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“Meet the Teachers” Blog Series: Meet Mark Polomchak

meet-the-teachers-1200x907-2Mark Polomchak
Started Painting: 1975
Began Teaching: 1997

Mark Polomchak, the next teacher in our “Meet the Teachers” series, has been painting since he was 17 years-old. Painting for Mark was a family affair. His motivation to paint came from watching his father, Steve, a wonderful artist who could handle every medium, especially watercolor. One day, Steve suggested that Mark give it a try. Forty years later, Mark hasn’t looked back.

Mark PolomchakWhat do you love most about painting?
The most intriguing thing for me about painting is how you can get completely immersed in it. When I have to create new pieces for teaching classes, it is sometimes difficult to get started. I research photographs and go through my “collection” of drawings, magazines and older watercolors that had so much promise but didn’t quite turn out the way I wanted. Then, I will start with the drawings and when I finally start to paint, I am totally absorbed in it. I cannot put the brush down… quite like the artists that take my classes.

What do you love most about teaching?
Like most teaching artists, I love to see the improvement from the people that take my classes. You can’t really explain the gratification you get when someone you have been trying to help, paints it better than you! I love the fact that I can see the fingerprints of my techniques in other people’s artwork.

What value would you place on attending the classes at the Society of Decorative Painters Conference?
I believe that people learn not just from the person teaching the art classes but also from one another when they are taking classes. Myself, I learn from people taking my classes.  Art is meant to be shared by everyone. The thrill is not the end result of the work but the journey that you make by creating it. The joy for me is spending time with people that share the same interest as I do.

When you’re not painting or teaching, what can we find you doing?
I went to school for music and wanted to become a concert pianist. When I am not painting, you can find me tinkering on the piano and trying to work on my golf game. I play the piano better than I golf, but a far cry from a concert pianist. Fortunately for me, teaching watercolors has become my passion and is something that I cannot live without.

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

Soft Seascape – Watercolor

Father and Son – Watercolor

Venice – Watercolor

Coming up next week on “Meet the Teachers”… meet Sherry C. Nelson MDA, TDA:
Did you know that Sherry has been an SDP member since almost immediately following the founding meeting of the fall of 1972?

“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?

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!