Fine Art Painting Methods,Tips & Tricks And How To Paint

Applying colour or pigment to a solid surface such as paper or canvas is known as 'painting'. It is a craft that is perfected by regular practice. Painting is extremely vast in its scope. The forms of painting which are frequently practiced include landscape, still-life painting, symbolistic, photographic, drawing, gestural and paintings depicted for political purposes and societal conditions and welfare.

The term 'painting' refers to both the action, or the act of painting and the final result. Most of the history of painting is covered by Western and Eastern spiritual motifs, ideas and expression.

Mostly it is achieved using brushes of various sizes, but paintings are also made with the help of sponges, knives, airbrushes, fingers or rags etc, depending on the artist's creativity. It is all due to the innovation of the painters that we have been able to see such an explosion of creativity. Normally, paintings are naturalistic or representational in nature, but new influences have managed to creep in over the centuries.

Paintings are made on a variety of surfaces. Most common surfaces include paper, canvas, glass, wood, clay, walls and leaf. Methods of painting are various and isn't exclusively done by paints only. Other materials such as paper, clay, gold leaf are often used apart from the paints themselves.

Paintings were always given recognition because of their visual appeal and have been loved by people since ancient times. An example of a well-known painting is the Mona Lisa, by Leonardo Da Vinci, and is by far one of the most recognizable paintings in the world.


There are a number of ways to paint on various surfaces. However, the way to do it often varies from surface to surface, because of the different behaviour of each, determined by paint drying time, pigmentation or colours, intensity, brightness, miscibility or mixing ability and so on. The most popular ways are:

Oil Painting

A painting in which the pigments are bound together with the help of a medium such as linseed oil is known as an oil painting. Pigments are the the natural colouring matter of animal or plant tissue. For example carotenoid pigments are red, orange, or yellow. Using oil to paint with was one of the most well known ways of painting in early modern Europe. 'The Mona Lisa, by Leonardo Da Vinci,' is an excellent example of oil painting. It is a difficult task in itself and the slick properties of the oil itself make it even harder. For beginners, this type of painting is not recommended as it requires some experience and a basic skill set.


Acrylic water-based painting is painting that is made with the help of acrylic paints only. The advantage of acrylic paint is that it is very fast drying paint containing pigments suspended in an acrylic polymer emulsion. These paints become water-resistant once perfectly dry and can also be diluted with water. Acrylic paints display their own unique characteristics or even resemble oil or watercolour painting based on how much dilution of the paint is employed.


Watercolour painting is made with paints that are comprised of pigments suspended in water. The paper normally used has been proven to be the best suitable surface for these kind of paintings. Other popular surfaces for watercolour painting also include wood, canvas, fabric, and papyrus or parchment as used many millennia ago.

Hot wax

It is a form of painting created by using heated beeswax to which coloured pigments are added. Hot wax paintings are often created on a canvas or a prepared wood surface. Usually, special brushes and metal tools are used to make images before the wax cools. Apart from beeswax, linseed oil or dammar resin, which is a form of gum taken from an Indian tree, is used.


Spray paintings are created with the help of spray paints un cans. These paints are also called aerosol paints. The main benefit of using aerosol paints is that after applying them, they leave a very smooth and evenly coated surface compared to other forms of paints. Spray paints are easy to get hold of and are quite affordable as well.


Digital painting is a virtual form of art done with the help of software that simulates a normal painting method, including all types of painting such as oil, acrylic, pastel, enamel, spray etc. The benefit of digital painting is its unlimited possibilities, ease of use and affordability. It is also possible to use other materials apart from paints in the digital paintings depending on the features and functions of the type of software being used.


(i) As with most things, painting can be mastered with practice. It is a fun way to release one’s emotions, thoughts and creativity on any surface you chose! However, it's helpful to get yourself familiarised with some painting methods. Or even invent some yourself!

(ii) First decide what sort of painting you would like to do and choose a medium. Do you want to make a watercolour painting? Acrylic one? A digital one? It is quite essential to understand all the types of paintings that you can do and then decide the most suitable one as per your requirements. Your journey of learning how to paint will then be based upon your choices.

(iii) Once you've selected an appropriate surface to paint on, such as watercolour paper, canvas or canvas board, plain cardboard etc, it’s time to organise what else you need for your project. Go online or visit an art shop to get the right types of paint and materials that you would like to use in your painting. Frankly you could have a real party and use mixed media! But if it is going to be a watercolour painting then you got to buy some watercolour paints. Obviously if it’s going to be an acrylic painting get some acrylic paints, and so on. Apart from just the paints, there are various other materials you might need to use in your painting such as special beads etc.

(iv) Once you've assembled the basic materials materials to use then start selecting the type of brushes you would like to paint with. It is essential that you use and experiment with all the sorts of brushes required to create the painting. They will help you to define your style. Also, there is always another way around to handle those awkward parts in the painting with an inappropriate brush. For example make a point to get a small splayed brush or fan brush to help you paint trees and foliage - very useful.

