How to Get Started in Painting


Painting is the act of using pigment to create an image or scene on a medium such as a canvas, paper, wood or plaster. It is often a decorative art that can express many aspects of human culture and emotion. It can be a very time-consuming and labor intensive process that requires skill, practice and patience to perfect. Painting has been a popular activity throughout history and continues to be so today.

A great way to improve your technique is by studying the work of master painters. They can offer you a wealth of knowledge about color, value, composition and brushwork. They can also inspire you to become a better artist and take your own artwork to the next level.

When you are ready to start painting, prepare your canvas or paper with a ground. This will help the paint adhere to the surface and prevent it from soaking into the material underneath it. The ground may be made from a mixture of binder and chalk, or it may be made from gesso. When the ground is dry, apply a coat of varnish to protect the surface.

Then, choose a subject for your painting and begin working on it. Begin with the lightest areas of the subject and then gradually add in the darker tones. Be sure to locate the light source as this will be important in creating depth and realism in your painting.

Vary the length and thickness of your brush strokes to create different textures in the paint. For example, short little strokes can look like fur and thicker ones can create density. The amount of paint on the brush can also affect how the texture is created; more will give it a smooth appearance and less will make it appear more opaque.

Once you have the lightest layers in place you can start to put in details such as shadows, lines and edges. This is also a good time to begin adding in highlights. These will help your subject to pop from the background.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It is much easier to correct a mistake than it is to start from scratch on a new canvas. When you are finished, don’t forget to sign your work and date it. Painting is a very personal and intimate thing to do and it’s important to keep that in mind.

It is also a good idea to display your work in a gallery or private collection. This will help to build your reputation as a professional artist and may lead to future commissions or sales of your works. It can also help you to develop a network of fellow artists that you can collaborate with in the future. In the past, a lot of paintings were created under patronage, which meant that an individual or group would pay for an artist to create a piece of art for them. This arrangement became less popular as the 19th century approached and more artists were able to find their own way through the art world and make a living from their work.