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40 Painting Techniques of fine art - ShowFlipper


The following is an alphabetical list of techniques used in Painting. The list comprises devices used to introduce the illusion of three dimensions on a two-dimensional surface, methods of paint application, and different mediums chosen by the artist to create the desired visual effect. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: 40 Painting Techniques of fine art - ShowFlipper

ShowFlipper Presents
  • 40 Painting Techniques of fine art

  • The following is an alphabetical list of
    techniques used in Painting. The list comprises
    devices used to introduce the illusion of three
    dimensions on a two-dimensional surface, methods
    of paint application, and different mediums
    chosen by the artist to create the desired visual

What is Painting?
  • Painting, the expression of ideas and emotions,
    with the creation of certain aesthetic qualities,
    in a two-dimensional visual language. The
    elements of this languageits shapes, lines,
    colours, tones, and texturesare used in various
    ways to produce sensations of volume, space,
    movement, and light on a flat surface. These
    elements are combined into expressive patterns in
    order to represent real or supernatural
    phenomena, to interpret a narrative theme, or to
    create wholly abstract visual relationships. An
    artists decision to use a particular medium,
    such as tempera, fresco, oil, acrylic, watercolour
     or other water-based paints, ink, gouache, encaus
    tic, or casein, as well as the choice of a
    particular form, such as mural, easel, panel,
    miniature, manuscript illumination, scroll,
    screen or fan, panorama, or any of a variety of
    modern forms, is based on the sensuous qualities
    and the expressive possibilities and limitations
    of those options. The choices of the medium and
    the form, as well as the artists own technique,
    combine to realize a unique visual image.

  • Earlier cultural traditionsof tribes, religions,
    guilds, royal courts, and stateslargely
    controlled the craft, form, imagery, and subject
    matter of painting and determined its function,
    whether ritualistic, devotional, decorative,
    entertaining, or educational. Painters were
    employed more as skilled artisans than as
    creative artists. Later the notion of the fine
    artist developed in Asia and Renaissance Europe.
    Prominent painters were afforded the social
    status of scholars and courtiers they signed
    their work, decided its design and often its
    subject and imagery, and established a more
    personalif not always amicablerelationship with
    their patrons.

  • During the 19th century painters in Western
    societies began to lose their social position and
    secure patronage. Some artists countered the
    decline in patronage support by holding their own
    exhibitions and charging an entrance fee. Others
    earned an income through touring exhibitions of
    their work. The need to appeal to a marketplace
    had replaced the similar (if less impersonal)
    demands of patronage, and its effect on the art
    itself was probably similar as well. Generally,
    artists can now reach an audience only through
    commercial galleries and public museums, although
    their work may be occasionally reproduced in art
    periodicals. They may also be assisted by
    financial awards or commissions from industry and
    the state. They have, however, gained the freedom
    to invent their own visual language and to
    experiment with new forms and unconventional
    materials and techniques. For example, some
    painters have combined other media, such
    as sculpture, with painting to produce
    three-dimensional abstract designs. 

  •  Other artists have attached real objects to
    the canvas in collage fashion or used electricity
    to operate coloured kinetic panels and
    boxes. Conceptualartists frequently express their
    ideas in the form of a proposal for an
    unrealizable project, while performance artists
    are an integral part of their own compositions.
    The restless endeavour to extend the boundaries
    of expression in Western art produces continuous
    international stylistic changes. The often
    bewildering succession of new movements in
    painting is further stimulated by the swift
    interchange of ideas by means of international
    art journals, traveling exhibitions, and art

What is Acrylic Painting?
  • Acrylic painting, painting executed in the medium
    of synthetic acrylic resins. Acrylics dry
    rapidly, serve as a vehicle for any kind
    of pigment, and are capable of giving both the
    transparent brilliance of watercolour and the
    density of oil paint. They are considered to be
    less affected by heat and other destructive
    forces than is oil paint. They found favour among
    artists who were concerned about the health risks
    posed by the handling of oil paints and the
    inhalation of fumes associated with them. Because
    of all these desirable characteristics, acrylic
    paints became immediately popular with artists
    when they were first commercially promoted in the
    1960s. Notable 20th-century artists who used
    acrylic paint include Pop artists Andy
    Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, Op artist Bridget
    Riley, colour field artists Mark
    Rothko, Ellsworth Kelly, and Barnett Newman, and
    British artist David Hockney.

What is Action Painting?
  • Action painting, direct, instinctual, and
    highly dynamic kind of art that involves the
    spontaneous application of vigorous, sweeping
    brushstrokes and the chance effects of dripping
    and spilling paint onto the canvas. The term was
    coined by the American art critic Harold
    Rosenberg to characterize the work of a group of
    American Abstract Expressionists who utilized the
    method from about 1950. Action painting is
    distinguished from the carefully preconceived
    work of the abstract imagists and
    colour-field painters, which constitutes the
    other major direction implicit in Abstract
    Expressionismand resembles Action painting only
    in its absolute devotion to unfettered personal
    expression free of all traditional aesthetic and
    social values.

