Artists: it’s OK to work in more than one style

Advice to find your ONE personal style is based on a false premise. It doesn’t take into account the way we grow and change and how finding our artistic VOICE is what’s more important.

Having kids turned every part of my world upside down.

When I had my first baby Ben in 2017 my second book ‘Anna Mason’s Watercolour World’ had just gone to press (I had to proofread it in the 2 weeks after he was born!). At that point I’d spent 10 years working in my realistic and vibrant botanical style and the book covered the whole approach.

But, like most new mums can attest to, having Ben, and then Fern 20 months later, turned my personal world upside down, let alone my ‘watercolour world’. 

Not only did I have radically less time and energy available to make art, but as I stepped into motherhood, something inside of me started to want to create in a different style. Something a little looser and a little more expressive of ME. It’s been a time of huge life change and personal growth.

Time to experiment and explore my artistic ‘voice’

I wasn’t clear what I wanted my artwork to look like, but I knew there was only one way to find out: experiment. Even finding the time to do that has been hard and I’ve only seriously prioritised it over the last year as Fern has been at nursery, and now school, full time.  What’s emerged from this process has been really enjoyable and satisfying.

As well as a little unnerving at times.

What I discovered as I allowed myself to paint and draw whatever, and however I wanted, is that I can’t seem to get away from flowers as my main subject matter. There’s something about their beauty, grace and colour. Something almost abstracted already when they’re enlarged so you can see their incredible detail in patterns. It sets my heart on fire. 

I love to work with bold colour, high contrast levels, and bold composition, and to enlarge my subjects. I love to use negative space in the form of bold backgrounds.

But I also discovered that I like to paint in looser ways too with watercolour, where the brushstrokes are more visible and the painting more of a ‘painting’.

I like accentuating forms with line work. I like changing up colours to enhance a mood the form is giving me. 

I also like working with opaque paint. I’ve experimented with acrylics but I’ve just come back to oils (which I used to love painting with throughout my teens). 

So right now I’d say I have two different watercolour styles – this line and wash one and my traditional botanical one. And I’m currently working on an oil style. They’re all a little different, varying even in their medium but they all have lots in common too.  

What they have in common is what contributes to my personal ‘artistic voice’ that captures the subjects and themes I like to express in my work, and goes beyond a specific style and medium. 

Artistic ‘Voice’ is more than just ‘style’

In her inspiring book ‘Finding your artistic voice’, illustrator and artist Lisa Congdon writes:

Your artistic voice is your own point of view as an artist: it includes your particular style – things like your own colour palette, symbols, lines and markings – your skill, your subject matter, your medium and the consistency with which you use all those things. It reflects your unique perspective, life experience, identity and values and it is a reflection of what matters to you. Ultimately its what makes your work yours, what sets your work apart, and what makes you different from everyone else’s – even from artists whose work is similar.

The words Style and Voice are often used interchangeably. But your artistic voice is much more than your style.

It’s also about what you want to communicate through your artwork. For me this continues to be about conveying the beauty and joy in the overlooked details in nature. 

And while most of the elements of style such as colour, looseness, pattern and composition are going to remain similar throughout your work, Congdon explains: 

‘It’s also true that you may, like many artists, have more than one style. Some artists make both representational and abstract work. Others make some work that is flat and graphic in style and also work that is more layered and intricate. Having one style is not important. What is important is that you use the elements of style consistently within each of your artistic styles.’

The ‘stick to one style’ advice

So my experimentation felt liberating to explore. But it did also feel a bit daring. Scary even. Because it was butting up against a lot of advice out there that says we should have one artistic style and stick with it, especially if we want to sell work. 

So an anxious part of myself would like to pop up to say things like:

“You’re known for a different style of painting. You’ve done it for 15 years! People won’t like this, it’s too different. You’ll lose followers, you’ll lose respect. You’ll confuse and upset people. They’ll stop liking you.”

And she has a point, right?

Because there’s a lot of advice out there for artists that says we need to find our ONE style and stick with it. Like we have ONE style somewhere in us that IS uniquely ours.

But I think that is to confuse Style with Voice.

Of course as a professional artist it can make logical sense from a marketing perspective to just have one art style.

My artist career has been built exclusively on working in one style. It’s helped people to understand me and get to know what to expect of my work. It makes sense. It’s human nature to want to ‘understand’ an artist straight away by seeing just one style on their Instagram Profile. However, I think if you can find your artistic voice, and create from that, then your body of work, as shown on Instagram or a website, can still feel cohesive.

And more to the point, we don’t really have a choice, if we’re to be true to ourselves and express our unique, creative selves through our artwork.

We need to create from our ‘Inner Artist’. This is what makes our Voice.

If you’re reading this you have what I think of as an ‘inner artist’ which you’ll make your best work from.  It’s a vibrant, emotional, part of us that is playful, energetic, and enjoys trying new things and going through phases. It’s childlike – in the best possible way.

