When I decided to start painting I also decided that before I did anything else, I wanted to be able to paint a portrait.
There are lots of ways to paint portraits. Vincent Van Gogh painted himself in the same style that he painted the starry night - bold swirling brush strokes that evoke the scene more than represent it. Picasso painted women, lots of women, so that their faces appear as if some strange combination of tribal masks and geometric shapes (or are they mis-shapes?). But I wanted to be able to paint a portrait so that when the mother of the child I've painted might see it, she'd say "that's my girl!".
I may not always want to paint like this, maybe one day I'll have created some unique style of my own.
So many "styles" appear to me contrived - as though the "style" was the only point of the painting. There's a case to be made for that approach, embracing the look of the painting and not caring so much about what the painting is supposed to be a painting of. But I also think it takes a great talent to pull that off. Too often it just looks like the artist is trying too hard to be original at the expense of creating something that touches us.
Anyway, I've made more than 30 oil paintings by now, at least 10 of them portraits of people and pets. I'm beginning to have some confidence that I am able to capture a likeness, my paintings have made a few mothers smile. If I never accomplish anything with "style", I'll always have accomplished that, and that's enough for me.