Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tribute to Deb!!

For many years, my friend Debbie Driediger, enjoyed decorative painting with me. It was therapy for her, since she suffered with a disorder called Huntington's Disease. This affected her motor skills, causing her to have jerky arm & leg movements, and swallowing was very difficult. But she loved to paint with me. Here she is with her flower pot creation, and Welcome Banner. Over the years, she painted many flower pots to give as gifts to her friends and family.
We had a special birthday party for her, where we celebrated with Rolo ice cream, one of her favourites. Though her disease played havoc with her body, her mind was always sharp, especially in remembering birthdays and people's names and events, that I had a hard time remembering. We spent once a week walking for an hour; then we baked, especially yeast doughs, again therapy for her hands; and ended our morning happily painting in my art studio.
This is my gift from Debbie, a large flower pot with a wooden cut-out handle. First she painted a deep purple color, then a layer of crackle medium, plus an off-white paint layer. Once this cracked and dried, she mastered some beautiful flowers & leaves. I love this piece, it sits on my bathroom counter filled with my everyday creams, and hair products. It's a special reminder of a dear friend, whose life was cut short at 56, Debbie passed away last fall as a result of this debilitating disease, Huntingtons. Her gift keeps her memory close to me each day, and I think of the fun she had painting her flower pots, it makes me smile!!
Here's to Debbie... til later Frieda

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Yup, 34 years with the same guy!!

We're still smiling after 34 years of married life together. It was a quiet day spent with our kids. till later Frieda

Ceiling joists are going up!!

We've had two great sunny warm days Friday & Saturday, just perfect for building on the barn.

These ceiling joists are 2x10s x 14', heavy but I'm developing muscles for sure... who needs a gym membership with this great work-out, ha.
till later Frieda

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Are these just the cutest!!

I know Easter is over, but I was packing away my decorated egg collection, and thought I would share it with you, so you can make some next year with your kids, or grandkids... they would love it!!

Tina stands by my "Easter tree", 10' tall pussy willow branches, which I cut from an old tree outback every year. I love to display my collection of decorated, blown-out real eggs.

These are our ART kids. Alex, Rita, and Tina. They are all quite artistic and creative.

ART all had a bl...ow...ast making them when they were still in grade school. After puncturing the egg on both ends, breaking the yolk with a knitting needle, they blew out the eggs, rinsed them with water, then decorated. We used a variety of lace, puffy paints, egg dyes, glitter, you could also use brush and paint... then strung embroidery floss through the two holes (top & bottom), added a loop & bead at the top, plus a string of beads down the tail, knotting in between. It was great fun!!

These would be great painting lessons for our Kid's Module, don't you think!
till later ..... Frieda

Monday, April 20, 2009

Disaster struck my Mailbox...yikes!

Very early in my Decorative Painting journey, I built this oversized mailbox, with full intentions of hanging it proudly outside our front door.

I had spent 3 months at my weekly class painting it, until it was finally ready to be installed. I even put an extra coat of varnish on to protect it from the outdoors.

Hubby volunteered to hang the mailbox on the brick wall just outside our front door, under the porch. I had some errands to run, and in the meantime the mailbox sat on the cement porch baking in the afternoon sun... very strong sun.

When I returned, thinking my mailbox would be hung, instead hubby was beside himself... something was wrong, I could tell by the expression on his face.

Yup!! my months of hard work were all blistered, not just tiny bubbles, but 3" - 4" bubbles sticking out all over the front of my painted mailbox. Just take your hand and make a cup, that's about the size of each bubble. It was completely ruined, and for some odd reason, I was pretty calm about it. Hubby was more worried than I was.

When the bubbles collapsed, it looked like sagging paint sections. I actually peeled off the paint skin sections, which were complete paintings of a piece of the window and door, every detail was intact. The funny part was that when the bubbles were removed, the surface had clear wood circles all over the mailbox, like it had never been painted, this was very strange.

What had happened: In those days (early 1990's) it was common practise to use Thompson's water sealer from the hardware store to seal your raw wood before painting, which leaves a wax film behind clogging the pores, but also makes the whole surface waxy. With the sun beating on the surface, it softened the wax and caused the paint to separate in bubbled sheets.

To remedy this: I stripped the entire box down to the bare wood; then used bleach to remove all the wax; then sanded the heck out of it; put on a good reliable professional sealer; and painted it all over again.

Guess where my mailbox ended up... yup indoors forever. My Goose sign never graced the front of our cottage property either, since he was also sealed with Thompson's just the month before. Both of these were very detailed pieces, that I didn't have any intention of re-painting, unfortunately, I had no choice with the mailbox, oh well! practise makes perfect, ha.

So alas, you learn a few tricks along the way. I had fun re-painting the mailbox though and it didn't take nearly as long the second time around, plus I fixed some booboos, so all was not lost, haha.
till later Frieda

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wood pieces from my wood shop

These are some wood pieces that I designed and cut in my woodshop over the years.

