Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Tip for Gray Days


During the winter months when the days are shorter, and the skies are gray, I get depressed. I am one of those people who need sunshine to thrive. I have purchased daylight light bulbs to place in light fixtures in my office and studio, and that helps. I have also learned that surrounding myself with simple pleasures helps too, so a soothing cup of tea with vanilla added, some good music, and a colorful pen in my hand while working gives me a sense that things will get better.


My advise to you if you suffer from this malady is to surround your work area with light, and pamper yourself. Little things can make all the difference in a bad day being tolerable.

Another Inspirational Book


I love teapots and teacups and taking tea. Usually tea shops have a small section filled with wonderful treasures. At one of these shops, I found just such a treasure. The book is titled Shelley Chintz by Kelly L. Moran, and is filled with photographs of chintz teacups, saucers, teapots of every description. But, the real treat is the photographs of some of the original drawings of patterns from the Shelley Pattern Books at Royal Doulton.

Leafing through the book fills my head with ideas, and I can't help but dream of elegant tea rooms, the fragrance of tea brewing, and little shops filled with tea accouterments, and how I might go about painting a chintz teapot still life.

What Every Girl Needs

A couple of years ago my local hardware store had these 6-in-1 Hammer/Srewdrivers and I purchased them for gifts for my daughters. I have three of these for myself, two are standard screwdrivers, and one is a Philips Head screwdriver set. The screwdrivers nest inside the handle of the hammer. I love these! Of course, no self respecting man would be caught dead using one of these, and that is one of the reasons you can always find it! I keep two in my studio, and one in my office.

Well, I can't find them locally at the moment, and I want to give them as gifts this Christmas. I found them online at YankeePostman.com for just $4.49 plus $5.41 S/H. They make great stocking stuffers, or buy one to treat yourself. This is what every girl needs.

Just another way of Living the Decorative Art Lifestyle.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Romance of Roses


The Infatuation: The rose has been associated with romance for centuries. Legends, fairy tales and folklore have evolved around this delicate flower. The names alone given to its fragrant blooms evoke romance. The desire to recreate its beauty has challenged many, whether by capturing its image with poetry, embroidery thread, photography, or brush. For those of us who have been smitten by the rose, that desire becomes a driving force in our chosen art form. So it begins, our romance with the rose.

The Romance: A rose has a language all its own. Its color may indicate passion, jealously, new love, or purity. As romantics, we can coax the emotion that we desire from our rose with any of the colors we have in our paint boxes. One of my great joys is to paint roses of unique color, against unusual background treatments and hues. Combined with other design elements, such as china, ribbon, lace, or berries, the romance of roses deepens our desire to represent its beauty in many settings.

The Courtship: A romance can blossom in any environment, but with a little creativity, it can be greatly enriched by its surroundings. So it is with the rose and the leaves by which it is framed. Deep, rich green leaves with undertones of purple, or ones marred with leaf spot and bug bites, give the painting interest, depth, and enhance the beauty of the rose. A faded leaf, a bulging bud, or angular stem gives each painting a uniqueness all of its own, but a dew drop adds the sparkle of a diamond! It is hard to resist painting roses on unusual surfaces or tucking them in surprising places. The courtship of a rose can be very heady indeed!

The Affair: Like any love, painting roses requires great care, patience, and at times, perseverance. But with desire and a little experimentation, we are ready to embark upon a great adventure full of whimsy and fantasy. Whether you are just flirting with the notion of painting roses, or are a serious suitor, you will enjoy the intrigue and mystery that your romance with the rose provides.

It is my hope that you won’t suffer the pain of pining after a faded love. Best wishes on a long and happy relationship.

Jeanne Downing

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Books to Inspire

Though I am not a china painter, I love painting on matted china. Matted china is porcelain bisque with a "mat" fired on the surface giving it a fine tooth. This is an excellent surface for painting with oils because the surface does not chew up the bristles on my brushes. Looking at the all white surface can be daunting. The curves of a vase or teapot have to be taken into consideration when creating the painted design. Often, there are embossed elements on the surface that influence the design process. As I sit and stare at the china piece I want to paint, the question is always, "Where do I begin?".


I have found a book written by Debby DuBay, titled, Antique Limoges at Home, which is filled with beautiful color photographs of rare Limoges of all descritpions. The pieces are breath-taking and the photograpy is excellent. Besides being a must-have book for collectors, it offers inspriation for the artist. If you love painting china, you will want this book. Ms. DuBay has also written a book titled, Living with Limoges. Both of these books are in my library.


Leafing through these books at night before I retire fills my head with design ideas, color combinations, and by morning, I know just what I am going to do with that blank china piece.

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