“About as much fun as Watching Paint Dry” is a common comment, and usually used despairingly. Not true when it applies to the title of a recent book I read. I just happened to stumble upon it searching in Amazon for something else and instantly bought it.
“Watching Paint Dry” is the story of John Burbridge’s journey through life as a painter in several capacities, he was the college student, college student franchise employee, employee, union painter, owner and hack (although using his mountain climbing gear on a commercial job may not have been OHSA approved, it got the job done!).
The book is only 176 pages, but it tells the story of just about every painter stereotype in an uncannily real way. Many of the reviews call it a “lighthearted read”, and I agree, but there is a depth and the insights into human nature are striking. This review says it well.
John Burbidge has aimed his brush, roller, and spray gun at everything from ritzy mansions to trashy trailers. He’s gone underground to paint sewage-treatment plants and risked death to paint factory ceilings. He has no doubt inhaled enough noxious dust and paint fumes to shorten his life.
But he’s not dead yet. And the captivating characters he has encountered along the way have more than offset the toils of painting for a living. Ex-cons, addicts, drifting college grads, even a guy with a hole in his head—that’s your typical paint crew, bonded only by the fact that they’re caught in a job society thinks is for simpletons. In Watching Paint Dry, John Burbidge scrapes beneath the surface of painting’s reputation for monotony while intimately portraying the men and women who craft the backdrop to our civilization.
“Informative, funny, and sometimes heartbreaking . . . this is a book you will want to recommend to everyone you know.”
–Sharon Barrett, Chicago Sun-Times book critic for 28 years
After reading the book, I did a little more research on John, he has also created “How to Paint a House Right”. At first glance, the site may appear to cater to to the DIY crowd, but after looking at several of the well done videos, I see the answers to many of the questions I see asked here and on popular paint forums. I contacted John to learn more and he has agreed to a guest post here at Blogging Painters, and join our community.
If you have read the book, have a question or topic you would like him to address, leave a comment below, thanks!