Category Archives: Uncategorized

Retired But Not Forgotten

In my book DecoArt Americana Acrylics are the best on the market.  The paints are everything I want when putting the brush to the pallet.  So I was a little sad when I received notice that 19 Americana colors had been “retired”.  Sigh, we are creatures of habit and when news of discontinued colors arrives, panic and frustration can result.  However, I encourage you to look on the positive side.  NEW-Americana-2oz-Colors-1DecoArt added 15 luscious new colors this year bringing their line to 253 beautiful bottles.  We certainly should be happy with that many color choices.

I think the biggest problem is the inconvenience of trying to figure out how to substitute alternate colors for those favorite and cherished patterns in our stash.  After looking at the retired list, I have decided to make a new list that may be of help.  My list is a “closest color” substitution suggestion.

  • Retired                        Substitution Suggestion

  • Antique Teal                                    Thicket
  • Arbor Green                                    Desert Cactus
  • Blue Violet                                       Ultramarine Blue Deep or True Blue
  • Cashmere Beige                              Light Mocha
  • Dusty Rose                                       Warm Beige
  • Eggshell                                            Sand Grey
  • Green Tea                                         Citron or Olive Green
  • Lemonade                                        Citron or Olive Green
  • Mink Tan                                          Fawn
  • Naphthol Red                                   True Red
  • Orange Twist                                   Tangerine
  • Pansy Lavender                              Wild Orchid
  • Pumpkin                                           Jack-o-Lantern
  • Russett                                              Antique Maroon
  • Shale Green                                     Aloe
  • Silver Sage Green                           Light Sage or Blue Mist
  • Soft Sage                                           Bleached Sand
  • Spicy Mustard                                 Golden Straw
  • Wasabi Green                                  Jade Green

Please note that these colors are close, not exact.  If you decide to lighten or darken, don’t use black or white.  Instead, to darken, try a touch of an earthy color such as Charcoal Grey, Soft Black, Black Green, Payne’s Grey etc… (and remember, just a touch!).  To lighten, use a light color such as Sugared Peach, Natural Buff, Bleached Sand, Warm White, Sand Grey, etc. ..  Also, if you want to replicate the color, DecoArt offers a Retired Colors Mixing Recipe chart (just click to view).

My advice is to be a little daring in selecting colors.  Just because we have “always” used a certain color, doesn’t mean another color won’t look just as nice.   As with any trend, not only things change, but colors change as well.  If not, we would all still be using Harvest Gold and Avocado Green or French Mauve and Country Blue!  It has been 3 years since DecoArt retired colors. I had a “how dare they” attitude 3 years ago, however, after I calmed down, I looked at the colors I thought I could not live without and picked new substitutions.  To my surprise, the new colors were so much prettier and my designs results much more appealing.

So in spite of a little inconvenience, I think we should thank DecoArt for keeping their finger on the pulse of fresh, modern trends.  Be bold, confident, pick new colors, and watch the colorful magic unfold!

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Finally…an AWESOME 1/8″ Angle!

I love to paint and am continually on the lookout for brushes that will make my painting life easier and my designs more professional.  Without great brushes, I know I will not have great results.   I don’t like fussy painting, but I like my designs to look like I spent many hours achieving perfect detail.  I use angles of all sizes not only to shade and float, but love the angled toes for sharp details and the width of the bristles to lay in basecoats.

My biggest complaint was finding an 1/8″ angle that would do the work I needed.  I searched high and low, checked out brand after brand, and tested one after another.  I was so frustrated with the shapes, the bristle quality, the performance; none of the brushes lived up to my expectations.

So, I decided to have a brush manufactured to my specifications.  The list was simple:

  1. The brush had to be long enough to allow me to load enough paint to float a significant distance before reloading.
  2. The angle needed to be at least 45 degree to allow easy application in small areas.
  3. The chisel edge needed to stay sharp and not spread out.
  4.  The bristles needed to be strong with good bounce and durability.

As a result, I am proud to announce Chris’s 1/8″ AWESOME Angle.  It checks off my list of wants and has exceeded my expectations.  I have been using the same brush (heavily) for over 6 months and it still looks and performs like new!  I am beyond thrilled as I no longer struggle to add tiny highlights or shading in small areas.  The brush makes the strokes easy to implement and the results are amazing!  This versatile brush not only works well with acrylics, but also is great with watercolors or oils!

Chris’s 1/8″ Awesome Angle is available exclusively at Cupboard Distributing; http://www.cdwood.com;  #03-935-1/8

 

Clear-ly Amazing…Modeling Paste

DMM30_ModelingPaste_Clear_4oz DecoArt has done it again…  They are always on the cutting edge of new product that is “clearly” amazing…and they now offer Modeling Paste that is CLEAR!!    I love the white and black Modeling Paste that they carry.  It is smooth, flexible, and paintable.  I can mix colors with the base, to create a tinted paste.  However, because the base is opaque, when mixing color, the hue and saturation are affected.  For example, if I add red to the white base, the results are a lovely pink.  If I want a true red, I need to paint after the medium dries.  I always wished there was a clear paste that would make creating much more versatile.

