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!




Viva Las Vegas!

16265266_1350454528308899_4036656819822082977_n.jpgThe Creative Painting Convention 2017 in Las Vegas definitely receives five stars!  Hats off to Jayne Jones and her terrific staff for a show that ran smoothly from start to finish.  With all the classes, exhibit hall, vendors and registered attendees, she has huge responsibilites, tremendous workload and still manages to give us all her sweet smile the entire week.
We arrived in Vegas on Saturday.  I taught the Sponsored Event “Signs of the Times” with Laurie Speltz on Sunday.  The class was filled with talented, eager students.  We had a great time sharing our unique techniques, tips and tricks to make painting easier and a little more fun.

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Whew…late night hours combined with weary travelers, slow the pace just a little.  However, we almost got finished and hope to see final projects posted on FaceBook.

For those that may not know, my husband, John and I are the founders and owners of Cupboard Distributing.  Because Creative Painting is such a great show and we have an awesome, hard working staff, we bring them to help with our booth. 17021801_1435103303188220_7574829373836147440_n.jpg(Left to right; Lindsey Applegate; Jen Key; Drake Newman…and no…they’re not our kids!!) However, Monday was a “play day”.  We went to see Hoover Dam.  Because our truck was packed to the hilt, and because we didn’t want to unpack the entire load, we were banned from entering the dam area.  LOL, if they only knew what was in those totes…class supplies!  Oh well, nice to know that Homeland Security is doing their job.    We did get to park and enjoy the scenic view over Lake Meade.

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Tuesday was set up day and this is no small task.  Thank goodness for capable employees.  Everyone knew their job and the booth went together little by little.  It is quite amazing to watch as those huge stacks of boxes and totes are transformed into a fantastic booth.


Wednesday was opening day…and what a day it was. Our booth was packed from the beginning to the end of the day.17097513_1441580369207180_181651958227779787_o.jpgThanks to Jen and Lindsey for keeping the line moving quickly. 16864654_10155141875526209_7853455619886834793_n.jpg John and Drake had their hands full restocking the product.  I had the best job of all, talking to my painting friends, answering questions, showing off new product, tools and giving tips.

The patterns I designed for this show were a little different for me.  I worked really hard to create really unique, trendy surfaces and patterns.  I was a little nervous because these were outside my “box” and comfort zone. However, I was so pleased at how well they were received.  A big thank you to all of our customers for their kind words, support and patronage.  I am always overwhelmed with this wonderful group of painter friends.  I feel so blessed to be able to do what I love!  All surfaces and patterns are available at Cupboard Distributing


Because Cupboard Distributing is celebrating 30 years in business this year, we added a contest.  With every $30.00 purchase, customers received a ticket for a chance to win 30 of my newest pattern packets or a huge basket of Stampendous stamps.  We had so much fun promoting our 30 years with these great prizes.  Contest winners were selected after we returned home. Vegas Winner.jpg Congratulations to Kay Stahm for winning the patterns and Regina Oswald for winning the stamps!

Thursday evening was my last class.  We had a great time learning how to use stamps, as well as other unique techniques for creating unique projects and easily updating older designs.

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All of a sudden it was Friday and before we could blink, we were tearing down the booth! Whew…what a fun and high energy show!  I love this show and, even though I am bone tired, can’t wait till next year!


Is it still art??


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.

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!

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.


Fresh Start…

As 2017 commences, we have a sense of newness that is uplifting and inspiring.  Sunday, New Year’s Day, was a beautiful day filled with sunshine and fresh, crispy air. new-year For the first time…ever…I was able to take the entire week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.  It was a good time to reflect and restore.  Sometimes we get so busy and wrapped up in daily business that we don’t take time to look at the overall picture.  Last year was a roller coaster, filled with plenty of ups and downs.  There were quite a few times that I thought the downs were outnumbering the ups!  We always enjoy the “ups” but, in retrospect, I am in awe at the support and love of friends and family during the down times.  My heart overflows with the generosity and kindness bestowed during these dark times.

Looking towards the new year, I am filled with determination to make this year one of the best yet.  I am not big on resolutions, however, I think we all look at the new year as a new beginning.  resolutionsWith that in mind, I cleaned my studio, organized my shelves, and straightened my office.  Fresh ideas and excitement flood my mind as I pull out new sketchbooks.


Evstarten though my 2017 calendar is filled with travels, classes, and conventions, the list for new product and designs is long and ambitious!  I am so excited to start moving those brushes that I can hardly wait to get home to my studio!

I would encourage you to count your blessings, take time to love, give a helping hand, spread your wings, say a kind wordreinvent, learn something new, share with others, and take time for yourself.

Be sure to do your part, enjoy each day no matter what and I am sure 2017 will be filled with adventure, fun and memories!

Love and Best Wishes for a Happy New Year!  Chris

Clean up your act…

Remember when your Mom used to constantly tell you to “pick it up”, “put it away”, “clean up your mess”?  Well, if you want to be more productive in your studio…listen to Mom!!

