Fresh Ideas


For about the past nine months I have had a lot of time to think about projects, new ventures and the like. I have had this time due to the fact that I have been laid up for a good part of it recuperating from 2 surgeries. The first one was from a torn muscle in my knee. That began on Memorial Day of last year culminating in surgery to repair it in August. I was able to work sporadically during this time. After 6 weeks of recuperation I went back to work full time only to develop an even larger tear (tears) in a muscle in my hip. Surgery was 2 weeks later and I am finishing up a 3-6 month recuperation from that. Hopefully I will be back to full time in a few weeks.

The knee was a relatively easy fix but the hip has been quite an ordeal. It has given me time to re-evaluate some things.

I have missed coming here and sharing thoughts, ideas, projects and recipes. So I am adding that back into my life. I will continue my painting business, allowing it to naturally slow down. Thinking over the past 2 years with design elements changing course the main thrust of the business has been painted furniture and doing faux metallic ceilings. The ceilings, by the way, fit in quite well with the current design trend. There is always a call for murals now and again seeing as they are customized to the needs of a client. I say this knowing that I am in the beginning stages of a large project where creating a Tuscan look in a kitchen is one part of it. Hoping to post on that as the project progresses.

A couple of years ago I picked up knitting in order to keep my hands busy while quitting smoking. It helped tremendously! It will be 4 years this summer. It can be done! The thing with knitting is that for the most part you need to stay focused and there is a lot of counting involved so your mind isn’t dwelling on things.

I have come a long way with the knitting and feel like I am on a journey with it. I started off with the basics….hats, gloves, scarves. I also had some disasters trying projects that I just wasn’t ready for. But like I said, it is a journey. I now sell knitted items in my etsy shop (dcartwork.etsy.com). Also, something that I am a little proud of, I started creating my own patterns and have them for sale as well. They are also on ravelry.com and craftsy.com. The patterns are geared toward beginners for now but I look forward to when I am able to create some more elaborate pieces.

My goal here is to share ideas etc. I do mean share – I would love to see some of what you are up to. I have a few projects in mind to finish and showcase here. Like the velvet chair I started pulling apart in order to recover and update it. It felt daunting at the time when I pulled some fabric off only to find a gazillion (is that even a word) staples. I now have a plan in mind to deal with that.
Here is a before and after shot of dining room chairs that I painted for a client:

I also came up with new recipes to pass along as well. Well, one isn’t really new to us but I think you will love it.

I hope you all have stayed safe with the crazy weather that has been happening across the country. We have been lucky right here but there sure has been issues around us.

Have a good day!
Doris

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Transferring A Favorite Photo

Hello there!

In my last post on transferring images I said that I would show how to do a standard photograph. Well, I decided to do one of a favorite photo that I have and wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to display it. This is a perfect opportunity to use the transfer process.
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Basically you need the same materials as for a painted image. That would be a photocopy of the photo that you want to transfer, gel medium, a preferred canvas, and a sponge.
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Apply the gel evenly to the canvas and lay the copy over it with the image side down. I chose an 8×10 canvas and simply printed a copy of the image off my home printer. If you go to a printer do get your copy, do not use photo paper for this process, use regular photocopy paper. My printer had reassured me that their photo paper was used regularly when customers wanted to transfer images. So I went ahead and used their paper for an order. Wrong. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong so I googled it. What my printer was calling transferring is very different from what I was wanting to do. What they were saying was transferring was in reality attaching a photo, face side up and it is simply “glued” on. That is not what this is about. The reason I settled on their paper was because of the size of the image my customer wanted to use. It was 20×24 and the printer can’t make copies on regular photocopy paper on something that large. Just a heads up to you. If you ever have any questions about it don’t hesitate to ask.
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I decided to crackle the sides instead of putting a standard frame on it. I based it with a medium brown (I used PPG Earthy Ochre, but any medium brown will work), used a crackle medium over this (I only needed a little so I used Martha Stewart’s Crackle Medium), and then painted it with an offwhite called French White, which is a BJM color.

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By the way this makes for great Christmas gifts. A real personal touch to gift giving.

I’m, not sure if I mentioned this in the last post, but when you transfer an image in this manner it will be a reverse of what it shows in the original photo.

So have fun with it and maybe someone you know will receive that personalized gift this holiday season.
Have a great day!
Doris

New Project and Oatmeal Cake

Hello there!

