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Archive for the ‘People make the difference’ Category

Painter’s World: On Being a Paint Superintendent, or a Boss

One time, I jumped all over my father for coming down hard on a new painter.

Dad said, “He deserved it.”

I said, “No, he deserved some respect. He deserved a chance to learn, then to get it right.”

Less than fifteen minutes later, my dad took the new crew member aside. He apologized and showed the man the correct way to do the job that he’d been assigned. Then Dad stepped away.

It was the first and last time that I ever heard him yell at a crew member. And, after he died, many painters told me that they had never heard him do that.

Yes, he raised his voice. Yes, he called out the painters when they deserved it. Yes, he corrected them. And yes, he even told them what to do.

But, when a painter was not getting it – or not getting it right, Dad would help him rectify the situation. Often cutting into his own time schedule that was already under tight constraints.

When more than one painter was not getting it at the same time, Dad stopped everything. And he conducted a little, on-site crash course. Whether the problem was a new product, a stubborn piece of equipment, a resistant surface, uncooperative weather conditions, etc., he showed the entire crew that was there what needed to be done. Or not.

During Memorial Day week-end, a retired and former member of our old crew e-mailed me the following…

“Bob, your dad was a commanding force wherever he went. Wherever he stood. I knew him for over forty years. We joined IBPAT (IUPAT) about the same time.

“He was a man to be reckoned with, but never a man that insisted on it. He knew the painting trade backward and forward, inside and out. He was so blamed skilled and experienced in the trade that he could do anything that he tackled. A top rate superintendent or foreman, a ‘take charge’ person that everyone respected…”

Working under my dad was overwhelming at times. His six-foot, 200-pound frame served him well for the job he was given in life. It partnered well with the way that he needed to run a job, paint crew, powerful piece of equipment, or even dealings with a client or architect.

And the nickname “Moose” suited him like a custom pair of whites. His caribou-like walk sort of shook the floorboards when he charged through a job site. More than once, I tensed up waiting for him to bellow.

Some painters and decorators are cut out to be superintendents or bosses. You just look at them, and you know that. You see it. You hear it. You sense it in the way that they approach even basic, mundane tasks. With a unique command of and presence in everything they do.

One more thing: Commanding forces such as my father often attract equally commanding forces. People just like them. In my father’s case, it happened to be very successful entrepreneurs and founders of established enterprises. Men and women whose natural inclination was to take charge… to assume responsibility… to accept accountability for how things turned out.

Being a superintendent or a big boss was never my thing. Thankfully. For one thing, I don’t know if my father could have taken the strain, or competition. (And my mother? Forget it!)

Early in my painting career, I found my niche: serving as the go-to guy for those superintendents and bosses. Their back up when trouble loomed, and things got tough. Fortunately, every one of them, including my father, has been more than glad to turn things over to me. And to trust me with them.

Being able to fulfill – and to exceed – their expectations and needs on a consistent basis has been so worth all the effort. And the hard knocks.

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Great leaders must have great people to lead.
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Thanks to all visitors to “Painting with Bob.”

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

Volunteering Your Painting and Decorating Skills, Part II: Options and Action

When it comes to volunteering our painting skills, we may overlook the needs that exist in our own community or neighborhood. Two large categories below:

1. Steer your skills where they can matter the most at this time.
Examples:
A. Local low budget nursing home unable to afford staff painter.
B. Local public school severely hurt by sharp budget cuts.
C. Local free medical clinic.
D. Local small church or church school.
E. Low income or fixed income neighborhood.
F. Family that’s been uprooted by severe medical bills, or death of main breadwinner.

2. Consider discreetly volunteering your skills for persons that you know.
Examples:
A. Relative or friend.
B. Elderly or disabled neighbor.
C. Your church pastor and family.
D. Members of church family.

Also, we may not know how to go about finding these needs in our own back yards. Two ideas:

1. To locate a local needy person or family, check with your pastor or one of a nearby smaller parish.
TIPS: Some churches only accept volunteer work through their own parishioners. Also, people have their pride. Offer help only to persons or families willing to accept to accept it.

