Category Archives: Painting and Decorating

Useful information on painting and decorating

Top 10 Most Expensive Paintings Ever

1. Pablo Picasso’s Garçon à la Pipe ($ 104,100,000)

Picasso painted the Garçon à la Pipe during the Rose Period, at which time he was working a lot with cheerful pink and orange colours. It is an oil on canvas painting and measures 100 x 81.3 cms which is slightly more than 39 x 32 inches. It depicts a Parisian boy holding a pipe in his left hand.

The above mentioned record price was paid during an auction held at Sotheby’s in New York on the 4th of May 2004. It was indeed a surprise. The painting may be aesthetically pleasing but isn’t in the Cubist style which Picasso was famous for. A lot of experts even feel that the painting fetched the record price only because of the artists name rather than because of the quality of the painting.

2. Vincent van Gogh’s Portrait of Dr. Gachet ($ 82,500,000)

This painting of the impressionism master from Holland, Vincent Van Gogh, gained worldwide fame when it was purchased during an auction held at Christie’s in New York for the above mentioned price by a Japanese businessman by the name of Ryoei Saito. It is a fact that Saito wanted to be cremated with the painting when he died in 1996 but that obviously did not happen.

There were actually a couple of versions of this portrait that were painted by Vincent Van Gogh. The other version of the painting which has a different colour scheme is on display in Paris at the Musée d’Orsay.

3. Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Au Moulin de la Galette ($ 78,000,000)

This is a painting from 1876 by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, the French painter. It was sold on the 17th of May 1990 at Sotheby’s in New York for the above mentioned amount. This painting too was purchased by Japanese businessmen Ryoei Saito along with the Dr. Gachet portrait.

4. Peter Paul Rubens’ Massacre of the Innocents ($ 76,700,000)

This painting was painted by Peter Paul Rubens in the year 1611. It is the only painting in this list which wasn’t painted in either the 19th or the 20th century. It was sold in 2002 for the sum mentioned above the 2nd Baron Thomson of Fleet, Kenneth Thomson at a Sotheby’s auction.

5. Vincent Van Gogh’s Portrait de l’Artiste sans Barbe ($ 71,500,000)

The English translation of the name of this painting would read, “Self-portrait without beard.” It is one among quite a few self portraits by Vincent Van Gogh the Dutch master painter. It was painted in September 1889 in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France. It is an oil on canvas painting and measures 16″ x 13″ or 40 cm x 31 cm.

The painting was painted by Van Gogh immediately after he shaved. It is an extremely uncommon painting simply because all his other self portraits show him along with his beard. That is what allowed this self portrait to join the list of expensive paintings in the world. It was sold in New York in 1998 for $
71.5 million.

6. Paul Cézanne’s Rideau, Cruchon et Compotier ($ 60,500,000)

This painting was painted by Cézanne around 1893-1894 and sold for over $ 60 million on the 10th of May 1999 in New York at Sotheby’s. It was sold the “The Whitneys.” Whitney was born into 1 of the wealthiest families in America at the time. He was a publisher, Hollywood film producer, philanthropist and venture capitalist.

7. Pablo Picasso’s Femme aux Bras Croisés ($ 55,000,000)

This painting was painted in 1901 and is part of the Blue Period in Picasso’s life. It was a very sad and dark period in his life. The painting shows a woman having her arms crossed who is staring at an endless nothing. You can clearly see the beautiful blue tones like most of the paintings Picasso painted during this period.

Femme aux Bras Croisés sold for $ 55 million on the 8th of November 2000 at Christie’s in New York. So you see Picasso has 4 paintings in the top 10 on his own. He is undoubtedly the most expensive painter in the world.

8. Vincent Van Gogh’s Irises ($ 53,900,000)

Van Gogh too has three paintings in this list and that proves him as a great creator of expensive paintings as well. It was painted by him in 1889 at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France’s Saint Paul-de-Mausole. That was only a year before he died. It became the most expensive painting ever to be sold in 1987 when it was purchased by Alan Bond for $ 53.9 million.

9. Pablo Picasso’s Les Noces de Pierrette ($ 51,670,000)

This painting too was painted during Picasso’s Blue Period. During this period Picasso went through many problems including depression and poverty. It was sold to a rich businessman from China for over $ 51 million on the 30th of November 1989 in Paris, France at the Binoche et Godeau.

10. Pablo Picasso’s Femme Assise Dans Un Jardin ($ 49,500,000)

This is the only painting in this list by Picasso which is in his famous Cubism style. He painted in the year 1938 which was a very short time before the second World War started. It is a painting of Dora Maar, 1 of his mistresses.

This painting was sold on the 10th of November 1999 for $ 49.5 million at a Sotheby’s auction in New York. It was a very hectic auction as there were 3 anonymous bidders who were trying to purchase the painting over the phone.

Step-By-Step Painting Instructions

There has never been so much help available for amateur house painters as there is today. There are tons of new paints & equipment which have become available in the market over the previous few years and this has made it possible for almost anyone to paint their own house as easily and efficiently as a professional would. Whether it is a one-coat paint job or a disposable blowtorch, everything today is designed with an intention of making the job look better, cost less and go faster.

There are new rollers available for painting the outsides of the house with which you can easily complete an average sized house in 2 days. If you add an extension to the roller, you can even roll the terrace without having to stoop or leave the ground.

Hard Spot Painting

There are specialized aids available that have built in features that help tackle most hard spots for the inexperienced painter.

