Saturday, March 31, 2007


Our local SPCA is holding a fundraising event they are calling PAWcasso. The event includes a reception with wine tasting and appetizers. They have invited local artists to donate a piece of their work to be auctioned off. They are also going to have a Chinese Aution for pieces "painted" by dogs and cats in the shelter. I will not be able to attend the event, but I have told my husband he will have to go. I have donated a piece of my work. A local frame shop is donating their services to frame all of the donated work. My donation is a small work (4x5 inches) called Salsa pianted in Genesis Heat-Set Oils. I think this is a very cleaver fund raising event and I hope it is wildly successful.

Friday, March 30, 2007

April Showers Bring May Flowers - Paint an Umbrella

Sometimes we come across a fun little project that we can "toss off" in just a little bit of time. This project is one of those. I was asked to paint an umbrella for a Ways and Means activity. The instructions were to paint anything we wanted and to use regular acrylic paint. I took a purple umbrella, so the first design I thought of was a red hat. My design includes purple violets on and around the hat.

If you want to paint a project like this, you would open the umbrella and place the section you wanted to paint over your knee with a piece of stiff cardboard under it. This will give you a firm surface to paint on. If you need to transfer or draw a design before you paint, use chalk because it can be easily removed when you are finished. Then, just paint as you would on any other surface. If I were going to paint another umbrella, I think I might try using fabric paint like DecoArt SoSoft instead of regular acrylics. The SoSoft is an air-dry product so you don't need to worry about heat setting and it is a bit more flexible than regular acrylic paints. Regardless, it is a fun project to do. Windy liked it, too. She had to try it out when I set up the umbrella for pictures.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

More from the beach

Here is another wonderful Ros Stallcup project from the workshop in Virginia Beach. This is a wicker basket tray decorated with Ros' signature roses (painted by me, of course). I am planning to use this piece on my porch this summer. It is a lovely piece. For me, one of the most important aspects of the workshop with Ros is not so much any new techniques (although there are some of those), but that she forces me to paint more loosely than I normally would and she makes me think about design.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Painting By the Sea

This week I will start posting the projects I painted in Virginia Beach with Ros Stallcup. What better project for painting at the beach than a picnic basket? And what better subject to paint on it than a seagull standing at the shoreline? Here is the lid of our picnic basket. Notice the bubbles in the sand and the shells half buried in the little grassy mound.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The weary traveler returns

It seems as if I have been gone forever. I had a wonderful trip with multiple seminars, different instructors, and even some time for non-painting activities. The class with Prudy Vannier painting the Christmas clock was great fun. Prudy is a lovely person and a good teacher. The weather was a bit scarey that day, though. We had about 5 inches of snow which made going out to dinner at the end of the day a bit of a challenge.

The snow also made for a nervous time for me because I was traveling on Saturday to Virginia Beach for my seminar with Ros Stallcup. Once in Virginia Beach, however, the weather was absolutely glorious. It was easy to forget the cold and snow I had left behind. We painted 5 wonderful projects with Ros. I do not have photos, yet, but they will be following soon.

My fun activity was a stop in Lanexa, Virginia, to spend a night with Pat Rock at Hollybriar Farm. Pat breeds Lakeland Terriers. Our Miss Windy is a Hollybriar Lakie and she had puppies in December. I got to play with my Grand-puppy. Chaser is now almost 4 months old and as cute as a button. Such fun! Her is a picture of Chaser followed by a picture of her mother, my baby girl, Miss Windy.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Off to study

This is a busy week. I am preparing to go to two workshops, one right after the other. This is unusual, it just worked out that way. Friday I will be taking a seminar class with Prudy Vannier. The class project is a clock (clocks seem to be a recurring theme in my life these days) with a Christmas theme. It is actually quite large--30" tall. Here is the design photo.