So finding our artistic voice is about honouring that authentic, creative part of ourselves. We have to follow these moments of inspiration where we are in contact with it. We can’t ignore that spark. 

It’s that spark that transfers to other people through our work. It’s what lights them up too.

I followed a spark back in 2006 when I found botanical art online and KNEW I wanted to make it.  And I have to do it again now as I experiment and play with different styles.

And if that’s true for me, and I make my living from my artwork, is it not more so for you if you’re creating art for YOURSELF primarily?

Isn’t making art about HAVING FUN? Connecting with JOY? 

If so, my advice is to stop trying to find your art style. Instead, follow your heart to whatever style excites you TODAY. It’s truthfully ONLY this that will lead you to find the expression that is a match for the YOU of today. 

And if you feel the spark to try something very different tomorrow, embrace it! There’s nothing wrong with that.

It can be AND, not OR, when it comes to styles

Opening one door doesn’t mean closing the one behind you. When you learn a new language, you don’t need to stop speaking in your mother tongue. 

I still love the meditative, flow state I get from painting realistic botanical watercolours so why should I stop that just because I’m trying something new? 

The botanical artwork I’ve been doing for so long has given me a deep appreciation of shapes and colours in the natural world – these are transferable skills in any style.

Being an artist is about the journey, not the destination

It’s a cliché but the ‘artistic journey’ is how it’s described for a reason. In that phrase is the acknowledgement that you need to move – and that will mean change. Most likely to your style & your medium.

How to get the all-important inspiration

Instead of waiting for inspiration to strike, there are actions you can take for yourself, for your inner artist, that are almost certain to get your creative juices flowing and I’ll make a post soon in more depth about how to experiment effectively. 

1. Get inspired by Nature.

This has been the go-to muse for artists for, well, ever. Being in nature can often calm your mind, and give you a sense of connection to something bigger.

It can prime you to be receptive to your senses and to ideas springing up from within. And it may well provide direct inspiration from a beautiful view or something closer like patterns in the sand.

You won’t necessarily get a clear lead on your style.

But it may help you to tune into your voice, by giving you an idea of what it is you’d like to try to capture and on what sort of scale.

2. Get inspired by other artists. 

Be inspired by other artists. Look on Instagram or Pinterest, go to galleries, Really notice what it is about their work you love when you love it.

The colours? The sense of light? The textures? The shapes? The subject matter?

Just make sure you STOP if ever you’re feeling you’re comparing yourself and getting pangs of not-enoughness. That’s hurting your inner artist.

3. Get inspired by DOING

Clarity comes from ACTION.  Whatever you see in nature that inspires you, whatever you like about another artist’s work, you’re going to have to TRY it for yourself.

See if you can capture the spark. Yes, to explore your artistic style and voice, you actually need to create.

But remember, starting a new style might not FEEL great right away

The THOUGHT of working a particular style might give you the joyful spark feeling. But remember, that doesn’t mean it’ll necessarily feel joyful and flow-like to do it right away.

There will likely be a learning curve as you fathom out how to recreate on the paper what you can semi-see in your mind.

You’ll know it when it DOESN’T look right, and that can be frustrating. But trust. Get some good instruction to speed things up. As you work on it, you’ll increasingly get closer to something that looks right and contains the spark. 

Ultimately, the best style & medium to work in is the style & medium you actually USE.

In my case, working in line and wash has helped me to create art MUCH more regularly than working in realistic watercolour. During this time-pressured season of my life where I’m balancing being a parent to two young children, a partner, running Nature Studio, being a daughter/sister/friend AND being an artist, I’m finding this faster style helps me to express my artistic voice in the limited time I can carve out. I can complete a line and wash painting in a shorter period of time, and each completed painting feels like an expression of my voice of today.

And that feels REALLY good.

If you’re not clear on what style lights you up right now, remember that creating in any style is SO much better than not making art at all. Which can happen to so many of us (for me I had a 7 year hiatus from it). If you’re an artist at heart, making NO art is the worst thing you can do.

You don’t need to find your art style in order to create. You need to create in order to find your art styles and most importantly your VOICE.

In summary: Be open to inspiration & change and ACTIVELY participate in the process.

If you’ve been working in the same style for a while, or you’ve tried a few but nothing has been ‘clicking’ I hope this article, and my own willingness to experiment, help spur you on to continue to take active steps to access your inspiration and keep experimenting and changing – accepting that having some never-changing one personal art style is not realistic or even desirable. 

Thoughts from Jerry Saltz

When I was telling my brother (who’s also now an artist) about this new style I was feeling compelled to work in, and how it was also making me nervous,  he shared with me a quote from New York Times art critic Jerry Saltz. I went on to read his rallying-cry of a book ‘How to Be An Artist’ and I’ll leave you with a couple of quotes from that now:

Don’t define yourself by a single medium.

Don’t limit your potential by presenting yourself as just one kind of maker: A potter, print maker, watercolorist, macrameist, landscape painter, stone carver, steel sculpture, paper maker, glass blower, sketch artist, etcher, graffitist, silk-screenist, collagist, eco artist. Digital or mixed media artist. You are an artist. 

