Saturday, August 13, 2011

Making Awesomeness.

As I may have mentioned, the studio has been bothering me.  Don't get me wrong, it's been wonderful to have space to paint and get messy and work into the wee hours - but it's also been less than ideal.

In winter I piled all my paints into a dresser drawer, spread a painter's tarp on a corner in the basement and worked down there. But when the kids would play there I'd worry about folks bumping into something in progress.  Also, the lighting was either too dim or too bright.

In the summer I've waited until the kids were in bed, opened up the rolling door, and cranked up the wobbly fan to keep the skeeters off.  I know, it sounds like a pain in the ass, and it is, but I've found I'm generally a much happier person if I at least make one painting a week.

So, little by little I've been improving it.  And now, I'm in the home stretch - and it's very close to amazing.

The biggest problem has been the lack of heat or cooling, but without insulation, there hardly seems much point in wasting the energy does there?  It's a metal garage on a concrete slab.  The previous owners had started to insulate it, but didn't quite finish the job.   The interior walls were chip board with metal studs that were set back a bit from the board.  What do you do with that?  Insulation and dry wall would have been crazy expensive, just painting the chip board white didn't work.  I can't even fully explain how much I've wanted to make the walls of this place uniform and clean.  It might go back to my years of living in a dungeon of wood paneling at our old place. And then my crazy ideas all came together in a stroke of genius.  Or at the very least, a pragmatic use of my cheap streak.

There are these spray cans of foam insulation. You fill in whatever gaps you have, it swells as it dries and you cut away the excess with a knife afterwards.  So a foaming I did go.  It's not perfect but it works and it cut off all of those drafts.  Then I bought this paintable wallpaper with a beadboard wood pattern and I wallpapered over the chipboard/foam combo.  Then I painted.  - And this is where my favorite paint guy and the Home Depot saved the day. - He stopped me from getting a water based acrylic paint.  Because water based could re-activate the glue and paste in the wallpaper and undo all my hard work!  Instead I used the cheap oil based primer from Kilz and had it tinted to the color I wanted.  Funny enough the color is called Artist Canvas, and even funnier it perfectly matches the free kitchen cabinets my friend Gina gave to me and helped me install.  - Could life get any better?  I submit that it cannot.

The next parts of the project are to put wood trim around the windows and at the top and bottom of the walls.  Partly because that makes with the pretty and partly because it will cover up any residual foam and help keep the wallpaper tacked down.  - Speaking of which, another (I thought very smart) part of my plan was in the application of the wallpaper.  It was fairly straight forward prepasted wallpaper.  You cut the strips, soak them for a moment in water, fold the underside over itself to activate the paste and then apply.  But I had read reviews of folks having a tough time with the adhering.  I happened to have a gallon jug of Elmers Glue.  I mixed it with a bit of warm water and painted that onto the chip board before I put on each section.  Since chipboard is such an irregular surface I think it really helped to hold it all on there.

Now the final stage of the studio will be to get some french doors to replace the rolling metal door.  Ages ago I did a huge painting for my friend Cindy and we worked out a trade where rather than paying me she would give me the value - 300.00 in labor.  Just so happens she knows how to frame in walls and doors.  I buy the door, take out the old one and she works her magic. 

I'm not going to waste your time with photos of all the little things.  It's probably not even interesting to anyone but me.  Once I'm done though, or nearly done, I'll post pictures and you can ooh and aah then.  In the meantime I have to get back to work.  Tootles. - A