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Creating and Painting: Murals by G.B.

A small group of boutique hotels (7) keeps a second painter on the payroll for one purpose. To paint “realism murals.”

 

G.B. sketches what he wants to re-create in a specific area, at a specific hotel. A graphic designer formalizes the painter’s sketches, including chip colors; textures and patterns; depths and reflections.

 

Then, the designer projects, or hand-draws the images onto the surfaces.

 

And, G.B. hand-paints and details the reproduced design. Ten years ago, he still handled every phase, from conception-to-completion. Today, at seventy, he’s content with what he can do.

 

The hotels’ owners keep G.B. very busy. It takes time to create an original mural. Sometimes months. Even when working at it full-time.

 

The finished effect is always captivating. Like his re-creation of the sandy Bal Harbour beach in South Florida. You have to watch where you walk (on the hotel’s sidewalk). That you do not step on a sea turtle, or a live crab, or a washed-up shell. The mural is that real.

 

One of my favorite “Scenics” depicts the tree-top scene from the 1992 film, Medicine Man, starring Sean Connery. The scene overlooks the Amazon jungle, and the winding, densely bordered river thousands of feet below. The hand-painted mural so real that you feel the mist gently pricking your cheeks, and the breeze brushing through your hair.

 

G.B. belongs to an elite group of painters. Commercial painters that sustain a good living as full-time muralists.

 

Sears, Roebuck and Company used to employ a painter to design and hand-paint graphics murals at their high-revenue stores. Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and others did the same.

 

Karen, an Indiana graphics and advertising artist, designed and hand-painted her first mural in the 1980s. A jungle/animal scene that “grew” along a long corridor in a pediatrician’s office. She applied a special-formulated clear coat over the finished mural. To protect the surfaces from all of the “touches.” By little and big people!

 

I’ve worked on a number of original murals. Mainly graphics, objects, and architectural structures. Each design concept was sold to, or conceived by, the client: hotel/resort, hospital, store, corporation, school, home owner, etc.

 

Artists like G.B. and Karen are the real pros, though. Gifted with the ability to re-create the finest details of any part of nature. A tiger’s coat and claws and a parrot’s feathers and beak. An acacia tree’s small, yellow, puff-ball-like clusters of flowers. A grape vine’s veins and nobs.

 

On Thanksgiving Day, G.B. called from the boutique hotel, where he just started painting a scene from the southwest section of the Florida Everglades.

 

The mural will measure 80 feet long. Wrapping around the lobby like years of “free living and un-tampered overgrowth.” G.B.’s little catch phrase to describe the design, based on his first visit to the Everglades. When he was only nine!

 

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“Free living and un-tampered growth…”

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Thank you, always, for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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Painting Them: Food Courts and Snack Bars

A commercial food facility, above all things, must serve food and beverages that are widely known, and appeal to the diverse tastes of the public.

 

What type of atmosphere works best to stimulate that hunger for food, or thirst for a beverage?

 

Do you have an established theme? The 50s décor with its juke box, vinyl-cushioned booths and roller skating servers, was a popular style in its day. A well-established theme will keep the patrons, guests, and visitors interested. Coming back for more! And, create a great place for conversation and socialization.

 

Most food courts, whether at a hotel or a mall, are designed for guest comfort. The design should correspond with the surrounding décor. It should incorporate some of the same elements in décor, color, textures, tone, etc. And, all elements used should stimulate the appetite.

 

“Spaces” within the food court: Eating/drinking, socializing, studying, resting.

Special construction elements: Solid woods, steels, metals, laminates; glass, heavy plastic; slip-proof flooring; one level, no steps.

Special features: High traffic, specialty clusters in bigger space, opps. for lots of mingling.

Special needs: Smooth surfaces and corners; no residual fumes/odors; pleasing aesthetically; high durability; easy cleaning and sanitizing; obstruction-free traffic areas;

Exposure: Water, cleaning agents, grease, high heat, etc.

Design elements: Graphics, stripes, geometrics; inlay pieces; food-inspired paintings/murals; original paintings; illustrations.

Color schemes: Bright accents; subtle touches. Inviting, and conducive to dining. Welcoming! Uplifting, cheerful, and relaxing. Also, great for conversation, reading, listening to music.

 

Bring life to your food service area. Here’s how!

 

1. Utilize scenic paintings or photos related to leisure and travel. People love to envision themselves there.

TIP: Hang printed and enlarged photos of enticing scenes on the hotel property. Flowers, plants, brook, fountain, rest area, etc. Hang small paintings found/donated by staff members.

