Recipe for a Still Life

Recipe for a Still Life
Apples, shiny and bright
A container, (pitchers optional)
Piece of linen
Knife for cut apple
Directions: Arrange in various ways for a pleasing composition and then photograph from different angles and with different lighting.

Join us this March 8, 9, 10, 11 (optional watercolor day on March 7) for our annual spring seminar. Learn the thought process behind the choice of objects, the initial set up and composition, the lighting and shadows, and the color theory used when developing the painting. The seminar this year will alternate painting time with short discussions on these topics and Brenda will share a selection of her reference shots used in making her decisions.

In our still life seminars, students are encouraged to paint in different mediums . . . Americana Acrylics, Americana Premium acrylics, oils, or alkyds. Some base coat with acrylic and then glaze in oils or alkyds.

There are seats available in the seminar. Complete information can be found on our web site. We hope you will consider broadening your painting experience and knowledge by attending this very informative seminar.

Happy Fourth of July

final 4th still life

It is such fun to decorate for the Fourth of July. Favorites that I have collected over the years are used in different settings through the house. The Sam basket was painted years ago, but still remains one of my favorites …. and I tend to group other favorite Fourth goodies around him …. The tall House of Hatton Uncle Sam ….
little pewter pins painted by Linda Kiska ….  Uncle Sam figures from the Salt Lake City convention, and antique bobbins that I use for candle holders. I love pulling out all the special Fourth themed items and putting together little groupings. This little setting is on a kitchen counter today, but tomorrow these pieces may be in a totally different location and arrangement. Since I have red and blue as accent colors in much of the main core downstairs, it is easy to tuck in  Fourth of July decor here and there.








Marian Jackson Colored Pencil Seminar 2016

Colored Pencil seminar with Marian Jackson, MDA
November 18 – 20, 2016
Williamsburg, VA
Two projects, 1 1/2 days each.
finalwithcopyright600 floral

Bev and Brenda are hosting Marian for a second colored pencil seminar this fall.  Marian produces some of the most beautiful work in the colored pencil world and is a very detailed and easy to understand teacher. The two projects for this year are Water Lily and Mortar, Pestle and Garlic.  If you are interested in joining us for this wonderful opportunity to study with Marian, the registration is on a first come, first serve basis, so be sure and register now to insure a seat.

Marian Jackson Colored Pencil Seminar 2016 PDF download

finalwithcopyright600 Garlic

Christmas Tour Continued

Christmas has always been a time of special celebrations for Robert and I, our girls, and their children. We love to share this special time of the year with our friends . . . parties, quiet dinners, coffee and tea and lots of reminiscing. So once again, come on in and share some Christmas memories with us.

In one corner of the sunroom, an old carved wood cherub from Germany presides over a round table loaded with glittery cedar, some fat red birds, a favorite basket I painted years ago, and a few books from our Christmas collection. Reds and greens abound in this room . . . perfect for the season.

Sunroom #1
Several snow globes, a painted Santa clock, and a large plate painted with red roses and holly sit among the cedar on the entertainment center.

Sunroom #2
One of my small painted Santa sleds sits on the drop leaf hospitality table done for a furniture seminar. Over it, hangs two of my watercolors. The glittery cedar is used throughout the sunroom to tie everything together.

Sunroom #3

Sunroom #4
Heading in to the keeping room, Christmas greenery and two Santa paintings have been added to another drop leaf table. The Santas join an antique writing desk and a lady Ben Franklin lamp.

Keeping Room #1
Two lovely Charles Johnson boxes are placed on one side of the keeping room fireplace. I love collecting paintings done by other artists . . . particularly those who paint in a different style than I do.

Keeping Room #2
Bookshelves in the keeping room contain a collection of tin painted by Werner Wrede, Peter Ompir and Nancy Bateman. Small bits of greenery are tucked among the tin, and some soft Santas made by a close friend are added. A painted sleigh and some antique pewter pieces complete the area.

Keeping Room #4

Keeping Room #3
Over the years, Bev has given us other pieces done by the same artist that did the many ornaments on the tree. This beautiful little Victorian sleigh and candy basket are two of our favorites. Some antique Christmas cards and another of my Santa paintings have been added to this small table behind Robert’s chair.

