If you’ve got nothing better to do as winter bears down, there’s always paint. First, via Buzzfeed:
And some history:
In Paleolithic times, the representation of humans in cave paintings was rare. Mostly, animals were painted, not only animals that were used as food but also animals that represented strength like the rhinoceros or large Felidae, as in the Chauvet Cave. Signs like dots were sometimes drawn. Rare human representations include handprints and stencils, and figures depicting human / animal hybrids. The Chauvet Cave in the Ardèche Departments of France contains the most important preserved cave paintings of the Paleolithic era, painted around 31,000 BC. The Altamira cave paintings in Spain were done 14,000 to 12,000 BC and show, among others, bisons. The hall of bulls in Lascaux, Dordogne, France, is one of the best known cave paintings and dates to about 15,000 to 10,000 BC.
If there is meaning to the paintings, it remains unknown. The caves were not in an inhabited area, so they may have been used for seasonal rituals. The animals are accompanied by signs which suggest a possible magic use. Arrow-like symbols in Lascaux are sometimes interpreted as being used as calendars or almanacs, but the evidence remains inconclusive. The most important work of the Mesolithic era were the marching warriors, a rock painting at Cingle de la Mola, Castellón, Spain dated to about 7000 to 4000 BC. The technique used was probably spitting or blowing the pigments onto the rock. The paintings are quite naturalistic, though stylized. The figures are not three-dimensional, even though they overlap
The earliest known Indian paintings (see section below) were the rock paintings of prehistoric times, the petroglyphs as found in places like the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, (see above) and some of them are older than 5500 BC. Such works continued and after several millennia, in the 7th century, carved pillars of Ajanta, Maharashtra state present a fine example of Indian paintings. The colors, mostly various shades of red and orange, were derived from minerals.
Of course, painting as a profession is almost as old:
The house painting profession was evident as early as the 1200’s and many suspect that painters as a trade may even go back farther in time. But since Gutenberg did not invent the printing press until 1440 there is not much written history that scribes recorded in the first century regarding the house painters that may have existed.
In the fourteenth century house painters in England organized themselves in guilds. That was what really established house painting as a respected profession that held to certain standards of practice. They organized themselves into two groups, the “Painter’s Company” and the Stainer’s Company”. Several hundred years later the two merged into what was called the “Worshipful Company of Painters and Stainers”. Their paint mixing and application skills were actually regarded as closely held secrets to outsiders in order to protect their way of making a living.
House painting became something to be avoided if you were a part of the early American colonies. The Pilgrims considered painting your house to be a display of immodesty, wealth and vanity. The practice was consider immoral by many and in 1630 a preacher that decorated his Charlestown home interior with paint was criminally charged with sacrilege.
In 1718 Marshall Smith invented a “Machine for the Grinding of Colours” which sparked a race of innovation to create the best ways to grind pigment materials effectively and actually start manufacturing paint in a paint mill. By the mid 1800’s linseed oil began to be used as a less expensive binding agent that actually protected wood that was painted.
In 1866 the first company to produce ready-to-use paint was formed, Sherwin-Williams. Harry Sherwin, Alanson Osborn and Edward Williams formed Sherwin, Williams, & Co. in Cleveland, Ohio. Henry Sherwin later developed a tin can that consumers could reseal. In 1883, a competition that continues today started when Benjamin Moore began operations. The company put much emphasis on the chemistry to improve the color mixing and production throughout the twentieth century and were the first to design the computer based color-matching system that we all are accustomed to back in 1982.
So, watching paint dry might not be exciting, but how it got that way is interesting.