What’s even better is that you no longer have to spend countless hours preparing yourself for the job and a few more hours after completing the job cleaning up. You now have access to premixed paints, self-dispensing calk guns, electric-drill attachments, etc. which aid in making the preparation short lived. And if you are using rubber paints, cleaning up involves just soap & water. Oils too would just involve a quick dip into a special cleanser. You even get paper paint pails and disposable dropcloths that can be thrown away after use.

The next section of this article provides you a few tips that will make it easier for you to paint your home. It may not be the preferred method for professionals. But it pretty much delivers the same result.

The word paint below includes enamels, shellacs, stains, lacquers and varnishes as defined.

- Paints are either composed of organic vehicles, mineral pigments or a combination of thinners.

- Enamels are varnishes which are pigmented.

- Shellac is usually a lac gum that is dissolved in alcohol.

- Stains can either be a penetrating type or pigmented oil.

- Lacquers can either be clear or pigmented. The liquid portions are usually nitrocellulose dissolve which is treated, in thinners.

- Varnishes are basically resins that are dissolved in organic thinners.

A lot of these materials including varnishes, paints & lacquers are formulated with a particular purpose in mind:-

- Exterior varnishes and exterior paints are supposed to perform exceptionally well even in the face of weathering.

- Interior paints are usually formulated keeping in mind that it should provide great coverage while being easily washable.

- Floor enamels are created basically to withstand abrasion.

- The primary benefit of lacquers is that they dry fast.

There are even other formulas which provide fume-resisting, extra self-cleaning, flexibility, hardening, waterproofing, resistance to fading, breathing qualities, mildew-resisting, etc.

Interior paints are usually used for obtaining a decorative effect or to improve sanitary conditions or to help improve lighting in a room. These paints are basically of 4 types: water paints; flat, semi-gloss & gloss; one-coat flats and wall primers.

Some of the common interior water paints include casein, gloss, resin-emulsion and calcimine water paints. Calcimine mainly consists of powdered whittling & clay which is mixed in with animal-glue as a binder along with a preservative. You cannot recoat it, but can very easily be washed off in case you want to re-decorate.

Although it isn’t compulsory for you to remove casein before you re-decorate, one of the most efficient ways of removing it is by washing it using a hot solution of trisodium phosphate. When it comes to resin emulsion paints in a paste form, you can thin them using water before applying them. They provide an excellent medium for decoration and don’t need to be removed prior to decorating either unless they are in bad condition. This can also be done with gloss water paints.

The main difference between flat, semi-gloss & gloss paints lies in their varying degrees of gloss, hiding power, etc. Paints that provide superior hiding power aren’t very glossy although there are a few high-gloss enamel paints which have a decent hiding power as well.

One-coat flat paints can only be described as paints which are organic-solvent-thinned. They are intended to accomplish all three operations of priming, sealing & finishing in a single coat of paint. They are mostly sold in a thin paste form and usually require an additional thinner to be added before you can apply the paint on an interior surface.

Primers are usually meant to be applied on a direct bare plaster or wall board or any other porous surface. They help make the surface uniform and sealed which allows for easy application of additional coats of paint. Primers are usually made from bodied-oil vehicles, varnish or hiding pigments. It is supposed to only slightly penetrate porous interior surfaces. The best way to apply primer is using a wide wall brush.

How To Paint Like A Professional Using Modern Paints

If you are able to purchase the correct paint, you will find painting your home to be a lot easier than you had imagined. The most difficult part of the job would be choosing the right paint for each surface.

Earlier, there was only one kind of paint. Each paint smelled, looked was applied and dried in exactly the same way. But nowadays, things are a lot different. Apart from oil-paints, there is a large variety of other paints you can use as well. Let’s take a look at them:-

- First of all, there are water paints which are meant to be used on the exteriors of your house. (You can even clean your paint brushes with water from the faucet and use a garden hose to get any spatter off your shrubbery.)

- Then there are finishes available which are tough enough to withstand attacks from a group of children at the same time.

- There are paints which dry within an hour. You can even start applying the 2nd coat immediately after you complete the first with some of them.

- There are even colours in glittering confusion.

Remember though that you can’t purchase a single paint which has all these features. There are many different types of paints available today that are sold under multiple trade names. But these trade names can be quite confusing sometimes. This means that you can’t just go by the trade name of a paint. You have to carefully read the fine print in order to find out exactly what you will get in the can.

Let’s take a look at vinyl paints. They come pre-thinned with water and are ready for you to brush, spray or roll on. The label on a can of vinyl may read as PVA, polyvinyl acetate, vinyl emulsion or just plain simple vinyl.

It can be used on almost all exteriors apart from wood which has been painted earlier. You can use it with wood shakes or shingles, asbestos shingles, stucco, brick, masonry bricks and concrete. There are some manufacturers that claim you can even apply if on wood clapboard as long as it is unprimed and new.

The biggest advantage with vinyl paints though is the thinner, water. This means that you don’t have to rely on decorators dust sheets to protect your furniture. Cleanups are just as easy as wiping dust off a bookshelf.

What about if it rains while you are painting? Luckily vinyl paints dry within half an hour and can easily withstand showers after that. It may take a full 12 hours of drying before it becomes tough and long lasting but after that it can easily stand up to the harshest of weather including salt air, factory smoke, sun, rain, etc.

The only problem with vinyl paints is that they cannot be used in cold temperatures. This is because the water solution can’t transform effectively into a durable finish when the temperature is less than 50 degrees. But then, conventional oil paints do not stick that well in cold temperatures either do they?

