The Basics of Painting

Painting is the mediated result of an artist’s application of wet paint to a flat surface. Historically, it has been considered an art form separate from drawing and sculpture, but in the modern era it has absorbed aspects of commercial illustration and even tattoo and textile design. Some artists employ abstract or representational styles, and others use a blend of both abstraction and representation. Traditionally, paintings have been created on canvas or paper, but some artists paint on wood, metal, stone, glass, and other surfaces.

One of the most important aspects of creating a successful painting is selecting the subject, or what will be painted. The ideal subject will evoke emotions and a response in the artist. This is why painting can be such a fulfilling and therapeutic activity.

The act of painting also improves motor skills by dexterously handling a brush. This can have a positive effect on the body and is especially beneficial for people with arthritis or other hand ailments. It can help individuals who are shy let go of their normal social reservations and express themselves freely through the medium of art.

A person who wants to learn how to paint can find many books and videos that will teach them the basics of different styles. However, the best way to gain a better understanding of painting is to start with simple still-lifes and try various approaches. This will allow an individual to personalize the techniques that feel most comfortable and familiar, so that they can become a part of their creative process.

Another aspect of painting is learning how to mix the correct tints, shades, and hues. In order to achieve the perfect color, an artist must first understand the underlying value of the desired pigment. For example, a painter may want to create a purple but mixing the colors will reveal that it is actually a dark maroon or indigo rather than a deep purple. Creating a tonal underpainting before applying the main color will solve this problem and ensure that the final painting has a true range of values.

Choosing the right brushes and materials is another important step in creating a successful painting. Using different brushes for various applications allows the painter to build a tool kit that is versatile and easy to manage. Depending on the type of paint being used, the brush will need to be stiff enough to apply the paint evenly and smoothly. It should also be flexible, allowing it to move around and reach tight corners or crevices.

Once a person is comfortable with their brush technique and has built up their color palette, they can begin to paint a more complex painting. This can be as simple as adding a few more colors to the primary ones and exploring how they work together. A painting can then be finished by adding the details and enhancing the texture with glazes, wash or stippling. This will add a final touch of beauty and sophistication to the finished product.