*Originally written as a Tip ‘r Tool, but the topic needed more room than that format allowed
Today we delve into the importance of consistency in our artwork and reveal the “9 Significant Traits Found in Wildly Successful Artists.”
This discussion evolved from an email I received a little while back where I was asked: “How do you develop consistency in your work?”
What a great question, and it deserves a stronger answer than I can give through a simple email reply.
I don’t always have consistency in my work because I have so many interests between realism and impressionism. Quality with our work is the most important consideration and that simply comes from study and mileage – lots of paint strokes.
However, if we’re concerned about selling, especially through galleries, then developing a consistent look and direction in our work can be helpful. At the same time, if we follow our instincts, eventually our personality and experiences will come out in our work and create a consistent theme or recognizable ‘look’.
An In-depth Analysis of Consistency
I first saw Moore’s work in the 80’s at Trailside Galleries – he paints pretty much the same subjects and style today and he sells like crazy. Several people have studied with him and paint quite a bit like him – they also seem to sell well.
Bright Autumn and Spring aspen trees are his most consistent subject. He uses oodles of thick paint that he applies with hands and brushes, sometimes both at the same time. Here’s a short 1-minute video showing him at work:
He is color blind and relies on values – proving that if we get the values right, we can use about any color.
Robert does vary his subjects occasionally, throwing in some animals, figures, flowers, and flags.
Quang Ho also sells his work easily and has done so for almost 3 decades.
His painting style and approach, while consistently high in quality, will show some major experimentation and divergence from one moment to another. He is always trying to push his skills and understanding to a higher level and he tries new techniques or ideas often.
Notice how he will jump from more tightly painted realism like these spring flowers to a barely discernible expressionistic ocean surf.
He will wander from depth-filled landscapes to flat, poster-like oriental still-lifes.
His subjects cover animals, figures, flowers, buildings, dancers, creeks, commercial kitchens and anything else that grabs his attention.
In other words, while a consistent ‘style’ or ‘look’ is often helpful for targeting a specific group of collectors, consistently high-quality work can also overcome being pigeon-holed.
More Examples of ‘Consistently’ High-Quality Work
Morgan Weistling is another fantastic artist. His style is very much his own. He has been painting variations of pioneer living for about 20 years in a reliable and quickly recognizable style while keeping his quality extremely high.
His paintings are some of the most sought after in western art.
Peter Fiore, one of our popular Blank Canvas artists, works in series – such as his lively The Tangle series. His use of saturated color and dramatic lighting, coupled with lots of painterly shifts and textured brushstrokes are unmistakably his own.
Most successfully-selling artists I know paint with a distinct or recognizable look that they developed over years and lifetimes of painting.
Richard Schmid, Clark Hullings, George Hallmark, Brent Cotton, William Hook, Walt Gonske, Scott Christensen, Bob Kuhn, James Reynolds, Brian Blood, Daniel Pinkham, Jeremy Lipking, Douglas Fryer – there’s a lot more out there, but that gives you an idea of the varied styles among artists who sell well.
When you see their work, you know right off who the artist is.
My Own Painting Evolution
My work has also sold readily over the years despite the lack of any real effort put into promotion and marketing.
Before turning much of my focus on teaching through Master Oil Painting I would show my work in 5-6 galleries at a time. The galleries were usually located in strong art markets like Santa Fe, Colorado, Texas, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
I did a lot of experimenting and pushing the boundaries of my skills which resulted in multiple transitions with my style.
I also tried to keep my prices comparatively low. I wasn’t really business minded – I just loved painting and was blessed with great galleries who were patient with my experimentation.
The Formula for Success
Ok, so there’s not really a true formula for much of anything in the arts. But there are some similarities between successful artists worth taking a serious look at.
Remember, mastering painting is an incredible journey. It’s supposed to be fun and challenging all at the same time.
If you don’t care about selling your art, then consistency in style or approach might not benefit your painting. Then again, even if you aren’t worried about sales, consistency can assist your progress because it helps you to see changes, good or bad, in quality, technique, and expression.
Go for it and have fun discovering your distinctly-you approach to art.
If you want to continue learning then I recommend exploring the Master Oil Painting library of Free Art Lessons available at Master Oil Painting: