October 26th, 2010

Riccardo Barthel

Well, I’ve made a decision. When my dreams come true, I will buy a villa or palazzo in Italy. While I’m dreaming, I might as well just make a commitment to visit Riccardo Barthel in Florence because, you know, I am going to need HELP decorating my new digs.


This amazing design store was right next to the hotel where our Italy Painting Tour group stayed a couple of weeks ago.


They specialize in, well, LOTS of amazing things, it seems….




…like a seemingly endless variety of hand painted tiles for floors, walls, backsplashes, and countertops.


They also featured a lot of gorgeous custom furniture, frames, mirrors, furniture, fabrics, and fine art…


…all set amidst unique displays….


,,,that contrasted contemporary wall treatments with centuries-old painted ceilings.


There was  also had a wonderful “shed” filled with antiques ready to be rehabbed and restored-or sold “as is”.


Truly amazing (and bank breaking)  though, were their kitchen and bath fixtures.



Unfortunately, everything there was completely out of my price range, but WAIT, I AM dreaming here…..

The next time you are “museumed-out” in Florence, check out the dreamy Riccardo Barthel store near Porto Romano in Oltrarno for yourself!

October 17th, 2010

A Golden Moment

There were MANY golden moments this past September when the PDPA, an organization dedicated to elevating the field of decorative finishing, held it’s first Education Summit in Golden Colorado.


After many years of work and planning by some of the most notable artists in the decorative painting field, the PDPA is working towards reaching its own “summit”, thanks in large part to the vision of founding President Andre Martinez (left) and incoming Executive Director and industry dynamo, Pat Ganino.


At this year’s inagural event there were daily morning lectures on a variety of topics…


held in a converted chapel that is now a local art center.


These were followed  by morning demonstrations in the garden by master artisans such as Sean Crosby,


and hands-on training in a variety of classic techniques by other notable artists in this field, such as Sheri Hoeger.


Before the afternoon presentations began, there were delicious hand-prepared lunches,


featuring guest chefs. Here, the incomparable  Pierre Finkelstein shows that he is a man of MANY talents…

Pascal playing 2

…as is French artist  Pascal Amblard.


One day’s afternoon sessions featured informal discussions on business practices with noteable artists such as Nicola Vigini of Vigini Studios.


The ultimate “Golden” moment for ME came when Mark Golden, president of Golden Paints…


…awarded the newly esteemed “Golden Brush Award” to 4 people who have helped to shape and support the decorative finishing industry in their own unique ways. Here I am, looking shocked and sheepish (and trying not to get TOO emotional) as I was the first recipient called to the stage. Truly, it was a great honor to receive this recognition from a man who is so highly respected and admired in our industry. Golden Paints is a company that is well known for putting it’s customers and employees first-a key to their ongoing success.


Congratulations to fellow recipients Jon Sunde, a master artisan and expert in the field of Tadelakt application…


…as well as Ilia Anassov, who works diligently to keep the art of true fresco painting alive. Unfortunately, I had to leave the event early to catch a plane and am unsure of who the 4th recipient was??


Next year’s Summit has been scheduled for Sept 8-10. 2011 and is open only to PDPA members.  Perhaps you’d like to be their to create your OWN Golden moments?

All photos by decorative artist and photographer, Jon Smith.