The Difference Between Abstract and Realistic Paintings

The key to assessing a good abstract painting is its ability to inspire interpretation. Its title is usually vague and the viewer must use their own imagination to interpret what the painting is about. The best abstract works are often highly detailed and layered, with an attention to details like splatters and markings. However, the realism of a painting is not necessarily a bad thing.

While many artists use realistic techniques to create stunning works, some are more creative and experiment with their subject matter. Some are very realistic by enhancing nature’s colors with limited palettes. For example, Anders Zorn used only four colors in a self-portrait, while Calvin Liang made use of a complementary scheme of blue/orange. Many painters begin their careers with abstract techniques and build their way to more realistic images.

While abstract art focuses on the use of color and composition to create a sense of space, some painters make their paintings appear more lifelike. One example of a realistic piece of art is a painting of a real world, such as a landscape or a still life. For example, the artist Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings have a kinetic quality. And the same is true for the works of Claude Monet and Winslow Homer, who used the use of color and value to make their subjects appear more real.

The artist’s intent is key. A portrait, for instance, requires a clear intention to accurately represent its subject. Every mark in a painting has a purpose. While one painting is completely random, the other resonates with the viewer. The play of colors and temperature is what makes one painting so vibrant and engaging. The true difference between a good abstract art and an ugly one is in the intent behind the artist. Even a beginner can discern this intent, and some artists blend their work as a fusion of the two.

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