* Keep a visual journal of your artistic explorations. This way you can observe your discoveries over time. Note: if you find yourself making deeply personal entries, you may wish to separate "private" and "public" ones so that you can share the more public ones with your friends. Sitting around looking at each other's journals or sketchbooks is a fantastic way to connect with your artist friends. This also works online if you scan and upload pages.
* Learn how to analyze art. This will make it much easier to examine other people's art, and your own art, to figure out what you do or don't like about it. Such observation and interpretation also develops skills you can use in other fields of work.
* Learn how to communicate about art. This includes your own and other people's work. This way, you can exchange ideas with friends and leave notes for folks who might want to study you or your art. Also, when you know the relevant terms and concepts, it's a lot more fun to visit museums or galleries with your friends and talk about what you find there.
* Try different media. Most of the time, you won't know what you like until you experiment with it for a while. Keep notes on which you like, why or why not. Over time you should start to notice patterns -- whether you like high or low blending in a medium, how you feel about drying time if any, whether you want more or fewer color options, your opinions on textures, whether you prefer control or happy accidents, and so on. These discoveries can help you decide which new media to explore and which to skip. If you hate all the paints or colored sticks you've tried, at some point you can decide you dislike the category and quit trying variations of it. Try to find the opposite of what you hate. If you like something, try similar things.
* Get a list of art movements. Consider their place in history. Try your hand at each of them. Keep notes on which you like, why or why not. Include not just the whole movement, but individual aspects like its typical color palette or level of realism. Watch for patterns.
Here is a fantastic template of questions for analyzing art movements. Ask at art museums or galleries; they often have question lists or worksheets for students that can be very helpful.
Art Movement Project
* Get a list of famous artists. Make sure to find some from different time periods, countries, and backgrounds. Get as much diversity as you can in age, gender, race, ability, and other identities. Then look at their work and describe what makes it distinctive. How does that relate to the artist's environment or beliefs? Did they leave any remarks about why they made art that way?
Contemporary Artists of Color and Non-Western Artists in the Middle School Art Curriculum
Copy one of their works and see how you feel about it. Then do the "Neti Neti" (Not This, Not That) meditation. This other person's style is not YOUR style. What do you want to be different about yours?
* Consider aesthetic theories and practices. Try making art according to each theory. Which one(s) you like best? Which one(s) do you like least? Why? What kind of aesthetics feel like "you" ...?
Art Criticism and Aesthetics
And at that, nobody seems to have included wabi-sabi.
* Draw all different kinds of things. The more you try, the more likely you will discover something that really intrigues you. Some artists do people, others do buildings or flowers or insects or aliens.
* Think about where you live. Explore its local color. Your environment tends to shape your personality, so if you are an artist, that's likely to show through in your work somehow. Which of these things feel most important to you, and why?
Try working en plein air. Pack a small art kit and go outside to draw or paint.
Go people-watching and draw some strangers in a public place.
Visit the noteworthy places in your area. Look up attractions with apps. Roadside America has some weird sights. Draw places or things you find there.
Study the wildlife in your area. Learn about nature with apps. Identify plants. Identify birds. Identify animals. These all combine to create a sense of place.
Read your local news. Then illustrate it. You can work from photos or descriptions.
* Think about who you are and what matters to you. List your virtues or values. Then try to attach an art technique or motif to each one. How do you perceive the world? Some artists drew fuzzy pictures because they couldn't see fine detail. Some saw fewer colors than usual; occasionally someone sees many more. What do you notice? Different things call to different people.
Spiritual Virtues in Art
* Are there things you wish people would draw that they don't? Draw those. Do you belong to any disempowered or under-represented group? There is less art by and about women or brown people than white men, for instance. Art ALL the things!
Art: Underrepresented Voices