Types of  Original Painting
Acrylic
Charcoal
Conte Crayon
Crayon
Collage
Egg Tempera
Gouache
Mosaic
Oil Painting
Pastel
Pen and Ink
Pencil Drawing
Pointillist
Portrait
Watercolors
Types of Art
Types of Painting
 

Acrylic - Thicker and stronger than gouache and watercolor paint, Acrylic is a water-based "plastic" paint. A type of paint made with synthetic resin as the medium (liquid) to bind the pigment (color), rather than natural oils such as linseed used in oil paints. It has the advantage of drying faster than oils and being water-soluble.

It is a fast-drying paint containing pigment suspended in an acrylic polymer emulsion. Acrylic paints can be diluted with water, but become water-resistant when dry. Depending on how much the paint is diluted (with water), the finished acrylic painting can resemble a watercolor or an oil painting.

return to top

Acrylics were first available commercially in the 1940s, although experimental forms of acrylic resin paints had been developed as early as the 1920s in the U.S. and earlier in Germany. The first commercially available acrylic paints were actually oil compatible.

Acrylics are sometimes used in place of watercolors because acrylics dry closer to the desired color (slightly darker, usually) while watercolors dry lighter (and often unpredictably, especially for beginning artists).

Acrylics are often used as an alternative to oil paints because acrylics dry much faster (usually within an hour or even as little as less than a minute, depending on brand and thickness of application). Oil paints, which consist of pigment suspended in an oil (usually linseed, or other natural oil) base, can take a very long time to dry: a few weeks or as long as several months. Acrylic paints can achieve an oil-paint-like effect, and do so in much less time. Though applied to look like oil paints, acrylics are somewhat limited due to the superior color range of oil paints, and the fact that acrylic paints dry to a shiny, smooth (some say 'cartoonish') effect—not surprising since acrylic paints are, basically, plastic. Accordingly, acrylic paint cannot be removed with turpentine, mineral spirits (also known as white spirits), ammonia, or rubbing alcohol.

Acrylic painters modify the appearance, hardness, flexibility, texture, and other characteristics of the paint surface using acrylic mediums. Watercolor and oil painters also use mediums, but the range of acrylic mediums is much greater. Acrylics have the ability to bond to many different surfaces, and mediums can be used to adjust their binding characteristics. Mediums can change the sheen from gloss to matte, or can add iridescence or texture to the surface. They can also be used to build thick layers of paint: gel and molding paste mediums are sometimes used to create paintings with relief features that are literally sculptural.

Acrylic paints are the most commonly used in grattage (q.v.).

Acrylic paintings, ideally, should be treated as if they're as different from oil paintings as are watercolors: they are their own artform. There are techniques which are available only to acrylic painters, as well as restrictions unique to acrylic painting. Therefore, judging an acrylic painting as though it were an oil painting (or a watercolor) is not always appropriate.

Although the permanency of acrylics is sometimes debated by conservators, they appear more stable than oil paints. Whereas oil paints normally turn yellow as they age/dry, acrylic paints, at least in the 50 years since invention, do not yellow, crack, or change.

return to top

Charcoal - is the blackish residue consisting of impure carbon obtained by removing water and other volatile constituents of animal and vegetable substances? It is usually produced by heating wood in the absence of oxygen (see char), but sugar charcoal, bone charcoal (which contains a great amount of calcium phosphate), and others can be produced as well. The light, black, porous material is 85% to 98% carbon, the remainder consisting of volatile chemicals and ash, and resembles coal.

The first part of the word is of obscure origin. The independent use of "char", meaning to scorch, to reduce to carbon, is comparatively recent and must be a back-formation from the earlier charcoal. It may be a use of the word charren, meaning to turn, i.e., wood changed or turned to coal; or it may be from the French charbon. A person who manufactured charcoal was formerly known as a collier, though the term was used later for those who dealt in coal.

return to top

Conté Crayon - Conté Crayon, also known as Conté sticks or crayons, are a drawing medium composed of compressed powdered graphite or charcoal mixed with a wax or clay base, square in cross-section. They were invented in 1795 by Nicolas Jacques Conté, who created the combination of clay and graphite in response to the shortage of graphite caused by the Napoleonic Wars. Conté crayons had the advantage of being cost-effective to produce, and easy to manufacture in controlled grades of hardness. They are now more commonly made of a variety of fabricated chalk. (http://www.nyu.edu/classes/miller/guide/contcr.html)

Conté is most commonly found in black, white, and sepia tones and is frequently used on rough paper that holds pigment grains well. It can also be used on prepared primed canvases for underdrawing for a painting. The sticks' square profile makes Conté more suitable for detailed hatched work as opposed to the bolder 'painterly' drawing style demanded by soft pastels.

