Technique Tuesday: Stylized Art

What is it?

Welcome back to Technique Tuesday! With the GC Myers “Truth and Belief” exhibition opening just a few days away, it’s the perfect time to take a look at stylization! Stylization is a technique that’s been around for a very, very long time. In 1979, The Great Soviet Dictionary provided an excellent definition of stylization, explaining it as “the decorative generalization of figures and objects by means of various conventional techniques, including the simplification of line, form, and relationships of space and color.” To look at it from a different perspective, stylization is a deliberate step away from mimesis, which is defined as the close mimicry of reality (in art, this is very generally referred to as “realism,” though that particular term has evolved and is rather nuanced). Rather than trying to represent the subject in a way that is close to reality, an artist can use stylization to create images that, while they contain recognizable subjects and forms, do so in a manner that places emphasis on the color, lines, and oftentimes the emotive qualities of the work.

Examples from art history:

Stylization is something that can be seen as far back as ancient cave paintings, as recognizable subjects were visually portrayed in a simplified manner. Part of this no doubt had to do with the fact that humanity was discovering the visual arts and experienced a learning curve over time when it came to more accurate mimicry of reality in drawing, painting, and sculpture. As time progressed, the goal for many artists became increased mimesis, and stylization began to slowly give way to more realism in art. We can see from the height of the Renaissance through the 19th century that artists took a great joy in creating highly realistic images and exploring the very accurate representation of architecture, human anatomy, natural plant life, etc. As Impressionism broke from academic tradition in the 19th century and brought a focus back to experimentation with colors and light, and stepped back from strict mimesis, it spurred a renewed interest in deliberate stylization and in using the portrayal of recognizable subjects as a platform in which to also revel in color, line, and shapes. Because of its accessibility (one need not necessarily go to school for art or train for years to create stylized art) and its celebration of line and color, stylization is frequently seen in street art and graffiti-style art, as in the case of the late 20th century artist Keith Haring.

(left to right) an example of ancient Peruvian pottery; Henri Matisse, “Chat aux Poissons Rouges”; Pablo Picasso, “Pitcher and Bowl of Fruit”; Gustav Klimt, “Tree of Life III”; Keith Haring, “Statue of Liberty”

Examples at Principle Gallery:

While we carry almost solely representational art here at Principle Gallery, it does certainly vary across the spectrum of mimesis. Some artists here are more stylized than others, but perhaps the most excellent example of stylization and its focus on line, form, and color here at the gallery is the work of GC Myers. GC’s work goes beyond representation of landscapes and adds an emotive quality to the subject and forms, as they portray imagined vistas and use symbolism to create feelings and messages in the artworks. If you keep up with the artist’s blog, over at,  you can often get a detailed insight right from the artist into the emotions and symbolism that infuse any given work of his, but the wonderful thing about his artwork is that it’s also something that can communicate on its own. Feelings of confusion, triumph, peace, frustration, joy, melancholy, and joy all make themselves known to the viewer purely through the interplay of lines, colors, and shapes in these landscapes. While these works come from a deeply personal place in the artist’s soul, one of the magical things about this art is that it also leaves so much space for interaction and interpretation from the viewer, independent of any verbal explanation from the artist.

We are thrilled to be opening an exhibition titled “Truth and Belief” this Friday, June 2nd, which will feature 55 incredible brand new paintings from GC Myers. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the beauties from this show, and if you’d like to see all of them, head over to our website, shoot us an email at, or better yet, join us to welcome the artist and celebrate the exhibition this Friday evening from 6:30-9 PM at Principle Gallery!

“Truth and Belief”

“Race the Light”

“With Sanction of the Moon”

“Seeking Truth”

“So Well Remembered”


by Pamela Sommer

IGOR 10th Annual Juried Exhibition Award Winners

Principle Gallery wishes a huge CONGRATULATIONS to each of the IGOR 10th Annual Juried Exhibition award winners, as well as all the brilliant and talented artists whose work made it into this exhibition! And also, thank you so much to everyone who came out to join us last night and made the reception such a success!

