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“Meet the Teachers” Blog Series: Meet Debbie Cole, CDA


meet-the-teachers-1200x907-2Debbie Cole, CDA
Started Teaching: 1991
Joined SDP: Early 1990’s

Debbie Cole, the third teacher in our “Meet the Teachers” series, has loved art since she was a child. However, she didn’t start painting until after her own children were born. She had just reenrolled in college to continue her education and was advised she needed to take hands-on art classes. She started with drawing and from there pursued painting. Debbie’s fascination with the medium began to blossom as she sought out books on how to paint from Pricilla Hauser to Pat Olsen. It’s from these books that she learned about Tole Painting, and a new passion was born.

Debbie Cole CDAWhat do you love most about painting?
Oh my, what don’t I love about painting? Painting is more than what I do, it is a part of who I am. I feel alive when I have a paintbrush in my hand. I enjoy the fact that I have learned to paint proficiently in any medium and yet I am still able to explore new techniques with the same excitement and enthusiasm as when I first began painting. It will never get old to me. I also love to be able to interpret the world around me with my paintbrush. When I see things in nature and I am able to reproduce them with painting, it just seems to be what I was meant to do.

What do you love most about teaching?
I believe I love teaching as much as I love painting. It is just so fulfilling to be able to help my students step outside their comfort zone and accomplish something they never thought they could do. I truly value when someone says to me, I remember taking your class and I learned so much from you. I also love the friends I have made from my students over the years. There is no greater compliment a teacher can have than to have the same students take from them over and over again.

What are the top takeaways that students will learn by taking your class?
I am teaching three different classes at SDP this year and I must say that they will learn something different from each class. As a teacher, they will learn that I encourage questions and that I am there to help them. I truly want them to enjoy my classes, too. Every class I teach has an educational focus, yet I try to do something a little different in every class so they always have something new to learn.

What value would you place on attending the classes at the Society of Decorative Painters Conference?
I am a visual learner, but I am also the type of student who loves to ask questions. I value the ability to watch what someone is doing and ask questions face to face. I like having my students gather around me so they can see what I am doing with my hands. They learn more from that than anything.

Do you find it important for yourself to still attend classes here or there to learn a new skill or freshen up on an old one?
Absolutely, I find that it is so important for me to continue to learn new and exciting techniques so that I can pass that knowledge onto my students. My students are evolving and if I do not evolve, they will not be able to learn from me. I have never been a black and white thinker when it comes to painting, and there are many ways to approach painting. It is so much fun learning new techniques and then interpreting them with my own unique style.

When you’re not painting or teaching, what can we find you doing?
You will find me on social media. I spend a lot of time writing my blog articles, maintaining my Facebook Page for Debbie Cole Designs, and enjoying the members of my Facebook Group, Innovative Creations. I also love jewelry design and create fun jewelry with my artwork.

Debbie will be teaching the following classes at the SDP Conference & Expo taking place in St. Charles, Illinois from May 11-16, 2015. REGISTER TODAY

Steam Punk Ted – Acrylic

Snow Owl – Acrylic

La Belle Fleur – Acrylic

Coming up next week on “Meet the Teachers”… meet Mark Polomchak:
Did you know that when Mark is not painting, you can find him tinkering on the piano and trying to work on his golf game?

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Hurry! Classes are filling quickly for the SDP 43rd Annual Conference & Expo


2015-conference-art_email_smRegistration for the SDP 43
rd Annual Conference & Expo – May 11-16, at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, IL – is off to a great start!  Due to popular demand, several classes have already sold out, and others are filling quickly.

The following classes are sold out!

  • 0125-Etched Silver Silver & Peony on Tuesday (colored pencil-Paula Leopold CDA)
  • 0185-Peter Pepper, Mint Painter on Wednesday (acrylic-Prudy Vannier CDA)

But don’t worry! We are repeating them on Friday, May 15:

Also, class 0060-Eastern Bluebird for 1st Time Oil Painter with Sherry C. Nelson MDA, TDA only has 3 openings available if you are interested in getting in.

Register now by CLICKING HERE. If you’ve already registered and would like to add classes or have questions, contact sdpregistration@decorativepainters.org.

For a full class list CLICK HERE. You may view the Conference Special as a downloadable PDF for viewing on your computer, iPad, Kindle Fire, or other mobile device. To order a printed copy of the Conference Special click here!

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“Meet the Teachers” Blog Series: Meet Paula Leopold, CDA

meet-the-teachers-1200x907-2Paula Leopold, CDA
Started Teaching: 1975
Joined SDP: 1976

The next teacher in our “Meet the Teachers” series, Paula Leopold, always considered herself creative. She owned her own craft store and dabbled in painting. One day a customer came into her store to buy painting supplies and invited her to join her and a group of ladies doing “Tole Painting”. After that, Paula’s career truly took off.

Paula Leopold CDAWhat do you love most about painting?
I enjoy the process of painting as well as the finished results.  Also trying new techniques and mediums keeps it fresh and exciting.

