Decorative Painting: Getting Started by Sybil Johnson

Decorative Painting: Getting Started

comepaintpost-sd-1Since my mystery series is set in the world of tole/decorative painting, I periodically get questions on what that is and how to get started. I’m not an expert, but I have been taking classes, attending conventions and working on projects for over two decades. Along the way, I’ve learned a thing or two.

So, what is tole/decorative painting? Basically, it’s decorating objects using paint, usually acrylic. DecoArt’s Come Paint With Us section of their website describes it as “…an easy-to-learn painting method where the painter traces a design outline onto a painting surface, then applies basic brushstrokes to give that surface decorative accents.”

You can paint on all kinds of surfaces. Wood is the most common, but I’ve painted on a myriad of surfaces including fabric, suede, window screening, paper, and tin. That last one is where “tole” comes from. The term tole painting is traditionally applied to the art of painting on tin but, when I started taking classes in the 90s, it was used in a broader sense to mean the decoration of objects on a variety of surfaces using painting strokes and techniques. These days the term decorative painting is more commonly used, though I tend to use them interchangeably.

So how do you get started?

I was lucky to know someone who knows the techniques of decorative painting well. She taught a group of us at work. We created all kinds of projects over the years. But, even if you can’t find a class nearby, you can still learn using online resources. The best introduction I’ve come across is DecoArt’s Come Paint With Us website section that I mentioned earlier. (http://decoart.com/comepaintwithus)

There you’ll find 3 beginning projects taught by Shara Reiner, Lynne Deptula and Judy Diephouse. You can download a pdf of the instructional booklet and view free videos of the three lessons. If you’re still not sure, you can always just watch the videos and see if it’s something you’d be interested in.

There are a lot of other painting resources on the web. I have a number of them on the links page of my website: http://www.authorsybiljohnson.com/links

I hope you found this useful. Power to the paintbrush!

 

Sybil Johnson wields pen and brush at her home in Southern California where she writes the Aurora Anderson Mystery Series (FATAL BRUSHSTROKE, PAINT THE TOWN DEAD and, soon, A PALETTE FOR MURDER) published by Henery Press. Learn more about her at http://www.authorsybiljohnson.com.

 

 

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Adventures in Trompe l’oeil, Part II by Sybil Johnson

Adventures in Trompe l’oeil, Part II

by Sybil Johnson

Here I am again, reporting on my trompe l’oeil adventure. It’s been a couple weeks and I’ve made some progress though not as much as I’d like.

Here’s a pointer to my first post, in case you missed it: https://theselfrescueprincess.wordpress.com/2016/07/14/adventures-in-trompe-loeil-part-i/. Go ahead, check it out, then come back. I’ll wait.

All caught up? Great! Let’s continue.

When I left you last, I was working on a table with a cherry pie painted on it. I’d gotten as far as staining the wood and painting the cloth underneath the pie. I was about to start on the pie.

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And this is where I was stalled for a short while. When I do a project, I like to use the colors suggested by the designer or, at least, something similar. That means I need to know approximately what a color looks like. Unfortunately, acrylic paint colors come and go so, when a design is several years old, some of the colors may have been discontinued. That’s the problem I ran into this time. This is where being a hoarder of paint color brochures comes in handy. I was able to figure out what the discontinued colors looked like and come up with substitutes based on color equivalency charts I’d picked up years ago.

Once that was straightened out, I turned to painting the cherry pie. Unfortunately, the instructions are not as detailed as I would like. That’s something to look for when you buy a pattern book or packet: check out the instructions to see if they are detailed enough for your skill level. Some designers assume more experience than others. Here is where the photos of the finished piece have come in handy. Studying them has helped me figure out the approach I should take.

Here’s where I am now:

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I still have a long way to go. I need to work on shading on the pie itself and I need to strengthen the shadows on the cloth. I’m getting there, though. Right now I’m off to work on final edits to A PALETTE FOR MURDER, then I’ll get back to work on that pie. Until next time…

Sybil Johnson wields pen and brush at her home in Southern California where she writes the Aurora Anderson Mystery Series (FATAL BRUSHSTROKE, PAINT THE TOWN DEAD and, soon, A PALETTE FOR MURDER) published by Henery Press. Learn more about her at http://www.authorsybiljohnson.com.

