My Mother’s surname is Arana and I am Ernesto Perez Arana. I originally come from Guatemala, but I often say that I was born again in San Francisco, Dolores Park to be exact.

In the 1980s I made the City my home and that there is where I took up the Craft, the trade of painting homes. I work with my hands and while I was in the City, it was me and all of those beautiful home canvases; as many as I could possibly paint. I wasn’t just good at it, I was great. I could manage all of the details, prepare any surface to accept paint and ultimately, I could wield a brush and hit a straight line like nobody’s business. I am old enough to not have used a sprayer in my work. I brushed and rolled everything while scaling 40-foot ladders, up and down the faces of Victorian beauties, Edwardian edifices, Tudor facades and of course the Sunset and Richmond district tract homes. I still cannot get enough of the multitude of Bay Area architectural styles.

My company, Arana Craftsman Painters, has become my Swan Song. In the 1980s and 90s, I worked for several great companies like Armstrong, De Martini / Arnott, and Perfection Painting – which is exactly what we did – we worked to Perfection. Catherine and I gave birth to our first child in 2004 and decided to move to the East Bay. Once again, I was leaving a place I had woven myself, my love, and my memories into. I knew every inch of the city, but my kids needed a yard, we needed a parking space and I was ready to begin again.

Here in the East Bay we got to paint a whole new set of architecture; Craftsman and California Bungalows, Mediterranean and Spanish style and of course the eclectic mix of the Oakland fire zone. And that is just the Exterior. Interior painting requires so much more care.

I am obsessed with painting my clients’ homes, for beauty’s sake yes, but also for the long-term health of their families and neighborhoods. Painting is the most rewarding of the trades. We can transform while at the same time protect, maintain, and boost a home’s value. You might say we have magic paintbrushes! But, while we can’t always turn a frog into a Prince, we can change, preserve, and elongate the life of almost any surface.

Thank you to all of you who trusted your home with us!

– Ernesto

Myth-Buster: The Right Way to Test Paint Colors

By Erin Caryle

1. Paint Directly on the Wall
This is true for interiors as well as exteriors: You’ll get the best sense of how the color will really look if you paint it directly on the wall. Also, keep in mind that the existing color of the wall will affect how the paint reads. Colors will appear darker against a light backdrop and lighter against a dark backdrop.

2. Paint Two Coats
That’s the amount of coverage you’ll typically need on any wall. The second coat usually makes a big difference in the way the paint reads. Also, paint large swaths — at least 1 foot by 1 foot, and even larger is better. The 2-inch swatches won’t give you a good sense.

3. Use a Primer
A small selection of deep paint colors can be created only in conjunction with specific primers. The paint deck will show which colors are in this category.

4. Paint Multiple Walls
The colors you’re testing will read differently depending on the amount of light that hits them. Also, landscaping outside a window can color the light streaming through it and change how a paint looks on the wall as well. As you view the colors, make sure you consider what time of day you’ll most often be in the room. You want to like how the color looks at that time.

5. Place Lighting Before You Test
It’s simple, but true: It’s better to use the lighting that fits your needs than try to select your lighting to complement your paint colors. Make sure your lighting is in place as you’re considering colors. They may look quite different in bright bulbs that you prefer for nighttime use — or softer yellow-hued ones, if that’s what you’re going for — than they do during daylight hours. Having the right fixtures and bulbs in place can help you decide which shades will work for you.

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Blessing Space

By Madisyn Taylor

“We can bless each space we enter, leaving a sweet energetic footprint behind.”

Physical space acts like a sponge, absorbing the radiant of all who pass through it. And, more likely than not, the spaces we move through each day have seen many people come and go. We have no way of knowing whether the energy footprints left behind by those who preceded us will invigorate us or drain us. Yet we can control the energy footprint we leave behind for others. In blessing each space we enter, we orchestrate a subtle energy shift that affects not only our own experiences in that space but also the experiences of the individuals who will enter the space after us. While we may never see the effects our blessing has had, we can take comfort in the fact that we have provided grace for those that follow after us.

When you bless a room or an entire building, you leave a powerful message of love and light for all those who will come after you. Your blessings thus have myriad effects on the environments through which you pass. Old, stagnant energy is cleared, creating a vacuum into which fresh and invigorating energy can freely flow. The space is thus rendered harmonious and nourishing, and it becomes a hub from which positive feelings are transmitted. Intent is the key component of the blessings you leave in your physical wake.

If your intent involves using your own consciousness as a tool for selflessly spreading grace, your blessings will never go awry. Whether you feel more comfortable performing a solo blessing or prefer to call upon your spirit guides for assistance, visualize each space you enter becoming free of toxins, chaos, and negativity as you speak your blessing. Then imagine the resultant emptiness being replaced by pure, healing white light and loving energy. Even a quick mindful thought of love can bless a space.

This type of blessing is cumulative and will grow each time you bestow it. Try blessing every home, business, and office you visit for an entire week and observing the effects of your goodwill. Your affirmative energy footprint will help brighten your day as you contemplate your blessing’s future impact on your siblings in humanity and your environment.

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