I went through a somewhat traditional gamit when I was learning to express myself as an artist, I started drawing at a young age, found I had a talent for realism and portraiture, and then focused myself on learning how to draw from life... I went out and took lessons, looked into reference materials on how to do different things and learned the proper ways to execute a portrait, draw a still life, paint a landscape, use of different media for art... In other words, I relied heavily on input from authority figures on my subject of interest, art, and pretty well took it as gospel.
When we look through art history at people that never followed any type of traditionalized art training they are often called 'primitive' artists. What this means is that they weren't influenced by any one art school or artist in particular and their personal style evolved in isolation. There are many pros and cons to this approach, one of the pros being the art is new and distinct unto itself. One of the downsides is that often the composition of their pieces are off kilter in some subtle or even a major way, and it can be uncomfortable for the viewer. But in a way, that's pretty cool as well, because if it disturbs you, it can reach you as nothing else can!
All of this verbal meandering has a point to it, as I'm edging towards a personal philosophy about artistic expression that I've been forming for myself over the last couple of decades...
I tried to chuck everything I thought I knew about art and rules of engagement and cleared my mind and went for it! Probably, after years of rigidity to get things just so, I wasn't truly able to do that, and the final result was a mishmash of everything under the surface of my consciousness. While I was only partially successful in what I set out to accomplish, it was a start into an evolution, and over the course of many decades, I did develop my own distinct style!