A painting is a work of art made by applying paint to a surface. While traditionally this surface is paper or canvas, in reality it can be anything from wood, to brick, to a large grass field.
Paintings are a painter's mode of expression and the styles of their work are as numerous as the people who create them. They can be realistic or they can be abstract, or they can be almost anything in between.
While there have been paintings that date back to the days of the cave dwellers, through Egyptian times, Greece, and the Roman Empire, it was Giotto who is credited with bringing in the modern era of painting. Since his death in the 14th century, there have been a lot of great paintings created by the likes of Botticelli, da Vinci, Rembrandt, Vermeer, van Gogh, Picasso, and Dali.
While the traditional materials are still very much in use, painters of the 21st century have, like their photographic brethren, taken to the digital realm. With the use of products like Corel Painter, and the availability of online training, there is no telling what new art trends lie ahead.