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The Pianist, The Painter, The Singer, The Statesman

Periodically, my mother’s interior design class toured Chicago area properties.

On one, day-long tour, they visited three luxury homes that set on Evanston’s high bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan.

One home featured fine examples of classic contemporary design: simple lines, solid colors, smooth finishes, subtle textures, geometric patterns, and sleek woods, tiles, glass, and chrome.

From its trimly landscaped and broadly sweeping circle driveway, to the double set of solid red lacquer front doors, to the nine-foot main hallway that trailed through the house, to the four glass doors at the rear, that overlooked the lake.

The sprawling, one-story structure suited its owners: a concert pianist and conductor, and his wife, an artist and author.

The music room stood out. Its two most striking amenities: the magnificent black lacquer Steinway concert piano and the 12-inch square, black and white marble tiles that covered the floor.

Features also included the following:

1. dome ceiling with a huge globular skylight;
2. solid black marble fireplace;
3. two walls lined with white-enameled bookcases, stuffed with books, bound volumes of sheet music, also wood and ivory artifacts;
4. couches and easy chairs upholstered in matching white-on-white striped damask.

All of the other sixteen rooms featured equally elegant, yet comfortable appointments. It was a home that clearly represented the personalities of the owners, and met their needs perfectly.

Shortly before the design school students’ visit, the owners had decided to retire in that house. And, they’d put their South Florida home up for sale.

Nearly twenty years after touring that home, my mother was led into the luxury apartment of a former opera star, Adeline Arrigo. Interestingly, she had performed with the concert pianist on philharmonic stages throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.

Madame Arrigo resided on the second story of a red brick, three-story walk-up built in the early 1900s by her husband’s Sicilian family. The South Racine Avenue building, located on the southeast side of Chicago, set across the street from University of Illinois’s Chicago campus. And, the three-story building had five large apartments – all occupied by “Arrigos.”

The focal points of the two bedroom apartment were the portraits of Adeline and her husband, the late Victor Arrigo. On every wall, every shelf and every table top were representations of the owners famous lives. Adeline, the opera star. Victor, the Illinois statesman that drafted, then championed the Federal Fair Credit and Collection Act. (Note: A stronger version of the law is in effect today.)

The traditional apartment also featured:

1. 12-foot high, white-sponged stucco ceilings;
2. white plaster, also deep red painted, walls;
3. tall wood-paned windows in each of the eight rooms;
4. white marble, wood-burning fireplaces in three rooms;
5. crystal chandeliers;
6. lustrous hardwood floors; and,
7. large oriental area rugs depicting eighteenth century country scenes.

The apartment was appointed with elegant, yet comfortable seating in every room. In the living room: deep red velvet-upholstered sofas, and black leather fireside chairs. In the bedrooms: European-designed settees and chairs, covered in deeper pink or soft rose moiré. Plush velvet upholstery covered the dining room chairs. And hand-sewn satin, moiré, and crushed velvet pillows set on every piece of seating.

The two distinctive period homes – the sprawling contemporary house of the 1960s-1970s, and the large traditional apartment of the 1940s-1950s – provided a very similar peak into elegant yet understated living. In their respective spaces, the owners and residents had created environments that supported their need for creative thought, good taste, peace and contentment. All had surrounded themselves with meaningful symbols of who they were as persons. And, what they represented.

The Chicago area featured many architectural and design masterpieces. I never had the privilege to visit the residences described above. Yet, I have had the opportunity to work on many similar homes. In doing so, the greatest pleasure has been in meeting the unique persons that have lived there.

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Fine design deserves to be preserved with the hand of a fine painter-craftsperson.
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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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Painter’s View: Painter Apprentices at Work

Most painter apprentices start out by doing grunt work – in the paintshop, and on site.

