Monday, November 29, 2010

Attack of MAG, the St. Louis IDAL Chapter hosted by Wood Icing

I made it home by Plane and Automobile

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family and hope that you all had the same.
(We watched the movie above as one of our family Thanksgiving traditions)

Time to put down the turkey leg, cranberries and stuffing and get back to the bustle with a very busy couple of weeks leading up to the Holidays and the New Year.

This Wednesday in Boston and Providence:
We have 3 hands-on sessions planned for those of you in the Boston area for this Wednesday, December 1st, starting EARLY in Reading, MA. (Hope to see you there!)
7:00 - 9:00 AM: Sherwin -Williams at 349 Main St., Reading, MA
11:00 AM- 1:00 PM: Sherwin -Williams at 693 Cochituate Rd., Framingham, MA
3:00- 5:00 PM: Sherwin -Williams at 80 Lambert Lind Highway, Warwick, RI

St. Louis, IDAL Chapter hosted at Wood Icing:
I had a very busy day in St. Louis meeting with customers and was prepared for a fun evening with the Metro Artisans Guild, (MAG) IDAL chapter. I have had the pleasure of meeting several of the members in the past and knew that they were a lot of fun and had some serious talents!  Our host for the evening was RoseWilde, the inventor, creator of Wood Icing.  Her store, school, gallery was the prefect blend of a visually inspiring setting with an excellent hands-on area.  Good thing the hands-on area was "tricked out," because the attendees really came to play!

Our host Rose, in the photo above. (866) 966-3423

I was warned in advance that the group really wanted to get into several of our Faux Impressions products and finishes.  Everything from Crackle, to Venetian Plaster, to Quartz Stone, to Leaves, to Tissue Paper, Metallics... (All in 90 minutes!?)

Thankfully, I had reinforcements from Amber Harter, SW DAE and Mark Cassani, SW Sales Rep.  I asked them to bring extension cords and blow dryers. For more information on products and support in the St. Louis area you can contact Amber at: and Mark at:
See them below:

Rose already had a great drying rack set up.
Even had a built-in fan!
With all of the goals and activity planned for the evening, we were going to need all of the hot air we could muster... 

Well, the Hot Air began with my very rapid overview of the products and finishes.  We tabled any Q&A for during the hands-on and the MAG members attacked the product and sample boards!!!  It was chaos, but handled by professionals who are used to getting things done the way that they want them.  I have yet to see an IDAL chapter, get so much done in so little time.  I was a little concernd about crackle drying propoer;ly and Venetian being ready for burnishing, etc.  These consummate professionals made my worries go away quickly as they took, Amber, Mark and I on a wild ride.  See below:

Crackle board below, getting blow dried:
The IDAL National board would be proud to know that this "feeding frenzy" continued during the business meeting portion of the session.  All necessary items were handled by John Bubenik,  (pictured below) and Rose Wilde, while plasters were being trowelled, and crackle sponged on and leaves inserted in metallics and tissue paper was crinkled and painted and glazes were being mixed and applied and .... Amber, Mark and I were kept busy and were truly blown away! (kinda reminded me of piranhas in the Nile)
John, was even able to apply 3 coats of Venetian and burnish. 
He worked in a few other boards as well:
His VP below:
Here is a photo of the group taken at 9:00PM, when the dust settled and the artists' finally began to tire out...Atleast I was tired. 
They Grow 'em Tough and Spunky in St. Louis!
Wood Icing:
After we cleaned up, I ask Rose to give me a quick tour of her gallery, tools and stencils. I am looking forward to working with the stencils as they are a nice thick stock and they should work well with Venetian and Quartz Stone. I have a photo of a grid stencil that she had featured along with many designs.  See it below on this door:
Stencil designs:
Rose, also showed me her sets of stencils for furniture, moldings and around doorways, etc.  She explained that she had the stencils designed with "top to bottom" design as well as horizontal and patterns, so that the stencil could wrap openings or cabinet doors, etc. (See below)

It seems, obvious, but someone had to think of a way to solve that design challenge. Rose has many little tricks and advantages that she has built into her stencils and tools, including tapered edges on metal combs and carving devices.
Class in a Box at
I wanted to thank the members of MAG for making that evening one that I will never forget.
I think that it will be a long time before anyone tops their
excellence, persistence and perseverance.  

