Looking At the Variety Of Wildlife Art Styles
“Great art picks up where nature ends.” – Marc Chagall
Wildlife has been a common theme of artists since the earliest cave paintings from the Neanderthal era. And, in the last few centuries, wildlife art has been utilized for decorating manors, mansions, family homes and rustic cabins all across North America and in many parts of the world.
Wildlife art, however, consists of far more than one, homogenous and generic genre that we label “wildlife” out of need for efficiency.
Although this is done, of course, especially for marketing and commerce purposes, the genre is composed of several “sub-genres” or styles, as we’ll refer to them here.
Wildlife Art Styles - Beyond Ducks and Deer
While the artistic “styles” of wildlife artists run the gamut from painstakingly photo-realistic renderings such as those by Neal Anderson or Peter Mathios, to the endearing and whimsical styles of artists such as Marsie Danielson and Caly Garris, so do the themes.
In fact, the subjects and themes of what we broadly refer to as “wildlife art” can include domestic animals, farm scenes, and small towns, as well as lions, tigers, and bears - and everything outdoor theme in between!
For the sake of simplicity and a modicum of clarity, we will refer to the different genres, or sub-genres, as “styles.”
Broadly speaking, wildlife art can be broken down into a few larger categories. These can include animals, birds, fish and ocean life, domestic scenes, and landscapes.
Breaking it down even further we could list numerous wildlife art styles, including exotic animals, big game, forest life, western scenes, rural scenes, upland birds, waterfowl, songbirds, raptors, wolves, fishing, whales and other sea mammals, and deep-sea fishing.
Based on overall sales of both original and limited edition prints of wildlife artwork, it appears that the most popular styles are fishing and hunting themes. The runners-up are composed of a mixed bag of waterfowl, forest and rural scenes, and wolves, bears, and horses. And not in that order necessarily.
According to data from a survey published in Art Business Today, included among the top 10 best-selling painting themes were Traditional landscapes, modern or semi-abstract landscapes, dogs, seascapes, harbors, and beach scenes, wildlife, and impressionistic landscapes.
While a few of these might be marginally seen as wildlife art styles, it does underscore the reality that, generally speaking, these styles are among the most popular with buyers.
The Allure of Wildlife Art
Another view of wildlife art “styles” would be to classify them by the classic, fine art categories.
So, while styles such as Romanticism and Post-Impressionism might constitute some of the artwork found under the rubric of “Wildlife Art” the dominant styles could be labeled as Realism or even Photorealism.
This is evident in the overall popularity of realistic depictions and renderings of both wildlife and landscape in the vast majority of wildlife artwork pieces.
And it is repeatedly remarked upon how so many of the great wildlife artists not only portray a scene in a realistic fashion, but manage to evoke a sense of place, a sense of being “in the moment,” and to capture something of the essence of the creature or landscape that was painted.
The best artists and artwork manage to somehow capture the immediacy and energy of a scene in a way that makes the image both real and accessible.
As wildlife artist Teresa Bernard noted in a blog post,
“For centuries wildlife and animal art has been a favorite genre of artistic expression that attracts a huge following of artists and aficionados who love animals. In fact it is so popular, that art societies, exhibitions, competitions and galleries have formed which are devoted to the cause. Wildlife paintings are such a well loved form of wall art that fine artists and photographers have captured the beauty of animals out in the wild and nature for everyone to enjoy.”
An article in Mountain Express Magazine relates that many artists depict animals in nature, where the subject appears unaware of the viewer, while others work to create an interaction between subject and viewer.
It goes on to note that some artists seek to stylize while others work toward translating the most minute details. These representational wildlife artists seek to instill the classical voice of Realism in varying degrees by capturing the animal in its most authentic state - in motion - and most often in its natural habitat.
As Nancy Stoakes of the Kimball Art Center in Utah reminds us,
“Images of the natural world evoke a sense of responsibility and convey a deeper meaning and truth. Wildlife art provides us a rare glimpse into a fragile ecosystem, and urges us to ponder our role in conserving it. When we marvel at the tripod of a giraffe bent to water, or a lioness tending to her cubs, it’s a visual reminder of our connectedness.”
Find Your Favorite Wildlife Art Styles from the Leader in Wildlife Artwork
Wild Wings only stocks the highest quality wildlife artwork and our collection features wildlife prints representing many different wildlife art styles and from several renowned wildlife artists such as Terry Redlin, Sam Timms, and Chris Cummings.
Wild Wings is the leader in wildlife themed art, and we pioneered the wildlife art industry with over 2,500 print editions produced since 1968.
Today, Wild Wings stocks over 1,000 outdoor and wildlife art prints representing 75 of America’s top artists and our Wildlife Art collection offers buyers the perfect combination of beauty, quality, comfort, and uniqueness.