Keeping Room #5The breakfast room shelves contain more of my Santa paintings, along with a Christmas tree Santa done by Terrie Cordray, and a twig and bark Santa done by Billie Jo Johnston. House of Hatten Santas and a Santa Jack-In-The Box add to the Santa theme.

Breakfast Room #1

Breakfast Room #2

Breakfast Room #3
An old tin basket painted by Nancy Bateman sits on the breakfast room table all year. At Christmas it is loaded with greens, beaded fruit, and antique cookie molds. Something different is put in this basket for every season.

Breakfast Room #4
Kitchen Tea, a painting I did for the Decorative Painter years ago, is the center of interest in a little vignette on one of the kitchen counters. Just around the corner, a collection of transfer ware pitchers and tea pots join an old blue crock mixing bowl. More antique cookie molds, beaded fruit and greenery fill the bowl.

Kitchen #1

Kitchen #2
Yes, I do add a touch of Christmas to the utility room too. In fact, every room . . . even the baths get a little dressing up for the season.

Kitchen #3
A long tour today since we missed getting one posted yesterday. We will head up stairs next. The first stair landing features cherubs and angels. Several of my angel paintings and The Spirit of Christmas Chest are displayed on this landing all year long. Gold cherubs, another carved wooden German cherub, and an angel garden statue are added to the painted pieces at Christmas.

Stairway #1
The next stair landing is home to one of my most treasured pieces . . . a lovely rose screen painted by Mary Jo Leisure. Two carved cherubs stand guard at the base of the screen and are dressed with sheer gold bows for Christmas.

Stairway #2
In the rose bedroom, a little lingerie chest sits on one wall. On top of this are a little chest I painted for an early book, a rocking chair painted by Terrie Cordray, and a small collection of teddy bears. The watercolor of the little bear in the rocking chair and the baby shoes hangs above the lingerie chest. At Christmas a few simple touches are added . . . little bear skaters and snowflakes. The bedside table has a small porcelain tray I painted several years ago, and glass ornaments added to a little glass basket.

Guest Room A #1

Guest Room A #2
This room also contains a doll tree that we have had for many years. It is decorated with Bessie Pease Gutman ornaments, tiny porcelain doll shoes, and is topped with a small doll. Teddy bears and rabbits rest under the tree.

Guest Room A #3

Guest Room A #4
This little glass tray is in one of the guest bathrooms.

Guest Room Bath
On the bedside table in the violet guest room, there is a small painted porcelain letter holder, and a china tray with glass ornaments. A snow lady and snowman, given to us by our youngest daughter, greet visitors from the bed, and a treasured moire stocking made by my friend, Lynn Brandy hangs from a bed post.
Guest Room C #1

Guest Room C #2

Guest Room C #3
In the library, a Santa Shelf topped with other painted pieces is left on the wall all year . .. we love to leave touches of Christmas out in the house throughout the year . . . to remind us of this wonderful season.

Library #1
Following are photos of some of the library shelves . . . most are dressed up with a little touch of Christmas, but I will only share a few.  Many painted pieces . . . from my newest Santa to some really old paintings join the books and photos of family and friends. There is also a painted Tompte plate by Gayle Oram and some porcelain Santas. One of my favorite photos of Robert as a child has a place of honor on one shelf. Wasn’t he a cutie?

Library #2

Library #3

Library #4

Library #5

Library #6

Library #7
That concludes our Christmas tour. Santa’s workshop areas (office, merchandise room, and studio) are not open for visitors right now due to Santa being very busy with final Christmas preparations. I hope you all have a joyous Christmas with family and friends and a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Christmas Tour

It has been so much fun touring the homes of some of my friends on FB . . . . so I decided to post a little tour of our home as a Christmas greeting to all my FB friends. Grab a cup of hot chocolate and join me! Our
Christmas decorations are a collection of items woven into the existing decor and collected over many years. Many things have been gifts from family and friends and bring back special memories when I unpack them each year. You will see many painted pieces worked into the
vignettes . . . both mine and those done by others. If you enjoy the tour of this portion of our downstairs, please join us again for two more tours of different areas on Monday and Tuesday of next week.

