A Beginner’s Guide to Painting


Painting was once an activity dominated by tribes, religions, guilds, and royal courts. These groups regulated the imagery and the subjects of paintings. Their purpose varied from ritualistic and devotional to entertaining and educational. Painting’s continuing fascination with the human condition has helped it survive, be studied, and influence new generations of painters. Today, there are over five million paintings produced every year. Among these works are famous works of art, such as the Mona Lisa, The Scream, and The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh.

Watercolor artists can work on a section indefinitely. This medium lends itself to expressive brushwork. The colors of watercolours are distinctly different from other mediums, which are usually painted on paper. As a result, watercolors are often thought of as an intimate art form. In fact, the entire painting tradition in East Asia is based on water-based paints. Although watercolors are characterized as spontaneous, they are in fact controlled and reworked many times.

Paint comes in various forms and types, and its composition varies from artist to artist. Some are transparent, while others are opaque. The process begins with preparing the support for painting. Oil paints, for instance, use an opaque primer (usually white) that fills the pores of the support. Painting materials like wood or canvas usually require a base or “ground”, which is composed of pigment and wax. A ground is a thin layer of pigment that is mixed with the binder.

While painting once consisted of a flat surface, it has come a long way. As a result, it has become a multi-faceted, multi-media medium that has absorbed both high and low culture. Painting has now evolved into mixed-media assemblages that borrow from architecture, tattoo design, and textile design. It also combines various media with its representational purpose and explores the immateriality of digital imagery. However, it remains an essential guide for anyone interested in painting.

The art of painting uses color and shape to convey a sense of space and motion. Some painters use the entire canvas to make murals. Murals are usually commissioned by municipalities, individuals, and companies. Still others choose to paint on walls. Paintings are one of the oldest forms of visual expression, with some estimates dating back as far as 40,000 years. Paintings found in caves in western Europe and Indonesia date back to prehistoric times. The history of painting stretches back thousands of years, and its use has been widespread throughout all continents.

Painting is the application of pigment to a surface to create an image, design, or decoration. It is both an art form and a common trade outside of art. There are a wide range of painting materials and surfaces, including oil, watercolour, and mixed media. Regardless of the medium, painting is an important form of artistic expression. Hundreds of different forms of painting are created every day, and the results of these paintings are as varied as the people who make them.