Be inconsistent

Try whatever you wanna try. Different sizes, tools, materials, subjects, anything. You’re not making product. Don’t resist something if you’re afraid it’s taking you far afield of your usual direction. That’s the wild animal in you feeding. This is how you will evolve new systems of meaning. New combinations and unexpected unions. That way you keep from being caged.

What about you? 

Have you been trying to find your art style? Do you routinely work in more than one style? Are they similar or very different? Does your medium change too? Have you bought into the need to find your ‘one style’ idea? Or have you only ever wanted to work in one way? How many years have you been doing that?

I’d love to hear from you and have a conversation in the comments. 

P.S. I’ve already recorded a set of tutorials in the looser line and wash style, which will be released in Nature Studio for members to explore in the New Year.  There will also be some free line and wash mini classes to follow. If you’ve ever struggled with the patience to paint in a realistic style, I hope you’ll enjoy giving them a go.

Share this post!


  1. Carol Mason on October 17, 2023 at 2:39 pm

    Life is constantly in flow. My personal moto is “Learn, Unlearn, Relearn”

    • DenisePP on October 17, 2023 at 7:03 pm

      Love it and that is so true to keep evolving.

  2. Megan O’Connor on October 17, 2023 at 4:01 pm

    This topic resonates with me. I began using watercolour, then tried coloured pencils and fell in love with them, but now am experimenting with backgrounds and moving away from portraits. I think social media can sometimes make us feel we need to stick to a “brand” — but I think that’s harmful to our journey as artists. We aren’t creating a consistent product; we are exploring colour and light and line, and our relationship with these elements is evolving. So, go for it Anna! I love to see other artists experimenting.

  3. Ana Karina on October 17, 2023 at 4:24 pm

    Beautiful insightful article, Thank you.

    • Angi Hillock on October 18, 2023 at 5:31 pm

      Hi Anna. This is a wonderful post and I applaud you for finding a way to still be creative while being a mom.

      I was really loving working with oils for a while, but then my 3rd child was born (7 yr gap from last one) and she did not nap well or sleep long so all that setting up and mixing colors, actually painting, and then clean up, was never going to happen. I waited a little while to restart arting again, (snuck some time in on my lunches by setting an art area in the supply room at my work.) I went to Pastels which I absolutely love, except for the handling & care of them once they are done. I’d have to be rich to mat and frame them all.

      Anyway, nowdays (my daughter just turned 27) I still pastel (still my favorite), learning watercolors (you and Louise de Masi mostly), charcoal, acrylic and thinking of getting back to oil (the water-soluable or water-mixable ones).

      I do prefer realisic styles but not necessarily hyper-realistic. I still haven’t found my artistic voice or style, but I do love flowers also. So that subject is about 80% of what I draw & paint.

      I really appreciate your message here. Having so many mediums to choose from I am really trying to have one that is perfect for me and also deciding what subjects I want to focus on eventually will be great.

      One thing that I am taking away by your message is that it is okay to keep experimenting til it feels right.

      Thank you for being such a great inspiration.

      Take care. Angi

  4. Belinda on October 17, 2023 at 4:41 pm

    Variety and experimentation is very important and should always be encouraged and Co gratulated

  5. Judy on October 17, 2023 at 4:43 pm

    I think you’re marvellous! Keep doing you!

    • Anna Mason on October 17, 2023 at 9:45 pm

      Thanks Judy!

      • Miriam on October 18, 2023 at 9:58 am

        Thank you for this post.
        I love to alternate between detailed botanical paintings which feel safe and loose/abstract which sometimes is a true disappointment. I find it good to alternate something ‘serious’ that we want to frame with something just for fun with no attachment to result.

  6. Caddren on October 17, 2023 at 4:47 pm

    Hi Anna, I love line and.wash, charcoal and pastel. At the.moment I am working on a cat face in pastel as well as one of your butterfly tutorials. Knitting and.patchwork also keep me busy. It is interesting to create pictures of the same image in different mediums including linocuts.
    Many thanks

    • Bianca Carranza on October 17, 2023 at 7:34 pm

      I agree!
      I haven’t been able to fix on just one medium. I like to embroider, paint in acrylic and watercolor, work with charcoal and colored pencil.
      And although I haven’t touched pastel in years, I’ve always loved it.
      I do, however, want to zone in on a style. At least one style per medium to have some consistency.
      I have noticed that beginner artists produce more sales and views just from having a consistent style than I ever have from jumping around.

    • Anna Mason on October 17, 2023 at 9:46 pm

      I agree! And lovely to hear of all of your different ways to create!

  7. Ellen Millar on October 17, 2023 at 4:49 pm

    I couldn’t stay with just one style, type, voice, whatever the popular term of the day is if I tried. There is far too much to try, experiment and learn, after all isn’t that what the creative spirit inside us wants us to do?
    I know I will hear, “how will people know its you”? One they can look at the signature, but I know that there will always be a “tell” and that will be COLOR. I love COLOR, maybe too much, but no apologies here.
    Keep on creating in whatever way the day takes you.
    Your art is beautiful in any style.

