How to Get Started in the Art of Painting


Painting is the art of applying pigments to a surface in order to convey an idea or emotion. It may be done on paper, canvas or other supports. It is the basis of many other forms of artistic expression, such as drawing and printmaking. Painting is one of the oldest and most widespread of the visual arts. It is often thought to be the most expressive, allowing artists to capture and communicate ideas and emotions to others through their work.

A good artist knows what paints he or she likes to use and when, as well as how much to apply in order to achieve the desired result. Many painters also experiment with different styles in order to find their ‘artistic voice’, which is the essence of what makes them unique.

As an art form, painting can be incredibly rewarding and relaxing. It is easy to see why it appeals to so many people of all ages and backgrounds, although there are some who never attempt to create a painting, perhaps due to fear or misguided notions of what the process entails. Others struggle to understand how to start, feeling intimidated by the vast selection of brushes, paints and media available on the shelves of art stores.

Before starting to paint, it is a good idea to clear a space and prepare the area for work. This is important in preventing accidental paint splatters on surfaces that are not meant to be painted, such as furniture or light switches. It is also a chance to set out all the tools and materials that you will be using before getting started, so that they are easily accessible when you are ready to begin.

If you are new to painting, it is a good idea to practice the basics before beginning a project. This can be as simple as sketching out the design of a painting with pencil or charcoal, or you can follow demonstrations in how-to books or online videos. These can help you familiarize yourself with basic painting processes and learn the tricks that make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful painting.

Some painters prefer to create a tonal underpainting before beginning to apply color. This helps to provide a structure on which to build the final painting, and it also gives the impression of depth and a sense of movement within a picture. Other painters choose to paint over a blank canvas, allowing the brushstrokes themselves to provide their inspiration.

Watercolors are another traditional form of paint that can be used to create transparent layers of color. These can give a paintings a dream-like quality and are especially popular with beginners. They can be purchased in liquid forms in tubes or set in blocks, and they can be reactivated by rewetting them, which means that you can continue to add to a painting long after it has been completed. Watercolors can be very tricky to master for new painters, though, as they can dry too quickly and can have a tendency to run or bleed if the paint is applied too thickly.