April 30th, 2008

Its Christmas!

I feel like I have been opening presents all day! You see, today was the deadline for submissions for customer photos for the soon-to-be published Modello by Design book. As artists ALWAYS work best under pressure, many waited till the last day to submit and I am thrilled to say that it looks like we will have almost 100 decorative artists and their work (and our Modello patterns) represented in this book. We have the basic layout designed to now we will be busy, busy, busy putting it all together in under two weeks. Special shoutout to Lauren here at Modello Designs who is doing a fabulous job managing all of this and will be laying it all out in the gorgeous way we’ve come to know and love.

More shoutouts go to….


Robbie Calvo,


Barb Skivington of Faux Works


Raina Gentry of Walls of Pompeii


and Susan Allemand, Out of This World Finishes.


April 29th, 2008

Glamour Glass

Our new studio has a little “kitchen” area with cabinets and a countertop. I had them install stock cabinets from Lowe’s and a simple black formica countertop. This was more of a budget than design decision (story of my life!) and of course provides the opportunity for yet another painting project. The cabinets will get some sort of eggplanty finish on them with patinated mirrors (cut to size) on the upper doors. For the countertop, I opted to do something simple. It’s all relative! *Simple* turns out to be getting a large piece of glass cut to size. Of course I didn’t take careful enough measurements and the builders didn’t take care to make anything plumb or square in the building so my nice square-cornered glass has a slight *fit* problem. What to do? Distract the eye like crazy!


I had a classic Moroccan zelij tile pattern cut and placed it on the back side of the 2′ x 7′ glass to do some reverse gilding with the new Celestial Leaf (colors: Dawn, Moonbeam and Twilight again). I used our Marquetry Weed technique to reveal different areas one at a time which receive a different color leaf.


When it’s all done and dry it receives multiple coats of black lacquer spray paint….


gets flipped over and viola! we now have a lovely surface that is easy to clean (and check out your hair in). This is a really quick and easy finish and can be applied to any piece of furniture that you can lay a piece of glass on!

April 28th, 2008

Ready, Set, SALI



Woohoo! Online registration begins THIS morning for classes at the 28th annual SALI Convention. Even though I am *very* young, I have been a member of this organization since it’s first year. My membership cards states I am member #31! I served on the board of directors back in the 90′s (seems like a century ago) and was incredibly honored and extremely nervous when they asked me to be the keynote speaker at the convention banquet 3 years ago in 2005.

I chose to use the moment to trace my history in the industry along with the history of the organization-and ended by *suggesting* that it may be time for a name change. You see, The Stencil Artisans League is a name that we have outgrown as this organization has long been representative of the decorative arts and decorative finishing in a much broader sense: Murals, decorative finishes, plasterwork, gilding, and concrete to name just a few of the mediums represented at our convention and exposition. Well, that was enough to get me lassoed into chairing the name change committee and FINALLY we will be announcing the new name for the organization at the annual meeting in July. It will either be IODA (International Organization of Decorative Artisans) or IDAL (International Decorative Artisans League). Drumroll please! And the winner is? Can’t tell you. Someone will kill me. Guess you will just have to be there!

I am really looking forward to this, my 15th year as an exhibitor and instructor. Having never been to Charleston OR South Carolina, I am ready to soak up some Southern charm. I even have a suggestion if you are wondering what class to take on Thursday, July 24 from 8-12. Faux Marquetry with Modellos, of course!


Even if you or not interested in attending that or any of the other fabulous classes, you should come by for the Expo full of industry booths and ongoing demos. We will be introducing our new Design Library Binder, Modello by Design book, new designs and some other surprises!

Update! My class sold out right away. Yeah! I’m sure it helps that noone was offering anything similar. I’m hoping they will give me a second time slot…..

April 26th, 2008

Breakin in the Studio

Finally! The sound of laughter, paint talk and trowelling has been ringing through the studio as we have just held our first classes here the last couple of weeks.


