Tuesday, May 26, 2009

the Answer!

Yes, you can get high painting with acrylic paint. Of course it is all in your head or maybe a little bit in your heart and it won't fry any brain cells. Back in the 60's, we called it a "natural high", one that didn't require chemicals to achieve. Over the past few weeks, as I have worked on my house, preparing for paint and putting the beautiful colors on the gable, even with a 1/4" brush, I have found myself feeling what I can only describe as a "high". There may even be an addictive aspect to it as I was a bit morose over missing my painting "fix" on a rainy day.

Having limited experience with chemically induced highs, I have most often found that sense of warm, joyful lightness in accomplishment, in beauty and in creating beauty. Sculpting something beautiful out of wood, building an ornate porch post, restoring an earlier beauty to the front of my house, all bring me a sense of fulfillment and contentment. I find that there is a point in a creative endeavor where I begin to really see the potential of the finished work. At that point, the project becomes an act of love and working on it leaves me feeling much the way love (or chocolate) does.

This really isn't the first time I painted. I painted the garage once and it only took 5 years. For some reason the creative senses didn't get aroused over garage painting. I started down one side, rounded one end, ran out of paint, then got sidetracked. Did I mention I have ADD? By the time I got ready to paint again, the color I was using was discontinued. So, started painting with a new color from where I left off and then, you guessed it, the same thing happened again. This was all in the days before you could take any paint chip in and get it matched. Finally, with the third color used, most of the garage got painted, in part because my son joined in and finished up the west end. That project didn't leave me with a particular love for the process of applying paint.

The difference in how I feel about painting my house must be related to the lengthy consideration of color schemes, the careful recreation of shingles to take the place of broken or lost ones and the painstaking painting of one shingle at a time to achieve the pattern I hoped for. It has become a creative work rather than a paint job. Anticipating the completion of the project, how it will look with new colors and textures, how it will all fit together when it’s done leaves me with a sense of excitement and impatience.

It has now been nearly two weeks since I last painted. Having passed up one pleasant weekend day due to feeling a need to catch up a few inside chores, I find myself unable to get back to painting as it has been overcast and rainy almost every day since. Humidity is high, doors are swelling and painting in that doesn’t seem like a good idea. I’m looking forward to some dry sunny days that will draw the moisture out of the wood so I can move on with painting. Meanwhile, there is always the basement to clean out. EWWW! At least the stairs going down there look good.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Looking good......

I'm certainly glad I decided to take step by step pictures of my renovation of my house. Looking at them, it is hard to believe the change so far yet there is still so much to do. In May of 2008, I took this picture of the house before starting to work on it. As you can see, the masonite siding was deteriorated and warped. The gables were dull and peeling. There was definitely a need for a face lift on the old house.

With all the color applied to the gable, I think it looks pretty good. It is definitely a BIG change and is eyecatching. As of today, the paint on the gable only needs touch-up but this project will hold for a while as I started priming around the porch today. There is a second gable on the house, facing south. The house originally was L shaped with a gable on both "ends" of the L. The porch was added at a later time as was the extension to the back which probably doubled the square footage. The south gable will require more scraping than I had hoped but the old paint can't be left as it is. I just hope it doesn't require as much work as the front gable did. I'm anxious to get on to painting the second gable.
Can you get "high" from painting? Well, that is a subject for another blog. For now, I gotta go.

No dogs here!

How sad, but don't worry, it is just a move.

In reviewing my recent blogs, I realize everything has been about the house and I have not been talking about the dogs, who are an important part of my life. When I started posting here at "Dot's thots" I intended to talk about my pets and foster dogs but since that hasn't been happening, I decided to split off into 2 seperate blogs. As it happens, I set up a blog account called "DRatschats" some time ago but never used it. As the title implies, it was to talk about my Rats (terriers).

I have moved my Ratty tales over to DRatschats and if you came here to see and hear about my pups, feel free to go over there and see what is going on. Meanwhile, I will continue posting updates on my house here so you are welcome to check back and see how that is going. I am pretty proud of what I have done on the house and hope to make a lot of changes before winter comes again.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The blues......