American Art Collector Editor’s Choice Award

Claudia Seymour - Out of the Blue - 21__x20__- oil72

Claudia Seymour, “Out of the Blue”-21×20, oil on linen on panel

Bill & Susan Rowett Collector’s Choice Award

Trish Coonrod - Still Life with Blue Plate and Blue Egg - 24x48 - oil72

Trish Coonrod, “Still Life with Blue Plate and Blue Egg”- 24×48 , oil on canvas

Robert Kirkpatrick Best of Still Life Award

Alex Zonis - Adagio for three strings - 12x9 - 72

Alex Zonis, “Adagio for Three Strings”- 12×9, oil on gessoboard

Best of Figurative Award

Pamela Carroll - Manal - One Green and One Brown Eye - 14x12 - Oil72

Pamela Carroll, “Manal- One Green and One Brown Eye” -13.5×12, oil on panel

Best of Landscape Award

rob macintosh -Prescott-30x40 -oil on canvas72

Rob MacIntosh, “Prescott”- 30×40, oil on canvas

Director’s Choice Award

Michael DeVore - The Weathered Vase - 24 x 24 - Oil on Linen72

Michael DeVore, “The Weathered Vase”- 24×24, oil on linen

Pioneer in Realism Award

Ed Copley Victorian Fantasy 72

Ed Copley, “Victorian Fantasy” – 30×20, oil on linen

Creative Achievement Award


Beth Sistrunk, “Time Lapse”- 21×28, oil on three acrylic panels

Artist’s Choice Award


Tatiana McWethy, “Old Trunk”- 24×24, oil on linen

Best Floral Award

Grace_Kim_ Butterfly Magnolia and Watermellon_24x30_Oil on Linen_72

Grace Kim, “Baby Melon and Magnolia” – 28×40, oil on linen

Best Wildlife Award

Brian LaSaga BARREL AND SPARROW Acrylic 18x24 72

Brian LaSaga, “Barrel and Sparrow” – 18×24, acrylic on panel

Best Drawing Award


Arlene Steinberg, “Salsa” – 28×18, colored pencil and soluble wax crayon

And the winner of Best in Show and Best Trompe L’oeil Award:

Best in Show, Best Trompe L’Oeil 

Jorge Alberto The Swan 22x19 oil on panel 72

Jorge Alberto, “The Swan”- 22×19, oil on panel

To see all of the works in this exquisite show, check out our website here or visit us at the gallery! The show will be hanging through September 18th.

Technique Tuesday: Trompe-l’oeil

What is it?

If you read last week’s Technique Tuesday post about Realism, you already got a sneak peek at the fun that is trompe-l’oeil! A French term which translates to “deceive the eye,” trompe-l’oeil is a technique that creates an optical illusion that what is painted or drawn is actually three-dimensional. Even very realistically rendered paintings can still retain the qualities of two-dimensionality; it’s those sneaky trompe-l’oeil pieces that make you do a double take!

Examples from art history:

Trompe-l’oeil has been around a very long time, in both paintings and murals, but with the advances made during the Renaissance in rendering things as three dimensional, it really started to take off. Many early trompe-l’oeil works were painted as ceiling paintings and frescoes (murals), and by the 15th and 16th centuries, illusionistic ceiling paintings were very popular–all the grandeur of a domed ceiling without the architectural hassle! With the rise in popularity of Flemish and later Dutch still life painting during the Baroque period, trompe-l’oeil still life painting became especially popular. It was a technique also frequently used (and still is!) to create sets for the theater, giving the impression that the space on the stage is much deeper than it is.

