Fremont Frameworks

Basic Painting FAQs

As compared to its counterpart in the two-dimensional era of fine art, namely drawing, painting is a lot more fluid version as also one that is characterized by flexible dimensions. Mention the word painting and the first image that comes to mind is that of a colorful picture depicting a particular concept, theme or a landscape. But what are the important steps that could have led to such an outcome?

Following are some of the aspects pertaining to painting that every individual must be aware of from the moment he/she picks up the brush and swishes it across the canvas in a brisk stroke of hand –

Historical background – Prehistoric humans had a penchant for expressing themselves through art and it was during the Paleolithic Age that this form of expression reached its peak. Going by the cave paintings discovered on the walls of caverns at Lascaux in Dordogne region in France, it became evident that human beings existing during that era 20,000 years ago loved to treat the walls of the caves as their canvas but desisted from taking shelter in them.

Highlight of these ancient paintings were colors and designs wherein the paint was long-lasting enough to have appeared fresh even after thousands of years had lapsed. Designs revolved around large animals that roamed the land, abstract lines that gave the impression of forward movement and geometrical figures. Reed brushes, hollow bones and flat stones served as equipment to facilitate this form of art.

Perception of color – Unlike drawing, color plays a big role in determining the final outcome in painting and hence it is an aspect that every aspiring artist needs to develop. In order to cultivate a sense of color, you must first determine your inherent perception and for this there are several tests in place like Stroop Effect, tests to determine color vision deficiency, Isihara test and so on.

Having determined your personality type and psychology, it would be easier for you to understand why you tend to incline towards certain colors and settle for particular matches.

Shape of the canvas – Equally important it is to determine the shape of the canvas on which you are going to paint on. Square and rectangle are the two shapes that paintings are commonly found in and the answer to this riddle lies in the past.

Before the advent of paper, paintings were made on wooden surfaces which needed to be cut into a variety of shapes. Since a square or rectangular tablet was the easiest to cut, these shapes became traditionally synonymous with painting as an art. Next came canvas, a tenacious fabric which needed to be stretched over a wooden surface in such a way that there would be no wrinkles or folds to hinder the free movement of the brush. To this effect, a four-sided surface served as the best possible base that could cause a canvas to stretch uniformly and provide a stable surface.

Four-sided figure was also preferred owing to its compliance with the ‘Golden Ratio’ which was a standard form of measurement used by ancient civilizations like Egyptian and Greek to construct their pyramids and structures. Calculated as 1:phi, the Golden Ratio is believed to have a classical bearing and hence was extensively used by several renaissance artists, prominent amongst them being Leonardo da Vinci.

As a novice, you are likely to struggle when it comes to finding the right balance and a yardstick in such a situation entails using just the right amount that is not too much and is also not too little. Another point to remember is that while the painting is clear in depicting its subject, it should still have an element of mystery in substantial measure.