Paint With Style I

A friend of mine asked me to explain what STYLE meant in art. I thought, yep, that is easy. But is it? Can I fit this complex subject into a simple and short explanation?

What does it actually mean? It is a term that helps to group and categorise works of art and artists by the distinctive way they are made and by their visual appearance.

What styles do we have? Historically art is typically categorised into the period styles such as:

  • Ancient Classical art

  • Medieval art

  • Renaissance

  • Neoclassicism

  • Romanticism

  • Modern art

  • Contemporary art

Each of these can be broken down further into specific periods.

Lets look at the popular Modern art period styles:


Artists reacted to the formal style of painting attributed to earlier styles such as renaissance and romanticism for example. Preferred subjects became landscapes and scenes from daily life. Well known artists include Pierre Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Eduard Manet and Edgar Degas.


Fauvism comes from French word fauve – “wild animals”, this style uses bold strong and bright colours. Well known artists include Henri Matisse, Franz Marc, Wassily Kandinsky and Edvard Munch.


Meaning New Art, using fluid natural forms and decorative style. Well known artists include Alphonse Mucha and Gustav Klimt.


More simplified and stylised, also more commercial style then Art Nouveau and used more in architecture, fashion and useful objects.


Used geometrical and fragmented forms. Well known artists include Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp.


Focusses on dreams and the unconscious mind to unlock creativity. Well known artists include Salvador Dali, Max Ernst and Rene Margritte.


The representational form is removed and focus is on the colour and shapes. Well known artists include Marc Chagall and Wassily Kandinsky.


Abbreviation for Popular Art. It came about as reaction to abstract art, bringing back images of objects from daily life. Well known artists include Andy Warhol and David Hockney.


Short for Optical Art. Sort of abstract art using overlapping patterns and colours. Well known artists include Victor Vasarely and Bridget Riley.


A style that represent subject matter truthfully and precisely.

And finally the Contemporary art style – the art of today, the art that is using today’s technology, materials and methods. The art that is relevant to our present issues and the contemporary global society.

In the next blog we can explore how important it is to have your own style. See you then.

Here are just a few pics from my art studio where we are all working on developing our own style by learning and experimenting as well as having fun and forming friendships.

Dympna is almost finished with her oil landscape.

Shannon hard at work painting her daughter’s portrait.

A little distraction from painting to celebrate Daniela’s birthday.