Nobody can do you like you. This is a quote I've heard several versions of in the past week or so. How many times do I look at other artist's work on social media and think "I wish I could paint like that." Or "Hey, I could do that!" So, I think about the painting I want to make incorporating a technique or style I see in someone else's painting and I plan it out in my head. I visualize myself doing a painting in this new style. Then I do it. And it comes out nothing like I envisioned. Bummer. That doesn't look like that painting I saw! Why can't I do that? It shouldn't be so hard! How often have you thought "I wish I could ________ like him/her."? As I think of it now, away from the studio, of course I can't make a painting like that other artist I love. If it's coming from my hand it's mine, and it will have my own style all over it. That is to be celebrated, not diminished. Only I can paint like me. (That is a direct quote - with change of pronoun - from Nicholas Wilton. Thanks Nick!)
We used to tell our son when he was playing baseball, practice technique in lessons. That's the place to think about where you place your feet, how your hands hold the bat, how to coordinate the movement of your feet, hips and hands to hit the ball. Then when you get on the field forget about all that. It's still with you but don't think. Just do what feels right. Now I need to take my own advice. Look at other work, make notes but then get into the studio and just paint. Do what feels right. How can I carry this into my life? Look at what other people are doing. Think about what I want to do but then just do what feels right. Because only I can do me. And I can only do me.