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A New Year of Certification – Take the Plunge!

By Sue Pruett MDA, Certification Chair

sue-pruett-close-upIt’s that time of the year when we start talking about Certification again! That’s because the deadline to order your Certification portfolio is February 28, 2017.

If you have the desire to improve your painting skills, the Certification Program was been developed to help you do exactly that. If this is something you have been considering, but do not know enough about the program to get started, let me explain the program and why you should get involved.

The Certification Program provides an opportunity for SDP members to submit work to be judged for Certification. Its goal is to create a climate for the improvement of painting skills and provide you with recognition of excellence.

There are three levels of Certification. The first is Accredited Decorative Painter (ADP). The second is Certified Decorative Artist (CDA). The third is Master Decorative Artist (MDA). You may begin with the ADP level or CDA level. If you choose to start with the ADP level, you will need to also complete the CDA level prior to moving on the MDA level.

CDA entry from 2014 by Jung Eun Cho CDA

CDA entry from 2014 by Jung Eun Cho CDA

The ADP level is an excellent place to start. ADP was designed as an entry level Certification, and a stepping stone to Certified Decorative Artist (CDA), the second level of our Certification Program. This year, 80% of the ADP entries received a passing score.

Below is a testimonial from Past President Wendy Watson, who received her ADP designation this year.

WendyWatson“I began my road to Certification in the early 90s. I painted what I thought was a beautiful still life and sent it in for judging. However, once I saw my entry hanging in the Certification display at the SDP Conference, I was so embarrassed. It did not look as good as I thought it was when I sent it in. I had a long way to go! I was very discouraged and convinced myself that I didn’t need those letters after my name to be a good artist, teacher and business owner. When the Accredited Decorative Painter (ADP) level was developed and introduced during my term as President of SDP, I felt that I should ‘lead by example’. Not only did I try for the new ADP, but I also sent in a CDA entry. My ADP still life entry in colored pencil passed! What a thrill to hear my name called during the Annual Meeting in San Diego. I had no idea how much those three little letters would mean to me! Upon receiving my critiques, I found out that my CDA stroke entry missed by only five points! Wow! Don’t let fear of failure stand in your way. I will be sending in another CDA entry this year. Will you join me?”

The Certification portfolio includes instructions, a line drawing of the design, paperwork explaining how the judging process works, and additional program information. In the ADP and CDA levels, you can choose from a still life/floral design or stroke design. The still life/floral design in the ADP and CDA levels can be painted with acrylic, oil, watercolor, pastel, or colored pencil. The stroke level has to be painted in either acrylic or oil mediums.

photo of portfolio

Components of the Certification Portfolio

All entries are judged on the following criteria:

  • Overall Effect
  • Color Management
  • Blending Skills
  • Stroke Control
  • Value Control, intensity Control
  • Linework and Detail
  • Background
  • Frame
  • Neatness
  • Finish

It is extremely important that the work you submit must be entirely your own. In preparing and working on the entry, you may not seek assistance or critique from anyone, including teachers, art students or friends.

Other important guidelines and requirements are:

  • All designs belong to the Certification Program, and cannot be used for any other purpose.
  • All applicants are assigned a number. The number is to be painted on the back of your board, and the judges only know each entry by a number.
  • Each entry must be submitted on the surface provided in the kit. An exception is you may substitute a panel of comparable size and quality inside the frame provided. If you choose colored pencil, pastel or watercolor, you will provide appropriate paper as the surface; the official kit and frame will still need to be used.
  • A passing score is 75% based on the standard of 75% set in 1985.
  • The portfolio cost is $30 and surface fee is $50.
  • All applicants receive a written critique from the judging team.
  • Passing entries are announced each year at the Annual SDP International Conference & Expo.

It’s a lot to take in – I know! However, if you are looking to grow as an artist, this program is for you.

If you have any questions, please email me at suepruett@artapprenticeonline.com or call 760-721-1671 PT. On behalf of the Certification Committee, we look forward to receiving your entry!

For more information, visit:

Society of Decorative Painters Celebrates Decorative Painting Month, Reopens International Museum of Society of Decorative Painters

We observed Decorative Painting Month last month by holding a reception to celebrate the reopening of the International Museum of the Society of Decorative Painters. Some of our local members attended the reception on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 from 4:00pm-6:30pm at our new headquarters location at 1220 East First Street, Wichita, KS 67213.

“Decorative Painting Month is the time of year our members and chapters share our rich heritage and passion for painting at local art exhibits, libraries and craft shows,” says Kathy Swigon CDA, President of SDP. “With our headquarters’ recent move to downtown Wichita, we thought October was the perfect month to reopen the Museum and invite our members to visit our new home.”

With more than 175 works, the Museum exhibits and preserves pieces created by our members and that are of historical significance to the international painting community.

In 2007, we launched an active campaign to build a permanent collection of art that represents the beauty and diversity of decorative painting. Today, the Museum includes art spanning our organization’s 44 year history. Items in the Museum are original works of art created by some of decorative painting’s most beloved and celebrated artists.

For information about group visits, please contact Miho Halsey, Certification and Conference Manager, at miho@decorativepainters.org

Shenandoah Valley Decorative Painters Celebrate International Decorative Painting Month

By Mary Judge, President, Shenandoah Valley Decorative Painters

Shenandoah Valley Decorative Painters once again has been displaying our work at The Strasburg Museum. This has been an annual event for us in October for International Decorative Painting Month for the last few years.

This museum is housed in the old train station in Strasburg, VA. We have three large tables in the pottery room. We hope to spread information about our group and the Society of Decorative Painters to visitors of the museum.

How are you celebrating International Decorative Painting Month? Share your story and we’ll share it here on the SDP Blog! Email your story to kfarrell@craftandhobby.org.