I am combining some bits of 2 posts. The first one is a project I am working on for an upcoming market show. This is just a before photo of some of the pieces that I am working on. I am focussing on small pieces of furniture for the market. Also I am having a carpenter friend make up some of the wooden cornices that I have worked on and paint them in a couple of different styles. This is going to be fun and I am especially looking forward to presenting the cornices. I will be posting about them off and on as the work progresses. Fun! Fun! Fun!
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The second part is that of a cake I got from the blog onsuttonplace.com. It is Oatmeal Cake, and if you would like the recipe and to see more photos of it, I recommend visiting her blog for that. What I will tell you thought is that it is delicious and very easy to make. If you are like me in that you usually having oatmeal on hand then you most likely will have all of the ingredient in your cupboard already. The taste kind of reminds me of an apple cake that I make from time to time that is a bit time consuming. This is a nice alternative!
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Summer is winding down around here. My grandson actually starts back to school next week already!

Hope you have a good week!
Doris

A Painted Table

I don’t know if you remember the table that has been mostly covered up with tablecloths……well they are now a set. Over the past few days my home has smelled of fresh paint and wax. Love it!
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This table I had gotten years ago at Crate and Barrel outlet. Have always loved the charm of it, but it still didn’t seem to quite fit in. Now, after all this time, and a little paint, it feels right at home.

It is not unusual for me to take my sweet time when it comes to making decisions for my own home. Working with clients and guiding them through decision making comes easy for me. Actually, over the years I have heard this numerous times from interior designers. Maybe it’s just because there are so many good ideas to choose from!
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After a good cleaning and sanding, I applied one coat of a latex primer (Kilz) and 2 coats of an interior latex paint. (I used Pittsburgh Paints and it is an off white called Milk Paint). I sanded in between coats but I still had brush marks remaining. Right or wrong, this has never bothered me, I like the way glazes work with them.
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Once the wax has had a chance to dry, I give it at least an hour (it should lose it’s sheen), it gets buffed. I have found the best material for buffing is old tshirts. Ordinarily I prefer to buff in a circular motion, however, the Anne Sloan wax is a bit softer and I found rubbing with the grain works best with it.

The top I gave an extra coat of clear wax and buffed again. This helps protect the surface all the more. Also what I have found is that it moves the glaze a little bit and therefore you can even it out a little more where needed. Let it dry and buff again. And you’re done!
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A little word of caution here: if you notice in the picture I have the floor taped off around the legs and sheets of white paper pulled through them in lieu of drop cloths. I advise only doing it this way if you have alot of painting experience and you are a clean painter. I wasn’t able to lift the table, therefore I approached it this way. Ideally? Lift the legs onto pieces of 2x4s that are sitting on top of a large dropcloth.

Once the paint has thoroughly dried I applied a wax glaze mix. This is the same paint and wax glaze mix that I used on the chairs.

A Watercolorist Friend

Hello there! Hope you are all enjoying beautiful weather the way that we here in Illinois are!

I would like to introduce you to a new friend that came into my life a couple of years ago. We met at an Artist Reception, I with an oil painted portrait and Loretta with her floral watercolor. We just seemed to hit it off, and, as happens, we are very supportive of each other.

When I asked Loretta if she would be interested in a post she was all for it. I will let her, Loretta Hamilton, speak for herself and introduce you to her style.

This is “Otis the Ostrich”…
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Since spring is here…finally…this seems to go hand in hand with getting our creative juices flowing! So here is something to inspire you if you’re interested in watercolor painting. I have just started to switch from painting florals (which I love) to painting birds and animals (which I love also…but just haven’t tried painting much). But now that I’m into it, I find it to be lots of fun. So what could be better than the quirky face of an ostrich for starters?!

I always suggest that when using watercolors for the first time, it is best to purchase a few very good items. Getting the best quality paper and the best brand watercolor paints (you really only need yellow, red and blue) and one or two really good brushes makes all the difference between success and failure.

For this painting, I used Lowell Cornell brushes #26 and #14; and a Kolinsky Sable #6 and #4. I used a variety of colors that I have on my palette, including Vertider Blue, Indigo, Burnt Sienna, Mineral Violet, Permanent Magenta and Quinacradone Burnt Orange. But you can always use your primary color paints to mix a variety of these types of shades for a fraction of the cost. I also use Arches 300# watercolor paper…I like the blocks the best. The Arches 140# paper is also fine.

