Years ago, paint was paint. One kind looked, smelled, was applied and eventually dried much like another. Things are different now. Besides oil paints, you can choose from a new set of paints. It'll pay you to know about them. • There are water paints you can use outside. (You clean your brushes under the faucet and use the garden hose to get spatters off the shrubbery.) • There are finishes so tough they withstand even attacks from the neighbors' children. • There are paints that dry so fast you start the second coat as soon as you finish putting on the first. • There are colors in glittering confusion.
Reading also needs good visual perceptual skills. Shape perception allows us to recognise the similarities and differences in the shape of letters. Figure-ground perception is needed to be able to see the separate words on the page and the separate letters in the words. Spatial perception allows us to see where one word starts and another ends and which way round a letter must face.
If you are grappling with the problem of choosing a woodwork colour to go with neutral walls, check out Architectural Colours by David Oliver, the founder of Paint & Paper Library. He arranged his off-whites for ceilings, cornices, walls and woodwork in chromatical groups and the concept has been so well received that chromatically arranged colours, such as soft greys, greens and pinks, have been introduced.
When choosing colours for exterior surfaces, consider the style of the brickwork or masonry of your home along with the colours used on nearby buildings, so as to pick colours that are sympathetic to these surroundings. Colours for fences and sheds should be selected with the same criteria in mind.
Also, when checking the paint, be realistic and don't ignore areas just for the sake of convenience. It will cost you more in time and money later. Typically if one area of the paint is cracked or peeling, then the paint on the entire car is suspect. Maybe the rest of the car just hasn't quite reached that point of decay, but it will shortly. So if you only fix areas that look bad, you'll likely find that you wasted a paint job when the other areas start to crack or peel in a year or two.
Paint Selection. Most paints are purchased ready-mixed but, in their selection, consideration should be given to the fact that surfaces vary in their adaptability to paint and atmospheric or other conditions having an adverse effect on paint performance. In addition to the normal weathering action of sun and rain, outside house paints are sometimes exposed to other attacking elements, such as corrosive fumes from factories or excessive amounts of wind-driven dust.
Specialist paints also include some exciting new finishes, such as suede effects, metallics and high-sheen lacquers. Judy Smith, colour consultant at Crown, suggests an accent wall in one of these to lift a neutral scheme. Crown's Feature Wall range, which includes eight metallic finishes, nine bright colours and a highly reflective Pure Brilliant White, comes in convenient 1.25 litre tins.