Five popular art themes for paintings in 2022

Five popular art themes for paintings in 2022

Art Historian Tascha Sciarone in front of abstract art by Adéle du Plessis. Explaining elements of the painting.

Art Historian Tascha Sciarone in front of abstract art by Adéle du Plessis. Explaining elements of the painting.

Are you looking to buy a painting? Have you walked into 100 galleries or home decoration stores and not seen anything you like? Like most people, you are in that phase where you know what you don't like but not exactly what you want. It's a tricky place.
Let us help guide you through five popular painting themes of 2022. So you can zero in on what direction you would like to take. And if we at the gallery are a right fit for you.

From this, you can move with more purpose in finding the best Painting for you and your space. Also, read our piece on how to buy art, as a significant part is cultivating your aesthetic. Aesthetic is just a fancy word for your unique style, reflecting what you enjoy. This piece will explore popular painting themes so that you can articulate visually and verbally the start of your aesthetic journey.

Paintings, Paintings, Paintings and more Paintings

Gallery Sorelle Sciarone is specialised in selling paintings. One reason is that Painting is the most popular bought and sold type of artwork. The second reason is that it fits with what the gallery manager, Tascha Sciarone, derives joy from. Prints, Sculptures, Photography and Fine Art Drawings are the other four popular art mediums, but the gallery does not specialise in these categories. Like you, we have cultivated a parameter to specialise and enjoy art. The art world is vast and knowing your taste and style is one of the best ways to feel comfortable in the ocean and splash around happily in your piece of beauty and joy. What is true for a collector is also true for a gallery as well as an artist. You need to know who you are and what you enjoy, because who you are informs your framework of understanding and ultimately enjoying the world (always be open though to new interpretations and differing views).

The 5 trending themes in painting in 2022

So within paintings, there have been five significant trends in the European Art World. Street Art, Abstract Paintings, Figurative Paintings, Portraits and Pop Art. These are big categories, but they outrank several other themes, like landscape, wildlife, seascapes, architecture, geometric, conceptual or still-life. So the reason these painting themes are popular is usually a combination of what is selling well at auction, making it more recognisable and fashionable and what fits the current social mood.

1. Street Art

So let us start with the number one trending theme; Street Art, which is the large paintings painted on walls and throughout a city. Either commissioned but also included graffiti and tags done "illegally". Banksy is the most famous example of Street Art. Mr Brain, another. It incorporates fine art painting with graffiti, mixed media and installations. Commissioned street art has a sanctioned mural space, but other pieces under bridges or alleys have to share a room, becoming interactive pieces. Street art sold for your home is a category where a painting or mixed media piece keeps the mural's visual elements but places it in a neat removable square or rectangular.

2. Abstract Paintings

"Labradorite" (2020). Els Kampert. Acrylic on Canvas.  75cm x 115cm.

"Labradorite" (2020). Els Kampert. Acrylic on Canvas.  75cm x 115cm.

Abstract Paintings are paintings where the Painting is more shapes and lines than something specific. Abstract refers to bringing something to its essence. In most cases, an emotion. It can be done very neatly or very passionate. However, both styles try to capture emotion rather than a particular object or subject. We have abstract paintings at the gallery. The artist creates abstract pieces with a steady and precise hand. Monique Leliefeld's abstract paintings and Els Kampert's poured dendritic pieces both use the artist's patience and steadying hand; the creation process is meditative rather than wild and dynamic brushstrokes during a volley of turbulent emotions.

Mysterious Power Series (2019) by Monique Leliefeld. Mixed Media on Canvas. Divers sizes.

Mysterious Power Series (2019) by Monique Leliefeld. Mixed Media on Canvas. Diverse sizes.

Adéle du Plessis also makes abstract paintings, but those are more about delving into the physical qualities of the paint, than capturing an emotion. Her paintings also have a meditative quality while being created, but it is less precise than Monique Leliefeld and Els Kampert's abstract paintings. Els Kampert's art is also not about capturing an emotion, but about pure aesthetic beauty in the combination of colour and technique. Three very different types of abstract art and artists.

