Fine Art: Painting

Fine Art: Painting

Section: Basics of Painting

  • Painting is a fine art practice which involves applying colour to a solid surface using a medium.
  • Medium in the context of painting refers to the substance used to carry the colour, such as oil, watercolour, or acrylic.
  • Support refers to the surface onto which the paint is applied, which could comprise canvas, paper, wood, or metal.
  • Chiaroscuro is a technique used in painting to create a strong contrast between light and dark, which adds depth and volume to the objects depicted.

Section: Elements of Painting

  • Colour is an essential aspect of painting, creating moods, producing effects, and conveying messages.
  • Form encompasses the visible shapes and structures in a painting, including both positive and negative space.
  • The composition refers to the arrangement of visual elements within a painting, guiding the viewer’s eye.
  • Texture in painting can be either visual (implied texture) or tactile (actual physical texture), adding dimension to the work.

Section: Techniques in Painting

  • Glazing is a technique where thin layers of transparent paint are applied, creating depth and luminosity.
  • Impasto is a technique that involves thickly layering paint, so it seems to come out of the canvas.
  • The wash or watering technique (mostly used in watercolor painting) involves applying thin and mostly transparent colour layers.
  • Underpainting involves applying an initial layer of paint to provide a base for subsequent layers and can add richness to the final image.

Section: Styles in Painting

  • Portrait painting primarily depicts a person or animal with an emphasis on the face and feelings.
  • Landscape painting features natural scenery such as mountains, valleys, trees, rivers, and forests.
  • Abstract painting does not attempt to depict an accurate visual reality but instead seeks to evoke emotion through colours, shapes and textures.
  • Still life painting depicts inanimate subject matter, typically household items, food or flowers.

Section: Evaluating a Painting

  • When evaluating a painting, consider the use of colour and contrast, and how they affect the mood and meaning of the work.
  • Look at the composition: how have the elements been arranged? Are they in balance?
  • Analyse the implied narrative or symbolism, even in abstract works, as this can reveal the artist’s intention or message.
  • Consider the technical execution – how well the artist has used the medium and techniques available to them.
  • Lastly, ponder on the emotional and intellectual impact of the work on you as the viewer.