 

THINGS A PAINTER APPRENTICE MAY HAVE TO DO

 

  1. Basic surface preparation: sanding, washing, caulking, puttying, degreasing, masking, dusting, patching walls/ceilings, scraping off loose paint.
  2. Studying job site blueprints and specifications for scheduled paint/finishing product.
  3. Learning to prepare various surfaces for specific types of coatings and finishing products.
  4. Driving company supply/equipment truck to and from job sites.
  5. Loading and unloading paint products and equipment.
  6. Picking up, delivering and packing up, storing supplies, tools, work tables, etc. used by the journey painters.
  7. Moving or removing furniture, large fixtures, area rugs, etc.
  8. Spreading out dropcloths; covering furniture, fixtures, built-ins, flooring, that can’t be removed.
  9. Organizing and setting up, then taking down work areas.
  10. Removing, then replacing fixtures, electric outlet covers, window shades/blinds/treatments.
  11. Mixing and pouring paint, filling paint pots and trays.
  12. Setting up masking/tape dispensers and machines, and other supplies, tools, equipment.
  13. Opening, unwrapping, unrolling boxes of plastic sheeting, masking/film papers, wallcoverings.
  14. Holding or stabilizing ladders, scaffolding sections, planking systems.
  15. Assisting journey painters.
  16. Stripping wood and metal surfaces.
  17. Repairing metal with polyester patch.
  18. Rough sanding and scraping of chipped, alligatored and worn paint and finishes.
  19. Basic drywall finishing and sanding; also prepping if that job was left to painters.
  20. Applying prime and finish paint products, when all other work is caught up.
  21. Stacking wood moldings, trims, frames, etc.
  22. Moving doors, framing; shutters, thresholds, railings, etc.
  23. Removing masking and taping materials, dropcloths, sheeting, etc.
  24. Cleaning all overspray from unpainted surfaces.
  25. Folding up dropcloths, sheeting, etc.; loading them onto supply truck..
  26. Cleaning up, picking up, sweeping, and clearing out work areas at end of each day.
  27. Soaking, cleaning and restoring paintbrushes, roller covers and frames; extension rods, etc.
  28. Flushing or washing out paint spray systems: spray guns, spray pots, hoses, compressors.
  29. Cleaning out buckets, paint trays, filters, racks, soaking carriers.
  30. Properly closing and sealing all product containers, boxes, tubes, wrappings, crates, etc.
  31. Disposing all chemical and hazardous products and supplies according to EPA, HazMat, and manufacturer instructions.
  32. Keeping paintshop storage and work areas organized, picked up, cleaned up, cleared out.

 

Actually, the list is endless. Too, it can be extended at any time, and by different persons, too.

 

Working as a painter apprentice can seem like a very dead-end and thankless job. And, most apprentices can’t wait to get handed that first paintbrush and a gallon of paint, and be ordered to paint a surface.

 

However, the smart apprentices will take advantage of every minute that they must spend doing that grunt work. They will literally see what it takes to run a job. Every physical aspect of it.

 

And, they will UP their learning curve every day that they’re on the job. From check-in time till check-out. (Actually, off the job, too.) Observing more. Listening more. Seeing more. Smelling more. Touching more. Learning more. Soaking in all that they can. Like a top grade Greek sea sponge.

 

SPECIAL BONUSES THAT PAINTER APPRENTICES MAY GET

 

Many painter apprentices have the opportunity to go onto different job sites. They are able to meet many people: experienced craftspersons and bosses in various construction trades. They get to be around architects, engineers and designers (in various fields); suppliers and manufacturers’ representatives; government inspectors; customers and clients; even investors.

 

Starting at the bottom in the painting trade offers so many long-term benefits. It offers invaluable preparation work for building a successful career as a journey painter, a finishing/detail painter and decorator, a contractor, a consultant, a trainer/instructor, an construction industry expert, an U.S. government expert in construction and building, occupational health and safety, environmental protection, etc.

 

I’ve met over a dozen painters that have ended up building successful careers as product designers or inventors; others as product/materials testers and analysts. Even as speakers and authors.

