I don't always relish the thought of sanding, but I love to paint.
I spent a few hours tonight rolling and tipping fresh red paint on the floorboards of my Wedding Gondola.
Here are a few snaps I took of the process, while listenning to David Bowie.
The pieces all received their first coat of red yesterday (applied on freshly sanded surfaces). Since it takes most modern marine paints several days to fully cure, you can sometimes skip the sanding between coats - just wipe the previous coat with the thinner that matches the paint, and it softens things. Here, I'm wiping a floorboard (and whistling, of course).
Rolling is fairly straightforward, but there are ways to mess up.
The key is to focus on even application.
"Tipping out" the paint is where the skill is required. This is best done in controlled conditions with a brush you're very comfortable with. Brushing with the grain of the wood is usually best. Tipping out also gives you a chance to distribute the paint more evenly if you need to.
It all works out well if the paint is thinned right, you have the right tools, and can focus on the work. Good music helps too, of course.
And if for some reason you need to defend yourself while rolling and tipping, your brush can serve well as a deterrent.
Is red a good choice in practice? People usually associate that color with dynamism or being agitated, angry, etc.
Meanwhile gondolas are supposed to be a slow, calming experience, maybe better represented by green, blue or yellow floor-tiles?
Of the colors seen on gondola floorboards in Venezia, red is the most popular, blue seems to be the second most common. Now and then I see other colors, but at first glance, it seems as if all the gondolas have either red or blue on their floors. I have been told that the red and blue date back a few centuries to a time when there was a division between two clans: the Nicolotti and the Castellani. I'm not sure if this is true, but it wouldn't surprise me. Recently I had a conversation with some local gondoliers about why there are striped shirts in blue and in red - one gondolier suggested that it came from the days of the "two clans". Incidently, I've been told by a few Venetian gondoliers that the color of the ribbon on a gondolier's hat should match the floorboards of his boat. It could simply be an effort to keep things matching, or it could date back to the Nicolotti and the Castellani. Someone should ask Gilberto Penzo - I'm certain he would know.
Painting floorboards is totally a zen activity. I loved that part, from the sanding, to the painting, to the departure from the "meditative" state to the all out rollbrush-dancing with the ipod to "Chitarra Romana." Nothin' says 'getting ready for gondola season' like turning on the best in Nilla Pizzi, Narciso Parigi, Claudio Villa and Mattheo Salvatore!
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