The visual arts are art forms such as painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, photography, video, filmmaking, design, crafts and architecture. Current usage of the term “visual arts” include fine arts as well as the applied or decorative arts and crafts, but this was not always the case. The three main mediums of visual arts are painting, sculpture and architecture. Painting is one of the beautiful medium of visual art. It is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a solid surface. Thus painting is the expression of ideas and emotions, with the creation of certain aesthetic qualities, in a two-dimensional visual language.

The elements of this language are its shapes, lines, colors, tones and texture. Thus used in various ways to produce sensation of volume, space, movement and light on a flat surface. An artistic decision to use a particular medium, such as tempera, fresco, oil, water color or other water-based paints, ink, in caustic as well as the choice of a particular form such as mural, easel, panel, scroll, screen, panorama or any of the variety of modern forms, is based on the sensuous qualities and the expressive possibilities and limitations of those options. The choices of the medium and the form, as well as the artist’s own technique, combine together to realize a unique visual image.


Painting is a very old art form. The history of painting reaches back in time to artefacts from pre-historic humans and it encompasses all cultures. It is like an ongoing river of creativity that continues into the 21st century. Until the early 20th century, it relied primarily on representational, religious and classical motifs, after which purely abstract and conceptual approaches gained more popularity. Progress in eastern painting was taking place parallelly with the western painting, maybe even a few centuries earlier. African art, Jewish art, Islamic art, Indian art, Chinese art and Japanese art – all had significant influence on western art and vice-versa.

Initially, painting as an art form was largely dependent on private and religious patronage. Later, eastern and western painting found audience in the aristocracy and the middle class. With the onset of the modern era, the middle ages through the Renaissance, painters worked for the church and wealthy aristocracy. Finally in the west, the idea of “art for art’s sake” began to find expression in the work of romantic painters, like Goya, John Constable, Turner and others. Thus painting is one of the beautiful medium of visual art.


Painting media is extremely versatile. Likewise, applied to different surfaces such as paper, wool, canvas, plaster, clay, lacquer and concrete. There are six major painting media :

• Encaustic – This paint mixes dry pigment with a heated beeswax binder. Its characteristics include strong, resonant colors and extremely durable painting. Encaustic dates back to the first century CE.

• Tempera – Tempera paint combines pigment with an egg yolk binder, then thinned and released with water. Like encaustic, it is has been in use for thousands of years.

• Fresco – This painting is in use exclusively on plaster walls and ceilings. However it is mostly associates its use in the Christian images during the Renaissance period in Europe. The two forms of Fresco – “Buon” or wet and “Secco” meaning dry

Oil – Oil paint is the most versatile of all the painting media. It uses pigments mixed with a binder of Linseed oil. Recent research on murals found in Afghanistan caves show that oil based paints were in use as early as 7th century.

• Acrylic – This paint developed in the 1950s and became an alternative to oils. Pigment is suspend in an acrylic polymer emulsion binder and uses water as the vehicle.

• Water color – Water color is the most sensitive of the painting media. It reacts to the lightest touch of the artist. There are two different kinds of water color media- transparent and opaque.

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