|Earlier style: "Late Squall" by Eric Aho|
|Current work :"Occurrence" by Eric Aho|
The same with my old college friend Lucretia Robbins who has through her career moved from one stage to another with ease--- most recently from exquisite jewel like abstracts with luscious brushwork (see below)
to a recent large series of painstaking, elegant drawings of birds’ nests!
Artists such as these have had the courage to persevere, and hope that the their “new” work will gain its own followers. And I believe that even when you do grow, or change your focus, you can continue to present a unified look to your work, even if it is a NEW look, even if temporary. Creating a consistent body of work does not mean that you have to always paint the same things in the same ways in the same palette, forever! For most artists, that would simply be impossible anyway, and would make the creation of art a burden and a bore. If you do not grow, you become a hack. Exploring new and differing ways of expression is a constant and a necessity for the artist. Or so I believe.
Sadly, the need for consistency rules the all too commerce-centered art world. There is this perhaps erroneous feeling that gallery owners, and often art school admissions folks, have that if you present a “wide range of styles”, you are showing them that you have not yet settled on a style you can call your own. This does probably mean that when I present twenty pieces to a gallery for consideration, I must make sure that those twenty pieces are consistent, make the same statement, and set the same mood. (For example, if you work mainly in gentle earth toned colors on small canvasses but include one or two huge pieces in bright primary colors in the portfolio, this will not look cohesive. But if you want to do a series in the primary colors for another place to consider, by all means go ahead.) And I should probably edit my website to convey this consistency, somehow.
The older he got, the more simplicity he sought. Since he is one of my favorite artists, I am VERY glad that he evolved, VERY glad that his vision and painting style changed to this--- (but you really need to see his work in person, it CANNOT be well produced.)
Picasso did not stay in his Blue Period forever -- he marched right into Cubism, and beyond. And what about Phillip Guston's abstractions? His career was filled with evolution! Starting out in the 1930s as a social realist painter of murals, he ducked into a sort of cartoon realism, and finally rose to the top as one of the key Abstract Expressionists. Ya' gotta follow your muse, and paint what you want to paint, and not worry too much about where you end up. Finding your voice only happens after MUCH experimentation: it is not a quick and easy activity, it can take a long time, even many years and involves much thrown away or painted over work. And anyway, like an adolescent boy about to have a huge growth spurt, your voice might change! Twice maybe, three times, or more! And each time, with a struggle, but a GOOD one.