    • Anna Mason on October 17, 2023 at 9:47 pm

      Thanks Ellen, and I’m glad to hear of your varied and colourful creativity!

  8. Liz on October 17, 2023 at 4:56 pm

    For years I leapt from medium to medium (graphite, acrylic, pastel) and then I found my peace with watercolour. However I still use those other mediums from time to time. I also seem to have evolved three completely different styles, traditional watercolour, impressionistic in any medium and representative portraits. I submitted two entries into a contest last year and the judges comments were the styles were so different but clearly the same eye.
    I’m pleased you are giving yourself time to expand, it won’t lose you any followers I’m sure. Talent is talent and yours will always be visible.

    • Monika Baum on October 17, 2023 at 5:53 pm

      Hi Anna, what a great chance to learn new art styles in your school that keep the mind busy. I also paint a lot with coloured pencils, and I did an experiment with pastels. Before joining your school, I was a member in an other well-known botanical painting school, where I really learned a lot. I changed to you school because it was boring to paint always the same style and objects. I never regret having done the change. It’s marvellous what you are doing with your art and style.

    • Anna Mason on October 17, 2023 at 9:48 pm

      Thanks Liz! And that’s so cool that the judges could see your eye was behind your different styles.

  9. Jennifer Wood on October 17, 2023 at 5:01 pm

    You’re an incredible artist and very inspirational!
    It’s wonderful how you give your time up to inspire!!
    I love your work but it’s a bit beyond me yet as a beginner.

    • Anna Mason on October 17, 2023 at 9:49 pm

      You can get there Jennifer. Delighted to help spur you on!

  10. NORMA VITE-LEON on October 17, 2023 at 5:03 pm

    I’ve been painting for approximately two years, and I’ve developed a passion for it due to the sense of freedom and tranquility it brings into my life. At this point, I’m not actively seeking a specific artistic style; my focus lies in the joy of attempting to capture some of the beauty of the real world on paper. With that in mind, I greatly appreciate your thinking. It’s this openness to change and exploration that has truly drawn me to painting. Learning from someone who encourages such creativity and experimentation is where the real excitement lies for me!

    • Anna Mason on October 17, 2023 at 9:49 pm

      That’s so great to hear, thank you for inviting me into your painting journey Norma.

  11. Esther Wintringham on October 17, 2023 at 5:16 pm

    Thank you so much for this blog, Anna. I am mainly a landscape artist although I have tried flowers from time to time and some of your delightful animals when I was a member. I mainly paint in oils although do a bit in watercolour to keep my hand in as it is a medium I enjoy. I have tried line and wash and probably will do again at some stage but, like you, have not a lot of time at present but not because of children, I am almost 80 years of age and have been painting off and on for about 30.

    • Anna Mason on October 17, 2023 at 9:51 pm

      Great to hear you’re still painting strong Esther. Long may it continue.

  12. Ellie Knol on October 17, 2023 at 5:37 pm

    Hi Anna,
    different styles and mediums for me. I started watercoloring when our youngest son was born and explored that for about 15 years. I made the switch to stamping and mixed media, so now I am doing more artsy stuff, like making books and journals, art journaling, gelliprinting, ecodyeing etc etc! LOVE it all. I keep coming back to watercoloring too, sometimes use it only to make backgrounds for other art, in combination with stamps and stencils
    Thanks for keeping my watercolor vibe going,
    x Ellie

    • Anna Mason on October 17, 2023 at 9:52 pm

      You’re welcome Ellie and thanks for sharing your varied creativity! Keep at it.

  13. Connie Vickers on October 17, 2023 at 5:52 pm

    This blog is very thought provoking Anna. It seems that we are constantly hearing that if we want to ‘make it’ we need to have a ‘brand’, ‘niche’, and as you so clearly expounded on, a ‘style’. I remember when I first attended painting classes back in 2000, it was just meant to be for leisure but the bug bit…I found I loved it and I couldn’t get enough of finding out about techniques, art history etc, etc! I did have about 8 years where I had to put aside painting and then in 2012 I was able to come back to it. Ever since I have struggled with trying to find my ‘style’ (cause I thought that is what you had to do) and reading your article, I realise that I have actually resented thinking that I have to limit myself to a certain style. I enjoy using a variety of mediums, so I don’t want to limit myself to just painting in one of them. I also delight in painting accurately at times and also expressively at others. So thank you for your blog…I will continue with my own experimenting, which I have recently been doing and continue to have fun with my painting…and whether I find myself in a particular ‘style’ or not, I know I will have nurtured my creativity 🙂

    • Anna Mason on October 17, 2023 at 9:54 pm

      Oh I’m delighted that this has resonated for you Connie. Honouring that desire to create in different ways is the way to go I’m sure. Follow your heart ❤️

      • Connie Vickers on October 20, 2023 at 11:18 am

        Yes, following our own heart is the only way to go…your own beautiful artworks are proof of that, whatever ‘style’ you paint in! 🙂 Thank you Anna for taking the time to reply to my comment as I realise that you must have a very busy schedule and I hope you and your family will get well asap, xxxx

  14. Ann Marie on October 17, 2023 at 6:09 pm

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this new style of painting you are exploring. I’m looking forward to tutorials on how I can loosen up and explore as well.

