Painting is a form of visual communication based on the application of a liquid pigment to a surface. The process can be manual or digital. Some forms of painting have been practiced by humans around the world for millennia. In many cases, the elements of painting have been used to express real or supernatural phenomena, or to represent a narrative theme.
Formal interplay of shapes and colours produces optical sensations of space, volume, and tension. This kind of painting can also communicate a particular mood or idea. Early painters employed symbols, images, and mythology to communicate a social or cultural distinction. For example, painted portraits served as a symbol of social class.
Painting has evolved over the centuries to become more complex and abstract. It has borrowed from other visual arts forms such as sculpture, photography, and architectural design. Today, it has also taken on various combinations of materials and techniques. Many modern artists are combining graphic and painterly elements to create more innovative work.
Traditionally, painting has been done on a flat surface, usually with a brush. However, it is possible to produce paintings using other surfaces, such as fabric or digitally on a computer. Paints are generally mixed with a solvent that controls the flow of the paint. Liquids can be water, oil, or acrylic. Other binding agents include gum, casein, and glycerin.
Modern style painting, which combines elements of both contemporary and classical art, is the most common technique among artists. As a result, it is the most highly sought after technique.
A traditional Chinese painting, for instance, uses black ink on paper or silk. Symbolist paintings used Romantic themes, dramatic poses, and mythology. These paintings were signed by the painters who created them.
Similarly, Neoclassical painting methods, such as that of the Renaissance, rely on a system of notated tonal values. Linear design, composed of the edges of tone masses, is a central element of the design.
Formal relationships of thick and thin lines, such as those of Claude Monet’s Water Lilies, serve as forces of contrast. The overall tonal key of the painting is also determined, as are the illumination and illumination effects. Often, the placement of the principal images is also decided on symbolic or representational grounds.
The optical tendency to advance warm colours has been exploited by Asian painters. For example, a green object will appear warmer against a blue-green background. However, the overall temperature of hues will depend on the range of colours in the design. If a green object is surrounded by a green and intense yellow, then the green will appear cooler.
Painting has been influenced by the craft of calligraphy, which has its origins in the ancient Egyptian civilization. In China, the use of ink is more closely related to the practice of calligraphy than to Western painting.
Modern style painting is an amalgam of modernism and surrealism. Abstract and geometrical imagery have been borrowed by more sophisticated modern painters.