Painting is one of the most ancient art forms known to humankind. Evidence of cave paintings dating back 40,000 years have been found around the world. Painting is a two-dimensional visual language that uses the elements of shape, lines, colors, tones and textures in unique ways to produce sensations of movement, volume, space and light on a flat surface. It can represent a natural scene or object, interpret a narrative theme or be wholly abstract.
There are many different styles of painting, some more realistic than others. Historians often classify paintings into movements, which are groups of artists that generally shared the same painting style and ideas at a particular time in history. Although you may not be able to paint in the exact style of an artist from a particular movement, you can learn about their techniques and use them in your own work.
One of the most basic techniques in painting is to add an underpainting. This is a dark layer of pigment, usually burnt umber, burnt sienna or phthalo blue, applied to the canvas before adding layers of color. This technique gives the painting depth and allows you to create shadows and highlights. It’s also the perfect way to experiment with different hues and shades before starting your main composition.
Another simple technique is stippling, which involves using a fine point brush to make tiny dots across the surface of your painting. This can be a great way to create texture or to highlight details in a landscape. It’s also a popular choice for creating backgrounds. Sgraffito is a more advanced mark-making technique that involves scratching through the surface of paint to reveal a layer beneath it. You can use anything with a point, including the end of your brush, palette knife or even your fingernail to achieve this effect.
You might also want to try a dabbing technique, which is ideal for creating textures and movement in a painting. It’s easy to do, and you can use a stiff bristle brush, paper towel or sponge to apply the paint. This style of painting was used regularly by Claude Monet when he painted treetops and greenery, as it helps to create the sense of movement in nature.
You can also try a collage-style painting, where you cut or tear pieces of paper and stick them onto the surface of your work. This technique is a great way to bring a lot of texture and pattern into your piece and can be a fun challenge to master. Jackson Pollock was a famous artist that employed this technique, which is about expression and embracing the chaotic nature of life. Listening to music while you paint can also help you stay focused and inspired. Some artists like to use upbeat music to get in the zone, while others prefer more soothing or classical music. This can really influence your painting, and you might find yourself inspired to create something completely new.