I've been really enjoying reading this book about Mark Leffel (Oil Painting Secrets from a Master by Linda Cateura). In it, he talks about how to choose the focus of your piece first and start from there. Frankly, his form is a little more fast and loose that I'm used to, but I learned a lot from his book. I really recommend the section about how to put paint on canvas and his theories on shadow and light.
Last night, I went to hang out with the Monday Art Night crowd at Travonna and I decided I would just play around with a sketch, just something from my head, no reference photo. I started with the waterfall in the middle and worked my way out. It felt somewhat awkward, but I actually got more into the piece in the end. I'm learning, that going to school exposes me to a lot of different ways to approach a piece, but ultimately it's myself as an artist that chooses my own unique way to get to a piece. I had to laugh, because the metaphor of what I was drawing was so appropriate at the moment.
Like a waterfall, we all must meander and find a way in which our art flows. Each of us have our own unique course and maybe instead of worrying about "finding our own unique style", perhaps we should just get to the canvas and let it...well, flow, of course.