Tag Archives: chris haughey

Yes, you can…

I found myself in the middle of a home remodel.  When removing some of the drywall, I was pleasantly surprised to find the old chimney tucked behind the wall.  I loved the colors and the character of the bricks.  After they were cleaned, they were beautiful and would become a nice focal element.  However, this old chimney had been a working chimney.  There was a round patch were the stove pipe was cut into the bricks and huge, black drips of creosote running down the front side.  I was assured that the hole could be patched with matching brick and the creosote could be easily removed.  However, the patched area was bright and “new” looking and the creosote stain could not be diminished!

FullSizeRenderThe men had sealed the bricks with a coat of acrylic matte Seal-Krete.  I chose matte to keep the antique look of age.

I was not discouraged, because I have a secret friend that comes to my aid whenever I run into a problem. I grabbed a selection of DecoArt Americana colors; Terra Cotta, Heritage Brick, Mississippi Mud, Driftwood, Asphaltum, Burnt Umber, Sand, Antique Maroon, and a few others.  I used an old scruffy 1/2″ flat shader, a new brush will be ruined with the rough brick texture.  I studied the bricks and realized using pure color would be too strong and bold.  Each brick was a myriad of color and tones.

FullSizeRender (1)First I painted over the black creosote with Terra Cotta to cover the darkness, feathering out the edges.  When dry, I picked up a touch of the orange and/or brown to drybrush randomly over the brick, making sure to blend the colors so they would not appear spotty.  I didn’t use water or clean the brush between colors.  Wipe the loaded brush over a paper towel before drybrushing and between colors.  If the color was too strong, I picked up Sand or Mississippi Mud.  The key is to evaluate the color of each brick, blending with a continuity of colors.  Look how a single brick can go from a muted tan to a deep, rich rust!  I enjoyed playing with a palette of color to create the tone and flavor of each brick.  Patience is needed as it takes many, many layers to replicate the aged look of the brick.

The best part is the fact that there are no mistakes.  If I didn’t like the look, I would simply drybrush with another layer of color, brighter or quieter, as needed.  I even painted the grout!  The new grout was very clean and gray,  I wanted that dull, smoky color.  First I tried some greys, but, surprisingly, found that Sand and Asphaltum were perfect.  Not a mix, but a touch of both colors on a dirty brush, then a drybrush over the grout until the desired results were achieved.

One of the bricks had been broken and the hole was patched with grout.  Check out the “repair” job I did with paint!  I figured anything would look better that an empty spot.  Again, I started with a drybrush of Terra Cotta, then started toning it down with Mississippi Mud, Espresso, Heritage Brick, following the pattern of the other half of the brick.  I matched up the grout and applied another layer of sealer.

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I didn’t limit the touch ups to the damaged and repaired areas, there were several bricks that were dull or I just didn’t like the color.  The more I played, the braver I became!  This was a fun project and I love the results!

The next time a project seems beyond hope, just look for alternative solutions.  When I told the guys working on the bricks that I could paint them, the disbelief look on their faces was priceless.  However, the next day when they saw the faux painted bricks, they were beyond amazed.  They couldn’t believe the transformation and wanted to take pictures.

Taking art off the studio table can be rewarding and exciting.  I encourage you to adventure into new areas, be courageous, and reap the benefits of creativity!

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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??

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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

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

Christmas Rescue…

…or should I say DecoArt rescue….again…

Christmas is always a hustle, bustle time of year.  Christmas lists are can be a bit of a challenge as one tries really hard to find just the right gift for everyone.  It’s always a good feeling to think you have acquired the perfect gifts.

My brother in law has a pontoon boat and my husband found the perfect t-shirt for him on line.  Pontoon.jpg

However, when it arrived, the front side was just what we wanted, but the back of the shirt was this!Backside.jpg

Since he does not drink beer, and there was not enough time (you know how that last minute shopping goes!), I decided to try another approach.  I wondered about using the Photo Transfer Medium  (available at Cupboard Distributing) to cover up the beer mug.  Since I have never used this product on fabric, I called the DecoArt helpline (they have wonderful technical service for any of their products).  They suggested once the t-shirt had been washed to remove sizing, that I use So-Soft to cover the image as the mug might show through the transfer.  I had used a water soluble pencil to outline the area to be basecoated.  The dark edge around the basecoat is wet fabric to dissolve the markings.  IMG_2069.JPG

He is a big Coke drinker, so I decided to use a Coke can image to cover up the beer mug.  I printed the image in reverse on my laser printer.  Once the basecoat was applied, I followed directions on the bottle to transfer the image.  Probably the worst part was waiting the required time before removing the paper to see if would work.  I am not good at doing crafty things, so was really on pins and needles, plus I had no time for error!  IMG_2115.JPG

Guess what??  It looked wonderful!  I was so excited, it really looked like it was factory printed with the Coke can.  You know, there is nothing worse than giving a gift to someone that looks like a 5 year old created it!  A great big thank you to DecoArt for once again saving the day and making something look amazing!

