Realism is a mid-19th century art movement that started in France. Many people describe realism as a "concern for fact or reality" because it reflects everyday situations, events, and characters in their most accurate and authentic form.
Realism was borne as a reaction to an art movement called Romanticism where the approach towards the subject is always idealistic. Proponents of realist art wanted to do away with the inaccuracy and the exaggerated emotions of romanticized art and focus instead on what's really happening in real life minus the bias and personal interpretations.
Realism is often confused with Naturalism. But just remember this - realism is focused more on "what" or "who" is being painted while naturalism is more concentrated on "how" a subject is painted.
Some of the famous 19th century realist painters include David Wilkie, Ferdinand Georg Waldmuller, Theodore Gericault, Jean-Francois Millet and Edgar Degas to name a few. Check out their artworks from below for inspiration!
First, check the perspective of your work! Start with a focal point in your canvas and work outwards across the composition. Use light pencil marks as your guidance as you start to paint.
Another way is to consider the light direction and shadows of your subjects. Establish first where your light is coming from and make every highlight and shadow based on that direction of the light. Remember to keep it consistent to achieve a truly realistic feel!
And lastly, add as much details as possible - no matter how tiny! It may take a great deal of patience and observation, but you will be pleased at the results once you see your final painting. Adding those important details is not an overnight work. Just take your time. It will be all worth it in the end.
To learn more about Realist art, you know what to do!
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