2. To find a local low-income church, organization, facility, school or group, I suggest that you write a brief letter offering your painting skills labor-free. Include the following information:

A. summary of your experience
B. work you’re available to do, including days, no. of hours, morning or afternoon.
C. availability: 1 time, temporary for 3 months 1 year, etc.
D. statement about who buys and who pays for needed supplies – eg. paint, caulking tubes
fillers, sandpapers, paint thinner.
E. statement about when supplies would need to be purchased.
F. statement about your limits – eg. interior work, environmental conditions, hazardous conditions, tools
and equipment.

A FEW TIPS ABOUT DOING THE VOLUNTEER PAINTING JOB

1. Aim to leave behind a finished job as good as you do in your paid painting job.
2. Follow standard and exceptional policies, procedures, and techniques that you normally follow.
3. Be neat, thorough and friendly.
4. Respect all the health and safety rules that you would normally follow.
5. Be professional on your volunteer job, too.
6. Respect the rules that apply to your work for the person, family, organization, group, etc.
7. Maintain your pre-set volunteering parameters. Do not volunteer to do more than you have
offered or agreed upon, at least the first time that you help out that person or group. Even
one extra room, area or park bench can require more time than you have available.
8. Be honest.
9. Set and keep to a schedule. Cancel or change work dates and times only if necessary. And,
give prompt notice.

MY VIEW: I want to do my best. And, I want beneficiaries to want me to come back and help them again.

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When a painter volunteers, he or she adds special strokes of hope into the lives of others.
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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Volunteering Your Painting and Decorating Skills, Part I: Where You’re Coming From

Whatever your painting capabilities – and specialty areas, there’s a cause or program out there that can really use your help. From the local, loosely formed grassroots organization to the international non-profit corporation, the need for skilled craft persons is basically the same.

It’s up to you to find that niche – and then help to fulfill it.

So, how do you volunteer your painting skills and abilities toward a good cause? One that you’ll feel good about while you’re working on it, then after you leave.

TIPS FOR GETTING STARTED ON YOUR VOLUNTEER PAINTER’S PATH

1. Your interests. What grabs your attention – and won’t let go?

Examples: Neighborhood park; local school/ learning center; pets, animal shelters, zoos; people: elderly staying in own home/ ALF, or skilled nursing facility, children with chronic diseases, disabled adults, homeless families; churches, church fundraising arms, youth programs; historic preservation properties, museums, art/theatre/culture centers; community/ civic centers.

2. Your obligations. How often can you help out?

Examples: 1 hour a week, two hours a month, one-half day (4 hours) a month 1 week (5-7 days).

3. Your schedule. When can you help out?

Examples: Mondays only; mornings (8am-12 noon); week-ends (Saturday and/or Sunday); vacation/ break/ sabbatical.

4. Location. Where can you help out?

Examples: A. Locally/ close to home (within 10 miles); B. In this half of county; C. Anywhere in county; D. Within my state/ region of state; E. Region of country: Northwest, West, Southwest; Plains, North Midwest; Northeast, East, Southeast; South; F. Anywhere in U.S. mainland; G. Foreign country – eg. Sudan.

5. Your availability. Are you available to live on-site – say for 7 to 10 days?

Examples: New school construction, third-world country; hurricane disaster community in U.S.; remodeling of free medical clinic on Indian reservation; restoration of historic estate; rebuilding of burned out orphanage in Appalachians.

6. Your accommodations. What, if any, special accommodations do you need in order to be able to help?

Examples: Good HVAC system (heat, ventilation, A/C); building access ramp and entry/exit, handicapped parking; assistance with lifting, carrying, moving anything over 10 pounds; limited walking; special diet. (For extended stay, on-site projects); sanitary sleeping/ restroom facilities.

7. Your tasks. What specific painting tasks do you want to help with, or handle?

Examples: New construction only; Brush/roll only; spraying; surface/ area prepping; powerwashing; mixing/ matching paints; wallpapering; cleaning up graffiti; cleaning high-sanitation area; decorative finishing.