I had a great group of 10 for the ever-popular SkimStone/Modello class, which is one of my favorite to teach because it only involves one product! It’s amazing how many different looks you can get by changing colors, patterns and application techniques.


Here is the lovely Diane (with the also lovely Julie) modeling her cool new Operation Decoration t-shirt. Wonder where she got that?


They were a dedicated bunch who teamed up and stayed late to work on not one, but two Concrete Carpet designs, which will be hung in the front stair landing.


I love the old crusty look of the Ibiza…


and the fresh color scheme of this one, a new pattern we have coming out with our new Design Library Binder. Thank you guys for a great inagural class!

April 21st, 2008

Modello by Design

We get so inspired from seeing the photos that our customers send back to us showing how they have utilized our Modello patterns in artful applications! A picture IS worth a thousand words. I know that our customer base of professional decorative artisans get a lot of great ideas by looking at other artist’s work and also how important it is to be able to show a potential client how a design will look in a real-life setting-in living color. And so, last month we announced that we will be publishing an inspirational book entitled Modello by Design, Inspiring Interiors from Artist’s Portfolios. We asked our customers to submit photos of some of their favorite projects which we will be compiling for a book to be released in late July. I love the idea of being able to get our talented customers “in print” while giving them a tool to spark their imagination and entice their clients.

Modello by Design 1

Cover photo by Terri Riesenman.

Modello by Design 4

Marquetry floor by JoAnn Kingsbury.

Modello by Design 3

Fabulous ceiling by Nichole Blackburn.

Modello by Design 2

Awesome niche by Dee Ann O’Neal.

The photos are still coming in! The deadline for submission for Volume 1 is April 31 so if you are out there and sitting on some great work we’d love to see it! Soon!! Here’s the skinny on how to submit.

April 20th, 2008

Behind Closed Doors

When I was imagining my wish list for a new studio, these things came to mind: Tons of space, lots of natural light with good ventilation and a place to stash stuff out of sight. Well, one out of three isn’t bad! I have a very hard time being creative in a messy, chaotic environment. I generally need to clean up and throw out (clear the plate, so to speak) before beginning a new project. My attention wanders so easily anyway, I don’t need the added temptation to dust off paint cans rather than getting down to work. SO, I planned my new studio to accomodate a VERY long wall of closet doors to conceal the seemingly endless array of products I seem to need to have at my fingertips.


For some reason known only to God, it took the contractor over 4 months to actually get these doors (ordering the right size to begin with would have helped) and then another month or so to figure out how to get them up and sliding (don’t ask!). Finally, the 4′ x 8′ blank canvases arrived and were installed so that they could actually move! My idea was to show some restraint with the designs (remember, I am trying NOT to distract myself) so I chose a neutral palette of 5 colors and super-sized some new Moroccan-inspired patterns we have coming out in the Modello line. Each door was painted a different color and I installed the Modello masking patterns all at once.


To keep the next layer of paint from bleeding, I rolled a coat of water-based varnish over the patterns to “seal” the edges and then rolled two coats of contrasting paint from my limited palette over each door through the open areas of the masking pattern. I chose paint colors from the new Benjamin Moore Aura line’s Affinity Color Collection. I LOVE this paint! It covers like a dream and dries very quickly. Other than the priming and base painting this project took just a day-and keeps a world of sins behind closed doors. If you are interested, here are the colors used: Hush, Pashmina, Weimaraner, Fossil, and Cotswold.



April 17th, 2008

Im still here!!!!

I haven’t died, been arrested, abducted by aliens, gone underground in Mexico or even into a government witness protection program.

I’ve been so busy trying to get the studio ready for my FIRST class here (along with working on Maryam’s Peacock Pavilions project) that my blogging feet have been kicked out from under me. I just wanted to drop a quick line to let you know that I haven’t completely abandoned this blog and PROMISE some juicy photos and details of all the projects that have been happening in and around my frantic painting life these past weeks. In the meantime, here are some tidbits and teases.