Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Paint Is Colored Glue (delanceyplace.com)
273 points by pshaw on Apr 8, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 93 comments

Labor has become more expensive than parts, for many aspects of home repair. We haven't adapted our habits to this.

The last time I let my university landlord paint my apartment, it took days to clear the furniture, and I was instructed to do no paint prep. There were peels coming down from the ceiling. The painters exploited this "paint is glue" theory by painting under the peels and pushing them flat. I channeled my desire to kill them on the spot by politely escorted them out in mid-job and never letting anyone paint for me again.

The next time I painted this apartment, I stripped the ceiling bare of its many poorly applied layers, and applied $500 of artist-grade acrylic primer and titanium white paint to the ceiling and walls. 15 years later, the apartment looks just-painted. Artist-grade acrylic paint is one of the best glues available, much more reliably so than oil paint.

In the years since, the best wall paints have come closer to artist-grade acrylic paints, and their glues are likely better tuned to typical conditions. Artist paint is more expensive and better. Carefully tuning a cheap glue is like botching an airplane hardware design and trying to fix it in software.

Later in a home, filling holes in contractor botched cabinet work, I started with artist-grade acrylic modeling putty, added just enough dye from the commercial paint manufacturer to match the existing cabinet paint, tweaked the gloss to also match, and created a one-step wood fill that disappeared into the existing paint job when dry. Much less shrinkage than commercial wood fills, and no primer or repainting needed. Again, acrylic art supplies making the best glue.

Ballpark estimate by somebody who operates in the paint industry and has done so for almost fifteen years (albeit what is for you likely a foreign country: Italy). Industry associations estimate that the cost of materiel amounts to between 20% and 30% of the total cost experienced by the homeowner, depending on various factors (interior/exterior, type of finish desired, & cetera). So roughly three quarters of your “painting bill” comes from labour, not material. Knowing this, the DIY chains actually hike the prices of what are admittedly lower-grade paints because they know that by cutting out labour costs theirs is still a winning proposition for cash-strapped homeowners desperate enough to “Damage It Yourself”.

It’s pretty dismal. And broadly speaking, it's unsustainable.

> cash-strapped homeowners desperate enough to “Damage It Yourself”

I find it a sad statement that one suggests the primary reason for DIY is out of desperation - surely I am not alone in doing many home and auto maintenance tasks myself out of primarily the enjoyment and satisfaction of learning and executing a new skill? Sure, /r/DIWhy is full of examples of ill-advised and unsafe DIY attempts, typically in electrical, plumbing, and deck-laying, but that doesn't mean that we should discourage people from learning the basics of low-risk home maintenance such as painting, tiling, flooring, etc. On the contrary I believe the reward one feels from accomplishing such tasks oneself and with the help of friends or family can have a powerful positive emotional effect on society.

In addition to the educational and satisfaction benefits (which I also agree with), I look at it this way: my standard of living is better because I do everything myself. What others spend on hiring painters, movers, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, auto mechanics, I save, and it allows me to live like someone who makes quite a bit more than I do. I’ve got a modest tech salary, and wouldn’t call myself desperate or cash strapped—just frugal and keen to optimize every penny.

> to live like someone who makes quite a bit more than I do

That's kind of misleading, because it ignores the value of your labor. You work more hours, and you get a lifestyle improvement that can be measured in dollars. You're not preventing costs, you're changing how you pay.

If that's optimal in your specific case then great! But it's easy to imagine a person where it's not optimal at all. If Bob saves $X for every hour he spends on his house, and Bob makes $3X at his job, and he's equally happy doing either kind of labor, then Bob is a fool to do multi-hour household jobs himself.

Using time to save dollars is a tool, one that can be used or misused. You want to optimize lifestyle vs. effort, not lifestyle vs. nominal salary.

Most tech workers make a salary. Your labor has no financial value if it's "paint my house" vs "watch TV".

That's true in a very short term sense.

Over the long term you can either find some freelancing hours or get a job that offers a different expectation of worked hours and a different amount of pay.