    • Anna Mason on October 17, 2023 at 9:55 pm

      Aww thank you Ann. That means such a lot to hear. I can’t wait for you to take the new tutorials too and to share the paintings you make with us.

      • Janet Vitty on November 7, 2023 at 6:19 pm

        I am so excited about the new editions to the studio. I often think to myself ‘I wonder what is really my style? How will I know without embracing something new and giving it ago’.

        I love watercolours. Botanical subjects, portraits and animals but I don’t have a Style. I paint everything Anna’s way. Should I have a recognisable style? I think my paintings are reasonable and I enjoy doing them but I need to know if that’s it?

        Maybe these new loose studies will be what I’m meant to do. I’m certainly going to embrace them and give them ago. Bring it on! I am 76 years old and don’t want to run out of time! Thanks Anna.

  15. Karen on October 17, 2023 at 6:21 pm

    Hi Anna
    I have been a member for a couple of years and have really enjoyed your step by step tutorials
    I am not, and do not aspire to be, a “real” artist. I have taken more traditional loose watercolor classes in the past and did ok, but your realistic tutorials have become quite a very personal pleasure for me. I do add my own touches as I work alongside you, but I truly enjoy your great “individual “ instruction method!
    I may be alone in this feeling but this new format is not what I now enjoy most about your program.
    I truly hope that you will continue with new step by step tutorials so I can continue my own journey.
    At this time, with all due respect, this community experience is not what I need. I admire all the effort you are putting in to this and I’m sure it will become a great success, but there may be others like myself who want to just enjoy the more personal guided experience that I have experienced in the past.
    I don’t want to sound negative-just my “ two cents”.
    Thanks Anna

    • Anna Mason on October 17, 2023 at 9:57 pm

      Hi Karen, I’m so thrilled you enjoy my realistic step by step classes so much and would like to reassure you that I continue to love making them. We have plenty in the pipeline. The community part of nature studio won’t be for everyone and is very much an ‘added extra’ so feel free to simply take from it what you enjoy. Likewise with any tutorials you don’t fancy doing- just skip them and focus on the realistic ones. As I say there are plenty more on their way.

  16. Brenda Wilton on October 17, 2023 at 6:36 pm

    I think the advice to have only one/medium style comes from the gallery system. They want a consistent body of work that they can sell as investments to collectors.
    It does appear that the people buying online are less concerned about the consistency of style bugaboo. Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” In other words, your style should evolve if you’re a living, thinking, creating being.

    • Anna Mason on October 17, 2023 at 9:59 pm

      I’m sure you’re right Brenda, it’s certainly linked to being able to sell work more easily. Love that quote too! Thanks for sharing.

  17. Dorothy Guy on October 17, 2023 at 6:59 pm

    Anna: thank you for this wonderful article! It is full of wisdom. I still consider myself a beginner 5 years later as I was unable to paint for a year then on and off. I had read an article Entitled “The Audience is Secondary.” It shocked some folks, but his message was very similar to yours. Doing what you believe is your voice and your art. Not to say that education, learning and suggestion isn’t very important, of course it is. One of your team just helped me tremendously. I had painted an antique rusted wagon in a field of long grass. So out of my usual wheelhouse, and I was relatively happy with it but couldn’t figure out why the trees didn’t look quite right. Di Clark suggested (along with many positive comments) that I lift some of the color from the trees to keep focus on the wagon and it worked. So yes, we do need to learn. But I have often thought, I can’t do this; I don’t have a style of my own, etc.. You just encouraged me tremendously. Right now watercolor and realism are what I love (mine may be more of an interpretive representation haha), but I do also like to try different papers, different backgrounds, different materials and size paintings, etc. I have always told my yoga students and teacher trainees that the joy of learning yoga is that it is a life long journey to experience it fully. Your article just boosted my joy of the artistic journey. Thank you for continually finding ways to help us grow. You bring joy to all of us. I look forward to the future with Nature Studio.

