Developing An Expressive Style

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For many artists, finding their own individual style comes easily – others will experiment for years to discover their own way to express how they view the world. Take a stroll around one of the finest art galleries in the world, The National Gallery in London, and you’ll see how the personal language of painterly art has developed stylistically over the centuries. We consider two young British contemporary artists who have developed unique but contrasting styles with which to interpret the world around them.

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Adrian Sykes

Born in Merseyside in 1970, Adrian studied at the Bath College of Fine Art and lived in Ireland and Yorkshire before making Bristol his permanent home. His style can be described as idiosyncratic yet detailed and much of it, for example his detailed depictions of his favourite subject, buildings, builds on the cappricio tradition. In this instance, it refers directly to a playful juxtaposition of architectural fancies, combining elements in an imaginative manner which is based on but not directly related to reality.

Adrian bases his detailed paintings on the places he has travelled to including France and Italy, drawing inspiration from both landscapes and cityscapes and using art materials to realise his vision. His paintings often have a dream-like quality, seen from above, like a swooping bird. The rooftops, church spires, shops and office blocks, docks and cranes of London, Bristol, Bath and New York all form part of Adrian’s world, caught in minute detail and finding beauty in what would ordinarily be described as mundane but which define the essence of these great cities.

Katty McMurray

Katty is a Londoner and studied at the Chelsea School of Art. She has travelled extensively to China, Zanzibar, Italy and India as well as many parts of the UK, and much of her work is based on the sights she has seen on her travels. She uses a style described as naïve with a simple, cool pallete and calm, strong lines. Naïve art can be said to be ‘childlike’ in its form, relying on a simple representation of objects or views which are pared back to their elemental forms. In order to achieve such pure simplicity, the artist must observe carefully and be supremely confident of their artistic ability. It draws on a prestigious line of artists such as Henri Rousseau.

Katty’s still life and landscape paintings are based on a deceptively simple style and evoke serenity while at the same time give the viewer a sense of spontaneity. Her pallete is filled with sea tones and the colours of the landscape around her – as she’s now based in Brighton, these blue-grey-greens and pebble tones blend smoothly in her oil on canvas works. Bobbing fishing boats are set against everyday items such as cup and saucers or a simple vase of flowers. It’s a technique and a style which developing artists can make their own with practice, observation and a range of paints and canvases from artists’ suppliers such as
Developing your own style should be an enjoyable and creative process. Take time to draw inspiration from the artists you particularly like, and from the world around you and you’ll soon find the enjoyment of being able to express yourself creatively.


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