August 2017

August 2017

In This Issue:

  • Welcome to a New Year of Certification
  • 2017 Certification Results
  • Program Testimonial
  • Critiques of Some 2017 Passing Entries
  • Skype Conference Calls
  • Interesting Facts and a Brief History of the Certification Program
  • Certification Skills Seminars
  • I Can't Do That!
  • Stay Versatile!
  • The Pink Sheet

Welcome to a New Year of Certification

By Sue Pruett MDA – Certification Chair

Another convention has come and gone, but the excitement of our 2017 Certification applicants who passed their test will be an everlasting memory. We share in your excitement and applaud you for a job well done. Please see below for a list of those who passed their test this year.

Our 2018 Certification Committee has been chosen, and I will continue as the Chairperson for one more year. Each year the Certification Committee works very hard brainstorming new ideas to help the applicant in their ‘Quest to Excellence’. This year’s Committee members include: Marian Jackson MDA, Kay Baranowski MDA, Barbara Hammett CDA, Marie Loucks CDA, Marilyn Corners MDA, Board liaison, and Miho Halsey, Staff member. Each of them volunteers their time to keep our program running. Thank you all for your dedication.

As the Certification Chairperson I would like to invite you to e-mail or call me, if you have any questions regarding this program. Also, if there is something on the line drawing you have a question about, I am here for you. Hopefully this journey will enrich and strengthen your painting skills, and build your artistic confidence.

When I first started my journey through certification, I was amazed how quickly I learned from my critiques where my strengths and weaknesses were. I then knew what to study before attempting my next certification board. If you want to improve your painting skills this program is for you.

The program has many avenues to help you learn what we are ‘looking for’ to achieve a passing score of 75%. Here are the resources we have developed to help you on your ‘Quest to Excellence’:

  • Certification Corner – Articles in The Decorative Painter magazine
  • Certification eZine – Articles, videos, tips, and reviews of passing entries.  eZines are e-mailed to all SDP members and past e-zine are housed on the SDP website in the Certification section.
  • Facebook Group Page: SDP/ADP/CDA/MDA Quest for Excellence
  • SDP Boutique: CD’s with photos and summaries of CDA/MDA passing entries can be purchasedfrom the SDP online store.
Enjoy your journey, and please let me know if you have any questions.

Sue Pruett MDA
Certification Chair

2017 Certification Results

The Certification Committee organized several events for conference, including a silent auction in the Certification Booth. With the generosity of 26 artists who donated their paintings our silent auction raised $2,760 to help fund our program. Thank you to the artists and buyers for their support.   Thank you also to our 2016-2017 Certification Committee who organized the auction and several events we have at conference each year: Marian Jackson MDA, Yuko Culliney MDA, Deborah Bonnewell CDA, Marie Loucks CDA, Linda Sharp CDA, Board liaison, and Miho Halsey, Staff liaison.

Special thanks to our 2017 Certification Judges who donate a week of their time and knowledge to help our program succeed: Cheri Rol MDA, Sherry Nelson MDA, Lisa Price MDA, Marian Jackson MDA, Yuko Culliney MDA, Jean Archer MDA, Helen Stadter MDA, Sharon Hamilton MDA, and Kay Baranowski MDA.

We received 97 entries from five countries; 38 United States, 47 Japan, 9 Taiwan, 1 South Korea, and 2 Australia. There were 7 in the ADP Still Life, 5 in the ADP Stroke, 33 in the CDA Still Life, 14 in the CDA Stroke, 14 in the MDA Stroke, 18 in the MDA Floral, and 14 in the MDA Still Life categories.

ADP Still Life
  • Karen Smith – Glendale, Arizona
  • Karen Goergen – Glendale, Arizona
  • Gail Tefft – Franklin, Pennsylvania
  • Cynthia Smith – Fallbrook, California

ADP Stroke
  • Melissa Favor – Kennett Square, Pennyslvania
  • Barbara Bunsey – Macedonia, Ohio

CDA Still Life
  • Toshie Kato – Tokyo, Japan
  • Yoshiko Hashimoto – Osaka, Japan
  • Etsuko Kano – Kanagawa, Japan
  • Li-Na Wu – Tainana-City, Taiwan