 

2. Paint wall graphics to increase the element of creativity, and to reduce blank wall space.

HINT: An original wall graphics was hung on the walls of two adjoining restaurants, and corridor that connected them. It was the creation of a local paperhanger/patron.

 

3. Vary wood tone colors used on tables and chairs.

TIP: Tables in light oak with laminate, tile, or block tops, chairs in dark oak or even painted.

 

4. Use track and neon lighting with various combinations of colored lights to create mood appropriate for area’s theme. Examples: Friendly, business-like, folksy, formal, romantic.

TIP: The right lighting also enhances the appearance and appeal of the food and beverages. And, the entire area!

 

5. Heavy-textured vinyl wall covering adds to the atmospheric mood.

TIP: Commercial-grade wallcoverings clean well. They’re very durable. They retain color and finish/texture longer.

 
6. Surrounding guests with a sense of memorabilia tends to instill sentimentality and comfort.

HINT: Old kitchen utensils and cooking pots, laundry aids, photos, tools, small implements, etc. lined the walls of The Wagon Wheel in Merrillville, Indiana. Eating there was like eating at a grandparent’s circa 1800s kitchen table.

 
7. Convey a sense of realism by using a system of murals.

TIP: Continuous murals are fun. Example: A walking trail, or farmer’s market, or big garden.

 
8. Refer to the “psychology of colors” to see what colors stimulate an appetite best.

TIPS: Red – Hot foods, romantic drinks; Blue – Cool foods, relaxing drinks; Green – Nature.

 

Above all, you want the food court and/or snack bar to make every patron feel comfortable, and unrushed. Totally welcome there!

 

It’s all about atmosphere. The service. And, definitely, the food, beverages and snacks.

 

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“Food without atmosphere is like tacos without spice.” Rdh

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.” Copyright 2015.  Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

 

Painting It: YOLO!

A favorite part of being a painter and decorator: Trying new things.

 

New projects. New surfaces. New spaces. New products. New materials. New techniques and methods. New supplies. New tools. New equipment.

 

Applying an old product or material in a new way. Using a standard tool in a crazy, unique way.

 

Re-painting a surface or space in an unusual, unheard-of color or effect. Installing wallcovering on a surface, or in an area, where wallcovering is never installed.

 

Applying a faux finish where it’s never applied. Texturing a surface that is not conducive to texturing. Spraying popcorn texture where it is very inappropriate.

 

Restoring a circa 1785 piece of badly damaged antique furniture, classified “total loss.” Refinishing a hotel full of guestroom furnishings, earmarked for the dumpster.

 

Brushing on a product that, according to the label, has to be sprayed on.

 

Spraying on a finish that demands brush application.

 

Applying a paint finish that’s reserved for an underwater surface. Spraying an industrial coating on a residential surface.

 

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

 

I’ve used much of the last two years to do that. And, more!

 

The diverse use of my skills and abilities was not part of my plan in 2013. When extreme and extensive toxic exposure delivered a one-ton truck load of lemons…then a truck load of limes…at my doorstep.

 

However…

 

YOLO! (You only live once!)

 

So, why not? Let’s get to it!

 

Each new anything/anywhere – painting and decorating wise – will ignite your creative soul, at its core. Each new anything – in the other areas – will create a new world. Within you. Very possibly, within others, too.

 

Whatever you’ve been given:

 

Run with it! Charge up the hill, or down if that’s the direction you’re facing.

 

Forget about making lemonade with that ton of lemons. Squeeze enough to help the neighbor children run a little lemonade  stand. Pass some  out. Give some away. Return some. Sell some. Let some rot. Use some as fertilizer, or compost.

 

Do something different, or differently.

 

You’ll smile at the end of the day. At yourself. At others. At the universe.

 

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Thank you for taking an interest in “Painting with Bob.”

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Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

PAINTING AND DECORATING: THE HOTEL PENTHOUSE

A Central Florida hotel gave me the choice of three redecorating projects:

 

  1. larger penthouse,
  2. front lobby, or
  3. outdoor children’s play-town.

 

I opted for the penthouse. The other two projects were put on hold by the property management company.

 

Why the penthouse project got my vote: The diversity of creative decorating opportunities.

 

  1. Interior work – A/C, controlled environment.
  2. Fine finishing surfaces: paneling, columns, furniture.
  3. Lots of wallcovering installation, including mural.
  4. Custom color matching: paint-to-patterned wallcoverings.
  5. Faux finishing.
  6. Minimal traffic
  7. Management’s style, commitment and candor.