8. Your environment. Which works better for you: interior or exterior work?

9. People. Do you want to work on a small crew? Or, with a large group of volunteers?

10. Your role. Are you interested in supervising others? How many persons? Which skill level(s): skilled, semi-skilled, unskilled?

11. Entity. Do you want to help with the same group or organization each time? Or, do you like the idea of working on projects for different groups/ organizations? OR, do you want to work on special projects only?

12. Your Transportation. How will you get to-and-from each volunteer site?

Examples: Your car/truck/SUV/van; public transportation – commuter bus or train; plane; boat.

13. Your finances. Can you afford to volunteer any time, without pay? Will you need financial help to pay for getting to-and-from each volunteer site?

Examples: For gas, oil, parking fees, road tolls; tickets, fares, fees.

14. Your personality. What type of volunteer opportunity, as outlined above, really matches who you are? Under less than perfect circumstances? When very little is in your control? When the other people involved are very different from you?

15. Your health. What health issues, if any, do you need to consider when choosing a volunteer outlet for your skills and interests? Which volunteer opportunity(ies) will be very doable for you? Which needs will you be able to fulfill while helping to provide a healthy and safe atmosphere for yourself and others?

16. Your commitment. How serious are you about volunteering your painting capabilities? Are you willing to switch around your current priorities to make room for this new one? Or even let something else go?

17. Your reasons. Why do you want to volunteer at this time in your life? Examples: Have more time; see need for your kind of help; recent experience raised your awareness level; social consciousness want to pay back kindness you/your family received; realize what you’ve been missing by not volunteering.

18. Your ultimate goal. What do you need to get out of the experience? What do you want to leave behind? What, if any, personal motive do you have?

Here, I’d like to add one more thing:

19. Your “what ifs”. What if you can’t find a fit? What if the volunteer opportunity you chose turns out to be less than anticipated? Or more than you can, or want to, handle? Or very different than what you signed on for?

THE CHOICE IS ALWAYS YOURS

Volunteer where you feel you’re needed.
Volunteer where you believe you’ll be appreciated.
Volunteer where you see that you can make a positive difference.
Volunteer where you know that, later, you’ll still know that it was the right thing to do!

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A special “thank you” to all painters that have stepped up to the plate and volunteered.
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Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. “Painting with Bob.” All rights reserved.

Creating and Painting: Murals by G.B. – Part II

Do you remember the muralist, G. B., that I blogged about in December of 2015?

Well, G. B. – Gerard – resides now in an “elder care home” located in South Florida.

His knees click when he stands or bends. His arms won’t reach overhead without a painful struggle. His fingers crimp when he tries to grasp an artist’s brush for longer than three minutes. And, many tiny black dots dance through his narrowing view.

Has he given up painting?

“NEVER!” he cheered on the telephone.

Instead, guess what the 72-year old artist is doing:

He’s painting small murals on different walls throughout the facility where he resides.

He paints small flower gardens – of their choice – in the rooms of neighbors in his wing. For Marlene: a patch of red, yellow, orange, pink, and lilac Tulips. For Clara: tall Gladiolas in bright peach, coral, yellow, orange, and scarlet. For Harry: three Rosebushes full of young blooms. For Jen Lee: a garden of wild flowers: Tiger, Peace and Day Lilies; Daisies, Iris, Goldenrod, Roses.

He’s painted an herbal garden on the wall along a short hallway near the main kitchen’s pantry. In the main dining hall, he painted two wrought iron café chairs and a table, complete with a setting of Limoges Haviland tea service.

At the end of one corridor, he created a “wall” bird sanctuary. He painted in three birdhouses, a bird bath, a large ceramic frog, and “a squirrel that has seen better days.” Along another corridor, he painted butterflies. A variety of species, colors and sizes.

In January, the facility’s administrator “commissioned” Gerard to design and paint a music staf half-railing along one wall of the music and band room.

What’s next? Gerard is designing an “open-themed” half-wall mural for the “Activities Room.” He’s recruited fellow residents who want to help paint it. A group project, complete with snacks and lunch – furnished by the kitchen staff, and the administrator.