So if you're out of balance you can fix it to do more of the job you want and have more leisure hours too. Or less of the job you don't want.

I concluded the same as caymanjim. I’m a firm believer in “Your spare time is only worth money if you’d otherwise be making money.” I’m not paid hourly, so the opportunity cost of my spare time is $0, and like many tech companies, mine forbids freelancing/moonlighting. The math works out to favor DIY in my case but it’s obviously not for everyone.

If I had a job where more hours directly translated into more money, 1. I would drop DIY projects and 2. I would probably become a workaholic.

Okay, but considering that it could save you a huge amount of time overall, next time you're looking for a job consider searching harder for one that has paid overtime opportunities. (But not enough to enable workaholism.)

If you've got the necessary talent and skill, and you've done your homework, then you're better off with DIY.

But few have the talent.

And that skill usually comes from making mistakes and screwing stuff up on a previous job.

And very few people are willing and able to do the homework.

My characterisation of DIY as “Damage It Yourself” might seem a bit mean, but it very much represents the (admittedly biased) statistical feedback we as a sector get from those who choose this route. As somebody remarks further down, competence in these kinds of home-maintenance activities generally derives from experience “earned the hard way”.

Obviously DIY and the attendant issues are entirely absent from the industrial sector, which I spend most of my time frequenting.

My family worked together to install the cabinets in our kitchen, which we then paid to have a granite counter-top on. Yes, there are some unfortunate scratches, but we did a good job.

I would argue that DIY is more equal to assume all risk.

You sometimes need to be careful, depending on climate and construction specifics, what sort of paints you apply to the walls in modern buildings. Using vapor-closed paints (or worse, vinyl wallpaper) will not allow the drywall to dry to the interior and can result in mold and mildew growth.

I don't know the characteristics of acrylic artists' paint, but there might be reason to be careful.

One thing I've also been wondering about is if repainting every other year, even with vapor-open paints, would have a similar effect. So many rental properties just end up with layers and layers of paint.

> 15 years later, the apartment looks just-painted

Curious what you mean?

In my experience, new paint coats are needed because of marks left on walls -- accumulated smudges, scuffs, furniture bangs, nicks, filled anchor holes, etc. None of which higher-quality paint has anything to do with... I assume?

Am I wrong? Assuming paint is applied correctly in the first place, what are the longevity benefits of using a higher-quality paint?

A lot of scuffs and smudges can be cleaned off with a magic eraser and some elbow grease. It's certainly easier than re-painting.

Depends on paint sheen (try doing that with flat finish paint - just gonna smear it all over)

Soft rubber eraser works too.

Some white paint goes an off yellow colour over time, particularly gloss paint.

that is typical of oil paint, due to the way linseed polymerizes.

I couldn't remember whether it was water-based gloss or oil-based gloss that was most affected, so just went for "gloss" - thanks for clarifying :)

A few years ago I looked at buying a listed building in the UK (mentioned in pevsner as well).

And you MUST use special old paint that fades very quickly to be authentic.

Never, ever buy a listed building unless you are rich and retired.

Lol - well there are a pair of really nice Arts and Crafts houses I have my eye on for when I win the lottery :-)

I did not go through because the developers stuffed up and got sued by English heritage for months.

Having done both art painting with acrylic and building painting with acrylic-based paints, I don't know that I completely agree that art acrylics are better for wall coating than wall paints. No small part of the higher price for art acrylics vs wall paint acrylics is the pigment density. A blue that looks back into you when you look at it can be entirely appropriate for artistic work. Or, if it's not supposed to be the blue that's looking into your soul, you can mix that cobalt blue with a mars yellow to get the exactly correct shade green needed, because you're never going to get the green you want using a phthalo green as your base. Most people neither want nor need the intensity of color, nor the color flexibility that comes with art paints when it comes to their wall colors.

Additionally, art acrylics are typically very thick, to allow the artist a high degree of flexibility in application density, a flexibility that's just not needed for wall application. You correctly note that labor is the major cost for house repair. In light of that, it strikes me as silly to buy a bunch of extra-thick art paint and take the time to thinning it down the the appropriate consistency for wall application, instead of just buying a volume of paint that was already at the appropriate viscosity.