Some people may recommend vinyl paints for painting both exteriors and interiors while others may refute this. The fact of the matter though is that vinyl paints are meant specifically for painting interiors.

You can even apply a coat of vinyl primer-sealer in a room and immediately follow it up with a finishing coat. It can be applied easily using either a roller or a brush.

Acrylic is another wonderful new paint. It is also considered as a plastic-in-water. You may know solid acrylic from the glasslike Lucite or Plexiglas.

Acrylic really gets to shine when applied on the interiors of a house. It can dry faster than any other type of paint and also retains colour much better without much yellowing. The only disadvantage is that it is quite expensive.

There are even some acrylic paints which are recommended for paints the exteriors of a house. The biggest advantage you get with acrylic paints is that you don’t have to worry about the weather. You can apply it on cold days, humid days, hot days, etc. As long as the temperature is above freezing, you are good to go.

Alkyd is an old paint used on the interiors of a house. It has regained its lost popularity because of the introduction of a new super-refined chemical solvent which has minimal odour. It isn’t a water paint. It needs to be thinned and can be cleaned using either turpentine or mineral spirits. Or, if you want the odour to stay away, you can use the odourless solvent for cleaning purposes.

There are many advantages of using alkyd paints if you are willing to overlook the slight complications involved in the cleanup. It is extremely tough and is very resistant even to scrubbing. It performs quite well even in trouble areas like kitchens, bathrooms and trims. It is quite easy to apply and produces an even, smooth finish which is free from any brush marks or streaks.

Alkyds have very little odour but it is important that you remember the solvent is basically a petroleum product and the vapour will be there even though you cannot smell it. It can burn and also make you sick quite easily much like vapour from any other solvent. Therefore you need to be safe, keep the windows open and keep it away from any flames at all times.

You shouldn’t overlook the old and the reliable either. You can get conventional oil paints in a deodorized version today which are made using the exact same solvent used in alkyds. Oil paints have a lot in their favour as well. They are sold almost everywhere and its advantages as well as disadvantages are well known. It forms a tough film no matter what surface it is being applied on and offers the best colour range among all types of paint. It is quite cheap as well.

Rubber-latex, water-thinned paint is quite old and reliable as well. Even though it has been in use for only ten years or so, a major section of the market today purchases it and it is the most easily available paints with an easy-to-use finish. There is a new paint containing a combination of vinyl and rubber which is said to work better on interiors when compared with either rubber or vinyl on their own as it dries faster, has less sheen and lasts longer.

Paint Selection

Even though most paints can be purchased as ready-to-mix, there should be enough consideration given to the fact that a surface can vary when it comes to successfully adapting to a paint. Even the atmosphere or something similar may affect the performance of paints adversely. Apart from standard weathering conditions of rain and sun, exterior house paints may sometimes be exposed to other elements such as factory smoke, dust, etc.

In areas where these conditions do exist, it is best to select self-cleaning paints. These paints usually have their self cleaning ability mentioned on their label. Whether it is metal, plaster or concrete surfaces, they all pose special problems while painting. For example, when paint is being used on new plaster or masonry it has to be resistant to alkalis or dampness, paints that are used on steel need to have rust-inhibiting properties.

Paint manufacturers usually target the woman in a household and the easiest way of doing that is with colour. There are more than six thousand different colours available today.

Almost every manufacturer of paints has a colour system. This is a book that contains chips of different colours of paints along with instructions on how they can be duplicated. The instructions usually involve mixing different colours of paint or by including concentrated colours to white or coloured paint. It can even involve adding concentrated colours to neutral colours. There is even a colour carousel which mixes colours inside the store. This means that nothing is left to chance when it comes to selecting the right colour.


When it comes to paste paints like resin-emulsion, lead-in-oil or aluminium, it should always be stirred using a stiff paddle & reduced to a consistency which is usable for painting.

Paints that are in the form of a powder require you to add liquids to the powder before you can use it for painting. Directions are usually available from the manufacturer with regard to the amount of varnish, water, oil, etc. required and should be followed.

“Boxing” is a popular method for mixing paints. As paints are usually a mixture between liquids and solids, it is very important that it is mixed well before use. In order to do this properly, you can start by pouring a large portion of the liquid into a clean bucket which is a little large than the can. Then, you need to use a stiff paddle to loosen any settled pigment in the first container and to break up any lumps that have formed. After this, you need to mix the material thoroughly in a motion that resembles an 8. This should be followed with a lifting & beating motion. You need to continue to stir the mixture vigorously while you add the liquid that was removed from the container back into the original can slowly. You can complete the procedure by pouring the paint between the container and the bucket continuously until the paint reaches a uniform consistency.

Powder and paste paints should always be mixed in quantities that you plan to use immediately. This is because such paints usually become unusable if you try to store them for 3 or more hours.

But if the paint has been standing for an extended period and lumps have started to form, you should get rid of this scum immediately. After this, you can stir the paint once again and then strain it through screen wire or a couple of thicknesses of cheesecloth.

If you are not able to obtain the shade you were looking for with these paints you can tint the paints using colours-in-oil. For this, all you have to do is mix the colour-in-oil with a little turpentine or mineral spirits and stir it into the paint slowly. If you are looking for a blended colour, you can choose to add even more than one colour like using chrome yellow and chrome green pigments to get a lettuce green shade.

What You Need to Know Before Your Next Paint Job

When selecting paint, the selection usually begins with a choice between water-based and oil-based paints.