 

Where grunt work can take the painter apprentice is really up to him or her. Where it leads some day may be to a quality of life, and a way of life, that he or she could have never imagined when first signing up with IUPAT, a technical school, and/or painter apprenticeship programs.

 

The door is wide open.

 

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There’s honor in beginning at the bottom. There’s honor at the top,

especially if you respect others who are just beginning. RDH

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Have a safe, rewarding week. And thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

WHY PAINT?

Artist Bob Ross used to say, “Painting should not be agony.”

I agree.

Over the years, I’ve met and/ or worked with construction industry painters that fit into one of these categories:

1. Some painters loved what they were doing; and it showed in their work, and their attitude about life.

Example: “Bob, the Painter,” my father, smiled a lot on the job. And often he stopped to admire others’ workmanship… to watch a bird in a nearby tree…to double check his own work.

2. Some painters, overall, liked to paint, and seemed to be fine with the likelihood that they’d be doing it for years in the future.

Example: Jesse hummed on the job… drank, and tried to share, cantaloupe juice made by his wife… took on any task that needed to be done.

3. Some painters liked to paint and did a good job; but they wanted to do something else career-wise, and to earn a living.

Example: Larry and Wayne wanted much more independence than a foreman painter had. So both went into contracting, and demonstrated that they were okay with the added responsibility that entrepreneurship required.

4. Some painters really didn’t like to paint; but they lacked the will, nerve and resources to try anything else.

Example: “W” dreamed of doing something where he could visit more with others on the job, and get paid for it. But, he had no real support system in the U. S. to help him try something new.

5. Then there were a few painters that had an intense dislike for painting, and much associated with the trade. And, increasingly, they demonstrated their disdain and discomfort.

Example: W.R. complained about everything, it seemed. He showed up intoxicated… violated safety rules…put crew members at risk…misused products.

What each of those painters knew about their jobs was complemented, or contradicted, by their respective attitudes about painting, and their own lives.

Which painter would you like to work with on a regular basis?

Into which category do you think that others might place you?

Into which category do you believe that you really fit?

Something to think about, right?

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Whatever you do for a living, including painting, give it your 100 percent at least 85 percent of the time. The remaining 15 percent? Take a good look at how you’re doing, and why.
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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting It: An Author’s Painter – and Movie Sets

An author’s greatest reward can be seeing one of his or her novels reach the big screen.

A handful of novelists have had more than three of their works turned into a full-feature film.
Few of these novelists write the screenplay version of their novels. More of them do, these days, serve as technical consultants during the filming of their stories.

Earlier this year, one of these prolific authors of popular film stories got his house painter and decorator a job as a painter on the set of a movie.

Let’s call him “Joel.” The man mixed and matched the paints. Then he painted the movie set’s exterior buildings, store fronts and related areas; also the interiors of many sets. It was meant to be a very temporary gig.

Three-and-a-half weeks into the project, the construction crew’s lead painter was in an accident, and couldn’t work. “Joel,” the temporary set painter, who was a seasoned commercial painter and decorator, was put into the lead job.

At the end of filming, the author came along. He offered the temporary painter a full-time, steady job as a movie set painter. Particularly the sets of the author’s film projects. And, this author always tends to have one of his novels heading for or already on a movie set somewhere.

“It was a lot of fun,” my old painter friend told me while visiting in Florida in early July. “Being around all that action… some great actors… very talented, skilled craftspersons and artisans. That was great.”

The man’s eyes dropped to the paint color chips in my hand. And the two, 5-gallon buckets of paint at my feet.

“This,” he pointed around the paint store, “is me.” Then, he grabbed one of the heavy paint buckets and walked out to my ‘87 Chevy Blazer. The subject of movie-set painting closed!

