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What Makes Good Art

An excerpt from: https://www.sarapaxtonartworks.com/what-makes-good-art/

Sara Paxton was born in the UK, growing up in an artistic and creative family environment. Her childhood was spent drawing and painting anything that came to hand. Sara moved to Sydney in her early twenties. It was another decade, three children and a further move south to Victoria, before she once again reconnected with her passion for paint.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You should be drawn to it regardless of what anyone else may say or think. Here are some aspects that bring beauty to a piece of art:

Beauty of the Artwork

  • The Use of Colors: The use of colors which complement each other enhance art and make it more beautiful and inviting.
  • Repeating Patterns and Symmetry: Art that features repeating patterns, shapes and symmetry appears more interesting and unique.
  • Use Of Textures: The use of textures and different kinds of paints which enhance the features of the artwork, giving it more edge and character.
  • Correct Use of Proportions and Placement: A painting needs to be proportioned or it will look too cluttered.
  • Crops and Composition: Cropping out the excess and good composition highlights the artwork and captures the viewer’s attention.
  • Framing: An artist should take special care in placement and framing as it plays an important part in capturing the viewer’s attention.


When purchasing art, you would want something that not only defines you but something that is unique and abstract. Unique art will always stand out and focus on a subject that is either new or is generally neglected by artists.

Good art always explores new subjects, emotions, feelings, sceneries and methodologies. If something catches your eye or if you discover something new in a piece of art, you should decide whether this uniqueness really sets the artwork apart and enhances the piece, or not. Think about what makes “this” art special to you and why it is different and if you like this difference.

Skills and Technique

When purchasing a piece of art, you need to make sure the technical skills of the artist shine and has measurable qualities and aspects of art. If you want to purchase a painting, make sure you browse through paintings of many different artists. This way, you will have a better idea of what you are looking for and you will be able to tell good art from the bad.

While going through the work of many artists, you will find some of them are talented while others may not be as consistent or proficient. Some artists will copy others but not always do as god a job, so do your background research and see where the inspiration for the painting came from!

Carefully look at each piece and examine strokes and lines. Does this piece of art look rushed, forced or copied?

Though it is easy for artists to cover their mistakes, you can still identify whether a mark or line was intentional. If the artist’s work features many strange markings, it is a sign of carelessness and inexperience.

Good artwork includes elements that are cohesive and work in harmony. If something looks out of proportion, it means the artist may have misjudged. Do not worry if you are still having trouble spotting what makes good art, it’s not easy. Keep visiting art galleries and comparing the works of renowned artists. You will be able to tell the difference between the two soon enough.

Inherent Meaning

Art is a means of expressing yourself. Art is powerful and more than just about beauty and skill. While these two components are important, art should be moving and thought provoking.

Good quality artwork will make you think and trigger an emotional response. Artwork can generally be created for the following purposes:

  • Representational Art: This artwork is merely for visual appeal and does not hold any deep meaning. It could be a painting of a bowl of fruits or a picture of a pretty flower.
  • Art That Tells a Story: This artwork provokes a specific emotion in its viewers. These pieces affect you and pull you towards them.
  • Art That Makes Statement: These pieces hold a purpose and speak for a cause. In paintings and images, the artist is trying to highlight a cause that is important to them and holds meaning for them.
  • Art as a Metaphor: This type of art features multiple meanings, so there is literally more to them than meets the eye. These pieces feature many symbols that focus on intangible human issues.

In order to know what makes good art and a quality painting, try and follow the above qualities. Art that depicts meaning and strikes emotions opens up a whole new realm of excitement and will capture your attention at the same time. It is hard to categorise these qualities because at the end of the day art means something different to each and every person but hopefully these points have given you something to consider!

Good art will speak to you. It not only appeals to you but is 
skillfully made. Good art will always be more than what meets the eye. 
It will spark emotion, it will make you laugh, it will make you cry and 
most importantly, it will make you think.

An artist puts a lot of work into their pieces. Everything that they have used serves a purpose. Do not purchase a piece of art if it does not appeal to you. Just go with your instincts and do not forget to have a good time the above points are to help you evaluate what makes good art in general and can not really be applied to everyone.

While modern, abstract art has its place, it is not the evolutionary pinnacle of humanistic thought, transcending the works of Rembrandt, Renoir, Chagall, Cassatt, or Da Vinci. Some of it is good, and some of it really is no more than the average 8-year-old could do. If you like it, and the price is right, then buy it. If you don’t like it, then don’t let anyone convince you that you should — either like it, or buy it.

If your tastes lean toward representational work — meaning that what is painted actually looks like something, then you as the viewer have the right to wonder why the artist painted something a certain way, and whether he made the head of a figure large and out of proportion because he wanted it that way, or because he couldn’t do it any other way. Drawing is a skill, and not all artists have it.

Thanks to Sara Paxton for a great Article.

Author: leonie@lifeart.co.za

Passionate, expressive, urgent, often using palette knives to scrape and make marks into the paintLeonie's current body of work focus more on romantic abstract landscapes, using thick impasto paint with lots of texture and color. She describes the process of painting as, “passionate, expressive, urgent, often using palette knives to scrape and make marks into the paint”.Her latest work is influenced by the likes of Errol Boyley and William Turner. Dale Elliot, one of South Africa's most beloved painters, called her the 'new Errol Boyley'.For the last few years she has been focusing on establishing herself as a serious investment artist. She describes her current work as “Romantic Turnerism” influenced by the likes of Constable, Turner and South African Artist, Errol Boyley, and Adriaan Boshoff.

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