My first summer job when still a school pupils was to work as a ships painter at Fraserburgh harbour. I was reminded on this when I came across the following web page
As stated on the page – ship painters were inclined to clear their brushes by painting on the wall of the paint shed. This would result in the paint building up over the years – it would commonly reach many inches of thickness. I recall many happy summer hours working on the boats. One of the most hair raising jobs was to paint the boats ariel at the top of the boats mast! See teh following photo to get an impressions of how hight this can be.
You can click on the photo to see a bigger version of the photo. ( not my photo – linked to it at Webshots.com )
When you are up there you would stand with one foot on the top of the mast and hold on with one hand and paint with the other – don’t ask how you would hold the paint tin 😉