They were extensively used by the Renaissance Old Masters in a variant called Sanguine, which has become the name of the reddest sepia tone of Conté.

return to top

Crayon - A crayon is a stick of colored wax, charcoal, chalk, or other material used for writing and drawing. A crayon made of oiled chalk is called an oil pastel; when made of pigment with a dry binder, it is simply a pastel.

Wax crayons are commonly used for drawing and coloring by children, although adult artists have occasionally (though not commonly, for one reason because of the difficulty in mixing colours) produced works in crayon. Many schools across the globe have crayons for the children. They are relatively easy to work with, blunt (removing any risk from sharp points), non-toxic, and available in a wide variety of colors. The world's largest manufacturer of wax crayons is Binney & Smith Inc., the manufacturer of Crayola® brand crayons.

return to top

Collage - introduced by the Cubists, the technique of creating a work of art by adhering flat articles such as paper, fabrics, string or other materials to a flat surface such as a canvas whereby a three-dimensional result is achieved.

Cubist painter, Pablo Picasso, invented the collage technique in 1912 with his Still Life with Chair Caning (Nature-morte á la chaise cannée)[1], in which he pasted a patch of oilcloth with a chair-caning Inimage is a name given by René Passerson to what is usually considered a style of surrealist collage (though it perhaps qualifies instead as a decollage) in which parts are cut away from an existing image to reveal another image.

Collages produced using a similar, or perhaps identical, method are called etrécissements by Richard Genovese from a method first explored by Marcel Mariën. Genovese also introduced excavation collage (that includes elements of decollage) which is the layering of printed images, loosely affixed at the corners and then tearing away bits of the upper layer to reveal images from underneath, thereby introducing a new collage of images. Penelope Rosemont invented some methods of surrealist collage, the prehensilhouette and the landscapade.

Collage was often called the art form of the 20th century, but this was never fully realised.

Surrealist games such as parallel collage use collective techniques of collage making.

Collage made from photographs, or parts of photographs, is called photomontage.

Decoupage is a type of collage usually defined as a craft. It is the process of placing a picture onto an object for decoration. Often decoupage causes the picture to appear to have depth and looks as though it had been painted on the object.

The process is to glue (or otherwise affix) a picture to an object, then adding more copies of the picture on top, progressively cutting out more and more of the background, giving the illusion of depth in the picture. The picture is often coated with varnish or some other sealant for protection.design to the canvass of the piece.

Surrealist artists have made extensive use of collage. Cubomania is a collage made by cutting an image into squares which are then reassembled automatically or at random.

return to top

Egg Tempera -Tempera (or egg tempera) is the primary type of artist's paint and associated art techniques that were prevalent in Europe's Middle Ages. Tempera was typically created by hand-grinding dry powdered pigments into egg yolk (which was the primary binding agent or "medium"), sometimes along with other materials such as honey, water, milk (in the form of casein) and a variety of plant gums. When oil paint was invented in the late Middle Ages, tempera continued to be used for a while as the underpainting (base layer) with translucent or transparent oil glazes on top. This transitional, mixed technique was followed by a pure oil painting technique, which mostly replaced tempera in the 16th century.

Tempera paint dries rapidly. The techniques of tempera painting can be exacting when used with traditional techniques that require the application of numerous small brushstrokes applied in a cross-hatching technique. The colors, which are painted over each other, resemble a pastel when unvarnished, or the deeper colors when varnished.

Tempera is normally applied in thin semi-opaque or transparent layers. When dry, it will produce a smooth matte finish. Because it can't be applied in thick layers as oil paints can, tempera paintings rarely have the deep color saturation that oil paintings can achieve.

True tempera paintings are quite permanent. However, the term "tempera" in modern times has also been used by some manufacturers to refer to ordinary poster paint, which is a cheap form of gouache (opaque watercolor) that has nothing to do with real egg tempera.

return to top

Gouache - the technique or product where heavy, opaque watercolor is applied to paper and produces a more brilliant and strong-colored result than usual watercolors.