Galerie des Glaces Series (2018-2022) by Adéle du Plessis together in her solo show: The Forms of Everyday Life (2022). Curated by Art Historian Finizia Taddeo for Gallery Sorelle Sciarone.

Galerie des Glaces Series (2018-2022) by Adéle du Plessis together in her solo show: The Forms of Everyday Life (2022). Curated by Art Historian Finizia Taddeo for Gallery Sorelle Sciarone.

3. Figurative Paintings

Figurative Painting is a painting theme that describes a solid and realistic reference to the real world, particularly the human figure. Thea van Doorn's paintings at the gallery stand out as the main figurative paintings. Most of her painting subjects are humans and animals (usually dogs). Her issues are slightly abstracted by the solid black lines remiss of her smaller delicate art drawings. 

Three paintings by Thea van Doorn hung in the gallery in Gouda. Gallery Sorelle Sciarone.

Another artist at the gallery is Marko Klomp, whose figurative paintings of women in moments of respite in another wise busy European city setting are examples of figurative paintings. Most of his other work in the gallery can fall into the category of wildlife or landscape paintings. His paintings from his series Chronicles are not portraits, as they are paintings of people in a city, nameless faces in respite.

"Chronicles XI - Girl by a window" (2018). Marko Klomp. Oil on Linen. 80cm x 100cm. 

Fiona J. Williams "Riding the Waves" is our favourite example of figurative painting. Her work can can also fall into the category of nudes and other portraits. As a lot of her figures are nudes or close portraits studies of herself or people in her vicinity. 

"Riding the Waves I" (2019). Fiona J. Williams. Acrylic on Canvas. 91cm x 61cm.

Finally Negar Rashidi paints miniature figures on shells, framed by Baroque frames. Most of her figures are a combination of flower motifs and animal life, but has recently started experimenting with the human forms in her art work. 

4. Portraits

Portraits are paintings of a specific person. Fiona J. Williams has several paintings that fall into a figurative category or a portrait category. A number of them are self-portraits of her actual person and recognisable. Another number of images is, to an extent, an internal self-portrait, which can make it a partially abstracted piece. Usually, people get portraits commissioned of themselves or a family member. The most famous portrait painter is Frida Kahlo. In Fiona J. Williams and Frida Kahlo's cases, the self-portraits show the internal and external self. Both artists open themselves through their art to explore the position of their world and feelings. Their creations, in turn, help us navigate complex questions about our humanity.

WTG (In Black & White) 2018 - Fiona J. Williams- Acrylic on box canvas - 65 x 90 x 4cm

"Who's that girl? (In Black & White)" (2018). Fiona J. Williams. Acrylic on box canvas. 65 x 90 x 4cm.

"Who's that Girl? (Healing)" (2020). Fiona J. Williams. Acrylic and pencil on box canvas. 61 x 91 x 4cm.

"Who's that Girl? (Healing)" (2020). Fiona J. Williams. Acrylic and pencil on box canvas. 61 x 91 x 4cm.

5. Pop Art

Finally, we have Pop Art. We don't sell Pop Art at the gallery. Even though Richard Hamilton described the style in 1957: "Pop art is: popular, transient, expendable, low-cost, mass-produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous and big business."
The same holds in 2022, except for the low cost and expandability. Pop art is still glamorous and big business. Marisol Escobar, Yayo Kusama and Niki de Saint Phalle are some historically well-known pop artists from their inception in the 1950s. Its colourful, cheeky and light on the surface. But it is not superfluous or transient as said in 1957.

These are some of the most popular themes of paintings in the art world. Most paintings can fall into several categories. I hope this gave you some insight into the art and terms, so you can have fun navigating and cultivating your aesthetic. As you can see two of the most popular themes we do not have at the gallery and that's okay. As trends come and go in the sales of art, we at Gallery Sorelle Sciarone stay close to what we know best as to best serve our collectors. Apart from the three categories mentioned above, you can also find landscape and seascape paintings with us.


Tascha Sciarone

Art Historian and Gallery Manager at Gallery Sorelle Sciarone

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