This is the basic of art education: to go after something that speaks to you, to push hard to achieve it. In that process lies the discovery of your own unique approach. That's when the learning blossoms.
One of my favorites is Greg Manchess. I love the buttery, loose application of paint he uses. In this Muddy Colors post he credits Frank Duveneck as the reason why he paints the way he does. I found the above quote in the comments of the post.