A splash of colour

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There are few things more satisfying than applying that first swath of paint across a wall with a big roller. I felt that joy last week as I transformed a blue-grey room into one with sunny yellow walls and bright white trim.

I love painting a room but something happens to me around paint. Maybe it’s the effect of the fumes or maybe it’s my impatience to see my vision realized, but it rarely goes smoothly.

Applying painters’ tape takes forever so I cut a corner or two and laid it down around the floorboards, but nowhere else. Halfway around the room, I started to tear longer and longer strips from the dwindling green roll of tape. Then the furnace kicked on and the slight breeze from the register caused the tape to flutter like a kite tail in a tornado. Eventually the twisted tape stopped flapping when it stuck to itself. Enough of that.  Half the room was done, and I was running out of tape, so I figured I would just pull it up and reuse it.

I started with the walls—a big empty canvas. I rolled the paint on and watched the instant magic as one wall after another went from blue to yellow. I stood back to admire my own work, bent down to put the roller back in the tray, and hit the wall with my bum leaving two prints in the fresh paint.

As I moved from wall to wall I pulled a drop cloth with the paint can, rollers, brushes, and the tray around the room like Linus with his blanket. Drops of paint somehow ended up under the drop cloth and as I pulled it, paint streaked across the hardwood floor that Tony had just refinished. It looked like a CSI crime scene under black light: white and yellow splotches streaked across the floor.

I walked around the room using the bottom of my fuzzy sock like a Swiffer to clean it up before it dried. As the bottom of my sock became saturated I spread more paint across the floor. So I took the sock off, turned it over, and used the clean part to wipe up the rest.

After the walls were done, I moved on to the trim. It’s a smaller area, so it should be a quick job. What could possibly go wrong? I still had one clean sock on my foot and I was brimming with enthusiasm.

Pulling the tape off is another satisfying moment during any painting job. I pulled a long piece off the floor, and held it up like a string of pearls I won at a Sotheby’s auction. Then the furnace kicked on again. The end of the tape, covered in white paint, quivered manically, hitting the wall and then, once again, it flew up and became attached to itself.

I moved on to the door. I dragged the drop cloth over, leaving more splatter on the floor until it looked like a Jackson Pollock for Beginners art class had just finished.

I painted one side of the door, including the strip of door that meets the wall. A short time later I left the room and when I came back I noticed a stripe of white paint on dark wood on the opposite side of the door.

This would take some scrubbing. Good thing I still had another sock.

It was a long day but the room is sunny yellow with white trim. Just don’t ask about the floors. I’m going shopping for a carpet.

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