Painting Styles: A Guide to Understanding Artistic Techniques

Painting Styles: A Guide to Understanding Artistic Techniques

woman painting the river
Image by coldbeer from Pexels

Painting is both a highly respected and historically significant art form. It is one of the many forms of artistic expression that has always been ingrained in the human spirit. The art of painting has diversified and evolved over time to incorporate a wide variety of styles, media, and subject matter. Thanks to this, artists are better able to put their feelings into their artwork.

Art has been a medium of expression for centuries, and the techniques used by artists have evolved over time. From the detailed realism of the Renaissance to the vibrant colors of Impressionism, each period has its unique style that reflects the artists' thoughts, emotions, and experiences.

Understanding these styles can help you appreciate art on a deeper level and gain insight into the artist's creative process. In this blog post, we will explore some of the most famous painting styles and the techniques that define them. Whether you're an art enthusiast or a beginner, this guide will provide you with a better understanding of the various painting styles and techniques used by artists throughout history.

Importance of understanding painting styles

The characteristics of a painting style are the artist's own response to the painting process as it unfolds before his or her eyes. The way the artist manipulates the medium, as well as the process or technique that the artist employs, is also crucial in establishing the style of painting. When an artist creates a new style of painting, it directly opposes an earlier school of thought.

If you're just starting out as an artist, it will assist tremendously if you have some familiarity with basic painting methods and styles. Learning the fundamentals of color theory, value relationships, brushwork, texture, and composition will give you the tools you need to confidently create your own works of art. Artists have always developed their own distinctive styles by picking ideas and approaches that work for them personally and reflect their own personal creative values.

Different Painting Styles

Selecting a painting style that suits you best requires an understanding of the defining features of various painting mediums and approaches, as well as the aesthetics they evoke. Examples of different types of painting style are as follows:


The purpose of this art style is to accurately portray the real life world as seen by its creators. Realism in art emerged in the 15th century and has persisted ever since. Aside from depicting stark nudity, the film also focused on the plight of the working class, the grueling nature of manual labor, and the isolation felt by the modern individual.
To say that realism rocked the art world with its provocative images would be an understatement. Nevertheless, many of the world's most renowned masterpieces are executed in this fashion.


The other extreme of the artistic spectrum is expressionism. Expressionist painters sometimes alter their works in order to more accurately reflect the artist's internal state or to more effectively communicate a concept.
It's a form of art that emphasizes individual interpretation and its roots may be traced back to Western and Northern Europe in the late 19th century and early 20th centuries. The formal elements of such paintings are typically very bold, shocking, aggressive, or energetic.
One of the most famous expressionist artists is Edvard Munch.


The term "impressionism" refers to a style of art that originated in France in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Small, bold brushstrokes that give the viewer a sense of shape at a high level of abstraction and pure, bright colors were hallmarks of impressionist paintings. As such, it shows the world as the artist experiences it, with all its flaws and individuality. Impressionistic art typically depicted landscapes and everyday settings. It typically highlighted the impacts of light at a specific period.


Abstract paintings are sometimes known as contemporary art. Abstract paintings are works in which the artist doesn't depict a real life scene or object. The objective of this practice of painting is to give a previously contorted painting new significance by including a hidden moral message inside its abstracted shape.
One of the most famous abstract artists is Jackson Pollock. 

Types of Painting Mediums

squeezing paint to the palette
Image by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels


Although they have been around for a long time, oil paintings continue to be a popular choice for artists. Pigments are combined with drying oils such as poppy seed oil, walnut oil, linseed oil, and safflower oil to create the paints. Oil paintings are known for their luxuriously thick consistency, which allows the artist to vary the level of transparency or intensity in their work.
Plus, oil paints let you build up hues and mix them into one another for a stunning final product. However, it may be a challenging medium to master because of how tough it is to remove mistakes.


Watercolor is another oldest yet most common type of painting medium. It's cheap and very soluble in water, which is a bonus. A single tube of paint may last quite a while if you follow the instructions and dilute it with water.
Watercolor painting is great because it allows you to build up layers to create effects like transparency and luminosity. It's a popular medium use for landscape paintings because of how well it captures and diffuses light.

Acrylic Painting

Acrylic paint is a modern option for artists. As a result of their chemical make-up, acrylic paints dry quickly and keep their color for decades. You can dilute acrylic paint with water, much like watercolor. It's also more resistant to heat than conventional paints.
This medium is quite appealing because it mimics the fluidity of watercolor while still providing the rich texture of oil. Plus, if you use acrylic paints and make a mistake, you can just simply wipe them off. Many pop artists used acrylic in their works.

Master your craft by experimenting with various painting styles

Painting is a powerful medium for expressing and conveying feelings to an audience. It's recommended that artists who desire to improve their craft check out new approaches and techniques from other artists. Realist, expressionist, impressionist, and abstract painting are just some of the options available to you.

Get Your Own Painting from Memorialize Art

family memorial watercolor painting

At Memorialize Art, we can alter any of our portrait paintings to meet your specific requirements. There are also memorial portraits rendered in charcoal and watercolor, as well as voice memorials encoded with QR codes.