The Thread holder was a very early piece, and a great necessity since I had a very busy sewing business, and needed a place for my massive collection of threads. Not sure of the designer, but this design fit beautifully for the top piece. Also, created another holder for the larger serger spools of thread with a similar mouse design.

This cabinet holds my Mixed Tradition's paints and mediums. It was built for Donna Rose's French Regency design, which I completed recently.

The Old World Santa was a Joanne Karpff design and seminar at our local Decorative art guild that I attended many years ago. I decided to make him a cut-out to fit on the front of an old children's sleigh that I display each year at Christmas on my front porch. In the winter he hangs on his own in my art studio.

In my very early years of Decorative painting, probably 18 years ago, I cut-out a fairly large Canada goose out of 2 pieces of 2" x 12" x 20" pine board, screwed the two pieces together, lay-out the goose design and cut it out with my scroll and band saw. Then had fun painting it. It's original place of honour was to be a welcome sign to our Shanty cottage property, but since I had used a water sealer that blisters with direct sun, I changed my mind and kept it indoors. I'll share me nightmare of blistered paint in another post.

I love the smell of cut wood, can't wait to have the wood shop up and fully functioning this summer... so I can design and cut to my heart's content. Then paint of course!!! I may just turn the upper barn loft into a summer art studio, haha.... take my limited palette of colors and retreat to the barn and hide away from some hours of fun painting, in my own little world.
till later, cheers Frieda

Beam is up!!

Well it's up!!! yahoo.. a beam heavy enough to require at least 6 guys on ladders, what a nightmare to consider... instead this interesting contraption and hubby lifted the 20' x 7"x 16" beam and settled it beautifully in place. I was taking pictures, while hubby was doing all the lifting, it was amazing. His profession is in construction, so this was a "piece of cake" for him.

I'm so excited to see this project completed, since a large portion will be my own wood shop where I can build even more great surfaces for painting, or prepare some recycled trash to turn into treasures... there are lots of plans in the works... I have old trunks, and chairs that need repair and painted designs, and tons of wood scraps from the local lumber yard.

Great place for free lumber is your local lumber yard, they usually have a large bin back in the wood section filled with cut-offs for free or dirt cheap. I pick up all sorts of trim and pine board or MDF board (all thicknesses) to make into some fabulous surfaces to paint on.

I've always attended Coast to Coast for years, but this year the weather outside was perfect for building the barn, so I sacrificed the convention to stay home and get to work. But, I'll have you know that my hotel is booked for Peoria, Illinois for the Nationals, so I hope to see many of you like-minded passionate artists at the SDP convention in June. till later cheers Frieda

Friday, April 17, 2009

Barn raising!!

I've waited 10 years for this barn raising, and I can't wait to work in my new wood shop.

I love the smell of fresh cut wood, so I get the cutting jobs.

The sunny warm days are a great bonus! The indoor stuff can wait for the cooler days expected next week.

Here's my "boys"... up front, son Alex, son-in-law Rob, Paul (father of young family living in our basement), and Jordan (daughter Tina's boyfriend), helping John raise the 3rd wall of the barn.

We're going for the rustic look with the recycled 3 x 3 posts. Would love an old century barn, but this will have to do... I'm happy!!

With the 3 x 3 posts, this wall is very heavy... so we need lots of strong muscle men to help. First you put them to work, and then you feed them a big roasted turkey as a thank you, haha.
Here's Alex, John (hubby), Rob, Paul & Jordan groaning under the weight of the wall, but it's up. Now, the 4th wall is ready and waiting to be hoisted. John's going to try and use a special lift for it and the massive beam across the width... we'll see if this works, I'm not so sure it will work, but I'll see later on today. till later Frieda

Symbolism of the white Easter Lily

I know Easter has passed already, but we were gone for the Easter weekend, and came home to this gorgeous display of almost 5 full blooms on my Easter lily, a gift from daughter Tina. I have never seen so many blooms, so I had to share this with all of you, who may not have received a Lily this year, or don't share this custom.

Also, wanted to share some symbolism on the Lily:
"The Easter Lily suggests purity, virtue, innocence, hope and life. Often called the "white-robed apostles of hope", lilies were found growing in the Garden of Gethsemane after Christ's agony. Tradition has it that the beautiful white lilies sprung up where drops of Christ's sweat fell to the ground in his final hours of sorrow and deep distress. They commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and hope of life everlasting."

"In early paintings, the Angel Gabriel is pictured extending to the virgin Mary a branch of pure white lilies, announcing that she is to be the mother of the Christ Child. In other paintings, saints are pictured bringing vases full of white lilies to Mary and the infant Jesus. Joseph is depicted holding a lily-branch in his hand, indicating that his wife Mary was a virgin."

The celebration of Easter is year round, it is not about the bunny and colored eggs. It is the death and resurrection of Jesus that we commemorate. May this hope of life everlasting, be your hope as well! till later Frieda

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Time at the Shanty!!

