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8/20/17 Fireside Chat with Stefan Baumann

8/20/17 Fireside Chat with Stefan Baumann

Developing a Style of Painting

While talking about my upcoming workshop in October with a group of students around the campfire after a day of Plein Air painting at The Grand View Ranch, one of the students asked, “How do you find your own style of painting?”  Developing a style of painting is not something that you set out to do. It is something that develops over time. Usually, an “artist’s style” begins with you being interested in other artists’ style, brushstrokes and color harmony. Or it may be the subject matter or mood that influences the development of your artistic style,
Location has a lot to do with a style. Many artists join groups who share similar interests and they develop a style based on the environment. For example, there is a style of painting that can be found in Pasadena that focuses on warm Southern California scenes, and other groups in Maine who focus on the rocky shores of the Atlantic. Even Northern California where are The Grand View is located has a style. The natural scenes that are available to paint influence the works of the artists painting there. The truth is style partly is autobiographical and has a lot to do with where you live, what your parents were like, the school you went to, and the people you hang with.

The Art Market

Often artists paint a location for a gallery because they want clients and want to make sales. They take workshops from artists who are popular to learn how to paint in their style.  Often, artists who teach can only teach the way they paint, and students end up surrendering their own style and genius.
Sex has a lot to do with a style. Men often chose a different way of painting than woman. Men paint subjects like flowers and little girls seem unique to the historic iconic way men painted in the past. When we think of men painting we think of cowboys or bold imagery that make up the male stereotype. Although there are many women that dominate and thrive as masculine artists, most are pigeonholed in painting feminine paintings. These stereotypes also often have artists choosing a style as opposed to developing there own unique way of painting.
Choosing a style is limiting, When a talk with artists they say they want to paint like Monet or Picasso. Why would you want to paint like them? Their style was developed not chosen, so painting like them is impossible, and why would you? You are unique and the way you paint should be too.


To successfully develop your own style, it’s essential to paint from life. Painting from life allows you to experience your reactions to a subject in the moment.  The value of setting up a still life or choosing a location to paint is that you are painting purely what inspires you in the moment including subject matter, composition, color and value. You are arranging, choosing, and molding an idea, arranging the format and the media along with the colors. You choose your brushstrokes and paint colors as you react to what is in front of you.  And then you paint something and you say, “WOW, I like that” and discover something that you may repeat in future paintings. All you need is about 10,000 more moments like this and you will have developed your own style
I have coached many students over the years. My goal as a coach is to help students discover their own style by instructing with a method that allows them to grow as they are. If you want increase your knowledge and skill to bring your art to the next level, I invite you to watch my YouTube videos, consider phone coaching with me, or attend a workshop in Mt. Shasta where we discuss art, passion and life with other artists around the campfire. All the information is on my website,

Call me for information on workshops or coaching 415-606-9074

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