CDA Stroke
  • Patti Stemmermann, Canyon Lake, Texas
  • Tomomi Yoshino – Saitama, Japan
  • Tsai Ching Wen – Chiayi, Taiwan

MDA Stroke
  • Shu Ching Huang – Taipei City, Taiwan
  • Robyn Brooks – New South Wales, Australia

MDA Still Life
  • None

MDA Floral
  • Tsai Wen Fang – Taichung-City, Taiwan
  • Akemi Arai – Kanagawa, Japan
  • Hsiu Yun Wang – Taoyuan, Taiwan
  • Kiyoko Fujioka – Okayama, Japan
  • Etsuko Ishio – Tokyo, Japan
  • Sharon Donati – Las Vegas, Nevada

  • Carmelita Ducote – Avondale, Louisiana - passing in Master Floral

Congratulations to all who passed their ADP, CDA, or MDA levels; you have worked hard to achieve this goal. Please know all entries are judged as a number with no name attached. None of the judges know whose entry they are judging. We work hard to keep the testing extremely fair and unbiased. If you submitted a board but did not pass this time around, please study your critique and read it with an open mind. The critiques are written to help you understand your strengths and weaknesses with the requirements of this test. The judges are answering questions on the critique form, and encouraging you to study where needed. Finishing and submitting your final painting is a huge accomplishment and one to be proud of.

Program Testimonial

By Cynthia Smith ADP

As a decorative painter, I have been painting on and off for many years. I have not always had the time I wanted to paint, but I have always had the passion and the desire to learn all I can about painting. I attended the San Diego 2016 SDP International Conference last year. I had just retired, and it was the first time in many years that I stayed all week. Ireally enjoyed all aspects of the conference. The Certification Program has always been an interest of mine, but I have always felt intimidated by the beauty and perfection of the CDA and MDA boards. As I was admiring all the beautiful pieces on display, someone introduced me to the new ADP (Accredited Decorative Painter) program. I looked at those boards and I thought to myself, "I can do this!" It was a challenge, but not as scary as the CDA or MDA. I bought a blank still life board to enter for 2017. I thought the worst thing that could happen is I will not pass, but I am sure to learn something.

Acrylic is the medium I am most comfortable with, but I like the looks of oils. I went out on a limb and used oils. This was a learning experience for me. I practiced on other surfaces before going to my main board. I really enjoyed the oils andI  am looking forward to further growth with this medium. When I finished my board, I liked it. I did not know if it would pass, but I decided I would go to the Daytona Beac Conference. They may just say my name when the passing entries are called. When Sue Pruett said, "From Fallbrook, California," I knew I had passed. It was a great feeling of accomplishment.

I really believe this is something worth taking the time to do. Even if you do not pass the judges do a very detailed written critique that shows you your strengths and weaknesses. For me, the ADP program was like a starting point, not nearly as intimidating as the CDA or MDA. It was a learning experience, and while I was at the Daytona Beach Conference I took more classes designed to prepare painters for certification. I plan to practice in oils and then try for my CDA. I have the attitude that passing is nice, but learning is my main goal. So go out on a limb. You will never know what you can do if you do not try. Happy painting to all.

Critiques of Some 2017 Passing Entries

Karen Goergen ADP

The ADP level does not require each section to flow into the next, but this lively painting flows through use of color. The use of neutrals here and there give the eye a place to rest, while green in each section keeps the eye moving throughout the painting.

The warm, bright elements sit nicely on the cool, dull background color chosen. The dull yellow selected for the liner does not compete nor pull the eye.

There are some creative value changes, notably the date and tomato greenery. The objects display good knowledge of value and form, along with good blending skills.

The leaf has cool tints at the stem end, which creates a temperature change from one end to the other and is very attractive. Red accents on leaves add interest and help to carry the red color around the design. Shadows have nice value changes. A lovely, cheerful board.

Melissa Favor ADP

The complementary color scheme displays well on the dull, dark background color. Notice the lovely repetition and color balance in each section, which is further complemented by the neutral light color.

The use of light and dark throughout, in both value and strokes, moves the eye smoothly through the painting. The intensity is handled very well, being equally balanced. Blending is soft and well done. Pulled strokework is well done, showing obvious practice. Line work is consistent and graceful. Boarder strokes are skillfully executed and the neutral light color helps to balance the light value.

