Painting Like The Masters

Almost everyone knows who Monet, Da Vinci, Rembrandt and Van Gogh are, even if they’re not at all interested in art. But many of us get interested in art because we’ve been inspired by a specific piece from a famous artist.

Particularly, many of today’s artists still draw great inspiration from the four artists mentioned above. Monet, Da Vinci, Rembrandt and Van Gogh, among others, are considered some of the initial “masters” of the painting world and their contributions remain highly popular today.

If you’re inspired by them, your next question might be, “How can I paint like the masters?”


The style Monet painted in is called impressionism, and he is sometimes considered the most influential impressionist in the whole art world. If you want to paint like Monet, you need to convey in your work a strong sense of emotion rather than a realistic scene. The technique you’ll need to master is called broken color, and you should use it to try to convey the sensation of light in your scene.

Monet used a variety of colors and rarely used blacks or browns, so try painting without these. When making brushstrokes, combine thick and thin strokes in order to provide texture. Studying any of his various water lily paintings will help you learn.

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Da Vinci

Da Vinci along with Monet is considered another one of the greats, yet his painting style was vastly different than Monet’s. Whereas Monet avoided using earth tones almost altogether, Da Vinci painted almost exclusively in them. To paint like Da Vinci, you need to appreciate the value of a good underpainting.

Sometimes Da Vinci would even let his underpainting show in places on the final project, adding more complexity and depth to the piece. You also need to master the technique Da Vinci often used, called sfumato, a method of painting where colors blend softly into each other and there are no hard edges. The famous Mona Lisa is one of the best examples of this.


If you want to paint like Rembrandt, you’ll have to master the style known as chiaroscuro. This word literally means “light-dark” in Italian and is used to describe the use of extremely contrasting tones in a work of art. Usually this results in a very dramatic piece, often very shadowed and severe.

And unlike Da Vinci, Rembrandt usually painted extremely thickly—there’s no way any of his underpainting would ever show. Concentrate on highlighting certain parts of your work, like the face of your subject, rather than worrying about detail in the background. A palette of mostly dark colors will suit you well.

Van Gogh

Van Gogh’s style is very unique and doesn’t have a particular name. Some people consider is his art to be in the impressionist category, but he is generally known as a post-impressionist artist, which implies he went a step beyond impressionism to create something different. To paint like Van Gogh, large blocks of solid color should be very well defined by short brush strokes of different variations of that color placed side by side.

Pay attention to complimentary colors and use them together to make each color stand out more. Don’t worry so much about the perfection of proportions or form. Instead focus on giving your work a bit more whimsy that can produce an emotional response rather than creating a literal depiction of a scene.

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