Step 1: I usually use a photo reference for my paintings. If you decide to do that as well, I suggest using a good photo that highlights your subject with the proper lighting and clarity. Don’t forget that you can use artistic license and if there is something you’d like to change within the composition…do it. You’re the artist…you get to decide! Once you have your photo reference, lightly pencil sketch the subject onto your watercolor paper which is what I did here…
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Step 2: I usually mask my whites so that I can save them as the painting develops (remember, no use of white paint in watercolors!). I use commercial liquid masking available at most art supply stores and apply with a colour shaper, flat or pointed tip. And I always start with painting the eyes. If the eyes don’t turn out right, the rest of the painting will not be good. So here I painted the eyes first and I thought they looked OK and continued on…
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Step 3: I painted the beak next, and the nostrils…I started applying color lightly, and then darkened the areas where I saw shadows. (The nostrils are very dark and require many applications. Black is not used in watercolor and even the grey w/c paint is pretty flat, so I mix my own darks.) Then I started painting the layers of feathers, letting each layer dry thoroughly in between applications (and I’m very impatient, so I have to work really hard at the “waiting game”). I also applied clear water in long feathery strokes outside of the bird’s head so that when I added pigment, it ran into the water strokes and carried color into those wisps of hair. Holding the paper at an angle to let the water flow into the waterways is a great way to accomplish this…
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Step 4: I finished up on all of the feathers and continued to layer more paint in the shadows…especially the feathers around the “eye lids”. I also continued to paint the neck and layered a bit of other color into areas here and there, using a touch of Permanent Magenta for highlights…
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Step 5: I removed the masking and softened the edges around the white areas with a wet #4 brush. As I examined my almost-finished project, I decided I didn’t like how light the area around the beak on the bird’s right side was…so I darkened it a tad. I also splattered a bit of paint around for added whimsy…looks like the ostrich has kicked up a little dust…
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Step 6: Here’s the finished product…time to let it completely dry before mounting…maybe time for a glass of mint iced tea as well…
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Hope you enjoyed these steps to painting “Otis”!

Loretta

…..Thank you, Loretta! Hope to see you again at an upcoming show!

Have a great day!
Doris

Loretta J. Hamilton
https://lorettasgallery.artspan.com

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What To Do……

Good morning! Wishing it was a sunny one here, but at least there is no snow! And it should get near 50 degrees today.

This is a current project for my home.
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I have thought about what to do with these chairs for a long time. Just ask my kids, they will tell you so. My first instinct had always been to recover the fabric and in some way paint the wood part. Besides not only the fact that I could never find just the right fabic for them, I didn’t want to spend money on something that wasn’t really me.

I was searching new blogs and on one of them they showed chairs treated in a manner that I absolutely love. So me! Of course, when I went back to find it, I couldn’t! I do have the materials down right and the treatment, I’m thinking, is easy enough to duplicate. I will be posting on this for a couple of weeks while I play with it. Can’t wait to get started! First thing? Fix that broken leg.
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I will be back in a couple days with the next step – the seats.

Also, upcoming posts to include some recipes that one is nostalgic, and the other is a new addition to my recipe collection. There will be a post on knitting and one on tshirts as well. Fun!

Have a great day everyone!
Doris

Gold Leafing

Hello there!

I thought I would give a lesson in gold leafing. This is something that can have spectacular results, and, surprisingly, is not that difficult to do. It can be a little messy but in a good way. I’ll explain that later.

The materials that you will need are an older paint brush (you will end up throwing this one away) or purchase a small spongebrush. You will also need sizing adhesive and the gold leaf itself. This is a synthetic gold leaf, which is more common and alot less costly. I would suggest you find a piece to work on on the smaller rather than larger side. When you are comfortable with that you can move onward to something larger. Maybe you would like to practice on a foamcore board as I am showing here. Or have you been wanting to jazz up a frame? That is a good project with easy results.

You also will need paint in a color that you would like to have show through in areas. Black and red are the most common, but any color will work. Don’t go to any great expense with this for starters. A small bottle of acrylic craft paint will do just fine. I am using black.
Basecoat the piece or sample with 2 coats of the craft paint. When thoroughly dry, using your old brush, apply the sizing adhesive. it will be white in color but dries clear. I will tell you that when it dries it is quite sticky, so beware.

After your adhesive has become clear, you are ready to start the fun. The gold leafing comes in 4″x4″ sheets. Remove one and apply it to the adhesive. Here I have kept them in a straight order but you may choose to angle them or tear them into pieces. Now, this is where the little messy part starts. the sheets of gold leaaf are quite thin and fragile. When clients have asked about it I tell them to think of butterfly wings and you almost have the delicacy of gold leaf. It will tend to float around in pieces if allowed to. The sheets will invariably tear somewhat, don’t worry about that. If you notice in the one photo you can see straight lines of black showing through. In the next photo not so much. That is because I went back in with the broken pieces and filled in some of the area. I like to leave small background areas to show through. it breaks up the straight lines and also can give it more character, I think. A good thing to use to help put it down is a small brush. Here I have used a mop brush, but an inexpensive chipwood brush will work just fine. After you have applied as much gold leafing as you want you will need to burnish it. All that is is taking a rag (old tshirt is good, or soft paper towel, or even kleenex), bunch it up a little , and rub the surface, ideally in circular motions. You will be able to see the difference even though it is subtle.
Here are photos to get an idea of what the process would look like, and then I added an elaborate vestibule ceiling that I completed.
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Behold! Your own gold leafing!

In a few weeks I will be using gold leaf in another project that is for Easter. I think that you will like it!