Painting – Concept, history and painting techniques

We explain what painting is and what is the history of this art form. Also, painting techniques and what is cave painting.

The paint uses natural and synthetic pigments mixed with binders.

What is painting?

When we speak of painting or pictorial arts we refer to an artistic form that seeks to represent reality graphically, using shapes and colors on a surface, from natural and synthetic pigments mixed with binding substances (paints).

In this sense, painting conceptually makes use of drawing, color theory and pictorial composition, as well as perspective and other knowledge related to vision and the physics of light.

Is about one of the fine arts of humanity, along with literature, sculpture, music, dance, architecture, cinema, photography and comics. And it is probably one of the oldest known.

By printing the color and texture onto a paper canvas, fabric, or any other smooth surface that allows it (a wall, a piece of wood, etc.), the paint represents the characteristics of light through a variety of techniques, more or less figurative (that is, more or less abstract in its representation).

These techniques have also historically evolved and have entered the new digital and virtual techniques, such as video art or digital art. The works of the great painters of history are preserved in museums and churches and are part of the historical and artistic heritage of nations, as well as a spiritual heritage of humanity.

History of painting

Abstract art emerged in the mid-20th century.

The painting starts as human expression technique 32,000 years ago, with the first cave paintings on the walls of the caves inhabited by primitive man. For this he used blood and other substances, which would be gradually replaced by oils and pigments from now on. Its main focuses were, during its history, the landscape, the human nude, still life (or still life) and finally, abstractionism.

The painting accompanied the ceremonial and funerary sites of ancient civilizations, such as Egyptian burial mounds, Roman temples or early Christian Christian catacombs.

From the European Renaissance, it was imposed along with sculpture as one of the great forms of human expression, being widely cultivated by artists of the stature of Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo Davinci.

A second moment of importance would have it during the 19th century, when the tensions between German Romanticism and the French Enlightenment gave rise to numerous pictorial expressions of importance, and still a third moment of splendor during the era of the avant-gardes, at the beginning of the century. XX, under the leadership of Cubism, Surrealism and other similar aesthetic tendencies. Finally, abstract art would make its entry into painting in the mid-twentieth century.

Painting techniques

To paint with pastels, you use your hands directly.

Painting techniques are the methods used to fix the pigments on the surface of the support. Some of the most popular are:

  • Oil. Using oils and a solvent called turpentine, a pigmented, viscous paste of vegetable origin is made, with which the colors can be adhered to the canvas, using brushes or other tools. When drying, the colors are fixed to the surface.
  • Wax. The surface is painted with hot waxes, which contain agglutinated pigments, applied with a brush or spatula. Finally, a linen cloth is applied to a layer of wax without pigment for protection and polishing.
  • Watercolor. It consists of the use of colors diluted in water, of a transparent consistency, which are applied on paper or cardboard with brushes. This achieves greater ease and brilliance, but requires free and imprecise strokes.
  • Tempera Call also gouache, is a material similar to watercolor but with a load of industrial talc or zinc white, which gives the pigment an opaque and non-translucent hue, ideal for applying light layers over dark ones and playing with the light represented.
  • Acrylic. This is the name of a quick-drying paint, whose pigments are held in an acrylic emulsion (vinyl glue) and although they are soluble in water, when they dry they are extremely resistant.
  • Ink. Known as “India ink”, it is used on paper and especially in black or sepia tones, using a pen or nib. It is very frequent in oriental art, especially in its pictorial calligraphy.
  • Pie. Color bars made from powdered pigments diluted in gum or resin are used to form a compact and dry paste. No tools are needed for its use, but are directly held by hand.

Cave painting

The cave paintings are generally tribal marks and drawings of animals.

It is known as cave painting to which primitive humanity left on cave walls and other surfaces, and which were preserved in time to be discovered centuries later. It is usually hand marks, pictures of prey animals and other forms of ritual storytelling or tribal markings. The best known were found in the Altamira caves, in France, in 1868.