An acrylic-latex intended for outdoor use is going to be formulated to account for the fact that exterior surfaces see wider temperature swings in the summer and winter, and will be more flexible in its final cured form, reducing the flaking and cracking caused by the temperature-driven expansion and contraction that comes with the seasons. The formulation is also likely to account for the greater UV exposure its going to have outside. If you try to coat the exterior of your house with art paints, you're going to be spending a lot more money, it it might not last as long than if you used a paint intended for the purpose.

Now, if your goal in either scenario is art or aesthetics, than that's a completely separate discussion. If you want the wall of your house that faces the local park to be a mural highlighting fundamental truths of the human condition, more power to you. Though, in that case, you might do better to eschew pre-forumlated paints entirely, and instead buy the raw outdoor-use formulated resins and pigments yourself, and mix as appropriate.

> The last time I let my university landlord paint my apartment, it took days to clear the furniture, and I was instructed to do no paint prep. There were peels coming down from the ceiling. The painters exploited this "paint is glue" theory by painting under the peels and pushing them flat. I channeled my desire to kill them on the spot by politely escorted them out in mid-job and never letting anyone paint for me again.

Okay, that's just sloppy work. I'd have wanted to kill them too. When I was painting commercially, if I or my supervisors had caught anyone doing that, said slacker would be off the crew permanently.

Yes, I blended acrylic medium with the densest titanium white I could find in liquid form. I believed that I was delivering more titanium white to my walls than any commercial choice would have yielded.

I avoided the related "designer" question of choosing off-whites. I'm a math professor, and a grad student described these walls as like being "inside a stick of chalk" (Hagoromo, given the choice).

Pure white is a color mirror. Why does that corner look pink? There's a red object in that part of the room.

Did you apply any mud to smooth the surface before you painted the apartment?

As needed, but once I got to bare concrete/whatever it was remarkably smooth. I chipped off the ceiling slowly over weeks, avoiding gouging.

what about lead? how did you handle the old lead paint layers?

When you are painting cinderblock it's a lot easier.

I remember being quite blown away as a 20 year old during a trip to Paris by some of the paintings in the Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay. I had known many of these paintings before, from Wikipedia and school books, but it seems to be impossible to capture the effect of an oil painting in a digital or reproduced image, because, as the article describes, an oil painting is essentially 3-dimensional.

(I also distinctly remember being shocked by the size of some paintings, especially the crowning of Napoleon (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronation_of_Napoleon_I#/medi...) This painting was printed in many of my history school books, but I was not even remotely aware that is nearly 10 meters wide.)

I can highly recommend John Berger's legendary documentary series Ways Of Seeing. The first episode explores precisely this issue - how our perception of painting is affected by reproduction. It has perhaps the most arresting opening scene of any documentary series.


My favorite painting in the world is Jackson Pollock's Mural, his first major painting. It's owned by my alma mater the U of Iowa. The canvas is 9x20 iirc, just huge. They used to display it in a large central gallery, where you could look at it from more than 50 feet away, or get your nose right up to it.

One of the great things about this painting is how it is a totally different experience at different distances. From a distance, the sense of right-to-left motion is palpable. Get closer, and figures seem to pop out of it. But really close, you can no longer see the entire painting, but you can see individual brushstrokes (mostly 3-6" house painting brushes, I think). The subtlety and detail of each stroke is extraordinary. There are patterns across the canvas that are a result of large-scale patterns of strokes - it's almost like cursive handwriting.

Another of my favorite examples of the "reproduction doesn't do any justice" is Mark Rothko. Like Pollock, he's often held up as example of an artist whose work "doesn't look like anything" and "my kid could do that." And it's true, if you're looking at a poster of a Rothko, it just looks like some large splotches of color.

But, in a gallery, people encounter the Rothko and just stop. Many of them will stare at those large splotches of color for 1, 2, 5, even 10 minutes. Turns out there's a whole lot going on there that just doesn't translate into print.

