Saturday, December 27, 2014

How My Painting Workshops Are Different

You've seen them: Painting parties, paint and sips, canvas mixers. They. are. EVERYWHERE. Don't get me wrong, I am so glad that creating art has become the "it thing to do". Getting more people to think creatively and try new things is what I am all about.

I'm always nervous when a customer shares they have been to "one of those wine painting classes" before but they quickly follow up that they enjoyed my experience better. So I decided to take notes from customers who have been to other painting events and share with you their reasons as to how my painting workshops are different.

1. "I love that you take time with everyone and make sure they love their creation."

My goal is to make sure everyone leaves with a piece that they absolutely love; I don't want their painting ending up hiding in a closet or car trunk! Making my way to check on everyone throughout the workshop is in part of my elementary art teaching background where I had 25 students who constantly needed my help. I can always tell from conversations or facial expressions when someone is in need of assistance, I am always willing to lend a hand!

2. "Your projects are ones that I actually want to hang in my house!"

Some customers have admitted to going to a painting event but not liking the image they created. The workshops I have been teaching so far are country/primitive and some canvas art that I feel will fit into many people's home decorating styles. I always ask for customer feed back for future workshop ideas. If you ever want to paint something to put in your home, let me know. You can email me your idea by clicking here.

3. "I like that we all sit at the same table and get to talk to new people. It's so much more intimate than doing an event with 40+ people."

My workshops are limited to 10 people which is a much smaller group than what I am used to teaching but have embraced the small class size to enhance everyone's experience (mine and the customers). It is really nice to see strangers connecting with each other through art. I've even met some new friends through these classes!

4. "I was concentrating so much that I didn't even end up drinking" / "I drank too much and my painting didn't turn out!"

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy drinking with my girlfriends just as much as anyone else. But the truth is, when you are trying to learn and concentrate on creating a work of art, it is not the best time to be drinking. Like my customers have said, you either don't drink at all or have way too much and the experience just isn't what you were hoping for. That's why I have coffee, tea, or hot cocoa to enhance that warm, fuzzy feeling you get from painting :)

5. "I love the size of your projects. I felt so overwhelmed when I was painting at the other place."

Most painting events paint on 16" x 20" canvases. That is an intimidating amount of white space to fill in a two hour session even for a professional artist like myself. It IS overwhelming. I have found from public school teaching and adult workshops that anxieties grow as the paper/canvas size gets larger. As a result, the quality of the final art product also suffers. To keep my workshops affordable and stress free, I opt for 11" x 14" canvases and wood products such as 10" wooden plates. 

I also think about storing the art that you create: where would you put a 16" x 20" canvas of a snowman when it's summer time?! I think it's a lot easier to store the projects from my painting workshops in your seasonal Rubbermaid totes until the next year.

If you've been to my workshops, what was your favorite part? If you haven't been, what would you want to paint? I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, December 26, 2014

License Plate Art

This year for Christmas I opted to make meaningful gifts. They all turned out great but this one by far is my favorite. My brother, Brandon, is a crew member for NHRA's Professional Funny Car Driver, Courtney Force. He travels 30 weeks out of the year across the United States doing what he loves: racing. I decided to make a board honoring the states he has lived in since he has planted his roots in Indiana.

One day this idea came to me when I was at a flea market (my most favorite thing to do next to my art). The NJ plate came from a moving sale down the street from me, the North Carolina plate was given to me by a nice lady on a Facebook yard sale site when I posted an "in search of", and the Ohio and Indiana plates came from Cowtown.

I chose a 16" x 48" pine board from Home Depot which my mom, an extraordinary wood finisher, gel stained for me. (Check out mom's blog by clicking here). I opted for the classic quote about home because there really is no place like New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio or Indiana. Brandon enjoyed it and will be taking it home eventually as this is the first year he flew home instead of driving. Until then, I get to admire it a little longer.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Reflecting and Looking Ahead

This week in October marks the anniversary of starting my maternity leave. It's funny to reflect that this time last year I was 36 weeks pregnant and half of our home was being dry walled. As most people know, I was a public school art teacher. Last year I had my daughter, Courtney, and was lucky enough to have a district that granted a year of maternity leave. For many reasons, I decided not to return to teaching this September and to stay home to best care for my family. I have since ventured into starting my own business, one that I have been working on building for years (If you are or ever were a teacher you know that not much time is left for extracurricular activities or businesses).

I LOVE to teach. Plain and simple. There is something about inspiring others and empowering them with art. I began offering painting workshops in September at A Whole New Light to continue teaching. I have had such a positive response from the community! It has been so wonderful to meet so many women from my town and all over South Jersey who are interested in learning and trying new things. The conversations are priceless and there is a guarantee of laughter.

If you have attended one of my painting workshops already, thank you for your support! If you haven't, I'd love to meet you and paint something together. I will be adding winter painting workshops very soon. To browse current classes and to register online, click here.

Friday, October 3, 2014


This painting began as a photograph that I took on my iPhone. Just as the name describes it, this pumpkin is our volunteer who decided to grow on it's own (my guess is from a seed that came from the pumpkin I threw there last year after it got all funky). I was really intrigued with how the pumpkin was hidden and shaded behind the leaves and vines. I thought it created an interesting composition and nice metaphor for the work of volunteers. Most of the time volunteers are never seen but hidden in the background of an event or task. The same is true for this pumpkin. You wouldn't know it was there if you didn't look behind the leaves. What do you think of this painting? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Volunteer - Acrylics on Panel - 5" x 5"

Friday, August 29, 2014

Painting Workshops

This fall I am offering painting workshops at A Whole New Light. The adult workshops are one day events where participants create a work of art and take it home that day. To register online, click here.

