Alright. I couldn’t resist the title. I suppose that I have sea shells on the brain.
I spent the majority of the day yesterday once again preparing for the classes that I will be teaching a the show. With most of the scroll saw things lined up, that leaves the task of getting the painting items done and ready to go. Even though I have several weeks until I leave, I need to get this all in order and done because I have to order the paint and line up the brushes and all of that.
Getting the paint will be easy. I just need to choose the colors that I will be using and notify my representative at DecoArt which colors to send. I really enjoy working with DecoArt. I am involved in what they call their “Helping Artist” program which is where they assist designers and teachers in order to get better exposure for their products. There used to be several companies which had programs such as this, but with times as they are in the craft industry, they have mostly seemed to cut back or eliminate these programs altogether.
DecoArt however, is still going strong in their support for their designers and teachers, as they realize that this type of exposure is a great way for them to advertise to a very targeted audience. After all, if students see a teacher using a certain brand of paint, there is a very likely chance that they will want to buy it too. The same goes for designing. As far as DecoArt is concerned, the more they can encourage designers to use their products in their painting designs, the better it is for the company.
Many of you have read that I am a big fan of this company. Not only do I feel that their products are superior, but they are also very economical and widely available and their customer service is great. Besides that, they have a huge array of products which cover just about any painting and finishing need. They also have an extensive website where customers can find free projects, as well as information on the products.
In addition to providing pamphlets and written information about their products for me to distribute at the show, DecoArt is going to also provide paint for my classes. But in order to get that, I need to get them a color list of what I need and that means that the project has to be done soon.
The other major thing I need to accomplish is to obtain brushes for my students to use. I usually teach somewhere around 20 students at these types of shows. In classes such as this, I typically use five different paint brushes because I try to cover several different techniques for the students to learn. Realistically, that would be the absolute minimum number of different brushes needed to do a project such as this. So even at a minimum estimate, I would need 100 paint brushes for the class.
When I used to teach several years ago, I worked very closely with Lowe-Cornell paint brushes. I loved their products and they had a great support program for designers and teachers and would supply brushes for all the larger shows where I taught. I had quite a supply of “teaching paint brushes” which were only used a couple of times in class. Over the years, however, I pretty much have exhausted that supply, as I enjoy giving samples out to people who have an interest and are just getting started. This, I feel is good for everyone. The student gets used to using a nice brush and will in all probability become a long term customer.
But it has been many years since I have taught a painting class at a show like this with so many students and as I said, my own supply of brushes is next to nothing. Although I really like the Lowe-Cornell brand, when shopping in Halifax a couple of months ago I was surprised when I went to buy the brushes I was used to using as to how costly they have become. The 1/4” angular shader, which is a brush I use frequently, was over $8. The larger wash brush that I use for glazing and applying finish coat to most of my projects was over $28. It had been so long since I purchased brushes, that I hadn’t realized the high cost of them. I immediately started looking for a sensible alternative.
Long story short, I decided to go with the Artist’s Club line of brushes (www.artistsclub.com) I have used their products and ordered from the since I began painting over 15 years ago and they are a really good company. They have their own signature line of brushes and I decided to try some of them. It turns out that they preform beautifully and the best part of all is that they are very reasonably priced. For example the same 1/4” angular shader brush is priced at under $3.00.
This is the same company that I have been talking with regarding my skating pond pattern and we are working on getting it into their catalog for the holiday season. I am in the process of seeing if we can also work something out with them providing brushes for my class and helping me out, as I already like and recommend their products. It would work out really nice if we can come to an agreement on things, as it would provide a source for all the new people who will be introduced to painting at this show. I will keep you posted as to how things turn out.
The remainder of the day was spent actually getting started on painting the ornaments. I like doing ornaments because they are small and can be finished in the typical two hour time frame that I like to have for the classes. I drew up ten sea shells, and although I will only be teaching one per class, I am going to include the pattern packet and the wood blanks for the other shells so that the student can go home and continue to try. The ornaments can be used as refrigerator magnets or glued to a plain picture frame or used in a variety of ways for decorating. I will also be able to offer the pattern on my site and for sale. It is a win/win use of my time.
So far, here is what I have done. A sea horse:
|From SLDP104 Seashells|
A star fish:
|From SLDP104 Seashells|
And a scallop shell:
|From SLDP104 Seashells|
I think it will make a nice set and a great starter project for someone learning to paint. Shells are so different from each other and it is a very forgiving type of design which any level of painter can easily achieve and also learn the basic techniques of painting.
Although I am not going to be able to actually teach this class at the show (there just isn’t enough time!) I am going to offer the class the week after as I am coming back through Saratoga Springs on my way back home. I plan to spend a couple of additional days with Jeannie and Bill and they are setting up these classes with their woodworkers clubs. It should be a fun time for sure.
I find myself feeling calmer as each loose end is tied up. I should be able to finish this project today (or at least be close enough to order the paint tomorrow) and I will then begin to really focus on my outline for my presentations at the show. It is good to see everything fall into place so nicely.
Until tomorrow then, have a wonderful day!
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"