Water-based paints (also called “acrylic paints” or “latex paints”) don’t use solvents and the main pigment carrier is water. These paints have really improved a lot from the times when they were thought of as inferior in comparison to oil-based paints & are now set to start dominating the market as well. There are many benefits of latex paints. Drying time is much shorter as compared to oil-based paints, which may require sometimes require around forty eight hours to dry which means that the room will be unusable for that period of time. Latex paints release far fewer VOC’s while drying and have minimal odour. Since fewer VOC’s are emitted, this paint is far less harmful to occupants. It also requires much less care than when applying oil-based paints and solvents which are flammable. Latex paints can even be thinned using water, instead of the special thinner which is required by oil-based paints.

Oil-based paints have been in use for 100 of years because of their toughness and impermeability. Oil can’t dry through evaporation like water. Oil-based paints dry through oxidation which converts the oil to a polymer chain. This ensures that a resilient & long lasting layer is formed which will withstand any degenerative effects from water & air for a longer period than water-based paints. But oil-based paints have many disadvantages as well. They take a lot longer to dry and leave a strong odour which can linger for a long time even after the paint is applied. It also contains VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). Paint pigments are suspended in this solvent. VOC’s are also found in the solvent & are released while the paint dries. VOC’s are harmful to your health and to the environment as well. Indoor air pollution has also recently been identified as 3 times more harmful than outdoor air pollution. This is largely because of VOC’s that are released while drying from oil-based paints, finishes and furnishings. The Government too is becoming stricter while dealing with VOC’s and this could be considered as the main reason why the popularity of VOC’s is decreasing so fast.

Choosing the Right Finish

Apart from water-based and oil-based categorization, paints are also classified on the basis of their function (like primers, binders, finishing paints, sealers, etc.). Another way of classifying them is by the pigment which is used such as titanium, lead or zinc (each having different properties). But the most important method of classifying paints is by the finish that they provide.

During traditional applications of paint, it is the finish which reveals how the paint is going to reflect after it has dried. Though, there is an exception to this rule when special techniques like faux painting are used which provide a different finish altogether. But generally, in most commercial offices, the finish is based on the paint used.

There are certain finishes which are suited for certain rooms and as each of them have unique properties which set them apart from the others, it is important that you choose the right one for each room. Some finish options include:-

1. Matte – This finish reflects light very poorly. It is quite a rough finish which is considered warm & comfortable. It isn’t slippery and therefore, doesn’t wash well. It is because of this reason that it isn’t recommended for use in rooms which have frequent visitors (like the conference room or reception area). This finish is much better off being used in boardrooms or executive offices which only some people frequent & the chances of the wall getting dirty are minimal. This finish is also great when it comes to hiding imperfections in walls since the highly reflective nature of other paints tends to form cracks in uniform light reflection which is something that matte paints don’t do.

2. Flat enamel – If you want a matte finish in someplace like a cafe or a bathroom, you could consider using a flat-enamel finish instead. This paint has almost identical properties to matte finish apart from the fact that is washable. The only bad thing though is that these paints contain strong chemicals which exude odours for several days after drying.

3. Eggshell – This type of finish has a rather decent sheen to it. Just imagine looking at an eggshell in light and how light would bounce off it. This is exactly how this finish works as well. It is also quite easy to clean because it is slight gloss.

4. Satin – This finish is glossier than the eggshell finish and is even easier to clean. It is because of its ease of cleaning and dirt resistance that this paint is preferred to be used in stairways and halls. It doesn’t hid imperfections but gives a velvety shine to the walls.

5. Semi-gloss – These paints are extremely durable and have a lot of sheen as well. They are ideal for doors or trims. They are also highly water resistance and this makes them easy to clean as well. This is why they are also preferred for walls in bathrooms and kitchens.

6. Gloss – These paints are rarely chosen when it comes to painting interior walls because of the large amount of shine they give out. This shine also ensures that any imperfections will stand out. They are recommended for painting trims and floors instead. The finish is very durable too.

Preparing the Surface

When you are painting a room, there is a lot of preparation that goes in before you can actually take out your brush and start painting. It is well known that 80 % of a good paint job lies in the preparation. This is true irrespective of whether you are just painting office walls or a building. Just try to paint a ceramic tile by simply applying paint on it. You will notice that the paint does not stick because of the smooth and glossy nature of the tiles which don’t allow the paint to grip. The top layer of any paint is to be used primarily for giving colour to the wall. This layer may not have very good protection value or adhesion. If you want paint to stick to difficult surfaces likes tiles, then you have to first use primer. Primer is the layer of paint which is applied prior to the top coat. It is designed in a way that it sticks to most surfaces. Only after applying primer and letting it dry will you be able to apply the top layer of paint on these surfaces.

But, getting yourself good primer is only one aspect of the preparation process. You need to prepare all surfaces for receiving paint. How to prepare the surfaces will depend on what they are made of. Wood has to be sandpapered. Also, based on whether it is softwood or hardwood, you may also have to get rid of any unwanted knots in the wood which will release resin which in turn will ruin the paint job.

If you are going to be painting metal, then the most important thing to remember would be to get rid of any grease from the surface. There are liquid de-glossers available for just this purpose. Any rust deposits too must be removed from the surface. There are rust cleaners with oxalic acid available for this. If you are painting pipes which contain hot water, then you need to use special paint which can withstand heat.

