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painting

Materials and Techniques

Painters use a number of materials to produce the effects they desire. These include the materials of the surface, or ground; the pigments employed; the binder, or medium, in which the color is mixed; and its diluting agent. Among the various media used by artists are fresco, watercolor, oil, distemper, gouache, tempera, and encaustic. In addition to these, painting properly embraces many other techniques ordinarily associated with drawing, a term that is often used to refer to the linear aspects of the same art.

If painting and drawing are not always clearly distinguishable from each other, both are to be distinguished from the print (or work of graphic art), in which the design is not produced directly but is transferred from another surface to that which it decorates. While the print may be one of many identical works, the painting or drawing is always unique. Painting has been freely combined with many other arts, including sculpture, architecture, and, in the modern era, photography.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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