  • The works of the Action painters Jackson
    Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Bradley
    Walker Tomlin, and Jack Tworkov reflect the
    influence of the automatic techniques developed
    in Europe in the 1920s and 30s by
    the Surrealists. While Surrealist automatism,
    which consisted of scribblings recorded without
    the artists conscious control, was primarily
    designed to awaken unconscious associations in
    the viewer, the automatic approach of the Action
    painters was primarily conceived as a means of
    giving the artists instinctive creative forces
    free play and of revealing these forces directly
    to the viewer. In Action painting the act of
    painting itself, being the moment of the artists
    creative interaction with his materials, was as
    significant as the finished work.

  • It is generally recognized that Jackson Pollocks
    abstract drip paintings, executed from 1947,
    opened the way to the bolder, gestural techniques
    that characterize Action painting. The vigorous
    brushstrokes of de Koonings Woman series,
    begun in the early 1950s, successfully evolved a
    richly emotive expressive style. Action painting
    was of major importance throughout the 1950s in
    Abstract Expressionism, the most-influential art
    movement at the time in the United States. By the
    end of the decade, however, leadership of the
    movement had shifted to the colour-field and
    abstract imagist painters, whose followers in the
    1960s rebelled against the irrationality of the
    Action painters. See alsoTachism.

What is Aerial Perspective?
  • Aerial perspective, also called atmospheric
    perspective, method of creating the illusion of
    depth, or recession, in a painting or drawing by
    modulating colour to simulate changes effected by
    the atmosphere on the colours of things seen at a
    distance. Although the use of aerial perspective h
    as been known since antiquity, Leonardo da
    Vinci first used the term aerial perspective in
    his Treatise on Painting, in which he wrote
    Colours become weaker in proportion to their
    distance from the person who is looking at them.
    It was later discovered that the presence in the
    atmosphere of moisture and of tiny particles of
    dust and similar material causes a scattering of
    light as it passes through them, the degree of
    scattering being dependent on the wavelength,
    which corresponds to the colour, of the light.
    Because light of short wavelengthblue lightis
    scattered most, the colours of all distant dark
    objects tend toward blue for example, distant
    mountains have a bluish cast. Light of long
    wavelengthred lightis scattered least thus,
    distant bright objects appear redder because some
    of the blue is scattered and lost from the light
    by which they are seen.

  • The intervening atmosphere between a viewer and,
    for example, distant mountains, creates other
    visual effects that can be mimicked by landscape
    painters. The atmosphere causes distant forms to
    have less distinct edges and outlines than forms
    near the viewer, and interior detail is similarly
    softened or blurred. Distant objects appear
    somewhat lighter than objects of similar tone
    lying closer at hand, and in general contrasts
    between light and shade appear less extreme at
    great distances. All these effects are more
    apparent at the base of a mountain than at its
    peak, since the density of the intervening
    atmosphere is greater at lower elevations.

  • Examples of aerial perspective have been found in
    ancient Greco-Roman wall paintings. The
    techniques were lost from European art during the
    Dark and Middle Ages and were rediscovered by
    Flemish painters of the 15th century (such
    as Joachim Patinir), after which they became a
    standard element in the European
    painters technical vocabulary. The 19th-century
    British landscape painter J.M.W. Turner made
    perhaps the boldest and most ambitious use of
    aerial perspective among Western artists. Aerial
    perspective was used with great sophistication
    and pictorial effectiveness by Chinese landscape
    painters from about the 8th century on.

What is Anamorphosis?
  • Anamorphosis, in the visual arts, an
    ingenious perspective technique that gives a
    distorted image of the subject represented in a
    picture when seen from the usual viewpoint but so
    executed that if viewed from a particular angle,
    or reflected in a curved mirror, the distortion
    disappears and the image in the picture appears
    normal. Derived from the Greek word meaning to
    transform, the term anamorphosis was first
    employed in the 17th century, although this
    technique had been one of the more curious
    by-products of the discovery of perspective in
    the 14th and 15th centuries.

  • The first examples appear in Leonardo da
    Vincis notebooks. It was regarded as a display
    of technical virtuosity, and it was included in
    most 16th- and 17th-century drawing manuals. Two
    important examples of anamorphosis are a portrait
    of Edward VI (1546) that has been attributed to
    William Scrots, and a skull in the foreground
    of Hans Holbein the Youngers painting of Jean de
    Dinteville and Georges de Selve, The
    Ambassadors (1533). Many examples are provided
    with special peepholes through which can be seen
    the rectified view that first eluded the viewer.

  • A modern equivalent of anamorphosis is the
    so-called Ames Room, in which people and objects
    are distorted by manipulation of the contours of
    the room in which they are seen. This and other
    aspects of anamorphosis received a good deal of
    attention in the 20th century from psychologists
    interested in perception.

  • Artists and architects in the 21st century
    continued to experiment with anamorphic designs.
    In 2014 Swiss artist Felice Variniknown for
    large-scale anamorphic installationscreated Three
    Ellipses for Three Locks, for which he painted
    three ellipses, segments of which covered roads,
    walls, and nearly 100 buildings in the historic
    centre of the city of Hasselt, Belgium. The
    design became coherent only when viewed from a
    particular vantage point in the city.

What is Camaieu?
  • Camaieu, plural camaieux, painting technique by
    which an image is executed either entirely in
    shades or tints of a single colour or in several
    hues unnatural to the object, figure, or scene
    represented. When a picture is monochromatically
    rendered in gray, it is called grisaille when in
    yellow, cirage. Originating in the ancient world,
    camaieu was used in miniature painting to
    simulate cameos and in architectural decoration
    to simulate relief sculpture.

