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Painting Style

Categorizing Your Art

Personally I am not one to  advocate allowing my work to be categorized into one particular stereotyped painting style. Yes I’m one of those guys who finds the critics analysis boring and even on occasions unethical. I am a hopeless romantic indulged in an idealistic world when I undergo the painting process as if there were a higher being directing me.  For me there are only two ways to view art:

  • First would be my initial reaction. Was it emotional, intriguing, vitalizing or what ever? Of course sometimes there is a load of technical merit to a highly appreciated painting but, there are those images that have messages and step beyond the creation process and decorator appeal.
  • Analysis and appreciation for the artist’s craftsmanship is the other significant issue. Obviously I do form opinions not much different than others but I’ve tried strenuously to inhibit them as I am one who am also continuously judged. So, in consideration I find it more politically correct to observe and place emphasis on the positive. When I find interest in another’s work I go right to finding the motivation for the artist’s creation and exactly how (technically) it became a successful venture.

Grapevine with a Lizard
oil on canvas
128.9 cm  x 83.8 cm
Giorgio Lucchesi – 1897

click ifor larger view

However,  in the real art world throughout the centuries critic’s and collector’s continue to justify the need to classify, and categorize art due to it’s equitable nature always in comparison to an older masters work. And, then there is the new creation of genius that itself cannot resist the urgency to become the footstone of the next exciting new cliché. Maybe I’m exaggerating my lack of enthusiasm for stylish trends and maybe I’m just getting old and set in my ways. However, one thing I do recognize as being true. An artist that sets a trend is usually just doing his/her thing, connecting with his/her inner self and then he/she attracts followers to ride the next wave. This movement is what in time gets classified into specific painting styles.

If you find the need to contribute to any of these styles don’t fret unless you’re not satisfied with the results of your effort. You should not feel obligated to dedicate yourself to any one style unless it is your desire to do so.  Your originality is what will be appreciated most so, as a rule strive to concentrate on a technique that expresses your vision and an original concept.

What determines or significantly defines a specific painting style? Numerous repeating key elements in your painting combined in both subject matter and technique such as:


  • concept
  • time line
  • geometry
  • simplicity
  • emotion
  • religion 
  • social affiliation


  • size
  • brush strokes
  • colors used
  • texture
  • focus
  • detail
  • medium

Fiesta in Figueres
Salvator Dali
click image
for larger view
Not all art is determined by these factors. As an example,  the sarcastic expressions of “Dada” whose artist’s rebelled against the rational or traditional and socially accepted aspects of art. This style was utilized as a means to express anti-genre art,  hatred for bourgeois values and to impress simplified humanitarian views of life.As an example of  painting trends, in competition with Expressionism  Dada  eventually progressed into Surrealistic concepts as well as Cubism and Abstract Expressionism.

Although a repetitive or distinctive painting style is what most galleries look for in your work, you should not feel obligated to accommodate them. Your developed style of painting is something that will come as naturally as your signature. It’s your unique fingerprint that you develop in time as your paintings become more refined.  The obvious question here is should you just paint whatever you want or choose the style that sells. Depending on your personal logic you are the only one in procession of  this answer.


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Wikipedia: Painting Style

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