Enamels are made by painting a substrate, typically metal, with powdered glass; minerals called color oxides provide coloration. After firing at a temperature of 750–850 degrees Celsius (1380–1560 degrees Fahrenheit), the result is a fused lamination of glass and metal. Unlike most painted techniques, the surface can be handled and wetted Enamels have traditionally been used for decoration of precious objects, but have also been used for other purposes. Limoges enamel was the leading centre of Renaissance enamel painting, with small religious and mythological scenes in decorated surrounds, on plaques or objects such as salts or caskets. In the 18th century, enamel painting enjoyed a vogue in Europe, especially as a medium for portrait miniatures. In the late 20th century, the technique of porcelain enamel on metal has been used as a durable medium for outdoor murals.
As with many construction jobs, those who successfully complete apprenticeships best-position themselves for successful painting careers. For painters, apprenticeships can last up to four years. Apprentices must have a high school diploma or its equivalent before they are eligible to complete the requisite 144 hours of technical instruction and 2,000 hours of paid, on-the-job training. Common lessons include aesthetics, such as how to adequately match colors, as well as using and caring for painting tools and equipment, safety practices, application techniques and wood finishing. Prospective painters may also choose to attend two-year technical schools that offer courses linked to union and contractor organization apprenticeships. Credits gained from apprenticeships typically count toward an associate degree.
Allegory is a figurative mode of representation conveying meaning other than the literal. Allegory communicates its message by means of symbolic figures, actions or symbolic representation. Allegory is generally treated as a figure of rhetoric, but an allegory does not have to be expressed in language: it may be addressed to the eye, and is often found in realistic painting. An example of a simple visual allegory is the image of the grim reaper. Viewers understand that the image of the grim reaper is a symbolic representation of death.
Watercolor is a painting method in which the paints are made of pigments suspended in a water-soluble vehicle. The traditional and most common support for watercolor paintings is paper; other supports include papyrus, bark papers, plastics, vellum or leather, fabric, wood and canvas. In East Asia, watercolor painting with inks is referred to as brush painting or scroll painting. In Chinese, Korean, and Japanese painting it has been the dominant medium, often in monochrome black or browns. India, Ethiopia and other countries also have long traditions. Finger-painting with watercolor paints originated in China. Watercolor pencils (water-soluble color pencils) may be used either wet or dry.
Painting is an important form in the visual arts, bringing in elements such as drawing, gesture (as in gestural painting), composition, narration (as in narrative art), or abstraction (as in abstract art). Paintings can be naturalistic and representational (as in a still life or landscape painting), photographic, abstract, narrative, symbolistic (as in Symbolist art), emotive (as in Expressionism), or political in nature (as in Artivism).