The Fundamentals of Painting


Painting is the art of applying color and line to a surface in order to create visual sensations of volume, movement, and light on a two-dimensional plane. It is used to express ideas and emotions, to interpret a narrative theme or to create wholly abstract visual relationships. It is a medium of communication and expression that has been used by almost every culture throughout history.

The essential elements of painting are shape, line, color, and texture. The shape of the subject is usually depicted using outlines, which are drawn with a pencil or brush and then filled in with paint. The line, or stroke, can be smooth or rough depending on the desired effect. The texture can be created by applying a variety of techniques to the paint itself, or it may be achieved by the way that the artist applies the brush to the canvas or paper. The use of texture can also be accomplished by adding other materials such as fabric, lace, feathers, or leaves to the painting.

In addition to these basic ingredients there is a wide range of miscellaneous additives used to modify the properties of paint, or to facilitate its application or preservation. These include surface tension modifiers, viscosity reducers, lubricants, wetting agents, antifreeze substances, fungicides, stabilizing additives, texturizers, and a variety of other chemicals that alter the physical characteristics of the paint.

There are many different ways to apply the fundamentals of painting, but to be successful a painter must find his or her own style. The most important step is selecting a subject to paint. The subject should be inspiring and challenging, and it should provide a opportunity to stretch the painter’s abilities. The painting should have a clear design (the arrangement of shapes, lines, and colors) and it must be able to be painted with the supplies available.

One of the most difficult aspects of painting is capturing the essence of the subject. This is particularly true if the subject is in motion. It can be helpful to view the painting from a distance or from another angle in order to see how the subject is perceived by the viewer. It can also be useful to think about the meaning of the subject and the artist’s intent in creating it.

The painters who are most successful in their endeavors tend to have an intimate relationship with the medium of painting. This is often defined by a special kind of mastery of a particular medium, and by a clear vision of the artist’s own creative purpose in making that medium speak. It is this combination that makes a truly great painter.