I recently photographed the still life paintings produced by some of my students at the Calgary School of Art. They were all working from one of two set ups of jars of jam and apples and that's where the similarity ends.
As you can see, each artist brought a very personal style to the subject and made it her own. Though everyone used the same limited palette - Cad. yellow pale/light, yellow ochre, alizarin crimson, vermillion hue, ultramarine blue and titanium white - and began in the same manner with a purplish grisaille, not one painting resembles another.
Personal aesthetics take over pretty fast when you start a painting. One artist likes pure, clear colours, another person prefers to gray down all but the focal point area in her painting; one artist uses a few large marks, another uses lots of small marks. Both accomplish the same thing: they filter the reality of what they see through their own consciousness and give us a glimpse of they way that they see the world.
Maybe this explains why so many of us are sensitive in critiques of our works: these works are an externalization of our inner feelings, views and aesthetics as well as being technical outcomes. Putting your painting in front of an audience and asking for feedback is, I've always thought, like standing in a room full of people in your bathing suit and saying, "Well, what do you think?" It takes guts!
I'm grateful to my students for allowing me to post their bathing suits. I think they look pretty darn good