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A painting is the process of putting paint or other pigments to a solid surface in order to create a visual effect (called the "matrix" or "support"). Although a brush is usually used to apply the medium to the base, other tools like as knives, sponges, and airbrushes may also be used to apply the medium.

Painting is a word used in the visual arts to denote both the process of painting and the product of painting (the final work is called "a painting"). Paintings can be supported by a variety of surfaces, such as walls, paper, canvas, wood, glass, lacquer, pottery, leaf, copper, and concrete, and the painting itself may incorporate a variety of other materials, such as sand, clay, paper, plaster, gold leaf, and even whole objects in their composition.

Painting is a significant form in the fine arts, including aspects such as drawing, composition, gesture (as in gestural painting), narration (as in narrative art), and abstraction into its creation. Drawing, composition, gesture, and abstraction are all included into painting (as in abstract art). Character-inspired and representational paintings (such as still life and landscape painting) may be as varied as they are diverse in style. They can also be photographic, abstract, narrative, symbolistic (as in Symbolist art), emotional (as in Expressionism), or political in nature (as in Artivism).