Painting: The practice of applying pigment combined with a binding agent to a surface such as paper, canvas, wood, glass or other.
Acrylic: Water-based plastic paint consisting of pigments bound in an acrylic resin mixture. Can be thinned with water while wet, but becomes tough and water resistant once dry.
Alkyd: Synthetic resin used in the manufacturing of paints and varnishes. An alkyd is a mixture of alcohol and acid and must be thinned with solvent or paint thinner. Alkyds dry faster than oils but not as fast as acrylic paints.
Encaustic: The process of painting by mixing dry pigments with molten wax and varying amounts of Damar varnish. Hot wax painting is easily manipulated, resulting in a variety of textures and colour combinations.
Fresco: A painting technique, perfected at the time of the Renaissance, in which pigments suspended in water are applied to a damp plaster surface. As the pigments dry, they become a part of the plaster or wall surface.
Gouache: Painting medium similar to watercolour characterized by pigments suspended in water. However, due to the presence of chalk, gouache produces a heavier and more opaque image than watercolour.
Ink / Wash: Also known as East Asian brush painting, ink/wash painting was developed in China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Artists typically grind their own ink by combining water with densely packed ink sticks on a grinding stone. Ink/Wash paintings require a highly skilled artist since brushstrokes cannot be erased.
Mixed Media Painting: A mixed media painting employs multiple media to create a final piece. For example, a work on canvas that combines paint, ink, and collage is considered a mixed media painting.
Oil Paint: Technique developed during the 15th and 16th centuries in which slow-drying paint is made by mixing colour pigments with an oil base.
Pastel: Pastels are sticks of colour, typically made from oil or chalk. Artists use pastels to create a soft and delicate image. The medium can often be unforgiving, as it is difficult for the artist to fix a mistake.
Chalk pastels: The most widely used form of pastel, soft chalk pastels are brightly-coloured and easily blended.
Oil pastels: Oil pastels have similar characteristics to chalk, or soft, pastels. However, they are difficult to blend and have a more buttery consistency.
Sumi-e: Literally meaning “ink painting,” Sumi-e paintings are monochromatic and typically associated with the practice of Zen Buddhism. This elegant form of painting was developed in China during the Song Dynasty (960-1279).
Tempera: A medium that was prevalent in Orthodox paintings during Southern Europe’s Middle Ages. The artist combines egg yolk, egg white, and oil to bind a range of pigments on a rigid support such as wood panelling.
Watercolour: Painting that is characterized by colourful pigments dissolved in water to produce a translucent image.