AH TLO collage

(left) Pere Borrell del Caso, “Escaping Criticism” 1874; (middle) Fresco with trompe l’œil dome painted on low vaulting, Jesuit Church, Vienna, by Andrea Pozzo, 1703; (right) Cornelis Norbertus Gysbrechts, “Trompe-l’oeil of Open Glazed Cupboard Door with Numerous Papers and Objects” 1666

Examples from Principle Gallery and the International Guild of Realism:

At Principle Gallery, when we think of trompe-l’oeil, one artist immediately comes to mind: Jorge Alberto. I can personally attest to how skillful Jorge is when it comes to tricking the eye– more than once, I’ve been convinced one of his paintings was framed (even labeling it “framed” in our inventory) when it was in reality just a painted frame! His talent is truly incredible, and you can check out all his available work here. Pssst: none of the images below show actual matting or frames–that’s all paint!

Alberto Collage

Jorge Alberto, “Gone Fishing”, “Flaming Queen”, “Plums on the Vine”, “Just Another Pear”

As you may already know, Principle Gallery is hosting this year’s 10th Annual Juried Exhibition for the International Guild of Realism. The show officially opens August 28th, and will include 91 paintings and drawings from 82 incredibly talented artists, many of whom enjoy working with the trompe-l’oeil technique! Here are just a few examples of the many trompe-l’oeil pieces included in the exhibition (click to view larger):

IGOR TLO Collage

(left to right) Jorge Alberto, “The Swan”; Leslie Junkin Fornalik, “Da Vinci’s Compass”; George Gonzalez, “The Tortoise, the Hare, and the Chocolate Bunny”; Elizabeth Weiss, “And Yet She Flies”

Keep an eye out over the coming weeks for more exciting previews of the IGOR exhibition! If you’d like a digital preview of the whole show when it is available, just shoot us an email at and let us know!

Technique Tuesday: Style and the Spectrum of Realism

Technique Tuesday stylet

Realism….Hyperrealism….Trompe l’oeil….There are many terms we use in the art world to describe the style in which something is painted, and even for those of us who work in the field, it can get a little confusing at times.  The nuances of these styles and movements can be very subtle, but today we’ll just cover the basics. As we are preparing for the opening of the 10th Annual Juried Exhibition for the International Guild of Realism (August 28th!), I figured it would be appropriate to go over just what we mean by all those terms when we talk about Realism! Think of today’s post as a little visual glossary.

Objective vs. Non-Objective

First of all: for the sake of this post, and because it’s what we here at Principle Gallery represent, let’s assume all the art we discuss here is objective art. This essentially means that the art is meant to portray something. Non-objective art is different, as it is not “of” anything, but simply uses the elements and principles of design to create a visually stimulating image. Here are some notable examples of non-objective art:

Non Objective Collage

(left to right) Jackson Pollock, “Convergence”; Mark Rothko “No. 13 (White, Red on Yellow)”; Wassily Kandinsky, “Composition VII”

So, now to look at objective art. A variety of terms are used to help describe and understand the way that an artist communicates the subject matter of an objective artwork. Let’s start with one of the most basic.

Abstract vs. Realistic

The word “abstract” is used a lot in the art world– so much so that its meaning had become a bit obscured. It is often (incorrectly) used interchangeably with “non-objective,” though the two do have different meanings. In fact, both objective and non-objective art can be described as “abstract,” as the word simply indicates a degree of separation from reality. Strict realism is the true opposite of abstract art, but abstract art can still certainly be representative of a person, place, or thing. In such cases, the reality-based subject is still being portrayed, but the realistic qualities have been abstracted for the purpose of the work.

abstraction collage

(left to right) Felicia Forte, “Pigeon with Brown Coat”; Paula Rubino, “Sister Sister Woodstork”; Laura Westlake, “Hello Sailor”

Realism vs. Idealism

“Realism” is a term often used to describe an art movement from the 19th century, when artists– tired of the tradition of Romanticism/Idealism and inspired by the rise of the technology of photography– sought to paint things the way they really were. Romanticism, Neoclassicism, and Idealism were some of the predominant and “flowery” trends in European art for many centuries. These styles often involved adjusting the real appearance of the subject to be more aesthetically or ideologically pleasing (like painting a flower as perfect and flawless, even if the real flower has some wilted petals), exaggerating the emotions displayed by the people being painted, and celebrating lofty subjects like history, literature, mythology, and symbolism. Proponents of Realism, on the other hand, wanted to paint things as they really were, with no artificiality, exotic, or supernatural elements included, just all the real and dirty details. This also meant an emphasis on portraying the subject realistically with the brushstrokes, usually in what is called a linear fashion.