I think that G.B. – “Gerard” – is a fine example of life after life alters the way a painter – a person – must pass through it. Tweaks here and there. Some adjustments.

And changes. A part of life from birth.

Like Gerard’s 15-year old grandson e-mailed, “So what’s the big deal? Grandpére is amazing!”

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

The Painter, Franzen, and Church Restorations

“ ‘Margret clung to the side of the overturned wood row boat. Knowing that her grip could not last much longer. Knowing that she would not make it. And the enraged waters of the North Sea would swallow her.

 

“ ‘Then, she felt a powerful hand grab her arm, and force her frozen hand from the boat’s rim. Encircling her chest. Then pulling her backward. Into the churning waves. Was she, in fact, being washed away? Or drowning?’ ”

 

These were the opening words of the true account written by the victim’s oldest brother, Franzen, in an e-mail to me. A native of Amsterdam, the third cousin was a “restoration painter of churches.”

 

“That’s why I became a painter of holy buildings,” he wrote. “To give thanks to the priest that saved my baby sister over thirty-two years ago.”

 

At a later date, Franzen took me on a virtual tour of the church in Bratislava, Slovakia that he’s been working on. It is a small structure, compared to the grand cathedral projects that he has completed in Europe and Canada. And, it holds a significant place in the painter’s life, perhaps in mine also. The church is the home parish of a group of Haytovkas originally from old Austria.

 

“Presently, I sandblast the upper spires on the roof. There are twelve of them, representing the twelve apostles. I push to finish spray before the heavy snows come. It is dangerous part,” the painter emphasized. “So high from the ground, over 4419 cm (145 feet) up. One slip of the foot. I worry. Then I remember Margret. The arms that saved her…”

 

Franzen said the upper exterior of the church had not been touched in over forty years.

 

“The surfaces were pitted by thick, pebble-looking layers of grime and pollutants from the large manufacturing plant located less than 1.6 kilometers (one mile) away. Underneath, most of the paint was chipped off. Brass was badly tarnished, and coated with sea salts and bird droppings.

 

“It was in much worse condition than the church officials believed. Much removal and repair work…”

 

Franzen said that he has been doing restorative painting since age twenty-six. Previously, he worked for a contractor that repaired and redecorated older homes, apartment buildings, shops, and large flats. My cousin explained that most of the properties were “…owned by the rich.”

 

For two years prior, he “studied the painting craft” at a trade school run by the Netherlands government. He called the training very intense.

 

“This church will be my last high project. I will be fifty-nine in December. My feet are not quite as sure as they were. I make plans to retire at sixty. Muriel and I take Gordon to cottage by sea.”

 

By the way, Franzen and his wife are caregivers for their son Gordon (28). He has severe traumatic brain injuries from a work accident in 2009.

Something tells me that both Gordon and the historic church structure, built over 250 years ago, are in very good hands.

 

Point to Ponder: A true craftsman preserves the lives of impaired persons and old buildings with equal dedication and selflessness.

 

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Paintshop: Decorative Painting Brushes and Tools

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DECORATIVE PAINTING TOOLS in PHOTO ABOVE.*

 

No. 1. Steel combs. Uses: Dragging, wood graining.

No. 2. Palette knife. Uses: Mixing artist’s acrylics or oils; scraping away paint, glaze in areas.

No. 3. Dragging Brush/overgrainer. Features: natural bristles one side, thick nylon bristles other.

No. 4. Badger-hair Brush. Uses: Smoothing oil glaze.

No. 5. Long-haired Spalter. Size 80. Uses: Smoothing oil glaze.

No. 6. Short-haired Spalter. Size 100. Uses Applying oil glaze, then smoothing it.

Nos. 7-8. Small Spalter/Mottlers. Sizes 40, 50. Uses: Wood graining, smoothing oil glaze.

Nos. 9-10. Toothed Spalters. Special oil brushes. Uses: Wood graining.

Nos. 11-12. Small, flat Brush/white nylon. Uses:Marbling, touch-ups, freehand painting acrylics.