It's not much to look at, only 10' x 10' with an upper sleeping loft, but it is our Shanty on 2-1/2 acres of cedar bush about 4-1/2 hours drive from home. It was cold this Easter weekend, but John & I enjoyed the time away. We kept a small wood stove burning to keep the chill out, especially at night (-3 degrees C), plus extra flannel blankets with our down feather comforter.

It was partially a work weekend, finishing up the wall panelling in the upper sleeping loft... it's all done now, hopefully the mice find new stomping grounds and stay out of our "mouse- proofed" Shanty (if there was such a thing, haha). Now, it smells like moth balls, which are supposed to keep out the mice, yuk. Also, worked on our wood shelter and cleared lots of bush for new seedling white pines, which are ready for planting first of May.
Oh!! but I did find some quiet time to start painting David's Module C-Lesson 9 design. Didn't finish, but had fun learning the process. I've applied the color layers and the gold, just a few layers to go, then I'll post the finished piece when it's done.

Tonight, at paint buddy night, I painted a watercolor from Paint Works magazine by Donna Richards... I'm not a huge fan of watercolors, I find it quite challenging to use very, very little paint, tending to use way too much each time and making a mess... but I am getting better at it.
Happy painting everyone! till next time Frieda

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sharing some my paintings

Most of these are from the Tradition's Educational Program, which I have studied for the past three years, and learnt so much about color theory, color mixing, and many new and wonderful techniques. The whale at the bottom center was probably my most challenging piece, which took me months to complete... but the learning and techniques that I discovered through this piece was worth all the effort. Many of these pieces I am painting for the second time with my student, and through this experience I have realized how much I have grown as an artist.
This Norwegian Telemark piece designed by David Jansen, was frightening at first. I am not a scroll painter and this looked overwhelming. So for my first attempt at scrolls, I am quite proud to hang this piece in my studio. It may not be perfect, but it marks an accomplishment in my artistic journey. It has given me confidence to tackle any scroll piece without fear.

These two door crowns are Arlene Newman's designs, which I painted many years ago, in my early learning years... and though they are not perfect, they still get rotated above my kitchen doorway every season. I also have completed the winter doorcrown, which still hangs there ready to be replaced by the summer watermelon one. I need to paint a spring doorcrown, to replace the winter one in March. till later... Frieda

Favourite spot at Stokes Bay shores

Ok don't laugh...just know that this is a favourite spot of mine at the cottage shore. John & I will be heading up to the shanty tomorrow for Easter weekend, but I'm sure it will still be too cool to paint outside.

Can't wait for the summer days of painting and relaxing at the shore. The piece I painted here is the Northern Parula, it's a free design by David, check it out at

Notice the limited palette. Till later...cheers Frieda

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Snow in April

Ok this isn't fun, we have snow in April, and man is it cold out! This is our backyard... you can see my big veggie garden in the back right beside the big tree. Funny story, that tree was a twig growing in the garden, which I ignored, now I can hang a kid's swing from the branches... but need the grandkids first I guess. Would look a bit odd if John & I took up kiddy swinging. Perhaps swing dancing... nah we'll leave that for our kids, just not as young as we used to be.

Anyway, keeps me indoors to continue with lots of editing, but once that ground is warm, I'll be itching to get my hands dirty and plant some veggies... I can already taste the fresh picked tomatoes ... they sure beat the rubbery ones in the grocery store right now. Oh well, lots to do before then. Hope your day is a little warmer where you live. bye for now... Frieda

Monday, April 6, 2009

My simple beginnings, back in 1991, when Joan Dixon introduced me to the wonderful world of Decorative Painting. This Amish family sits on my counter ledge as a reminder of where I have come from in my painting journey.

The dad and son were my first wood cut-outs, which also began a new passion for wood working. Finally, we are building a new 20'x28' barn so I can do some serious wood working, ha. Can't wait until it is done.

more later

Sunday, April 5, 2009

New journey part of the 2009 Heritage Team

Hey friends,
Sending my first blog, from my favorite spot lately, in front of my computer screens. This is the place where all those wonderful "Heritage Education Manual" lessons come to, to get their final tweaking.

It's so exciting to be part of this fabulous Heritage Team, working at bringing another great art educational program to be shared around the globe.

My goal with this blog is to take you to the beginning of my art journey and share what great adventures I have experienced up until the present.

I must tell you what a privilege it is for me to be part of the new Heritage Team of artists from around the globe, who have been hand-picked to present a continuation of Art Education that will sweep this globe. I have deep appreciation for the original Heritage Artist Team that started this amazing journey for me. When you walk in someone else's shoes, you appreciate those who have travelled before you to pave the path. So I say thanks to David Jansen and his team of Heritage Artists for having a vision and making it all happen.

More later as I take you back in time, and fill in the rest of the story.
Frieda, Miss Editor