One thing that makes art so exciting to look at is that every painter incorporates different techniques into their work. By combining a number of different techniques, they can create a style that is truly their own. For the most part, however, the majority of artists rely on a limited number of techniques. After all, there are only so many different ways that you can use paint or a paintbrush.
The good news is that once you learn and master these techniques, you can combine them however you want to create a variety of different effects. This can open up a whole new world of possibilities in terms of the type of art that you can create. Here are some of the most popular visual art painting techniques that you may want to consider studying:
- Negative painting. With this technique, the artist paints the area around the object that they are painting rather than painting the object itself. For instance, if they were trying to paint a leaf, they wouldn’t actually paint the shape of the leaf. Instead, they would paint the canvas all around the shape of the leaf, leaving the area in the center of the leaf unpainted. This technique draws attention to the negative space surrounding the object and can create some truly fascinating effects. It is particularly popular in watercolors since transparent watercolors can be layered on top of one another to create multiple layers of negative painting.
- Palette knife painting. Artists who use oil paints or acrylics often paint directly with a palette knife rather than using a paintbrush. This usually involves spreading or dabbing large quantities of paint onto the canvas. The thickness of the paint adds texture and visual interest to the canvas. This technique is rarely used to capture fine details. Instead, it is more about building the overall shapes and textures of objects or of abstract subjects.
- Glazing. This technique involves layering transparent colors over one another to create different colors. For instance, the artist may start by painting an object yellow. They may then glaze the object with a coat of transparent red paint to create a rich orange color that seems to glow from within. This tends to give far richer and more interesting colors than simply painting with whatever color you are trying to achieve. It also adds an incredible amount of depth to the painting.
- Splattering. Many artists splatter paint across their canvases. In some cases, these splatters are used simply as an accent. In other cases, however, they make up the whole painting. Splattering can add a sense of liveliness and spontaneity to a piece. It can also help loosen up the work to create more of a painterly, abstract look.
- Dripping. This style of painting has been used for quite a few years. Perhaps the most famous artist to use this technique was Jackson Pollock. His famous paintings consist of layer after layer of paint that has been dripped onto the canvas, creating an abstract painting that is filled with movement and life. Dripping can be used in other ways, as well. For instance, some artists drip or drizzle paint onto the canvas in a particular pattern, creating everything from still life paintings to portraits. Other times, drips are used merely as an accent. For instance, watercolor artists may tilt their canvas after applying paint, allowing it to run down the page.
- Stippling. This technique involves using tiny dots to create a larger picture. In a way, it is like the dots are pixels on a TV screen. When viewed up close, they just look like dots. However, as you step back from the canvas, a picture emerges. Perhaps the most famous painting that uses this technique is A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat. Try checking out close-up shots of this painting online to see a fantastic example of this style of painting. You can also try searching for pointillism, the official name for this style of art, to see other examples by different artists.
These are just some of the many visual art painting techniques that are out there. Try experimenting with all of these styles to see if any feel right to you. You may find that by incorporating several of these techniques into the same painting, you can come up with your own unique style. Ultimately, the whole objective of painting is to have fun and express your creativity. By trying out different techniques, you can do just that. You never know when you are going to find a new technique that you absolutely love or that completely transforms your work. Only through constant experimentation can you keep challenging yourself to grow as an artist and reach your full potential.