Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface (support base). 

The medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other implements, such as knives, sponges, and airbrushes, can be used. 

Paintings use support structures such surfaces as walls, paper, canvas, wood, glass, lacquer, clay, leaf, copper or concrete, and may incorporate multiple other materials including sand, clay, paper, gold leaf as well as objects.

In visual arts, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, the term is also used outside of art as a common trade among craftsmen and builders.


Paintings can depict life and activities of the times. Here Shearing the rams by Tom Roberts (1856-1931) oil on Canvas image: wikipedia, GoogleArt

Types of painting expressions

Painting is a mode of creative expression, and the forms are numerous. Drawing, composition or abstraction, among other aesthetics, may serve to manifest the expressive and conceptual intention of the practitioner. 

Paintings can be naturalistic and representational (as in a still life or landscape painting), photographic, abstract, be loaded with narrative content, symbolism, emotion or be political in nature.


Lascaux Caves - Prehistoric Paintings are regarded as one of the first paintings. image: wikipedia

A portion of the history of painting in both Eastern and Western art is dominated by spiritual motifs and ideas; 

  • examples of this kind of painting range from artwork depicting mythological figures on pottery 
  • to Biblical scenes rendered on the interior walls and ceiling of the Sistine Chapel,
  •  to scenes from the life of Buddha or other images of eastern religious origin.