“The painter should paint not only what he has in front of him, but also what he sees inside himself.” - Caspar David Friedrich

Painting is the art of applying paint, pigments, colors and other mediums onto a surface to create a picture. It is one of the oldest and most popular art forms of the world. It is a form of creative expression. Practitioners of this art form are called Painters. They use intensity, colors, tones and rhythm to create paintings. Paintings can be of many types such as naturalistic, abstract, symbolic, narrative etc. The origins of painting can be found in ancient cave paintings done out of charcoal. Today the art of painting has become digital with many painters using computer software to create digital paintings.

Painting is a highly adventurous and creative career choice. Even though most of them work independently, artists get work today in a variety of fields like graphic designing, museums, art appreciation etc. It can be a very well paying career if you become successful. A lot of Painters do alternate jobs as teachers as well. It is an unpredictable field like any other art form, but if you have the passion, the dedication and the talent, you can be very successful and end up becoming very famous and very rich while doing what you love.

What do Painters do?

Painting, simply put is the art of creating pictures. Painters usually use watercolors, pastels, pencils, ink, hot wax, spray paint etc. to create these pictures. They hold exhibitions of their paintings, reproduce their paintings on mugs and t – shirts, work as muralists and do large scale paintings. Some Painters also work as teachers and as illustrators for books and magazines. Most importantly, Painters use their art to express their feelings, emotions and thoughts about the world.

The most important task for a Painter is to come up with new ideas and concepts for paintings. Painters have to find inspirations and motivations to paint. Finding these inspirations is a task in itself. They think about the world around them, critically analyze the things they feel passionately about and put these emotions on the canvas.

Painters also look for new ways and methods to paint. This includes using new techniques and mediums. Sometimes they even create their own mediums, colors and techniques. This is an important task as your innovations and your own unique style is what will make you different from the thousands of other Painters all around the world.

The primary task for a Painter is to Paint. This includes sketching, drawing, coloring and creating pictures. The actual process of painting is when you get to know the difference between a good and an exceptional artist. Painters use a variety of mediums and colors to paint, depending upon their mood and the topic of the painting. This is an essential task as unlike many other art forms, there is absolutely no room for errors in painting. Erasing and correcting something in a painting successfully requires an immense amount of skill and creativity.

As painting is an unpredictable career, most Painters choose to do alternative jobs to sustain themselves. These jobs can range from working as an art curator or art director in a museum to teaching art. Some even work as Illustrators for books and magazines, and some work as art critics and consultants.

One of the most important tasks that a Painter has to perform is to showcase his work. This is mostly done by holding exhibitions and inviting people to see your work. This is extremely helpful as people often buy paintings that are showcased. The profit sharing ratio between the artist and museum is decided before the exhibition is held.

As painting does not open immediate avenues for remuneration every time, Painters tend to apply for grants and funding through which they can make paintings. Painters apply to educational institutions and art investors to fund their paintings.

A lot of Painters work in the field of restoration. They help in restoring old paintings and cleaning them up. They sometimes correct spoilt paintings to make them look like what they used to look. This is normally done in cases where the paint has faded. This is a job for specialist Painters who have sufficient knowledge about ancient painting styles.

Another task that Painters perform is to observe the world around them. They experience and learn from life. As painting is a form of expression, it is important to have opinions about the world around to be able to express. Painters observe nature, places, and people and use their thoughts and emotions to create paintings. They experience life by visiting places, interacting with people and reading about life and the world.


How to become a Painter?

Painting is not a mechanical job that involves putting paint onto a canvas. Even if you are well versed with colors and techniques does not mean that you will necessarily turn out to be a good Painter. To be a Painter, you need to feel passionately about the world around you. You need to understand and experience life. There are Painters who are formally trained and there are very successful Painters who have learnt on their own. It is important to understand that knowing what to paint is more important than knowing how to paint.

To become a Painter, you should concentrate on subjects like Art, History and Sculpture from school. You should choose Arts after your 10th and study Fine Arts and related subjects. It is important to keep in mind that educational qualification is not necessary for a Painter, but knowledge in painting and related subjects can help.

