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Alexandria, Virginia

Patricks Painting

Groundswell of Support

Painting waves on the waterfront

With several similar shades of gray, they had to keep all the colors well-organized

When artist Mark Reigelman was looking for a painting contractor to help with a riverfront art installation, he couldn’t help but notice some great online reviews for Alexandria-based Patrick’s Painting. He was so taken by the happy customers’ comments that he knew it was the right company for the job. Called Groundswell, the public art project was designed to evoke the relationship and struggle of the Potomac with its own riverbank as well as with the civilization that grew up around it.

The crew would be called upon to paint “waves” over nearly 5,000 square feet. Simply put, they had to pressure wash the surface, then apply one coat of primer and two topcoats.

Of course, there was an unforgiving deadline, and of course, there was unforgiving weather, as the painting was done in an unpredictable March. “It had to be finished by March 20, and with rain and cold temperatures, it was hard to schedule this along with other projects we had going on,” said company owner Patrick Coye. “We had to coordinate with the pressure washer and artist who was installing the lines as well. We used seven different colors that were very similar, so we had to keep everything well labeled.”

Due to COVID-19 issues, Reigelman couldn’t be on-site as the crew put in the work, so there were a lot of emails and phone calls to make sure things were proceeding according to the artist’s vision — Coye and Reigelman developed a great working relationship. The waves on the surface were hand-drawn by the crew, who completed the work in 82 total hours of labor. It was ready to go two days before deadline.

Or … was it? “The day after we finished, skateboarders came through and scuffed up many of the painted surfaces before the professional pictures were taken and before the opening ceremony,” said Coye. “We had to reschedule another job so we could do the repainting for this one my team spent another full day there. Some areas touched up easily, but some had to be completely recoated.”

In the end, though, it was still ready in time. The Zebra, an Alexandria weekly, featured Patrick’s Painting’s role in the project, and the installation itself was featured in the Washington Post. Coye told The Zebra that a job like this was a great confidence booster for the team. Plus, now they’ll get another great review.

Groundswell is an artist’s vision of the natural and cultural history of the Potomac.
The first step was applying a coat of primer. Proper hide was very important with all the colors underneath.


Nick, Gerson, Patrick

Key Products

  • Sherwin-Williams Armorseal Tread-Plex primer and topcoat