October 2014

October 2014

In This Issue:

  • Welcome to a New Year of Certification
  • 2014 Conference Wrap-Up
  • Where to Begin
  • Tracing a Pattern
  • Passing Entries
  • Answers to the Quiz from the Last Issue
  • Test Your Knowledge

Welcome to a New Year of Certification

By Sue Pruett MDA, Certification Chair



The Certification Committee invites all SDP members to explore their potential and their passion for decorative painting, while developing and learning the skills needed to enhance the art form. As the new Certification chair, I would like to invite you to email or call me if you have any questions regarding this program or 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 encourage you to become a more independent artist. 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.

Each year the Certification Committee works very hard brainstorming new ideas to help applicants in their “Quest to Excellence.” This year’s committee members are Susan Abdella MDA, Lisa Price MDA, Marian Jackson MDA, Joyce Sieve CDA, and Linda Sharp CDA, board liaison. Cristy Keeton is our staff liaison. Thank you all for your dedication and hard work.

As we start a new year of Certification, let us take a look at some of the basics of where to begin before applying paint to the surface. In this e-zine, Dolores Lennon MDA has written an article titled “Where to Begin,” and Junko Nasui MDA shares some tips in her article, “Tracing a Pattern.”

Don’t forget to visit our past e-zines that are available in the Certification e-zine area of the SDP website. For more information regarding the new mediums introduced last year—watercolor, colored pencil, and pastels—check out e-zine Issue #2, August 2013, and the informative Certification Videos in Issue #1, April 2014. We also have demonstration videos from Gayle Oram MDA, Cheri Rol MDA, and Mary Gibilisco CDA.

Sue Pruett MDA, Certification Chair
suepruett@artapprenticeonline.com
760-721-1671

2014 Conference Wrap-Up

This year’s Conference in San Diego, Calif., is one worth remembering. Attendees were abundant and enthusiastic, classes were well attended, and our Certification Booth and display room were one of the many highlights of the week.





The Certification Booth was beautifully decorated by Junko Tanaka MDA, and our MDA volunteers did a fantastic job of setting up the display room. It takes hundreds of hours to put together the Certification festivities. Thank you all for your time and devotion!



Every year the Certification Committee plans a raffle or auction, depending on which one the venue/state allows. This year eighteen artists donated their artwork or teaching services to create revenue for the silent auction, which raised $3,120 to support our program. Thank you to the following artists for your donation:
  • Susan Abdella MDA
  • Jeanne Biever CDA
  • Deborah Bonnewell CDA
  • Bobbie Campbell CDA
  • Debbie Cole CDA
  • Marilyn Corners MDA
  • Dianne Crowther MDA
  • Mary Kingslan Gibilisco CDA
  • Karen Hubbard CDA
  • Marlene Kreutz CDA
  • Sherry C. Nelson MDA, TDA
  • Arlene Newman CDA
  • Sue Pruett MDA
  • Shara Reiner CDA
  • Cheri Rol MDA
  • Pat Saunders CDA
  • Bobbie Takashima
  • Nancy Tribolet CDA
One of the many highlights of the Annual Meeting is to hear which applicants received a passing score to become a newly Certified Decorative Artist (CDA) or Master Decorative Artist (MDA). Congratulations to those of you who received a passing score! Even if you didn’t receive a passing score this year, congratulations for completing your submission and getting it postmarked by the appropriate due date. It’s obvious you worked very hard, and you should be proud of yourself for finishing this painting on your own. It would be wonderful if EVERYONE could pass; however, to those of you who did not, please do not feel down or defeated. The judges worked diligently on making sure they gave you as much information as we could on your critique to help you on your journey.

This year was the first time CDA Still Life applicants could submit using the newly added mediums in watercolor, colored pencil, and pastels. How exciting to have our first CDA who passed using colored pencils. Congratulations to Golda Radar CDA, from Conroe, Texas, who passed her CDA in this category.



