4 Painting Techniques and Styles for Enthusiastic Artists

By Jemima Armfield

4 Painting Techniques and Styles for Enthusiastic Artists

The beauty of painting as a pastime is that there’s something for absolutely everyone. Whether you’re drawn to watercolours and want to emulate some of the Masters or fancy trying your hand at acrylic painting, you’re sure to find a style and technique for you.

In this post, we’re going to take a look at some of the most popular painting techniques that you can explore from the comfort of your own home.

1. Oil painting

If you’re just getting into painting, then painting with oil is a great place to start. The beauty of oil is that it’s extremely versatile, allowing you to work with a wide range of different painting techniques, such as glazing, blending and scumbling. As a slow drying medium, oil can also be quite forgiving, as you can revisit your work and make changes. Although it can take time to get used to, the vivid colours, multifaceted process and universal reverence for oil painting make it well worth preserving.

As with any medium, however, there are some drawbacks. Oil painting has a tendency to get very messy, so wear your oldest t-shirt and trousers and ideally use a spare room rather than the kitchen table. Oil painting can also take a little time to get used to and it will require plenty of preparation and clearing up.

'Primavera' - an oil and gold leaf on panel by Learning with Experts tutor Rosso Emerald Crimson

2. Acrylic painting

First introduced in the 1940s, acrylic painting may be relatively new when compared to watercolour and oil, but its versatility and the ease with which great results can be achieved make it worthy of a place on our painting techniques list.

Acrylic paints can be worked in unique ways, making them extremely popular with professional and amateur artists alike. They also dry quickly and can be thinned or cleaned with water, so there’s no need for toxic solvents.

If you’ve previously painted with oils or watercolours, then the sheer number of paints, brushes, palettes and different surfaces you can paint on can be mind-boggling. However, once you understand the basics, such as the difference between student quality and artist quality acrylics and the importance of series numbers and pigments, you’ll be ready to get started.

Acrylic by Steve Johnson

3. Watercolour painting

Of all the painting techniques for amateur artists, watercolour painting offers arguably the fastest route to impressive results. One of the biggest benefits is that you really don’t need too many supplies. As long as you have some brushes, paint, quality paper, and a quiet, well-lit space, then you’re ready to get going. And before you know it, you’ll have whiled away an afternoon in complete artistic bliss.

Watercolour painting has to be one of the most relaxing of all the painting techniques. There will be plenty of times when your hand doesn’t do what your brain would like it to, but like any form of art, you have to practice.

It’s difficult to think of any downsides of using water-based paint, but corrections can be difficult to make, which means mistakes often have to be incorporated into your work. Although it’s easy to pick up initially and you can improve quickly, it’s also a medium that few artists ever truly master.

Watercolour by Olya Kobruseva

4. Silk painting

If you fancy trying something a bit different, then silk painting, which dates back more than 2,000 years, could be the vibrant and wearable art form for you. For the uninitiated, silk painting can be daunting. However, once you get the hang of it, this painting technique can be surprisingly easy.

When you apply paint or dye to the silk, the colours spread slowly, often with beautiful results. As you experiment and gain confidence, you’ll be able to fine-tune your technique and develop your own style. There are several different techniques for painting on silk. Two of the most common are the Serti method, which is largely responsible for the resurgence of silk painting, and the alcohol and salt method.

The benefits of silk painting are that it’s very easy to learn and the results can be fabulous. The downsides are that buying the silk and supplies can be expensive and it’s also very messy, with silk paints and dyes staining just about everything they come into contact with.

Silk painting

It’s time to get started!

Now you have an understanding of the four main painting techniques, there’s nothing left for it but to pick up some art supplies, find a nice quiet spot and dive in. At Learning With Experts, we have a range of online art and design courses that are led by our experts. There you can learn how to paint the perfect portrait from scratch and receive personalised feedback from a professional artist.

Jemima Armfield

Digital marketing manager, content creator and head of tutor relations, I'm here to make sure everyone is getting the support they need throughout their studies at Learning with Experts.

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