Diary, musings on life, people, interests. Posting my poetry

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Location: Lacey, WA, United States

I have a Certified Artist/Teacher degree with the National Society of Decorative Painters. Taught decorative painting, color theory, calligraphy and other art related classes for 12 years. I enjoy using my artistic talents, especially to update furniture and repurpose found items. I am married to the world's most wonderful husband. We celebrated our 48th anniversary this year (2016). We have raised six children, three boys, three girls. Have 10 grandchildren. Through the NSDP I have paintings in the White House, Blaire House and Smithsonian Institute. I was given the honor of being the Chair of the Pacific NW, "Breeze and Brush" Decorative Painting Convention. What fun we had! I like keeping healthy and enjoy life. I love humor and people. God has been good to me!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

My Learning and Teaching Years


My Certified Degree Teacher's Certificate and my CDT painting. 1980 at the Denver NSDP Convention. What a thrill it was!

The panel in the Certified Display area, mine is in the upper right hand corner.

Close-up of my CDT painting, a little overexposed, the highlight area wasn't that bright.

Practice board, CDT painting in progress.

I am blessed with a compulsion to create. Something in my genetic makeup has always prompted me to explore new areas of interest. Because of this desire I have had so many wonderful experiences in my lifetime that are directly related to the field of art.

God gifted me with a talent for drawing and poetry, since childhood my interests have leaned in that direction. I remember, at 12, drawing a black Panther for a school project. I painstakingly colored the body with a black crayon, taking great pains to make the areas, where the muscles protruded, lighter than the rest. I left some of the white paper background showing as a highlight where light would reflect off of the fur and make it shine. The memory sticks in my mind as if it had just taken place. I was so careful to do it right and I was so proud of the result. What amazes me now, thinking about it, is that no one had taught me about light source, perspective or contrast, as I said "God given!" I wish I still had that drawing!

Two of my children have the same artistic talents. Both Amy and Von are fantastic artists. Many people have said to me "I see where they get their talent!" My replay is always "Yes, God really blessed them didn't he?"

I didn't know what I wanted to do, I just knew that as my children were getting older and involved in school and activities, I needed an outlet for my creativity. My life had been involved in caring for them and I had not pursued many of my interests, especially in the field of art. I tried different classes at the local Community College. Painting in tube acrylics, mostly modern impressionist, I have since rid the house of them, couldn't stand them! Pottery classes, I still have some of the pieces I made. Silkscreening, made my own Christmas cards that year. I have a much greater appreciation for the silkscreen artist, especially Elton Bennett a local artist who lived and worked in Hoquiam, WA, until his death in 1974 in a plane crash. His silkscreen work is legend and sold all over the world. I have several of his pieces, one of which I am very fond named "Steelhead Weather".

I continued to draw, write poetry, crochet, do crafts and somewhat subdued the burning desire to be creative. I discovered decorative painting in 1973 at the local "Lacey Hobby Shop." I signed up and faithfully attended classes each week with my #5 round brush and #1 liner, and my 13 tubes of oil paint in White, Black, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna, Cad. Yellow Med. and Light, Grumbacher Red, Cad Red Light, Chrome Oxide Green, Thalo Yellow Green and Prussian Blue.

I took classes for three years only to discover later that I was still in the 'beginner' bracket. A friend, who also painted, called to tell me that she had heard there was a National Society of Decorative Painters (NSDP) and the local chapter, Pacific Pal-Ettes, was having a meeting to plan a local mini convention for decorative painting. We attended and our world has never been the same. We registered for the first ever mini convention to be held in western Washington. We showed up with our #5 round brushes, #1 liners and our 13 tubes of oil paint, thinking we knew it all! Even signed up for a few 'advanced' classes. Boy were we blown over, hadn't ever heard of a flat brush, didn't have a clue what blending meant or transparent side loading or double and triple loading. It turned out to be a baptism in fire. The painting displays on the trade floor were awesome and 'I wanted to paint like that!!'

I came away from the mini convention extremely excited at the prospect of having found something I was really interested in and an avenue to pursue that interest. My excitement was quickly dampened by the hobby shop teacher who commented that the information I had gotten at the convention was just so much hype, after all her classes were designed to give people an outlet to learn and paint and 'those other people' just took painting too seriously. My perspective was that her students were being cheated by being kept at a beginner level and not given the opportunity to learn more.

