Contemporary Decorative Painting

Decorative painting has come a long way from the rustic country painting and folk art painted by untrained ordinary people. The decorative arts as a whole enjoyed a big comeback in terms of interest around 50 years ago and at that time, painted decoration, it is said, consisted of applying fine art techniques to furniture and objects.

As interest in the decorative painting techniques of the past grew, and traditional folk arts were researched, a new generation of folk and decorative artists emerged - learning from techniques of the past and creating a new heritage of decorative painting techniques and styles.

Many folk and decorative artists of today have experimented with traditional folk art of the past to create more modern techniques and ways of achieving the same result using materials available today and they have been very successful. Others modify and adapt traditional techniques and designs to create their own unique brand of decorative painting.

Contemporary Decorative Painting - RosesContemporary Decorative Painting - DaisiesContemporary Decorative Painting - Fruits

Rather than be associated with a particular region or country, contemporary decorative painting tend to be associated with various contemporary techniques and the artists that popularised them. As such there are as many techniques of decorative painting for the budding decorative artist to learn as there are artists.

Features of Contemporary Decorative Painting

General features of contemporary decorative painting include:

  • many different kinds of specialty brushes used, not just the round brush. These include the flat brush and other relatively recent inventions like the angle, filbert, dagger, rake etc.
  • brushes are usually made of synthetic material like taklon or are mixed with natural hair
  • various mediums like retarder / extender, clear glaze, blending gel etc may be applied to give specific effects and to aid painting
  • it is generally technique-driven. There is some strokework but also more flat painting and specific techniques like floating, crosshatching, glazing, progressive highlighting, layering etc

Books to help you

Priscilla Hauser's Book of Decorative Painting
Priscilla Wait Hauser

Painting Blooms & Blossoms
Judy Diephouse, Lynne Deptula

Decorative Painting With Gretchen Cagle
Gretchen Cagle



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