Thursday, July 23, 2009

My journey in decorative painting

Hello Friends,

I have just returned from a 5 day floral seminar at the Jansen residence and am very pleased with what I have learned. I have posted about my experience at the Jansen's on the Heritage Forum so I won't repeat that information here. This post is very different.
Normally when I learn a new technique I am not totally satisfied with my painting. Of course when we learn something new it should stretch us and we should need to practice these techniques a great deal before we master them. However, this seminar was different. I felt like the actual techniques were fairly simple but the finished look was quite different. I also felt like I really understood the look and that we were going for so I am thrilled with my finished pieces.

Actually my 5 days of painting got me to thinking...... I have been in the arts forever but I have only been in decorative painting for about 7 or 8 years. I caught on quickly, had great teachers and practiced everyday so my technique, artistic eye and understanding have grown quickly. I had a natural affinity for strokework which has led to a certain amout of brush control. I say none of the as a "brag" but as a statement of fact. I have a lot to learn but I am so pleased with my journey. Decorative painting has opened up so many doors for me and has introduced me to really wonderful friends. As I often say...I am so very blessed.
When I came home from my seminar my family had lots of warm greetings for me and then they "oohed and ahhed" over my paintings. I was so pleased that they liked my work and was proud of my accomplishments. When we finally sat down to catch up Cathy said, "those paintings are so pretty. Do you remember your first painting?" I had to think about it but I did find my first painting and wanted to share it with all of you. It is a little hard to see but it is a folk angel that is all basecoated with a couple of painted stitches. There is no highlighting or shading on it at all. Just a basecoat and a little liner work. Now lets move to the three paintings that I recently completed in the 5 day floral seminar. This first painting is a simple study panel we did to expose us to the techniques used in direct painting. Thank heavens we started with this piece. it gave us a chance to make errors and learn.

This next piece is one of my favorite paintings. I love the composition and the warm background.

Finally, this painting was a real challenge and was a true study of Premier Coup techniques. I especially like painting the bird. Good times!

It is really thrilling to see my first piece and my most recent pieces and to be able to chart my own journey as an artist. However, I have to honestly say that I am as proud of my little watering can as I am of my Premier Coup paintings. They all represent my journey and each piece holds a story and it's own special memories. My sincerest hope is that all of you have had the same kind of wonderful journey that I have had. Once again...I am so blessed.



Thursday, July 2, 2009

Nadine Rogers

Hello Friends,

We are so blessed to be surrounded by scads of very special students and friends. When we decided to open the shop I was not expecting to create the intense relationships that we have. Frankly it was something that I never thought about. However, that has been, by far, the very best thing about our shop. I am a bit proud that our little shop in the mountains has become a mecca for so many people that find relationships and fulfillment through the arts. It is our dream to create a community of artists where everyone contributes to everyone else. The shop and the friendships have been life-changing.

Every now and then, a student will distinguish themselves in some way. Perhaps one student is incredibly creative, another is very neat, another may be quite flexible and have a great attitude. You get the picture. I have one student, Nadine Rodgers, that has been painting with me from the very beginning. She was in the first beginner class and from the first day that our shop opened she has been a part of our lives.

Nadine is hard to describe. She is a person that has lived on the same street practically her entire life, but her view of the world is rather large and she has a wide tolerance for others. She is also a person that loves simple things, a good book, family, her home etc...but she is a very intelligent and observant person. She is also a person that is very loyal and loving to the people in her life but has a quick wit and a very funny sense of humor.

I could go on and on about her but I have come to realize that there is one thing that I value about her above all others. Nadine thinks "out of the box". She has her own sense of style and her own tastes and her own eye and I support her decisions. She will often make small changes to the pieces that we are working on but will still retain the basic look of the piece. I applaud her independence and encourage her to continue. The wonderful thing is that she doesn't do it all the time but on occasion she will change the background color of a piece, or the color scheme etc etc.

During the prep for our last Palekh seminar Nadine told me that she didn't want to paint it on the surface that we recommended. Our policy is that seminar pieces must be painted on a piece purchased through the shop so she looked through our inventory and found a lovely scalloped edge plate. We talked about how she could adapt the surface to this pattern. She did a wonderful job with it and added a lovely scroll border to the outside of the plate. In addition Nadine studies some of the pictures that I handed out that talked about the history of the style and saw another painting of Father Frost with some pretty interesting hair. Nadine decided to change the beard and the hair and her piece is truly stunning. She is such an artist. It comes out of her mouth, her brain and her brush and I am so grateful to be her teacher.

I am posting a closeup of her painting. Isn't this truly a great accomplishment. Congratulations Nadine!