What is Casein Painting?
  • Casein painting, painting executed with colours
    ground in a solution of casein, a phosphoprotein
    of milk precipitated by heating with an acid or
    by lactic acid in souring. In the form of
    homemade curd made from soured skim milk, it has
    been a traditional adhesive and binder for more
    than eight centuries. Refined, pure, powdered
    casein, which can be dissolved with ammonia, has
    been used for easel and mural paintings since the
    latter 19th and early 20th centuries, and, more
    recently, ready-made casein paints in tubes have
    come into very wide use. An advantage of casein
    painting is that it can create effects that
    approach those of oil painting. It permits the
    use of bristle brushes and a moderate impasto,
    like oil painting, but not the fusion of tones.
    It is preferred by some because of speedy drying
    and matte effects. When dry, the paint becomes
    water resistant to a considerable degree. Casein
    paintings may be varnished to further resemble
    oil paintings, and they are frequently glazed or
    overpainted with oil colours. Because casein is
    too brittle for canvas, it must be applied to
    rigid boards or panels.

What is Chiaroscuro?
  • Chiaroscuro, (from Italian chiaro, light,
    and scuro, dark) technique employed in
    the visual arts to represent light and shadow as
    they define three-dimensional objects.
  • Some evidence exists that ancient Greek and Roman
    artists used chiaroscuro effects, but in
    European painting the technique was first brought
    to its full potential by Leonardo da Vinci in the
    late 15th century in such paintings as
    his Adoration of the Magi (1481). Thereafter,
    chiaroscuro became a primary technique for many
    painters, and by the late 17th century the term
    was routinely used to describe any
    painting, drawing, or print that depended for its
    effect on an extensive gradation of light and

  • In its most dramatic formas in the works of
    those Italian artists of the 17th century who
    came under the influence of Caravaggioit was
    known as tenebrismo, or tenebrism. Caravaggio and
    his followers used a harsh, dramatic light to
    isolate their figures and heighten their
    emotional tension. Another outstanding master of
    chiaroscuro was Rembrandt, who used it with
    remarkable psychological effect in his paintings,
    drawings, and etchings. Peter Paul Rubens, Diego
    Velazquez, and many other, lesser painters of
    the Baroque period also used chiaroscuro to great
    effect. The delicacy and lightness of
    18th-century Rococo painting represents a
    rejection of this dramatic use of chiaroscuro,
    but the technique again became popular with
    artists of the Romantic period, who relied upon
    it to create the emotive effects they considered
    essential to their art.

  • In the graphic arts, the term chiaroscuro refers
    to a particular technique for making
    a woodcut print in which effects of light and
    shade are produced by printing each tone from a
    different wood block. The technique was first
    used in woodcuts in Italy in the 16th century,
    probably by the printmaker Ugo da Carpi. To make
    a chiaroscuro woodcut, the key block was inked
    with the darkest tone and printed first.
    Subsequent blocks were inked with progressively
    lighter tones and carefully measured to print in
    register with the key block. Chiaroscuro woodcuts
    are printed in only one colour, brown, gray,
    green, and sepia being preferred. The process
    attempted to imitate wash and watercolour drawings
    and also became popular as an inexpensive method
    of reproducing paintings.

What is Divisionism?
  • Divisionism, in painting, the practice of
    separating colour into individual dots or strokes
    of pigment. It formed the technical basis
    for Neo-Impressionism. Following the rules of
    contemporary colour theory, Neo-Impressionist
    artists such as Georges Seurat and Paul
    Signac applied contrasting dots of colour side by
    side so that, when seen from a distance, these
    dots would blend and be perceived by the retina
    as a luminous whole. Whereas the
    term divisionism refers to this separation of
    colour and its optical effects, the
    term pointillism refers specifically to the
    technique of applying dots.

What is Easel Painting?
  • Easel painting, painting executed on a portable
    support such as a panel or canvas, instead of on
    a wall. It is likely that easel paintings were
    known to the ancient Egyptians, and the
    1st-century-ADRoman scholar Pliny the
    Elder refers to a large panel placed on an easel
    it was not until the 13th century, however, that
    easel paintings became relatively common, finally
    superseding in popularity the mural, or wall

What is Encaustic Painting?
  • Encaustic painting, painting technique in which
    pigments are mixed with hot liquid wax. Artists
    can change the paints consistency by adding
    resin or oil (the latter for use on canvas) to
    the wax. After the paint has been applied to the
    support, which is usually made of wood, plaster,
    or canvas, a heating element is passed over the
    surface until the individual brush or spatula
    marks fuse into a uniform film. This burning in
    of the colours is an essential element of the
    true encaustic technique.

  • Encaustic wax has many of the properties of oil
    paint it can give a very brilliant and
    attractive effect and offers great scope for
    elegant and expressive brushwork. The practical
    difficulties of using a medium that has to be
    kept warm are considerable, though. Apart from
    the greater sophistication of modern methods of
    heating, the present-day technique is similar to
    that described by the 1st-century-CE Roman
    scholar Pliny the Elder. Encaustic painting was
    invented by the ancient Greeks and was brought to
    the peak of its technical perfection by
    the genre painter Pausias in the 4th century BCE.

