What is Painting? is a new and revised second edition of the classic text that reframes the medium of painting, presenting a wide-ranging discussion of the nature of painting and its history. With a focus on contemporary art, it takes a new look at defining the medium, examining historical evidence and a broad range of common experiences. The current shape of painting likewise pushes these arguments in new directions, exploring the interplay between 2D and 3D work, and the immateriality of digital imagery. This new edition is rewritten paragraph-by-paragraph for its force and historical perspective.
Painting is the art of expressing a feeling or a story, and can be either realistic or abstract. It may be figurative, narrative, symbolic, or political in nature. Paintings have a number of basic components, including colour, tone, lines, and shapes. The combination of these elements makes a good painting. A good painting will have some of these elements, while others may be completely abstract. Some paintings are intended to be enjoyed as a hobby, while others may be sold as works of art.
The design of a painting refers to the way the visual elements are arranged in relation to each other. Formal organization is crucial for a painting’s presence. Colours and placement of principal images are usually chosen by representational or symbolic considerations. Colours and shapes in a painting can convey a particular mood, while formal interplay of shapes creates optical sensations of volume and space. It is also important to note that great paintings are not mere representations of reality. They reflect the psychological and emotional aspects of the human condition.
While many artists work with the same colors, the technique of applying these colors is different for every artist. In some cases, the use of a single color is sufficient, and a painting with contrasting hues will have more vibrancy. The use of a single color will affect the overall effect. Another important consideration in creating a painting is the use of a focal point. A focal point helps the observer to “read” the work and travel through it.
Painting is the application of pigments to a solid surface to establish an image, design, or decoration. The term refers to both the process and the finished product. For the most part, painting is done with brushes and liquid pigment. Some techniques, such as Navajo sand painting, use powdered pigment. Paintings can incorporate multiple materials, including whole objects. While painting is one of the oldest art forms, it has been used in almost every culture throughout history.
Oil paints have a wide range of pigments and are often thinner than water or acrylic. They are able to be applied directly from the tube, but may split over time when mixed with a solvent. Unlike water-based paints, oil paints dry slowly and can be blended with great detail. And, unlike other mediums, oil paints require no evaporation. They can also be applied in layers for greater coverage. However, over-use of this paint can lead to a dull or uneven appearance.