It (from the Italian guazzo, "water paint, splash") is a type of watercolor paint, made heavier and more opaque by the addition of a white pigment (chalk, Chinese white, etc.) in a gum arabic mixture. This results in a stronger color than ordinary watercolor. Many forms of 'poster paint' are actually gouache, as are some products labeled as tempera.

The term was originally coined in the eighteenth century in France, although the technique is considerably older, having been in use as early as the 14th century in illustrated manuscripts (country of orgin unknown)Europe.

The pigment dries slightly lighter than it appears when wet, which can make it difficult to match colors. The medium can also be susceptible to cracking if applied too thickly; this problem can be alleviated to some degree by the use of thickening media such as aquapasto. It can be very effective when applied to colored paper, for example in works by J.M.W. Turner.

Today the term gouache can be used interchangeably with body color, although the latter is made in a slightly different way. It can also be used as a term for any painting produced entirely with gouache.

Gouache was the original, and is still the primary, paint used in the production of decalcomanias.

Gouache was used in most 20th Century animations to create an opaque color on a cell with watercolor paint used for backgrounds.

return to top

Mosaic - a very old decorative art, the art technique of setting small pieces (tesserae) of tile, glass, stone in a base of plaster or concrete. Often very intricate and detailed, mosaic is usually used on walls, ceilings and floors.

It is the art of decoration with small pieces of colored glass, stone or other material. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration or of cultural significance as in a cathedral. Small tiles or fragments of pottery (known as tesserae, diminutive tessellae) or of colored glass or clear glass backed with metal foils, are used to create a pattern or picture.

return to top

Oil painting - developed over time during the 15th and 16th centuries, the technique or result of using paints made from pigments mixed with oil on a canvas. Oil paint allowed for more demanding uses than the drier, less useful egg tempera type of paint.

 Slow drying paint made when pigments are mixed with an oil, linseed oil being most traditional. The oil dries with a hard film, and the brightness of the colors is protected. Oil paints are usually opaque and traditionally used on canvas.

"Oils are one of the great classic media, and have dominated painting for five hundred years. They remain popular for many reasons: their great versatility, offering the possibility of transparency and opacity in the same painting; the lack of color change when the painting dries; and ease of manipulation."

return to top

Pastel - a crayon made from pigment mixed with gum and water and pressed into a stick-shaped form. A work of art created from these crayons is also called a pastel. Pastel can also indicate a pale color.  1. A typically soft, colored crayon made of pigments mixed with just enough water-based binder to hold its form. Pastel crayons are available in the full gamut of hues including deep colors; they are not restricted to pastel shades.
2. The technique of painting with pastel crayons. Pastel is the simplest and purest method of painting because the pigments are applied directly to the paper without liquid. Pastels are classified as paintings rather than drawings because the pigments are applied in broad strokes and areas of color rather than in sharply defined lines (although some artists will use harder, pointed pastel crayons to create a work similar to that of a drawing). Once the pigments are applied, the artist may blend them by rubbing.
3. A work of art produced with pastel crayons.

Definition of Pastel Paints & Pastel Paintings: Ground pigment mixed with chalk and gum or oil, then shaped into drawing sticks. Pastels cannot be mixed on a palette like paints, but are mixed on the paper by overlaying or blending. Conté crayons are a square type of pastel. Colours go from soft to brilliant in a stick form. When the paper is covered completely, it is known as a pastel painting. When the paper is exposed through the pastel, it is known as a pastel sketch.

return to top

Pen and Ink - refers to a technique of drawing or writing, in which colored (this includes black) ink is applied to paper using a pen or other stylus. It may be used as a medium for sketches, or for finished works of art. Pen and ink also lends itself to fine writing and calligraphy.

Pens - Different types of pens produce distinctive types of lines. Some, such as the crow-quill dip pen, produce slender and delicate lines. Other pens have a broader nib which can produce both thick and thin lines.

Most fountain pens and ballpoint pens are often regarded by many artists as being insensitive instruments or even not for true pen and ink work, but they are often useful for sketching in conditions in which a pot of ink would be a spill hazard.

Many technical artists prefer the Rotring Rapidograph or Isograph series of technical pens, which produce lines of extremely regular width and which contain their own ink. Originally the pens were used mostly for architectural illustration of new buildings, although this has now mostly been replaced by computer rendered visualisations. Since being popularised by Robert Crumb in the mid 1970s, Rapidographs have been the standard pens used by most comic book and graphic novel artists.

