impressionistic scenes and more traditional styles of art.

Quite frankly I would die of boredom if I had to paint in just one style.  Artists have spirit and feeling, and it is through that sensitivity to nature and the world that we MUST express ourselves in whatever way we desire. It’s such a remarkable journey that flip flopping about trying out styles, mediums, subject matter is just a massive part of the creative learning curve.

This is of course just my own opinion and I can only tell you what has worked for me. If you talk to other artists, gallery owners and art critics, I am sure they will give you a different point of view. Listen to everyone, then make your own decision on what best works for you.

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Develop a few styles if you want. You will find both your client and market for your work broadens. I have clients who have bought paintings from me for the last 10-20 years because they are inspired by a whole new range of paintings when they come to an exhibition. Many of them own 5-12 works of mine but they are all completely different, so in their homes it doesn’t look like the same artist created all their work but they still all work harmoniously together.

It doesn’t matter what you paint, how you paint, or who might even like your work. What is important is that you paint, paint, paint, play, dabble, push yourself and enjoy the journey! Get loads of painting experience under your belt, explore everything you’d like to and you might find you fall in love with a particular style, theme or colour palette. If you do a whole bunch of paintings but your style changes along the way… just go with it.

Express yourself, find your inner creative God or Goddess and enjoy the journey of discovery, creating joyous works of art that you are proud of. If you do that, then that joy will be evident in your work and people will be drawn to it for that very reason.

Don’t limit yourself, be kind to the child within and find your own creative bliss!

Tracey

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Wanderlust and the creative flow

Hello friends and art lovers,

I am back on terra firma and it’s good to be home! I had thought I would post to my blog whilst I was away these last 10 weeks but seems there was little time with all the travelling and internet access difficulties to actually do it. So I apologise if you have been waiting for word of my whereabouts. Hopefully some of you would have been able to track my journey on Facebook as I was able to post occasionally.

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Well what a trip! As with any travel overseas it can be fraught with obstacles…mostly in airports and some relating to language barriers. Still being an artist has its moments, when in doubt I can always draw a picture of what I am wanting to convey, seeing my French is rather primitive.

I have seen some truly awesome sights and I will share just a couple with you here. The most memorable is probably the Flamingoes at Camargue in Provence, South of France. It was a really beautiful sight to behold, such a large number of these magnificent birds only a metre or two from where I stood. I think I managed to capture over 100 photos just of these peaceful water dwellers. I plan for them to feature extensively in upcoming works, so watch out for my exhibition in Merimbula this Christmas, or check my website for new paintings in December.

Flamingoes

Secondly, the sunflower fields which I was lucky to see as the heat wave in Europe had most of them turning their colourful heads to the grounds to conserve their energy in the dry conditions was such a jaw dropping moment. I was so delighted when I came across a field not affected and could bask in their golden glow.

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Equally as beautiful an experience was to join Australian artist, Tracy Verdugo at Paint Mojo France and enjoy a truly inspiring week with another 6 lovely ladies in the village of Durfort for a week of painting bliss. Hosted by Nese at La Cascade,IMG_2844 we all felt extremely at home in her villa complete with cool running stream on our doorstep where we all jumped in to reinforce we should always be in ‘the creative flow’.

There was so much camaraderie and laughter that the time slipped effortlessly. I will sorely miss the gorgeous girls, the fabulous lunches, dinners and wine shared under the canopy of the grapevine where we dined on a feast of superb culinary delights prepared by Nese. I so want to go back to this enchanting place another time!

 

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One can’t possibly describe all the amazing sights to be seen in Europe. The history, architecture, art, scenery, sculptures, the hairy highland cows and black faced sheep, the Irish pubs and the Scottish games, the masses of pink Rhododendrons and Buttercup fields, the Roman stone arches and cobbled streets, the endless green of Ireland and rugged Scottish coastline. It was all amazing and beautiful and is forever etched on my mind and in my heart.

 

 

What a year so far!

I can hardly believe Easter has come and gone and we head towards the middle of 2015…the year is flying by! I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful break over Easter.