This Modeling Paste is smooth, flexible, and paintable.  Because has a transparent quality,  when adding Media Fluid Acrylics, it resonates as stunning as stained glass!  It can also be mixed with Americana Acrylics for a more translucent effect.  Use it as a stencil paste or create stamped impressions, textured surfaces and dimensional designs.  Imagine a sprinkling of clear textured snowflakes over a winter scene…gorgeous!

The medium is thick enough to spread, similar to whipped cream.  I used a palette knife to spread over the stencil, a credit card would work as well. IMG_7037

The medium is milky in appearance when wet, but dries clear.  Whatever is underneath will not be obstructed with the application of the medium,  I scraped a layer of medium over a stencil for a clear effect.  IMG_7025 - Copy

IMG_7030 - Copy I loved the way it looked, but wanted to add a tint to the medium.  I put a few drops of Primary Cyan and mixed.  IMG_7026 - CopyI realized it was too strong and the results would be very dark and heavy.  I lightened the mix for variety and experimentation.  The hue of the paint is not diminished with the clear medium.

IMG_7027I spread the lighter mix over the stencil and finished with the heavier color.  IMG_7028 - CopyThis clicked a few creative cells in my brain as I realized all the possibilities of adding various values of the same color.  IMG_7029 - Copy

I decided to add a layer of clear snowflakes on an old project for a little more whimsy.  IMG_7039IMG_7042I loved the subtle dimension and decided I should have sprinkled a little Crystal Glamour Dust over the snowflakes while they were still wet.  Wouldn’t that be beautiful?!

My mind is swimming with all the possibilities using the Clear Modeling Paste.  This would look awesome over snowdrifts to add shimmery dimension!

I am planning on using this amazing medium in many of my upcoming projects.  I can see it adding a wintry sparkle, Halloween enchantment, Valentine magic, Summer shimmers, or everyday charm! DecoArt Media Clear Modeling Paste is a winner!! IMG_7031 - Copy

New Shoes for FREE!!

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I love to test new products to see if they are really all they are cracked up to be.  When DecoArt’s new Patent Leather Paint arrived, I was not convinced that it would look all that great.  After all, how many times do you paint shoes, purses or belts??

Shoe1.jpg

 

I looked in my closet and found a pair of brown sandals.  I really liked them, but rarely wear dark brown in the summertime. Determined to find out about the paint, I put the first layer on the leather straps.  Yuck, however, I did not except the first layer to cover perfectly.  So, I added a second coat, then a third.  At this point, I could see potential.  From experience, I know it is ALWAYS best to add several thin coats as opposed to a thick heavy layer.  This eliminates any lumps, bumps or ridges of thick paint.  One more coat…

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The last coat was beyond belief!  The sandals were smooth, and flexible, the color was stunning and, BEST OF ALL, they didn’t look hand painted.  These sandals look super expensive and very classy!  Check out my new “expensive” looking sandals!  sandals.jpg

So to recap, the new DecoArt Patent Leather paint comes in 13 amazing colors and can be used to refresh or restyle leather and leather-like surfaces with this high-gloss acrylic paint.  That means that it can be used not only for fashion accessories, but also for leather, or faux leather surfaces such as ottomans, chairs, cushions, etc… As well as used to embellish or add design to any of these surfaces!!!  In addition to being water based and non toxic, this paint is specially formulated to be flexible to prevent cracking or peeling.   My mind is absolutely swirling with all the possibilities that this unique paint offers!

DecoArt Patent Leather Paints available at Cupboard Distributing:  https://www.cdwood.com/collections/decoart-patent-leather-paints

Give it a rest…

I worked on a new design in January with great anticipation.  I wanted to create a rustic nativity scene on a weathered wood background.  I was pleased with the background and proceeded to work on the manger.  I kept the colors to a simple, earthy palette.  However, after I finished, it had much to be desired.  I set it aside to ponder on what to do.  I decided the small figures were lost with the busyness of the woodgrain.  At this point, re-painting the background wasn’t an option.

After a couple days, I added line work to make the figures more pronounced.  Outlining definitely helped, but the whole scene was very lacking.  I set it aside to mull over the next step.  I had two choices, either figure out how to salvage it or File 13!  At that time I was busy painting new designs for Vegas convention and a new book.  It was time to “give it a rest”.  My mind was filled with these new projects, however, the unfinished design was always lurking on my back burners.Penwork.jpg

After I returned from travel teaching and the Vegas convention, the huge task of getting my studio back in order loomed ahead.   I always need a few days after these long trips to rejuvenate and refresh.  Travel time is a great opportunity to plan new projects and gear up for the next round.  I pulled out the unfinished design and re-evaluated it.  It had good bones, but definitely lacked what I call that “POP” that takes it from ordinary to exciting.

