The major painting mediums are oil, acrylic, watercolor, and tempera.
Oil paints are made from pigments suspended in a drying oil, typically linseed oil. They have a slow drying time, allowing for more blending and manipulation of the paint. They also have a rich, thick consistency and can produce various effects.
Acrylic paints are made from pigments suspended in a water-soluble acrylic polymer emulsion. They dry quickly, allowing for fast-paced working methods. They can be thinned with water, but once dry, they are waterproof and can be painted over. They are often used for modern artworks.
Watercolor paints are made from pigments suspended in a water-soluble binder, typically gum arabic. They produce a transparent effect and are typically applied to white or light-colored papers. They are best suited for landscapes and portraits.
Tempera paints are made by mixing pigments with a water-soluble binder, typically egg yolk. They dry quickly and are typically used for paintings on wood, icons, fresco secco, and illuminated manuscripts.
Fresco is a painting technique that applies pigment to wet lime plaster. As the plaster dries and carbonizes, it encases the pigment particle forming a hard and very durable surface. The colors of fresco paintings are bright, and the surface of a fresco is matte, making it an ideal medium for murals and architectural decorative painting.