Adventures in Trompe l’oeil, Part I

Today on the Self-Rescue Princess, I’m having a guest blogger introduce you to the art of  in Trompe l’oeil.

by Sybil Johnson

The next book in my Aurora Anderson Mystery Series, A PALETTE FOR MURDER, features a trompe l’oeil (pronounced “Tromp Loy”) class. That means “trick the eye” or “fool the eye”. It’s any painting or design intended to create the illusion of a three-dimensional object.  Those clouds on ceilings in Vegas casinos and faux finishes such as marble and bricks fall into this category. To get a feel for what else can be done, here are some masterful 3-D illusions using chalk on pavement by various artists: ://www.boredphttpanda.com/5-most-talented-3d-sidewalk-chalk-artists/

Go ahead, check them out. I’ll wait.

Good, you’re back. Amazing, right? My favorite is Ice Age.

While working on PALETTE, I was reminded that I’d bought a pattern book and wood for a much simpler project, a cherry pie on a stool, years ago. Yep, years ago. I decided now was the time to work on this project. I thought I’d take you along on my journey into trompe l’oeil.

Here’s what I started with, a pattern/instruction book by Peggy Decker and an unpainted wood side table:

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I started by staining the wood. The instructions said to use Minwax Polyshades, Gloss Finish, in Pecan. It’s a polyurethane varnish with the stain in the product. I’d never used the product or even stained anything before, so I approached it with some trepidation. I pulled on my big girl pants and worked away. It took me all of 30 minutes to screw it up. Okay, it was a little longer than that, but not by much.

When the table dried, the top was a mess, not smooth at all. I thought I’d read the instructions carefully, but turns out I didn’t really. Luckily, wood is fairly forgiving so I stripped the top using Citristrip, sanded it a bit and I was good to go again. This time, I made sure I read and reread the instructions.

The next step was applying the pattern using graphite and basecoating with DecoArt White acrylic paint. I was a little worried about the acrylic painting adhering to the Polyshades, but it worked out okay. In between coats of white, I used a bit of paper torn from a brown paper bag to “sand”. Yep, a good old paper bag from the grocery store. It’s rough enough to smooth the paint a bit, but not so rough that it takes the paint off.

Here it is after this step:

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Next came a coating of light gray followed by the stripes on the cloth, painted in FolkArt Rose Chiffon. Liner work is not my favorite thing to do. I’ve seen brushes at conventions that have two brushes on one handle, that produce two parallel lines. I don’t have one of those, but I decided it wouldn’t be hard to make my own. I taped together two 10/0 liner brushes and voila! I have my own double brush.

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This is where I am so far on the project.

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Doesn’t look terribly exciting yet, I know. Projects never do at the beginning. Next time I’ll be working on the pie at the center of the design. Stay tuned.

 

Sybil Johnson wields pen and brush at her home in Southern California where she writes the Aurora Anderson Mystery Series (FATAL BRUSHSTROKE, PAINT THE TOWN DEAD and, soon, A PALETTE FOR MURDER) published by Henery Press.

Adventures in Glass Beadmaking with Janice Peacock

Earlier this month I wrote about how I started making glass beads. If you missed that post, here’s a link: https://theselfrescueprincess.wordpress.com/2016/03/07/glass-bead-making-with-janice-peacock/

Today I want to write about the glass beads that I’ve been making in recent years, most of which look like small masks. If you’ve not watched the video on how to make a glass bead, here it is: link

When I make a glass bead, I melt long slender rods of colored glass in my torch, which runs on oxygen and propane and achieves temperatures in excess of 2000 degrees. Since I can’t touch the glass while it’s molten, I use tools to sculpt it in the flame. Many of the tool are things you’d find around your house (especially if you like scrapbooking): an Xacto knife, scissors, and tweezers. People often ask me if I get burned when I work in my studio making beads. Yes, I do, but usually those burns are mild—about what you’d expect if you touched a hot pan in the oven.

I’ve written and published two murder mysteries about a glass beadmaker named Jax O’Connell. The first is High Strung (Booktrope, 2015) and the second is A Bead in the Hand (Booktrope, 2015), both of which are available at all the major retailers. In the first book Jax becomes an amateur sleuth after she finds a dead body behind a bead store in Seattle.

J_Peacock_1 blog post 2Jax and I have some things in common—we are both glass beadmakers and are women of a certain age. But in most other ways we are different—for instance, Jax is fictional and I am not. Jax’s beads are made with bright colors and happy patterns. My beads, on the other hand, are fairly somber in color and look like they are old—like relics from an archeological dig or flotsam that has washed ashore. Jax is a relative newbie to the world of beads. Me? I’ve been creating lampworked beads for nearly 25 years.

In case you are curious: The word “lampworking” comes from a few hundred years ago when beadmakers didn’t have high tech torches and fuels like oxygen and propane. Instead, artisans used oil lamps and bellows to create flames that were hot enough to melt glass.

