Monday, August 11, 2014

I got no style (part 2) . . .

As I’m poking around on the Internet looking for information about developing a personal artistic style, I came across an article by Alain Briot on the website The Luminous Landscape where he says that “Style is the extension of your personality and your personality is in part defined by your childhood.”

Well, my “eclectically weird” style can indeed be defined by my childhood, which was spent moving from place to place, school to school, coast to coast, and even country to country. Being a Navy brat meant different things to see every six months to a year. Different cultures to experience. Different  climates, foods, fashions, attitudes. That was my childhood for 18 years.

One would think that, encountering so many types of people, I might be drawn to people photography. Nope. Last thing on my list. Why? I was trained to leave. Trained to arrive, to fit in, get along, make sure people liked me, that I didn’t make waves, but never to get close to anyone because hello, I must be going.

How about you? What was your childhood like and how does it affect your artistic proclivities and style? If your childhood years were spent in San Diego, you may be drawn to boats and seascapes. Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, you might be drawn to landscapes and weathered barns.

It makes sense if you don’t think about it . . .

Because why are so many photographers/artists, no matter where we grew up, drawn to barns, landscapes, boats, and seascapes?

See? This isn’t an easy pursuit, this quest to discover a personal style, or to create a personal style. And it’s one I’ll continue writing about as I do more and more research. Fair warning!

©Carol Leigh

P.S. For those of you who might be interested, I photographed the gull on the rocks here on the Oregon coast. And the fishing boat as well. (See? Navy brat? Oceans? Boats? Gulls? This makes sense.) The photo of a physical collage that I made using a variety of old papers has a Japanese vibe to it. (I lived in Japan for a year, but I was just 12-13 at the time, more interested in hanging out with my friends than exploring the culture.) And then what's with the covered bridge? Well, I lived a year in Pennsylvania . . . could this Oregon bridge be channeling from that? Somehow I doubt it. . . Like I said, this isn't an easy quest.


  1. I really like the food for thought that you are presenting here... as well as your images. I recently was directed to a blog post by Tony Sweet that had some interesting thoughts as well. Here are his thoughts on personal style:

    "...Personal style is purely a function of doing the same thing for many years. Personal style is how others define you, not how you define yourself. I mean, if I say that this is my style, but it’s not recognized by anyone as being my style, then guess what? It doesn’t matter what I say. Personal style is recognized by others and will be attributed to you, if you have developed and communicated in your work over a period of time."

    Here is the link to the full post:


  2. Carol, Great mind stirring stuff here to thinking about.

    I think over time a style comes out if you stick with it long enough.

    then if like myself there are things and ideas that well up and bring excitement to my creative avenues and I have to explore them which leads me away from what I've been doing...But some how the circle back and become all connected. I wonder if the old ways of making sure you create for a gallery and you can produces works the same way over and over is called because they may be selling like hot cakes...then a personal style is also show I think that you know your subject matter... rambling but good back and forth kind of chatting stuff Carol.

  3. I sometimes think that your style finds you, rather that the other way around. You just keep working until one day you find it's there.

  4. Carol… Well, you've gone and done it. You're causing me to think and think and think. But it's good for what ails us, isn't it? And I mean ails not in a sick way. While you're moving forward, it's always good to look backwards to see where you've been and to see if any of that has any kind of bearing on where you are.
    Thanks awfully, Sam

  5. Carol F., I think that's an interesting interpretation of style and it's resonating with me. I continue my research, however.

  6. Laura, Jo, and Sam . . .

    Yeah, maybe "style" isn't really all that important. We create what we create. We learn some more. We create perhaps in a different way. We continue. We learn some more. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    A style is what you have if you live a long life and get your work out there constantly and consistently. Or maybe a style is what you have once you're dead. In which case, you die not knowing if you had a style at all. But by then you have other things on your mind . . .

    And Sam, yes, 'tis good to look back, but often I find I'm looking back way too much, bashing myself once again for something stupid I did when in the fifth grade . . . Best to look back, learn, and continue forward smarter and more aware of today.

    Yeah, right. Easy for me to say.

    Carol Leigh


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