    • Anna Mason on October 17, 2023 at 10:02 pm

      Aww thank you Dorothy. You’re so right that learning and skill building is a big part of developing style, and I’m so pleased you’ve received helpful support from the community. But at its core making art needs to come from that spark and you should feel free to follow that wherever it leads you. Love the link to your yoga practice approach too. So true. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Lori DiPaola on October 17, 2023 at 7:05 pm

    Anna your candor and transparency in sharing this just warmed my heart and it resonates with me so much …I’ve tried oils (my mother and sister are accomplished and sell their work … think Mighty Mouse and hallmark cards)… I’ve always been drawn to water color , loose and unpredictable. But this realistic ( me as well with flora and fauna, cats & birds…) method has been a reawakening. I plan to take all the tutorials, learn the basic rules and create a personalized approach eventually. I am grateful I found you .. to me it has been a divine ✨alignment … thank you Anna. I know sharing all of that took courage at your end for which we’re all grateful. Blessings to you … Lori

  19. Susan Speidel on October 17, 2023 at 7:20 pm

    Thank you Anna for this particular blog. Art is by nature fluid—especially nature based art. The wind blows, the shadows shift and colors flow and ebb. However we try to capture it, nature based art is beautiful. I appreciate many artists’ efforts. I enjoy trying different styles of painting. I like being free to experiment with my paintbrush.

  20. Janice on October 17, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    I like your botanical as well as your line and wash style and it’s a great extension of your artistic style I think. I am very drawn to line and wash and the more illustrative botanical painting style of the past but I only saw it in vintage botanical prints especially by H. Isabel Adams. I would love to learn how to paint in that style and have searched for someone that teaches that.

  21. Fran on October 17, 2023 at 7:59 pm

    Thank you Anna, here I was feeling guilty that I couldn’t stick to just one thing. I started out loving pen and ink drqwing, then acrylic painting. The life intervened, and I did mostly sewing, weaving, beading, knitting, until the pandemic, when I decided to learn calligraphy, which then morphed into water color…which I love. First I tried illustrative style, but I wanted to do botanical flowers, so I tried colored pencils, but quickly came back to watercolor. Then I discovered loose florals with pen and ink on top, loved that, but still wanted botanical, so I discovered your school. Then I started learning bookbinding to make my own sketchbooks. So, I was feeling guilty for bouncing around, then I thought, But I like it all, why not? So I appreciate your thoughts, my journey is far from over, but I feel like I should try everything I like. And a little variety is a good thing, Right?

  22. Rachel on October 17, 2023 at 8:35 pm

    Hi Anne — thank you for this post and all the thought that went into it! I’ve recently been listening to a fantastic podcast called Drawing Inspiration where the host (an artist himself) interviews other artists. Style versus voice is a topic that comes up often – and of course the opinions on each differ! For years, I had been told by other artists that you need to pick a single medium (and single ‘style’) because a) that’s the only way you’ll excel at it and b) from a buyer standpoint, they don’t want to see a mishmash of a bunch of different styles and mediums. Having this drilled into my head really paralyzed me for a long time because I knew that I never wanted to do just one medium and honestly, ‘style’ is a word that has always confused me. But in the past year, I’ve been seeing more and more (successful) artists on instagram switch between mediums or use multiple mediums at once — and even some who have done as you have going from realism to something looser or going from always creating pieces with animals to doing urban sketching or portraits for example. At the same time, I’ve been listening and taking in these conversations about style and voice. And I think I’ve come to the same conclusion as you (if I have interpreted what you’ve written correctly!). I need to be true to my artistic voice (meaning how I want to express myself) and that can be any medium, any ‘style’, and any topic that gets me to create. Thanks again for such a thought-provoking post!

  23. Toni Seeger-Garcia on October 17, 2023 at 9:30 pm

    Can’t say that I have a style just yet as I’ve been painting for only 4 months. I do tend to lean towards glazing and details and have quite enjoyed your tutorials, Anna. I have learned so much and am very pleased with my progress. My paintings have gotten many compliments. I have you to thank!

  24. Ellen on October 17, 2023 at 10:28 pm

    While I can appreciate and applaud your journey and growth, I have to admit that it’s created confusion for me as a student. I’ve stuck with you as a teacher because I know you to be a wonderful human being. You are teaching me to grow through flexibility, not knowing which direction you will be going on any given month. Please don’t forget about those of us who signed up with you to learn to paint photo realism in watercolor. There are many many options for teachers of the loser style. I remain enthusiastic about your original style. I wish you all the best as I’m sure you are more popular than ever. I’m sorry if this reads as negative as that is not my intent. I appreciate the opportunity to express my feelings. While I love the new stuff, I’m quite happy with the old.

  25. Marion on October 17, 2023 at 11:43 pm

    Thank you Anna. You’ve managed to clearly voice the niggle voices in my head. I love learning about realism and using watercolour. Many peaceful hours just watching the magic evolve on the page, but Oh the restlessness and craving to also sink into the joy of other crafts and desire to find a path to incorporate them all! Thank you for taking the risk, and for opening the door for a fuller conversation and inclusive practice

  26. Jael Flores on October 18, 2023 at 12:00 am

    Thank you so much for this article. I’ve been in the same journey as well. I absolutely love realism but I also have been enjoying more loose and abstract art. That has been motivating me to continue to explore more styles. I love all your work.