Sadly, a lot of the techniques that abstract expressionists used don't translate well into the future, either. Layering just oil paint, that's pretty durable. Layering different kinds of paint, not so much. I've seen a fly dislodge a flake of paint from one of Rothko's paintings just by landing on it.

You might be interested by this video about the challenges faced by conservation scientists with Rothko murals : https://vimeo.com/111469325

I had a similar experience seeing Summertime Number 9A in the Tate. It just looks like meaningless squiggles when reproduced on a postcard, but in person you can see the structure, the layers of line and shape.

You may be interested in this video by the Getty Conservation Institute on the conservation of Mural:


Ah, yes, I watched this series a few years ago and just realized that it may have inspired my post above a bit.

PS: I just shamelessly throw in another excellent BBC documentary series here: How Buildings Learn, by Stewart Brand [0]. I sometimes see it mentioned here on HN, but it cannot be mentioned too often. If you haven't seen it, please please do.

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvEqfg2sIH0

Thank you, that is truly excellent and has spawned a productive rabbit hole exploring topics I've been considering.

Oh, yeah, and waves in the water of those hyper-detailed Italian 16th century paintings, or tree leaves -- when lit correctly, you get specular highlights that seriously look like sunlight glistening on there. Blows me away every time.

Those paintings are quite low-resolution on average, but it took me a while to figure out how they could add so much resolution where it mattered, and turns out it's because they have an entire extra dimension to vary things in.

> (I also distinctly remember being shocked by the size of some paintings, especially the crowning of Napoleon (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronation_of_Napoleon_I#/medi...) This painting was printed in many of my history school books, but I was not even remotely aware that is nearly 10 meters wide.)

And yet, it's the postal stamp-sized Mona Lisa that gets all the attention...

Sure, it's a good painting, but I personally find it to pale in comparison to the other works on display at the Louvre.

The painting opposite of Mona Lisa is the The Wedding at Cana. It's one of the most impressive paintings in Louvre (I think it's the largest). I have wondered if they placed it there as a joke.

There is over 100 people in the painting being busy and only person looking outward directly towards Mona Lisa is Jesus looking surprised. Mona Lisa is looking directly at Jesus and smirks.

Hah, I will now believe that this was indeed placed there as a joke.

There are actually a few more people than just Jesus looking out towards Mona Lisa, some with amusing expressions. It is just a rather busy painting, so it can be hard to notice.

There's a place for both. Rothko's Seagram Murals are bland and unremarkable in the pages of a book, but become utterly overwhelming in person due to their sheer scale. Conversely, Sir Charles Bell's watercolour sketches of battlefield wounds are so affecting on part because of their small size. When stooping over to peer at these pocket notebook sketches, you are transported to a field hospital in Waterloo, standing over the shoulder of Bell as he quickly but expertly records the carnage of war in intimate detail.

It was not to say that small paintings do not have their worth. My point was more that Mona Lisa, specifically, seems... unremarkable in comparison to the other works.


I'm noticing an increasing amount of rude comments on HN these days. Please, keep it civil.

I read a book about the Revolutionary War called "Washington's Crossing" by David Hackett Fischer. The wrap-around cover of the book is, appropriately, the iconic painting "Washington Crossing the Delaware" by Emanuel Leutze (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Crossing_the_Delawa...).

I learned that the actual painting was nearby in NYC at The Met. When a friend visited, I wanted one of my goals was to go to The Met and see the painting. I entered the American Wing close enough to closing time that I worried I may not find the painting in time. I started wandering, turned a corner, and sat dumfounded starting at the very thing I was looking for, sitting 21 feet in width at the end of the hall.

Extremely interesting, thank you! But my point still stands. Consider this image in ultra high definition:


If you drag the image around, you notice that the water has different highlight points at different angles. If you would stand in front of this painting, your natural body movement (of even a tree before the window) would constantly change the lighting and almost certainly result in a very natural-looking water surface. I cannot imagine reproducing this digitally without it feeling "artificial" or "forced".