Melissa displays good control of Color Balance, Intensity, Value and Strokework. A lovely piece.

Robyn Brooks, CDA – Master Tray

The beautiful overall effect here is achieved by the masterful handling of the red and green complimentary color scheme, creating excellent control of harmony and balance. Intensity of both red and green are equal without one over powering the other. Evidence of pulled strokes is clearly evident as are double loaded strokes. Double loaded strokes are mandatory, including the majority of double loaded strokes is a requirement for this test. Line work is graceful and consistent throughout. Negative space between strokes is consistent and stroke groupings demonstrate a smooth graduation in size. Dots are nicely formed and the red line on the tray floor is neatly done and is a nice addition.

Tsai Wen Fang – MDA Floral

Absolutely beautiful execution of the MDA Floral Design painted in the Russian Zhostova style. The dominate blue color is masterfully handled from the background to the ribbon onto the variegated gold leaf and then the border and frame. Excellent use of color: color repetition, tints, accents, warm and cool color variations. Focal area is well established with value, intensity, and temperature variety. Values and intensities are skillfully handled. Blending through stroke work (which is indicative of the Zhostova style) is beautiful. Line work is very graceful and the treatment on the liner and frame is well executed and complimentary to the design.

Patti Stemmerman CDA – CDA Stroke

At first glance one can see this painting has beautiful control of color flow and stroke control. It’s obvious the artist has excellent control of the brush. The strokes are well shaped, flow with the line of design, and are consistent. Line work is graceful and not overworked or labored. The viewer’s eye flows from one color to the next. Squint your eyes and you can see how the light values flow around the entire painting. Flowers are fun, well formed with value, and the added over stroke embellishments add interest and value. The yellow flowers stand out a little with more intensity than the other two colors; although, since she carried that intensity around the entire painting it works, and the temperature contrast is striking.

Lia-Nau Wu CDA

At first glance, it’s very obvious this painting has a beautiful overall effect. The color flow, color balance and color harmony have been handled very well. A nice focal area has been created with the use of intensity, value and temperature. Notice how the eye is drawn to the area first just above the top of left side of pitcher. The objects on the table have the same colors but the intensity has been lowered, and the details not as sharp, and values not as dark. Front upper left light source is consistent throughout along with shadows following opposite of the light source. The painting exhibits depth through use of value and intensity. Notice how the items in the back appear to be further away than the more intense flowers. Filler flowers rest well on the back plane along with leaves. Lia-Nau has a good understanding of value and blending as exhibited in the form/dimension in all object. The frame and liner are a nice compliment to the painting without distracting.

Skype Conference Calls

For those applicants that were not able to attend the conference this year, we have added Skype conference calls with one of the judges. If you would like to set up a conference call you can e-mail Sue Pruett MDA, Certification Chair, and she will set you up with one of the judges. E-mail:

Interesting Facts and a Brief History of the Certification Program

Here are some interesting facts and a brief history of the Certification Program:

1972: The first Certification Program was established with only Master Teacher status level. Honorary Master Teachers: Priscilla Houser, Joan Johnson, and Marion Houghton. Judging was at convention and one in the fall; twice that year. The applicants had to make their own entry boards and box them up for shipping in whatever they had. No photos, no informative articles stressing what to study. They did get a choice of 3 designs.

1973: The first critique sheet was based on one designed for diving competitions.

1975-1976: In Tulsa, the program was changed to include a Certified Level. The first 12 Certified Degree Teachers received their certificates. Non-Teachers could not enter yet. 500 hours required for CDT/1000 for MDT. The first Chair was called Master Teacher Representative, was a Master Teacher, and held a position on the Board of Directors. This year, the Master Teacher Representative was Jan Burnett, MDT.

1977-1978: Non-Teachers could enter the program. Two categories were added: Degree Painter and Master Painter. Jo Sonja Jansen MDA was Certification Representative in 1977 and 1978.

1979-1980: Enter Certification Representative Mary Lou Garrison MDA (1979-1980) who designed a standard surface, had it produced by her woodman, and created the packaging we use today. In the late 70’s, Mary Jo Leisure MDT acquired Board approval to print color photos of passing certified entries.

1981-1982: Sherry Nelson MDT was the last Certification Representative and the last to personally ship kits and applications for applicants. She mailed 634 kits out of her spare bedroom for the 1981 Hollywood, Florida convention. This has become a huge job that led to the shipping moved to the Society office.

