Well, it’s been a long time! I’ve had friends and family writing me, thinking that there was something wrong with their computer or my blog because they couldn’t see anything new written after August. Ever since the whirlwind of the festival and the tour the followed immediately thereafter, it feels like we’ve been on a non-stop roller coaster ride. It’s not that I haven’t had things to share or write about, it’s more that there has been very little space for such activities. If it’s ok with you, I’d like to catch up on the last few months in a series of little installments and my apologies if it feels like a little much after so much time with so little news. Here’s a small story that happened before and after our move into our house.
the paint job
During the festival at the end of August, I was asked to leave my studio because it was needed for the artists’ dressing rooms. Luckily for me, my landlords were moving a few days before the end of the month and they were ok with me camping out in the house before our big move. Once they moved their things out and I moved my few belongings in, I realized that the walls needed painting; all the holes in the wall from their hanging paintings, plus the wear and tear of living in a house had made the walls somewhat scruffy-looking. Since the landlord left behind a big load of paint for the house, I thought I’d take advantage of the empty rooms and get painting.
Of course this ended up being not quite as easy as I had anticipated.
First off, the big buckets of paint were near empty and I discovered that the cans had gotten mixed up during their move and the landlords ended up taking the full cans home to England with them, leaving the empty ones behind. I wanted to try and match the paint that was on the walls (they had asked that I use their colours) and so I painted a sample on a piece of paper and drove to a hardware store to get a tin made to order. When I got the 12-litre tub home, I could see right away that the tone was MUCH darker than what was on the walls. I ended up mixing white into it to lighten the whole batch, but I never quite got it exactly to the original colour. I decided it was close enough and was eager to get painting so I prepared all the walls and moulding with masking tape and got rolling.
It was all looking really good until I got to the third wall, where I noticed that the paint seemed to be bubbling. I continued on, hoping it would dry with no problems, but then I saw that the bubbling paint was peeling, bringing up many layers of paint with it. Not only that, but the first two walls were starting to do the same. I had spent the better part of the day painting by myself and this was altogether disheartening, so I decided to stop and see what it looked like in the morning.
It was worse.
As much as I was bothered by this turn of events, I just had to live with it until after we moved in because there was no time to fix the problem before then. After our move (details to come in a future installment) we decided to paint right away before settling in. While I was away at work, Jean-Marc spent a week scraping as much of the old paint – along with many other layers – as he could. We sanded the edges of the paint that wouldn’t come off and then had to spackle all the edges and uneven surfaces.
After a week of preparation, we were ready to put on a primer after a good cleaning of the walls. The primer worked ok except on the ceiling, where parts of the plaster were chunking off as we painted. Gulp. We spackled, sanded and primed the ceiling as best we could. We then put the real paint on, and were both super relieved to find that it was sticking, not bubbling and not cracking.
Did I mention that this was in the dining room? The original intention was to do the whole main floor (dining, living and hallway) but after the first room we thought we’d wait until next spring to get to the rest. Something tells me that the other rooms will be just as delicate!