After Reading “Watching Paint Dry”

I came across this one as I was searching YouTube for how to paint my house. John Burbidge took me on a tour of his painting career over seven stories. I have to admit that these stories introduced me to a new side of this trade. I often thought of painting as unskilled labor and these stories told me how wrong I was. What I learned is that anyone can probably take up a paint brush and paint, but to do a good-enough job, one needs a lot of skills.

I loved these stories as they show both the technical aspect of painting and also a glimpse into the life of a painter. It is definitely a hard life, with long hours, nasty paint fumes and very little mobility. It seemed like most people started it as something to try but then got stuck for life. Even though John sounds a little condescending on some pages, he drew the characters with kindness and gave generous credit where it was due.

It was great to see that amid all of things, John kept his passion for writing alive and eventually found a gig that he loves. The stories in the book felt just right, not too short or long. I also think seven was a good number; while I enjoyed all seven, I am sure I could not take a dozen of these painting stories.

Published at: 12/25/2020