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Painting group holds Learn to Paint sessions at library

This article was written by Sara K. Taylor and first appeared in Southern Maryland Newspapers Online. Visit this page to see the original article.

Photo by GRETCHEN PHILLIPS Debbie Blair Williams, right, shows Cathy Bender of Waldorf, left, and Sharon Altman of La Plata a painting technique Saturday during a Learn to Paint event. Williams organized the Southern Maryland Decorative Painters in 1995 and continues to be a member.

Photo by GRETCHEN PHILLIPS
Debbie Blair Williams, right, shows Cathy Bender of Waldorf, left, and Sharon Altman of La Plata a painting technique Saturday during a Learn to Paint event. Williams organized the Southern Maryland Decorative Painters in 1995 and continues to be a member.

Celebrating its 20-year anniversary this year, the Southern Maryland Decorative Painters chapter, Society of Decorative Painters, continues to offer an artistic outlet for members and those in the community.

Two sessions of Saturday’s Learn to Paint event at the Charlotte Hall library allowed anyone interested in decorative painting the opportunity to give it a shot while chapter members offered guidance and tips.

Decorative painting is an art form that uses a variety of techniques and media to decorate functional and nonfunctional surfaces, according to information from the Society of Decorative Painters.

Projects can be designed and painted on household items — the chapter organizer scours yard sales for furniture that she stores in the basement for future projects — and includes stenciling and faux finishing.

Artists can work in oil, acrylic, pen and ink, colored pencil, watercolors.

“A lot of mixed media is super hot right now,” said Debbie Blair Williams of Mechanicsville, who organized the local chapter in 1995.

“We’re always evolving,” said Roberta Perry of White Plains, the chapter president.

Decorative painting doesn’t require extensive artistic experience.

“I didn’t know how to draw a stick person before I started,” Williams said.

As a child, she liked art but her parents discouraged her from pursuing it, she said.

Then in the fourth grade, a stash of paper dolls Williams made and kept in her locker was deemed a “fire hazard” by a teacher, further hampering Williams’ artistic pursuits.

Later, Williams would watch decorative painters Priscilla Hauser and Jackie Shaw on PBS and practice stroke work.

She bought a book from each to learn more before signing up for a conference.

When the conference was canceled, Williams joined a decorative painting chapter in Severna Park for about a year before starting one in Southern Maryland.

The first meeting was held at Charlotte Hall library with 35 people showing up.

Williams said that the heyday of decorative painting probably peaked between 1995 to 2000, but she thinks preteens are discovering it, prompting a resurgence.

Over the years, the meetings moved around to Charlotte Hall Veterans Home, Leonardtown library and Good Shepherd United Methodist Church in Waldorf before landing back at the Charlotte Hall library.

The group holds paint-ins, seminars with guest speakers showing up twice a year, community service projects like decorating a hospice tree each year, and fundraisers.

Learn to Paint is held once a year to introduce people to decorative painting — like Amy Wathen of Charlotte Hall and her daughter, Shelby, 13.

Wathen doesn’t have much time for crafts anymore, her kids keep her busy.

“I cross-stitched, took a crochet class. Art was my favorite class in high school,” Wathen said.

She read about the Learn to Paint sessions and signed up. Shelby, a musician, takes band in school, having to forego art classes. The Saturday session was something interesting to do, Wathen said.

Chapter member Debbie Reece understands how everyday life can get in the way of artistic pursuits. She came to a chapter meeting in 1995, but her kids were young then and she couldn’t work regular painting into her schedule. She returned about 15 years ago and has become the family’s resident painter.

“My kids are grown and I paint things for the house — now what do they want,” Reece said.

Reece said hand-painting Christmas ornaments for them each year has become a family tradition.

Reece likes working with watercolors and enjoys painting floral designs.

“It’s so relaxing,” she said.

Perry, a chapter member for several years (her husband Bernie joined two years ago), was Williams’ student for a while.

“Everything I know, I learned from her,” Perry said. She first was introduced to decorative painting when going to craft shows. She wasn’t necessarily an artist but found that wasn’t a drawback.

“You don’t need to know how to draw,” she said. “You learn different techniques.”

Projects can range from basic to complicated, an afternoon-long project to 50 hours spent on one.

“It’s so relaxing once you start painting, you lose track of time,” Williams said.

Meet The Artist: Meet Junko Nasui

Issue three of this year’s The Decorative Painter magazine is in the mail and all active SDP members will receive it soon. Over the past several weeks, we’ve been getting to know some of the artists whose projects will be featured in the upcoming issue. Throughout the series, we’ve learned about their art and inspiration, and what you can expect from their projects. Today is the last post in this series for the artists who will be in issue three of this year’s magazine publications. Today, meet SDP member Junko Nasui MDA!

JunkoS2

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My husband and I have one son, who recently married a sweet girl. I teach decorative painting in Japan, yet I continue to take classes and learn the art from other teachers. My mantra – never stop learning!

When did you start painting?
I started painting in 1992. I never had a brush in my hand before that. To this day, I remember the excitement I felt when I painted my first project!

How did you learn about SDP and how long have you been a member of SDP?
I have been a member of SDP for 23 years. I saw a copy of The Decorative Painter when I attended a painting seminar in my local area. After seeing the magazine, I knew I wanted to join the Society’s painting community.

What do you love most about painting?
I love how painting allows me to connect with other painters, crafters and people who share interests. Painting is a great way to meet new friends!

