|MadSci Network: Chemistry|
Diane, If you'd really like to explore the chemistry of paints, I would suggest polymer science. Paints are really just colored polymeric dispersions in water. The most critical components being pigment and polymer resin. Polymer science will teach some optical properties of films, but to learn more about how color and light operates, you'll need to focus on one of the analytical techniques used to study films: spectroscopy (The science of how materials interact with light of different wavelengths).
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Chemistry.