Linear vs. Painterly

The original Realists were rather straightforward about the way that they painted their subjects: crisp, sharp, and very much as they appeared to the human eye–this is all descriptive of linear painting. As the 18th century advanced, art saw the rise of Impressionism, and therefore a more “painterly” way of painting. Painterliness refers to a style in which artists portray something with less than perfect control. Not all edges must be clean and sharp, not every detail and nuance must be shown. This gentle, looser, and more expressive manner of painting was adopted by many masters of the 19th and 20th century, including Vincent Van Gogh, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and John Singer Sargent.

painterly collage

(left to right) Sergio Roffo, “Dawn, Bailey’s Island”; Gavin Glakas, “7th and F Streets”; Lisa Noonis, “Mixed Bouquet”


Impressionism is a term that was originally coined to describe the art movement of the mid 19th century, pioneered by French artists like Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Edouard Manet. Over time, however, it has become a term more broadly applied to art of various time periods, and it describes a painterly style in which the traditional rules of academic painting are not necessarily followed, but rather freely applied color and light is emphasized over line, contour, and shading.

Photorealism vs. Hyperrealism

Photorealism is a US art movement that rose during the 1960’s and 1970’s in the wake of many non-objective art trends including Minimalism and Abstract Expressionism. The purpose of the movement was to reproduce photographs as closely as possible in another medium (like paint), down to the tiniest detail. During the course of the 20th century, the popularity of strict Photorealism faded a bit, eventually developing into what is known as Hyperrealism.

Hyperrealism is a kind of step forward from Photorealism. It does not involve the literal copy of a photograph, but rather utilizes the notions of precision and high definition and produces an image that can include emotional, social, cultural and political thematic elements to enhance the visual narrative. Think of it as painting that’s as realistic looking as a photograph without actually having to be based on a photograph! It gives the artist a little more freedom of expression this way. Hyperrealist paintings are always linear rather than painterly.

hyperrealism collage

(left to right) Larry Preston, “Danish”; Alejandro Rosemberg, “Autumn Series Painting No. 1”; Richard Murdock, “Grapes”

Trompe l’oeil

Trompe l’oeil is a French term meaning “deceive the eye,” and refers to art that is not only painted precisely and realistically, but contains some component of optical illusion that what is depicted is actually three dimensional. Master painters for many, many centuries have utilized tricks to give the illusion of depth and dimension in their works, but trompe l’oeil painters take it to the extremes with incredible depth and realism that makes you feel as though you could reach your hand into the painting! Be sure to keep an eye out for next week’s in-depth look at trompe l’oeil painting!

Alberto Collage

(left to right) Jorge Alberto, “Gone Fishing”, “Trilogy”, “Out of the Bag”

Contemporary Realism

The prevalent trend in objective art today is best categorized  under the umbrella term of “Contemporary Realism.” Contemporary Realist approach representational or objective work and represent the modern age, but do so in a variety of ways. You can see by looking at the range of artists that we have here at Principle Gallery that while these artists are all painting contemporary subjects, some approach it with impressive precision and refinement, while others may render things in a more loose and painterly style. “Realism” today can incorporate an array of subject matters, styles of brushwork, and levels of true-to-life appearance. Take a look at the Principle Gallery paintings featured in this collage, and see if you can decide the most appropriate style terminology to apply to them:

Contemporary Realism Collage

(left to right, top then bottom row) Mia Bergeron, “Sincere Risk”; Valerio D’Ospina, “The Unknown City”; Colin Fraser, “Celestial Sun”; Lynn Boggess, “6 May 2015”; Jeremy Mann, “Rites of Spring”; Barbara Flowers, “Hydrangea in Blue Vase”; Cindy Procious, “Sweet Tooth”; Lisa Noonis, “Pears”; Gregory Prestegord, “Abstract Cabs in the City 1”

It is a real joy for  us at Principle Gallery to see the exciting and original ways that artists depict the world around them, both by incorporating methods from the past as well as infusing the work with a fresh, modern perspective. We are also thrilled to be able to host the 10th Annual Juried Exhibition for the wonderful International Guild of Realism. The show officially opens August 28th, and will contain 91 paintings and drawings from 82 talented Contemporary Realist artists. Be sure to visit our website and follow our social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube to stay up to date on all the news about the exhibition!

