February 18th, 2011

SkimStone Tag Team

I am going to be teaming up with Katrina Johnson from SkimStone/Rudd Company to teach a hands-0n SkimStone + Modello workshop at the upcoming Concrete Decor Show in Nashville, TN on March 17-18.

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The class is “officially” called  Masking Patterns and MicroToppings for Ultra Decorative Finishes if you want to check the schedule. For some reason, in the concrete world they don’t like to “name names”, but rest assured it will be all about SkimStone and Modellos. I have posted many times about SkimStone here before, because it is one of my favorite mediums to work in for decorative floor applications.

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Katrina is THE authority on SkimStone applications so this class will be full of great technical application information (the brains!) as well as instruction, inspiration, and sample making that features Modello patterns (the beauty!)

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In addition to the class samples, students will have the opportunity to view and participate in a whole decorative floor treatment that we will be completing at Rocketown.

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One of my favorite ways to incorporate SkimStone is with patterns from our Carpet and Panel Collection. We have recently updated the catalog with some beautiful new designs, like this new Bristol Carpet.

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Another thing I am quite excited about it that we are now offering the Carpet and Panel Collection catalog in both a beautiful high res printed version, as well as a free eCatalog-available here. I’d love to know what you think about this format!

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.

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

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

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Tile-floor

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

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

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…all set amidst unique displays….

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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…as is French artist  Pascal Amblard.

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

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

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…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.

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

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…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??

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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.

September 26th, 2010

Reflecting on the Possibilities

As a decorative artist and surface finish designer, I’ve enjoyed creating literally 100′s of unique finishes that incorporate pattern. In fact, I simply don’t “do” a finish without pattern!! I love the combination and manipulation of design, medium, tools, color, textures, and reflective qualities, and the million different ways that those can be combined to create something with purposeful beauty. My latest pattern process “love” is working with mirror and glass, and I am quite proud of the finishes and techniques that I share in our latest Virtual Workshop, Patterned Mirror and Glass. Not only do these techniques present amazing new artistic possibilities, but I really feel that this workshop offers amazing value and opportunities for decorative artisans.

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For this workshop, I’ve taken everything (plus much more) that  I used to teach in a $1,000 3-day hands-on workshop ,and put it into 5 hours of recorded video lessons, an 85-page illustrated book, and a 2+ hour interactive Webinar meeting. When you throw in the cost (and aggravation) savings of an airline flight, hotel room, and schedule juggling, the lower cost of a Virtual Workshop becomes an even greater value! At least that is what our students say…..:)

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But the even biggestvalue of this workshop is not even that you are getting a great deal on unique, quality information that you can review over and over. The biggest value is in what you can DO with the information. Beyond making pretty little glass and mirror samples, this workshop provides you with options for expanding your artistry over a wide variety of new surfaces and applications. If you are a DIYer, you can create unique accents for your home. If you are a professional decorative artisan, you can expand your portolio and add income to your bottom line with valuable additions to your decorative projects. Use these Patterned Mirror and Glass techniques on framed mirrors….

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…ceiling medallions…

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….custom tabletops, countertops, and protective/decorative furniture tops.

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You can have custom mirror shapes cut to create one-of-a-kind wall art…

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…or transform an inexpensive catalog side table into something highly unique and personal.

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Use the easy “Faux Iron Grillwork” to add architectural interest to French doors, cabinet door, and fixed windows.

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There are countless commercial applications for these techniques, as demonstrated by this focal point logo mirror installation by Garay Artisans in a retail boutique. Regina attending one of my hands on mirror workshops a couple of years ago and her company has worked hard to successfully develop their own signature techniques and market them effectively. Photo from Modello by Design, Volume 2.

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Also from Modello by Design, Volume 2, this reverse painted glass backsplash beautifully demonstrates the possibilities of displaying and selling these finishes as backsplash options through high-end kitchen and bath showrooms. If you are already doing cabinet finishing and countertop surfacing, coordinating backsplashes are an easy and elegant “add on” project!

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On a personal note, I also incorporated Patterned Mirror and Glass into my recent wedding. 20″ mirror rounds were patterned and patinated and placed in the center of each table. They beautifully reflected the lovely flowers and flickering votives. The cake “plate” used the same pattern, this time gilding on the front of an undistressed mirror round. Yet another marketing opportunity for these techniques: wedding and event planners!

Want to see more?!  Click here for lots of inspiring past posts on Mirror and Glass finishes!

After becoming fully inspired, sign up for our Patterned Mirror and Glass Virtual Workshop to get your login info to start viewing the 36 different video lessons, and you’re on your way!!! Then, take advantage of our Friends with Benefits program: refer a friend and get a $25 product credit while your friend enjoys registering with $25 off!! Call Jillian at 800.663.3860 for details.

We also have Virtual Workshop Combo Packages where you can save by enrolling in multiple workshops at once.

