Today I went to the studio on my lunch hour and laid down the final coat of paint on the second side of the room, the small side. I had to be careful as I was almost out of paint, and I didn’t want to waste a drop. I also had to freehand the line between my studio and the hallway, which turned out pretty well. I could have used painters tape, but I have found tape to be more trouble than it’s worth. For one thing, it often doesn’t come off cleanly — then you have to work it off of a wall or molding only to find rips or tears in the paint underneath. For another, freehanding challenges me to keep a steady and slow hand as I paint.
Today I was so excited about how I was almost finished, that I had to tell myself, “Relax, don’t be so excited that you lose your focus!” Painting is a kind of zen practice. If you stay relaxed and focused, it is not that hard to free hand and not rely on tape. If you know how to gently spiral your wrist as the paint goes on, you can keep an even flow. The other trick, at least with latex-based paints, is to keep a moist rag in your pocket (or in my case, the waistband of my old yoga pants). That way if you do drip or smear where you don’t want paint, it’s easy to simply wipe the area gently with the damp cloth and move on! The main problem comes when you rush it too fast, or tune out too much and make careless errors. It’s all about that sweet spot of focus.
After the last coat was down, I began the arduous process of CLEAN UP. It turns out that preparation and clean up for a painting job takes as long or longer than the painting itself. You can’t rush the clean up. I was especially careful as I didn’t want to drip orange paint anywhere in the hallway that led to the sink. I have a plastic tub full of old towels, washcloths, drop cloths and rags. It’s a great resource because then you know there are plenty of supplies in case you need them.
I had access to a utility sink, always nice because it usually already has some stains and isn’t a pristine surface. I cleaned out my brush really well. I started to clean out the roller covers but then I realized they had been used more than once before, had a few pebbles and other gunk stuck in them, and were probably best thrown away. (If I had another paint job coming up soon and no money left that month, I might have saved them. But since I should be done with painting for awhile I decided that for my next paint job I’ll buy new roller covers). I also threw away the paint tray liner, but washed off the paint tray itself. Finally, I kept that final little bit of paint in the can in case I ever need to do a touch up. Later I transferred that paint to a mason jar that I’ll keep in a drawer at the studio, along with a small brush.
I was so happy and even though it has taken me a bit longer than I planned, I feel like the project progressed smoothly. Check out the picture of the finished floor, and also with the furniture back in.
Note about maintenance: as I am moving and settling in, I’m very aware that any kind of painted floor is going to be subject to chips and scrapes. Even with the primer and two coats of paint, it wouldn’t be very hard to scratch the floor. After all of my hard work, that’s the last thing I want! So, I’ve decided that when I’m in the back part of the studio I will first remove my shoes. I’ve placed a small stand at the front of the studio for shoes. I’ll worry less about that front area – if it gets scratches I can touch them up or just live with them. Hopefully by keeping shoes off, I’ll ensure a longer life for the paint on the back area of the floor. I’ve also placed rugs and yoga mats to function as chair mats for my roller chair at the desk. What fun! I love the finished look so much! (see photos)
That’s the story, morning glory! I hope if you live in Jackson you can come check out the studio in person. In fact there will be a building open house May 17, 2014.
Just be ready to take off your shoes!!!