We lost Dad six years ago today. He’s been on my mind a lot lately because I spent the weekend painting an armoire he built for me. Painting always makes me think of Dad, and painting something he made is even more special. A little more anxiety-inducing, too.
Here are many of the ways I would have disappointed him with my project:
- I painted the armoire navy blue. Although I like the way it looks, Dad never would have gone for such a dramatic color. He also would have suggested an oil-based enamel but OMG, that’s way too much work and the cleanup sucks so I went with latex. Semi-gloss, but still. He would not have approved. Pffft.
- I painted it the wrong color first. I knew I wanted navy blue, but I was so worried it would look black that I went with a shade lighter. That was a bad decision. It was dark blue, but nowhere near navy; therefore it matched nothing in my house. I spent way too much $$ and time on all this. Dad never made bad paint decisions. They were usually pretty boring, but never bad.
- I cursed a little. OK, a lot.
- As I painted, the thought of getting a tattoo crossed my mind. Dad would have HATED that.
- While waiting for the armoire to dry, I painted both sides of the front door of the house. I did the inside because I thought it would look pretty. He would have frowned on that. No reason, really. Just wouldn’t have liked it.
The things of which he would have approved:
- I primed.
- I used good brushes and no gadgets. Dad was a purist when it came to painting. I would be less of a purist if he hadn’t once given me a huge box of of brand new supplies. I haven’t bought a brush or roller in forever.
- I used my awesome canvas dropcloth. Oh, I know there’s no reason to get excited about a dropcloth, I do, but this was one of Dad’s last gifts to me. As I cleaned up a particularly messy project once, I mentioned that I needed a good canvas dropcloth, one that we could open up and it would tell stories about all the projects we’d ever attempted. And a couple weeks later, he brought one to me. This dropcloth definitely has stories to tell, and as of last weekend, it has two more. The first is about Jen’s bad color choice; the second is about when Jen painted the front door for no good reason whatsoever.
- I made touch-ups using a variety of light sources so’s to get every single inch of the armoire properly covered.
- I cleaned up my brushes like a good girl.
Here’s my favorite part of the armoire: the back, where Dad “autographed” it. I love this because it’s one of the few things I’ve kept that shows Dad’s oh-so-distinctive handwriting. I painted around it to remind future generations to never paint over it.
I miss you so much, Dad. Whether I’m painting, or washing my car, or eating while driving: (to paraphrase Stephen Schwartz) so much of me is made of what I learned from you. Today and always, you are with me like a handprint on my heart.