  27. Vira on October 18, 2023 at 12:43 am

    There’s nothing wrong with more than one style. The important part is communicating your style to the right audiences, if you’re trying to run a business. YouTubers often have multiple channels for different purposes – one for real-life blogging, one for personal drawing timelapses, and maybe one for instructional or audience-interaction. Many interior designers have 1-3 styles which they convey in different parts of their websites; a commercial gallery vs a residential gallery vs event decoration/preparation/staging. If you want to have multiple styles I think that’s fine. What I think gets frustrating for a brand is if you have decided to advertise products for 15 years as “watercolor impressionism” and someone hires you and suddenly you’re handing them high-contrast portraits. Just be clear if you’re transitioning, or offering a separate product line.

  28. Karla Ries on October 18, 2023 at 3:21 am

    I have been following your new looser paintings on Instagram Anna and am looking forward to the tutorials. I am happy you are trying new styles and are enjoying the process. You are creating some very beautiful paintings.

    I am not trying to be an artist or develop any particular style. I started painting last year for something enjoyable to do in retirement and have not looked back. I have tried quite a few styles and enjoy them all. I think I just love painting????
    The realistic style is the most challenging but it is that challenge and difficulty I savour when I’m in the mood. Other times I just want something magical to happen without too much effort and am completely blown away when it does.
    I am so happy to have discovered this very pleasant relaxing pastime and I thank you Anna for helping me to get started and to inspire me along the way.

  29. Kathy Howard on October 18, 2023 at 3:51 am

    I love this bog post. I love your realistic art and have followed you for a while. Though I have never felt this was a style that I have the patience to do. I haven’t even tried any of the free classes. Line and wash is something I have tried during Sketchbook Revival. I am looking forward to watching the free classes when you post them. I have been doing watercolor for a few years and took your advice on paint and paper when I needed to move up from what I had had on hand to start with.
    I did art in high school and a little as a young adult, doing different mediums, but most acrylics. When I started a family, art took a sideline, and I did garment sewing and gardening. Then I moved on to quilting using many different styles.
    Then in 2009 I found digital fabric printing and got hooked with the first sale I had on Spoonflower. My digital designs have been in many different styles (weekly challenges on the site encourage trying different styles and themes). I started by cropping and manipulating photos, before I got comfortable drawing digitally. I am usually drawn to work with natural colors and don’t go away from that, but some fantasy horses in unnatural colors that I did this year seem to be catching the eye of a few buyers.
    I really admired the designers who used watercolors for the basis of their designs, so I gave it a try. I have mostly been painting realistically. Though not in the photo realistic style you are known for. Recently I have been drawn to try abstract art. I usually have better luck with abstract with a touch of organic elements than totally abstract. Sterling Edwards is an interesting artist who has moved from realistic art to abstract. He admits it was a scary step to take. He teaches both styles. Abstract art covers a wide range of styles.
    Today I am attempting to draw freehand trees as I quilt a small quilt. I have trunks and branches. I was just going to add some squiggles for leaves, but I now think the four trees could represent the seasons. Art is everywhere. Most people don’t give a second thought to the art that surrounds them daily as surface pattern designs.

  30. Guadalupe Munoz on October 18, 2023 at 6:38 am

    I Love this article. I think it’s exciting when an artist we love expands into new styles, because each style allows us to see another facet of who the artist is, a fuller sounding of their vocal range. I look forward to seeing more of your inner experiences of nature flowing into your painting subject!

  31. Ana Murza on October 18, 2023 at 8:33 am

    I really like the idea of trying different mediums and styles. Actually, I started my art journey in oil (I still love it) with landscape and still life. I went through Acrylic (I am not a fun of acrylic), Pastels, very fascinating medium, charcoal, useful and full of character with so much depth, Brusho, and explosion of color and freedom of expression but very messy for my taste. But, I wanted to conquer the transparency and lightness of watercolor.

    As for the style? I am in love with the realistic one. The details are most fascinating for me. How ever I tried A-la-prima in oil, Wash and pen, Abstract (ahhhh, may be because some of the paints smell awful).

    In conclusion, when I found “Anna Mason art” classes, I can tell you Anna, was the happiest day of my artistic life. I found everything that I was craving for (in art): realism, details, color, transparency, lightness. Absolute delight.

    Don’t take me wrong, I am still willing to approach different styles, and I do appreciate and honor artists that can easily change the style, BUT watercolor and botanical painting, they are a mach made in heaven (at least for me).

  32. Vicki Walton on October 18, 2023 at 4:09 pm

    Yes! Thank you for expressing what is in my heart and head!

  33. Leslie on October 19, 2023 at 3:53 am

    I love your thoughts and exploration of your voice and style–I am so intrigued about where you will go next!

  34. Debbie Wayment on October 19, 2023 at 6:58 am

    This was just what I needed to hear, thank you Anna. I have not painted any botanical art for ages and have been exploring different subjects, mediums, styles, colours and just having fun. Knowing this is all part of the process and a good thing to do makes me feel much better. I think I had been a bit focussed on ‘finding my style/voice’. Now I shall just continue to play and see where it takes me and not worry about it and all the artworks I’ve produced that are just experiments. I don’t need to earn a living from my art so can just enjoy the process. I look forward to seeing your ‘looser’ tutorials especially short ones as I want to try and make a little art each day to keep the momentum and therefore it needs to be quick.

