Painting started with drawings on cave walls. The painted walls were hard and scary to get to, and the artist was most likely the local Shaman who could cast a spell on you and as a result the next bear you ran into would eat you. I love old cave art because it is very artistically done and the pigments used are interesting. Usually the pigments were readily available but occasionally they had to be made by the artist or shaman so it’s not difficult to understand the arcane nature of cave art. Add a torch and the drawn animals appear to come to life; good advertising for a shaman. Really the evolution of painting is the evolution or discovery of pigments.
I’ve recently had a little scare as the European Union was considering banning Cadmium. Cadmium compounds make a number of colours from yellows to red. They are really good colours and widely used but they have no good substitute. Governments have since decided that banning Cadmium in artist’s paint may not be the best idea. I think it has very little to do with toxicity and more to do with the environment. Google it and see the controversy. My daughter and I were particularly concerned because Cadmium Yellow and Red are basic parts of our pallets and we haven’t found a good alternative.