Through the local Chapter of NSDP I began to take classes from other teachers, attend classes at conventions, special workshops offered through painting businesses. I then graduated to being taught by Master teachers. My knowledge and skills increased and by 1976 I was teaching beginning, intermediate and advanced painting classes at the Lacey Hobby Shop. I encouraged my students to take classes from other teachers as well so they could have a well-rounded knowledge of other techniques and styles. My classes grew tremendously.

Through the NSDP I eventually was able to obtain my Certified Teacher's Degree (CDT), it has since been changed to Certified Degree Artist (CDA) to include those members who are not teachers. The CDA process includes a registration fee that covers the cost of an unfinished frame and board, a black and white line drawing of the subject to be painted that year, everone paints the same design, a registration number and instructions.

It is up to the individual, who is submitting a painting for judging to obtain their CDA. to decide what colors they will use, how the background and the frame are prepared. The paintings, when completed, are mailed back to the NSDP with only the registration number on the back. The judges have no idea who's painting they are judging. All paintings are judged by Master painters on background technique, colors, blending skills, linework skills, light source, neatness, effectiveness of the frame and finishing.

It took me approximately 50 hours from start to finish. Making the decisions of the colors I would use, the background and the direction of my light source. I then began to paint, even then I changed my mind several times during the process. When the paint was dry and cured (dry all the way through) it was cleaned up and given at least 8 coats of satin finish, oil base, varnish, sanded between each coat with a very fine sandpaper, dusted and tacked so no residue was left to be trapped by the next coat of varnish. After the final coat of varnish was dry, it was left to cure for 10 days. After curing the piece was rubbed with a piece of felt and rottenstone powder mixed with vegetable oil to make a soft paste. Medium pressure, rubbed slowly in circles all over the surface of the painting for at least two hours. Kind of scary since the rottenstone mixture is dark and oily and it seems you will ruin the painting. This step removes all traces of lint bumps and imperfections on the surface of the varnish. The rottenstone mixture is then wiped off the surface with a clean, soft cloth. There is still some of the oil left. Then the piece is hand rubbed, using the palm of the hand, no bracelets or rings, in a circular motion over the entire piece for at least 45 minutes to an hour. This gives a soft, glowing, surface. The final steps are to remove all traces of the oil with a soft cloth and then a warm, damp cloth. Dry it well, give it two or three thin coats of Carnauba wax, buff well and you're through. The frame goes through the same steps. The result is a painting that has a mirror smooth finish, to touch it is unbelievable and the depth created by the multiple coats of varnish is wonderful.

The most uneasy feeling I experienced was placing my registration number on the back of the painting, placing it into the box and mailing it back to the NSDP for judging. I was so afraid, after all that work and attention to detail, it would be damaged in transit.

When the paintings arrive at the NSDP they are set up in the judging room. Several Master painter/teachers take over the judging process for individual pieces. Those that are obviously not qualified are set aside. When the individual judging is completed, the remaining paintings that have passed are examined by all of the judges. A critique is written for the entrant and is included when the board is returned to them. Those passing the stringent examinations are kept for the award ceremony at the end of the National Convention during the final banquet.

The certification boards are hung on display panels that are set up in a special room at the convention (see picture above). Convention attendees can walk through and look at them. It is an awesome sight, hundreds of paintings, no two alike and yet all the same design. The year I entered there were 648 entrants and I was one of 6 that passed. It was an honor. What made it even more touching for me is that one of the judges was my Master teacher, Linda Wisefield, and the President of NSDP that year was another friend and member of our local chapter, Pacific Pal-Ettes, Ada Belle Davis. Neither of them had a clue that I had passed, in fact they didn't know I had entered. Waiting for the announcements of the winners was an 'edge of chair' experience for me.

What a celebration when I returned home, there was a cake with a divided decoration on the top, one side was 'Congratulations Carol, CDT' the other side was C3PO (Star Wars) and Happy Birthday Von (my son's 13th birthday). Of course the celebration started back in my hotel room with my friends and students, a bottle of Reisling and stories, jokes and conversation in the hotel hot tub.

I taught at 'The Quaint Shop' on the Aberdeen Highway for years, traveled and taught at mini and national conventions, private lessons and workshops. I taught decorative painting, landscape painting, Calligraphy, Color Theory, Drawing and Perspective, Ligh Source. One of the advantages I had was meeting new people and forming lasting friendships. As Jo Sonja Jansen, the Norman Rockwell of American Folk Art and decorative painting says "Det Gleddermet", "Painting is a thing of beauty and a joy forever!" I strongly agree, and also a whole lot of fun!


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