J_Peacock_3 blog post 2A lot of the beads I make look like small masks or stylized faces. I have several books about African masks that I like to look at for inspiration as well as a collection of masks from around the world. The faces I create are both human and animal forms. Typically, the eyes on the masks are closed. The closed eyes give these beads a peaceful feeling, and these days we can all use a little peace and tranquility in our lives.

I love making beads, and even though my time is now split between glass beadmaking and writing about a fictional glass beadmaker, I know that I’ll never give up the fun and excitement of lighting up my torch and melting glass.

You can see more of my glass work at http://www.janicepeacockglass.com and read about the books in the Glass Bead Mystery Series at http://www.janicepeacock.com.

Janice Peacock
Glass Artist and Author

J_Peacock_6 blog post 2

You can find me in all sorts of places on social media:
Facebook.com/JanicePeacockAuthor
Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest: JanPeac
Blog.janicepeacock.com

Decorative Painting with Sybil Johnson

What is decorative painting? I get that question a lot. You may be more familiar with the term tole painting. Traditionally, tole painting is applied to the art of painting on tin but, when I started taking classes, it was used in a broader sense to mean the decoration of objects using various painting strokes and techniques using acrylic paints. These days the term decorative painting is more commonly used though some people still use the two terms interchangeably. Wood is the most common surface to paint on, but tin, fabric and other surfaces are also available.

I started my decorative painting journey in the early 90s when a group of us at work gathered in a conference room at lunchtime and worked on all kinds of projects. The experienced painter in the group taught us newbies the basics. We learned how to read a pattern, prep various types of surfaces from wood to tin to fabric, transfer the design using a stylus and graphite paper, basecoat and paint the project and, finally, varnish the finished piece. Over several years, we painted ornaments, cookie jar lids, sweatshirts, and a host of other projects.

Now I largely paint by myself, but every year I attend the Creative Painting convention in Las Vegas. I recently returned from what is around my 15th year at the convention (I lost track after about ten) where I took some classes and prowled the trade show floor looking for new patterns and supplies to buy.

I thought I’d share some pictures of a typical class so you could get an idea what one is like. Classes are held in hotel ballrooms. The size of the room depends on the number of students. Some special events have as many as 100. The fabric painting class I’ll be showing you was on the smaller end with about 20. Here’s our classroom.

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Here’s my little area of the room. Brushes, water basin, palette paper and other supplies waiting for class to begin. Johnson2

 

Each of the students was given a pattern packet designed by the instructor, Mary Ribet. Inside was a photo of the finished project (always good to see what you’re shooting for, right?), a line drawing of the pattern, and written instructions for each step. Johnson3 (1)

We had the choice of painting on a t-shirt or tote bag. I chose the t-shirt. We used So Soft paints by DecoArt, which are specifically designed for painting on fabric. Here’s the piece with the pattern on the fabric and the bird partly done.

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The instructor went through each step, giving advice as we went along. The final step involved using a stencil to make leaves. Here’s my finished piece.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my brief tour of a class. Decorative painting is great fun. There are so many interesting pattern books and packets out there to paint and conventions to attend.

When I decided to write mysteries, I chose to write a cozy set in the world of decorative painting. First, because I love reading cozies, but also because no one had chosen to write a series involving the craft I love. There are ones that feature crocheting, knitting, scrapbooking, etc., but none in the decorative painting field. Two books in the Aurora Anderson Mystery Series have been published so far by Henery Press—Fatal Brushstroke and Paint the Town Dead. The latter is set at a fictional painting convention similar to the one I recently attended. Right now, I’m busy working on the third book in the series.

Visit me at my website, www.authorsybiljohnson.com www.authorsybiljohnson.com, to learn more about me and my books. I also have a number of links to decorative painting related sites including conventions, tutorials on getting started, and places to buy supplies.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sybiljohnsonauthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/sybiljohnson19

Glass Bead Making with Janice Peacock

In 1992 I learned to make glass beads after a disappointing trip to a bead shop.  I was making a chain bracelet with different beads hanging off each link, charm bracelet-style.  I had figured out exactly what I wanted the bracelet to look like, but unfortunately the bead store didn’t have what I wanted.  I had particular shapes and styles in mind, and as I looked at the beads I’d purchased I wondered to myself:  Who makes these beads?  How do you make beads?  And that’s how it all started—I wanted to make glass beads, but had no idea where to start.

