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A quick survey of the available literature about decorative painting suggests we should probably think twice before touting our 25 years in the business. In a nutshell, decorative painting could easily contest the current titleholder’s claim to being “the world’s oldest profession.” Cavepersons did it on their cave walls. Early Egyptians did it on tomb walls and sarcophagi in the pyramids. Some credit Egyptians with the first faux finish which was a simulation of wood (wood being scarce in Egypt’s arid climate). Ancients in China, Greece, Italy, and just about everywhere else found ways to decorate their surroundings and, soon thereafter, ways to earn a living at it.

If you’re already familiar with interior design and/or decorative painting, you may want to skip the rest of this section with the exception of the Illustrated Glossary of Decorative Painting Terms and Expressions where you’ll find a few unique terms sprinkled among the basics (terms that probably aren’t in your lexicon unless you’ve worked at Warnock Studios).

One way to understand what the term “decorative painting” includes is to identify everything that it excludes. Paint applied solely for the purpose of:
  • protecting the substrate
  • covering up graffiti
  • avoiding a more time consuming process known as “a thorough cleaning”
does not meet the definition of decorative painting even if it does “beautify” the surface it covers. On the other hand, decorative painting can satisfy any or all of these objectives while decorating the surface it covers at the same time.

It may help to think of decorative painting as “value-added” painting because a decorative painter always does more than apply paint, plaster, and the like to a surface. It’s the “something extra” the artist does before, during and/or after application that gives the result its decorative quality.
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