Applying paint

It is more or less compulsory that you apply multiple coats of paint on a surface. The biggest reason for this is because otherwise, you will not get the complete colour that you were looking for. With only one coat of paint, you’ll only get a glimpse of the colour you were looking for underneath. Two coats are much more durable as well. Also, an additional layer of paint gives you an opportunity to cover up areas that might have been missed while painting the first layer. The general observation is that an additional layer of paint can increase the life of a paint job by a factor of 3. The thumb rule is that a couple of layers of paint are acceptable for most surfaces.

As we mentioned above, different paints taking different amounts of time to dry. While using latex paints, it may dry in as little as an hour because it used to evaporation process. Oil-based paints don’t dry this way and hence, take longer. Since you have to wait for the first layer to dry before you can apply the next one, you may either delay or speed up your paint job depending on the type of paint you are using.

Now different surfaces require you to use different painting techniques as well. There are some surfaces which respond well to certain paints too. It is quite simple when painting drywall surfaces. Drywall (also referred to wallboard, plasterboard or gypsum board) is basically a gypsum panel which is lined with or surrounded with paper. These surfaces respond well to latex paints and almost any finish apart from a glossy one will look nice on it.

When it comes to painting block surfaces like stone or masonry, the job is a lot more difficult as the surface is quite uneven. There are even pores and cracks to deal with which make the application of primer a little difficult. In such cases, you need to use something known as a block filler. This is a paint-like substance which can smooth out even porous surfaces. You can also use it for concrete blocks. It might not be that durable and you can even consider using it as a finish although a semi-gloss or an eggshell finish should be preferred.

When it comes to metal surfaces you should use latex paints. These paints have recently become viable as alternatives to oil-based paints & are usually preferred as they do not harm the environment. If you are looking at painting metal which already has a coating of oil-based paint on it, they you must properly de-gloss it and coat it with a latex-bonding primer before moving on. These surfaces are usually painted with glossy finishes such as full-gloss or satin paints. The reason for using these paints is because of their ability to resist against mould and water. You could also consider an epoxy coating for metallic surfaces.

Even with the above education on painting if you are still interested in hiring a contractor here are a few tips that you should always keep in mind while doing so:-

1. Reputation – The best way in which you can check the quality or the production of a contractor is by speaking with some of their former customers. Even if a contractor is offering you an unbelievable price for a job, it is best to stay away from him if his past clients have only bad reviews about his work. Otherwise you too may end up with poor workmanship & countless unanswered calls.

2. Experience – Every painting job isn’t the same. It is important that you check how much experience a certain company has doing the job that you need to be done before hiring them. You need to be confident that they know what they are doing. For example, if you hire a contractor that specializes in exterior remodelling or landscaping for painting your bathroom walls, you may not get the best results.

3. Approachability – At the end of the day, you are the owner of the property and are entitled to have it painted however you want. You need to ensure that the contractor you hire understands this and doesn’t block out your inputs once you hire him. If they don’t follow your instructions, you may end up being frustrated or worse may have to do the whole job again.

4. Scheduling policies – There are quite a few contractors that are willing to do anything before they land the job, but become very different people once the papers are signed. You need to check on the manpower that a contractor has and whether they are skilled craftsman or just helpers and college kids. Also, you need to ensure that you use a licensed, insured and bonded painting contractor.

5. Contracts – Always ensure you know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Read each and every word of each and every paragraph in the contract before you sign it. The last thing you need is to sign a contract without reading it and then get a surprise once the work begins.

At the end of the day, you need to understand that there are 100′s of contractors who are willing to do an honest job at a reasonable price. All you need to do is to have enough patience and put in enough effort in order to locate them.

Oil Painting For Beginners – How to Get Started in Oil Painting

One of the most common questions that beginners in oil painting usually ask is how to get started. Well, it is actually quite easy to get started in oil painting. There are a few basic supplies which you required and there are some very basic guidelines which need to be followed. In this article, we are going to be discussing oil painting for beginners. But don’t think that this article is going to teach you how to become a successful painter. In fact, there is nothing and no one that can teach you that. You can only learn the basics of oil painting from others. The rest you have to do yourself.

Many people that are new to oil painting usually have similar questions. So, let’s answer the common questions so that these people can start their oil painting journey immediately.

Oil Painting Supplies

It is obvious that the 1st thing you have to do is to get yourself supplies. But you don’t have to spend lots of money to buy expensive painting supplies. You only need to get the basics right now since you are still a beginner. Your initial aim should be to get used oil painting using your brushes, paints, support, etc. Therefore, if you purchase expensive supplies at this stage, it will certainly be wasted.


You will definitely need support for you to paint on. There are many different supports that can support oil painting but you should start off with a canvas support. Beginners usually wonder whether they require a special priming or coating prior to applying oil paint. In short, yes it does. But you don’t need to worry about it too much. You can purchase canvases which are already primed & ready for use.

Oil Paint

The next thing you need to purchase is paint. Don’t go for expensive brands at this stage. It would just be a waste. There are many good qualities, less expensive paints available which will work just as well for beginners. If you are worried about the hazards that come along with oil paints, you should know that there is an alternative available called water miscible oil paint. Such paints are great. You can even thin oil paint with the help of water and don’t require dangerous solvents such as turpentine.

Oil Painting Brushes

It is very important that you have good quality painting brushes. Even though a good quality paint brush isn’t going to make you a great painter, getting a cheap paint brush will only frustrate you. Try using a cheap brush and you will understand exactly how you will get frustrated. Cheap paint brushes tend to shed hairs consistently and these hairs get stuck in the paint. This is quite annoying. A good quality brush will have stiff hairs on it and should snap into place immediately after you run your fingers through them. They should be sturdy and well crafted as well.

