There are a few basic techniques in painting that you can focus on studying. These donâ€™t necessarily cover the specific brush strokes, but mostly have to do with blending techniques you can use to fill your canvas with both your subject and its background.
This is among the most basic methods of adding color to your canvas. This is easiest, because it involves covering up blocks of your canvas with the dominant colors, and then filling in the details later on. For instance, if youâ€™re drawing a landscape, you can use your blues to fill in the sky, and your greens to fill in the ground and trees. You can then fill in details later on, either by blending in the paints while still wet, or waiting to add another layer as the bigger blocks dry up.
Painting by sections:
In this method, an artist paints each object or element on the canvas by itself, before adding other elements. This is particularly useful when you are detail-oriented, and when you want details to stand out as much as possible. Some examples would be painting still-life elements one after another.
Subject or detail first:
Another method would be painting the subject or the detail first, and then adding the background later on. This technique involves focusing on your subject, and painting in a background once the details have been finished. This can be useful when youâ€™re painting a portrait and you wish to add in a different background altogether. This can be tricky if youâ€™re not too good with controlling the brush, since your background might overlap into the subject. Most artists who use this method start with the details and then start with doing the background halfway or three-quarters into painting the details.
In contrast to painting the subject first, some artists would prefer to paint the background first, and then adding in the detail once the background is finished. This might be ideal for setting the mood of the painting on the canvas even before you add the subject. To better position your subject, you can sketch it over the background, to make it easier to paint over when youâ€™re ready to add the subject.
Sketch then paint:
Artists who are skilled with drawing might prefer to sketch on the canvas first with charcoal, and then painting over the sketch. This is particularly useful if you want to define details first, even before your first brush stroke.
Another method that involves details before coloring is underpainting. In this method, a monochrome (black and white or grayscale) image is first painted. Then once that layer is dry, the artist can glaze or shade over with colors to complete the painting.
All at once:
This method involves painting with the different intended colors from start to finish, and not waiting until each layer is dry. This might result in a mixed blend of colors, depending on the intent of the artist. All at once, or alla prima is also ideal for smaller paintings and for situations in which the artist needs to finish a painting quickly.