A Rant, And My Solution
When I moved into my new flat here in Maarn, the place looked simply dismal. Some Dutch tradesman had come along and filled all the holes in the way only Dutch tradesmen can. That is to say, rock hard filler slopped liberally across pretty wallpaper. Following his skillful work – which to me bordered wanton violence – the place was ruined. But for the clause in the letting contract his time would have been better spent sitting at home.
Thankfully, he wasn’t being paid to paint the doors. Mind you, there was no need because they were already a dirty grey. He’d have had a hard time making them look any worse. If you think I’m being hard on them, you haven’t had to work with them – or put their “work” to rights.
Anyway, I trotted off and bought some primer and some pale cream paint. The result was bright doors that, well, lacked a certain something. They were dull, only I simply didn’t know what would cheer them up. In fact, they were featureless and frankly: bloody boring.
Now it would be around two years ago that a customer asked me to paint her doors. They were panel doors and on agreeing a colour scheme, I got busy. Now not only did I like the job, I loved the colour scheme which picked out the reverse mouldings that you get with traditionally made doors.
Did I want the same?
You bet I did.
Was I jealous?
Only when I get jealous, I start getting clever. Usually it means a lot of hard work, but I’m used to that. And it does mean that in the end I don’t have to be jealous any more! What’s more, it’s usually better because I did it myself in a way that I like – and I get to enjoy doing it. Which in this case, I certainly did.
In this instance, my problem was that I had these flat sided doors. They weren’t the sort where I’d been able to paint the mouldings to emphasize them. Were they there, I’d have done it. These doors were boring in the fullest sense of the word.
My idea coalesced in a form and fell out again as my scribblings didn’t gel. There was only one thing to do: measure a real door with panels. On my next visit to the builder’s merchant I could be seen sketching diagrams in my notepad.
It was taking actual dimensions and not relying simply on my own imagination that was the key. The doors had panels marked out in a way that reflected reality. What’s more it meant that they felt right. Until then, my efforts would have passed muster but not to the expert eye. Which mine is.
With the masking tape in place the fun could begin. Firstly a base-coat and semi-gloss topcoat. This was allowed to dry, and a darker shade was used to emphasize shadowing. Now this took some time: each line of shadowing had to be put on individually and then allowed to dry.
When I had a few shadows, came the time for some highlights. This used a paler shade and a hint of cream. Again, each line was done individually and carefully shaped by wiping excess paint off with a cotton duster.
The effect was magical. Now if I say that, it usually means it’s pretty good. When the masking tape was removed, they looked like English doors. They’re stylish in a way that adds real elegance to my living room. That the doors have fake panels doesn’t make the atmosphere they create any less real.
Because my doors are a metaphor for my abilities as a copywriter. I can take words and create stories and scenes that are imaginary. Yet they evoke feelings in your readers that are very real. What’s more, if that’s the feeling that your best customers have, it’ll be a feeling of relief that they’ve finally found a business that they can trust. My real skill is finding out what that feeling is, and telling the story that conveys it best.