No. 13. Small pointed round Brush/white bristles. Uses: Touch-ups, thicker veining marbling techniques with acrylics.

No. 14. Flat long-haired Brush/nylon. Uses: Marbling, fine detailing in acrylics.

No. 15. Long-haired Brush/nylon. Uses: Marbling with acrylics.

No. 16. Small pointed Brush/nylon. Uses Fine veining when marbling with acrylics.

No. 17. Long-haired Ox-Hair Brush. Uses: Marbling, woodgraining, freehand script and ornamentation (lines of varying thicknesses). TIP: Best with oils.

Nos. 18-19. Flat, White Bristle Brush. Uses: Marbling, woodgraining, corner touch-ups with oil-or-water-based paints.

No. 20. Flat long-haired Badget Lettering Brush. Uses: Marblig, freehand painting. TIP: Oils.

No. 21. Ox-hair Sign Painter’s Brush. Features: Long-hair cut flat at end. Uses: Marbling, freehand (for clean edges) in oils or acrylics.

Nos. 22-24. Stencil Brush. Feature: White bristles, slightly softer. Uses: With oils or acrylics.

No. 25. Round/oval thick nylon Brush. Uses: Spattering; coating thin, curved surfaces.

No. 26. Flat nylon Brush. Uses: Paint latex base coat, also acrylic glazes; baseboards, chiseling.

No. 27. Angled nylon Brush/nylon. A better quality brush. “Pre-used” in factory, leaves fewer marks. Uses: Latex painting, cutting in lines, hard-to-reach surfaces.

No. 28. Small flat, long-haired Brush/white bristles Uses: Oil paints.

No. 29. Flat 2 1/2–inch Brush/white bristles. Uses: Oil-base coating; squared-off ends; general purpose; precision edges,/trims.

Nos. 30-32. Round Bristles/white. Uses: Oil glazing; oil-based painting. TIP: Use separate brushes for separate functions.

No. 33. Well-worn round Brush. Uses: Stirring paints.

 


Decorative painting can create warm, personal spaces from bland, contemporary walls. It can create focal points out of any surface such as doors, trim, woodwork, even ceilings. It can create masterful heirlooms from worn, discarded furniture. It can transform jeweled and gold-leafed treasures from thrift shop and yard sale finds.

 

Decorative painting – creating the “right surfaces” – can make a room, area or piece come alive.

 

  1. Underscore or downplay its assets, and camouflage its drawbacks.
  2. Add new life, a new feel.
  3. Blend the old with the new – family antiques with store bargains.
  4. Make newer surfaces appear very aged, hundred-to-centuries old.
  5. Create a special, and different, touch with every applications, every tool on every surface.

 

With decorative painting, you can create a signature piece from every piece.

Decorative painting differs from standard interior painting in three distinct ways:

 

  1. Paints used. On top of two layers of interior paint, you apply two thin coats of transparent paint – “Glaze” – that you mix, then tint to the desired hue.
  2. Colors. At the heart of decorative painting, especially when carefully chosen and properly mixed. Produced by blending wet paints on palette, then placing translucent layers atop an opague base/ Result: Resonance, depth, a subtle glow as mixing.
  3. Pattern. The way you apply glaze contributes to uniqueness of each application. Using a wide array of tools, multiple shapes and sizes. You manipulate the glaze while wet to form patterns or different broken-color effects (eg. ragging, combing, sponging, flogging).

 

Decorative painting calls for creativity, skill, and patience. It alls for paint and finishing products that suit the surface and areas. It calls for the appropriate tools to achieve the desired pattern, texture, finish, and effect.

 

IS DECORATIVE PAINTING A GOOD OPTION FOR A SURFACE WHERE YOU PAINT?

 

Are guests of your hotel ready for unique surroundings and surface embellishments?

Are the patients and staff of your hospital looking for alternatives to the opague paint colors on the walls and in public areas?

Are your commercial clients seeking a personalized alternative to wallpaper?

Or, does your private customer want something other than the area rug to dress up a wood floor?