Don’t think you need to purchase too many paint brushes though. You can do just fine with only a couple of paint brushes, flats & filberts. You may consider purchasing a fan brush as well although you may not use it too much. It is recommended that you use hog hair paint brushes instead of synthetic hair paint brushes. The synthetic hair paint brushes are extremely flimsy when it comes to handling oil paints.

It is very important that you clean your paint brushes regularly as well. Never be careless when it comes to cleaning your paint brushes, especially if you own high quality paint brushes. Turpentine is recommended by many painters for cleaning their brushes, but you can also use other products specially designed for cleaning paint brushes.

Oil Painting Mediums

When it comes to oil painting mediums, the most common question is whether the oil paint has to be mixed with another substance or can be used straight from the tube. The truth is that no mediums are required for oil painting but they are quite helpful when used.

Most oil paints tend to be quite stiff when taken out from the tube. That is why mediums are preferred for diluting oil paints and also help the paints flow well. This inadvertently means that you’ll be using lesser paints as well. This means that you’re going to be saving money too.

There are quite a few different mediums which are used various reasons including speeding up paint drying time, increasing gloss, etc. But for a beginner, you really shouldn’t be focusing too much on the medium.


This is an essential section of oil painting. If you do not have appropriate lighting, you may not be able to see colours properly. Natural sunlight is the best form of lighting, therefore it is recommended that you paint outdoors or in a room that is well lit. It is obvious that not everyone will have such an opportunity and if you are one of the people that don’t have the opportunity you need to use lighting which can mimic natural sunlight as much as possible.

This lighting is known as “full spectrum lighting.” There are various different products that can create such light. You can simply search Google for such products.


When you are a beginner, oil painting can be quite hazardous if you aren’t careful and therefore you need to take the required precautions. Ensure you are working in an environment which has decent ventilation & airflow. You should also wear disposable gloves when painting. Always read the manufacturers labels as well and don’t forget to put down some dust sheets!


As you get ready to start off with your first oil painting you should remember that you’re just a beginner. You should focus more on having fun & getting used to using your new painting materials. Don’t try to be too judgmental about your work. If you are, it may lead to unwanted frustration. You might do too well with your first few paintings; you may not do too well with your first 10 or 20 paintings. But this is natural and there is absolutely no reason for you to get discouraged. Oil painting isn’t very easy to master and you need to have a lot of perseverance if you want to be successful.

House Painting Basics

A home is an asset that most people buy for a lifetime. Unfortunately though it is only a matter of time before this lifetime asset requires renovation because of something as simple as the lack of vibrant colours.

There is a lot more than meets the eyes when it comes to repainting a house. This is the reason why some people rely on professional painting companies for this job. But hiring such services tends to cost a lot of money. So, if you’re planning on painting your house on your own, there are a few things that you need to consider apart from the effort and the time that is involved in painting a house.


There are quite a few different types of paints available today. Some of these paints have different finishes on the surface while others are designed for specific applications. You might find it a little confusing to choose the correct paint at first, but the moment you pick a theme for painting your house and sort out which jobs and the kind of finishes you are looking for, the choices become quite easy.

There are two bases you can use while painting your house. The first is solvent based (oil or alkyd) and the second is water based (latex). Solvent based paints take around 24 hours to dry which is rather slow. The best way to clean oil based paints is with the help of paint thinner or turpentine. The advantage with latex paints is that they dry quite fast. But they are not at all desirable when it comes to painting in direct sunshine or hot weather. Soap and water can do a terrific job of cleaning up latex paints. Therefore, it is recommended to use latex based paints for the interiors of your home while using solvent based paints for the exteriors.

Paints are also differentiated by the kind of finish that they provide. This involves something called sheen factor. This is a term used for determining the amount of light reflection a particular type of paint has. The lower the amount of sheen the lower the stain resistance paint will have.

- Gloss paints are quite easy to clean and resist scuffs quite well too. They are ideal for rooms that are in constant use. Gloss paints are most used on woodwork, bathroom walls, baseboards, kitchen walls, window casings, doorjambs, etc. The disadvantage of using these paints those is that they leave noticeable imperfections on the surface of the wall.

- High gloss paints are extremely reflective and work well for highlighting details like decorative mouldings and trims. They are also a great choice when it comes to cabinets and doors as well as any areas that are subject to high levels of abuse.

- Semi gloss paints are similar to gloss paints in all ways but one. They have lesser sheen. Semi gloss can also be used in rooms that have high humidity or casings and trim works. These paints are the most durable.

- Eggshell paints give a smooth, low sheen finish. These paints are most ideal for areas like the living room, bedroom, dining room or den. The pain is even washable and can be used in even home offices, family rooms and hallways.

- Satin paints make for a nice combination of moderate sheen and easy-clean. These paints are a little better than eggshell paints when it comes to scrubbing ability. They look just as good in almost any room.

- Matte paints (Flat) are non reflective & always a great choice when painting ceiling or large walls. These paints hide any imperfections on the surface of the wall and even spatters well while being applied. These paints are a great choice when it comes to aluminium or vinyl sidings that are prone to scratches and dents since it hides the imperfections. They are great for low-traffic areas like your master bedroom or formal dining area.

There are even some special paints which have been innovated using different insights and technology which allows the creation of specific paints for specific requirements.

- Ceiling flat paints are designed for application on the ceiling. These are extra spatter-resistant.