September 23rd, 2010

Ancient+Modernista

I love going to Europe! My favorite European city so far HAS to be Barcelona, the capital city of Catalonia, Spain. Barcelona has it ALL you see: the sea, the mountains, cava (champagne!), tapas, shopping and people watching along La Rambla, the Bari Gotic (old Gothic Quarter). It was not exactly PAINFUL to get “stuck” there for 5 additional days at the end of our honeymoon last April!

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Our wonderful local friend, Paul Deprez picked us up from the apartment we needed to vacate in the moody, Medeival, Bari Gotic area and got us settled in to a lovely modern hotel in the Eixample (phonetically eye-sham-pla) district.

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Developed mainly in the first  part of the 20th century, the Eixample district is famous for its unique Modernista architecture and the amazing buildings of  Antoni Gaudi, such as Casa Batll√≥ shown above. While I truly love the old, historic streets and buildings of the Bari Gotic, the Eixample district for me is an inspiring source of jaw-dropping visual delights.  In fact, there are so many fine examples of fine craftsmanship and insanely beautiful decorative details that could be easy for many to completely miss them because THEY ARE EVERYWHERE!

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Of course, some of the most striking architectural details, for me, are in the abundant sgraffito walls and facades.

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Sgraffito is a process of scraping and scratching through a top layer of colored plaster to reveal a different color layer below.

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I have written before about the sgraffito in Florence, Italy, but in Barcelona the look is uniquely light and colorful.

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In addition to the amazing sgraffito, there is ornate plasterwork, exquisitely detailed metalwork, and unusual stained glass.

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I will be traveling BACK to Barcelona for a few days next week, on my way to our painting trip in Umbria, Italy, to visit with Paul and finalize the details on ANOTHER painting adventure-to Barcelona in June 2011!! This trip will feature the best of many worlds, as it will include a 5-day stay in a serene, historically significant monestary in the rolling hills just outside of Barcelona where we will conduct a class and complete a painting project on site. After the project is complete,we will move to apartments in the city for a week to experience this amazing city up close, in between side trips to taste cava and explore the surrounding area.

More details to follow, but please let me know if you are interested in travelling to Barcelona with me, because the group will be limited to just 8….

Pssst! There are some fantastic flickr sets of photos of Barcelona and the Eixample district if you want to see more!

August 5th, 2010

Patterned Mirror and Glass

Last Fall, I introduced our exclusive Virtual Workshops; web-based learning that combines hours of pre-recorded video lessons backed up with detailed written instructions and one “live” ,online, interactive webinar for review and Q&A. The response has been fabulous and the reviews have been very rewarding! For many months now, I have been (off and on) hard at work creating a followup workshop to Foilin Around and Stencil Impressions that focuses on Patterned Mirror and Glass techniques.

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I spent days and weeks recording video lessons, as this subject offers SO MANYpossibilities! Well, the editing is ALMOST done and we are set to launch the program starting September 1, 2010. With double the amount of information provided in the first two Virtual Workshops the cost for this one has increased, but it is still quite an economical way to learn. You don’t even have to leave the comforts of home! If you register for the new Patterned Mirror and Glass workshop before September 1, you can save $25 off the registration cost.

We have changed the Virtual Workshop format a bit, in that you can now start watching the video lessons and will be mailed the printed material immediately up0n registration. You will then automatically be enrolled in the next monthly “live” session for that particular workshop.

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We are also now offering a special combo price (save 10%) when you enroll in the two original Virtual Workshops at the same time. We have the next ”live” meeting for these two workshops coming up next week….

Hope to “see” you in a Virtual Workshop soon! ;)

July 17th, 2010

Double Vision

I have spoken here before about the lovely Helen Morris of The Stencil Library. The Stencil Library company is a collaboration of Helen (the stenciler extraordinaire), her husband Chips (the artist/designer) and Helen’s cousin Rachel (the business mind with a creative bent). Speaking of collaboration (which I conveniently just was)….Helen and I will be teaming up for a lecture/demo on all things “stencil”  called Double Vision at the upcoming 25th annual Decorative Artisans League Convention in Portland, OR. Our presentation will be on Sunday morning from 8am to 12pm. Not exactly prime time, but if you are there and awake we don’t mind if you bring your latte with you! The cost is $150, and includes a CD with hundreds of inspirational photos from multiple stencil companies, printable PDF’s detailing the many stenciling techniques we will be demoing, and$50 worth of vouchers for future stencil purchases from our respective companies, Royal Design Studio , Modello Designs, and The Stencil Library.

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While compiling the CD images, I have been appreciating Helen’s uniquely witty and whimsical approach to utilizing color and pattern combinations and thought it would be nice to preview some of those here.

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This shot is TOO classic! The cat is obviouslya “natural” when it comes to modelling.