How many times do we start painting with a large, clean working area and, as the project progresses, the working space somehow diminishes?  That large open table, is now a small space that hardly allows room for the project!   We all want to make the most of our painting time.  I have found that following a simple routine makes a world of difference.  If you follow these simple steps, you will keep your space open and your painting time will be a happier time.14441040_1263499617015257_4725592904969226260_n.jpg

Step One:  The first step, and probably the most important, in keeping a productive workspace is before the paintbrushes even hit the water is to start with a clutter free space.  Before you get out the paints, brushes and surfaces, make sure your working area is not only tidy, but also clean.  Take a few minutes to clear everything, put it away and wipe the surface clean.  Ever have those tiny unknown bits of something that end up in fresh paint?  Well, 9 times out of 10, they are residue of prior projects, specks of dried paint, etc…  Making sure your area is spotless and tidy not only makes working on projects easier, creativity will also flow much better!


Step Two:  Now that the table is clean and clear, the next step is to gather up all the supplies needed for the project.  If everything is together, there will be no more stopping and searching for a missing paint, brush, etc…  As a result, without all the stops and starts, there is more continuity, and all the energy is focused on the actual project.


Step Three:  Step three takes a little discipline.  Arrange all the paints and brushes within easy reach.  I like to keep my paints in rainbow order, in hombre rows.  For example, I start on the left with reds, no more than three deep, pink in front, middle red, and deeper red behind.  Then next row will be shades of oranges and/or yellows, next will be greens, then blues, purples, etc…  I always have blacks & whites on the far right.  I also have an order for my brushes.  I fold up about 3-4 layers of paper towel and lay out the brushes needed.  I start on the left with script liner, then liner, rounds, filberts, flats and angles (as needed).  Since I have implemented this routine, my colors  and brushes are always in order and within easy access. Here comes the discipline part…setting the bottles and brushes back in their assigned places.  I will admit that it takes a little while to master the routine, but what a difference it will make!  I know that when I paint, I can put it in high gear and do just that…simply paint!!


Step Four:  Step four goes back to step one!  When finished with the project, PUT EVERYTHING AWAY and CLEAN UP!!  Can you hear your mom grinning?!  We all know at this stage of the game that mom was always right (well, mostly)!

Being organized makes painting such a treat and a pleasure!  I LOVE painting, but get so frustrated when derailed with the little things.  Take time to get it together and take time to keep it together!

Ultra Fine Writer Tip

We always love when a new product hits the market that can make our creativity easier and, best of all, look better!  When DecoArt released the new Ultra Fine Writer Tip, I wasn’t sure it would be all that!  However, after actually using the tip, I was more than amazed. Ultra Fin Writer Tip.jpg

The tip is a perfect size for adding lettering, doodles, and fine lines to your projects.  It fits the 2 oz Americana acrylic bottles which makes it easy to switch colors.  Probably my favorite feature is the self-cleaning needle cap.  This prevents clogs from forming and makes it ready to use EVERY time.  I know from experience, if the clean up and maintenance is tedious, no matter how wonderful, I won’t use the product very often.  Because the tip is self cleaning, I know that whenever I want to use it, it will work!  That in itself is genius!  imgres.jpg

The first project I used the tip was  Owl Magic.  I had this fantastic owl face cling stamp, “Look Into My Eyes”, but wanted to do something more.


I decided to stamp the face image using paint instead of ink and “try” the writer tip to create the rest of the body.  I probably should have tested the tip before starting the project, but if you know me, I usually just jump right in and figure it out as I go!  LOL, sometimes that gets me into trouble (big grin), however, the tip was so easy to use that there was no learning curve.  I was thrilled as the paint flowed evenly from the tip in a nice smooth line.  A few years ago I injured my thumb, so applying constant pressure was a little uncomfortable.  Even though the paint flowed easily, with this big project, my thumb was not holding up!   Soooo…I added a little water to the bottle to thin out the paint and…BINGO…problem solved!  The paint flowed much easier and I was able to continue without discomfort.

This is the first part of the design.  I basecoated the background a solid color to allow the lines to be strong and visible, almost like a coloring book page.  I stamped the owl face, then began “drawing” the rest of the body and adding details using the Ultra Fine Writer TipChris Haughey Owl Magic 2 (2).JPG

Even though I used acrylic paint, I approached this design as I would watercolor. I added washes and glazes of color for depth and intensity, allowing the background to glow through and create the brightness.  Small amounts of paint make a big difference!Chris Haughey Owl Magic 2 (1).JPG

The night sky and moon were added last.  This way no colors overlapped and there was no need to go back to do any touch ups.  A few stars and a little more linework complete the design.  Chris Haughey Owl Magic 3.JPG

The tips are inexpensive so it’s very affordable to purchase several.  To make my painting life a little easier, I have several tips that I have dedicated to specific colors.  Because I know that I will use certain colors often, I have a tips for: Payne’s Grey, Lamp Black, Snow White and Soft Black.  I have a couple extra tips for any other color I may desire.  I am really not lazy, I just like to have things convenient!!

I am so excited with the Ultra Fine Writer Tip .  It has shed a new light on line work and taken out the difficulty of trying to obtain smooth, even lines.  My mind is swimming with possibilities for using this tip.  My lines look fantastic and it’s not causing any grey hairs achieving them!  I would highly recommend at least one per painter…and more to make life easier!  LOL!  I know you will enjoy using the tips as much as I do.

Happy Painting!

Chris Haughey