What do you love most about teaching?
I love the joy that it brings to others when they accomplish something they had no idea they would be able to achieve and to see their satisfaction as they progress.

What is the one main thing students will learn in your class?
I try to always include new techniques to make the medium more successful, as well as teach theory that will apply across the board.  I also like to encourage my students to learn to enjoy the process of learning something new.

What value would you place on attending the classes at the Society of Decorative Painters Conference?
You are exposed to so many new ideas and products that you may not know about through the vast knowledge of the teachers and vendors.

Do you find it important for yourself to still attend classes here or there to learn a new skill or freshen up on an old one?
Oh my goodness yes. I love to learn from a teacher who has new ideas and approaches art from a new and different perspective.  By staying sharp myself it helps me to offer new and fresh ideas for my students.  One of my students, who has painted with me for 25+ years, says that she continues to learn new and exciting techniques and is challenged in her projects.

When you’re not painting or teaching, what can we find you doing?
Spending time with family-my very supportive husband, children, grandchildren and the great grand children which of course just get much sweeter and better – and oh, yes… sharpening pencils!

Paula will be teaching the following classes at the SDP Conference & Expo taking place in St. Charles, Illinois from May 11-16, 2015. REGISTER TODAY

Etched Silver and Peony – Colored Pencil

Blushing Pears – Frosted Grapes & Crystal – Colored Pencil

Coming up next week on “Meet the Teachers”… meet Debbie Cole, CDA:
Did you know that Debbie first starting teaching Decorative Painting at the Banbury Fair in Bartlett, Il in 1991?

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“Meet the Teachers” Blog Series: Meet Louise Jackson, MDA, TDA

meet-the-teachers-1200x907-2
Louise Jackson, MDA, TDA
First Started Painting: 1965
Joined SDP: Early 1970’s

Louise Jackson always loved to draw. She wasn’t motivated to paint until one day in 1965 when she heard of a local artist who was teaching a class in the evening. So she and a few of her girlfriends signed up – Louise never looked back. Five decades later, Louise is a highly successful decorative artist, an experienced workshop instructor, both here and abroad, and has authored more than 23 how-to paint books. In 1976, Louise founded The Decorative Artists Guild of Southwestern Ohio (DAGSO). Her passion for painting is enhanced by her love of teaching. We hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as we have.

jackson_mugWhat do you love most about painting?
What I love most about painting is that I am always learning something new. Every painting is a challenge. I still make mistakes, but this forces me to learn how to correct things. Working the painting out gives me joy.

What do you love most about teaching?
Teaching motivates me to continually strive for new ideas and new techniques to share. We all love to see our students grow. I have seen many of them become better than I am and create some amazing art. When they have the skills and confidence to go their own way with their painting, it is pretty exciting to watch. 

What is the one main thing students will learn in your class?
One of the most important things that students learn in my watercolor classes is how to fix or correct things. It is tricky to make corrections in this medium and keep them unnoticeable. I also have some very good blending techniques because I like to be in control when needed, and loose when it pleases me.

What value would you place on attending the classes at the Society of Decorative Painters Conference?
Classes at the SDP conference offer the student the opportunity to study with teachers from out of their area. They may decide to travel to study with that teacher or invite the teacher to teach at their local chapter. Or they may simply learn something new. It is a great way to learn new techniques and get fresh ideas to enhance the way they paint. They may even get motivated to teach themselves.

When you’re not painting or teaching, what can we find you doing?
I spend a lot of time writing notes and photographing both my work and new subjects to paint. My favorite thing to do is helping my children and grandchildren with anything, especially decorating. I helped make some slipcovers. I paint frames, furniture and paintings to decorate their houses. I also paint a lot of family portraits for my family. It is weird to say my break from painting is more painting but it is different to paint just for fun as opposed to creating something to teach. Best of all, I don’t write notes for these.

Louise will be teaching the following classes at the SDP Conference & Expo taking place in St. Charles, Illinois from May 11-16, 2015. REGISTER TODAY

Rose on Burgundy – Watercolor 

Plums & Lace – Watercolor

Butterfly Fun – Watercolor

Coming up next week on “Meet the Teachers”… meet Paula Leopold, CDA:
Did you know that when Paula first starting teaching she travelled over 100 miles round-trip so she could take Tole Painting Classes with Ann Kingslan in Omaha, NE?

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Introduction to the “Meet the Teachers” Blog Series

meet-the-teachers-1200x907-2Every year the Society of Decorative Painters (SDP) Conference & Expo brings together the world’s best teachers of decorative painting.   SDP would like to highlight some of those teachers in a blog series entitled, “Meet the Teachers”.

Over the next several weeks, we will take the time to get to know some of our 2015 Conference teachers and learn more about their art, inspiration and designs.

We hope the interviews inspire you to continue painting and get you excited about attending the upcoming SDP Conference & Expo.  Look for our first interview on February 10th when we feature Louise Jackson, MDA, TDA. Did you know that Louise has authored 23 how to paint books? In the meantime, check out all of the great classes being offered at this year’s Conference.

Registration will open on February 10th.