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I believe that this allover snakeskin design was actually done by Rachel for the last iteration of her bedroom…

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Helen has done a lot of things that are a take-off from the classic British print room concept; of course, with a twist! This postcard arrangement is so much fun…

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…as is this free form floral tree that serves as a one-of-a-kind gallery for family photos.

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I have done some similar pattern in pattern looks with Modello Silhouettes and Stencils, but I think that the photo above shows the perfects juxtaposition of design, scale, color and composition!

You can find MUCH more at Helen and Rachel’s Design Inspiration blog! More info on our Double Vision presentation here!

MORE EXCITING Collaboration! Through an exclusive arrangement between Modello Designs, and The Stencil Library, we now have the possibility and opportunity to offer Modello patterns to be cut here in the U.S.from the many thousands of unique and elegant designs from The Stencil Library collection of stencils.

July 8th, 2010

Master of Plaster

Would you like to become a patterned plaster master of easy to execute, cost-effective Venetian plaster-type finishes? It’s easier than you think! I will be teaching a class at the 25th annual Decorative Artisans League Convention in beautiful Portland, OR on July 24 that features the versatile Vella Venetian Plaster system. This widely available plaster trowels “like butta”, can be applied directly over level 3 drywall, bridges ugly sprayed on wall textures in one pass, and costs a mere .30-.50 cents a square foot.  It’s the ultimate solution for ugly white walls. What more could you ask for?

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How about the addition of a fine marble aggregate that allows you to create the look of an expensive Marmorino or Travertino finish at a fraction of the cost? The breakaway look of the Provence Plaster finish above is done in three simple layers with a random stencil pattern, plus wax.

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Another cracked Marmorino look brings the background color forward with the addition of a simple, embossed stencil border.

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Need a little more glitz? Simple layer a smooth plaster with metallic foils and one of our exclusive Stencil Impressions designs.

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This ornate allover stencil pattern only “looks” complicated. Stenciling with mica-laden wax provides instant depth and speedy coverage.

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We will also create a sample that features inlaid motifs using one of our one-time-use Modello Pronto patterns.

I will be assisted in this class by one of the fine men from Vella Venetian Plasters, so you will get all the ins and outs of this user-friendly system from THE source. In addtion to leaving with newfound knowledge and 5 gorgeous 15″ x 20″ samples, you will also take home 4 quality stencils from Royal Design Studio.

More class details available here and general convention information available here

Online registration ends today, July 8, but don’t fret! You can still fax in your registration with this handy form.

February 21st, 2010

Inspired by Italy

You may have noticed that I have been absolutely HORRIBLE at accomplishing regular blog postings lately. Between a multitude of major new projects, trade show preparations, planning painting trips, and a honeymoon and a wedding (in that order), there seems to be precious little time to stop and EXPLAIN what I’m up to (and up against!). SO-this post is designed to cover a few topics at once, based somewhat loosely around a theme. Here goes….

Aaah, Italia. So enchanting, so delicioso, so artistically inspiring!! Italy is just one of the countries that have inspired the finishes offered in the upcoming European Cabinet Finishes class that we will be hosting here at the studio in June. Barb Skivington’s class draws from inspiration gained from past painting trips with me to both Italy and France, as well as finishes interpreted from the highly popular new Belgian look and what I see as an emerging trend towards Spanish-inspired design and fashion.

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If you’d like to explore the possibilities and benefits gained from taking this class, Barb and I have created an informative free 30-minute webinar for the new Design Your Success site (another new project!) that details these elegant finishes and their possibilities for application. Barb has an extensive background as an artist AND and educator and was featured in this recent profile in The Faux Finisher that I authored.

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Speaking of inspiring trips to Italy, and attempting a not so subtle segue; there is an upcoming opportunity for YOU to join us on a return trip to enchanting Italy this coming October. Gary Lord, Alison Woolley and myself are planning a return to the sights of two previous painting adventure tours, the Castello di Casigliano  in Umbria and La Fattoria di Maiano in Florence with our upcoming Art in the Heart of Italy trip.

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These trips offer so much in addition to all the inspiration that the natural and man-made beauty of Italy provides.

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The friendships that are formed through shared experiences…

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and educational classes and group painting projects is truly unique and special. Are you feeling inspired?!

European Cabinet Finishes Class
Art in the Heart of Italy Trip

December 4th, 2009

Pssst. Hey Santa!

You know how when people ask you “what do you want for Christmas?” and you can’t think of anything off the top of your head. Well, that’s what happens to me anyway….Whether your list for Santa is long or short, you might want to consider asking for the gift that keeps on giving….and creating.

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We now have Virtual Workshop Gift Certificates available in our online store. They are good for any Virtual Workshop offered in 2010, including the two current offerings: Foilin’ Around and Stencil Impressions. Coming soon are Patterned Glass and Mirror, SkimStone Surfaces and Marquetry Effects on Wood, Walls, and More! If you’ve been a good boy or girl and whisper in the right ear, you may just find one in your stocking this year….

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