What is Foreshortening?
  • Foreshortening, method of rendering a specific
    object or figure in a picture in depth.
  • The artist records, in varying degrees, the
    distortion that is seen by the eye when an object
    or figure is viewed at a distance or at an
    unusual angle. In a photograph of a recumbent
    figure positioned so that the feet are nearest
    the camera, for instance, the feet will seem
    unnaturally large and those body parts at a
    distance, such as the head, unnaturally small.
    The artist may either record this effect exactly,
    producing a startling illusion of reality that
    seems to violate the picture plane (surface of
    the picture), or modify it, slightly reducing the
    relative size of the nearer part of the object,
    so as to make a less-aggressive assault on the
    viewers eye and to relate the foreshortened
    object more harmoniously to the rest of the

  • Insofar as foreshortening is basically concerned
    with the persuasive projection of a form in
    an illusionistic way, it is a type
    of perspective, but the term foreshortening is
    almost invariably used in relation to a single
    object, or part of an object, rather than to a
    scene or group of objects.

What is Fresco Painting?
  • Fresco painting, method of painting water-based
    pigments on freshly applied plaster, usually on
    wall surfaces. The colours, which are made by
    grinding dry-powder pigments in pure water, dry
    and set with the plaster to become a permanent
    part of the wall. Fresco painting is ideal for
    making murals because it lends itself to a
    monumental style, is durable, and has a matte

What is Gouache?
  • Gouache, painting technique in which a gum or
    an opaque white pigment is added to watercolours
    to produce opacity. In watercolour the tiny
    particles of pigment become enmeshed in the fibre
    of the paper in gouache the colour lies on the
    surface of the paper, forming a continuous layer,
    or coating. A gouache is characterized by a
    directly reflecting brilliance. When applied with
    bristle brushes it is possible to achieve a
    slight but effective impasto (thick-coated)
    quality with sable brushes, a smooth, flawless
    colour field is obtained.

  • A painting technique of great antiquity, gouache
    was used by the Egyptians. It was a popular
    medium with Rococo artists such as François
    Boucher (170370). Contemporary painters use
    gouache alone or in combination with watercolour
    and other mediums.

What is Graffiti?
  • Graffiti, form of visual communication, usually
    illegal, involving the unauthorized marking of
    public space by an individual or group. Although
    the common image of graffiti is a stylistic
    symbol or phrase spray-painted on a wall by a
    member of a street gang, some graffiti is not
    gang-related. Graffiti can be understood as
    antisocial behaviour performed in order to gain
    attention or as a form of thrill seeking, but it
    also can be understood as an expressive art form.

  • Derived from the Italian word graffio (scratch),
    graffiti (incised inscriptions, plural but
    often used as singular) has a long history. For
    example, markings have been found in ancient
    Roman ruins, in the remains of the Mayan city
    of Tikal in Central America, on rocks in Spain
    dating to the 16th century, and
    in medieval English churches. During the 20th
    century, graffiti in the United States and Europe
    was closely associated with gangs, who used it
    for a variety of purposes for identifying or
    claiming territory, for memorializing dead gang
    members in an informal obituary, for boasting
    about acts (e.g., crimes) committed by gang
    members, and for challenging rival gangs as a
    prelude to violent confrontations. 

  • Graffiti was particularly prominent in major
    urban centres throughout the world, especially in
    the United States and Europe common targets were
    subways, billboards, and walls. In the 1990s
    there emerged a new form of graffiti, known as
    tagging, which entailed the repeated use of a
    single symbol or series of symbols to mark
    territory. In order to attract the most attention
    possible, this type of graffiti usually appeared
    in strategically or centrally located

  • To some observers graffiti is a form of public
    art, continuing the tradition, for example, of
    the muralscommissioned by the U.S. Works Progress
    Administration Federal Art Project during
    the Great Depression and the work of Diego
    Rivera in Mexico. Like the murals of these
    artists, great works of graffiti can beautify a
    neighbourhood and speak to the interests of a
    specific community. For example, the graffiti in
    many Hispanic neighbourhoods in the United States
    is quite elaborate and is regarded by many as a
    form of urban art. The question of whether such
    work is an innovative art form or a public
    nuisance has aroused much debate.

  • Graffiti became notoriously prominent in New York
    City in the late 20th century. Large elaborate
    multicoloured graffiti created with spray paint
    on building walls and subway cars came to define
    the urban landscape. The art worlds fascination
    with artists who functioned outside traditional
    gallery channels stimulated an interest in this
    form of self-expression. In the 1980s New York
    artists such as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel
    Basquiat gained notoriety for their graffiti and
    parlayed this recognition into successful careers
    as painters represented by top galleries.

  • Most jurisdictions have laws prohibiting graffiti
    as vandalism, and in some countries punishment is
    quite severe. For example, in Singapore violators
    are subject to caning. During the 1980s and 90s
    many jurisdictions sought ways to eliminate and
    remove graffiti, fearing that it would otherwise
    lead to the debasement of the community.
    Significant resources were allocated for
    abatement and other clean-up efforts, and some
    cities even introduced mural programs or free
    walls to provide legal opportunities for urban
    youths to express their artistic creativity.

