Basics of Painting


A painting is an artistic expression using pigments to depict the world around us. It is one of the oldest known human art forms, with evidence of early paintings in the form of used ochre found in caves in Northern Australia and Southern France dating back thousands of years. Painting can be a challenging but rewarding endeavor, especially for beginner painters who want to learn the basics of technique. It is important to remember that there is no single “right” way to paint and it takes time for a painter to develop their own unique style. However, learning the basic skills of color, value, composition, edges and brushwork will help the painter improve with each new painting they complete.

Start with a good set of supplies that include a wide variety of brushes, quality oil or acrylic paint and a canvas. When beginning a painting, it is usually best to map out the composition first with thumbnail sketches or a large scale sketch to help determine where the lightest and darkest areas of the image will be. This will allow the painter to avoid getting too attached to a particular part of the image and help them to make changes as needed throughout the painting process.

As a painter, it is important to understand how the colors on the color wheel relate to each other and how to mix them with white or black to create varying shades and tints. This will give the painter an infinite number of tones to choose from when creating a work of art and will add a depth of color that a single shade alone can’t achieve.

It is also helpful for the painter to be conscious of how their edges look; hard or soft, lost or smooth. Edges are an integral part of a painting and can make or break a work of art. Taking the time to refine the edges of a painting will improve its overall appearance and make it look more professional.

Lastly, the painter should take the time to explore different ways of making texture in their work. Varying the amount of paint on the brush, as well as the type of strokes made, will produce a wide range of textures in a painting. For example, short little strokes can resemble fur or hair while a thick application of paint will create density. The painter should not be afraid to explore happy accidents and try to incorporate these into the painting as a whole.

Finally, the painter should practice as much as possible in order to improve their skill level. It is a good idea to keep a journal of the work that is being completed and note specific things that need improvement. For example, if the painting appears flat or the colors are not working together properly, it is important to find ways of fixing these issues in future works. Developing a good painting technique is a slow process, but with each work the painter can continue to improve their skill level and build upon the previous lessons that they have learned.