Painting is one of the oldest arts, having been used since prehistoric times to express ideas, emotions and stories. It is an essential part of human culture and can be found in every corner of the world, from temple walls to cave paintings like those in Lascaux.
When starting out, it’s best to focus on technique and building a solid foundation of knowledge in order to grow as a painter. Try to learn from the masters, observing how they hold their brush, how they mix colors and apply paint to canvas, etc. This will help you avoid bad habits, which are a real challenge to correct once formed.
It’s also helpful to practice your drawing skills, in order to create a more precise, realistic painting. Creating thumbnail sketches can also be beneficial, before you start working on the larger picture. This will help you map out where the lightest and darkest areas will be, as well as how the elements of the composition fit together.
There are many different kinds of painting, based on mediums such as oil, acrylic and watercolours, pastels, or even mixed media (using paint with other materials like fabric, photographs or paper). It’s good to try out many different techniques but it is better to be a master in one than average in all of them.
Oil painting is a very versatile medium and has been used for centuries, it contains pigments suspended in oil and can be manipulated to create beautiful textural effects. It is a thicker, slower drying paint but it produces a rich color and can be used to create a wide variety of styles, from realism to abstract.
Watercolours are made of coloured pigments suspended in water and can be applied on almost any surface. They are very transparent and can be blended to produce a wide range of colours and effects. Watercolours can be a little difficult to work with, as the pigments tend to fall out when they dry.
Acrylic paints are made from synthetic materials that are quick drying. They can be used to create vibrant colours or more subtle tones and are easy to use and clean up. They can be a bit slick to paint with, so it’s important to keep your brush in good shape and use a lot of water when mixing your colours.
Another type of painting is Encaustic, which involves using heated beeswax to which pigments have been added. This mixture is then applied to a surface, usually prepared wood, though canvas is sometimes used. This is a very durable medium, but it can be difficult to get the right consistency and the heat can melt or damage the painting, so it’s not something you can work on for long periods of time.
Some painters find it useful to look at their painting upside down from time to time, as this helps them see the shapes they are making more clearly. It can also help with perspective and focusing on the values, as we often supply our mind with a symbolic version of what we are looking at, such as an apple being represented as a circle, rather than its actual shape.