At the beginning of this month, Katherine Tyrrell on her blog Making a Mark, started a poll on style. She listed several categories with definitions -- always a debatable subject -- I think she covers this subject very well with brevity. I marked myself a realist, given the definitions.
I do wonder why I am currently in this category. My favorite group is "expressionist" or "fauve". For many years, I would say that my art fell in this category -- I will share some of those works in another post. I love the work of Vincent Van Gogh, (who technically is not listed as an expressionist -- but though he is listed as "post-impressionist" in most categorizations - his work has often been considered a precursor to expressionism) Matisse, and with animals in mind: Franz Marc (a representative, but certainly not exhaustive list of artists).
Though I am not currently producing work of this type, some contemporary animal artists who have produced work that I admire and consider to fall into this category are Amber Lowe (she has not been sharing her current work and I do hope she doesn't mind me making this reference to her past work - she knocked my socks of when I saw her work), Marion Rose, and some of the work of Mona Majorowicz. I love the use of color and expressive mark making that these works display.
I think my current selection of medium, colored pencil, has influenced my style somewhat. The majority of currently recognized colored pencil artists are realists. Also my desire to connect through doing commissions does not easily lend itself to a purely expressionist style.
I do not currently feel "capable" however of naturally (as opposed to forced) producing more expressionist work -- I think this has some sort of life history/psychological origins. I am currently reading about style to better understand how life events and personality effect style.
I do like to think that my work has a unique degree of colorfulness and has some indication of mark making (I do not seek to smooth out all of the pencil lines). More recently, Katherine Tyrrell, posted about the Scottish Colorists. I was especially drawn to F C B Cadell from the group and his painting, "The Red Plate", the first in the series in the reference link. One of the reviewers stated that his work was fueled by his joy and optimism.
I think the communication emotionally of joy and optimism in all of these works is what I most admire and what I hopefully also do in my art, no matter how it is categorized.