Then, I am leaving on Saturday morning to spend a week in Virginia Beach taking a workshop with Ros Stallcup. This is an annual trip. As you can tell from most of my paintings, I tend to paint in a somewhat photo-realistic style. My work is relatively detailed and very tightly controlled. Ros' style is very loose and not so controlled. During the week with her, I have to think about design and painting in a less controlled way. It is good for me. Then, of course, there is also the obvious advantage that Virginia is already a bit warmer than western Pennsylvania. March in Virginia makes me think about Spring!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Retreats and conventions

One of the nice things about decorative artists is that they get together to paint and share their knowledge. A number of the decorative painting clubs hold conventions. Some of them like HOOT in Columbus, OH, are quite large lasting a full week and hosting dozens and dozens of classes. Others are very much smaller lasting a weekend and hosting a couple-three dozen classes and they call them retreats. The club that I belong to, Town and Country Decorative Painters in Butler, PA, holds a retreat each year in April. The best thing about retreats, aside from the comraderie and all-around good time, is that it gives you the opportunity to experience many teachers who may paint in different styles and/or mediums all in one place in a short period of time. It is an opportunity to take a class in a new medium with a very small cost. The classes at retreats and conventions are generally either 4 or 6 hours long. There are also Make-It-Take-It classes that last only 2 hours. To get information and see the projects for the Town and Country retreat, you can go to:
I will be teaching two classes in Genesis Heat-Set Oils on gesso board. Both are 4-hour classes. Here are photos of my projects.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Time to finish up old work!

We all have them! Half finished projects that sit in the corners, closets, in boxes. They are not unfinished because we don't like them (usually), but because we painted them at a seminar or conference and when we came home life happened and we never got back to them. One of the tasks I am taking on as I clean, sort, pitch, and donate things from my studio is finishing some of the projects that just need a little varnish or touching up or the ooo-aahs put on them. In general, these are projects that I loved when I painted them and that I intend to keep and use.

One of these projects is a tea box that I painted in a workshop with Ann Kingslan several years ago--in fact I think it was the second piece I painted with Ann. Ann is a treasure! She is a wonderful teacher--someone who will teach you more in a week than you can learn from most people in a year. Her work is also spectacular. This piece is one of Ann's designs. It is painted on a piece of masonite and then mounted inside the lid/frame of the tea box. The piece was essentially finished in the workshop, but the box never got painted. So, this week, I finished the box. It was painted as was originally directed using a burgundy color. When I finished painting it, I really didn't like the look, so I went over it with silver Rub-N-Buff. I think the silver really sets off the silver teapot. I can't wait to use this piece in my dining room.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Working from photos

For many of my paintings, I start with a photo. Usually this a photo that my husband has taken on one of our trips (he is a wonderful photographer) or one that I have taken with my digital camera of a still life set up. On one of our visits to the Eastman House in Rochester, New York, my husband took this photo of a green orchid. I used the photo to create a watercolor painting.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

The Patron Saint of Painters

There is a saying among decorative painters that if you put your piece in the trunk or the closet or just leave it out overnight, the Tole Fairies will come and fix everything so it looks much better the next time you look at it. When I was teaching at the Buckeye Retreat at the beginning of February, one of my students took that thought a little further and decided that we need a Patron Saint. We named her Saint Sideload. I am beginning to develop a painting of Saint Sideload and the Tole Fairies. If it turns out well, I am going to submit it to a mini-convention so that painters can have a picture of our Patron Saint hanging in their studios. Look for pictures as this project develops.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

What color is white?

My studio hoe-out is coming along nicely. Most of the boxes have been gone through and I've given away and thrown away a lot of things I don't need anymore. I've been looking at some of my projects and came across a white rose painted in watercolor. I thought you might enjoy contemplating the matter of how to paint a white object. Here is my rose.

There is no question that the flower is white. But without the use of other colors to create shadows, depth, and highlight, the painting would be flat and uninteresting. The purples and blues in the background dictated that the detail colors in the rose needed to be purples and blues. You will notice a few places on the outer petals where the sunlight is glinting with a yellow cast.

Here is another white object painted in Genesis Heat-set oils. This is the County courthouse tower during a fireworks display. In this case, the shadows are a the grey-blue-black of the night sky. The tints are the reflections of the colors of the fireworks.

So, what color is white? Any color you want or need it to be. The one thing that is certain is that white is colorful.