No, not me, the house!

The house has both shades of blue (turquoise actually) on now. I picked 2 shades of the same color so the darker would give a shadow effect to the lighter color. I'm not sure there is enough difference between the shades, I will have to "watch" it for a few days. I will finish the rest of the darker shade tomorrow before going to visit my father.

I live on the main street through a small town in western Kansas. I'm sure I make an interesting sight, perched high up on a ladder with a 1/4 inch paint brush, painting the edges of shingles. Suffice it to say I'm not a "dainty" woman and I hope I look, at worst, eccentric. With my pack of little spotted rescue dogs, I can already pass for the "crazy dog lady" of the neighborhood so eccentric isn't bad. Hopefully, when I get everything done, I will be known instead as the creative, handiwoman in the really cute house.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Good day!

Painting went better than I expected, I got the front finished up in the butterscotch color. I will have to go back and do some touch up when all the colors are on. Avoiding smudges is hard when doing the detail work involved in this project. I will have to use an even smaller brush than the 1/2 inch one I have already ruined. The difference in appearance is truly striking. It goes well with the roof, too.
Oh, I also set up the fish pond and moved the birds out to their aviary for the summer.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


At last, real paint! I've begun applying colors to the house, it is a lot more fun than my memories of house painting. This includes the part where I use a 1/2 inch artist's brush to slip paint into the crack between shingles. Deciding which order to paint the colors in is proving to be a major challenge. I started with the darkest color called "Autumn Ridge", because it was in the eaves clear to the peak and because it is a real standout color. Of course I ended up with my hands covered in rust colored paint as I didn't take a rag with me and when dark rust drops started landing on the white primer, I felt compelled to try to wipe them off. It is my hope that the lighter colors will cover the dark smudges and drips. It appears that no matter what order I apply the colors in, I will be doing touch up work, probably with that 1/2 inch brush.

I finished the first porch bracket and even painted it. As I applied color to my scroll saw work, I wondered if I would find this process as enjoyable by the time I get to the sixth bracket. The actual application of color to a cut piece of wood or scalloped shingles would not strictly be described as enjoyable, fun or fulfilling yet these are the feelings that accompany this project. It is more like the feelings that go with creating a sculpture than what painting the garage did for me. I am looking forward to starting with the "Butterscotch Sauce" paint tomorrow. There are large areas to be covered with this color so it is not likely to be completed in one day but starting will be exciting although I could forgo the part where I am on top of the 20 foot ladder. Shades of acrophobia!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Finally, some nice weather! The past week was full of sunshine and warmth, although it did rain at least 3 nights. I was able to start the priming on the house and by Friday finished priming the front gable. Quite tedious, painting down into the crack between the fishscale shingles. It does look so clean and crisp though in the coating of white primer.

Additional time was spent tightening up trim boards, cleaning soffit vents and scrubbing trim and soffits on the north side so that can be primed. Gutters have been removed and after painting the new "Rainhandler" system will be installed. Don't know how this will work but it will surely be an improvement over the old gutters which were always full of debris.
I continue to mull over my choice of colors for the gable singles. I have a gallon of "Butterscotch Sauce" color but have not committed fully to the turquoise paint yet. The plan is for 2 shades of turquoise with the butterscotch but I find myself rethinking the color scheme almost daily. Of course I can't actually say I have a better plan, just a bad case of indecision.

I finished the design for the porch brackets and will start cutting those out this week. I played with some designs using leaves and my first design, a "laughing" Rat Terrier. I liked the leaf designs but no one in particular so for a while considered making 6 different designs. In the end however, I decided the brackets should all be the same and I went with the laughing dog design. I found it appealing to be able to call my place "House of the Laughing Dog".
Today I realized that in this process I should replace the soffits on the rear of the house since those were done with a fiberboard material. I will probably replace this with plywood which will give much more stability to the soffit. I considered vinyl soffits but since I am planning to paint the soffits one of the trim colors, that would not be practical. It is amazing how this rolls from one project to another, almost daily something new comes up that really should be done. I wonder where the end of this summer will find me?