The Basics of Painting


A painting is an artwork that brings a person’s imagination to life on a canvas using color, movement, and lines. The subject may be based on real experiences, or it could be an abstract interpretation of a theme or idea. When people think of paintings, they often imagine oil on canvas, but there are many different types of paintings and mediums.

When learning to paint, it is important to focus on the fundamentals — colors, values, composition, edges, brushwork, and technique. These skills will benefit every stroke you make, and will compound as your level of skill grows. However, don’t worry too much about developing a unique style – that can come naturally with time and experience.

Selecting a subject to paint is an essential part of the process. Choose a subject that inspires you and challenges you. It’s also important to understand how the subject will be represented – does it have a clear design (think about shapes, forms, and lines) or does it contain elements that will be hard to capture (like an out of focus background).

The next step is choosing your medium. There are many choices, including oils, acrylics, and watercolors. It is best to focus on one medium for a short period of time so that you can really get familiar with it. Once you’ve decided on a medium, be sure to get brushes that are appropriate for the type of paint you are using. For example, rounded-tip brushes are best for water-colors, and flat-tip synthetic brushes work well with acrylic paints. You will also need a palette, canvas, and clean-up tools.

Sketching your subjects before starting to paint is helpful. It allows you to plan your composition and get a better feel for the form of the subject. It can also help you avoid mistakes and ensure that your finished product is as realistic as possible.

Mixing your colors is another crucial aspect of painting. It can be challenging to find the right color to represent your subject, but it’s worth the effort. Take your time mixing and testing out different combinations, and try to get the colors to look as close as possible to what you see in real life.

Once you’ve mixed your paints, apply an even layer over the surface of your canvas. Then, while the paint is still wet, you can scratch through it with the edge of your brush or a stick to create a pattern of triangles, dots, symbols, and more. This creates a cool effect that makes the picture look more three-dimensional and adds depth to your painting.

Splattering is an exciting technique that can be used to create natural-looking splashes, explosions, and movement. To do this, simply load a brush with paint and fling it at the canvas. This technique can be used to create texture as well, and is great for creating starry skies or sand and dirt. It’s important to be careful when attempting this technique, though, and make sure the canvas is sturdy enough to support the weight of the paint.