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How 4 Stages of an Artist Help You Capture your own Home Decor Style

Updated: May 23, 2022

An interesting concept in personal development to grow and mature into your individual style.

Although this theory is anchored around an artist's growth, the concept will give you confidence in expressing your own taste.

The Four Stages of an Artist is an evolution on how an artist views his subject and how he paints it, choosing from realism, impressionism, or abstract.

Stage 1: Realism

Initially the goal for an artist is to learn eye-hand coordination.

At this beginning stage, the artist transcribes exactly what he sees, instead of what he 'knows.'

Transposing with precise control and accuracy of value and lines, the artist strives to depict accurate proportions including the distance between objects, and depth of field creating the illusion of dimension and texture.

Learning exact transcription for an artist is like learning the concept of playing a particular sport.

For example, baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams, of nine players each, that take turns batting and fielding. The fielding team pitcher, throws a ball to a player on the batting team tries to hit with a bat to score a run. High scoring team after nine innings wins.

Stage 2 of an Artist Development


The next phase of developing as an artist is to capture movement.

Artist often uses light as a way to create flow and energy through a painting.


Roughness can also add motion. Notice the movement created in the leaves below. By using thick, circular strokes of the palette knife, the leaves appear to burst.

The circular texture of the oil paints creates movement in Kate's painting.

The changing characteristics of a stroke is called line quality.

Picture in your mind's eye a thick, heavy line, strong and dynamic. Next, shrink it into a thin and delicate shape. Then, make it wavy. You have just captured the movement of a line.

Look closely at the irregular lines in the birch tree. The think and thin lines add motion, interest, and strength to the drawing.

Returning to our baseball analogy, stage two would be learning the specific rule of the games.

Three strikes and the batter is out. Three outs and the team retires the inning.

Stage 3 of an Artist Development


At this stage the artist subjectively focuses on creating a feeling or idea, rather than an exact transcription of visual reality. This entails abstracting or composing hints of the original subject, an "impression" of reality is created, known as impressionism.

Suggestion can be summed up in a term called Impressionism - Not every tree branchg is painted, not every flower detail in the foreground is illustrated.

The suggestion of texture, line, and color (from Stage 2) create the illusions of familiar objects.

Suggestion in baseball would be implementing strategy. For example, it's your turn at bat with a teammate on third base, yet there's no outs for your team. Instead of swinging for a home run, you hit the ball directly to the first baseman, knowing you'll be tagged out, but allowing your teammate on third to run and score.

Stage 4


At this stage the artist subjectively focuses on creating a feeling or idea, rather than an exact transcription of visual reality. This entails abstracting or composing hints of the original subject.

In this last stage, realistic shapes are completely avoided.

Only the 5 basic elements of design are projected: weight, direction, texture, discord, and color.

These paintings can be enjoyable to view when you are willing to let yourself get involved in the design, appreciating YOUR UNIQUE response.

In the two paintings below, stacked vertically, viewers have told me when they look at the art they can visualize a tree. The top of the painting is its leaves, the mid section is the trunk, and the bottom is its roots.

Whereas, others tell me they see rain falling from the sky and then puddling onto the ground.

Lastly, I've been told they simply love the colors and movement in the paintings.

Do you see trees or rain? Neither is a perfect answer, too.

Abstract art give the artist freedom and let's viewers interpret what they choose.

Associating the four-step pattern of artist development to sports again, to master a game you must first learn the rules, the technique or strategy, and finally develop you own style, such as a powerful backhand in tennis or the mindfulness of chess.

As we grow into this final stage as an artist, baseball player, or home lover we become stronger in your own identities and our confidence.

Whether you're enthralled with the details, or prefer the simple approach, the choice is yours!

As importantly, your perception is what allows you to experience art in a unique way. Just like your home, it’s a way of confidently expressing your individual taste.

Additional reading: More about the types of media in paintings: Why Acrylics Fit so well into your Home Decor


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