We had a total of 108 submissions, 28 CDA Still Life, 25 CDA Stroke, 14 MDA Stroke, 22 MDA Still Life, 19 MDA Floral—23 from the United States and 85 from other countries. It is sad how this number of entries has declined over the years. If you have a suggestion on how we can get more participation, please let us know. Your Certification Committee is all ears and wants to hear from you.

Congratulations to our new Certified Members:

CDA Still Life
  • Noriko Owada CDA – Osaka, Japan
  • Golda Rader CDA – Conroe, Texas
CDA Stroke
  • Yueh Chun Liao CDA – Kaohsiung, Taiwan
  • Fen Chin Liu Pingtun CDA – Taiwan
  • Hsiu Yun Wang CDA – Taoyuan, Taiwan
MDA Stroke
  • Xue Fei Duan CDA – Beijing, China
  • Masami Yamada CDA – Hyogo, Japan
  • Eriko Kaneko CDA – Chiba, Japan
MDA Still Life
  • Kyoko Matsui CDA – Kyoto, Japan
  • Masami Yamada CDA – Hyogo, Japan
  • Carmelita Ducote CDA – Avondale, Louisiana
  • Sayuri Kitagawa MDA – Hyogo, Japan
  • Junko Tanaka MDA – San Diego, California
MDA Floral
  • Linda Sharp CDA – Livermore, California
  • Chieko Suzuki CDA – Tochigi, Japan
  • Eriko Nakamura MDA – San Francisco, California
New MDAs
  • Stroke Category – Eriko Kaneko MDA, Chiba, Japan
  • Still Life Category – Sayuri Kitagawa MDA, Hyogo, Japan
  • Floral Category – Eriko Nakamura MDA, San Francisco, California
  • Still Life Category – Junko Tanaka MDA, San Diego, California
It is our goal to help anyone who enters the Certification Program to grow and develop his or her painting skills!

Where to Begin

By Dolores Lennon MDA



You’ve looked at the Certification choices and chosen your design to paint. Whether it is a floral, still life, or stroke, the information in this article still pertains to the overall effect, color management, harmony, etc. For this example, I will use a still life composition. Most still life compositions contain fruit, flowers, leaves, vegetables, a container, and so on. How can you pull all these divergent objects together to form a pleasing composition? Color is your mainstay here, and it is usually the first element that strikes the eye. How many different colors are in fruit, flowers, and leaves? Many, so choose a color scheme that is reasonable and one with which you would enjoy working.

I like to use crayons on a photocopy of the Certification pattern so I can “play” and try different color approaches on multiple inked copies. The apple might be red, my orange shape a red-orange, and a pear a golden yellow. How would I create cohesiveness and harmony? Color accents. Placing a color accent of warm orange on the pear and some cooler red mix on the orange will help relate the apple to the group.



On the large container, a safe option is to keep it in a compatible color to our objects and background. You could paint the basket in the sienna color family, borrowed from the pear, and add color accents to the basket from the other fruit. Carrying color from one object to the next is one of the best ways to move the colors throughout the design. The next dilemma is the large flower. How can we relate that to the fruit? Consider borrowing from the yellow-orange and red families of the fruit.

Now for the other smaller objects in the design—filler flowers, other small flowers, and leaves. How about switching the temperature and “cooling” things down? So far, the other objects are all warm in temperature. Choose a cooler color palette (i.e., blues, blue-violets, etc.) to help add balance to this “warm” example. And let’s not forget the importance of “cool” and “warm” leaves in the design. Just a side note: If the background is cool, the cool objects will rest easier, and if the background is warm, then the warm objects will recede. Always remember that cool recedes on a cool background and warm advances, and vice versa.

LIGHT SOURCE: If you choose to indicate a directional light source, please be consistent because you will be judged on it. If using a light source from the left, the shadows will fall in the opposite direction (to the right). The same goes for a light source from the right; the shadows will fall to the left of objects. Cast shadows on the table help objects to appear grounded; without shadows, the objects appear to float.

