A Beginner's Guide to the Different Categories of Painting

A Beginner's Guide to the Different Categories of Painting

Art is a form of expression that dates back to ancient civilizations. It represents cultures, eras, and individual perspectives. One of the most vibrant art forms is painting, which can be categorized into various styles and mediums. In this guide, we'll explore the different categories of painting, from styles to mediums and subjects. Whether you're an art enthusiast looking to expand your knowledge or a novice just starting out, this guide will help you understand and appreciate the various categories of painting.

A Beginner's Guide to the Different Categories of Painting


Painting Styles


Abstract paintings are more about emotions than a clear representation. The forms, colors, and strokes can be random, offering a sense of freedom and exploration. Delving into the intangible, abstract art challenges the viewer's perspective, encouraging them to seek personal interpretations and connections. Often seen as avant-garde, this style is an ode to individualism and artistic liberation.


As the name suggests, realism focuses on capturing real-life scenarios as accurately as possible, paying close attention to detail. It is a mirror to life, reflecting the world in its truest form. With meticulous precision and observation, artists delve into the nuances, ensuring every shade and texture is captured. Such paintings often evoke a sense of familiarity and nostalgia.


Born in the late 19th century, impressionism is characterized by small, visible brushstrokes. It captures a scene's essence or "impression" rather than detailed accuracy. The fleeting play of light and its changing nuances are central to this style. Offering a glimpse rather than a detailed account encourages viewers to complete the picture with their imagination.


This style seeks to express the emotional experience more than physical reality. Bold colors and dramatic brushstrokes are common features. Rooted in the chaos and upheavals of the 20th century, expressionism seeks to portray raw, visceral emotions. Often intense and provocative, these paintings reflect the artist's inner turmoil and perspectives on the world around them.

Painting Mediums

Oil Painting

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Oil painting is a technique that uses slow-drying paint made from color pigments suspended in a drying oil. This technique has been popular for centuries and is known for its rich color and ability to blend seamlessly. One of the most cherished subjects in oil painting is immortalizing moments. A custom wedding oil painting captures a couple's special day's joy, love, and emotion in the deep, vibrant tones that only oil can offer. Such artworks make a perfect wedding or anniversary gift and serve as a lifelong memento of a once-in-a-lifetime occasion.


Pastels offer a soft and dreamy quality. They are made from pure powdered pigment, giving them brilliant and vibrant colors. The medium's unique texture allows blending with fingers, creating seamless transitions between shades. Artists often favor pastels for their immediacy and the ability to capture fleeting light conditions.

Watercolor Painting

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Watercolor painting employs pigments suspended in a water-based solution. This medium is celebrated for its light, airy, and transparent qualities, offering a delicate touch to artworks. There's a certain ethereal quality to watercolor that makes it ideal for commemorating our loved ones. A watercolor memorial portrait captures the essence of a person, blending memories and emotions into a single, poignant artwork. 

Acrylic Painting

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Acrylic paints are water-soluble, but they become water-resistant when dry. They are known for their versatility, as they can mimic the appearance of oils or watercolors based on the artist's technique. 

One good example of this is a custom acrylic dog painting; our furry friends hold a special place in our hearts. What better way to celebrate their loyalty and joy than through a painting? These paintings capture your beloved pet's essence, spirit, and personality in vibrant and lasting colors, ensuring that their memory remains vibrant on your walls.

Painting Subjects


Portrait paintings aim to depict a person or a group of people. It captures the essence, personality, and mood of the subject. Historically, portraiture has significantly represented power, wealth, virtue, beauty, wisdom, and even the subject's status in society. They remain a testament to the artist's skill and the subject's individuality.


Landscape paintings represent natural scenery such as mountains, valleys, trees, rivers, and forests. They can evoke a range of emotions, from tranquility to drama. The evolving light of day, atmospheric conditions, and seasons offer artists endless inspiration. Landscape painting often aims to reflect nature yet can also capture the relationship between humans and their environment.


This category focuses on inanimate subjects. Common subjects include flowers, fruits, and everyday objects, arranged thoughtfully. Still-life paintings allow artists to play with the arrangement, lighting, and texture, imparting meaning or symbolism to the scene. These artworks often serve as a snapshot of the everyday, elevating the ordinary to the extraordinary.


Fantasy paintings dive into the realm of the imaginary. Dragons, fairies, and otherworldly landscapes can all be subjects in this category. Transporting viewers to alternate realms, fantasy art often combines mythological, folklore, and dreamlike elements. The unrestricted nature of the genre means artists can truly let their imagination soar.


These paintings depict historical events, offering a visual interpretation of significant moments from the past. By capturing such moments, artists provide a narrative, immortalizing the triumphs, tragedies, and pivotal occurrences in human history. Historical paintings also bridge the past and present, reminding viewers of bygone eras and the lessons they carry.

Order Your One-Of-a-Kind Artwork From Memorialize Art

Every individual has a unique story to tell, and there's no better way to narrate it than through a personalized painting. Art can evoke emotions and immortalise moments, be it an intimate portrait, a breathtaking landscape, or a custom piece representing a cherished memory.

At Memorialize Art, we understand the personal connection between an individual and their artwork. Our team of skilled artists is dedicated to creating masterpieces that resonate with your soul. Whether you desire a watercolor remembrance or an oil painting celebrating life's milestones, we're here to bring your vision to life.