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Painterly image of bird against painterly backdrop forest backdrop.

Kim Baker, 'Bird Painting 7', Oil on canvas, 2011.

Courtesy of the artist and Opus Art.

3D painting with stripes fading down from red through to yellow. Painting extends onto wall.

Josué Pellot, 'Untitled', 2007, cedar wood, acrylic, wall painting.

Courtesy of the artist and Vane.

Brightly coloured array of different flowers in various jugs with a yellow bowl of strawberries.

Emma Dunbar, 'Summer Bunches and Strawberries', acrylic and silver leaf on board.

Courtesy of the artist and Beside the Wave Gallery.

Painting of a woman's head and shoulders with sky scene behind her

Nadia Hebson, 'PT2' (detail), 2009, oil on copper panel, 43x32cm.

Courtesy of the artist and Vane.

The first paintings, found in Spain, have been dated at 65,000 years old, suggesting they were created by Neanderthals. This shows that painting is one of the oldest art forms that exists.

Technically, a painting is a two-dimensional art form which is made up of layers of pigments applied onto a surface. The surface on which the pigment is applied varies from stone (used in the Paleolithic Age) to paper, wood, cloth and canvas.

As the surface of paintings differ, so do the materials used to create the pigments. During the Paleolithic Age coloured earths were used, followed by plant extracts and more recently synthetic colours. There are many types of paintings, but amongst the well-known are oil, acrylic, pastel, spray paintings and watercolours.

Painting can play a key role within a collection it still holds that strength. The actual material of paint has something alchemical about it.

Maureen Pale, Director, Maureen Paley, London, Owning Art: The Contemporary Art Collector's Handbook by Louisa Buck and Judith Greer, Cultureshock Media, 2006

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