What is Grisaille?
  • Grisaille, painting technique by which an image
    is executed entirely in shades of gray and
    usually severely modeled to create
    the illusion of sculpture, especially relief.
    This aspect of grisaille was used particularly by
    the 15th-century Flemish painters (as in the
    outer wings of the van Eycks Ghent Altarpiece)
    and in the late 18th century to imitate classical
    sculpture in wall and ceiling decoration. Among
    glass painters, grisaille is the name of a gray,
    vitreous pigment used in the art of colouring
    glass for stained glass. In French, grisaille has
    also come to mean any painting technique in which
    translucent oil colours are laid over a monotone

  • In the grisaille enamel painting technique,
    pulverized white vitreous enamel is made into a
    paste by mixing it with water, turpentine, oil of
    lavender, or petroleum oil and is then applied to
    a dark enamel ground, usually coloured black or
    blue. Lighter areas of the design are thickly
    painted, while the gray areas are obtained by
    painting with thinner coats to allow the dark
    background colour to tone the white enamel
    pigment. This technique achieves a dramatic
    effect of light and shade and a pronounced sense
    of three-dimensionality. Grisaille enamels were
    developed in the 16th century in France by
    the Limoges school of enamelers. Among the most
    noted practitioners of this technique were
    members of the Pénicaud family. The technique was
    also popular with some 20th-century painters,
    including Alfred Leslie and Chuck Close.

What is Impasto?
  • Impasto, paint that is applied to a canvas or
    panel in quantities that make it stand out from
    the surface. Impasto was used frequently to mimic
    the broken-textured quality of highlightsi.e., th
    e surfaces of objects that are struck by an
    intense light. Impasto came into its own in the
    17th century, when such Baroque painters as
    Rembrandt, Frans Hals, and Diego Velázquez used
    skillfully and minutely worked impastos to depict
    lined and wrinkled skin or the sparkle of
    elaborately crafted armour, jewelry, and rich
    fabrics. The 19th-century painter Vincent van
    Gogh made notable use of impastos, building up
    and defining the forms in his paintings with
    thick, nervous dabs of paint. Twentieth-century
    painters such as Jackson Pollock and Willem de
    Kooning often applied impastos with a dynamism
    and a gestural bravura that emphasized the
    physical qualities of the paint itself. Since
    then, raw pigments applied thickly to a canvas
    have become a staple technique of modern abstract
    and semifigurative painting.

What is Miniature Painting?
  • Miniature painting, also called (16th17th
    century) limning, small, finely wrought portrait
    executed on vellum, prepared card, copper, or
    ivory. The name is derived from the minium, or
    red lead, used by the medieval illuminators.
    Arising from a fusion of the separate traditions
    of the illuminated manuscriptand the medal,
    miniature painting flourished from the beginning
    of the 16th century down to the mid-19th century.

What is Mural?
  • Mural, a painting applied to and
    made integral with the surface of
    a wall or ceiling. The term may properly include
    painting on fired tiles but ordinarily does not
    refer to mosaic decoration unless the mosaic
    forms part of the overall scheme of the painting.

What is Oil Painting?
  • Oil painting, painting in oil colours, a medium
    consisting of pigments suspended in drying oils.
    The outstanding facility with which fusion of
    tones or colour is achieved makes it unique among
    fluid painting mediums at the same time,
    satisfactory linear treatment and crisp effects
    are easily obtained. Opaque, transparent, and
    translucent painting all lie within its range,
    and it is unsurpassed for textural variation.

What is Panel Painting?
  • Panel painting, painting executed on a rigid
    supportordinarily wood or metalas distinct from
    painting done on canvas. Before canvas came into
    general use at the end of the 16th century, the
    panel was the support most often used for easel
    painting. A variety of woods have been used,
    including beech, cedar, chestnut, fir, larch, lind
    en, white poplar, mahogany, olive, dark walnut,
    and teak. Wooden panels were usually boiled or
    steamed to remove gum and resin and thereby
    prevent splitting and then were coated with size
    (a glutinous material) to fill pores and
    with gesso (a mixture of glue and whiting), on
    which the painting was executed. Metals used for
    panel paintings include silver, tin, lead,
    and zinc.

  • During the Middle Ages, especially in Russia
    during the period encompassing the work of
    the Novgorod school (12th16th century),
    paintings were executed on panels over which
    leather had been stretched. Panels were
    especially popular for making decorative altarpiec
    es. Siennese artist Duccio, Flemish
    artists Robert Campin, Rogier van der Weyden, and
    brothers Hubert and Jan van Eyck, and German
    artist Matthias Grünewald are notable for their
    panel altarpieces.

What is Panorama?
  • Panorama, in the visual arts, continuous
    narrative scene or landscape painted to conform
    to a flat or curved background, which surrounds
    or is unrolled before the viewer.

What is Perspective?
  • Perspective, method of graphically depicting
    three-dimensional objects and spatial
    relationships on a two-dimensional plane or on a
    plane that is shallower than the original (for
    example, in flat relief).
  • Perceptual methods of representing space and
    volume, which render them as seen at a particular
    time and from a fixed position and are
    characteristic of Chinese and most Western
    painting since the Renaissance, are in contrast
    to conceptual methods. Pictures drawn by young
    children and primitives (untrained artists), many
    paintings of cultures such as ancient Egypt and
    Crete, India, Islam, and pre-Renaissance Europe,
    as well as the paintings of many modern artists,
    depict objects and surroundings independently of
    one anotheras they are known to be, rather than
    as they are seen to beand from the directions
    that best present their most characteristic
    features. Many Egyptian and Cretan paintings and
    drawings, for example, show the head and legs of
    a figure in profile, while the eye and torso are
    shown frontally (see photograph). This system
    produces not the illusion of depth but the sense
    that objects and their surroundings have been
    compressed within a shallow space behind the
    picture plane.

