Today we returned home from a wonderful week attending Creative Painting. A gathering to feed the spirit as well as learn new skills and techniques. It is a truly wonderful gathering of creative artists that have decorative painting in common. There were attendees that were interested in knowing more and masterful teachers that have directly influenced our industry’s growth over time. The community is strong, despite the fact it is smaller than ever. It is a special group of people who are interesting, supportive, talented, and creative. Hugs abound, energy is palpable, and all have gathered to share an event that we cling to in effort to grow and sustain the art we all love.
I shared space with Jamie Mills-Price, Between the Vines, and Don Lute, Valhalla Laser Designs, on the trade floor. So many painting vendors were all in one place! Products, new and favorites, were available to shoppers. You could see the passion in the shoppers, feel their excitement, watched as they crossed items from their lists, and revel in the rare chance to chat with painting friends, both new and established! I choose to hold on to that aspect of the week and fill my cup! So special to hear the kind words and comments about my designs, listen carefully to the wise words of other designers who support and guide me. For all those reasons I thank you all!
At the same time my heart is broken. During the last day of the show someone took my original painted piece of Holiday Whooligan. While many may think it is the material loss that I am hurt by, but that is not necessarily the reason I write these words. The bottom line is that my feelings are crushed not only for the piece that I created that is gone, but the fact that someone would steal from an artist, especially in this special space to fill our creative fuel tank to get us to the next painting destination. They took my faith in this community and gave me cause to doubt it. They missed the whole purpose behind a convention and missed the larger purpose of gathering with a common purpose. They missed the reuniting with old friends, and the opportunity to make new ones piece. Serving only themselves, they took something that I cannot replace. Sure, I can repaint my Holiday Whooligan and nobody will be the wiser, but I will always wonder why they would disregard my time, effort, creativity, and take the item.
I spoke with other vendors, after realizing it was missing, to ask for their eyes and ears to look for the piece in the crowd. Most had a story to tell about “the time it happened” to them. WHAT?! Are you kidding me?! Those are not the painters I know. I wanted to think it was an isolated event, but it is definitely not. I, like many of the designers out there, are a one-person business. Replacing the time to create a new original is time that could be spent in a million other ways, making revenue to support myself in this industry.
The hurt is something that I needed to leave behind in Las Vegas this time. There is nothing that I can do that I have not done already. Hotel security and hotel staff are in charge at this point. My question is, “How can we protect each other from this happening over and over to the people that create new designs, sell supplies, and are desperately trying to keep things thriving and growing?”. The problem belongs to us all and it is each of our jobs to look for scenarios that are “not quite right”, and step up when we can to become advocates for one another and the industry in general. Thank you in advance for any effort you make to help this from happening over and over. Preserve and hold dear the community we have left that sustains us in the art we love.
Hello and Happy Spring!
I was fortunate to have the pleasure of attending the Raindrop Chapter's Spring Fling Retreat. The venue and event organization were flawless. Classes were amazing many thanks to Lisa Ludwig, Jamie Mills-Price, and Chris Thorton-Deason! What a treat to paint and learn with them! Many laughs, meals, and ideas shared...just a great time!
This got me thinking about the industry as a whole. I am blessed to become acquainted with many lovely people through painting. Friends that will last a lifetime with more to be found! We all share a common love for the art we create and then get to enjoy the beautiful by-product of friends like no other. So as I think of the industry changes like the loss of shops, the decline in books published, beloved teachers retiring, and access to supplies more limited than ever before, I am sad. Perhaps not for the reasons you might think though.
The fellowship among painters is like no other and I want that to continue and flourish! Everyone could use an outlet to explore their creativity and a new friend or two! The Society of Decorative Painters, chapters, and the people who volunteer all want the same thing. We all need to do our part. Attend events (conventions, retreats, paint ins....), join a chapter or two, share your work with others, and invite others to join the fun! Challenge yourself to invite someone you know to paint with you, or to go to a chapter meeting. The fun to be had is too good not to share! The time is now and it is up to us. Just one more person to fall in love with painting...that is all it takes keep this art alive! Who are you going to invite or encourage to paint?
Tis the season for color, flowers, long days, car trips, garage sales, camping, grilling, fruit stands, and nice weather! Well in the beautiful Pacific Northwest the sunshine shows up after July 4th...so it feels as if we just have gotten started!
As I was contemplating the summertime it occurred to me that color was a huge part of the season. Gardens are filled with color, some mixed others monochromatic, yet they are beautiful. Each combination evoking a different feel. Like all art the color palette is what creates the tone and in this industry there are many styles....primitive, country chic, realistic, strokework, floral. Those styles communticate through color. So it is critical that the colors we choose convey the message we seek to deliver.
Taking chances with color can be risky, but it can also reap huge rewards! Who first dared to introduce purple into Halloween color schemes? But it works well and sparks up a tired tradition. Challenge yourself to take chances with new combinations, and you may find something you like better than the original!
In a few days I will make my first trip to the HOOT Convention, it is a trip I have looked forward to making for years! The six of us from Washington State that are travelling together painted aprons with my design. We named ourselves "The Puget Sound Paint Flingers"! Each of the aprons are different...all wonderful! That is what happens when artists share ideas and spend time together...magical things happen. Conventions create an incubator for creativity and the classes teach the communication skills to transfer ideas into art. With the loss of private shops and studios we have found that the community of painters has become faceless on the internet. Conventions serve as our perfect environment to grow and flourish in this industry...like a greenhouse of sorts!
So take risks with color, seek a community of artists that feeds your creativity, and enjoy what you do. A perfect palette is held by an artist that is willing to grow, stretch, and learn.
Happy Painting My Friends!