When we look around us what we, mostly see is color. Man has known color for as long as he has been on this Earth.
Some of the early cave paintings show evidence of man’s artistic side, where he has experimented with dyes and pigments to create beautiful art.
Man has associated colour with many things such as healing, spirituality, and communication.
Plato, a Greek philosopher who discovered that by mixing two colours and entirely different colour could be created, did some of the earliest discoveries of color.
Even earlier than him, the Egyptians used to make paints from different coloured soils, by grinding leaves and flowers, and from creatures’ body parts and faeces.
Paint is made from a dye, a binder, which holds the dye particles together, and thinners that make it easier to apply.
Some of the earliest colours to be produced were whites (dyed zinc oxide), black, blues, and greens.
With the increase in understandings of different chemical properties of substances, more and more types of paints were created.
By around the late 19th century paints in a range of colours were available and marketed all over the world.
So what exactly are paints? They are liquids that are able to add colour to an object when they are applied onto them.
The action of applying paint is called painting.
When creating a picture with paints, it too is called ‘a painting’, while the person painting it is called a painter.
The initial base of the paint is a powder dye, which is made from different chemicals. Some pigments (or dye) are from natural substances like clay, others are artificial.
The paint sticks onto the surface being painted because the dye is mixed with water, oils, or other chemicals. The thinner is added to help smoothen the mixture.
Different paints are used for different things. Paints used on walls are not the same ones used in paintings for example.
Because paints are made of different ingredients, most of them take long to dry. Some paints such as watercolours dry very quickly, while house paints take hours.
Even though the paint is quite thick, applying several layers gives a great finish.
The first layer of paint is called the “undercoat”. The coloured paints are coated over the undercoat to give a good finish.
Paints are used for many things. Some paints merely give colour and nothing else.
However, some are made to actually protect the surface being painted. Therefore, paints that shield roofs, windows, and walls from the weather are called weather paints.
Those that are used on clothes are called fabric paints. Paints are also used to paint furniture, vehicles, and buildings.
Paints used by artists are called watercolours, oil paints, and acrylic.
Therefore, paints are said to have three important functions, as a tool for decoration, as a tool of art, and as a tool of protection.
Since they are made with many chemicals one must be careful about breathing in these dangerous fumes, especially paints in construction and building sites.