BACKGROUND: The background is an extremely important element in your painting. The center of interest is usually composed of the largest objects in the design; in this example, the container, large flowers, and fruit are in the foreground and focal area. These front objects are usually painted in warmer colors although this is not an absolute. For this example, I’m thinking the best choice for the background is one cooler in temperature than the foreground objects. A cooler background will recede, adding dimension and depth to the painting. If you can’t visualize this, use crayons on your photocopy. If your choice of colors makes you look away, try another color scheme. Leave the room and come back in. What’s your first reaction? If it’s positive, you’re on your way!

So now you’ve chosen your color scheme and your favorite medium in which to paint. Trace the design very carefully. When your background color is bone dry, transfer the tracing very carefully. Do not leave out any of the design lines unless you are going to add them back later. Paint to the best of your ability. Stop often as you are developing the painting. Once again, leave the room and take a break. When you come back into the room, look at the propped-up painting. It will “talk” to you. Does the center of interest have the most advanced painting and detail? Do you have an object in the background shouting, “look at me”? If you do, tone it down with duller, cooler colors.

DETAIL: Detail is fun and definitely enhances the painting. However, be cautious and don't allow your beautiful linework or dots to overwhelm the painting.

FINISH: Always completely dry your painting before applying any finish of choice. Put your number on the back and ship it! Certification is a learning experience. It was for me, and I know it will be for you too. You can paint this and send it in. Good luck.

Tracing a Pattern

by Junko Nasui MDA



Certification is an excellent way to learn theory and develop painting skills. If I could give you only one piece of advice, it is this: Love your board and enjoy your journey. My journey began when I admired the passing boards and hoped I could also learn to paint like this on my own.

Certification applicants begin from tracing the line drawing provided to them by SDP. To me, tracing is making a successful guide map to follow, and it’s an important way to analyze the pattern. Take your time and think along the way what colors you would want to paint that specific object. After the process, you will find that the Certification pattern becomes your own.

Here are a few tips to help you during the tracing process.
  1. Use thin tracing paper and a soft sharp pencil that glides across the paper. Another option is to use clear acetate or Mylar and a permanent fine-point marker.
  2. If there is a container on the design, make sure to proof the drawing by folding your tracing in half down the center of the tracing. Match up both sides, top, bottom, and ellipses to make sure both sides are exactly the same.
  3. Double-check (and triple-check) to make sure you have not left anything off the line drawing.
  4. In the Stroke category, negative space between strokes is important, so try to have the same amount of space between strokes. This is a question on the quiz: Negative space between strokes within groupings is/is not consistent.
  5. I prefer to draw a center line for each stroke instead of the entire stroke. This keeps me from trying to stay within the lines and just concentrate on a nice graceful stroke.
  6. When tracing flowers, try to have graceful outer lines flowing instead of hard square edges.
  7. Look for the variety in leaf edges; not all leaves are shaped the same.
Make a successful pattern and please enjoy the journey because soon it will be over, and you will only have the memories. Good luck.

Passing Entries

Here are a few examples of passing entries that you may view and study what is necessary to pass. The required score for a passing entry is 75 percent. This allows for a 25 percent margin for error. Along with the photos, there is a brief description of what makes this painting a passing entry, but remember that there is a 25 percent margin for error.


Passing 2010 CDA Still Life ­– Takae Konishi CDA, Okayama, Japan

Takae has created a beautiful composition. She has carried her colors throughout the design. Notice how the pink color is used on the trim of the container, the berries on the table, the tulips, and the tints on the pear and leaves. Even the yellow flowers and small blue flowers have pink tints. This helps with the flow of color and creates balance and harmony.

Nice attention to details such as the leaf veins, linework on container, and the water drops brings interest to the design.

The choice of color for the frame and liner is in the color scheme and helps to support the design. The treatment to the frame is subtle enough and allows the design to remain the focal area.


