Category Archives: Updates

Meet the Artist: Meet Elaine Law

Issue four of this year’s The Decorative Painter magazine is in production and will be mailed to all active SDP members in November. 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 Elaine Law CDA!

law-elaine_mugTell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m the proud mother of five very accomplished children and the grandmother of 10 grandchildren who (I’m so proud to say) are following the art field in graphic art, architecture, drafting, camera movie work, photography and computer game programming. Also, I have five great-grandchildren and hope to lead them onto art too.

When did you start painting?
I started painting when I was in grade school. Then, I went to college and received degrees in graphic art, interior design and fine art.

Who is your favorite decorative painting teacher?
Sherry Nelson MDA has been my mentor because of her expertise and my love of painting birds.

How did you learn about SDP and how long have you been a member?
I learned about SDP at my very first convention in the early1970s. I found SDP could offer great painting lessons for all calibers of painters. I believe I joined shortly after then.

What do you love most about painting?
I love how therapeutic it is, and the challenge offered by being able to paint whatever I see.

What are your favorite medium and surface to paint?
My favorite medium is acrylic paint because it dries so fast. I usually paint on canvas.

Can you give us a preview of what readers will learn from your project in The Decorative Painter?
I hope everyone will be able to learn how to paint realistically and truly enjoy my adaptation of birds.

What value do you put on submitting projects to The Decorative Painter?
It’s an opportunity to impart some knowledge to others about the joy and other benefits of painting.

When you’re not painting, what can we find you doing?
I like spending time with my family and attending garage sales looking for new surfaces. Sometimes, I go for rides and take pictures of the scenery and old barns.

What is your best advice for beginner painters?
Find a teacher whose work you like and enjoy the feeling of learning something new and exciting. Practice, practice, practice, and never give up. With an open mind, you will learn something new every time.

Why did you pursue SDP’s Certification program? Why would you recommend a fellow artist get Certified?
I pursued the Certification program to have a jury of my peers tell me whether I was on the right track in learning decorative art. When I got my Certification, it was really is a boost to my moral. I would recommend it to anyone for the same reason. Even a negative critic should not get you down; use it as a learning experience and motivation to excel.

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 Thursday’s blog post where we will meet Heleen Van der Haar!

Throwback To Conference: Learn What The Presidents Had To Say

What did President Wendy Watson and Past President Pat Marler takeaway from the Society of Decorative Painters’ (SDP) Conference & Expo last month? Read what they had to say below!


Wendy Watson, SDP President, 2015-2016

“I had so much fun that I didn’t want it to end. Chris Haughey’s mixed media art provided an exciting project that allowed attendees to combine the skills they already had with new ideas. It was great to see first-time exhibitors as well as many of our members’ favorites. The Expo floor had make it take it classes, which were so popular that some exhibitors had to start scheduling appointments! Plus, I saw several improvements from last year, which is a direct result of our partnership with the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA). SDP and CHA worked as one unit. I’m looking forward to growing a bigger industry presence for SDP through this partnership and the ton of new ideas our members are voicing.”

Pat Marler Past President, 2015-2016

Pat Marler, Past President, 2015-2016

“An event like this needs teachers who can stir enthusiasm to keep students interested; our Conference Artist Chris Haughey had that ability, as did several other teachers who taught classes. The Certification Committee sold a lot of 2016 design packets for our new, entry-level Accredited Decorative Painter (ADP) program. The ADP and the Family Fun Day Kids Zone are the initiatives that SDP is building upon to appeal to the next generation of painters. I want everyone in the creative world to know about these highlights and more. These are only some of the reasons why artists join and love SDP; these are only some of the benefits that will fuel our membership to grow.”

Click here to relive your favorite SDP Conference & Expo moments.

Visit the SDP Blog again next Thursday, June 11 to read the throwback to the 2015 Certification program!


A Guest Blog Post By Sue Bowers, Volunteer Committee Organizer

Many years ago I went to my first Chapter meeting and when I got home I told my husband that I would do something, who remembers what now, but I do remember telling him that if I was going to be part of this organization then I needed to be part of it and not just watch from the outside. Unfortunately, he didn’t realize what he had agreed to at that point, but it has just grown from then. I guess this is something that I learned from my mother, who had for years been part of many organizations and groups and was always active in what was going on. I started very young, following in her path by doing the job that was necessary. My pay was knowing I was helping.

I have many times said that I have a very bad case of “Helium Hand”. If someone else doesn’t or won’t volunteer to do something, my hand rises to volunteer. You don’t have to have an extreme case of “Helium Hand” to help out, even though there are many of you out there that could give me competition with this.

The dictionary definition:

Volunteer (noun) a person who donates his time or efforts for a cause or organization without being paid.

When you think of volunteering you most often think “I don’t have time to do that”, but nowhere in the definition of volunteer does it say that it has to be for a certain length of time. You can volunteer for as little as 1 hour, or as much time as you have available.

Putting on a conference the size of SDP’s requires a number of volunteers. Most of the people you see doing things involved with the conference, big or small, are volunteers. Each year as we figure out everything for the conference, we have to think about how many volunteers it will take to get all of the jobs done. In San Diego last year, less than 9% of those who attended the conference volunteered. We could use a lot more people stepping forward to help with the multitude of things that need to be done.

Even though the rewards of volunteering are not monetary, you do get the reward of knowing you have helped with an accomplishment. A side benefit of volunteering is making new friends. Getting to work with people you’ve never worked with before can lead to new conference friendships.

As we all prepare to attend the SDP Conference at Pheasant Run this year, we are scheduling our classes, planning our travel and thinking about the friends we will see. Please think about where you can give a little time to help make the conference a success. Even if you only have an hour to spare you will receive a volunteer wristband. If you have 5 hours, you will get a charm and be entered into the week-end painted pieces drawing, which will take place on Friday at noon. This year, starting on Tuesday, we will be doing a daily drawing for some fun prizes for those who volunteered the previous day. Volunteer each day for your chance to win the daily drawings.

You can find the volunteer form here. Even If you don’t know what to do or when you will have the time, send me your name and contact info so I can contact you.  We’ll figure out a time for you to help.

At Conference, stop by the Volunteer booth for a chat, I would love to visit. While you are there, check the board for any help we need. There will be a list of where you can help out.

“Volunteers make a difference; Volunteers are the only human beings on earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience and just plain love for one another.” ~ Erma Brombeck

The SDP Annual Banquet is taking place at the 2015 SDP Conference & Expo on Friday, May 15th at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, IL. 

The SDP Chapters Committee invites members to paint decorations for the Annual Banquet tables. A table includes the centerpiece with coordinated oval placemats and a small favor for 10 people. 

Click here to learn more.