Friday, September 2, 2011

Me and My Paintbrush

"Necessity is the mother of invention," they say. I say, "Necessity is the mother of learning how." It has become necessary in my adult life to learn how to paint. Not beautiful landscapes or stunning portraits, but walls, ceilings, woodwork, and shelves. Lots of them. I've spent an inordinate amount of time this summer with a paintbrush in my hand and a crick in my neck.

My first big adventure into painting was in 2003 when we remodeled the four rooms in the original part of our house. As a way of saving a few dollars, I painted the walls in a bedroom, sewing room, bathroom, office/library, and entry hall. Now I know that painting new drywall is fairly easy, but when I started it seemed a huge undertaking. The biggest learning curve came with the hunter green in the bathroom and the rich red in the office/library. Those colors taught me the value of tinted primer and multiple coats of paint. When I applied the primer and first coat of red paint, my husband took one look at the hot pink and said, "Are you sure that's what you want?" I have to admit I was a little worried, but I put on my brave face and said it would look fine when the room was finished. Thank goodness I was right!! But it took four coats of red to reach the color that was on the paint card and the addition of white built-in book shelves to tone the room down enough to keep it from feeling like the inside of a fire hydrant. The book shelves were no picnic either.  Besides painting the built-in cabinets, there were 39 shelves, nine drawers, and four cabinet doors. All needed primer and two coats of paint. That year I painted something every day from February to June. I learned a lot, with the most valuable lesson being that one cannot judge a paint job until it is completely dry.

Me and my paintbrush: from this...
Now we've undertaken another house to remodel. Robin's uncle's farmhouse became ours in the fall of 2004. Although it is in good shape, it has suffered from a severe lack of TLC for the last half-century. We're finally to the finishing point for the kitchen, pantry, dining room, bath, and laundry. (The rest of the house might take another half-century to finish!) My main summer project this year was to paint the kitchen, pantry, and dining room. Surely I could get that done over the summer... couldn't I? I started in the kitchen, where it was my bright idea to leave the wide-board walls and exposed ceiling and simply paint. Well, there's been nothing simple about it, and after six weeks of painting, I'm still at it. Those wide-board walls required hours of sanding, filling cracks and holes, priming and painting - I'm on the painting part now. But the walls pale in comparison to the ceiling. When I asked about filling the numerous cracks there, Robin said, "Are you kidding? You wanted character, didn't you?" By the time I finished painting the ceiling, I'd had about all the character I could take for one summer. I spent the better part of two weeks perched on a ladder, looking up, and moving dime store reading glasses from my head to my eyes to the end of my nose and back again in an effort to get my middle-aged eyes to focus clearly on what I was doing. Not to mention that the heatwave of the century turned our cool mountain clime into an sweltering oven, which mind you, was even hotter at the top of that ladder. And I had to paint that character-filled ceiling three times (primer plus two coats of semi-gloss), with each coat taking three or four days. I won't go into the color, and how it looked yellow instead of green, which meant I had to start over... this!!

The ceiling is done now, and a friend stopped by today while I was working on the walls once again, and wonder of wonders, she looked up and said, "Wow, I love that ceiling!" I could have hugged her! Who knows when I'll get to the dining room and pantry (which, by the way, are easy for an old pro like me: new drywall and beadboard), but for my tired eyes, sore neck, and aching shoulder, that one sentence is about as sweet as it gets. "Wow, I love that ceiling!"

1 comment:

  1. Nancy, You are so good at the little details. Can't wait to see the finished product and yes, that ceiling is beautiful and I love the color!


Thanks so much for stopping by! I appreciate your time and hope you found a blessing at This Sweet Life!