Stripping down and getting ugly

Many of you know that besides being a part-time blogger and internet tornado, I’m also a decorative painter. Or, as my friend Jim once introduced me as, a faux paux painter. Since my paint buddy Tamara went back to work full time, I’ve pretty much stopped accepting jobs, but I will do small projects for friends occasionally. A friend called last week and asked if I would be willing to do a faux finish in her powder room.

The above picture is how her bathroom currently looks. Rather, I should say it’s how it used to look before I began the prep work for the faux finish. It’s a perfectly nice looking little powder room, she just wanted something a little fancier for the guest bathroom.

This is how the powder room currently looks:

Stripped of the mirror over the sink, pictures and accessories removed, crown molding, fixtures and baseboards covered with blue tape, the room’s not nearly as attractive as it was just a short while before. Add some temporary task lighting (so I can see what I’m painting), and imperfections which were once unseen begin to appear.

The most obvious flaw is the huge gouge in the wall which is normally covered up by a mirror:

Once the ceiling vents were removed, I discovered the previous painter hadn’t bothered to remove them but instead painted around them:

Plus a multitude of small imperfections which go unseen in the dim light of the bathroom:

All which must be addressed before any actual painting begins.

I enjoy painting immensely, whether it be a simply repainting a room or doing a faux finish or mural. There’s something incredibly satisfying for me about the ability to completely change the mood and character of a space with nothing more than a can of paint, a paintbrush and a few hours.

Do you know what I don’t like about painting?

The prep work: taking down pictures, filling nail holes, taping, removing switchplate covers, wiping down baseboards and crown moulding and walls, etc. It’s tedious, boring and annoying. It’s also necessary if you want to do the job right.

All the aforementioned things make a room look considerably worse before it begins to look better. Now’s not the time for inviting your friends to see the room. It’s best just to keep the door closed until the painter can come back and finish what she started.

We all go through minor and major renovations in this life. There are times when what has worked well for years just doesn’t seem to fit anymore. Sadly, life isn’t a 30 minute makeover show with instant results.

Change is a process, and oftentimes things get a whole lot uglier before the get better.

If you’re in the prep stage feeling ugly and useless, ask yourself this:

Who’s in charge of the renovation?

Do you trust Him?

Are you willing to stick it out through the ugly mess and have faith the He knows what He’s doing?

I sure hope you are.

Because even masterpieces don’t start out as masterpieces.

Abstract Impressionist painter Jackson Pollock

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10 Responses to “Stripping down and getting ugly”

  1. Alise October 13, 2011 at 7:32 am #

    I’ve been doing some major cleaning with my parents over the past couple of weeks. And yeah. It’s always so much worse when we pull everything out and start going through it. It’s embarrassing when I see just how much JUNK I have piled up. And once I get to that tipping point when I know it’s too much, it’s hard to let people in to see it, even though it’s at that point when I most need help. But once it’s done, it’s so much better.

    Also, I don’t really understand Pollock’s work. I tend to have Olivia’s view of him (not exactly, but close):

    • katdish October 13, 2011 at 7:43 am #

      For the record, Alise, I don’t really get Pollock’s work either. But it was late and I couldn’t find an image of Michaelangelo painting anything.

  2. HisFireFly October 13, 2011 at 8:36 am #

    Thanks for this reminder Kat.. we are in His hands and have to trust that He knows exactly what He’s doing!

  3. Jason Wert October 13, 2011 at 9:19 am #

    Sometimes I don’t think my room’s nothing more than a dump site for garbage.

    Great post Kat.

  4. Kory Cochran October 13, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    Wow! So very timely today. Thanks so much as it’s encouraging to remember God has started a good work within us & will finish it too. Did me good to get perspective during my remodel.

  5. Drusilla Mott October 13, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    I am like Alise, and get myself into trouble with my husband because every time I try to take on a major cleaning, I make it worse before it gets better. I love your comparison. We are all a work in progress and will not be complete until we are perfected in heaven. Thanks for the reminder that we need to be patient and abide in Him as we go through the transformation.

  6. floyd October 13, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    It can be a bit ugly to see the imperfections when God shines His light onto and into our lives… The process of remodeling can be painful. Interesting how the holes or old scars could barely be felt moving at light speed away from God.

    The prep, which is always the most important part, is always the hardest. It’s what separates the professional from the wanna-be.

  7. Helen October 13, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    Very timely today!

  8. Jason Stasyszen October 13, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

    Kat, what a great reminder. I know we should know it, but we forget. No one likes the prep work, but if it isn’t done right, the finished product is substandard. If it’s true in painting, how much more should we be vigilant with our spiritual lives and how we live this life with others. We can get upset things aren’t progressing at the pace we think they should (guilty), but we have to trust Him that the better the foundation is laid, the more glory it’ll hold. Thanks.


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