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* Photo and descriptions from: Recipe for Surfaces: Decorating Paint Finishes Made Simple. Text by Mindy Drucker and Pierre Finkelstein.** Photographs by Tony Cenicola. Copyright 1993, Quarto Inc., Fireside Books, Simon and Schuster, N.Y., pp. 42-43.

Mindy Drucker is a freelance writer, specializing in design and home decoration topics. Pierre Finkelstein is a master decorative painter. He is recognized worldwide for his skill in applying standard, matching existing and creating custom finishes. Born in Paris, he owns Grand Illusion Decorative Painting, Inc., New York City.

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“Painting with Bob” appreciates that you are following.
Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Why People Like Flight Captains Sullenberger and Skiles Matter

Last night I watched the movie, “Sully,” on DVD. It’s based on the heroic story of Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles, co-captains of the New York to Charlotte Flight 1549. Their miraculous belly landing of the US Airways jet on January 15, 2009, afloat the Hudson River, and the preservation of 155 precious lives still raises a lot of interest. And concerns.

 

What struck me was the courage, commitment and calm that both men showed after their hair-raising experience. The way that they handled themselves when being forced to defend their decision before a roomful of 70-plus National Transportation Safety Board, airline, legal, and even pilots union investigators.

 

Sullenberger’s and Skile’s clear-thinking and precise account of the second-by-second steps that they took re-demonstrated they did the right thing. They did the only thing available to two men of such character. Two men that cared so much for human life.

 

A FEW QUESTIONS FOR US TO ASK OURSELVES…

 

  1. How many of us, when pushed against the wall, would face a huge firing squad of big-shot “bosses”?
  2. How many of us would stand our ground, and force these power moguls to scrutinize their own expertise, calculations and conclusions? And then to correct their decision?
  3. How many of us would stand firm, and defend our values, our principles, against all odds?

 

Sullenberger’s and Skiles’s heroic landing, then their courageous defense of their decision, remain close to our family’s heart.

 

Charles “Chuck” Basham flew for Eastern Airlines for over 30 years. His wife, “Mindie,” my mother’s cousin, was a stewardess with Eastern for over ten years. In fact, that’s how Chuck and Mindie met.

 

Anyway, Chuck flew bombers in World War II. When he came home to the U.S., Eastern snatched him up because of his steel-strong nerves. His ability to fly in, through, under, and around any crisis. And survive!

 

The theory of major airline owners back in the 1940s and 1950s? If you could handle a military plane in war conditions, you could handle a commercial plane in friendly skies.

 

Still, Chuck could share stories of several very close calls that he had flying the New York to Miami run.

 

One concerned a near in-flight collision with another jet airplane, that was experiencing mechanical problems. Another concerned a severe lighting storm, 20,000 feet over the Atlantic coastline. A third concerned a near side-swipe by a large corporation-owned Cessna.

 

In each of these situations, Chuck had to face a review board similar to that faced by Sullenberger and Skiles.

 

“It was never easy to do. But it was necessary,” he said, “to get them to set the record straight.”

 

Chuck showed the same calmness and clear head on the ground. After he retired.

 

In 1993, he and Mindie opened their doors and provided a safe place for my sister to stay. For as long as she needed. They put their Fort Lauderdale intercoastal home, and themselves, at great risk in doing so.

 

Without a doubt, they saved my sister’s life, physically and psychologically.

 

It’s twenty-four years later. Both Chuck and Mindie are gone. My sister survives. And, thanks to the courage and quick-thinking of those skilled in-flight relatives, our entire family has enjoyed a much longer life together.

 

And, as Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger stated, at the end of the film, to a group of the real-life Flight 1549 survivors, in a hangar in 2016, that’s what it was really about. All of the spouses, children, grandchildren, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents that had survived, too.

 

Thank you, flight captains and crews, that do your best to keep us safe in-plane, in-flight, and on-the-ground. And against some odds that even you never talk about. To anyone!

 

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Stay safe, everyone. And, do your part, to live safe, too. RDH

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Many thanks for checking in at “Painting with Bob.”

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

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