- Primer paint can either be water or oil based and is used for sealing unpainted surfaces in order to prevent the covering coats of paints from soaking in. There are different types of primers based on the surfaces being painted like metal, plaster, wood, tiles, etc. There are even some primers that are designed for working on two or three of these surfaces.

- There is something called anti-condensation paint which is used in rooms that have humid conditions like the bathroom and the kitchen. This paint helps prevent condensation and usually contains fungicide.

- There are even fire-retardant paints available which don’t completely resist fires but does a great job of preventing fires from spreading quickly.

It is very important that you use a primer before you start painting your room. Primers will help the paint to stick well on the surface and allow it to have a uniform appearance. If you are painting new wood, drywall, bare wood, etc. you definitely need to use primer.

But before you do this you need to known the condition in which the surface you are going to paint is in. Irrespective of the base coat being oil or latex, you have to sand glossy paint or de-gloss is with a chemical in order to make it duller. If you don’t do this, the second coat of paint with start streaking and not stick well to the base coat while drying.


If you want to change the ambience of a room in your house, you could consider painting it. When it comes to interior painting, it is recommended that you use paints which dry quickly and do not have strong odours which linger around for days after the job is complete.

You need to have thorough visualization, estimation and preparation before painting the insides of your house. After choosing a theme for the rooms you want to paint and purchasing the equipment required for the job like paint brushes, rollers, extension handles, paint stirrers, paint trays, step ladders, decorators dust sheets, etc., all you have to do is to keep the simple tips giving below in mind:-

1. Before & During Painting

- Always provide sufficient ventilation to the areas which are being painted. If there isn’t enough ventilation in the area, it is recommended that you use a mask or a respirator.

- Always close solvent containers or paint containers when they are not being used.

- Keep all paint products away from children.

- Avoid any direct contact between the paint and your skin.

- Always read the instructions on the paints before using them.

2. Surface Preparation Tips

- Empty the room as much as possible by removing any small furniture and group the remaining furniture together and cover them all with a drop cloth.

- Provide sufficient lighting for you to be able to spot painting imperfections.

- Remove all switch plates.

- Patch any holes or cracks that you find in the surface using spackling paste. Don’t forget to sand the areas once the paste dries.

- Dust & wash the walls, baseboards, ceilings, door and window mouldings.

- While you can paint over wallpaper, it will be better if your strip it. Wallpaper will eventually start to peel and this will ruin your paint job.

3. Ceiling Painting Tips

- When painting a room, it is advisable to start with the ceiling.

- When using a paint roller, always paint using diagonal swaths (like the letter M). Fill in any open areas through cross rolling.

- When using a paintbrush, always apply paint towards unpainted portion in short strokes. After that you can again brush back into the area you painted in order to get a smooth surface.

- Remove any chandeliers, light bulbs, fixture covers and fluorescent lights when painting your ceiling.

- Always paint the trims around the ceiling first including mouldings.

4. Wall Painting Tips

- Always paint the trim first. This includes any edging near the ceiling.

- When using a gloss finish paint, ensure the final strokes are away from the main light source in the room. This will help cover up the tiny ridges that are usually left by a brush.

5. Woodwork

- Always check the woodwork for any damage. Use wood filler to patch in any damage you find and let it dry overnight. Don’t forget to sand any rough spots and always use a sealer prior to painting.

- If the woodwork will have the same paint as the walls, then you should paint it together. If the woodwork is of a different colour, then paint it only after you finish the walls.

- Always paint double-hung windows from the centre outward. In the case of casement windows, apply the same technique but allow the windows to remain slightly open so that the paint may dry.

- When it comes to door panels, paint the moulded edges first and then move on to individual panels. Always start in the centre and paint out. After completing the panels, then get started on the horizontal and vertical panels.

- Use painter’s tape for keeping the paint off the windowpanes. Never use duct tape or masking tape. Painter’s tape allows you to keep the areas covered for around 72 hours.

- The top edge baseboards should be painted before the bottom ones. The middle section should be painted last.

- Remove all cabinet drawers and doors and paint all of the flat surfaces in the beginning. Then paint the inside edges and proceed to outer surfaces.

6. Clean-Up, Disposal & Storage Tips

- If you haven’t used decorators dust sheets and have paint drops on your floors, clean it immediately using soap and water. The longer you let the paint stay, the harder it will become to clean it.

- Use a putty knife or razor-blade scraper for chipping off the bigger paint droplets which may have dried up.

- Trimming around windowpanes should also be done using the scraper.

- Always wash & dry the rollers and paintbrushes before storing them. Store them as per the instructions on the label as not every paintbrush or roller is the same.

- Clean up all the paint present on the can’s rim. Always ensure container lids are tightly closed using a block of wood and a hammer.

- Always store solvent-based paints upside down in order to prevent the formation of a skin.

- Always store paints at room temperature. Never keep them in extreme hot or cold conditions.


When you are buying paints for painting the exteriors of your home, you need to choose a brand which has all of these characteristics: colour retention, hiding power, blister resistance and chalk resistance.

Colour retention refers to the ability of paint to maintain its original colour even after long hours of exposure to sunlight, etc. Hiding power is related to the pigment of the paint and is mostly affected by the thickness and manner of application. Blister resistance is the ability of the paint to keep out moisture which may be coming from the substrate & affecting the paint Blistering is imminent if paint is applied on a wet or even a damp surface. Chalking resistance is the ability of paint to prevent the formation of a white chalky powder on its surface which also lightens the colour of the paint. This may take a long time to occur.