Technique Tuesdays: Chiaroscuro

Technique Tuesday chiaroscuro

Welcome back to Technique Tuesday! Today we’re taking a look at one of the most basic and essential techniques in art: chiaroscuro.

What is it?

Chiaroscuro (pronounced “keyARo-scuro”) is another art term with its roots in the Italian language. As the two parts of the word translate to “light” and “dark,” chiaroscuro is used to describe the technique that artists employ to add light and shadow to an object to make it appear more three-dimensional. For instance, it’s what makes the difference between a drawing of a circle and a drawing of a sphere. Sometimes this is simply referred to as “shading,” but the technique goes a bit further than that, as the detailed depiction of light’s effect on a surface is what gives that depiction a real sense of depth and volume.

chiaro collage 2

Examples from art history:

Painting and drawing from ancient civilizations usually focused on the basics: capturing shapes, lines, and colors, as well as the placement of people and objects to tell a story. As art progressed through the ages, artists explored and learned more about how to depict the 3D world on a flat surface in a way that appeared more realistic. One of the biggest breakthroughs in this development was the perfection of chiaroscuro, although it’s something we sort of take for granted these days. To give you a visual idea of how chiaroscuro works its magic, check out the difference between this ancient Egyptian wall art on the left, and the figure painted by Michelangelo during the Italian Renaissance here on the right:

chiaro collage 1

Now, there’s no reason at all to criticize or disparage ancient Egyptian wall art; indeed, the colors, compositions, and use of lines and form (not to mention the storytelling!) in Egyptian art was certainly an achievement. The shapes, lines, and colors used to portray the figures on the left here are absolutely effective. But the development of chiaroscuro was a huge leap forward for artists in using a flat surface to recreate what we see in the three dimensional world. You can see in Michelangelo’s painting of Cybil here that the meticulous depiction of every little place of light and shadow brings both the figure and the textiles vividly to life.

All-star of the Italian Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci was the first of the Old Masters to really bring chiaroscuro to its full potential. He was particularly skilled at using chiaroscuro to give dimensionality to textiles as well as a sense of roundness to the human form, as one can see in his painting “The Virgin of the Rocks,” shown below.

Leonardo da Vinci's "The Virgin of the Rocks"

Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Virgin of the Rocks”

Examples at Principle Gallery:

Truth be told, you can see chiaroscuro working its magic on nearly all of the artworks in our gallery. A great many of our talented artists utilize chiaroscuro to give life and depth to their work. There are, however, some excellent examples of how chiaroscuro can provide a profound sense of realism found in the work of still life artist Larry Preston. Check out these paintings below to see how Larry’s careful observation of the effects of light on objects gives the impression that you could almost reach out and touch them!

Works by Larry Preston Left to right: "The Apple," "Egg Plant," "Old Bottles," and "Green Vase Amaryllis"

Works by Larry Preston
Left to right: “The Apple,” “Egg Plant,” “Old Bottles,” and “Green Vase Amaryllis”

You can see more of Larry’s incredible and realistic still life paintings on our website by clicking here. In fact, keep an eye out for chiaroscuro in all the art you see! You’ll find countless excellent examples at the gallery of chiaroscuro in action. If you’ve got a particular favorite example, be sure to share it in the comments!

We’ll take a look in a few weeks at the way that some artists take chiaroscuro to a whole new level when we explore “Tenebrism” on another Technique Tuesday. Be sure to subscribe to our blog (see the box at the top right of the page) to see all our new Technique Tuesday posts as well as other exciting news from Principle Gallery!