1982: The first Certification Committee was formed by Sherry Nelson MDT.

1984: The stroke category on the certified level was added, giving applicants a choice of painting styles.

1985: Sherry Nelson MDA and Ann Kingslan MDA conceptualized a minimum passing standard to enable judges to evaluate entries against such a standard and score them accordingly. The word teacher was taken out of the title. The titles went to Certified Decorative Artist and Master Decorative Artist.

1991: Salt Lake City, Utah Convention, the year with the most entries: 479.

Certification Skills Seminars

With the approval of the Board of Directors, a course on the skills necessary for applicants to enter the program will be taught. This course will focus on areas addressed in the critique and a qualified MDA teacher will help you improve your skills.

Details and dates are still being finalized and these courses will be in several areas of the country. Please e-mail Sue Pruett, Certification Chair, if you are interested in attending one of these seminars so the Certification Committee can see if there is enough interest to move forward. E-mail:

I Can't Do That!

By Marian Jackson MDA

This is the phrase we hear most often as people walk through the display room at convention, or stop to chat with us in the Certification Booth. In many ways, their presence in the booth or the display room shows somewhat of an interest in the program.

Choosing not to enter is one thing. Letting fear of failure stop you is another.

Those who say “I can’t” and those who say “I can” are usually correct.

You worry about something that might not happen! Nobody could have been more surprised than I was when I passed my CDA first time, or my Master Stroke Tray. Fear didn’t stop me from doing it and I am still in awe of the amount of learning experienced just by painting a board.

The odds are on your side, remember that! I mean that something other than what you fear will happen, will happen.

I understand discomfort! But doesn’t anything new in the beginning make us a bit uncomfortable? The first float? A new palette? A new technique? Of course it does.

Nothing is guaranteed, but you learned to drive; to cook; to play the piano; to roller skate; whatever. Why is this different? Anything can be learned. Everything can be learned. It’s a matter of time and practice. We have a series of videos for you to study, numerous eZines containing LOTS of articles, and photos of boards to study with helpful comments to help you ‘see’.

When you say you don’t know how to do something, it’s usually because you don’t have the patience or the determination to learn how to do it.

I was reading an article on “Healthy ways to think faster’ in the newspaper, and one of the items that struck me the most was to ‘Stay Curious!’ Learning anything new, or studying extensively is mentally challenging and helps you stay younger.

So give some thought to challenging yourself and getting some brain exercise at the same time. You’re never too old. It’s never too late!

Quote: Frieda Lefeber, is now 101, got her first ever solo art exhibit at 100. Frieda began taking art classes at age 76 and earned a degree from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts at age 83. “I had no idea I could paint,” she says. Credit: Growing Bolder.

Stay Versatile!

By Marian Jackson MDA

Most painters started out with acrylics or oils. Some switched. I was one who started in acrylics and switched after my very first oil painting.

However, I tried to keep up with an acrylic painting now and again, just to keep my hand in. As brands developed new paints and mediums, they were fun to play with. They never replaced my first love – oils.

I now paint mostly with colored pencils. I am very excited to see many pencil entries in the Certification Program.

I would encourage you to stay versatile and not completely abandon your first medium. As you advance through the program and reach Master Level, there is the stroke tray that MUST be painted with a brush. It cannot be painted with pencils, pastels or anything other than a brush and paint.

Quote: Strokes must be pulled in one continuous motion of the brush.

I think you will find it much easier to transition back into a medium that you have not forgotten and remained comfortable with.

It doesn’t hurt to stay versatile.

The Pink Sheet

The "pink sheet" (Instructions to the Applicants) included in the Certification Portfolio should be reviewed every year by the applicant. Changes are made to help the applicant understand the guidelines to enter the program. Below are the most recent changes/additions to the pink sheet. This only pertains to applicants who are submitting a colored pencil entry in the ADP or CDA Still Life category.

Additional Requirements
For watercolor, colored pencil or pastel entries (ADP and CDA Still Life only):

2. For colored pencil applicant MUST provide:
a.Mat no wider than 1½” if paper is used.
b. Plexiglas when/if paper is used.
c. No mat or Plexiglas is required if the surface has final varnish/finish.