Five Different Types of Painting That Every Artist Should Know

Person who paints with watercolors

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Each artist will develop their own style over time, but it’s still important to experiment with a variety of media. Learning modern and classic painting styles can influence an artist’s own styles and preferences. “While I don’t expect artists to buy every type of paint in the market to explore or test, it is a good idea to buy a few starter kits such as acrylic, gouache, oil, and watercolor. All of these Colors do so different things, and only when you try them can an artist discover their own magic formula and figure out what works best for the work they envision, “says artist and illustrator Samantha Dion Baker, who also does the Author of the upcoming is Title Draw Your World: How to Sketch and Paint Your Remarkable Life ($ 15.99, “Generations before us have experimented with materials, pigments, color binders (such as egg tempera), varnishes and solvents. That is why we have to study their techniques today in order to be able to use these different colors optimally.”

Baker recommends artists to learn about the classics throughout history. These artistic movements like Impressionism, Cubism, Neoclassicism and others “inform and help [artists] to develop their own unique style and vision, “she says.” Learning what was created and practiced before us inspires ideas and gives us a better understanding of all that is possible. From the size to the sheen or the thickness of the paint, everything helps the artist imagine what he is trying to create. “In addition to the techniques, artists should also try different types of paint. What types of paintings should each artist know?

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Watercolor painting is often the first type of painting we learn as children. This type of painting uses water-soluble paint, a brush, and water, and it creates a dreamy piece of art with soft edges. You can vary the intensity of the colors by the amount of water you use. This follows, for example, Vincent Van Gogh and Georgia O’Keeffe, who have created great watercolor collections.

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In oil painting, a drying oil is used for the color instead of water. The colors tend to be more opaque and can easily be scratched off or painted over if there is a mistake, although the paint also takes longer to dry. If you want vivid or dark colors and stronger edges, these effects are achieved through oil painting. Famous artists who used oil paints were Salvador Dali, known for The Persistence of Memory (1931), and Johannes Vermeer, who painted Girl With A Pearl Earring (1665).


Acrylic paints, which contain acrylic polymers and plasticizers as binders for the pigments, are versatile in the results you can get. Add more water for a watercolor look, or add acrylic gels or pastes for an oil-colored appearance. You can adjust the consistency to suit your needs and come up with different combinations that will make your piece unique. That is, it is less forgiving in mistakes. Andy Warhol used acrylic paints to create his famous works such as Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962).


Gouache inks are like opaque watercolors and offer the ability to create soft or textured paintings for a variety of techniques. The colors consist of pigments, water and gum arabic. It dries quickly but can be reactivated with more water. This type of paint dries dull and is a heavier paint because of the chalk it contains.


Pastel painting uses pastels, either oil pastels or soft pastels, to create paintings. Unlike watercolor, acrylic, or oil paints, these come in the form of pens that allow you to draw and color with the precision of a pencil – no brush required. Mary Cassatt’s famous painting Sleepy Baby (1910) was painted in pastel colors.

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