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The mark of a real pro is often the little things that he does, and the big decisions he makes, along his way.
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Thanks to all readers and followers – visible and hidden – of “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting Questions, Quotes, and Quips – Part 1

QUESTIONS:

1. What constitutes a “source” that must be credited in any future use?

Answer: According to U.S. Trademark, Patent, and Copyright Law, the original source of a concept, design, prototype, photograph, imprint, illustration, artwork, literary work, etc. must be listed whenever and wherever the item is used. That includes when the re-user has written permission from the originator, or legal representative, to use the material.

2. How should the original source be credited?

Answer: The originator’s required, usually brief, format must be used.
Example: Name of person, name of studio/company/publication, title of work, copyright date/year.

3. How necessary is it for any re-user of an original work to get written permission to use the work or material?

Answer: It is essential, especially whereas we live in a period of widespread misuse, pirating, fraud, plagiarism, identity theft, etc. Whenever, wherever, and how you use someone else’s material for “personal and/or financial gain…”

QUOTES:

I was checking on possible LinkedIn connections to specific persons connected to the technical services of a leading paint products manufacturer. Sure enough. At least two were there. Then, I checked on the manufacturer’s informational website for painting contractors. There, I found the same persons credited as the writers and/or editors of articles.

Immediately, I noticed that many of the articles’ topics and titles, organization, contents, and both wordage and phraseology were very familiar. Say, from this “Painting with Bob” blog. “All posts “copyright” protected. “All rights reserved.” Meaning no re-use, reproduction, reprinting, etc. without written permission of the author, or his/her legal representative.

QUIPS:

A first year journalism student landed an entry-level, Friday night job on The Indiana Daily Student, Indiana University’s newspaper.

Assignment 1: Pick up the reporters’ wads of yellow printer’s paper laying around their desks.

Assignment 2: Grab a chair next to any working reporter. Then read each page of copy as it comes out of the typewriter.

Assignment 3: Check that WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, and HOW – and even WHY – have been covered within the first two paragraphs of the reporter’s story.

Assignment 4: “Red-pen” circle every error in punctuation, spelling, grammar, word use, word order, typing, etc.

Assignment 5: Check all quotes for accuracy, and that the following match those written in the reporter’s notebook: interviewee’s full name, title and affiliation; exact words stated and in order, beginning and ending quotation marks, date, place and occasion of interview.

Assignment 6: Warning: “No mistakes allowed,” said Dr. F.A., dean of the School of Journalism, Indiana University. “If you can’t cut it on the floor, you can’t cut it at the desk.”

Closing observation: The paint manufacturer’s writers and editors did a good job on those painting tips articles for the contractors’ publication. They got the facts straight. And, their paraphrasing was reasonably accurate.

So… I let two area Sherwin-Williams friends treat me to lunch, and compare notes about an experimental coating for exterior surfaces such as high-exposure steel fencing.

CLOSING TIP:
Always give credit where credit is due!

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Trademark, Patent and Copyright Laws are here to protect everyone – including painters!
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Thanks to all visible or hidden readers, followers, and paraphrasers of “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s World: Painters and Gardens

The rain drip, dripped, then beat upon my hearty vegetable plants. I hoped that they would make it.

Last year, the torrential rains knocked my tomato, pepper and pole bean plants to the ground. Broken, limp and lifeless.

Miraculously, the repeated rainfalls recently – all of them needed desperately – saturated the earth. And, they bounced off the leaves of every plant. Even the young, more vulnerable ones.

WHY DOES ONE CROP SURVIVE AND THRIVE? Why does the last crop curl up and die?

An “THIS-GARDEN” ANSWER

This season I pre-treated the soil with a fertilizer spray solution: 1-cup ammonia to 1-gallon water. (TIP: Do not increase the ratio.)

I found the old solution printed in Amish Gardening Secrets by Mardy D. Nicholas. (Copyright 2005, James Direct, Inc., Hartsville, Ohio 64632.)

I did not expect the results that I’ve gotten so far. Many buds on every plant.

Yield estimate: If one half of the buds produce fresh vegetables, the yields will be amazing. More than enough to share with non-gardening neighbors. Plus a few local painters and former co-workers. And, still have enough fresh veggies to freeze or can.