One of the thousands of Corellas to be found in Waikerie, SA.

One of the thousands of Corellas to be found in Waikerie, SA.

I am back from my 3 week ‘Serendipity’ exhibition in Mildura and whilst I was there I took a few days out to travel to Adelaide and through the Barossa Valley.

It was wonderful to see the likes of Hans Heysen’s studio and house, and marvel at the beautiful gums he used to paint, many of which are still standing on his property. I loved this day… wandering around the many acres in silent bliss, breathing in the essence of the place he loved and called home.

I must say I have a renewed fondness for our Gum trees. Doesn’t matter if they have died and their bare branches achingly tell the story of life lived, or a flush with new growth with feathered friends happily engaging amongst the foliage…they are all majestic and beautiful!

There was so much to observe in my drive to Mildura, stopping in little towns along the way, enjoying our country and revelling in all the shades of green, grey and brown to be seen in the landscape.

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Majestic Gums on Hans Heysen’s property ‘The Cedars’ in Hahndorf, SA

 

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I feel like my feet haven’t quite touched the ground this year and it will only be another 7 weeks before I am off on another adventure to Europe. More on that later. For now I just want to share with you the beauty our country and one of the pics from my exhibition.

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Thank you to everyone who came to visit the exhibition at The Art Vault. Your support and kindness is so much valued and appreciated.

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Beautiful Victor harbour on a perfect day in South Australia

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Took a detour just to investigate this part of the mighty Murray River, fascinated by the abstract upright forms agains the horizontal rock face behind. Just can’t remember where is was…sorry!


Paint the perfect picture

Gorgeous Lina came all the way from Wollongong for private art lessons with me this weekend and managed to complete a beautiful poppy painting which she has taken home to hang on her bedroom wall. Private lessons are a wonderful way to improve your skills whilst getting individual attention in a very relaxed environment.

IMG_0692If you’d like to join a small group class or undertake private lessons then please contact me on 0428 954 608.

A Serendipitous Event

Serendipity Exhibition I Works of Art by Tracey Creighton

The Art Vault, Mildura, Victoria.  11-29 March, 2015.


‘Serendipity’ meaning: An unsought, unintended, and/or unexpected, but fortunate, discovery and/or learning experience that happens by accident.


My upcoming exhibition at The Art Vault, Mildura is about a journey. An enlightening journey which started with a casual suggestion, evolved into a plan, transitioned into a discovery, mutated to a visual exploration, and culminated in the creation of a new body of paintings depicting our indigenous landscape. Each painting a metamorphosis of thought to imagery, a process which revealed its own serendipitous journey.

My studio is covered in paintings, some waiting to be framed and others waiting for their final varnish. This is pretty much how every artist’s studio appears when preparing for an exhibition. Space to sort through your artwork and find some free bench area becomes a complex issue but finally when all the work is packed ready to go peace will reign again.

My ‘Serendipity’ Exhibition opens at The Art Vault in Mildura on Wednesday, 11 March, and coincides with the Mildura Arts Festival.

I’ll be in Mildura for the entire exhibition period and I hope if you live or are holidaying in the area you will be able to come by and see this new collection of paintings. The exhibition closes on Sunday, 29 March.

Love to see you there…Tracey.

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Canberra here I come!

Having my last few days on the Far South Coast enjoying the fragrant sea air, crashing waves on the shore and watching the whales breaching as they travel south down the coast. Going to miss this gorgeous part of Australia whilst I am in Canberra for the next year but looking forward to being in the ‘big smoke’ for a while and being closer to my boys. Not looking forward however to unpacking all those boxes I packed 4 months ago. Still I am keen to set up my paints and easel again, and throw myself into painting in preparation for my exhibition at The Art Vault, Mildura next March.

Art lessons will be on offer again once I am settled so if you’re interested just drop me an email.

See you in Canberra…Tracey.