For those of us old enough to remember, there was no Google in 1992. The only way to research something was using an old-fashioned telephone or mail, and I don’t mean email.  So, I started making phone calls.  The first place I found that worked with glass told me I needed a furnace that could melt hundreds of pounds of glass at a time and would need to run 24×7 at a cost of several hundred dollars a month.  This was definitely not an option for me.  The next people I found said I could learn glass fusing from them, but I didn’t want to make flat things like plates and tiles.  I wanted colorful round beads with holes in them. After a long search I found the perfect class.

It was at Dan Fenton’s studio in Oakland, California, not far from where I live.  There was a two day workshop with a glass bead maker named Brian Kirkvliet, and they had one spot left in class.  So, I signed up.  The first time I saw the teacher light the torch and melt glass, I knew that this was what I wanted to do.  And twenty-four years later it is still a passion of mine. In the many years since I melted my first glass rod, I’ve made and sold hundreds, if not thousands, of beads and participated in many exhibitions and gallery shows. Working with glass beads has been a life-changing experience. In fact, it is such a part of who I am, I can’t imagine a life without glass bead making.

The process of creating glass beads is called lampworking or sometimes called flameworking.  I’ve created a short video of me making a glass bead so you can see what it is all about.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nc_PkahjQpM

Since the video doesn’t show me working at my torch, I thought I’d include this picture as well. It’s a little different than the mild-mannered author headshots of me you’ll see around the web these days. Janice at torch

When I first decided to write a murder mystery, I wanted to take the advice of many authors before me and “write what I know.” I knew glass bead making and knew many of the unusual and funny real-life characters that inhabit the bead world. I’ve always loved mysteries and have had a special fondness for cozy mysteries. So, it was easy to figure out what I wanted to write, and that’s how the Glass Bead Mysteries started.  Two books—High Strung and A Bead in the Hand—and a short story—Be Still My Beading Heart—were published by Booktrope in the last few months. The books have been well received and are available in paperback and eBook formats on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes. I’m busy working on the next book in the series—Off the Beadin’ Path—which will be released in Summer 2016.

I enjoy sharing my love of glass beads with everyone who reads my books and I hope you’ll join Jax O’Connell and her friends as they search for clues, one bead at a time.

beadHere’s the finished bead I made in my demo.

You can see pictures of my beads and larger glass sculptures at www.janicepeacockglass.com and learn about my books at www.janicepeacock.com

You can find me in all sorts of places on social media:

Janice Peacock

Glass Artist and Author

janice.e.peacock@gmail.com

 

www.janicepeacock.com

www.janicepeacockglass.com

Facebook.com/JanicePeacockAuthor

Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest: JanPeac

 

Reading Journal

RJ FrontWest Virginia Craft Week has inspired me and to get some some crafting done this week. I’ve planned out a tablecloth (know the pattern and fabrics I’m going to use), watched craft classes on Craftsy, made cards, and have completed some reading journals. I keep track of the books I read on Goodreads, but it’s more of a “I have read, want to read, give this book so many stars” list rather than my thoughts about a book. And as I enjoy the act of handwriting, I thought a journal would be a perfect place to jot down my thoughts, feelings, and questions a book inspires.

My journal began as an ordinary composition notebook. RJ Blank Comp NotebookI could’ve bought one with a design but I wanted to personalize it a little more. I wanted not just my thoughts on the book to showcase who I am, but also the journal itself. The next step was hunting and gathering paper and embellishment options from my scrapbooking stash. RJ Gathering Embellishments I have quite a stash, so this step took me a little while as I pulled out choices then put some back. My poor desk was looking like a section of a scrapbook store. I wanted to have enough items so I could get the right “feel” for the journal, but not so much I’d decide to work on the laundry instead.

Next, I placed a few sheets of pattern paper on the notebook along with ribbon and embellishment choices. Once I had a design I liked, I cut the paper to fit the cover and rounded the outside corners. I liked the rounded corners of the original notebook and wanted to duplicate the look. I love the ribbon marker included in diaries and other journals so I added one to mine. I glued the ribbon to the back of the cover, making sure it was lined up so it wasn’t caught in the crease of the book, then added the pattern paper for the back cover to help secure the ribbon. Once the ribbon was in place, I added an embellishment to the bottom of the ribbon.RJ Ribbon close up 1 2015-10-07 21.11.49

 

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t like seeing the edge of the pattern paper, so I added a strip of washi tape on the front and back cover. I was enjoying making the journal so much, I couldn’t just make one so I made another to giveaway. To enter for a chance to win the reading journal, please share your favorite book in the comment section, and list your email address so I can contact the winner. A winner will be drawn on Tuesday, October 13.