Once you complete your schooling, you should pursue a Graduate course in Fine Arts, Painting or related fields. This will help you learn about the various techniques and styles of painting. You can also choose to pursue a Master’s course if you want to specialize in a particular style and learn more. Getting a college degree in art is not necessary, but can helpful if you choose to do a job while doing independent work.

You can also choose to get a degree in any other field of your interest apart from art. This can act as a backup in case you do not make it big as a Painter. If you choose to pursue any other degree, you can always take up classes in art and painting. These classes will give you detailed knowledge about painting techniques and forms.

To become a Painter, it is absolutely important to paint on your own. You should come up with new ideas and concepts and try to turn them into paintings. This will help you hone your skills and you will improve gradually. This can be very helpful if you experiment with different forms and mediums.

In order to become a Painter, it is important to have access to great paintings. You can get such exposure by attending exhibitions and reading about different painters. This is helpful in learning about different eras, and different painting styles. Going to exhibitions will broaden your mind as to what painting is and its different forms.

Observing and experiencing life are extremely critical if you want to become a Painter. As a Painter, you need to be able to look at the world differently and appreciate little things. You should observe shapes, colors and patterns. One should experience life and learn from your experiences. This will help you develop a passion and give you something to say in your paintings.

As a Painter, your portfolio is like your resume. It is important to keep coming with new concepts and ideas for paintings and adding them to your portfolio. As a Painter, you will get exhibitions and jobs on the basis of your portfolio. Your portfolio should contain all your good artworks and possible show your versatility as a Painter.

Networking is essential if you want to become a Painter. You should meet important people and learn from them. Establishing relations will help you get noticed and promoted as a Painter. Many artists around the world are talented but most do not make it big as they are not good at networking.

Showcasing your work as a Painter is extremely important. Organize exhibitions and invite people to come visit them. People might also buy paintings they like during exhibitions. You can also use social media like Facebook and Instagram to promote and showcase your work to the public.


There are many reputed institutions in India that offer great courses in the field of Painting and Fine Arts. Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Gujarat is known for its courses in Fine Arts and Painting. They offer diplomas at the Undergraduate as well as the Post Graduate level in Fine Arts. Sir J.J Institute of Applied Art, Mumbai is extremely popular due the courses it offers in the field of Fine Arts. It offers a Bachelor’s degree as well as a Master’s degree in Fine Arts. Jamia Milia Islamia University, Delhi also has great courses in Painting. It offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting as well as a Master’s of Fine Arts degree in Painting.

What are the skills required to become a Painter?

Painters are extremely passionate people who communicate their own feelings, thoughts and emotions through their art. They have the ability to observe life and understand emotions. Painters should have excellent technical skills such as sketching, painting, coloring and drawing. They should understand the aesthetics of color combination and compositions. They need to have excellent observational skills and the ability to express themselves through their paintings. Painters need to be creative and original. They should have an eye for detail and be perfectionists. They need to be confident, disciplined and extremely passionate about their art. Painters need to possess the ability to think critically and philosophically. They should have excellent communication skills so that they’re able to express themselves easily in their paintings. Painters should have their own style that will differentiate them from all the other Painters around the world. Most importantly, Painters should have the genuine desire and ability to express themselves through their paintings. They should be able to say something through their use of colors and compositions.


Is this the right career for me?

Painters spend most of their lives working alone in rooms with paints and canvases. Some painters also work on large scale paintings such as Muralists. They have to constantly deal with insecurities and lack of self esteem. They work hard all their lives without any guarantee of success. They lead unpredictable lives and are not always paid well for their work. On the other hand, the creative and intellectual freedom that the career offers is unparallel.

So if you’re looking for a structured job with regular pay, and if you’re not comfortable in dealing with a lot of competition and insecurities for the sake of creative freedom, then this isn’t the right career for you. But if you’re interested in using colors, shapes and techniques to express yourself, and if the thought of living an adventurous and unpredictable life for the sake of your creative satisfaction appeals to you, then this might be the right career for you to choose.

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Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, urged graduates to pursue their dreams, follow their interests & curiosities and see the opportunities in life's setbacks-- including death itself.