How to Get Started in the Art of Painting


Painting is a form of visual art that uses pigments applied to a support, typically canvas or paper, to create an image. Artists use a variety of tools and techniques to accomplish their desired effect, and they can vary the size, shape, color, and surface finish of the final work. The act of painting is usually associated with emotions and ideas, and can be used to convey a sense of time or place, evoke an atmosphere or mood, or simply to entertain.

The desire to paint is a common one, and many people wish to pursue it at some point in their lives. However, a number of factors can prevent people from ever picking up a brush. Some people feel that they lack innate talent, while others are intimidated by the wide selection of brushes, paints, and media on offer at art stores. The complexity of the medium can also be a deterrent, and some people worry that they won’t be able to learn enough to become proficient at it.

The first step in overcoming these obstacles is to determine why you want to paint, and what sort of paintings you hope to create. This will help you focus on the fundamentals of the craft, such as value, composition, and edges, which will improve with every stroke that you make. If you’re unsure where to start, try looking up some examples of the works of master painters, and try to emulate their style.

Another important step is deciding what kind of painting you will do, and what sorts of supplies are required for it. If you’re interested in oil paintings, for instance, it might be a good idea to invest in some of the more expensive brushes available, and to choose a workspace that’s well ventilated to avoid fume build-up. If you’re concerned about the cost, you can always start with acrylics, which are cheaper and easier to use.

Once you’ve settled on a medium, it’s a good idea to experiment with different additives called “mediums” in order to alter the characteristics of the paint. These are substances that are mixed into the paint to enhance a desirable trait, or offset an undesirable one (such as a long drying time). They can be added subtly, or applied with more force and intensity depending on how they’re formulated.

Linear design is an essential element in any painting, and can be found in the contours of tone and color masses, the axial directions of shapes, and the lines implied by alignments across the picture. The manner in which these lines are echoed, grouped, and positioned animates the composition, and is what gives it a coherent rhythm.

Color is also a key element, and it’s worth learning how to mix colors in order to achieve the exact hue you’re after. A simple way to do this is by mixing a color’s opposite into it in order to dull its vibrancy; this is known as toning the paint.