What Does Art Style Mean?
Style in art refers to an artist's unique combination of techniques, processes, and decisions. It develops and evolves over the lifetime of an artist.
A distinct style can help with an artist's branding and recognition. Many people could recognize Vincent van Gogh's work without seeing the name.
Art Style Versus Movement
An art movement refers to specific trends, periods, and groups of artists. Each movement is associated with a certain style, but a style is not limited to a certain movement. For example, I can paint in an impressionistic style today, but that does not mean I am part of the Impressionist art movement.
Types of Art Styles
What it means: A focus on mimicking the appearance and nature of the subject.
Characteristics: Fine rendering, muted colors, intricate detail, and accurate fundamentals.
What it means: Capturing the subject in a favorable and exaggerated style.
Characteristics: Sharp contrast, bright highlights, strong colors, and a refined, almost glossy finish.
What it means: A focus on capturing the subject in its simplest form. Think of abstract as a scale rather than an absolute term. Essentially all artworks have some form of abstraction.
Characteristics: Reliance on shapes, colors, lines, and contrast.
Examples: An extreme example of abstract art is Jackson Pollock's work. A less extreme example is Paul Cézanne's work.
What it means: A focus on capturing the artist's impression of a subject.
Characteristics: Light colors, weak shadows, energetic brushwork, broken color, and colorful accents.
What it means: Describes paintings that look like paintings.
Characteristics: Thick brushwork, confident and visible strokes, and strong fundamentals.
What it means: Conveying the subject with small dabs of color.
Characteristics: Strong colors, sharp contrast, light colors, and weak drawing (painting with small dabs of color means sacrificing the drawing).
What it means: Capturing the subject with photographic accuracy.
Characteristics: Micticulous drawing and detail.
Examples: Chuck Close, Richard Estes, and Raphaella Spence.
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