Sunday, July 29, 2012

Why I love my job

I have to say that I feel blessed to do what I love.  I know a lot of people who just go to work day in and out and hate their job. My husband is one of them.  What I love the most, is that it constantly changes and challenges me.  Very rarely am I in the same location for more than 2 weeks. I am usually contracted for a job and most projects are 3-4 days, and sometimes 2 weeks. I did work in a fabulous home in LLoyd Neck, and we painted there for over a year and a half, but not consecutively.  I enjoy traveling to new places for work. HOWEVER, going into Manhattan is never easy.  This past week, I had the pleasure of being called in to mix some paint for some ceiling work at the New York Athletic Club on Central Park South.

I had no idea what I was in for, and brought my bag of tricks. Tints, glaze, brushes and some paint. I showed up at the main desk, fully knowing they would send me around the back to the service entrance, but I didn't know where it was.  My normal attire for work is black pants covered in paint from wiping my hands, and usually a black t shirt.  Today, for whatever reason, I decided to wear khaki shorts, and a navy tank top. Well, there is a dress code at the club, and I didn't fit it!

Here is the link to their dress code: New York Athletic Club Dress Code.  I just went onto their website and found what I should've been wearing..however, I am just the artist and not a member.  The kind gentlemen actually allowed me to walk through the building to the "correct" side and through the service elevator.  I rode up to the 11th floor and walked into the ballroom. WOW.

The contractor failed to tell me the scope of the project and I immediately thought, this is a month long project at least.  The ceiling is amazing, and covered with hand painting, paneling, decorative trim and boxes. When he showed up, he casually mentioned they have to be done by friday, and am I available tomorrow as well, with panic in his voice during the second request.  Unfortunately another client was waiting for me, and I did my best to mix some colors.
Ok, so here is the issues. The center panels where the hand painting is, are all on canvas. The building was built in the late 1800's, and I am not sure how old the work is in this room, but its been touched by other people many times. The guys here were fixing the plaster cracks, and then trying to retouch the paint. As you can see in the picture, there are multiple colors by the panel, all the flat areas should look like that yellow color with glaze over it. However, the areas where someone else repainted are only really obvious when you stare at the ceiling and hunt it down. But when you are trying to make a color, its impossible, because each area is different looking. I really felt so overwhelmed and disappointed. Overwhelmed because I knew this was not a job where I can mix one color for the whole ceiling, it just isn't going to work. Disappointed because this clearly wasn't going to get the loving care it desperately needed.

This isn't my job, so I have no idea what the contract was and for what. I actually had to just put black on this one area, where the rest of the octagon has a red banner type pattern running through it. It looks awful.
Look at how beautiful this is, this is just one small part, and it is begging for a good cleaning.
The ceiling is just monstrous. It needs so much help!
Getting back to why I love my job, there is no way I would have been allowed into this building to see the gorgeous ceilings. I don't know any members, so that wouldn't be my ticket in. A piece of NY history, closed off to the general public, and I was able to see it up close.

Here are a few more pictures, and more hand painting. The next pictures are of the 9th floor, where the ceiling is all wood carving and hand painted sports figures, equipment and scenery.

Who knows, maybe they will decide to restore the ceiling properly and maybe I will get called back to help out.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I'm back ... let's try this again!

Well, it's been almost two years since I tried to do this blogging thing. It's not that I forgot about it, well ok, just a little. Actually a lot. I didn't even remember what the old page looked like, or the title. Life just got a bit crazy. Since that posting in September of 2010, my oldest son is now 2 and a half, and I have another little baby boy, now 9 months old. Oh, and we moved. Between those three things, and just life in general, I rarely get to spend time in front of the computer.  I have decided to try and get back to writing, and posting photos for friends, family and clientele to see.

In case you are new to the blog, I am a decorative artist.  I have my own business, Bella Terra Designs, Inc., and I love my job.  I meet new people all the time, and I am invited into their homes to help transform them into something beautiful, inspiring, welcoming, and inviting.  I really believe that I am truly blessed that I get to do something that I love.  It has its ups and downs, the economy, always making sure there is work, and just trying to stay ahead of the trends.  It's something that I can't turn off when I get home. I usually have to make samples and prepare estimates after the boys go to bed. Weekends are busy as well. I'm usually trying to catch up on what I didn't finish, pack up and put away paint and equipment, write, etc during the week.  But seeing how happy my client's are and my flexible schedule (sometimes) makes it all well worth it.

One of the first things my client's ask is how beautiful my house is...well...hmmm, you know the saying "the plumber's leaky faucet," try "the painter's unpainted house."  We bought a little 1928 Dutch Colonial a year ago, and I have one room painted. And it was just completed a month ago. The day we signed the contract and got the keys, my husband and his friend decided to rip out the drop ceiling in the dining room. Long story short, the plaster ceiling was in need of repair.  It's now the prettiest room in the house.  Did I mention I was 6 months pregnant when we bought the house?  I was able to paint the living room a regular paint job, but that was it.  Once the baby came, all work ceased.

I guess my goal about the new blog, is to share the projects at work, as well as my little house's transformation.  I love projects, and I need to be more disciplined in actually completing them.  My kitchen has 4 colors painted on the wall. Need to pick one. My office drop ceiling also needs a gut, paneling removed, and oh I have high hopes for that room. Sigh.  Time and money. That's all I need!