I am going to be certain to bring more blow dryers when ever I return.

Long Island Apprentice Training:  I will save the details from the Long Island, Union Apprentice session for next week.

Hope to see you in Boston!



Information on IDAL at:

Monday, November 22, 2010

New York City and Venetian Plaster U!

Before, I get into the details of a VERY productive and busy week in NYC, I wanted to wish everyone a GREAT Thanksgiving.  I can't wait to get off the road for a few days and see my whole family together and I wish you all the same.  Related to work, I am extremely THANKFUL for all of people in the industry who are supportive to my cause, with their time, talents, artistry and kindness.

Also, thankful for tthe humorous ads on Priceline when I rent my cars...
By the way, all of the hype on the news about airport security, is a little overblown.  I fly 6 -10 flights a week and do not have any trouble.  Get there early, smile and be polite.  Its all good.

This past week, I was in St. Louis and had a Blast with the local IDAL chapter.  The meeting was hosted at Wood Icing.  Can't wait for you to see it! 
(Featured next week!)

New York City:
As, I came out of Penn Station, I was given a full show.  It was a sign that this was a going to be a good week.  Some commercial artist were painting a large mural 600' in the air.  I grabbed a Starbucks and watched them for a few minutes.  They were really fast and efficient. Thanks for the show guys and Be safe!
EverGreene Studios:
My day only got better.  I was headed to Evergreen Studios to meet with Robin Roi, their brilliant art director.  I had been there once before and was blown away by their intimate knowledge and industry leadership in designs and installations, featuring cutting edge, Venetian Plaster work. This company led the way for us in this category ince the late 1970's!! Their artistic, commercial installations can be found around the continent at countless high profile locations.
Evergreene Architectural Arts, Inc.

I was humbled and in awe of their library. Any commercial designer or architect could get lost for a day going through these gourgeous designs. See Robin and the library below.

Left side of the library...
Right side of the library...

I was inspired by the depth of choices and multiple styles of Robin's designs.  I was particularly blown away by her carved and etched samples of Venetian with inset metallics!
Pat Ganino was along for the visit as we were working with the EverGreene staff to create some Venetian Samples with our new Faux Impressions, Venetian Plaster.  Pat pointed out that they had a mural in the style of one of his favorite artists, Bouguereau.  What a place!
See below:

We had some great success, applying and easily burnishing our samples to a beautiful high polished finish.  Sample below:
Check out just a glimpse of the project wall in the EverGreene studio... Busy, Cool place!

 Pierre Finklestein:
I tagged along with Pat and got an opportunity to see Pierre's studio!  I was a quick meeting and i can't wait to get back to learn more about the MASTER's work and his extensive line of brushes and books.  Don't want to make you field old Pierre, but I have been a fan of yours for years... (I even had hair back then)
Pierre's site:

I just realized, that I should probably be most thankful for Pat Ganino and the Faux Forum, but mainly Pat's friendship, ethics and excellence. 

He is a Giant. See below:

Pat painted this 30' mural at a show in Connectivut, recently in 2 Days, while working with the crowd, kids and customers.  Guy's Got some Serious Chops!

Commercial Venetian Plaster Installation:
Same day, quite a day... On to Pat's commercial installation to see our new Venetian installed.

Pat and Mike, the installers, see below:
Pat and Mike, spoke to the advantages of our new Venetian Plaster.  They were amazed at the rate of installation, sq ft yield per gallon and the incredible ease of burnishing. 
When people are as capable as Pat and Mike, it isn't easy to make their day easier. I am proud to say that we have in fact found a way with our innovative product formulation.  Thanks for the tour Pat and Mike.
NYC is Rocking our Venetian in multiple locations!!!
Union Apprentice Hall, Long Island:
The week ended on a strong note with a full day class at the union apprentice training hall, DC9.  I am going to feature some of the creative and talented painters' work next week.  But here is a glimpse of what they did with our Venetian Plaster and Quartz Stone:

Woodgraining tool on the first coat of Venetian Plaster tinted to SW 7027, follwed by a tight skim of Ventian Plaster SW 6108 on the second coat.  See Below:

These boys and girls really kept me busy all day long!

Venetian Plaster University... Forever Learning:
I can tell you that over the next couple of months, I have a lot of work to do in my studio to begin to even touch the amount of ideas and inspiration that I have learned from our customers and new friends.  I am working on better lighting for video and photography and will be able to include more step-by-step information in weeks to come. 