  • In Western art, illusions of perceptual volume
    and space are generally created by use of
    the linear perspectival system, based on the
    observations that objects appear to the eye to
    shrink and parallel lines and planes to converge
    to infinitely distant vanishing points as they
    recede in space from the viewer. Parallel lines
    in spatial recession will appear to converge on a
    single vanishing point, called one-point
    perspective. Perceptual space and volume may be
    simulated on the picture plane by variations on
    this basic principle, differing according to the
    number and location of the vanishing points.
    Instead of one-point (or central) perspective,
    the artist may use, for instance, angular (or
    oblique) perspective, which employs two vanishing

  • Another kind of systemparallel perspective
    combined with a viewpoint from aboveis
    traditional in Chinese painting. When buildings
    rather than natural contours are painted and it
    is necessary to show the parallel horizontal
    lines of the construction, parallel lines are
    drawn parallel instead of converging, as
    in linear perspective. Often foliage is used to
    crop these lines before they extend far enough to
    cause a building to appear warped.

  • The early European artist used a perspective that
    was an individual interpretation of what he saw
    rather than a fixed mechanical method. At the
    beginning of the Italian Renaissance, early in
    the 15th century, the mathematical laws of
    perspective were discovered by the
    architect Filippo Brunelleschi, who worked out
    some of the basic principles, including the
    concept of the vanishing point, which had been
    known to the Greeks and Romans but had been lost.
    These principles were applied in painting
    by Masaccio (as in his Trinity fresco in Santa
    Maria Novella, Florence c. 1427), who within a
    short period brought about an entirely new
    approach in painting. 

  • A style was soon developed using configurations
    of architectural exteriors and interiors as the
    background for religious paintings, which thereby
    acquired the illusion of great spatial depth. In
    his seminal Della pittura (1436 On
    Painting), Leon Battista Alberti codified,
    especially for painters, much of the practical
    work on the subject that had been carried out by
    earlier artists he formulated, for example, the
    idea that vision makes a triangle, and from this
    it is clear that a very distant quantity seems no
    larger than a point.

  • Linear perspective dominated Western painting
    until the end of the 19th century, when Paul
    Cézanneflattened the conventional Renaissance
    picture space. The Cubists and other 20th-century
    painters abandoned the depiction of
    three-dimensional space altogether and hence had
    no need for linear perspective.

  • Linear perspective plays an important part in
    presentations of ideas for works by architects,
    engineers, landscape architects, and industrial
    designers, furnishing an opportunity to view the
    finished product before it is begun. Differing in
    principle from linear perspective and used by
    both Chinese and European painters, aerial
    perspective is a method of creating the illusion
    of depth by a modulation of colour and tone.

What is Plein-air Painting?
  • Plein-air painting, in its strictest sense, the
    practice of painting landscape pictures
    out-of-doors more loosely, the achievement of an
    intense impression of the open air (French plein
    air) in a landscape painting.

  • Until the time of the painters of the Barbizon
    school in mid-19th-century France, it was normal
    practice to execute rough sketches of landscape
    subjects in the open air and produce finished
    paintings in the studio. Part of this was a
    matter of convenience. Before the invention of
    the collapsible tin paint tube, widely marketed
    by the colour merchants Winsor Newton in 1841,
    painters purchased their colours in the form of
    ground pigment and mixed them fresh with an
    appropriate medium such as oil. The new tubes
    filled with prepared colours, as well as the
    invention of a lightweight, portable easel a
    decade later, made it much easier to paint

  • Despite these advances, many of the Barbizon
    painters continued to create most of their work
    in the studio not until the late 1860s, with the
    work of Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir,
    and Camille Pissarro, the leaders
    of Impressionism, did painting en plein
    air become more popular. This change came about
    from 1881, when Monet, in his efforts to capture
    the true effects of light on the colour of
    landscape at any given moment, began to carry
    several canvases at once into the out-of-doors.
    On each he began a painting of the same subject
    at a different time of day on subsequent days,
    he continued to work on each canvas in succession
    as the appropriate light appeared.

What is Sand Painting?
  • Sand painting, also called dry painting, type of
    art that exists in highly developed forms among
    the Navajo and Pueblo Indians of the American
    Southwest and in simpler forms among several
    Plains and California Indian tribes.
    Although sand painting is an art form, it is
    valued among the Indians primarily for religious
    rather than aesthetic reasons. Its main function
    is in connection with healing ceremonies.

