Years ago, paint was paint. One kind looked, smelled, was applied and eventually dried much like another. Things are different now. Besides oil paints, you can choose from a new set of paints. It'll pay you to know about them. • There are water paints you can use outside. (You clean your brushes under the faucet and use the garden hose to get spatters off the shrubbery.) • There are finishes so tough they withstand even attacks from the neighbors' children. • There are paints that dry so fast you start the second coat as soon as you finish putting on the first. • There are colors in glittering confusion. The term paint is used to include paints, varnishes, enamels, shellacs, lacquers, and stains. • Paints are composed of mineral pigments, organic vehicles, and a variety of thinners all combined. • Varnishes are resins dissolved in organic thinners. • Enamels are pigmented varnishes. • Shellac is lac gum dissolved in alcohol. • Lacquers may be both pigmented or clear - the liquid portion usually is treated nitrocellulose dissolve in thinners. • Stains may be pigmented oil or a penetrating type. Many of these materials, such as paints, varnishes, and lacquers, are formulated for specific purposes: • Outside house paints and exterior varnishes are intended to give good service when exposed to weathering • Interior wall paints are formulated to give excellent coverage and good wash-ability. • Floor enamels are made to withstand abrasion. • Lacquers are formulated for rapid drying. • There are also formulas which provide extra self-cleaning, fume- resisting, waterproofing, hardening, flexibility, mildew-resisting, resistance to fading, and breathing qualities. Today, it is increasingly easy to source ecologically sound paints, as most specialist ranges, such as Ecos, Earthborn, Georgina Barrow and Auro are available via mail order. There is a wealth of colour options in these pre-mixed ranges that include lush shades and muted palettes, reflecting their natural ingredients. Ecos continues to lead the field. It has recently developed Atmosphere Purifying Paint, which absorbs and neutralises volatile chemicals, solvents and VOCs from the atmosphere in a home.
The perspective. Do you feel the distance between you and the painting? Are you an observer or a participant? The way you feel is dictated by the artistic choice - it's never a coincidence. An artist thoroughly selected the angle: you may look upwards, or downwards, or be at the same level with the objects depicted. If the horizon is at your eye level, the impression you will get is calm, stable. The high horizon will reveal more space, in landscapes it provides a majestic view. Paintings with the low horizon, so common with Dali, are monumental, highlighting the size of the objects and figures. The unusual views of Paris by Pissarro appeared as he painted from the hotel rooms. To balance, you must grasp the interconnectedness of color schemes. All these interactions are defined in the color wheel, and it has been used to build color schemes for centuries. Satinwood or semi-gloss - These paints are commonly used on woodwork, such as skirting boards. This sheen level is between eggshell and gloss. Types of Paint. Water-based paints are usually referred to as emulsions and were traditionally used only for interior walls and ceilings. But recently tremendous advances in paint technology mean that water-based formulas, especially the high-performing acrylics, are available for all surfaces, from woodwork to metal, and for interior and exterior use. The advantages of these paints over oil-based ones is that they are cleaner, have less odour and are more environmentally sound. Brushes can be rinsed clean with water.