Passing 2010 CDA Stroke – Dorothy Pullo CDA, Stoneham, Massachusetts

Dorothy did a nice job of creating a well-established center of interest that has created a nice glow to this design. Developing a center of interest is not a requirement in the Stroke category, although the artist can choose this option. The painting has good color flow that creates balance and harmony. The comma-strokes have round heads and taper nicely to a fine point. Notice how the comma-strokes and leaves flow with the line of design as if it’s growing from the line-work. Nice blending skills. The dots are round and evenly shaped. Overall, this painting has a very clean and neat appearance.


Passing 2010 MDA Floral – Jennifer Hsu CDA, Hsinchu City, Taiwan

Very refreshing to see this MDA Floral design painted in the lovely Russian Zhostovo folk art style. Beautiful and consistent strokework throughout the design with excellent attention to detail; the linework is exceptionally graceful and well controlled. The colors are harmonious, well balanced, and definitely supported by the dark background. Gold leafing on the panel and the variegated gold on the frame, along with the black liner, all add to a very pleasing interruption of the design.


Passing 2011 Master Stroke – Sayuri Kitagawa CDA, Hyogo, Japan

Very beautiful strokework on this Master tray exhibiting excellent stroke control; a center of interest has been established, as is evident by the warmth and intensity of the center tulips and leaves. However, do note that a center of interest is not necessary in the Stroke category. There is evidence of pulled double-loaded strokes, which is a requirement for the Master Stroke level. It is also a requirement to have the majority of strokes double-loaded in this category. Groups of comma-strokes are evenly spaced, with round heads, gradually tapering bodies, and fine tails. Exceptional attention has been given to detail work, and the linework is wonderfully executed. The background is very supportive to the design, and the addition of the linework on the flange and floor of the tray plus the faux finish on the flange adds to a lovely overall effect.


Passing 2007 Master Still Life – Keiko Furuya MDA, Hiroshima, Japan

Beautiful painting on a cool stained background. The front plane is a little warmer to help lead your eye to the center of interest. There is a well-established center of interest. The placement of cast shadows is consistent with the light source and each shadow contains three values. Notice how the corn is lighter in value toward the center of interest and darkens (gets closer in value to the background) as it angles back toward the bottle and away from the light source. The red bottle is farther from the light source than the other elements and has the lowest intensity of red in the design, is less detailed, and is close in value to the background. The clear glass bottle is well executed and has a green cast that works well with the color scheme. The repetition of colors and harmony in the colors is very well done.

Answers to the Quiz from the Last Issue

What color are cast shadows?
The colors of cast shadows are the same color as the receiver. If the receiver is a brown table, then the cast shadows would be darker values of that same color. If an apple is casting a shadow on a blue container, then the cast shadow color is a darker value of the blue container and so on. Cast shadows help to show dimension and depth in a still life painting, and convey the object is taking up “real” space.

How many value changes should cast shadows show?
Cast shadows should have three values, with the darkest value directly under the object, also referred to as a contact shadow.

What is the rule of thirds?
The rule of thirds is a geometric method used to help find the most attractive area of visual art. This compositional rule of thumb dates back to as early as 1797 when it was used for proportioning landscape paintings. As you can see in the image below, the surface is divided into nine equal sections by two equally spaced vertical and horizontal lines. Aligning the center of interest area in one of these four intersections creates energy, interest, and tension.

How can you make the rule of thirds work for you?
Aligning the center of interest area in one of these four intersections creates energy, interest, and tension. Always remember the center of interest/focal area is a combination of objects within the same area, not just one item.

How do you decide on the light source?
Some artists prefer an upper-left light source, some an upper-right. It’s totally up to the artist. Look at both directions and make note of possible cast shadows. Which direction will enhance the shadows? Whichever one you choose, make sure you stick with it throughout the entire painting. We often see confusing light sources; make it easy for the judges to answer the question.

Test Your Knowledge

  1. What is the dominant color in your painting?
  2. How important is the background color?
  3. On the Master Stroke tray, how many of the strokes need to be double-loaded?
  4. Can you add embellishments to the Stroke design?
  5. What does the following statement mean on the Stroke critique sheet? “Strokes are stiff and overworked.”