Simply speaking, the practice of painting is the application of a paint, pigment or another medium to a surface, most commonly applied with a paintbrush. The endless creativity that stems from such a simple explanation is simply breath taking – and we should know, given the 1000s of paintings for sale on our online marketplace.
But while the stylistic expressions of creativity, classified as paintings, are endless – to understand painting mediums (the term for an artist’s materials) used to create these pieces, all you need to do is read this quick blog.
An introduction to painting mediums
Oil paint is a slow drying paint that is created by dispersing pigments in an oil, usually linseed oil. Oil paints are normally opaque, but can also be applied as a translucent glaze. Since the 16th century oil painting on canvas has been a standard medium for artists as it can be easily manipulated and has great flexibility, making it possible for an artist to achieve a layered or smooth, rich coloured canvas.
Watercolours are translucent water-based paints. The paint is made by mixing pigments with a binder, usually gum arabic, and then applying it with water. It is based on a transparent or glaze system of pigmentation that utilizes the colour of the paper for its highlights. Watercolour is a singularly unpredictable medium, and the results are often unexpected.
Developed in the middle of the 20th century, acrylic paint is a type of synthetic resin based on polymer colours. The paint is made by dispersing pigment in an acrylic emulsion. The artist can thin these colours with water, but when dry the resin particles coalesce to form a tough, flexible, rubbery film that is impervious to water. This paint is popular because it dries quickly, enabling an artist to work over a painted area almost immediately. Although acrylics lack the manipulative qualities of oils and watercolours, artists can produce a matt, semi-matt or glossy finish by mixing them with the appropriate mediums.
Gouache is a form of watercolour, it is a water-based paint rendered opaque by the addition of white paint, pigment, or a white substance such as chalk. Gouache is different from transparent watercolour in that it has a definite thickness and creates an actual paint layer. It also has a brilliant light-reflecting quality.
Ian Hargreaves, A Sparkle in Grand Canal, 2017, oil, original, signed, £1,900, Signet Contemporary Art.
Featured art from first to last:
Will Swayne, Crescendo, 2018, oil, original framed, £995, Art Agency.
Stephanie Tuckwell, Livia's Garden, No. 3, 2017, watercolour, original, signed, £1,200, Matthew Youens Gallery.
Michal Lukasiewicz, Moment, 2018, acrylic, original, signed, £4,750, London Contemporary Art.
Margaret Knott, Still life with vegetables, 2016, gouache, limited edition, framed, signed £595, Will's Art Warehouse.