Tag Archives: LensWork

Finding My Own Personal Style

I seem to be examining my psyche in paint these days. I was feeling somewhat unsettled that I keep trying new ways of expressing myself, but continuing to feel that I had not quite found my way. I was feeling that I had not yet found my personal voice.

I was pleased to find an article in the magazine LensWork* that put my mind at ease. It was written by a very discerning photographer, Guy Tal, and it applies to all of us pursing a creative endeavor. The name of the article is “Forget Vision.” These are some of his words:

“Forget vision, forget personal style, forget unique voice; these are not goals, they are by-products. The most meaningful art you can make is not about a particular look, subject matter, or visual effect, but about the way you respond to and interpret the world.”

He goes on to say, “Searching for a vision is futile; it is a moving target. The only way to find one’s vision once and for all, is to stop evolving as a person and as an artist.”

Ann Hart Marquis-Winter in New Mexico-personal style

New Mexico, Winter #2, acrylic on canvas, 10 x 20-inches, ©2015. Ann Hart Marquis

I feel that my work is changing and evolving almost every time I pick up a paintbrush. I am relieved to hear someone say that finding one’s personal style is a somewhat frustrating goal. That is what I have been feeling for a while. Now I know why.

I would love your comments.

*Lenswork, Jan-Feb, 2015, No. 116.

The Emotional Connection to Art

Every two months the prestigious photography magazine LensWork arrives at our home. I am not the photographer in the family, but I love to look at good fine art photos. Some may give me ideas for my painting. Some I find to be mediocre. I also like to read the comments of the editor, Brooks Jensen. In the latest issue (No. 109) he writes about the importance of understanding that viewers connect to art in various ways.

In interacting with an aunt who was evaluating several images, Brooks noticed that the images that she considered valuable, interesting, and compelling, were based on whether she had any connection to the content of the image. Similarly, our artwork will only be valuable or desirable to those who feel a pull or are seduced by the content.

Brooks states, “The artwork that is meaningful and truly speaks to us — and thereby has value — is the artwork that connects with us on a deeper level than like and dislike. It connects with us because somehow it explains, clarifies, illuminates, sympathetically vibrates with, or in some other way touches us either emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually.”

Trying to understand why and how a collector decides to by a particular painting of mine has sometimes been a mystery to me. Sometimes a friend will surprise me by purchasing a piece because the content of the painting is not a topic that I imagine would be compelling to her. I then realize that there are many things I don’t know about her, or perhaps have projected onto her. Here is one such piece.


Red Swing, acrylic on canvas, 12″x12″, ©2011, Ann Hart Marquis

It is also mysterious how one piece in my show could have been sold many times because, I surmise, it had some universal as well as personal appeal. I can never guess which painting will be the highlight of the show, but there always seems to be one or two that are the most desirable. Here are two that fall into that category:


Nightfall, acrylic on canvas, 16″x20″, ©2009, Ann Hart Marquis

Orange Lotus, acrylic on canvas, 14″x14″,
©2012, Ann Hart Marquis


Equally mysterious to me is why a painting that I consider perhaps one of my best, does not sell at an exhibit. It may sell later or never. Here is one of my favorite endeavors that has not yet sold.


Precarious, acrylic on canvas, 20″x24″, ©2010, Ann Hart Marquis

Have you done work or looked at a piece of art that surprised you by how compelling it is?