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Painting

Painting

Author: Sophia Tutorial
Description:

Recognize the elements of the main types of painting.

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Tutorial
what's covered
There are several kinds of paint available for art, and an artist may choose a type of paint for very specific reasons. In this lesson, you will learn the characteristics, including the advantages and disadvantages, of the following types of paint:
  1. Oil Paint
  2. Acrylic Paint
  3. Watercolor Paint
  4. Tempera Paint
  5. Encaustic Paint


1. Oil Paint

Paint is a combination of a pigment (color) with a binder (liquid that keeps it together). When the paint is applied to a surface, the binder helps the particles to adhere, or stick to, that surface. Eventually the binder evaporates to leave only the pigment behind.

Oil paint is a pigment suspended in an oil-based binder, usually linseed oil. Linseed oil comes from flax seeds. Oil painting emerged as the preferred paint of choice in Europe during the 15th century. It is relatively easy to work with, holds color well, and is easy to combine with other colors. The artwork produced with oil paint will often last a long time if proper precautions are taken while working with it.

Woman with a Hat by Henri Matisse
Woman with a Hat by Henri Matisse

EXAMPLE

This is an example of an oil painting.

terms to know
Pigment
Fragments of color, usually ground minerals, sometimes also plant dyes or synthetic colors
Binder
Liquid substance that holds pigments together and helps them adhere to the surface of the painting
Oil Paint
Type of paint that uses linseed oil (usually) as a binder


2. Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is a relative newcomer, emerging during the 1950s. It is a pigment suspended in a synthetic, or artificially made, binder. The emergence of acrylic paints allowed for experimental types of artwork to be produced that were not possible with oil paints because of their much slower drying times. Acrylic paint dries quickly and was the paint of choice for artists such as Jackson Pollock, who relied on it to create his splatter, or drip, style paintings.

term to know
Acrylic Paint
Type of paint developed in the mid-20th century that use synthetic polymers as binders; very fast-drying compared to oil


3. Watercolor Paint

Watercolor paint is pigment suspended in a water binder. Water-based paints are much easier to clean up, are easily blended, and allow for a translucency, or near transparency. This translucency is very difficult to achieve with other types of paint, even when thinning them down. Some artists find that they produce a more natural or realistic color effect. This can be open to interpretation, particularly with objects such as water or the sky, where the colors tend to fade into each other.

Separation in the Evening by Paul Klee
Separation in the Evening by Paul Klee

EXAMPLE

Above is an example of a watercolor painting.

term to know
Watercolor Paint
Type of paint in which the pigment is temporarily suspended in water


4. Tempera Paint

Tempera paint is pigment suspended in a protein binder, typically egg yolk or milk casein, or milk protein. It’s one of the earliest types of paint used, and it tends to produce a nice glossy finish. Long-lasting and durable, tempera paint is used in Fresco Secco, which is painting on dry plaster. The binder in the tempera paint helps moisten the plaster to create adhesion.

The Green Wave by Georges Lacombe
The Green Wave by Georges Lacombe


EXAMPLE

Above is an example of a tempera painting.

term to know
Tempera Paint
Type of paint that uses egg yolk or other protein as a binder


5. Encaustic Paint

Encaustic paint is pigment suspended in a beeswax binder. It is also one of the earliest types of paint. Interestingly, in order to work with it, the artist uses hot metal tools to help manipulate and blend the wax, rather than the typical paint brush. The earliest examples of encaustic painting are the Fayum mummy portraits from Egypt, dated between 100 and 300 AD.

Fayum mummy portraits
Fayum mummy portraits


EXAMPLE

Above is an example of an encaustic painting.

term to know
Encaustic Paint
Type of paint that uses beeswax as a binder


summary
Paint is a combination of pigment, or color, with a binder, a liquid that keeps it all together. There are several different kinds of paint, and each has its own characteristics. In this lesson, you learned about the advantages and disadvantages of oil paint, acrylic paint, watercolor paint, tempera paint, and encaustic paint.

Source: THIS WORK IS ADAPTED FROM SOPHIA AUTHOR IAN MCCONNELL.

Terms to Know
Acrylic

A type of paint developed in the late twentieth century that uses synthetic polymers as binders. It is very fast drying compared to oil.

Binder

The liquid substance that holds pigments together and helps them adhere to the surface of a painting.

Encaustic

A type of painting that uses beeswax as a binder.

Oil

A type of paint that uses linseed oil as a binder.

Pigment

Fragments of color, usually ground minerals, sometimes also plant dyes or synthetic colors.

Tempera

A type of paint that uses egg yolk as a binder.

Watercolor

A type of paint in which the pigment is temporarily suspended in water.