PDCA, Painting Convention
This year’s program for the Trade Show portion of the convention included a live demonstration by three children ranging in age from 11 to 16 years old.
by Mario Guertin, President
Forum for Excellence in Craftsmanship
held in Las Vegas on March 17-20, attracted a record number of attendees. This year’s program for the Trade Show portion of the convention included a live demonstration by three children ranging in age from 11 to 16 years old. In a 2- to 4-hour time period, they developed 3' x 6' sample boards of how they will redecorate their bedrooms, using tools of the trade and simple decorative painting techniques.
This program was developed by the PDCA Forum for Excellence in Craftsmanship and was sponsored by PaintPRO magazine. The children involved were Christian and Nick Liddeke from Kansas, and Jordan Statz from Wisconsin. They and their parents were contacted ahead of time to coordinate decisions about concept and colors. Large polystyrene sheets were used and hung over large easels.
The Liddeke brothers requested to work together on their project. They wanted to use stripes and a metallic horizontal line at chair rail height. Because there were two of them, we decided to have them work on two different boards, doing similar things. The color scheme was determined ahead of time and the boards were base-coated before the show as well.
It was very interesting to notice that even though they were brothers and one year apart, their personality was quite different. They both had a need for accuracy and exactness. Therefore, they were both quite comfortable doing stripes on their boards. However, Christian preferred the defined and more controllable patterns of a ragged finish to decorate his stripes, while Nick was immediately attracted to the more flowy and unstructured patterns of a dry-brush finish for his stripes. Upon discussing these observations with their mom Charlotte, she concurred, in amazement, on the accuracy of these observations about her boys’ style of painting.
Jordan was the other participant in the program. In the original conversation we had on the phone, Jordan was very clear about the theme for his bedroom. He said it will have the Greenbay Packer colors and there will be a picture of Brett Favre on his wall when it is all done. The vision was clear. However, I was less than clear on how to put it together as a concept. In my painting company, my wife Rita acts as the Color and Concept Consultant. So I asked Rita’s help in developing the concept for bringing about Jordan’s vision for his room. Rita did her magic and the concept was born. It would be a football field below the chair rail, complete with goal post, end zone and yard lines. So the work would involve mainly striping, stenciling and layout.
Jordan was a man on a mission that day. He nailed the taping procedure right away, but he had a lot of work to do to complete his football field. I told him to let me know when he was ready for a break. Two and half hours later, he said: I am ready for a break now. He asked for a bottle of water. I said: how about a chocolate chip cookie also? He said OK. After the water and the cookie, Jordan went right back to work. It took him a bit over four hours to complete his work. Some people stopped by five times to see his progress. Vendors at other booths came over to comment on his focus and intensity. Way to go Jordan!
Before closing on my commentaries, I would like to share how I was personally gifted in the process of working on this project. For many years, I often wondered how I could effectively train my employees in doing what I do in the Decorative Painting realm, knowing that the classroom format can only go so far in accomplishing this objective. In the process of thinking through how to set up the work for the children, I devised a simple system using a sheet of plywood 40" wide by 72" high and a sheet of 20 mil polystyrene of the same dimension. That gave me the idea for what to do for my employees.
The week before the convention, I implemented this new system in my company and started to train Steve, one of my employees. It consists of equipping my employee with three of these sheets of plywood and polystyrene. On one of these sheets, pieces of wood are screwed to three of the edges to create the 90 degree angle of a wall, so edges can be practiced. These boards are leaned against a wall so they can be worked on and are easily stored.
These boards are also easily transportable. That same week, Steve brought one board to a job site where I was executing the same finish I wanted to teach him (client had given her OK on the procedure beforehand) and executed his first board after proper instruction and observing me for a while. He later practiced the same finish at home on multiple occasions before coming back to the shop for feedback and further instruction. This system is amazingly simple, flexible and effective. So, thanks to the children involved in this program that made my new learning possible.
The PDCA Forum for Excellence in Craftsmanship’s primary mission is to define the skill and knowledge base of a Master Painter and to establish its assessment process. The Forum is dedicated to the promotion of Craftsmen, present and future, and Excellence in Craftsmanship. We want to establish painting as a worthwhile endeavor in the minds of our youth. If this mission appeals to you, please visit our web site at www.pdcamasterpainter.com and get involved with us.