Who is your favorite decorative painting teacher?
I can’t choose one favorite teacher: Gayle Oram MDA is great and always teaches gently, like a mother. Cheri Rol MDA is just so wonderful. Barbara Watson MDA was strict, but always taught with a lot of love; I miss her so much.

What is your favorite medium?
I love watercolor. Many people think of watercolor as a hard medium, but that’s not true! I found an easy and relaxing watercolor technique that I can share with everyone.

What is your favorite surface to paint?
I love painting any paper-based surface, such as sketchbook paper or watercolor paper; these materials are easy for everyone to use.

Can you give us a preview of what readers will learn from your project in The Decorative Painter?
It’s a watercolor design that’s quick and easy. Beginner painters will be happy that they are able to pursue and finish my project on their own. Painters will use a black pen to outline my design, which is an easier technique than using a liner brush. Even though I defined specific colors, the finished project will be beautiful with any colors.

What value do you put on submitting projects to The Decorative Painter?
The Decorative Painter is a vehicle where artists can share their designs and techniques for all skills levels. It’s a magazine that artists can submit projects to for all painters to enjoy.

When you’re not painting, what can we find you doing?
When I am not painting, I love to visit museums, parks and flower shops. Also, I enjoy antique shopping. I’m always looking for something to paint!

What is your best advice for beginner painters?
Beginner painters should try painting with many mediums and teachers. Also, they should never be afraid of failing. You can never fail when painting. Painting is about enjoyment. Color helps us bring smiles to our friends’ faces.

Why did you pursue SDP’s Certification program? Why would you recommend a fellow artist get Certified?
I enrolled in the Certification program to learn color theory. The program is very difficult. You need perseverance to complete it. Yet, I learned so much, as will anyone who chooses to take on the challenge. Anything I learned in the program, I can and do use when I teach my students.

Not a SDP member? Click here to learn more about how to join SDP and how to receive access to four issues of The Decorative Painter each year!

Thank you for tuning in for our “Meet The Artist” series! Reread you favorite artists’ stories here.

Meet The Artist: Meet Diane Trierwelier

Issue three of this year’s The Decorative Painter magazine is in production and will be mailed to all active SDP members in August. Over the next several weeks, we will get to know some of the artists whose projects will be featured in the upcoming issue. Throughout this series, you will learn about their art and inspiration, and what you can expect from their projects. This week, meet SDP member Diane Trierwelier!

Diane Trierwelier-1.31.2013Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My husband and I opened a shop-studio called The Tole Bridge about 30 years ago in California. We teach regular, open classes during the week and seminars on the weekends. I travel-teach throughout the United States and Canada. I have published 15 books, hundreds of packets and several DVDs. In addition, I own a line of brushes and a line of polyester canvases. You can see these items on my website.

My husband and two children are wonderful and support me in all of my endeavors. Also, I have a wonderful grandson and I am looking forward to teaching him the arts one day.

When did you start painting?
I have been painting for about 40 years. When I first started painting, I was so excited that I took classes in as many mediums that I could. I wanted to find out which medium would be the one that I would like to teach in the future. Though I began painting in fine art, I was also interested in decorative art because decorative art allows more people to try to paint, whereas they may not have tried it before.

How did you learn about SDP and how long have you been a member of SDP?
I learned about SDP when I started decorative painting and have been a member for 30 years. I encourage everyone to join and participate in SDP. This network of teachers and students are dedicated to promoting decorative art and painting. How can you go wrong associating with people who love art as much as you do?

What do you love most about painting?
Simply said – painting brings me a lot of joy.

Who is your favorite decorative painting teacher?
Over the years, I have become acquainted with many teachers. I like the painting talents of Kathy George and Ros Stallcop very much. Hopefully one day you will get to take a class with one or both of these wonderful artists.

What is your favorite medium?
At first I only painted with oils, but I began to use acrylics when acrylic paints became popular. I still paint with acrylics most of the time, especially with DecoArt’s Traditions fine art paints.

What is your favorite surface to paint?
I usually paint on my own canvases, which are polyester and archival.

Can you give us a preview of what readers will learn from your project in The Decorative Painter?
In my project, I used glass enamel paints on a glass block. The paints adhere to the glass well and won’t come off. Students who take on my project will learn techniques that can also be applied to a canvas. They’ll bring the “cutesie” painting to a higher level through just a few extra steps.

What value do you put on submitting projects to The Decorative Painter?
I encourage everyone who designs to submit their painted projects to The Decorative Painter because it gives you the opportunity to inspire others to paint. Also, it will give you the exposure that designers and artists need to sell their products.

When you’re not painting, what can we find you doing?
When I am not painting, I have a great love for gardening and cooking. In other words, anything having to do with the arts is fascinating to me.

What is your best advice for beginner painters?
Beginner painters should try painting with as many mediums and teachers as they can. This approach will provide them a broad spectrum of information to choose from in creating their own art.

I hope that all beginner painters strive to add more and more techniques to their skill set. One day you may become a designer and/or teacher, and you will need a variety of skills to succeed. That is why I love to teach painting – to see the face of a student who has just learned a new technique and has achieved something they didn’t think they could.

Keep painting and stretching yourself!

Not a SDP member? Click here to learn more about how to join SDP and how to receive access to four issues of The Decorative Painter each year!

Stay tuned for the last blog post in this “Meet The Artist” series this Thursday when we will meet SDP member Junko Nasui MDA!