John Mansell Smith has been a self-employed painter & decorator for four years. He explains what it’s like to run your own business. “I became a self-employed painter & decorator when I took early retirement from my professional job in London, where I was employed as a Principal Building Surveyor. When I retired, I needed some additional income to supplement my pension, and having been in the building industry I was fully aware of the standard and quality which would be required to produce work to a professional standard. For a typical day at work, I usually arrive at the job at 8.30 am, and then depending on the sort of work I am doing it will vary a great deal. I could be undertaking external decorations or internal decorations, but in each case it would require covering and protecting the client's furniture, preparation of surfaces, washing down the walls, painting, wallpapering, cleaning up, etc. I try to leave at about 4.30 pm, but this may vary depending on the stage that I have reached with the job. In terms of likes and dislikes, I don’t enjoy working outside in poor weather, although I try to plan my workload to avoid this. However, I do like the freedom of being my own boss and getting complimented on a good job. If you wanted to be a painter and decorator, you would have to decide whether you wish to work for a company with the benefits such as holiday pay, but with the constraints of not being your own boss, or working for yourself with the freedom this gives but also the uncertainty of workload. As a self-employed person I can charge about £15 per hour for work that I do on an hourly rate, or I base any calculations on this rate when I am producing an estimate for a client. In attempting to find work, I would try the job centre, trade journals, large decorating companies, the internet and building training boards. To do the job you need to be a clean, neat worker with an eye for detail. The job you produce is the final result that the client will see, so it is vital that you can produce a finished job that you would be happy to have in your own home.

The oldest known paintings are at the Grotte Chauvet in France, which some historians believe are about 32,000 years old. They are engraved and painted using red ochre and black pigment, and they show horses, rhinoceros, lions, buffalo, mammoth, abstract designs and what are possibly partial human figures. However, the earliest evidence of the act of painting has been discovered in two rock-shelters in Arnhem Land, in northern Australia. In the lowest layer of material at these sites, there are used pieces of ochre estimated to be 60,000 years old. Archaeologists have also found a fragment of rock painting preserved in a limestone rock-shelter in the Kimberley region of North-Western Australia, that is dated 40,000 years old.[7] There are examples of cave paintings all over the world—in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, China, Australia, Mexico,[8] etc. In Western cultures, oil painting and watercolor painting have rich and complex traditions in style and subject matter. In the East, ink and color ink historically predominated the choice of media, with equally rich and complex traditions.
Abstract painting uses a visual language of form, colour and line to create a composition that may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world.[29][30] Abstract expressionism was an American post-World War II art movement that combined the emotional intensity and self-denial of the German Expressionists with the anti-figurative aesthetic of the European abstract schools—such as Futurism, Bauhaus and Cubism, and the image of being rebellious, anarchic, highly idiosyncratic and, some feel, nihilistic.[31]
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