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Staalmeester® is family of A.C. De Hoop B.V.
KvK Chamber of Commerce number: 24213078
VAT number: NL810899425B.01

Interview: Michel, professional painter

This month we interviewd Michel van Mourik, a real craftsman from Haarlem, The Netherlands…

Can you tell us something about yourself? You’ve been working as a painter for over 30 years now, how did you become a painter?
”I never planned to become a painter, I actually studied marketing & economics. But the summer after I finished my degree I had to serve in the military so my father-in-law suggested that I come and work for him for a couple of weeks during the summer. I did, and then I never stopped painting. I currently have my own painting company.

If you had to choose 1 project from all your years as a painter that you’re most proud of or that stayed with you the most, what would that be and why?
”To be honest, I like all types of work, it doesn’t matter to me what kind of job I have to do. I have hung 120 meters high in steel constructions on the Amsterdam Zuidas but I also enjoy painting a beautiful front door of a private home. In the end I’m always proud when I’ve delivered beautiful work, whatever the job may be, work is work.”

For how long have you been using Staalmeester and how did you get to know our brand?
I’be been using Staalmeester since the early beginnings. I came across Staalmeester at the SGA fair after which I tried out some samples. I liked them immediately.

What is your favorite Staalmeester brush and why?
”I like the Pro-Hybrid series the most. I love using them for laying off and painting doors. I like the fact that the brush is just a little bit softer than other brushes which allows me to lay off a door very well and very delicately. This brush series makes the flow nicer which gets you a nicer results. I almost always use the round Pro-Hybrid brush (2020 series). To be honest, I’ve wondered why they use flat brushes almost everywhere in the world except for in The Netherlands, but I never quite figured it out. I think round brushes used to be cheaper to produce and since we Dutch are quite economical, we opted for round brushes instead of flat ones. But, maybe it’s also just because we are rather stubborn ”haha”. But, I still prefer to use a round brush. For example, many people don’t know that a round brush can easily make a 90 degree angle as well. It’s all in the technique.”

How do you clean your brushes?
”I actually always just throw them in a bucket of water. I don’t rinse them under the tap (this is bad for the environment and prohibited in the Netherlands btw). I have one bucket with water for my dark brushes, one for brushes with which I paint light colors and one for latex brushes. By separating them by color and type of paint, I can just continue working with a brush the next day. Since I paint daily this works well for me.”

If you were part of our R&D team for one day, what adjustments would you make to an existing Staalmeester product or what product would you add to our collection?
”Hmm I have to think about this for a second because Staalmeester has quite a broad range of products in its assortiment. But, for cutting narrow edges you actually need a brush with very stiff hair that doesn’t really budge. In my opinion the current Staalmeester brushes are perfect for painting larger surfaces or for laying off certain work, but for small difficult edges you need another type of very stiff brush with which you can draw a nice line in one go. Often you paint such a line between two colors and with a softer brush the hair deviates too much.”

What would be your ultimate painting tip for a painter that’s just getting started?
”I actually have two. First of all, I often notice that painters from countries where they are used to using a flat brush have trouble holding a round brush. You often hold a flat brush by the head of the brush because of its weight and size. But with a round brush you don’t do this. A round brush should actually be held like a pen, between your fingers. This makes turning the brush a lot easier, believe me.”

Michel’s second tip is not so much about painting technique as it is about work ethic:
”As a beginning painter you have to repeat, repeat, repeat and repeat again. When I was an apprentice painter, I was always given a new job to learn. For example, I started by cleaning 750 doors. This took me two weeks and then I got to sand them all. In other words, repeat, repeat, repeat, that’s when you really learn. You must also never think that you’re done learning and know everything. In the past painters used the same type of paints for a long time, sometimes even for 10 years. Nowadays there is a lot of innovation and developments in paint go very fast. Because of this you should never think you are done learning and you should always be open to new paints, new techniques and also new types of brushes and rollers which might match the new types of paints better. In the past, many painters only bought paint frome one certain brand, for example only Sikkens or only Sigma, this is no longer possible. You must, I think, as a painter always be open to new developments.”

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