July 2015 – Beginnings of Paint
first published on https://traditionalpainter.com/beginnings-of-paint
Recently I came across an article online about a discovery made in South Africa (1). I am interested in these sorts of things anyway, but this one really caught my eye – Archeologists have reported finding a paint-like substance used in a cave 100,000 years ago. To put this another way, before this discovery the oldest known use of paint was on cave paintings from 40,000 years ago!
The painting itself has not survived but it would probably have been similar to this image of the oldest surviving cave painting found in Spain. (2)
The South African discovery of this pre-historic, pre-homo sapiens mixture of red earth and crushed bone was found in an abalone shell and is the oldest known example of a man made compound as well as the earliest known use of a container. Next to the shell was a thin length of bone stained red at one end, suggesting it had been used as a way of applying the pigment to a surface. The discovery is the first known use of paint, paint kit and workshop – this is why it caught my interest!
As simple as this kit sounds to us, it would have involved much planning, effort, thought and care. The ochre came from twelve miles away, the bone needed to be heated before being ground to powder to release the natural oils, then charcoal and liquid were added to the pigments and oils get the mixture to the right consistency. And finally a suitable container was needed. This kit would have been as technologically advanced as ‘paint’ and paint tools could get 100,000 years ago. Trial and error, practice and perseverance, lessons learnt and results constantly improving – this is what created and defined these people, their lives, their work, and their tool kits.
My paint kit is a little more comprehensive but the essence is the same – from the highest quality Purdy brushes to hard wearing eggshell paint from Mylands, from quality sand paper by 3M to gel edged Frog masking tape, from cutting edge fillers to trusted tools … the list is endless.
Traditional Painters use only the best products, ones we have trialled and tested – often before they are even available to the public. We share our recommendations and knowledge with each other so our paint and tool kits are always full of reliable and professional quality items.
If you are interested in having your kitchen or furniture painted by one of our team please go to www.traditionalpainter.com and search for your local TPer.
Accept no imitations.
Brushes, fillers and frog tape available at www.mypaintbrush.co.uk
Mylands paint www.mylands.co.uk or www.brewers.co.uk
Stephanie Pappa, October 13, 2011 “Oldest Human Paint-Making Studio Discovered in Cave”, Live Science. www.livescience.com
image taken from www.nationalgeographic.com