Overview Edit

Painting is a fine art that typically involves the application of pigment or paint to a surface (traditionally canvas) using a tool (such as a brush) into compositions of shape, color, or value. The content of a painting is informed by, or tries to deconstruct, the concepts of aesthetics .  

History Edit

Painting is a method of artistic expression. Paintings can be abstract of representative. Some artists attempt to represent reality as it is, through realism, or the subjective world of emotions, through expressionism.  

The History of Painting can be traced back through, and categorized into numerous "movements". Some of these movements include impressionism, surrealism, abstract expressionism, and minimalism.    
GuaTewet tree of life-LHFage

Cueva de las Manos a cave painting in Argentina created by using the hand as a stencil and blowing pigment through a blow pipe

Humans have been painting in some form or another since the beginning of recorded history. The oldest known cave paintings are over 30,000 years old.        

Impressionism Edit

Impressionism is a movement in the 19th century which is characterized by small brush strokes and an open appearance. This movement was named after one of Claude Monet's paintings. He painted images using just dots of color that would come together to show a dynamic image.

Surrealism Edit

Surrealism was a 20th century art movement in which odd juxtopositions and illogical scenes are painted. The goal of this era was to "resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality." Surrealism grew during World War I in Paris, and spread throughout the globe affecting all art forms. One popular artist is Salvador Dali, who painted the popular image of melting clocks. This painting is titled "the persistence of memory."


The Persistence of Memory is one of Salvador Dali's most popular works and is a good example of surrealism.

Mediums Edit

Acrylic: Edit

A Bigger Splash

A Bigger Splash by David Hockney was created with acrylic paints

Acrylic is a type of quick drying water-based paint that is commonly used for styles of painting that require quick dry times to avoid accidental blending of colors. Cleanup for acrylics is also very easy since it is water soluble, and therefore can be cleaned up quickly with a damp rag. Another feature is that it does not produce toxic or harmful fumes. For these reasons, acrylic is the paint of choice for most high school and elementary school art classes. Acrylic is commonly painted onto canvas, but can also be applied to wooden slats as well as a variety of other surfaces.

Oil: Edit


Nighthawks, the famous painting by Edward Hopper was created with oil paints

Oil paint, as the name suggests, is a type of paint that is composed of pigments and slow drying oil. The benefit of slow drying time (which can take days to weeks to months to be dry to the touch) is that colors can be blended in ways that would be difficult or impossible to achieve with a quick drying medium like acrylic paint. Commonly, oil paint will be mixed with either liquid or paste medium to change the consistency. Varying consistencies are used to achieve different effects. Very thin oil paint can be used to easily create sharp lines and intricate details, while thicker paint can be blended in unique ways and applied in different textures and patterns that leave more obvious evidence of brushwork. Cleanup of oil paints is rather difficult since they are not generally water soluble. Additionally, the solvents used to dilute oil paint are often chemicals that can be hazardous to breathe in, so it is important to work in a well ventilated area. Oil paint, similar to acrylic, is commonly painted onto canvas, but can also be applied to wooden slats as well as a variety of other surfaces.

Watercolor: Edit

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, Watercolor by Edward Hopper, 1926

Another painting by Edward Hopper, Pemaquid Point Lighthouse was created with watercolors

Watercolor paints are made from a solution of water mixed with pigments. Watercolor, in comparison to acrylic, and especially oil, is a very fast drying medium. Watercolor is typically applied to a specific type of paper that is designed and pressed for the express purpose of watercolor painting, but can also be applied to wooden boards. There are two primary types of application: wet on dry, and wet on wet. Wet on dry is when the watercolor solution is applied to a dry surface (paper, board, or other surface). Wet on dry typically dries very quickly due to the dry surface absorbing the moisture of the paint and leaving just the dry pigment

to show. Wet on wet, on the other hand, is when the surface first has water or a highly diluted mix of watercolor paint (known as a wash) applied to it, and then the actual more concentrated paint is applied whil the surface is still wet. This has the effect of letting the paint applied spread, bloom, and bleed onto the canvas in intentional ways. This effect is one of the defining characteristics of watercolor painting.

Since watercolor dries extremely fast, there is no way of covering up or redoing certain parts. For this reason, there is a certain quality of life and freshness that is given off by watercolors.

Spray: Edit


Graffiti artist ZEPHYR completing an elaborate tag with spray paint

Spray paint is a type of paint that is applied via pressurized aerosol can. Spray paint is generally quick to dry, taking as little as 45 minutes to an hour. Spray paint is also very quickly applied, since the only preparation required is shaking the can to mix up the paint. Additionally, the quickness with which it can be applied has helped spray paint to be the medium of choice for graffiti and street art. Different caps are available to put onto the cans in place of the stock caps. The purpose of different styles of caps is to change how the paint comes it, to make it a thinner or thicker spray, or to make it more crisp or more soft with faded edges.

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