Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Frontier Wedding

My brother got married at the St. James Hotel in Cimarron, New Mexico. The St. James Hotel is a treasured piece of the historical Santa Fe trail, and the hotel register is a Who's Who of old West outlaws, lawmen, and the colorful characters that travelled that trail.

The wedding party and guests dressed the part. This picture shows Johnny and I outside the front entrance to the hotel. He looks pretty serious about keeping me right close.
After the wedding, we took a ride on the motorcycle up the canyon to Angel Fire, over Eagle Nest Pass, and down into Taos. What a beautiful ride. I love New Mexico!

Frontier Riders

A couple of years ago, my husband and I bought a Gold Wing motorcycle. Since then we have ridden over 25,000 miles travelling to historical western sites and towns, weddings, graduations, dessert rides, dinner rides, mountain rides, and just plain get-out-in-the-evening rides! We absolutely LOVE it!

We joined the local Gold Wing Road Riders Chapter and immediately took on the offices of Historian and Newsletter Editor and now hold the title, The 2008 Couple of the Year.

I rode a motorcycle only once when I was in high school with one of the most handsome boys in school. My father accused me of becomming a motocycle gang member. Well, after all of these years, I guess I am! And the guy sitting in the driver's seat is the most handsome man in the West! The picture below is our "gang" calling card.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Living with Your Art

Years ago when I began painting, my desire was to paint something for my home. It wasn't until I took seminars from Mary Jo Leisure that I saw how natural it was to integrate my art into my lifestyle. I began to apply the elements of color theory to decorating my home, keeping in mind that decorative art can often be found on functional pieces.

It is not necessary to redecorate your entire home or completely redo a room to display your art. The obvious is to hang it on the wall, but you probably have enough of your painted pieces hanging. Creating small vignettes, which feature your work, but also incorporate other elements may be more effective.

Begin with the artwork that you wish to be the focal point. Add height, using a candlestick or small lamp. Introduce another texture, such as cloth, or flowers. The colors should be in harmony with your artwork. Add another object to nestle near your focal point. This could be soft and dull, or hard and shiny, and could be placed in front of or behind your art. Look around your home for an object to use. It could be a treasured figurine, or that thing that Aunt Emma gave you last year and you didn't know what to do with it! Keep in mind the line you are creating with your objects. Move them around to find the most pleasing arrangement. Think of this vignette as a collection of design elements within a painting.

This is a picture of a vignette that I created using a couple of painted pieces from my book, Elegance in Blue. It is visible as you enter my home, and immediately makes a statement about my love of decorative painting, and becomes an extension of my personality.

Try creating your own vignette today, and live with your decorative art.

Monday, September 8, 2008

My Decorative Painting Journey

I began painting some 38 years ago after seeing a daisy painted on a piece of weathered wood in the foyer of a friend's home. At that time, printed books were limited, and I sought out a class in a local town offering 6 lessons. I was hooked after the first lesson.

My teacher stressed executing design elements with as few as strokes as possible. Strokework was emphasized and after each class I practiced making comma strokes, "c" strokes, and circles with a round brush.

For many years I continued to paint inbetween my children's naps, and celebrating my birthdays by painting for the better part of the day. I learned a lot about mixing colors. The day I discovered that yellow and black make green was an exciting day!

Eventually, there was a tole painting class offered locally, and I signed up. There were 4 other students in the class and we were hungry to learn as much as we could. We painted every Wednesday for 4 years. Our teacher finally turned over the classroom to us as she continued to work in her craft store, and we brought in flowers, fruit, containers, and pictures and conferred about how we might paint them.

Pricilla Hauser published "For Whom the Brush Toles" series and we devoured every word on every page, and were espacially excited with the color step-by-steps. I painted apples, strawberries, daisies, and leaves with several strokes and blended the colors, dry wiping my brush often.

My painting had evolved from strokework to brush blending, and I loved it! There was just one hitch. No matter how hard I tried, I could not paint a rose..............

Decorative Painting - Defined

As defined by the Society of Decorative Painters, decorative painting is a diverse art form utilizing a variety of techniques and media to decorate functional and non-functional surfaces.

Though many call it tole painting, the art form has taken styles and techniques of the past and incorporated them with the trends and materials of the present, while developing the decorative art heritage of the future.

Tole painting is the general term historically used to describe decorative painting on tin surfaces, especially in New England and by the Pennsylvania Germans. Contemporary decorative painting encompasses not only the folk art styles of Sweden, Norway, Germany, Russia, England and Mexico, but many facets of Early American decorative painting such as stenciling, faux finishing, bronzing, gold leafing, country painting, theorem and graining.

Metal Tray painted by Peter Ompir

This metal tray was designed and painted by the Folk Artist, Peter Ompir. It was done in the mid- twentith century with mixed media. It represents Ompir's skill and mastery of color. This historic piece can be found in the Decorative Arts Collection Museum in Atlanta, GA.

More pieces from The Decorative Arts Collection can be viewed online at

Victorian Roses and Lace

This is one of my favorite tags.  Victorian Roses and Lace lends charm and beauty to any gift.  Why adorn your packages with just any tag...