HOW TO: Create a Personal Painting Style!

How do I create art that feels like my own, unique style?

At the beginning of a painter’s journey, this question is incredibly common. What makes my sunflower painting, for example, different from the next, and how do I express myself in an individual way? 

I personally think the answer is fairly simple, and though it takes practice, patience, and a creative spirit, finding your own personal style is an entirely attainable goal! I discovered throughout my process that common characteristics of my unique paintings are loose brushwork, bold colors, joyful subjects, and a lighthearted approach. I developed my personal painting technique utilizing some of the following methods, and encourage you to dive in as well!

Study and practice the fundamentals. 

There are many technical building blocks for a dynamic painting that are important to master. A few of these include composition, rule of thirds, color schemes, and value studies. It’s essential to have an understanding of these crucial pieces. Once you know  the fundamentals for structuring an aesthetically pleasing piece of art, you can experiment within that. As Pablo Picasso said, “learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” 


Follow your heart, not your head.

Take the time to practice your art, and paint in a way that makes you happy. Release yourself of the internal criticism and the voice inside that says “don’t do that” or “that will look bad.” Give things a try, experiment, and if it ultimately does look bad, think of that “failure” instead as “feedback.” Try it again, and try it differently. If you want to paint loosely, with fewer, freer brushstrokes, do that! If you want to try using bright colors, feel free to! No one picks up a paint brush and canvas on day one and has a completely cultivated style. It takes time and practice!

 Choose subjects you’re passionate about.

I love painting animals. As I’ve made pet portraits a consistent part of my practice, I’ve noticed that the expressive eyes are a crucial element of my unique style. If you’re particularly enthusiastic about a certain subject matter, take some time to cultivate that! Work on your landscapes, your florals, or whatever it may be that brings you joy, and see how your style grows and evolves as you complete more and more exercises in that specific area. 

Take a class.

The instructor will provide techniques and subject matter, and you have the opportunity to experiment within these parameters! You can also ask for some guidance from your instructor as you’re working your way through your painting. Add new techniques to your “toolbox” from learning in an in-person or online classroom setting, continue to work on your fundamentals during the course, and experiment as you wish while working your way through the materials! 


If you would like to work on your individual style in a supportive setting, my online course “Adventures Down Under” still has a few spots left! I’ll be offering one-on-one consultations and guidance as you develop your style and we work on our paintings together. Visit www.carylfineart.com/down-under-workshop for more!

Caryl Pomales