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There are different types of painting mediums in art available you have a variety of choices. Painting is mostly created with the pigments in the liquid form and applied on the surface with the help of a paintbrush.

But in some paintings, even powdered mediums are used. And during different time periods, different types of painting mediums in art are used all over the world.

When you use different mediums, each medium gives a different result. And to start with your work, you should know the differences between painting mediums in art, to find out which one would work with your style.

Painting mediums in art when used are versatile as when they can be applied to many different surfaces like paper, wood, canvas, plaster, clay, lacquer and concrete.

There is a big influence on the medium in which the artwork is created as it would influence how it look and feels to the artist as well as the viewer.

Different painting mediums in art that are used:


Tempera is a word that has gained its origin from the verb temper, which means ‘to bring to a desired consistency. And it is an ancient medium, and murals were the ones who originally used it.

For creating tempera painting mediums in art, powdered mediums are hand-grinded into the binding agents to hold the colour together, a few of them are eggs, glue, honey, water, milk and even a variety of plant gums.

In the history of painting mediums in art, tempera was one of the primary painting mediums and it was used for centuries.

The artwork created by Tempera usually lasted very long as it dries quickly and gives a durable matte finish.

Tempera paintings are the ones that can be traditionally applied in various successive thin layers which are called glazes. And tempera paintings are usually known for their details.

And even in recent times, some contemporary painters still use their painting mediums in art as tempera.

But when oil paints rose to popularity during the Renaissance, the tempera painting mediums in art reduced in use.

Oil painting:

The oil paints are usually made from various pigments with linseed oil, poppy seed oil, walnut oil or sunflower oil and it is used as a binder.

And this painting medium in art is majorly known for its pure colours, distinct scent and buttery consistency it holds.

And different oils in the same painting gives varied effects in the same painting, so an artist might choose to use a variety of oils as the choice oils might affect the painting.

Oil paintings are richer and vivid as it has more pigment in them. To produce subtle colour variations you can continue mixing colour for several days as depending on the humidity and temperature, oil paints usually stay wet for a longer time.

They may even crack easily which would provide a unique depth to the final painting, which in other painting mediums in art is hard to achieve. To improve paint consistency or to change the drying times you can add liquid mediums to the oil paints.


When we combine the properties of water and oil colours then a unique paint is made which is known as acrylic. And this is made by combining pigments with the binders which are of synthetic resins.

And this painting mediums in art is also well known for its versatility and fast-drying ability.

And as acrylic paints have water-soluble character, then the surface painted with acrylic can be modified by the artist in terms of appearance, flexibility and texture just by adding water.

And as different media can be used on top of the dried acrylic painted surface, so it is really useful in mixed media works.


Painting mediums in art also include watercolour in which the paints are made of pigments and these pigments are suspended in a water-based solution.

And as the colours are laid down with water and a few fillers, that is, in the pure form then translucent and lustrous, watercolours appear luminous. And this watercolour painting medium is a very old technique.

And the artist should learn and know about and anticipate the behaviour of water as in watercolour it is an active element in the process of painting. And this marks the watercolour painting as unique.

Pen and ink:

Pen and ink painting mediums in art is a traditional yet versatile medium. As a part of calligraphy, medium was continuously developed in Asian Art. Especially in China, black or coloured ink was used in traditional paintings.

Pen and ink is a varied and multi-faceted medium as it is known for highlighting contrast, and it can bring attention to the minutest details.


Pastels are known for their intense colour and varied texture. For creating the pastels you have to mix the dry pigments, chalk and binders and them mix them together until a thick paste is formed, and then it is allowed to dry.

For buttery and waxy texture, you can use the soft and oil pastels and to produce sharp drawing materials with fine details you can use the hard pastels.

Rang De Bharat Chitrakala Kshetra is one of the best places to learn art and related fields. You would be getting the best guidance to develop and furnish your skills! So enrol yourself to the best now!

Artwork Credit: Artist Kavitha Jetti

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