Years ago, my husband and I were young and foolish enough to build a house with only the most necessary help from a builder. We were pretty skint, so we chose to prime and paint the interior ourselves as well.
I mustered all my grit, but when it came time to paint the ceilings, my resolve buckled. Armed with a roller on an extendable pole, I tried applying the paint with good pressure. But with arms that make a stick insect look beefy in comparison, I didn’t really have the strength for such a task. It was exhausting.
My husband found me in tears of frustration, paint dandruff spattered through my hair, swearing that I would never, ever embark on such a project again. Always the opportunist, he took the paint roller out of my hands and suggested, “How about this? From now on, I do the ceilings, and you do all the cutting-in.” Gratefully, I agreed. It turns out he was Young, and I was Foolish.
For the next 15 years, whenever there’s been cutting-in to do, I get the job.
But here’s the thing: I don’t really mind. There’s something masochistically satisfying about surviving such tedious tasks and reaching that longed-for end result. The outcome that five percent skill, 95 percent sticking power can bring.
It’s why, in days gone by, I turned my hand to stripping the paint off old furniture, and fancied a spot of lino printing.
All this may explain why my latest painting project also smacks of monotony. Don’t get me wrong; I’m having fun, but it’s back-breakingly same-ish work:
This little village scene was designed to liven up a pretty dull peg-board in my office area. Working to a set grid was wonderfully liberating in a ‘strict boundaries’ kind of way. I almost felt guilty to be back in my more graphic & illustrative comfort zone.
Especially when it transferred so easily to a digital medium.
But now? Now I don’t feel guilty any longer. Just drawing the design up nearly drove me dotty – literally. And these orange roof tops will need a good three coats to get the flat effect I’m after. I’m still trying to work out how I’ll do the line-work convincingly.
One good thing in all of this is that after years of cutting-in, I’ve had a lot of practice at painting straight edges. I kid you not – these lines are painted free-hand. Proud.
I’m making this my school holidays project, because it’s the sort of painting I can do in fits and starts with lots of interruptions. As much as I’m enjoying the mindlessness of it, I’ll be glad to return to My Art Experiment proper.
And as they say, whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Perhaps even strong enough to paint ceilings.