Affordable, Craftsmanship, Quality

History of Painting

Times have changed and the painting trade keeps evolving.

If you had been alive 40,000 thousand years ago, you or one of your clan would likely have spent time hunched over a fire, mixing paint from wooly mammoth fat, flowers, and cold ashes. Archaeological evidence demonstrates that early humans used paint to brighten up their living spaces and create a visual history. These artisans created paint by combining fat and blood from animals with plants, flowers, finely crushed rock, and ashes.

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By the 11th Century, house painting had become recognized as an official trade, and painters’ guilds legitimized the work through established accepted standards and practices. Each guild created its own unique, secret colour mixes. Members were expected to take that information to their graves. One of the major guilds was the Worshipful Company of Painters-Stainers, formed with the consent of the Mayor of London in 1502. A young man who wanted to be a painter was required to serve a 7-year apprenticeship.


In the American Colonial era, the Puritans frowned on using any hues outside and inside the home. Adding a splash of colour was considered a grave sin and one Puritan preacher was criminally charged with sacrilege after he dared to use a little paint inside his home.

During this same period, in what would eventually become Canada, rules were more relaxed due to the cultural influences of Britain and France and homes were vibrant and colourful. Importing paint was still an expensive undertaking so professional painters used what was available. Whitewash was made from lime and oyster shells. Vivid greens came from copper oxide, while iron was the key ingredient for the shades of red used as trim on houses and barns. Other paint ingredients included rice, skimmed milk, egg whites, and coffee.

Through the Victorian Era, from 1830 to 1910, houses were ornate and painted in bright colours with contrasting trim. Aesthetics were often more important than function. Fishermen painted their boats with the same colour schemes as their homes so that no paint was wasted, and it was easy for the families of these fishermen to see their husbands and fathers returning home from the sea.

Today there are still hundreds of stunning Victorian homes tucked away in Vancouver neighborhoods like Pitt Meadows, Kitsilano, Kerrisdale, and North Vancouver. A key part of their modern restoration and upkeep has been the work done by professional Vancouver painting companies.

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In the late-1800s, Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore transformed painting by making pre-mixed paint available to consumers. Before this, ingredients were purchased separately, and people had to mix the paint themselves. During the 1900s, Benjamin Moore invested massive amounts of resources into developing chemicals that would improve paint mixing.

Modern paints are safe, many are eco-friendly, and they have become so specific that you can even find one created to tolerate regional weather conditions. This is great news as it will help to enhance the life of your home’s paint job!  

Today there are thousands of colours to choose from and computer programs can give you a virtual peek into how particular hues will look inside and outside of your home. We love to help our customers make the best colour decisions!

At Argenta Painting we are proud to carry on the tradition of being a residential painting contractor. Our tools and equipment are modern, and like those apprentices of long ago, our crew is experienced and well trained. If you’re unsure where to start and need a painter in Vancouver, we’d be delighted to assist you.

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