STIR-IT-UP - Vol. 5
Photo Editing Apps for Your Phone and Desktop
You’ve taken a great photo of a space you are working on – and the look is not optimal. Maybe it’s just a little dark, or perhaps you’d like to add your watermark, or add text overlays to the image before sharing on your website, blog, or social sites. If PhotoShop seems intimidating, there are several free and inexpensive options for both your desktop and your mobile phone.
There are many more photo editing apps and in fact, a few peers also suggested Pixlr as well as Afterlight. In case you’d like to see your photos as works of art, try Prisma and if you have a pesky object you’d like to remove from your photo (i.e., photobombers, trash cans), TouchRetouch just might become your best friend! Let me know if you already use and/or have tried any of the above recommendations and I’d love to know some of YOUR favorites as well!
The Biggest Mistake
We are moving to a new state in 3 days. I should be packing after work. Visiting with friends. Or just resting. But what I am doing late into the night is fixing past projects. And why am I doing this? Because I made the most common and avoidable mistake in painting: Not giving myself enough time or money to do a job the way it should be done.
As I reflect back on my commissions before transitioning fully into my new job, it is easy to see how I could have avoided the callbacks, extra hours and overall frustration.
This is a truth. At times, there is no reliable more cost effective way to get the quality finish needed. Sometimes the best approach is to sand everything down and start over. There is a need to mud, sand and prime. And some things-usually a cabinet or piece of furniture- are not worth the money it would take to save it.
So be smart. Be realistic with your bids. Be brave and ask for what you need to do the job right.
Or be me-sanding a table down at midnight wishing I had taken my own advice.
I Have No Idea What I'm Doing (And That's Okay)
I am not going to divulge my actual age here, because I'd like for the IDAL universe to continue thinking of me as a young, roguish maverick with a flair for the dramatic and a penchant for sporting ridiculous hair. But just between myself and those of you out there brave enough to actually read the idiocy I call my column, you should understand I am not as young or hip as I pretend to be. I have been around the block multiple times, and not just because I refuse to ask for directions when I'm lost.
I have mentioned this before, and excuse me for repeating myself, but I spent my life after high school (I was not popular), and college (I dropped out), traveling and working as an entertainer for over twenty years. It sounds cool, but it...well, okay. It was pretty cool.
But my point is that I met gobs of different people from every walk of life imaginable, and I learned an incredible amount. I observed art and culture in every corner of the globe while performing for countless audiences. To paraphrase Jon Bon Jovi, I saw a million faces...and I rocked a large fraction.
What am I getting at?
After all of that, and now several years into being a decorative artist, I still don't know my butt from a hole in the ground. I often feel like I am no better today than I was when I started, and I know nothing about people, art, or life in general.
The last column I wrote was about my resolutions as an artist for 2018, and at first I considered writing this column about how much progress I've made in two months. But rather than write "I AM STILL THE SAME FAILURE I WAS LAST YEAR" and hit "send," I figured I might at least write about what I've learned this year, as I try (and fail) to accomplish my aforementioned resolutions. While I normally am a windbag (bet you didn't notice), I actually have only two things I've learned. TWO. But they are two things I really need to hang onto right now.
1) Every client is different. While I try to get better and more efficient in every job I do, the client is the ultimate wild card. While most are wonderful, patient, decisive people, sometimes I get blindsided. Sometimes I completely misread a situation, and before I know it, they have done everything in their power short of pushing me off a ladder to complicate things.
All I can do is adapt and not stress out, which has been exceedingly difficult lately. Since my last column, I've had a couple of tough jobs in a row, with changes upon changes, difficult demands, you name it. But I can't change people, only the way I react to them. I am trying to get better at rolling with the punches, and softening my hard edges. As a guy who already looks like a villain in a Bond movie with a voice like rusty metal, it's difficult for me to not come off like a completely abrasive jerk. But I am trying. I hope you're trying to be more patient as well.
2) I am lucky (and so are you). Why? Because I can also pick my own bosses, if I choose to. If I decide I don't want to work for a client again, or if I get a bad vibe from a prospective job, I can walk away. Not many people in other industries have that luxury, but the majority of self-employed decorative artists do. That's awesome. I've been on the other side, where I had zero say in who ran the show. Not awesome.
I want to leave you with one more thing. I don't know if many of you have heard of Shaun T, the exercise guru, but as a part of our efforts to make 2018 a year of positive change, my wife and I began a workout regimen in January around a series of his videos. I've never been one to follow a specific workout program--let alone one in which I follow a video--but I found it so enjoyable we also attended one of his seminars in Orlando earlier today. Not knowing what to expect, I even delayed turning this article in until the last minute so I could include some of what I might learn. Well, I learned so much I can't include it all, but I want to share with you a nugget that relates to the point of this article, which I had already begun writing earlier this week.
One of the biggest things Shaun urged us to do was to be "Positively Selfish," meaning, it's okay to do things that are for yourself. Especially if it helps you reach your goals, whether they be physical, mental, or career-related, you need to be positively selfish.
So, I learned today that saying "no" to working for a client I feel is not good for my business, while difficult, is okay. Sure, sometimes I feel like I have to take every job, and bend until I break to unreasonable requests, but I don't have to. Saying no is okay. It's okay to be positively selfish.
More to come on the Shaun T seminar next column...but until then...do something positively selfish for yourself this month. You deserve it.
Reintroducing Golden Paintworks Lifestyle Finishes and Golden Pro Finishes.
It’s been almost a year since we introduced new branding on the products that were formerly known to the decorative finishing community as Proceed. While most of the actual products didn’t change, there were formula changes to the Metallic Paints, making them more opaque, and Fresco Texture (SAT) to reduce cracking. We also introduced some new products, including Protective Wax Topcoat and Venetian Plaster.
Some people were disappointed that we split up the line and others felt the “dumbing down” of the product names was done to attract the DIY crowd. While the product names are less technical and easier to remember, our goal in changing the names and updating the look was not to market to the DIY crowd, but rather to make the products more accessible to a wider professional audience through placement in more stores. We’d like talented decorative finishers like you to be able to get the products easier, and we’d also like to expand the market to other professional contractors that have decorative finishing abilities. As many of you know, there is a range of what’s possible with these versatile products, from a simple technique that a contractor experienced with a trowel can do, to many more nuanced and sophisticated techniques that take an experienced decorative artist to accomplish.
During the last year we’ve been promoting the products through industry trade magazines, including Paint & Decorating Retailer and American Painting Contractor. We’ve attended PDCA, IDAL, and the National Hardware Show. We built a new website, started a new Facebook page (Golden Paintworks), and have filmed several application videos for the Lifestyle Finishes products with more to come later this year. Please visit our website, www.goldenpaintworks.com to check out the new Resources section, watch the videos, and soon we’ll be launching an updated version of the Proceed calculator.
As we continue to work on the development and support of the lines, we are excited to announce that Dean Sickler will be joining our team full-time to assist in developing and leading a Paintworks Commercial Education Program. For the next few months, we’ll be developing curriculum and doing test runs of our programs in the greater New York metro area, but later in the year we would like to host a Decorative Applications Workshop for decorative finishers who would like to learn more about the products or potentially use them to teach with in their workshops. Stay tuned for more information on this and other programs as the details take shape. We’re excited to have Dean on our team and look forward to all the ways he can help us grow and mature in the years ahead.
Please Follow Golden Paintworks on Facebook to stay in touch and watch our website for updates. If we can answer specific questions, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
International Decorative Artisans League (IDAL)