Realism plus Romanticism..My Style..

Realism in the visual arts and literature is the general attempt to depict subjects as they are considered to exist in third person objective reality, without embellishment or interpretation and “in accordance with secular, empirical rules.”
The approach inherently implies a belief that such reality is ontologically independent of man’s conceptual schemes, linguistic practices and beliefs, and thus can be known (or knowable) to the artist, who can in turn represent this ‘reality’ faithfully. As Ian Watt states, modern realism “begins from the position that truth can be discovered by the individual through the senses” and as such "it has its origins in Descartes and Locke, and received its first full formulation by Thomas Reid in the middle of the eighteenth century

In its most specific sense, Realism was an artistic movement that began in France in the 1850s, after the 1848 Revolution. These Realists positioned themselves against Romanticism, a genre dominating French literature and artwork in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Seeking to be undistorted by personal bias, Realism believed in the ideology of objective reality and revolted against the exaggerated emotionalism of the Romantic movement. Truth and accuracy became the goals of many Realists. Many paintings depicted people at work, underscoring the changes wrought by the Industrial and Commercial Revolutions. The popularity of such ‘realistic’ works grew with the introduction of photography — a new visual source that created a desire for people to produce representations which look “objectively real.”…Below is a sampling of my realistic works…

View them here

Romanticism on the other hand validated strong emotion as an authentic source of aesthetic experience, placing new emphasis on such emotions as apprehension, horror and terror, and awe—especially that which is experienced in confronting the sublimity of untamed nature and its picturesque qualities, both new aesthetic categories.
It elevated folk art and ancient custom to something noble, made spontaneity a desirable characteristic (as in the musical impromptu), and argued for a “natural” epistemology of human activities as conditioned by nature in the form of language and customary usage. Romanticism reached beyond the rational and Classicist ideal models to elevate a revived medievalism and elements of art and narrative perceived to be authentically medieval in an attempt to escape the confines of population growth, urban sprawl, and industrialism, and it also attempted to embrace the exotic, unfamiliar, and distant in modes more authentic than Rococo chinoiserie, harnessing the power of the imagination to envision and to escape
…wiki See below examples of works that would be considered “romantic” since the subject matter has not been portrayed in a realistic manner…

View them here

In my quest to provide something for everyone, at the same time satisfy my need to explore all types of genres, I embrace both styles of painting, knowing full well that there are opinions on both sides of the argument as to which constitues “real art”..
For me realism is painting what I see, (easier to do), but in my “romantic” works I am painting what I feel…
The majority of my paintings are what I call the emotional works, painted intuitively, the types of works that are left open for the viewer to add their own feelings and emotions…they are the ones that ring a bell for the viewers past experiences, that they might return again and again to savour

They encompass all subject matter from portraits to landscape, and everything in between including still life and food…they are semi realistic… can see quite clearly what the painting is all about, but I like to add something more that speaks to the viewer…sometimes you just can’t put your finger on it but it’s there all the same…a little bit of magic…instead of painting the tree to look like a tree, I suggest a tree….it’s what makes you come back to the painting again and again to look, to think, to try to figure out what it all means, or indeed if it means anything

But there are viewers who prefer to easily recognize what they see and for them my realistic works hold more appeal..the question for me however, (and this goes against the tenets of true realism), is always to add an emotional quotient to these works….how to make an apple or grape mean more than just a piece of fruit on a plate…viewers can admire the skill that went into making it look like you could pluck it right off the canvas, but to me a painting must be much more than a skilful rendition…it must be a poem or novel…not merely a police report
See Here

In the examples I showed above, the items in the Still Life paintings, (most of my realistic works are Still Life) are depicted in ways which are meant to draw the viewer in..the cakes are meant to make you long for some of it, to leave you hungry, the fruit look juicy, yet the backgrounds vary from newspaper to plastic bags, to giftwrap…all meant to intrigue and hold the viewer’s attention..
They are Still life paintings, but they leave you wondering what will happen when the doughnuts were eaten, or the juice from the oranges stain the paper…Still life but not really still when all is said and done

In the end Realism becomes Romantic and Romance evokes Realism….it works for me..


  • F.A. Moore
    F.A. Mooreabout 2 years ago

    Excellent journey through your thought process and feelings about your art. You do exemplary work in both romantic and realistic genres. Indeed, your still life’s do go beyond realism, often evoking a romanticized perspective of the objects, sometimes through their very setting or saturated colors.

  • Thanks so much Frannie…you have expressed this beautifully…that is exactly what I want to evoke with my art…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Cindy Schnackel
    Cindy Schnackelabout 2 years ago

    Sometimes the juxtaposition of both can be more interesting than either alone!

  • I totally agree…I try to add a bit of each to both styles of paintings…thanks so much Cindy..

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Susan Duffey
    Susan Duffeyabout 2 years ago

    an interesting read, superbly illustrated in your own personal style which is easily recognisable in either genre as they do seem to influence each other.

  • Thanks so much for the lovely compliment Susan…I have been asked how I achieved certain effect and this seemed as good a time as any to speak of it in general terms..

    – © Janis Zroback

  • Mui-Ling Teh
    Mui-Ling Tehabout 2 years ago

    Yup it is very much your style. As I was reading through this, I remember learning about the Rococo period where the style was more romantic, and then later came Neo-classical which aimed for realism as a movement opposed to Rococo. I have watched you long enough to realize you are able to paint realistically (and the food always savoring!) but meanwhile you so various works that are more abstract that are not meant to look realistic.

  • A plethora of styles to appeal to every taste…that should be in the ad for my gallery.. :))
    I love exploring styles and the challenge makes it very exciting…thanks so much MuiLing…

    – © Janis Zroback

  • George Petrovsky
    George Petrovskyalmost 2 years ago

    “Evocative” is the word which best describes your Art to me. Dull would they be of soul who could pass by your works without feeling a stirring of emotion. :)george

  • Those are immensely flattering words George…thank you so much…

    – © Janis Zroback