(v) Now that everything is set up, you can start working on that masterpiece. But before you proceed with that you need to get to know the colour wheel in order to create new unique colour mixtures to use in your painting. With the help of a colour wheel, you will know what colour will be formed if you mix two or more colours together. By mixing colours you can also make some nice tints. All you do is add a small amount of white colour to any combination made with the help of the colour wheel and you've got a tint. You can find an interactive colour wheel and colour codes online here:

(vi) At this point, you've set out the essentials required to begin our first painting. In order to start our masterpiece, we need to make a basic line drawn outlay, roughly at first on our canvas or paper with light lines, and then darkening them to make a complete and clear delineation. If you are creating a still-life painting then make sure you have enough space between you and the object you're painting to focus on it properly. Proper alignment of the object is one of the most important considerations in still-life painting. If you're painting a concept or idea purely from imagination then make sure you have made a nice rough sketch of it before starting the actual painting.

(vii) Once the sketch is drawn to your satisfaction, fill it with carefully selected colours and tints. Start with a basic painting approach and then try to create a texture in the painting to achieve a more realistic look. The texture is made with the help of different brush strokes in different directions. Experiment at first and make a mental note of the things which work best.

(viii) Make sure that the layout of your painting looks fairly balanced and even. The composition of the painting is important in order to make it look complete in all of its different aspects. Composition in a painting is basically where you place objects and figures. It is also very important to make the use of additional materials look balanced with respect to the painting made. In other words don't bunch too many similar-looking materials or colours all in one corner for example or it will look lopsided. The picture has to have a sense of balance about it when you view it. But don't bore the viewer by having everything too nicely symmetrical. The Rule of Thirds is a good guide to follow which is a simplified version of the Golden Ratio. The Rule of Thirds splits an image into thirds vertically and horizontally. Artists often separate the foreground and background content of a composition by using lightly drawn horizontal lines. Then they do the same with the left and right side of a composition using vertical lines. In other words don't plonk everything in the middle of you canvas!

At this point, you should be proud of yourself because you've taken your first serious first steps towards painting a picture using a more considered approach and proper materials. Now look at your picture with a critical and see where you might have improved it and keep this in mind for your next attempt.


Creating a beautiful masterpiece is obviously not easy and requires some near perfected skills for achieving it. But practice is everything. Paint everyday! Here are a few tricks and tips to make the job a bit easier which also help in enhancing your efforts. Below are various painting tips and tricks that are proven to be helpful:

(a) Make enough space for yourself and the painting you are working on and choose a place where you can obtain maximum focus without being disturbed. A place with lots of quiet is one of the best places to work in. However, having classical music in the background might raise the intellectual atmosphere a tad and so don't rule out having harmonious music in the background.

Have tea and coffee making facilities nearby and some fairy cakes on hand. It will boost your creative energies. Preferably have a dedicated area of your house or flat which is your studio, or special corner where you can set your art equipment up and leave it in place.

(b) Make sure you only purchase good quality painting equipment if you are serious about learning how to paint and making a 'masterpiece'. But do look out for bargains in the 'store bargain bins'. I find lots of oil paint pigments really cheaply doing this. But remember the thing with medium or low-quality stuff is that it isn't always very durable. Cheap canvasses can sometimes fall apart! So try your hand at making materials yourself. I've made a number of canvasses from bamboo and bedsheets using a cheap hand held stapling machine! Also, you can take ordinary gloss paint and combine it with linseed oil and voila you have oil paint. But emulsion paint doesn't mix with oil if you happened to be wondering!

(c) Determine which sort of paint you want to use for your painting, and what sort of additional materials you would like to use if any. Once decided and started then there is no turning back - you'll be committed to using oil or water or whatever medium you have chosen.

(d) It's helpful to have a preliminary sketch of your subject matter before you start. A rough outline to work from is quite useful no matter if you are a beginner or a pro and you can improve on it as you start painting. This stage is as much important as the painting, especially when you are at the beginning of your artistic journey. The experts say you can't ruin a decent drawing with bad painting, but you can't improve a bad drawing with bad painting!

(e) Fast drying and glossy paints are ideal to use as these paints make your paintings look more realistic, provide improved texture and are often less messy than other sorts of paints.

(f) Try and use a variety of brushes. It is a must that you use all the types of brush you might need in order to give the best finish to your painting and to handle those awkward little areas and corners as well.

(g) Try and follow the golden rule in painting which is 'DO NOT RUSH'. Execute each and every point as beautifully as you can. If you hurry then chances are you will spoil all your efforts in just one session. Take as much time as you need to complete what you have begun.

(h) Everyone is unique but try and stay open to new ideas. Listen to advice from trusted sources and try to use their ideas if you can. Mix them with your own imagination. Get some art tuition books from the library or buy them from an art shop.

(i) As friends of family for a brief critique of what you've done. It's possible that you will miss some things which they might notice. So, when your project is complete gather some points of view from as many people as possible. But don't take them too much to heart. Remember the more you practice the better you will become.

(j) When you've finished your painting make sure that the composition of the painting is well-balanced and tidy up the painting with a cloth to remove any unnecessary dust or debris or any spilled paint.

(k) Also remember that the work you just created might need touch-ups from time to time due to natural reasons such as drying, or atmospheric conditions. It’s important to get it varnished (if oil) or framed if possible. Try and do these jobs yourself in a cost effective and resourceful way. Youtube has loads of tips on this.

Don't forget that painting is a skill which can be perfected with practice. So, practice regularly or everyday if you want to rise above novice level in this skill. It needs time to get perfected and can't be mastered in just one day. Learning how to paint will take time and practice, especially if you are aiming to paint realistically. To become become a proficient painter it will help to learn this skill under proper guidance from a well experienced and proven instructor. It's amazing what these tutors know! There are lots of courses online, below is an example: