Being an artist, like many other professions, opens up to an interesting question on the choices one faces, e.g., Sculpting vs. Painting, Oil painting vs. Water colors vs. Pencil drawing, etc., or perhaps a little bit of all of them.
There is, of course, no answer to what people will choose in the end, it is their individual preference that will influence their decision. However, I would like to delve a bit deeper as to once our artist decides which medium to call their own – what would be their subject matter or perhaps their subjects (plural).
Through the years and after visiting a myriad of museums, galleries, and exhibitions, we many times observe a painting, or any other work of art, and immediately we can tell who the artist is due to their unique painting style, and/or genre of choice, and/or use of colors. I have visited the art web pages of many artists to see that they focus on one subject matter and very little on other genres. Again, there is no right or wrong if one chooses one or the other. But I would like to provide my own “Two cents worth” to this topic.
Looking at my website, one can see that I have differentiated between my subject matters, by creating categories or albums: Equine, Figurative, Still life, Scapes, and Boats Are they distinct one from the other, or are they all something of me? I believe the latter is more representative of myself.
I love horses, and I have painted quite a few in my time. However, it is always their eye(s) that are special and require the most attention to capture. In essence, they are the window to their souls.
Figurative painting brings out the facial expressions, the smile and twinkle in eyes, the connections and relationships between the subjects, and of course the anatomy of the ever-changing body between relaxed and when exerting an effort.
Land and Sea Scapes – capturing what nature has in its endless beauty and power like a storm or rough sea or pleasant beach.
Still life is unique, as it allows you to “bring them to life”, and to connect some interpretive thread between them.
I believe that keeping oneself “open” to multiple genres of art is worthwhile and provides a robust and diverse insight to living and dormant subject matters. For me different genres require different approaches to the painting and different implementations of painting techniques.
I have heard some artists advocate in favor of the single genre option, that “multiple genres may indicate that the artist has not found their ‘true’ specialty”. I find this to be nothing but discouraging, and as I mentioned before, there is no right or wrong, but if artists only paint in one genre, maybe they should try their hand at adding to their repertoire. They might be pleasantly surprised.