Because I had nothing to loose, I opted to play with some stamping around the edges.  This was a huge improvement, but still needed more impact.  I used the white Uni-ball pen to enhance the stamping.  I was excited with the results…however…still needed more.  Sooooo…it was time again to “give it a rest”!Stamping.jpg

A couple weeks have passed and I focused my attentions again to finishing the piece. Today would be the day, either sink or swim!!  At this point, I knew that I needed to add a few more elements in the background and maybe some word art.  I had been jotting down different “sayings” and selected the one I wanted to use.  I added the background elements, painted the words, added a drop shadow and finished with some beautiful Glamour Dust.  I took a good look at the “finished” project and am quite pleased!Lettering.jpg

This whole process was unusual for me.  Normally, I “see” a design in my mind, sit down and paint it.  This one was quite obstinate!  However, we all need a challenge and I was determined to not give up.  Now that it is finished, I feel quite proud of myself for persevering, a little like Rocky!!

So, if you are painting a project and it just doesn’t seem to be cooperating, GIVE IT A REST!  Taking a break from a project doesn’t mean that you quit painting, it just means that you are switching gears.  While working on different designs, the brain can be analyzing and evaluating the problem child.  The satisfaction achieved is such a good feeling.  So remember, “giving it a rest”, isn’t giving up, it’s giving that creative energy time to figure it all out!

 

 

Is it still art??

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Much of the art that is trending today is a mix of many mediums.  The fresh new look is very appealing and I love the energy that it creates.   It is normal to see change in our decorative painting world and watch how fads evolve.  We live life in the fast lane which has a huge impact on fashion and art.


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Years ago, we had time to study, practice and learn strokework, color theory and composition.
Often it took weeks, blood, sweat and tears to create a single project.  Each project was a labor of love and a work of art!

As the years progressed, the tools, mediums and techniques were introduced to make our painting lives easier.  Instead of relying on practice and talent, we were offered new ways to achieve amazing results.  These wonderful tools were shunned at first and dubbed as “cheating”.  Remember the introduction of stencils into the “painting world?  Those who admitted they used stencils were referred to as “lazy or untalented”.

Now the resources that are available are overwhelming.  Not only can we use a multitude of mediums, we can combine them as well.  Instead of painting a rose, we can find a beautiful one and decoupage it!  Image Transfer allow us to create beautifully lettered words without stress.  04-pa1317-2.jpgStamps offer infinite and intricate variety.  We can add dimension, use markers, pens and even add fabric or cardboard.  No longer are we restricted to those rigid rules.

I love the freedom that today’s art provides.  It has taken a long time to allow myself to admit that I can’t paint a round circle.  04-pa1530.jpgI DO use stencils and I DO admit it!   I hate spending time working on lettering only to find out it still looks awful!  With awesome tools and tricks, I can paint and  create faster; and the results look better.  This allows me to spend more time creating and designing, which I love to do.

04-pa1525.JPGIf you are a traditional painter, I would encourage you to let your hair down, spread your wings and prepare yourself for a fun adventure.
Art is all about expression and creating.  04-pa1647.JPGSo, no matter if you are super talented, or if you can’t paint a straight line, if you have creativity, you can make art!
Art is color, composition, interest and expression.  Have fun, play and watch this amazing journey!

 

Who doesn’t like FREE???

DecoArt Media Give-away!

dask351-centered2017 is here and it’s time for fresh starts, new beginnings, trying something different, organizing, creating, and accomplishing many new and exciting projects!  To help you celebrate, Cupboard Distributing is offering a fantastic Media kit by DecoArt.  This fabulous kit will help get those creative juices flowing and help kick off your new year with pizzazz, bamm, pow and wow!!

I absolutely LOVE the Media line from DecoArt.  For those that are a little hesitant to invest into another line of paints, I would suggest a sampling.  So, if you aren’t the lucky winner of this awesome kit, here are a few of my favorite picks:

  1. Liquid Glass will give crystal clear dimension.  Perfect topping for berries, bubbles, eyeballs, dragonfly wings, etc…and with the precise tip, wonderful for adding texture.
  2. Matte Medium, I call it Magic Medium!  I use it for a varnish, decoupage, glazing medium, it is my most used “go to” jar!
  3. Quinacridone colors are rich, saturated color that explode on contact!  The Media Fluid Acrylics can be used in conjunction with regular acrylics, which means they will totally ramp up highlights to a new level. Plus, I love saying the name!!!
  4. Ultra Matte Varnish has the same sheen as acrylic paint.  I can varnish the surface to protect (I call this my safety net) and when dry, I can go back and paint on OR drybrush with excellent results!

All you need to do to enter this fabulous kit is make a comment on Cupboard Distributing facebook page on how much you love DecoArt, Cupboard Distributing, Pixelated Palette,…or me!!  To receive more chances to win like, comment or share with a friend!  https://www.facebook.com/CupboardDistributing/

Who wouldn’t want this fantastic set of pure inspiration.  Remember to comment, like and share to enter!  Contest starts Jan 15th and continues through the 21st.

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