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Big, warm thanks to The Art Vault

A very big thank you to Julie Chambers and all her wonderful team for making my 3 week Artist’s Residency such a wonderfully creative and inspiring time. I got to meet other local and exhibiting artists, printmakers, see some wonderful artwork both at The Art Vault and at the Mildura Arts Centre, enjoy the beautiful weather and drink some of the best coffee ever…not to mention the Vanilla Slices which are to die for!

I look forward to returning next March for an exhibition during the Mildura Arts Festival 2015. Now having a few days to recuperate in Canberra before heading back to Merimbula to pick up some of my art supplies and see family and friends before the next leg of the journey begins.

Catch up with you again soon…Tracey

The Vault

The Vault

The Art Vault

The Art Vault

Work in progress

Work in progress

Work in progress

Work in progress

Work in progress

Work in progress

Studio 10 - The Art Vault

Studio 10 – The Art Vault

 

 

The art of printmaking

A fabulous day at the Art Vault which started with a lecture at La Trobe University by Ian Westacott, artist and master printmaker. What a great venue with the lecture recorded and feed live to their Bendigo campus. We could actually see the students sitting in the lecture room in Bendigo whilst they could see us sitting in our lecture room in Mildura. Learning institutes have certainly come along way since my college years in the 70s.

Many thanks to Julie Chambers, Director of The Art Vault who invited me along to the lecture which was followed by lunch with Ian.

Ian who was born in Australia lives with his family in Scotland. He is currently having a Retrospective Exhibition of his work at the Mildura Arts Centre. I will be off to view his beautiful drawings and prints tomorrow. Ian and fellow print maker Raymond Arnold where here at the Art Vault doing a residency just a week before I arrived. I would have loved to have seen them in action, creating beautiful prints from their etchings and watching the whole printmaking process. Here is a sample of one of Ian’s exquisite prints.

Ian Westacott art

You can read more about Ian at – http://www.ianwestacott.com/about.html

Mastering WordPress…or not!

Okay, paint brush down whilst I get to the business end of my art.

I have been working long and hard to get this, my new website up and running, and I have spent the last couple of days adding to my Portfolio page. Hopefully by the end of the night I will have worked out how to also upload my latest Newsletter, which I am intending to send out tonight as well.

My old site www.boardwalkart.com.au will still be live whilst I get my regular visitors to make the change to www.traceycreighton.com but all good things come to an end and eventually it will come down.

If you have any suggestions for things you’d like to see on my site then please let me know as I’d love to hear from you.

Cheers from The Art Vault in Mildura,

Tracey

ps. This dear little Jack Russell ‘Abe’ has been helping me out by holding down my artwork so as the breeze didn’t carry it away. He is such a cutie!

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A Blissfully Creative Day

I have been loving the freedom of getting creative in the studio here at The Art Vault. No phone ringing, no unexpected people coming to the door selling me products or services, nothing but some great music playing though my iMac and nothing but beams of sunshine coming through the window and onto my workbench.

Thought I’d share my latest ideas inspired by this part of the world. They are progressive photos which I had hoped to upload in order but see they haven’t. Hopefully you can make sense of it all. If you know how to change the order the photos appear I love to hear from you.

I began with pasting down some preliminary elements, colour swatches and pieces where I have used modelling paste, metallic paints, gold leaf, etc. It’s just the beginning and things are sure to change and develop as I go (you’ll see a sun which I later decided to take out), still getting the creative juices flowing brings such BLISS!

I have also added a couple of images that I have manipulated in Photoshop which I also love. What do you like the most – the delicate pastel shades or the intense bright colours?

Have a super day whatever you are doing.

Tracey

 

Overlaying sheer fabric and adding white wash. Not the finished product but getting closer.

Overlaying sheer fabric and adding white wash. Not the finished product but getting closer.

Photoshopped image to visualise how it might look knocked back with more white wash.

Photoshopped image to visualise how it might look knocked back with more white wash.

Adding some fibre

Adding some fibre

Trying out a little gold leaf - decided to take the sun out in the end.

Trying out a little gold leaf – decided to take the sun out in the end.

First step - laying the foundation

First step – laying the foundation

Now here is some really bright colour. Love the dynamic tones.

Now here is some really bright colour. Love the dynamic tones.