The Basics of Painting


Painting is one of the most versatile and powerful forms of artistic expression. It can be used to communicate a wide variety of situations and opinions – political, cultural, historical, educational, entertaining and more. Often it can also transcend perceptions, reflecting emotional and psychological as well as spiritual levels of the human condition. Some of the most recognizable paintings in history such as Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Edvard Munch’s The Scream or Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night are examples of this.

What is a painting?

A painting is an artwork that uses various materials such as oils, watercolours, acrylics or even spray paint to create a visual image on a flat surface. The medium is versatile enough to allow artists to create a wide range of styles from realistic to abstract. It is considered a visual art because it doesn’t depend on words to convey its meaning but relies solely on the interplay of lines, shapes, colours and textures.

Whether used for decoration, illustration or as protective coatings, paintings have played an important role in human culture throughout the world since the beginning of recorded history. The act of painting is a complex one, referring to both the action of applying paint and the resulting artwork. It requires skill and practice to produce good results, but can be extremely rewarding for the artist who is able to translate his or her ideas into a work of art that captures a feeling or emotion on canvas.

Before you begin painting, make sure you have all the tools and supplies you need. The most basic of these include a pot of the paint you’ll be using; a brush or roller; a tray; a dust sheet; and masking tape. If you’re using a roller, it’s important to test it out on a piece of scrap material first. You want to ensure it’s evenly loaded, and that the paint flows smoothly.

Once you’ve gathered your materials, the next step is to prepare the canvas or paper for painting. This can be done by applying a ground colour to the surface, which gets rid of the daunting white and acts as a harmoniser in your painting. A ground colour can be applied very thinly and mixed with a liquid drying medium, such as Liquin, before you start painting.

To make your painting look realistic, you’ll need to create a sense of depth in it. This is achieved by using different shades of the same colour, and by creating different textures. The use of brush strokes can also be very effective in creating depth. You can achieve a variety of effects by varying the thickness of your brush strokes. You can create soft or hard edges and a lost or found edge.

The best way to get started is by finding a subject that you want to paint and sketching it out on your canvas or paper. You can then decide what type of paint to use, and experiment with different techniques. It’s a myth that you need a lot of talent to paint well, but with the right amount of enthusiasm and determination, anyone can learn this beautiful form of expression.