Some of the tools involved in painting the exterior of your home include sandpaper, caulk, paper towels or rags, a garden hose, painter’s tape, a power washer, sponges and buckets, a stepladder, a spray nozzle, a paint scraper, an extension ladder, a wire brush, putty knives, a heat gun, an electric drill, sanding block & work gloves.

After you collect all of these tools, it is important that you examine the exterior of your house properly. You may find problems including wrinkling, wax bleeds, vinyl siding wraps, staining, surfacent leaching, poor gloss retention, poor adhesion, poor alkali resistance, peeling, paint incompatibility, nail head rusting, mildew, lapping, poor frosting, efflorescence, dirt pickup, crackling, chalk run downs, chalking, blistering and alligatoring.

If you already know what the problems with the exterior of your house are or if you are just repainting it, follow the below tips for the best application:-

- Being by cleaning the exteriors of your house thoroughly. Always start at the top of the house and work your way to the sides. If you locate areas with moulds, discoloration or mildew, clean it using an anti-fungal cleaner.

- Mask off any areas which you are not going to be painting. You cold also consider placing masking tape on the edges of the house trim as well as on windows & door frames and trims since you will most probably be painting them in a lighter colour or with a more glossy paint. You could also tape newspaper or plastic cloths over the windows and doors to protect them from any drips.

- Cover your plants and shrubs using plastic drop cloths as well. If you are worried about paint dripping onto the sidewalk, your roof sections, your porch or your driveway, you can cover them as well.

You must understand that painting a house does take a lot of time and costs a lot of money even when you are doing it yourself. But the results you get at the end of the day are always worth the time and effort.

Non Toxic Paints, Stains and Finishes – Green Solutions for Renovating Your Home

Healthy building strategies and green living are becoming quite popular all over the United States nowadays. Whether it is San Francisco, California or Asheville, North Carolina, the real estate market for green living is quite popular and making use of eco friendly products during home renovation is becoming a standard practice. Even industry publications and educational websites feel that the air inside our houses is 2 or 3 times more contaminated than outdoor air and this is largely due to the toxins that are found in stains, paints and finishes.

Rick Braunshausen, a writer for Architecture Week, says that poor quality of indoor air is a very serious problem which a lot of engineers and architects try hard to rectify while working on both existing as well as new buildings. He added that the effect of these toxic agents is quite dangerous especially while it is being remodelled or painted. And while you can protect yourself from unnecessary stains using decorators dust sheets, how do you protect yourself against paints and finishes? The first thing you need to do is to learn about it.

Home’s that are safe from VOC’s usually have greener air

Many homebuyers and homeowners are aware of the dangers associated with lead paint. There is even a public safety alert on the US Consumer Product Safety Commission website. This alert explains everything you should know when it comes to lead based paints. Homes that are built prior to the year 1980 run the most risk of lead contamination. Also, while dealing with homes that were built before 1978, real estate agents need to provide a lead based paint disclosure form to homebuyers. You must either ingest or inhale lead paint in order to get poisoned and there are tests which can be done if you are worried about the lead content in your paint. You should also know that there are other toxic substances found in stains, paint and finishes, apart from lead which are just as dangerous for both animals and humans.

VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) are usually found in solvent based paints and when they are used in enclosed areas can lead to a number of health related problems. Christi Graham, a writer for Healthy Home Plans says that the American Lung Association had reported that VOC’s can lead to a variety of physical conditions including skin and eye irritation, breathing problems, headaches, muscle weakness, nausea, kidney and liver damage, etc. She also said that VOC’s were 10 times higher when indoors as compared to the outdoors and this number also went up by more than a 1000 times when it came to new coats of paint.

Earlier, VOC’s were considered essential for paints, but the latest environmental initiatives have stated that low-VOC or zero-VOC stains, paints and finishes are a lot better for your health. These paints cause less damage to humans as well as to the Earth and are quite affordable as well as durable. And as the number of green products available in the market keep on rising, these alternate paints will only become more cost efficient, especially when it comes to homeowners that have children.

Tips For Painting the Interiors of Your Home

Living a green lifestyle can mean various different things to different people. But, using non-toxic paint is definitely a great first move when it comes to maintaining a healthier environment inside your home. And here are a few green living tips to help you with your next project involving stains, paints or finishes:-

1. Always use zero-VOC, low-VOC or natural paints. There are quite a few different paint companies which currently offer such non toxic paints for indoors. There are many alternative paint companies which specialise in these green products and there are even some mainstream paint producers such as Sherwin Williams that sell zero-VOC and low-VOC products for indoor use.

2. Ensure that there is enough ventilation when you are painting your home. Also, ensure to buy paints that have sealing properties as this helps in reducing outgassing. Remember that outgassing is the worst during the first 3 days. You can even consider placing large fans at doorways or open windows in order to avoid harmful fumes & even the smallest amounts of VOC’s.

3. You should compare the prices of various non toxic paints before making a decision. As green paint products are becoming more and more popular, their price will continue becoming more competitive as well. You can find out a lot about green paints on the internet and you can even purchase green paint products online.

4. Remember to choose the correct paint for your job. There are different types of paints which have different purposes in a home. For example, if you are looking at painting your bathroom or your kitchen then you need to get a paint which can withstand cleaning and scrubbing.

5. Buy sufficient paint for a job. Calculate the square footage of the rooms you wish to paint & purchase the required quantity of paint for that much space. This will ensure that there is no wastage and will also save you some money.

As time goes by, environmental concerns will only increase their popularity as green interior remodelling or renovation practices not only help preserve our planet but also keep us as well as our families healthy.