Last fall, while visiting my uncle, he asked me to paint some buoys. He plans to hang them in the cottage he’s been working on building for the past two years (“The Lodge” as he likes to call it). You see, we’re all from the Maritimes (Nova Scotia) and we’ve had a family cottage on the Northern coast of NS since the mid 1950’s when granddad bought a small building and moved it to a plot of land he’d been given by a friend he met while acting as the local minister. It’s right on the coast, over looking the beach.  Fisherman catch lobster in the water out beyond the section of reef that becomes visible at low tide, buoys wash up on shore and, at some point, someone decided they would make a fun addition to the family cottage.

Buoys at my family cottage

The dining room of the family cottage was added to the small building (they even left the old shingles and the window frame). It’s just two walls, a floor and a roof. Literally, just the roof. No attic, no insulation, just the wood that’s supporting the roof tiles (this is meant as a summer abode, not a year-round home). And, a couple dozen buoys hanging around a central light fixture.

One of the rooms in our family cottage has shingles
We even use old fashioned wood block buoys as decor. And, yes, those are the shingles I mentioned.

The buoys are in rough shape when we find them, but they get a paint job before being hung up. Sometimes, we just use less garish colours (they are typically painted in bright or florescent colours so that the fishermen can see them from a distance) and copy the colour pattern the buoy already had (each boat uses a different pattern so they know who’s are who’s). As I got older and showed a bit of artistic talent, I was nominated to do some fancier paint jobs. They commemorated rare visits from our Alberta cousins or special birthdays and anniversaries (we even did a silver one for someone’s 50th).

My uncle wanted to do something similar in his cottage (which is insulated and  much nicer then the family cottage), so he kept his eyes open for buoys and managed to find two very nice ones worthy of a special paint job.

Painting buoys for my uncle.
Painting in progress: first coats!

I haven’t painted a buoy or odd surface in over a decade. In fact, I’ve hardly painted at in the past few years, but I was happy to help. It was mostly lettering, which is relatively easy. Though, it turns out that I’m not very good at centering things if I let myself get distracted (which is often!). Oops.

Anyway, one buoy was to commemorate the first guests at his cottage and the second buoy is for his long time buddy to helped with a lot projects, like building the deck. It’s not an easy surface to paint on and some of the paint was a bit thick which made it hard to work with, but I had fun with the process and I think they look pretty nice, all considering.

Last bit of buoy painting done just in time to catch my bus home.
I did not have the best brushes and the paint wasn’t smooth (it was some random rust paint, I think, and it looked like it was a few years old).

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