On Changing Style

I completed two paintings in June 2022: Brisbane City, Mist and Brisbane City, White Light. The first follows a more impressionist style, with dynamic brushwork, exaggerated color, and simplified detail. The latter follows a more realistic style, with fine rendering, restrained colors, and careful detailing.

Dan Scott, Brisbane City, Mist, 2022
Dan Scott, Brisbane City, Mist, 2022
Dan Scott, Brisbane City, White Light, 2022
Dan Scott, Brisbane City, White Light, 2022
  • Changing style requires a change in mindset. Painting in an impressionist style requires a focus on color, relationships, and pushing ideas. I typically paint fast and with instinct. Painting in a more realistic style requires careful attention to detail. It’s slower and more calculated.
  • Certain styles develop certain habits that are near impossible to change. For example, because I typically paint in an impressionist style, I have developed a preference for dabbing, broken strokes and simplified detail. I could feel an uncomfortable pull in this direction during the second painting.
  • Painting in an impressionist style tends to be more forgiving of mistakes in drawing and detail. However, there is also the challenge of making the painting work as a whole without it coming across as reckless and sloppy.
  • Trying a different style might help you break out of a mold and it may teach you something new that complements you broadly as an artist.
  • There may be a reason you lean towards a particular style. I get easily bored and impatient, so the impressionist style suits me. I don’t ever see myself spending 50+ hours on a painting with a tiny liner brush capturing every single detail. Before trying to change your style, consider if there’s an inherent reason why you paint the way you paint.

Note: If you are new to painting, don’t worry yet about style. It will develop naturally over time, no need to force it. This section is more for people who have been painting in a particular style for several years and could benefit from branching out from time to time.

If you want to learn more, you should check out my Painting Academy course. I’ll walk you through the time-tested fundamentals of painting. It’s perfect for absolute beginner to intermediate painters.

Happy painting!

Dan Scott



Dan Scott is the founder of Draw Paint Academy. He's a self-taught artist from Australia with a particular interest in landscape painting. Draw Paint Academy is run by Dan and his wife, Chontele, with the aim of helping you get the most out of the art life. You can read more on the About page.