As some of you know, I recently received a wonderful compliment on my art and my style on one of my posts (thank you again, Vivian). It's not the first compliment I've heard and I hope it won't be the last, but it got me thinking about my style. People have asked me from time to time about it and I tell them it's called "spontaneous flow". I tell them that because it's true, I do paint spontaneously. But it really doesn't describe my style, does it.
I don't have a name for it yet, not an official name like impressionism or surrealism. In short, I don't have an "ism". But I can tell you how it came into being. I was born with the basics, the ability to draw and paint. I drew a lot as a kid and a younger man, so producing images on paper was something I was very familiar with. When I decided to try my hand at painting, I soon discovered there might just be something there, so I headed to the library and read and read, and read some more. I read about the different styles of painting, the old masters, like Monet and van Gogh, and the not so old masters, like Pollock and Rothko. I saw stuff I liked and I saw stuff that I hated. I studied their works, their techniques, and those that appealed to me most, well, I tried my hand at what they did. I practiced various styles. As I progressed, I found myself to be very driven, more driven than I had ever been before in my life. I wanted to be better than what I had studied. I wasn't sure how I was going to do that, but that was the goal.
Time marched on and as my confidence improved and my comfort level increased, I found that limiting myself to one particular style, or movement was too confining for me. I needed more. Just being a modern impressionist, or an abstract artist wasn't enough for me, it put me in a sort of box that constrained my ability to express myself fully and freely. I suppose that's really more a function of my personality more than anything. I've always been one to test limits and push the envelope. Personally, I think that's a good thing. Without those willing to step outside the box, to challenge the status quo, how do we progress? Short answer, we don't. But I digress.
So, I just started doing my own thing, using elements of all the styles I like, in varying degrees and amounts depending on the piece, and just let it fly. Granted, it does get tough when I'm trying to explain what I do. Generally speaking, there's no box to tick off under "painting style" for whatever it is I'm doing and I'm glad there isn't, for now. But, it turns out there is a name for it, in a sense and it's perfect. I can't take credit for it, someone else alerted it to me - eclecticism. Granted, it is a term mainly used in architecture, psychology and philosophy, but it has been used in the fine arts context before to describe the use of several styles in a single work. Back in the 18th century, the head of the Royal Academy of Arts, Sir Joshua Reynolds, was a big proponent of it. That being said, I combine more than just the older classic styles, I also employ more modern ones like abstract expression alongside them, so, what I do can neatly be referred to as Modern Eclecticism. I'm not sure that's an official art thing, but it is now.