Meet The Artist: Meet Vicki Alley

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 Vicki Alley TDA!
Vicki Alley and Spanky

Vicki Alley TDA and her Yorkie Spanky

Tell us a little bit about yourself. You’d like to know something about me? Well, I moved to Florida from the snow belt of Ohio about 25 years ago. I love it and can’t imagine living anywhere else. I live in a cute little town called Frostproof with my hubby Reno and two dogs, Max and Spanky. I work full-time, but I am planning on retiring (Yay!) in December 2016. Then, I will be able to teach more classes. Currently, I teach decorative painting and glass etching in my home studio and plan to start teaching social artworking classes in my town in the fall. I am a SDP certified Teacher of Decorative Arts (TDA), a Priscilla Hauser Accredited Teacher, a Master Certified Etchall Teacher and a Decoart Helping Artist. Something not too many people know about me is back in 1973 I was on “Truth or Consequences” with Bob Barker! When did you start painting? I started painting in 2004, taking One Stroke classes. I fell in love with painting and went on to be a certified instructor with Donna Dewberry. Afterward, I spent a couple of weeks with Priscilla Hauser (Love her!) and became a Priscilla Hauser Certified Teacher. How long have you been a SDP member? I have been a member of SDP for almost 10 years now. There was not a local chapter in my town, so with the help of other SDP members I started a chapter six years ago. Who is your favorite decorative painting teacher? My favorite teacher? I would have to say there are two: Priscilla Hauser, who is a great role model for teachers (she has the patience of Job), and Janelle Johnson. Janelle has a wonderful method of teaching with colored pencils, so even a novice can take away a project he/she is thrilled with. What do you love most about painting? I’m not a very creative artist (yet). So, I love it when I paint something that someone else has designed and I feel my finished project turned out just as nice; it gives me a great feeling of accomplishment. What is your favorite medium? I learned to paint with acrylics, but colored pencils are becoming my favorite medium. I am anxious to try and start designing some of my own projects with colored pencils. I do have to add though, I love etching! I love etching on glass and mirrors – you can add such elegance or whimsy to any surface! What is your favorite surface to paint? If I had to pick one favorite surface to paint on, I would have to say etched glass. I have always loved to paint on glass. The slick surface makes it challenging, but once the surface has been etched the paint goes on so much easier. Etching the surface gives it “tooth”. Can you give us a preview of what readers will learn from your project in The Decorative Painter? Oh, you will learn how to etch on glass! You will see how the painting on the etched surface is so much easier and how it is more opaque. What value do you put on submitting projects to The Decorative Painter? I feel it’s very brave to submit a project to The Decorative Painter. You’re telling yourself, “I’m ready. I’m good enough now.” Not all projects are selected; you have to realize that up front. So, if your project is selected, it adds to your credibility as an artist. When you’re not painting, what can we find you doing? If I’m not painting or teaching painting classes (which is my favorite thing to do), I’m playing with my dog Spanky, who is the cutest Yorkie in the whole wide world – just ask anybody! What is your best advice for beginner painters? Follow the instructions, whether you’re taking a class or painting from a pattern packet or tutorial! Once you know what you’re doing, venture out and change it up a bit. The designer wrote the instructions for a reason; they work. If you’re painting from a packet or a tutorial and don’t understand something, contact the artist to ask questions. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve emailed artists and they’ve emailed me back with very helpful answers or suggestions. I can remember the first time I did that and the artist emailed me back with a helpful suggestion – I was thrilled! “This famous artist actually wrote back to me,” I thought! Many of them will also critique your work if you email them a photo of your project. They want you to be successful! Why did you pursue SDP’s Certification program? I pursued and accomplished the TDA program because I’m serious about teaching decorative painting classes. I want to be the best teacher I can be. I want people to walk away from my classes knowing that they have learned something, they have accomplished something and they had fun doing it. I believe by becoming a Teacher of Decorative Arts adds credibility to my teaching skills. It shows everyone that being an effective teacher is important to me. I highly recommend the program if you want to teach decorative painting and/or you want to be known as a good teacher. It makes a difference, and it shows you care about your students and that you have the skills to help them grow. 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 Tuesday’s blog post where we will meet SDP member Linda Hollander!