 

I scheduled the project into twelve main phases:

 

  1. Needs assessment by room, area, square footage, surface conditions, and preparation requirements.
  2. Products, materials, supplies costing-to-budget allotment; selection and coordination; quantity estimating and computation; requisitioning to purchasing.
  3. Wood furniture and woodwork stripping or bleaching.
  4. Wallcovering removal.
  5. Ceilings, walls, doors repairing, patching, filling.
  6. Wood repairing, filling, sanding, sealing.
  7. Ceilings, walls priming.
  8. Woodwork, doors, furniture re-staining and light sanding.
  9. Painting.
  10. Woodwork, doors, furniture finishing.
  11. Wallpaper and mural hanging.
  12. Faux finishing.

 

I was responsible for all aspects of the project except:

 

  1. delivery delays of custom wallcoverings and murals,
  2. purchasing department delays, errors, etc.

 

The one twist: The hotel president’s wife, a retired ASID member, would be included in the selection of the wallcoverings, and murals. In reality, the lady showed up on site once a week during the entire project. She put herself “to work.” She helped whichever hotel maintenance technician may have been assisting me on that day.

 

The project moved right along.
Complete shutdown was needed only two days – carpenter, plumber, tile man. The flooring people installed new carpeting after I completed my work. Note: I waited to re-install the re-finished baseboards until after the flooring was installed.

 

A FEW TIPS FOR ANY SIMILAR PROJECT THAT YOU MAY BE CONSIDERING

 

Before you sign on, you might want to do the following:

 

  1. Find out where the hotel’s purchasing manager orders the bulk of paint products and wallpaper materials.
  2. Clear with management – get it in writing – for YOU to be the person that visits the paint store and communicates with product/material representatives.
  3. Set it up so that YOU are the person that puts together the actual requisition order schedule and lists, for the purchasing manager to follow.
  4. Get a list – in writing – of all other work that will be taking place in the area. See that it includes the approximate “schedule blocks” of work days for every other craftsperson. Examples: carpenters, electricians, plumbers, tile installers, drywall installers.

 

BEST CASE SCENARIO:

 

  1. Hotel management sets it up and authorizes YOU to actually do the ordering from suppliers.
  2. You work under ONE member of management.
  3. You have access to other members of organization – supervisors, managers, staff – as needed.
  4. Feedback from managers is limited, and direct. No filtering through a chain of people.
  5. Project inspections are limited, and conducted by person(s) with authority to assist and act.
  6. “Sightseeing” visits by managers and staff members are kept to minimum, even discouraged.

 

HOW THINGS WENT:

  1. The hotel’s staff was friendly, helpful and totally enthusiastic. Especially the staff painter, and the engineering department, as a whole.
  2. The project came off without any major glitch – eg. shipment delay of custom wallcoverings.
  3. The project came in under budget – a surprise, even to me.
  4. The project was completed one week early. (Another surprise.)
  5. The carpenters, electricians, plumbers, drywallers, and tile installers stuck to the master schedule – and theirs. Great teams!
  6. Final inspections came off with only minor changes.
  7. The hotel management company signed off promptly.
  8. The hotel’s principal owner flew in for a final walk-through – and “staff only open house.”

 

Would I pick that “penthouse project” again? Yes! Though it was the first one that I’d worked on solo. And, it was the largest: over 4,000 square feet, including the veranda.

 

TIP FOR TOP QUALITY INTERIOR FINISHERS:

 

Ask around. There’s bound to be a hotel, resort, or residential penthouse somewhere that needs your special, fine touch. If nothing else, offer to help the staff painter get it into shining shape again.

 

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Special thanks to everyone that has helped others do a great job at their chosen work.

And, thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting Projects: “Let’s Do It” and “Let-Me-Think-About-It”

Every project features certain elements and parameters that must be considered before it’s taken on by the painter/decorator.

 

Every project requires certain resources for the painter/decorator to achieve satisfactory results.

 
Ten “LET’S DO IT” Projects.*

 

* Projects classified by crew size needed to do job.

* Projects require definite deadline; doing projects around other things unfeasible.

 

“Let’s Do It” Projects – Crew size: 1  (Basic stuff, piece of cake!)