I wonder how well this sensation would be conveyed by viewing a lightfield capture in VR? This is meant to be the sort of thing that that's good for.

It's not impossible, computers have been modeling 3D fluids for a long time. It might be computationally intensive, but definitely not impossible.

He's talking about reproduction, not modeling. You can model the painting's physics all you want, you still won't be able to make a faithful reproduction on a flat and gamut-limited LCD screen.

With head tracking it should be possible to get close. The thickness changes are small, so the 3D effect is mostly from the uneven light reflection revealed by head movement, not stereopsis.

The texture of oil on canvas is extraordinarily complex and subtle. You would need billions of pixels and polygons and trillions of rays to even begin to capture the heavy impasto of Van Gogh or the coarse diffusion of Bacon.

> You would need billions of pixels and polygons and trillions of rays

So give it 5 years, and you'll have it on your phone...

If there's one thing I've learned over the decades about computer technology, it's to never say "impossible" or "never"...

Eventually, what you once might have thought to be only in the realm of "big and expensive" inevitably becomes "cheap and commodity" in a far shorter time than you expect.

That was one of the rather unexploited features of the Amazon Fire Phone, which I loved for that very reason. Unfortunately, it didn't see much use, but you could take pictures that could capture depth (created by rotation) and it was so cool.

Plus you can prerender 99% of the lighting.

Or even just take ten million photos from almost the same spot, presenting the one that matches the user's subtle movements.

I run a paint production company here in Italy (decorative for interior/exterior house use, and various kinds of high-grade industrial coatings) so this article (not to mention the fact that it somehow climbed it was to the top of the front page) amuses me no end.

I've forwarded it to all of my colleagues and they'll all in stitches too. Because basically deep down we know this is the most succinct and relatable description of what we do with our lives. Try as we might to aggrandise things, this is the truth stripped bare.

Unvarnished truth, even. ;)

This article is really interesting and I love the insight provided about pigment layering to achieve remarkable effects, however I think what the title says is totally wrong.

Paints are technically coatings and comprise a large and diverse industry of products for wide-ranging applications. Wall paint is very different than artist paint, which is very different than car paint, which is very different than the type of paint you might apply to pipes to prevent corrosion, etc..

Glue is an adhesive, and while the resins used to make adhesives may sometimes be the same resins used to make coatings (Gorilla glue is epoxy-based, and many floor coatings you walk over all day and never think about are epoxy-based as well), the actual products being used -- the can of paint or the stick of glue you buy at the store -- are formulated with resins, pigments, additives, binders, chain-extenders, fillers etc etc, that are specific to the product's unique application.

So basically, paint is not glue. Paints are coatings and glues are adhesives. Sure, paints have to adhere to their substrates, and adhesives must adhere to their sometimes very different substrates as well, but paint and glue are really totally different things. You could say that coatings and adhesives are both formulated polymeric systems, but you miss out on a lot of interesting subtlety that entire industries are based on when you say "paint is glue."

Paint, as understood by oil painters and artists, sounds like a slightly different animal than paint as understood by house painters, wood finishers, and other sorts of people with more prosaic requirements of their paints.

Bob Flexner wrote a book for wood finishers, Understanding Wood Finishing, that breaks down oil paint in simple terms for the rest of us:

Some oils (like linseed and walnut) are drying oils, and can be used as a finish on their own, but don't really form a hard film finish.

For that you need a varnish, which is an oil cooked with a resin.

Paint is a varnish with a pigment added.

That's different from an oil mixed with a pigment mentioned in the article, which is probably fundamentally similar to a straight oil in terms of its properties. Maybe somebody who paints with oil paints can weigh in?

His columns in Popular Woodworking and other woodworking magazines are worth a read, as is his book, if you're interested in understanding what you're really working with.

Tying this all back to the article, I'd disagree with the claim that paint is "colored glue". One typically doesn't glue things together with paint, though that is a sometimes unintended consequence of putting something on top of something else with an incompletely cured layer of finish. You certainly couldn't use e.g. linseed oil as a glue in a joint where oxygen isn't getting in readily like a mortise and tenon joint.