  35. Angela on October 19, 2023 at 8:00 am

    I decided to recently become a member, because I was drawn to your ability to communicate and teach. Your voice is pleasing to listen to. I appreciate the clear & in-depth instruction you provide, making realistic watercolour accessible to an absolute beginner. I love the visual presentation of the video tutorials. For years I’ve had an interest in creativity and painting (of all kinds), randomly purchasing supplies and dabbling on occasion, though barely scratching the surface,…having a desire and yearning but not having a clue. I’ll admit, that I would not have much of an interest in learning how to paint realistic watercolour if it wasn’t for you and your systematic approach. I signed up thinking that I would learn the fundamentals, step by step….to learn the rules, so as to be able to break them! It would take the mystery out of the medium. I will also admit, I’m excited and relieved that you will be adding in the wash and line tutorials! I think this will be more my jam, though I have no doubt that I will be gaining an important foundational education with the library of realistic watercolour tutorials. I say YAY to all the forms of creativity and artistic expression!

  36. Nigel rumble on October 19, 2023 at 11:30 am

    Hi Anna.
    Nice surprise to hear about the new style. I know from my experience it’s difficult trying something new. As you know I have a go at all sorts of stuff . The latest one that I uploaded was done in watercolour felt tip pens , white paint and coloured watercolour pencils. I have tried a few looser style pictures also. But I do find a gravitate back to my normal stuff which I always overwork. But I think it’s great to try something new. And by the way I’m glad you’re on the mend . ????????

  37. Victoria Burt on October 20, 2023 at 2:29 am

    Very interesting reading as I am a complete beginner, having started about 5 months ago. I used to love art at school and am recently retired – Saw some art pencils in a store in April and felt a strong urge to create something and am now giving water colour a go and loving it. Have purchased your Watercolour World book which is great!

  38. Lynne on October 20, 2023 at 12:10 pm

    Love reading the comments too. Thank you for all of these stimulating thoughts .
    I also work in different styles.

  39. Sharon on October 20, 2023 at 3:21 pm

    Great post! I’ve discovered that sometimes I like to paint realistically and other times more loosely. I also like charcoal, colored pencil, line and wash (urban sketching), multi-media collage, and India ink/watercolor. I’ve even tried digital art using Procreate, and although I’m not very good at it, I can see how art transcends. By trying multiple mediums, I’ve learned more about color, shapes, shadows, and I find I’m more creative.

  40. Anne Springman on October 21, 2023 at 1:10 am

    What a great topic. I have been “artistic” all my life. But many co-workers and friends really never knew because working full time for all my adult life and tending to adult responsibilities at differing stages never allowed for much “art production”. But then COVID and my retirement fell together at the same time and I have finally been able to make art a priority. Those friends and co-workers found out about a whole new side of me.
    I have a twin sister who worked, until retirement, in the art field professionally and is an accomplished pastel and pencil artist. Her style is photo realism. Her work is very precise. When I took up watercolors, I felt the need to make my work look like hers. After all, we are identical. But I have a much looser process. My work never looked like hers and I thought it was inferior. But then as my skills improved, I realized my style, medium, and subject matter does not have to match hers. As a matter of fact, my watercolor botanicals got her interested in producing her own flowers and plants in pencil. She followed me!
    Just recently, because time is on my side now, I decided to try acrylics and have had loads of fun exploring and painting with them. Now, I have even invested in oils. I bought the water mixable kind and can’t wait to use them.
    One thing about trying new mediums, it can get EXPENSIVE. If cost is prohibitive, it is still possible to experiment with new and different styles within one medium.
    I am having so much fun learning and experimenting. After morning chores, I begin most every day at my art desk. I love that I have a place to call my studio. I no longer feel that my paintings need to match my sister’s style or professionalism. We discuss art all the time and we learn from each other, but we have our own styles!

  41. How to stop paints muddying - Nature Studio on October 24, 2023 at 5:01 pm

    […] (whether exclusively or because, like me, you feel the need to express your creative self through more than one style), you’re more likely to encounter situations when your paints will produce colours you […]

  42. Lisa Logan on November 14, 2023 at 7:57 pm

    As you opened your post with a comment on becoming a parent, I think that process changes everything however it happens ( birth, adoption, foster, super-auntie etc) it is never undone- thus who you were before able to lose yourself in the miniature realistic details of your botanical subject this likely no longer feeds your soul as your life and loves are in constant movement thus an art style with more movement is needed. Art is for your soul. Thank you for your gifts to other souls under development


Leave a Comment

Share this post!

Subscribe to blog updates

Blog Updates

The information you provide here will be used only to deliver the email course, along with other relevant updates from me. You can unsubscribe anytime. Click here for our privacy policy.