ABOUT GARDEN SIZE

Garden size does not determine plant yield. Nutrients in the soil, quality of vegetable seeds, timely cooperation of the weather (rain, sun, shade, heat, humidity), and, planting and tending DO have everything to do with it.

Since 2013, I’ve cut down the garden size by 50 percent. Fewer tomato, pepper, bean, and pea plants, less lettuce, and only one or two herbs.

In my family, painters and decorators have also gardened. In Indiana: a huge “truck patch.” Hundreds of plants. In South Florida: six-to-eight plants in huge earthen patio pots. In Central Florida: ten-to-twenty-five plants mainly in the ground, also in earthen and plastic pots.

Teammate Tip: If a teammate shows up with a basketful of home-grown vegetables and/or fruit, take some. That’s why he or she brought them. If you’re not interested, please take a few for a neighbor or friend.

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It’s not how you start, but how you finish.
It’s not where you begin, but where you end.
It’s not what you plant, but what you end up with.
It’s not how much you plant, but the quality of your yield.

..Paraphrased quote by Tommy Tu, director, “Grand Hotel”
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Thanks to painters that also grow gardens.

Thanks from “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting Them: Camouflaging Beat Up Walls, Doors, Trim

The 85-year old hotel showed its age. Though well maintained, its 240 guest rooms needed a major face lift.

But the group of employee owners could not afford it.

Yet, to fill their rooms – to keep their doors open, they needed to improve its appearance. Also they needed to repair the essentials.

In early 2016, I stayed in one of their best rooms. It needed a lot of work.

In December of 2016, the hotel’s painter demonstrated his face-lift plan to the chief engineer and general manager. Both men pushed for the group of owners to authorize the plan.

Here’s the painter’s plan, in the order that the respective area(s) would be redecorated.

1. GUEST ROOMS
A. Patch, then lightly sand the surfaces of the wall in the worst shape.
B. Next, apply a base coat in the room’s darker main color.
C. Then, apply faux finish glaze – eg. sponging – in same color tinted 2-3 hues lighter.
D. Option: Apply base coat in main color lightened three hues. Then apply glaze coat in color 3 hues darker.
TIP: Save even more time and money. Forget the fresh base coat. And apply only the faux finish glaze – eg. sponging, dragging, or ragging – in same hue as base color, or lighter or darker.

2. GUEST ROOM BATHROOMS
A. Thoroughly wash and rinse the worst wall. Let dry.
B. Lightly sand area so all streaks and gouged edges fake into surface.
C. Paint wall in same color used as glaze color on Guestroom wall.
D. Bonus: Paint contrasting 3-inch border along top of accent wall, across from adjoining wall leading to bedroom’s refinished wall.
E. TIP: Repaint all trim and molding in base coat or Vanilla cream.

3. PUBLIC RESTROOMS
A. Patch, then lightly sand the vanity/sink wall.
B. Repaint in bright hue that contrasts with room’s main color.
Example: If main color is light gray, repaint sink wall in Light Aquamarine, Lime, or Berry.

4. CORRIDORS
A. Patch, then lightly sand walls on both sides.
B. Repaint upper walls in tint of lightest color used in hotel’s main color scheme.
C. Repaint lower walls in darker hue of same color.
D. Repaint baseboard/trim in same light color as upper walls.
E. Repaint end wall, if nicked, in contrasting color.

5. LOBBY
A. Grid worst wall into vertical stripes.
B. Patch, then lightly sand the surface.
C. Paint stripes in alternating colors: Predominant color in the room, then same color tinted 3 hues lighter or darker.
D. Option: Apply one of the colors in faux finish – eg. dragging, flogging.

The objective: Recoat the surfaces so that they would pass even the “UP CLOSE” test.

The goal: Enhance the amenity’s appearance so that the guests say “Wow!” when they walk in.

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“Painting with Bob” aims to present a side of painting that makes your job easier, and enjoyable. On a daily basis.

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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