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Protect Your Painted Wood Pieces With Wax

Some time ago, a question was posted on Facebook about waxing painted pieces.  Waxing with a fine quality paste wax after varnish is dry will not only add a rich luster to your painted piece, it will add durability.  Any piece you’ve painted that will be used in the kitchen or bathroom should have a good coat of wax to protect it from water splashes and humidity.  On a waxed surface, water will simply bead up and dry without causing damage.  Water and high humidity are the enemies of wood.

Original paste wax products contained melted beeswax and vegetable oil which did a fair job of preserving wood but Continue reading Protect Your Painted Wood Pieces With Wax

Major or Minor Details

Master Floral

Details and water drops

Attention to good detail is important whether you are painting realistic floral arrangements, fruit, vegetables, sharp focus still life, landscapes, animals or portraits of people .  The glint of light in an eye or on a water drop, pollen on a pistol, tiny stamens in a flower center or bug bites on a leaf; attention to details will give your paintings life and a spark of realism.

Center of Interest

Not all details should be painted bold and outstanding; some must be calm, quiet, soft and subdued. Whether a detail is major or minor is dictated by its location in the painting.  When painting details in the center of interest area, develop them to the fullest extent as the center of interest has the brightest and warmest colors, strongest value contrast and sharpest details.  As details on objects in the design move further away from the center of interest area and into the supporting areas or background, contrast is less, details are not as sharp-focused and therefore developed less to keep them softer and make them less interesting.

Supporting Areas

Softer or less interesting means less noticeable but not poorly painted.  Even though details are soft or even obscure, they should be neatly and carefully executed.  Control of value and intensity are important factors in keeping details quiet in the supporting areas.

Technical Skills and Brush Control

All detail line work should have a graceful flow and clean edges. Detail and liner brushes in excellent condition are important tools for executing fine detail work.  Detail strokes should be executed with one continuous flowing stroke and not be overworked or have cleaned up edges.  It has been said many times that practice is the key. Practice is the only way to achieve good technical skills and brush control.

If your eyesight or vision is less than desired, the use of a magnifying glass can be a beneficial aid for doing the tiniest of details, especially in the center of interest area where they must be the most skillfully executed.  There are many kinds on the market; I find that one with a good light is best for me.

Skillful and beautifully painted details will give your painting a professional touch.


Museum of Decorative Painting

Still Life by Jean Archer MDA

Gathering Eggs

Last month, on our way north to a family reunion in Ohio, my husband and I stopped in Atlanta at the Museum of Decorative Painting that used to be called the DAC or  Decorative Arts Collection.  Through the years, I’ve seen pieces from the DAC displayed at various Society of Decorative Painters conventions but it was wonderful to see it all together under one roof.  On arrival Continue reading Museum of Decorative Painting

Decorative Painting Instruction Video

This is  a short video presentation of some of my paintings showing the wide range of art instructions available on my website.  You will see still life and floral, as well as holiday and nature themes.  Enjoy!

Judging SDP Certification

I was asked by our chapter newsletter editor to write about my experience of judging certification at convention and after writing the article for them it occurred to me that some of my other painting friends might like to hear about the certification program and the judging experience.

Society of Decorative Painters (SDP) established a Certification Program for members many years ago as recognition of painting excellence. Certification is a personal goal or quest requiring in-depth study of our art form and painting along with building skills. SDP appropriately calls it a “Quest for Excellence”. There are two levels of certification, CDA and MDA. In order to become a Certified Decorative Artist or CDA, one must take a test (it is painted) and score at least 75%. The participant has a choice of a stroke or still life design for the test. To be a Master Decorative Artist or MDA, three additional tests must be passed; one floral, one still life and one stroke tray design. New tests for each category are released each year by the design committee and you can have the whole year to paint it. You purchase the test folder which includes the line drawing, order form for the surface, program information, those all-important deadlines for mailing it in and other instructions for applicants, (no instructions for painting however as that, after all, is the test!) Continue reading Judging SDP Certification


Artist’s block? At times I stare at the blank white drawing pad and I feel I don’t have a new design or painting idea left in me. Other times, the object of my staring is the computer screen and I don’t know what to blog about…writer’s block. I’ve learned that staring doesn’t get me anywhere. So what do I do to refresh and gain new inspiration? I like to Continue reading Inspiration