Thanks to all that I have met with so far this yearm who have "shared with the class!"

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

See Ya next week.


Information on IDAL at:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Kansas City 70 and Some Sheri Hoeger Time

So a couple of weeks ago after a busy day in San Francisco working with Painters an decorative artists, I made the drive northeast to Sheri Hoeger's Studio.  I had to head back to downtown San Francisco again that night to prepare for a morning interior designer presentation at the SFDC, but I was too close to miss this opportunity.  I had always heard nothing but the best about Sheri, and have checked out her websites and wanted to see it for myself.  (5 hours in my rental car late at night there and back, but work every mile of it!)

Sheri Hoeger Time:

Regarding Sheri's websites; I have included a few links below and would highly recommend that you spend some time on her websites.  Spending time in her "e" world is Very informative, inspirational and good for your business! Check out Big Oak Arts slide show.  Unfortunately, for me, I saw all of this in the dark. Studio below: This Slide Show makes you want to stop what you are busy doing and head to Northern California for time with Sheri, Sean Crosby, William Cochran, Pascal Amblard...!

Photo above from a recent class conducted at Sheri's facility by Pascal.
Sheri Hoeger has the industry covered with several fantastic offerings.  There is of course her own installations and commissions in her installation business.  Then there is the Big Oaks Arts, studio and classroom.  Then there is The Mad Stencilist, offering of stencils both pre designed and cut, as well as custom designed in both reusable and one  time adhesive stencil formats, as well as educational videos. If that isn't enough, you can check out Say What? "Your words, made to order!

You can learn a lot from Sheri's websites and purchase some extraordinarily helpful tools and resources from her offerings.  What you can't get online is the face-to-face, inspirational vibe that she brings to your day. 

Sheri reminded me that we are always on our own personal journey of learning and self improvement. Many of us may need to be reminded that it is OK to admit that we need help and that although we may be at a certain age or place in our lives and careers, we are never done or stuck in a rut unless we choose to be.  (Run on sentence, but she evokes a lot of inspirational thoughts)

 She shared with me her story of evolution from hobbyist, to stencilist, to installer, to air brushing, to muralist,  to instructor, to manufacturer, to IDAL, to industry leader, to student.  She showed me her recent efforts from the class that she took from Pascal Amblard. 

I also took a bunch of photos as I walked through her studio and home.  See below:

What an amazing talent!!

Being a complete novice to the stencil world, I had a ton of questions for the Mad Stencilist. Even though it was late in the evening, Sheri was patient and gracious.  I have a few photos below which show an example of how she designs stencils to work with airbrushing and hand painting to create a design.  Even with my dim understanding of her craft, I could see examples of how she has masterfully combines and connects, stencilling, air brushing, hand painting and decorative finishes to create her art.

I was able to stay awake on my late drive back to downtown San Francisco due to the buzz of ideas presented to me me by my new inspirational friend.  The following day Sheri joined a group of painters at our afternoon hands-on session.

Thanks Sheri for all that you do!

The link below will take you to her e doorstep with "Art to Live By"

Kansas City 70!:
The Sherwin-Williams team in Kansas City really packs a wallop!  They provide a powerful combination of customer care with the desire for excellence in all areas of what they do.  We spent 2 days together and did some significant training, worked with top notch customers and presented and worked with local interior designers. When decorative painters attend our hands on sessions with interior designers, business cards are always being exchanged and business relationships begin.

If you need Faux Impressions help and you are in Kansas City, you are "good to go!"

Wait until you see what happens when this "Faux Playground" gets filled up by over 70 of Kansas city's most creative decorative artists and interior designers!

Preceded by a nice lunch!
See lots of creative examples below, of our "2-Step" process, of using Metallic as a base and Quartz Stone as a top coat:

Kansas City Knows how to throw a Faux Party.  Thanks to all who attended.  I look forward to seeing photos of your installtions!

Last week, I was in NYC with Pierre Finklestein, Pat Ganino, Evergreene Studios and the Union Apprentices.  What a week!!   I will share that with you next Sunday.

I will be in Boston on December 1st to conduct 3 hands-on sessions.  I will have the details with times and locations next week.

Please keep in touch and email me with any questions or suggestions.