1. Refinish picture frames.

2. Caulk cracks in ceiling edges, and wall corners.

3. Paint an accent wall.

4. Apply wallpaper border.

5. Wood-grain a metal door.

6. Do a simple faux-finish to wall, using sponging or rag rolling technique.

7. Paint ceiling in large office.

8. Paint metal door frames.

9. Hang wallpaper in room, or office.

10. Refinish pieces of wood furniture.

 

“Let’s Do It” Projects – Crew size: 2 or 3 minimum (Need to do project safely!)

1. Paint exterior of home or office building.

2. Install commercial wallcovering in offices.

3. Paint concrete floors vs. floor.

4. Refinish large number of wood doors.

5. Paint interior walls of office/business complex.

6. Repaint acoustic ceilings.

7. Apply texture to interior walls of housing development, or business complex.

8. Apply faux finish to walls in 8 or more large offices, or multi-housing complex.

9. Hand-paint large wall mural.

10. Repaint residential development exteriors.

 

I’ve worked on each of the above projects, start-to-finish, on my own, also as part of a crew. Upon completion, every project received an “excellent” rating.

 

RELATED TIPS:

  1. Always begin a project with all of the necessary products, supplies, tools, and paint equipment readily available to you.
  2. Avoid need to leave the job multiple times. It can distract you, and slow production.

 

 

Five “LET ME THINK ABOUT IT” Projects.*  

 

* Projects classified by crew size needed to do job.

* Most projects require definite deadline; doing project around other things unfeasible.

 

“Let Me Think About It” ProjectsCrew size: 1 (Take a closer look, some red flags! )

 

1. Refinish antique furniture in faux finish application.

2. Apply stencil design to bathroom.

3. Clean and paint driveway surface.

4. Apply faux plaster finish to interior  walls in very large, older residence.

5. Texture ceilings, presently with smooth surface.

 

“Let Me Think About It” Projects – Crew size: 2 or 3 minimum (Check out closely. Might not be a good idea to take on!)

1. Paint exterior of multi-floor building.

2. Remove ceiling tiles, and paint ceiling metal grid.

3. Repaint moldings and doors in multi-housing complex.

4. Repair, prep and repaint all walls in residential or business complex.

5. Paint accent colors on walls throughout entire office or business complex.

 

 

I’ve worked on each of the above projects, start-to-finish – on my own, or as part of a small crew. Every project, upon completion, received an “excellent” rating. So, it can be done. Still, especially if you have a choice. . .

 

Food for thought: If any painter/decorator’s “Let-Me-Think-About-It” list is longer than five, he or she might want to consider specializing – whether he or she works for someone else, by the project, or for himself or herself. Or, re-think this career choice.

 

A painter and decorator needs to manage and operate his or her “project career” (my term), according to a basic set of rules and limits. One that works for that person. That includes working on projects with elements, parameters and requirements that coincide with the painter/decorator’s rules and limits. And, his or her innate value system.

 

This modus operandi, especially in the long-term, benefits everyone concerned. The guest/ visitor/ customer. The client/property owner/stakeholder. The employer or contractor. The staff or employee group. The paint team/crew. The painter and decorator.

Everything Looks Different Up Close – Even a Great Paint Job!

Notice the term, “great” paint job, not “good” paint job.

 

Up close: The 12-inch appearance surface test.

 

That means: Up close, the painted surface will look at least as good as it does less than twelve inches away.

 

That means: Up close, an inspector will see no paint runs, holidays, brush strokes, uneven tones (spread of paint), splatters, roller streaks, etc.

 

That means: Up close, the pattern of every panel of the wallcovering will match, “magnifying glass close.”

 

That means: Up close, the wallcovering panels will be smooth. Wrinkles will not be present. Small bubbles will disappear after the adhesive dries and the wallcovering shrinks (2-5 days).

 

That means: Up close, the seams of side-by-side wallcover panels will be “seamless seams.” No gaps, mismatches, stretching, etc.

 

That means: Up close, the seams of natural-fiber wallcover panels will show slightly, because of the natural variation of color.

 

That means: Up close, the patching and sanding of the surface will be smooth, or appropriate, for that surface – and area.

 

That means: Up close, the touch-up of any patched and sanded surface will blend in with the surrounding surface(s) and area.

 

That means: Up close, the drywall that has been replaced, taped and mudded will fit flush with the surrounding drywall – on all sides.

 

That means: Up close, the entire area, when primed, will look – and feel – uniform, even and smooth.

 

That means: Up close, a textured surface, with an evenly applied coating, will blend consistently with the areas adjacent to a random textured area.

 

That means: Up close, a spray painted finish on a smooth surface will have a well-blended sheen. The film thickness will be applied evenly, absent of runs and orange peel on the surface.