  • Sand paintings are stylized, symbolic pictures
    prepared by trickling small quantities of
    crushed, coloured sandstone, charcoal, pollen, or
    other dry materials in white, blue, yellow,
    black, and red hues on a background of clean,
    smoothed sand. About 600 different pictures are
    known, consisting of various representations of
    deities, animals, lightning, rainbows, plants,
    and other symbols described in the chants that
    accompany various rites. In healing, the choice
    of the particular painting is left to the curer.
    Upon completion of the picture, the patient sits
    on the centre of the painting, and sand from the
    painting is applied to parts of his body. When
    the ritual is completed, the painting is

  • For years the Indians would not allow permanent,
    exact copies of sand paintings to be made. When
    the designs were copied in rugs, an error was
    deliberately made so that the original design
    would still be powerful. Today many of the
    paintings have been copied both to preserve the
    art and for the record.

What is Scroll Painting?
  • Scroll painting, art form practiced primarily in
    East Asia. The two dominant types may be
    illustrated by the Chinese landscape scroll,
    which is that cultures greatest contribution to
    the history of painting, and the Japanese
    narrative scroll, which developed the
    storytelling potential of painting.

What is Sfumato?
  • Sfumato, (from Italian sfumare, to tone down or
    to evaporate like smoke), in painting or drawing
    , the fine shading that produces soft,
    imperceptible transitions between colours and
    tones. It is used most often in connection with
    the work of Leonardo da Vinci and his followers,
    who made subtle gradations, without lines or
    borders, from light to dark areas the technique
    was used for a highly illusionistic rendering of
    facial features and for atmospheric effects. See
    also chiaroscuro.

What is Sgraffito?
  • Sgraffito, (Italian scratched), in the visual
    arts, a technique used in painting, pottery, and
    glass, which consists of putting down a
    preliminary surface, covering it with another,
    and then scratching the superficial layer in such
    a way that the pattern or shape that emerges is
    of the lower colour. During the Middle Ages,
    especially in panel painting and in the
    illumination of manuscripts, the ground was often
    of gold leaf. In wall painting, or mural
    painting, two layers of different-coloured plaster
     are usually employed.

  • In stained glass, the scratching is done through
    a top layer of coloured glass, revealing clear
    glass beneath in pottery the pattern is incised
    through a white or coloured slip (mixture of clay
    and water washed over the vessel before firing),
    revealing the body colour beneath. Sgraffito
    ware was produced by Islamic potters and became
    common throughout the Middle East. The
    18th-century scratch blue class of English white
    stoneware is decorated with sgraffito patterns
    touched with blue. Sgraffito ware was produced as
    early as 1735 by German settlers in colonial

What is Sotto In Su?
  • Sotto in su, (Italian from below to above) in
    drawing and painting, extreme foreshortening of
    figures painted on a ceiling or other high
    surface so as to give the illusion that the
    figures are suspended in air above the viewer. It
    is an approach that was developed during the
    Renaissance, and it was especially favoured by
    Baroque and Rococo painters, particularly in
    Italy. Andrea Mantegna, Giulio Romano, Correggio,
    and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo were outstanding
    exponents of the technique.

What is Tachism?
  • Tachism, French Tachisme, (from tache, spot),
    style of painting practiced in Paris after World
    War IIand through the 1950s that, like its
    American equivalent, Action painting, featured
    the intuitive, spontaneous gesture of the
    artists brushstroke. Developed by the young
    painters Hans Hartung, Gérard Schneider, Pierre
    Soulages, Frans Wols, Chao Wu-chi (Zao Wu-ki),
    and Georges Mathieu, Tachism was part of a larger
    French postwar movement known as Art Informel,
    which abandoned geometric abstraction in favour
    of a more intuitive form of expression. Art
    Informel was inspired by the instinctive,
    personal approach of contemporary
    American Abstract Expressionism, of which Action
    painting was one aspect.

  • Like their American counterparts, the
    French-educated Tachists worked with a loaded
    brush, producing large works of sweeping
    brushstrokes and of drips, blots, stains, and
    splashes of colour. Their works, however, are
    more elegant and lyricaloften including graceful
    lines and blended, muted coloursthan the works
    of such American painters as Jackson
    Pollock and Willem de Kooning, on whom the French
    artists modeled themselves. The Tachists were
    also less indebted than were the Action painters
    to uninhibited psychic inspiration.

What is Tempera Painting?
  • Tempera painting, painting executed
    with pigment ground in a water-miscible medium.
    The word tempera originally came from the
    verb temper, to bring to a desired consistency.
    Dry pigments are made usable by tempering them
    with a binding and adhesive vehicle.
    Such painting was distinguished from fresco
    painting, the colours for which contained no
    binder. Eventually, after the rise of oil
    painting, the word gained its present meaning.

What is Tenebrism?
  • Tenebrism, in the history of Western painting,
    the use of extreme contrasts of light and dark in
    figurative compositions to heighten their
    dramatic effect. (The term is derived from the
    Latin tenebrae, darkness.) In tenebrist
    paintings, the figures are often portrayed
    against a background of intense darkness, but the
    figures themselves are illuminated by a bright,
    searching light that sets off their
    three-dimensional forms by a harsh but
    exquisitely controlled chiaroscuro. The technique
    was introduced by the Italian painter Caravaggio (
    15711610) and was taken up in the early 17th
    century by painters influenced by him, including
    the French painter Georges de La Tour, the Dutch
    painters Gerrit van Honthorst and Hendrik
    Terbrugghen, and the Spanish painter Francisco de

What is Trompe L'oeil?
  • Trompe loeil, (French deceive the eye)
    in painting, the representation of an object with
    such verisimilitude as to deceive the viewer
    concerning the material reality of the object.
    This idea appealed to the ancient Greeks who were
    newly emancipated from the conventional
    stylizations of earlier art. Zeuxis, for example,
    reportedly painted such realistic grapes that
    birds tried to eat them. The technique was also
    popular with Roman muralists. Although trompe
    loeil never achieved the status of a major
    artistic aim, European painters from the
    early Renaissance onward occasionally fostered
    illusionism by painting false frames out of which
    the contents of a still life or portrait appeared
    to spill or by creating windowlike images
    suggesting actual openings in the wall or ceiling.

