This is my newest painting, Portrait of a Girl with a Cat. Let me explain.
Some artists have it all figured out. They've learned to paint, they've painted, and the world has chosen the pieces worth anthologizing. Those pieces tend to, in most cases, have a very distinct style. You can see a Picasso, a Dali, a da Vinci, and know the artist even if you've never seen that painting before in your life. It's the same for musicians. You can hear the Pink Floydness in a Pink Floyd song, the Led Zeppelinness in any Zeppelin song. Authors are the same. Think of Dickens and his tangled full-page sentences or the heavy curtness of Hemingway. The brilliant artists of the world become known for a certain sound, a certain look, a certain feel, many times because they invented that look, sound, or feel.
But, they didn't spring from the cradle with this style, they developed it over time. Back in the day, many early compositions that were considered unimportant or forgettable were forgotten or put aside by the world or destroyed by dissatisfied creators. Lost to time. More recently, the wonders of mass production have preserved the "early works" and errant works of artists of all types. If we dig, we know Pink Floyd can sound like this. We know Jimmy Page used to play this. And, the invention of the internet will likely give us video of our next artistic heroes as middle schoolers fumbling about with their first guitars.
Sometimes, when I make a new painting, like A Portrait of a Girl with a Cat, that's a clear departure from what I was doing previously, I'm torn between the excitement of doing something new and the embarrassment of doing something that so clearly defines me as "still learning," which in the art world, seems to always be meant as an insult. I'd love to settle into a style and start making a portfolio of consistent works -- someday. But, I'm not there yet. I'm still evolving. And, I still love my older paintings, even if I'm headed somewhere that looks a bit different. It comforts me to remember that people still love the Beatles' Meet the Beatles! album, even after they made their Revolver album (not that I'm comparing myself to the Beatles. That's just silly. I merely speaking of the love of early works).
As for my new painting, I think she's pretty. I love her depth and her detail and I hope to bring those bits along with me to my next painting.
Here's to evolution!