 

That means: Up close, wallcovering seams will be tight, blending in with the surface. The pattern will match exactly. No bubbles or paste will remain along any seam line, or on the surface.

 

That means: Up close, a gilded finish, such as metal leaf, will reflect very little through the surface. The metal leaf will be wrinkle-free, with no tears. And, the surface will be bubble-free.

 

That means: Up close, the drywall compound will lay smooth, eliminating all ridges from the knife pressure. The overlapping edge of compound and drywall will be ultra smooth.

 

That means: Up close, the gloss paint finish will be ultra smooth, and show no imperfections in the surface of the substrate – whether it is wood, metal or drywall..

 

That means: Up close, the body filler application will leave a smooth finish, that is visually non-porous, and shows no high and/or low spots.

 

That means: Up close, the stain finish will be applied evenly, with no visible wipe or drip marks, or floating pigment.

 

That means: Up close, a properly sanded surface will show no deep sanding marks. With wood, sanding will be with the grain. With other substrates – eg. metals or painted wood – sanding marks will overlap in a subtle crisscross pattern.

 

 

That means: Up close, every time, on every surface, the painter makes every effort to leave behind a great job! Actually, both up close, and further away than 12 inches from the surface.

 

 

TIP: “Take your time and get it right!” Brian Santos, The Wall Wizard.

 

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Painting It: Game Room Fun

When a person plays a game in an arcade or game room, he or she pays little attention to what the walls or other surfaces look like. One sees how the space is designed, and what colors have been used,. Whether entering the room, or standing back from the game equipment and devices.

 

The games attract the primary attention. Thus, the overall decorative scheme is never crucial to the enjoyment of the amenities there.

 

Add a few special touches. And, your game room will appear more exciting to the average player, and the novice, too.

 

The following touches are sure to raise some eyebrows:

 

* Paint the ceiling a Chalk White. It reflects light, and makes it easier to see the games.

Special effect: Add glitter to quart of the white paint. Then, use 2-inch brush to create “streaks” across the ceiling. Example: On one project, I ran “streaks” from the center ceiling fixture, outward to corners and half-point.

 

* Paint the walls a dark color. Examples: Royal Blue, Violet, Hunter Green. It creates a subdued, laid back effect.

Special touch: Add glitter to the walls. Create a cosmic-like effect. Note: Do walls OR ceiling.

 

* Paint the walls Bright, Snow or Soft White. Use semi-gloss or gloss paint.

Special touches: Paint stripes and/or graphics. Create an energizing sports design.

 

* Apply a decorative finish to add special benefits. Example: Create a multi-layered effect, or textured surface. Game playing becomes very imaginative, because of the visual effects in the room.

 

* Get creative with the floor covering. Choose a design and color combo that adds excitement to the overall theme, and purpose, of the room.

 

FIVE FUN WAYS TO USE CARPETING:

 

1. Install carpet tiles in alternating colors, monochromatic or complementary.

Example: A Central Florida hotel turned to this solution, when the game room carpeting needed replacing, after a surprise water pipe burst and flood. They purchased boxes of left-over carpet tiles from three different floor covering stores.

 

2. Create “game trails” by laying solid tiles in one direction of the room, and striped tiles in another.

Note: This trail was laid out in one of the game rooms in a children’s hospital.

 

3. Install both solid and geometric tiles, in alternate or random pattern.

 

4. Create a “space walk” effect.

Example: Install carpet tiles with Medium-to-Dark Blue and silver iridescent fibers, woven into a cosmic/space pattern. Note: This “walk” was surrounded by a mass of solid dark blue tiles.

 

5. Run a “walk” or “trail” up one long wall, turn left or right, wind it a few feet, then “move” the “walk” or “trail” back down to the floor. And, tie it into optical “ground.”

Note: This fun volunteer project, that I designed, was pulled off by using remnant carpeting, that we cut into square, oblong, and angular tiles. A major design/measure/cut/layout accomplishment!

 

Floor covering is more expensive than the average paint job. Combined with the wall finish, carpeting or tile adds immense value and atmosphere to the entire area. Its acoustics tend to be superb!

 

YES! A game room needs to include modern games, which are familiar to the guests and visitors.

 

A well thought out design and color scheme adds to the enjoyment of the area. It’s a smart investment.

Guests and visitors will thank you for it.

Guests, visitors, staff, and management will be motivated to “recommend” or “like” your hotel, spa, resort, or inn to others!

 

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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