Jen Smith, over at Rookie Painter, and I are having a really wonderful discussion back and forth about this as she feels she is in the same place as I am with finding my voice/statement as a painter. She obviously has a better way with words than I do because she stated PERFECTLY the struggle a lot of us have:
"I come across different artists' work all the time who seem to have found their voice and then execute their talents well enough to have a cohesive collection of works to stretch their body of work and also at the same time continue to challenge themselves.
Then of course, you have your Karin Jurick and Carol Marine, who don't necessarily paint any particularly moving subject matter, but they just paint it so brilliantly that it's the method that draws you in and makes it a success.
But somewhere in the middle, there's this brilliant, potential combination of method and subject that makes art really sing, don't you think? I don't necessarily think a painting has to say enough to inspire you to change the world, but I do think there's something intangible and inexplainable that draws you in and makes you appreciate it."
Jen really nailed it there. But I guess that even though I don't currently know what the asnwer to this age old question is... I need to keep painting. Painting anything.
Someone once told me that for painters, the first 1000 paintings you do don't "count". Which I though was absurd, but I think if you are worried about making each paint the best painting ever, you're going to end up with nothing. There was also a study about this. They (not sure who "they" were) but someone did a study with 2 pottery classes. One pottery class was told they would be graded simply on the QUANTITY of pots they had at the end, and the second class was told that their whole grade would be based on the QUALITY of their one best pot. Guess which class ended up producing the single best pot. The QUANTITY class! The class that pumped out pots, and practiced over and over and over and over were the ones who made the best aesthetically pleasing pots. You have to make a bunch of duds before the good stuff comes out.
I feel like I am moving towards the tail end of duds and could be on to something soon... just keep chuggin along.