Ink - Iron-gall nut ink was the usual type of ink used in the West. In the 20th century waterproof Indian ink has replaced previously used inks, although this tradition does not preclude an artist using other types of mark-making materials. The paper used must be strong enough to resist the wear from a steel pen nib, and to absorb all the ink applied.

Many pre-modern cultures around the world developed the comparatively cheap and portable medium of pen and ink art to a high level of sophistication, notably the Chinese and Japanese. In late imperial China (1644-1912), of all the arts, pen and ink calligraphy was the most respected.

Pen and ink calligraphy was raised to a high level in Arabic writing, since Islam forbids the representation of living beings. In some forms of Arabic calligraphy, the letters were delicately formed to suggest an image related to the meaning of the phrase being written, without being an actual image of a living being. There was a strong parallel tradition at the same time among Aramaic and Hebrew scholars, seen in such works as the Hebrew illuminated bibles of the 9th and 10th Centuries. For more information on Arabic and Hebrew medieval calligraphy see: Calligraphy.

In Western art, pen and ink artwork can be traced back to the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Winchester and Canterbury manuscripts of the 9th century, characteristic of which are lively precise figures and animals amid decorative foliage and fine calligraphy.

In the Georgian and early Victorian periods in England, pen and ink was mostly used for quick sketches, often with a high degree of abstraction. George Romney produced a number of notable ink sketches of Emma Hamilton which are noted for the economy of his strokes, in which he produced instantly recognizable figures with a dozen lines. Later English artists developed the pen and ink drawing into a finished artform, probably the finest examples of which are the 1825 series of visionary landscape drawings by Samuel Palmer.

Like many of the arts which it is possible to practice with just a minimum of tools and materials, the status of pen and ink work is now very low in the contemporary art world, and it also suffers because drawing is not now generally taught in art schools. This state of affairs has not been helped by the advent of software rendering - it is now possible for software such as Photoshop, Poser, Painter and Piranisi to automatically take a photographic image and render it into an approximation of a "pen and ink" style, albeit one lacking the vital "human touch".

return to top

Pencil Drawing - Pencil sketching is drawing with a pencil. It can refer to the general technique of drawing, or a method of reproducing photos. For the latter, the negative image of a photograph is placed in a photographic enlarger in a dark room. The image is projected on to the paper where the sketch is to be done. All the light shades are penciled until the paper is all the same shade.

return to top

Pointillist - Pointillism is a form of painting in which tiny dots of primary colors are used to generate secondary colors. It is an offshoot of Impressionism, and is usually categorized as a form of Post-Impressionism. It is very similar to Divisionism, except that where Divisionism is concerned with color theory; Pointillism is more focused on the specific style of brushwork used to apply the paint.

The term "Pointillism" was first used with respect to the work of Georges Seurat, and he is the artist most closely associated with the movement. The relatively few artists who worked in this style also included Paul Signac and Henri-Edmond Cross

return to top

Portrait - a representation of a person or group or animal on a two-dimensional medium that typically also shows some aspect symbolic of the subject.

It is a painting, photograph, or other artistic representation of a person. Portraits are often simple head shots or mug shots and are not usually overly elaborate. The intent is to show the basic appearance of the person, and occasionally some artistic insight into his or her personality.

The art of the portrait flourished in Roman sculptures, where sitters demanded realistic portraits, even unflattering ones. During the 4th century, the portrait began to retreat in favor of an idealized symbol of what that person looked like. (Compare the portraits of Roman Emperors Constantine I and Theodosius I at their entries.) In Europe true portraits of the outward appearance of individuals re-emerged in the late Middle Ages, in Burgundy and France.

return to top

Watercolors - a paint that uses water as its base usually painted on heavy paper.

Definition of Water Color: Watercolor is named for its primary component. It consists of a pigment dissolved in water and bound by a colloid agent (usually a gum, such as gum Arabic); it is applied with a brush onto a supporting surface mainly dampened paper. The resulting mark (after the water has evaporated) is transparent, allowing light to reflect from the supporting surface, to luminous effect. Watercolor is often combined with gouache (or "body color"), an opaque water-based paint containing a white element derived from chalk, lead, or zinc oxide.

return to top