A discussion of oil vs varnish here:


oil painter here.....

basic linseed oil takes ~70 years to cure properly. pure linseed does, in time, a nice hard firm.

there are a number of plant oils for painting (saffron, sunflower, walnut, linseed, poppy: different dry rates and hardness rates), and there are a number of ways for treating them. Specifically we usually avoid plain boiled linseed oil, as it tends to yellow. That is, I believe, the common hardware store oil paint.

fundamentally - artist oils are engineered for divergent purposes than house oils.

resins are hugely variant - artists are usually suspicious of things that aren't engineered & tested to last > 50 years, so house painting probably has a much larger variety.

the pigments affect the oil dramatically. quinacridone pigments stay wet for days, if not weeks, whereas umbers (due to the manganese) will dry within 24 hours.

with respect to varnishes, that's not how oil painting artists think of varnishes: a traditional varnish is dammar resin dissolved into (pure) gum spirits of turpentine, laid on about 6 months after the painting is touch-dry. Today we typically use a acrylic varnish with a UV protectant, i.e, what's sold under the trade name "Gamvar". Such modern varnishes are designed to not link against the oil and permit stripping and reapplying to use as a protective layer.

it's technically correct to call oil paint colored glue, I think. But it's not useful to think of it that way. I think of it as "oily mud applied with a hairy stick" when I feel reductionist.

I love talking about artist oil paints, happy to answer any other questions.

Not a direct response, but in the case of modern automotive paints, especially 2 part urethane or epoxy ones it is exactly right - they're even based on the same chemicals!

Of course, that doesn't really mean that paints work as glues, but you can add pigment/dye to a lot of glues and get a workable paint. (workable in the sense that they will adhere and color. they may not have the consistency that makes them work well as a paint).

> One typically doesn't glue things together with paint

A friend of mine had his house repainted and the contractor farmed it out to some idiots. They painted all of the windows shut. No one noticed until after the paint had dried.

It's as solid a glue as you could want. :-)

(As anyone who's been sloppy and lazy with a can of paint knows.)

From what I know about wood finishers/lacquerers, their requirements seem anything but prosaic, there's a whole science behind it - especially for those in business of refurbishing old/antique furniture.

I would guess that the main reason for linseed oil not forming a hard surface coating on wood is that it doesn't form a surface coating at all. It soaks in.

Maybe if you saturate the wood, let it dry, and then keep adding additional coats, you'd start to get one. But, in a world where varnish exists, I'm not sure why you'd do that unless you were trying to reproduce a period technique or something.

The Chem Engineer finds terms like Resin, useless.

It's kind of like saying, tape.

Which tape? Easy peel? Or duct tape?

I imagine that this is possible because there is only one type of resin that's useful in this field. Or trade secrets...

There are many different types of bases ("resins") many of which are incompatible which each other, and can neither be mixed nor painted over. E.g. even acrylic lacquers, you can make them as a dispersion (i.e. water based) or using a solvent. Different paints. Not compatible. Both are "acrylic".

"The effect of layering is so powerful that it has transcended its roots in painting with oils and is now in­corporated into all professional digital illustration tools. If you use Photoshop, or Illustrator, or any other computer graphics tools, you'll be making images in layers."

The layering described there, is more about what blend modes are for, layering can also be quite dumb by itself. The roots of DTP software layers lie pretty much all in the necessities of print, not painting, where you have to have a layer per color anyway.

Wondering why the article stops short of the point, why (digital) reproduction of paintings is a lossy process in general, and especially for archiving. Total Appearance Capture systems exist but are rarely applied to paintings. A 2D-RGB raster can only represent the appearance of a light reflective object from a single angle und very specific ambient conditions. How a painting interacts with light in a room is a complex process of all kinds of optical phenomena (reflection, absorbtion, diffraction, refraction ...) as described in the arcticle.

The technique described as "They overlaid many thin layers of oil paint" is technically called glazing. And, by "thin" layers, they mean a layer that is mostly oil, with varying levels of pigment.

