How to Paint a Wall


Painting is one of the oldest forms of artistic expression. Whether it be on a wall or canvas, the art of painting allows for artists to convey sensations of movement, volume, color, and light – traditionally on flat surfaces. Painting can depict a scene or object, tell a story, or be wholly abstract. Some of the most recognizable works of art in history are paintings, from Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa to Edvard Munch’s The Scream and Vincent van Goh’s Starry Night. Aside from its aesthetic qualities, great art transcends perceptions to reach emotional, psychological, and spiritual levels of the human condition.

The process of creating a painting varies from artist to artist, but it usually begins with a basic sketch on the surface. From there, the paint is blocked in, either all at once or in layers depending on the style of the artist. A mix of ground pigments (usually acrylic) is used to address the darker values and white mixed with the ground mixture to address mid tones. Many painters use multiple sketches to help guide the work and others paint alla prima to complete their painting in a single session.

When it comes to painting walls, the prep is just as important as the actual painting. It’s crucial to prime the surface and fill in any cracks, holes or other imperfections to ensure a smooth and even finish. If you don’t do this step, the patched areas may show through the finished topcoat of paint. This is a problem known as “flashing” and can cause the finish to look dull or unnatural.

Before beginning a painting it’s also a good idea to set up a comfortable working space. It’s not uncommon to spend several hours at a time at the easel, and having the right ergonomics can make the difference between a painful back and a successful painting. Invest in a sturdy chair and a high-quality easel that’s built to last.

Aside from a chair and easel, you’ll need a paintbrush or roller and a few other key tools to get the job done. Getting the proper equipment is vital to producing quality work, so take the time to find what works best for you. It’s also a good idea to talk to the paint salesperson at your local hardware store to help you estimate how much paint you’ll need. It’s a smart idea to buy a few gallons at once, which is referred to as “boxing your paint.” This ensures that the paint you’re using will be consistent from beginning to end.

Another smart move is to invest in a high-quality roller cover. This will make your job easier and help you achieve a smoother finish. When loading the roller, roll it in the well of your paint tray a few times to ensure it’s evenly coated. When you begin rolling, make overlapping W or M-shaped strokes to create an even coverage on the surface of your wall.