How to Get Started in Painting

Painting is an art form in which pigments are applied to a substrate such as canvas, paper, or wood. The paint is typically mixed with other materials to create textures, effects, and other qualities. The technique has many variations. It can be used for decoration, religious or secular expressions, and entertainment. Some painters paint for a living, while others create art for themselves or as a hobby. Painting can be done with oils, acrylics, or watercolors. The medium may be applied with brushes, rags, sponges, rollers, or sprayers. It can also be combined with collage, etching, or other techniques.

Some of the most iconic images in Western art are paintings, including Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Edvard Munch’s The Scream, and Vincent van Goh’s Starry Night. The power of great paintings transcends their mimetic function to reflect emotional, psychological, and spiritual levels of the human experience.

Whether you want to learn to paint or you are an experienced artist, it’s important to work on fundamentals such as color, value, composition, and edges. These aspects of painting are what make it possible for a painter to create a work that is unique and expressive.

When you are first learning to paint, it’s best to start with a basic beginner package of art supplies. You can purchase a package at a local art store that includes everything you need to get started, from the canvas and brushes to the paints themselves. A basic set of paints should include warm and cool colors, as well as black and white. It is helpful to know how to mix colors so that you can create a full range of shades with only a few tubes of paint.

As you progress, you can experiment with different brush techniques to create a wide variety of textures and styles. For example, stippling is when you use tiny dots of paint to give the impression of a texture that your eye reads as solid shapes from a distance. This is often used in abstract painting, but can also be applied to give a realistic finish to a subject like a face or an animal. A similar technique is pointillism, which uses tiny dots of different colors that appear to blend together when viewed from a distance.

Taping off a section of your painting is an easy way to save time and avoid having to paint around a difficult shape or area. You can also use tape to create an interesting pattern or gradient on your canvas before you begin the actual painting. It’s a great way to get creative and free yourself up from the need to follow every detail exactly.

Experiment with various brush sizes and lengths to create different textures. For example, short strokes can look like fur or feathers, while longer strokes can create denser areas of paint. The amount of paint on your brush will also affect the effect—a little can create a smooth glaze, while more will thicken it and make it look more opaque.