Many of the old masters would paint a detailed, monochromatic underpainting, and glaze many layers of color on top of it. Definitely not a process used by people who want to finish quickly.

That's interesting, it's very similar to the way many comics are done -- one person does the drawing and inking, and it's often colored by a different person (or at least as a different process if the team is small).

That's why you can "glue" wallpaper on the wall with paint.

Rather helpful knowledge, when you just want to put a small piece over a blemish on the wall.

> Linseed oil is also used for many applications beyond oil paint, such as treating wood, to create a transparent, protective plastic barrier -- just as oil paint does, but this time, without color.

Or for seasoning cast iron! https://www.cooksillustrated.com/how_tos/5820-the-ultimate-w...

Before anyone runs with your suggestion, it's worth pointing out that flaxseed is what people can use (which is a food-grade equivalent to linseed).

And then before anyone runs with that suggestion, it's actually not a great way to season cast iron - it turns brittle and the seasoning will chip away (experienced this myself, and then did research).

A great place to start for seasoning cast iron is on reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/castiron/comments/5rhq9n/the_rcasti...

The flaxseed oil method has worked great for me so far. But it is indeed a great internet debate. :)

This extract is from Delancey Place, which sends a daily email with a para or two from a fascinating book. I am rarely disappointed with their choices. Affilitate link to buy book is at bottom of email, but they seem to invest far more heart in this effort than the revenue would support. Sometimes, curated discovery is just what you need in a rushed morning. Very recommended.

One point the article missed is the relationship between Canvas, primer, medium and oil paint. All three are traditionally derived from the same plant: flax. For this reason, there is great chemical compatibility between them, which accounts for their longevity.

Even longer lasting is Buon fresco (the earliest form of fresco). This is essentially pigment painted into wet plaster. The paint is not a glue, rather a stain. Effectively the support and the paint are one.

Another interesting point is the difference between how light paint is applied to dark. Light paint is usually painted quite thickly, and for this reason is very good at reflecting light. This improves the upper registers of the painting. The last thing you want dark paint to do is reflect light. Thickly applied black paint takes on a very 'flat' look. An experienced oil painter would apply black paint as a very thin and 'dry' layer (dry = no or little medium). They are also likely to employ an underpainting layer of brown-red. Applied in this manner the darks have a profound depth. The end result is a profoundly wide dynamic range.

Dough is edible glue.

All glue is dough if you're brave enough.

For better glue I recommend gummy bears as raw material. Starch-based ones are more brittle.

(Disclaimer: I am probably not the best gluemaker.)

Interesting. I wish they hadn't thrown in this nonsense though:

> It's exactly the intricate expressiveness of oil paint that made Renaissance art so sensual and passionate

Is there a hidden analogy to programming that I missed? :)

Thanks for the link instead of a downvote, never seen this post.

It's definitely an interesting read; I find myself both agreeing and disagreeing with Graham - sometimes on the same thought or idea being presented.

I'm not sure what that means for me personally.

I didn't downvote, but your comment comes across as dismissive of the subject because it isn't directly related to digital tech.

Ignorant at best ;) It's nice to let to learn about other viewpoints though.

To clarify, the smiley makes condescending.

Really? It was not the intention. I just found it odd to be on the top of HN, so I assumed it to have a deeper meaning which I still find funny.

I know, it's the burden of text.

No it's not, as the author says in the 3rd sentence of the article. Watercolor paint is not an adhesive in any sense of the word. And there are plenty of paints which also dry, leaving a powder behind that can easily rub off.

So yeah, some paint is glue, some is not.

At least the abstract is more precise:

> The secret of oil paint, as mastered by our greatest artists

Nevertheless, an interesting read.

The 4th sentence is about watercolor paint:

>Watercolor paint does it by drying, releasing water into the air through evaporation and leaving only the pigments on the page.

This is not glue.

The binder, gum arabic, is. There's just not much of it.

I think its fair to say you might've missed the opportunity to grant some poetic license.

Maybe the wider point was the more philosophical one: art binds our minds together, and therefore paintings are a kind of mind glue, figuratively ..

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact