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From the Field in us? I think he would see painters doing production battle daily against tight numbers and schedules. Where the paint meets the house, he would see painters challenged mostly by issues related to moisture and water – and countering with paints that are based in … water. Wait. What? He would see nice soft brushes that are at times more oval than flat or angled, pouncing into almost any profile and flexing back into shape easily. He would see us spreading exterior paint bases with self-priming capabilities and almost creamy, caulklike filling capacity. Paints that stay wet enough to draw out for what Norman would think felt like a country mile, and dry right at 35 degrees. The past would tell us that we don't really have much to complain about on the tool and material side of our game – especially in comparison with Norman's brushes, which must have felt like clubs. Complaining about paint is like complaining about the weather … and they are connected. The same paint will take on a completely different personality in November than it had in June. You had better too. While we are lucky to have paint manufacturers in our industry – we no longer have to mix our own recipes like Norman's generation did – I am inclined to think what I think Norman would think. We are pretty much set with products for a little while. We don't need more tweaky, boutiquey $80 cans of paint that are marvels of modern chemistry and increasingly less user-friendly to the masses. And the bristle filament technologies in our brushes are well-matched. Smart manufacturers will shift those likely absurd R&D dollars into bolstering their own dealer networks and relearning what their contractor base really needs to survive. Most contractors would probably agree that the answer is not inside a better can of paint. And the best place for manufacturers to ask painters about this is NOT on the Internet. Quality products have been done, almost to an extreme. It is time to repair an industry and redefine an entire market – swing the pendulum more to "growing" than to "mature." Painters are working people working for working people these days. This is probably not unlike how it was in Norman's day, just in a radically different world. I say we, paint contractors and manufacturers, push the envelope to the point where Hollywood script writers who are doing the old "hostage situation plot" start writing that instead of a helicopter and a million dollars, the villain demands a hotshot paint crew to paint his great room before midnight. And you or I get the call to assemble and lead that crew. Not likely to happen. But you get my drift. BACK TO REALITY To be a good painter or paint contractor, you have to have a rich inner life. I have been saying this for years, and I absolutely believe it. You have to be a bit of a dreamer. And there comes a time when you have to drag your dream into existence, challenging everyone in your path to either be part of the solution or to continue to be part of the problem. When See Advertiser Index on Page 82 AMERICAN PAINTING CONTRACTOR • November / December 2013 23

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