So, the moral to this little story is to not give up.  DecoArt has such a broad spectrum of products that do a myriad of things, from crafts, to home decor, to decorative painting to wearables.  Just remember, when you are in a pickle, they might be able to save the day with flying colors!

So little time…so much to do…

In the last few weeks, I have literally traveled coast to coast.  I stuck my toes in the Pacific Ocean and just a couple weeks later I stuck those same toes in the Atlantic Ocean.  I have traveled by truck and trailer over 8000 miles, taught a 3 day seminar, set up and worked 2 conventions, taught 5 classes and special event all within about 3 weeks.  I can rightfully say that I am bone tired!

However, my schedule is packed so tight and I have so many deadlines that rest is not an option.  So, what is the solution?  I thought I would share my secret to organization and keeping productivity at a max.

The first thing I recommend is making a list.  The list needs to be quite thorough.  I list EVERYTHING that needs to be done from art projects to house cleaning tasks.  Once the list is complete, the next step is to prioritize.

This is my secret, the solution to solving my crazy schedule.  I recommend purchasing a large desktop calendar.  I use the one with each month on an entire page with plenty of room on each day for notes.  I also like the ones with room for notes across the bottom or side margins.Calendar

Now the fun begins!  With a pencil (in case you need to re-arrange), start putting the tasks onto the calendar.  My best advise is to NOT overload each day.  Be practical and give yourself time off.  It is not realistic to pack the days so full that there is no time to enjoy life!  I always keep at least two days open, just in case the grandkids come over or I get an offer to do something fun.  That’s the main reason that I use a pencil!  I can simply erase and re-schedule.  My calendar is ALWAYS visible so I can see it at a glance.

Once I have all my deadlines and tasks listed on my calendar, I no longer stress or worry about trying to get everything done.  It doesn’t mean I don’t have long days, but now I have the comfort of knowing that it is all under control.  I can focus on each project as it is scheduled which allows me to be much more creative.

I absolutely love what I do!  I feel that I have been blessed with a talent and the desire to share.  My head spins with new ideas and designs.  I have stacks and stacks of sketch books, note books and scraps of paper with ideas.  My biggest challenge is not coming up with new designs, it is trying to juggle working full time, being a designer, painter, wife, mom, grandma, and making it all work.

My calendar is my peace of mind.  I know how much I can pack into each day and keep my sanity.  Some days are still long, but when I look at my calendar, I can always see order, which keeps me calm.  Now my focus is on the important tasks at hand, whether designing, painting or (sigh) cleaning house!

What a Mess!!! by Chris Haughey

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Messy Studio!

This summer has been a whirlwind!  I just arrived home from a travel teaching job in Rapid City, South Dakota and the Raindrop Convention in Portland, Oregon.  My house and studio were spotless when I left…and look at it now (and this is just a portion of it)!  I have just a week until I am off again, this time to Marlborough, Mass for the New England Convention.  My studio table is stacked from unpacking my travel tote, with new product from DecoArt (aren’t they the greatest?!),  surfaces to prep for NET, class pieces from Portland & Rapid City, brushes, sponges, sample demo pieces, class pieces, patterns, etc…YIKES…I have EIGHT projects to design and paint BEFORE I leave in just 8 days!

However, there is no way I can be productive in this chaos!  I will work my magic and get everything in its place.  It always looks worse than it is.  Abracadabra…look at it now!

Ready to Work!

Ready to Work!

It really didn’t take much time and now everything is in it’s place.  I can relax, design, paint like a white tornado!  I know for a fact that a tidy work space is much more conducive to productive painting time.  This blog is short, but to the point…Take time to clean after each project!  There is nothing more deterring to painting than a messy area!  So, if nothing else, tidy up and when the opportunity arises, the paint and brushes will welcome you with open arms!