As promised, here is my Pinstriping Round 3 progress & update. Actually, is progress the right word? Hmm. I'm pretty sure that pinstriping is not my long lost calling. Especially, after today. I guess that's not to say I made no progress, I did. But I don't think I have what it takes to become the next great pinstriper. And I'm okay with that. My pinstriping appetite is nearly satiated.
I digress. I started out realizing an important lesson. I did not clean my brushes well enough last time. For a craft that is often done by rough-around-the-edges type guys, you certainly need a daintiness and a tenderness when it comes to dealing with your brushes. I spent the first chunk of my time re-cleaning and conditioning my brushes to reclaim that lovely sharp, knife blade quality they had before. Luckily, I got it back!
This time around I also have some 18x24 metal signs – way better than porous paper but still not my total ideal because they are coated in some kind of semigloss finish. A plastic coating, is my guess. It took me quite awhile to figure out my ink to mineral spirits ratio and how much to palette onto my brush to get the paint to lie down nicely. Or as nicely as my little shaky hand will allow it. But in general, the metal was easier to work with, I would just use an old t-shirt to wipe up after every attempt. You should see that t-shirt, it looks like crime scene evidence. That's why you might see smearing in some of the photos though, because these blank signs became my reusable canvases.
Fast forward 2 hours of solid striping later and I'm not sure I've progressed much. Really it's not that much time for practice but when you're balancing out family, projects, life, etc – that's what I've got. Tack on another 15 minutes or so of setup and 15 minutes of clean up and let's just say I'm happy to be able to get to this a couple of times a week.
I feel like it takes the full 2 hours to just get my head into it. To finally get my brush coverage right, to jog the muscle memory of my arm movements from last time and to start getting something worth anything. But this is part of the learning process and it's not always pretty but I'm sharing it anyway. I have to remember another reason for this Make Good Year is to just follow through on unfinished projects. Even if I feel like it looks like a steaming hot pile of S-H-you know what.
In the end, I think pinstriping is proving to be too cumbersome for me. Sure, I fully believe you can become good at anything you put your mind to. You need to put in the time, the effort, the practice, loads of it – but you can do it. I really do believe that. But here's the thing, I don't love the toxicity of this particular craft. As much as I love the finished product and learning about the masters, I'm not going to attempt to follow suit. The paint, the mineral spirits, the fumes, oof. That's been a hard reality for me.
But I will finish out this month. My plan is to get in a few more sessions and to try to perfect at least one of the patterns I've been working on. While I'm in pinstriping confessional mode, I'm going to admit something else too. After the 6 hours I've spent practicing from my 3 sessions thus far, I feel like all I can see is a certain lady part and/or layers of an onion in the patterns I've been practicing. Ha.
Now, if only I could stop my shaky hand. I know, I need to stripe before I have coffee. I know, I know. Coffee = shaky hand. But dammit, I love coffee.