My favorite gold leafed nativity rests on the foyer console. This vignette also includes my father’s small Bible opened to Luke 2 and a special cross ornament given to me by a dear friend. At our house, we celebrate the birth of Jesus as the true reason for the season.

Our foyer tree sits grandly nestled next to the stairway. After Robert gets the lights in order, Jackie and I start by stuffing it with two types of gold leaves and tucking some large gold instruments and angels back into the interior. We then swag it with yards and yards of silk knitting ribbon that segues from color to color with gold accents. Next comes gold
ornaments, leaves, and pine cones, that we tuck into the interior branches to catch the light. We then add the major ornaments that are Victorian reproductions given to me by my dear friend, Bev Marx, over a period of many years. Each one is special to us. Some of my favorites
follow the photo of the tree.




The powder room is off the foyer and it is also dressed up a bit for the season. There is an antique corner cabinet where I add Christmas touches to the pieces that reside there all year. Many of the painted pieces are mine, but there is also a little box and an egg painted by Pat, from North Carolina. Some small antique pitchers (I have a passion for antique china), linen and bits of lace, cherub soaps, a little tree, and
silver pears complete this piece.

Cherubs, silk ribbon, beaded fruit and garland are added to the antique silver and china pieces on the dining room sideboard. The deep chocolate red walls provide the perfect background to set off the Christmas


A small antique secretary is tucked into one corner of the living room. It contains some of my favorite Nippon pieces and a trio of treasured pieces painted by Mary Jo Leisure. More of the Victorian reproduction pieces, small red glass candles, and magnolia and berry sprays add
seasonal touches.

More cherubs, angels, and burgundy candles rest atop the living room mantle. They are anchored with magnolia and berry sprays, continuing the uniting living room theme.

The living room fireplace is surrounded by bookcases and cabinets. These are filled with flow blue and blue and red transfer ware, along with family photos, a few books and other collectibles. To carry out the living room theme, I add more of the red glass candle holders, and the magnolia and berry sprays. An old hour glass that belonged to my Mother is included in one grouping.


The vibrant reds in most of the downstairs areas of the house soften to a rose pink in the master bedroom. The cream, rose and blue green
harmony is echoed throughout the room, along with touches of gold and silver. Deep pink poinsettias and gold magnolia leaves are added in many areas. Some rest on the bed, a love seat, on top of the
entertainment center/bookshelves, and on an antique pie crust drop
table. One of my painted angel plates is surrounded by an antique china bowl and small silver baskets filled with glass ornaments.


A four foot angel tree rests on a pedestal by the side of the armoire. I cover the pedestal with a soft gold fabric, and then drape around it with an antique lace table cloth. I love the look of the scalloped edges of the cloth against the wood floors. An angel that I painted many years ago stands to the left of the tree.

IMAGE #12.
Glass baskets filled with gold beads and glass ornaments are placed in the vignettes on the bookshelves around the entertainment center. This vignette includes a portrait on porcelain that I did of one of my
granddaughters when she was small.

In this vignette, a small painted clock is anchored by two old silver pieces. The glass Christmas balls in silver the lower piece are so pretty reflected in the cup.



We have a winner



Judy Motley of Mechanicsville, VA is the winner of our Complete to Win prize. She was the first September seminar student to send us a completed photo of her Autumn banner painting. She will be awarded a $50.00 gift certificate for use at a 2016 Williamsburg seminar. Congratulations Judy! Your banner is beautiful.

Colored Pencil Seminar with Marian Jackson

November 6, 7, 8, 2015
Williamsburg, Virginia

Bev Marx and Brenda Stewart are sponsoring a colored pencil seminar with Marian Jackson, MDA. Marian produces some of the most beautiful work in the colored pencil world and is a very detailed and easy to understand teacher. We will be doing two projects: Tomatoes and Basil and Alstromeria in Glass. If you are interested in joining us for this wonderful opportunity to study with Marian, you can download the full Colored Pencil Invite PDF here.