  • In Italy in the 15th century an inlay work known
    as intarsia was used on choir stalls and in
    sacristies, frequently as trompe loeil views of
    cupboards with different articles seen upon the
    shelves through half-open doors. In America the
    19th-century still-life painter William
    Harnett became famous for his card-rack
    paintings, on which are depicted various cards
    and clippings with such verisimilitude that the
    viewer becomes convinced that they can be lifted
    off the painted rack. In the late 20th century,
    muralist Richard Haas painted the exteriors of
    entire buildings in trompe loeil, primarily
    in Chicagoand New York City. Aaron Bohrod was one
    of the foremost 20th-century practitioners of
    small-scale trompe loeil.

What is Watercolor Technique?
  • Watercolor was initially developed in Asia during
    the 8th century to be laid on fine silks and
    woven paper. The paints slowly made their way to
    Byzantium and Europe in the 14th century, placing
    its aesthetic hold onto illuminated manuscripts,
    and later rendered itself to the gossamer
    aesthetic of the French Impressionists.
  • Watercolor paint uses ground pigments mixed with
    water-soluble binders. Watercolor painting lends
    itself to a gradient of tonal hues that can
    imitate the washes of sky and sea, but it is
    considered one of the most difficult mediums to
    master, as it doesnt lend itself to correction
    after application. Many consider Itzchak
    Tarkay (1935-2012) to be an especially gifted
    watercolorist who awed viewers with his

What is Giclee (Gee-Clay) Spray Technique?
  • Giclée (pronounced gee-clay) printing is the art
    medium of now, fusing together traditions of
    realism and digital innovation.  A French term,
    translating into the spraying of ink, giclées
    arent simply printed reproductions rather,
    theyre the result of obsessive digital
    fine-tuning and modification, and are able to
    capture great photorealistic detail. The process
    begins with a high resolution photograph of the
    artwork being translated into giclée form. The
    image is then scanned, turned into a digital
    source file, color corrected, printed, revised,
    reprinted and subject to constant adjustment
    until the artist is satisfied with the printed
  • Artists liked Pino, Andrew Bone, Scott
    Jacobs, Autumn de Forest, and many more have
    utilized giclées for their limited edition

What is Underpainting?
  • I never work from white when using oils or
    acrylics. Create an underpainting in burnt umber
    or a mix of burnt sienna and phthalo blues to
    establish shadows and values. Acrylics are
    probably the best medium to use at this stage as
    they're quick-drying and permanent.

  • Work paint up from thin to thick, especially when
    using slow-drying paints. It's impossible to work
    on top of heavy, wet paint. In the same way, work
    up to highlights, adding the brightest (and
    usually heavier) paint at the end. Have a roll of
    kitchen towel to hand to clean brushes and remove
    any excess paint if you make a mistake.

What is Blocking In?
  • Brushes come in a number of shapes and with
    different fibre types, all of which give very
    different results. The key is to try all of them
    as you paint. The most versatile are a
    synthetic/sable mix these brushes can be used
    with most of the different paint types. Brushes
    come in flat and round types and it pays to have
    a selection of both. Check out our guide to
    picking the right brush to learn more.

  • I work with a range of brushes. For most of the
    early work I use larger, flatter and broader
    brushes. A filbert is a good general brush for
    blocking in form and paint. It has a dual nature,
    combining aspects of flat and round brushes so it
    can cover detail as well as larger areas. I tend
    to use smaller brushes only at the end of the
    painting process.

What is Building Up Texture?
  • Have a dry, flat brush that you can use to blend
    your paint and create smooth transitions. I tend
    to like lots of texture and like to see brush
    marks in my own work. Almost anything can be used
    to add texture to your paint. There are
    ready-made texture media available, but I have
    seen items such as egg shell and sand used to add
    interest to a painting.
  • One tip is to use an old toothbrush to spatter
    your image with paint. This can be remarkably
    effective at suggesting noise and grain.

What is Dry Brushing?
  • This is a method of applying colour that only
    partially covers a previously dried layer of
    paint. Add very little paint to your brush and
    apply it with very quick, directional strokes.
  • This method tends to work best when applying
    light paint over dark areas/dried paint and is
    useful for depicting rock and grass textures.

What is Glazing?
  • Glazing is the process of laying a coat of
    transparent paint over a dry part of the
    painting, and it's used for intensifying shadows
    and modulating colour. A light transparent blue
    over dry yellow will of course create green.

What is Painting with Mediums?
  • Mediums are fluids that can be added to paint to
    modulate its consistency, drying time and
    texture. In the case of acrylics, you get
    different mediums that make the paint matte or
    gloss. However, I tend to use the matte medium
    mainly to seal my paper or board, so paint
    doesn't soak into it.

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