Tag Archives: tole painting

Ramp it up…

I love the art of Lisa Kaus.  Her designs and color are bright, vivid, and simply delightful.  While shopping, I found a whimsical cross that was just perfect for that particular spot in my studio.  I purchased my treasure, brought it home, and hung it on the wall.  I enjoyed my new decor, but felt something was lacking.  I decided it needed a few special touches!

It is so important to know that store purchased items do not have to be accepted “as is”.  While I loved the art, I decided it needed a few of my magical touches.  The colors on the design are pure, saturated, and very compelling.  However, the bright, plain “believe” sign just seemed too stark.  IMG_1828.jpg

Usually, I would be concerned with the base of the piece before painting, but the touches I wanted to add were so minimal that I decided that I would not need a prep.  I matched DecoArt Americana Sea Glass acrylic paint to the background color.  With a 1/2″ angle, I floated a hint of color around the outer edge of the sign.  Because the surface was a rather slick finish, I let the float dry, then repeated the application to deepen the color.  It is ALWAYS better to apply two light coats of paint than one heavy coat.

After it dried, I did another evaluation.  The sign still looked a little disconnected.  I really liked the border around the outer edge of the cross.  I selected a .05 black Micron Pen to replicate the same design around the sign.  To finish, I spray sealed the piece with several light coats of DecoArt Americana Matte Spray Finisher.  IMG_1829.jpg

So, my advise it to not be afraid to enhance or “add to” a store bought piece of art.   A few simple touches can elevate and ramp it up.  I LOVED the results and am amazed at what a difference those little touches made!  Dare to be a little adventuresome and impress yourself!

Advertisements

Eeeeeeek…….

Eeeeeeekkkk, I accidentally left my brushes soaking in my brush basin overnight.  I was really tired when I finished for the night, had a million more things to do, so I stuck my brushes in my basin………to clean after I did all that other stuff.

This afternoon when I went to my studio to paint, my poor pathetic brushes were looking up at me with soggy faces!  OMG, I couldn’t believe I left them in that condition.  Not only were they waterlogged, but the bristles had a nice, gentle curl on the tips (thanks to the bottom of the basin).  Not only was I aggravated that I had forgotten, but also that it would require considerable work to get them back into shape.

Never fear, I am not the only one that has faced this issue (thank goodness).  I have my backup team ready and waiting for such an emergency.  Enter in the qualified members of my Brush Crisis Team:

  • DS3-9-8ozDecoMagic_1024x1024.jpgFirst and foremost, DecoMagic  Brush and Stencil Cleaner.  This amazing product has many outstanding qualities.  It is gentle enough to use every day, but packs a big punch in removing paint (even dried paint) from brushes, hands, stencils, and fabrics. It leaves brushes soft and pliable!  BONUS:  I can also be used as an jewelry cleaner.  I often scrub up my rings while doing my brushes.  Nice to have sparkling clean brushes, but sparkling rings will catch everyone’s eye!
  • 29-60017-2__29288_1024x1024.jpgI love using my Brush Cleaning Tank.  It is large enough to hold an entire bottle of DecoMagic and has a dome wire brush cleaner positioned about an inch from the bottom.  The screen loosens paint while keeping bristles out of the bottom sediment.  I rarely clean my tank, simply refill with DecoMagic to keep the fluid above the screen.  Not only is it ecconomical, but the tank can be easily transported to any classroom.  I always come home from travel teaching with clean brushes!  One bottle of cleaner usually lasts about 6 months.
  • 29-01200.jpgThe Brush Scrubby Grooming Pad is priceless.  This little gem is probably the best bang for your buck in the entire industry.  Did I say buck?…its only 88¢ (SCORE)!  No matter how well brushes are cleaned, I am always astonished at how much paint comes out when using the scrubby.  After I clean my brushes in the tank, I pick up the scrubby and run my brushes across the pointed nibs.  This is a great way to get paint build up at the ferrule.  The heart shape is adorable, however, fits nicely in the palm of your hand.

05717-1002-1-2ww-m_1024x1024.jpgAnd lastly, if the tips have that stubborn curl, simply use Brush Shaper to restore the shape.  Basically this is a stiffener (sizing) that will return your brushes to their pristine shape.  Apply the shaper to the bristles, then form to desired shape.  They will dry rather stiff, but a quick swim in the brush basin will remove the sizing, resulting in nice chisel edges and pointed tips!  Keeps your brushes looking like new!

Now that I have restored my brushes, I have renewed my resolution to NEVER leave them in water again.  I have promised them that I will take better care of them in the future and reassured them that I will ALWAYS love them.

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

 

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

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!