Pumpkin Plate Painting Workshop
Saturday, September 20th, 2014 - SOLD OUT
Saturday, September 27th, 2014 – SOLD OUT
Saturday, October 4th, 2014 from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Cost: $20

Join me for an exciting make and take painting workshop! You will learn how to paint pumpkins with acrylic paints to create a beautiful display plate for your home. Emphasis will be placed upon shading to create a realistic look.
All supplies are included in the price of the workshop.

Candy Corn Painting Workshop
Friday, September 26th, 2014 – SOLD OUT
Friday, October 3rd, 2014 from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Cost: $20

Who doesn't love Halloween? Shading and highlighting will be used to create the iconic candy of the Halloween season. Lettering will be added to complete the composition. All supplies are included in the price of the workshop.

Birds of a Feather Painting Workshop
Friday, October 10th, 2014 from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Cost: $20

Need a girls night out? Come paint with me and relax with a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate! Represent your family in this symbolic 11" x 14" canvas painting. Each bird can represent a person in your family or your group of friends! Color relationships will be discussed and the choice of background colors is left up to you. Brushwork and line weight will be explored to create realistic branches and birds. All supplies are included in the price of the workshop.

Give Thanks Painting Workshop
Saturday October 25th, 2014 from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Cost: $20

Learn to paint a primitive saltbox house with folk art hills and weeping willow. Colors and details are your choice! All supplies are included in the price of the workshop.

Laurel Burch Inspired Cat Canvas
Saturday, November 8th, 2014 from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Cost: $20

Love Cats? Come paint a colorful, whimsical cat inspired by artist Laurel Burch! Examples of Burch's work will be studied for style and serve as a starting point for your own cat painting. Color theory will be discussed to help you choose the colors for your 8” x 10” canvas masterpiece. All supplies are included in the price of the workshop.

Snowman Plate Painting Workshop
Saturday, November 15th, 2014 – SOLD OUT
Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Cost $20

Get in the spirit of winter with this painting workshop for a primitive snowman plate! Many different styles and techniques will be demonstrated with the final choice up to you. All supplies are included in the price of the workshop.

Candy Cane Painting Workshop
Saturday, December 6th, 2014 from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Cost: $20

Learn how to draw and paint a candy cane with holly accents on a wooden plaque. Shading and brush work will be used to create a rustic appearance. All supplies are included in the price of the workshop

Mittens Painting Workshop
Saturday, December 20th, 2014 from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Cost: 20

Come get cozy with this mitten painting workshop! Participants will create their own mitten design and decide of the color choice. Each painting will be one-of-a-kind! All supplies are included in the price of the workshop.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ragged Island Street

My newest painting, Ragged Island Street Greenwich, NJ,  is dedicated in loving memory of Gram English. She was one of my biggest fans. After I finished a painting I would bring it over to the farm for her to see and and comment on. I always enjoyed watching her look at it for a long while before we talked about it. Unfortunately, she passed away on August 11th. I finished this painting on the 14th, a day before her funeral. I am so grateful for the time I had with her and all that she has given to our family.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sharing Another Artist: Lina Ferrara

I am currently taking an online class with Alyson B. Stanfield, author of I'd Rather Be In The Studio to enhance my understanding of the business aspect of being an artist. We're currently halfway through the class and I have met some wonderful, like minded artists. One of them that I'd like to share with you is Lina Ferrara. She is an oil painter from Lewisburg, PA and is the author of Easy Fresco. I was drawn to her still life paintings because they are so meticulously rendered. After liking her Facebook page and exploring her website I found that we share some similar subject matters: landscapes and animals of the farm. Another element that we have in common is that we both paint on furniture, how cool? Be sure to check out her website for her amazing paintings by clicking here.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Honorable Mention

Out of 89 entries, I received The Honorable Mention Award in Gallery 50's "Petite Moments" an International Juried Miniature Art Competition with "Sunday Stars II". I was completely surprised and very excited to be recognized among so many outstanding artists! One of my great friends, Janice Chassier, was there to share the moment with me and also snapped the photo of me with painting and ribbon.

Monday, June 30, 2014


The last few days I have taken a break from my "fine art" work in the studio and focused on creating one-of-a-kind furniture pieces. They were a collaboration with my mother, a master furniture refinisher. She painted the base coat, I chose the color and painted the design, and she distressed and glazed the pieces for a unique look.  These pieces are available to purchase at A Whole New Light. Where would you put these pieces in your home?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sunset Silhouette Over Philly

This painting was something I've never done before: a city skyline! The photograph from which I worked from came from my one of my good friends, Don. You might remember him as my photographer from our engagement photo shoot.

I worked differently than I normally do: I mixed right on the canvas to achieve the sunset colors I wanted. It was also a much quicker painting due to the simple nature of the composition. A nice change of pace!

Below are the progression photographs of the development of this painting. 

"Sunset Silhouette Over Philly" - Acrylics on Canvas - 4" x 6" by Kimberly English

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Miniature Painting: Sunday Stars II

My latest painting, Sunday Stars II, is another miniature canvas: 3" x 3". The photograph in which I worked from again came from my in-laws driveway (They have so many inspirational views!). It was taken on the same day as the photograph for Sunday Stars I but from a different angle.

Below are the progression photographs of the development of this painting.

Miniature Painting: Sunday Stars I

Behold! My latest painting: Sunday Stars I. This painting is a on a 3" x 3" canvas. I have never worked this small and wanted to try after seeing the artwork of Debbie Shirley. I found her through Etsy and began following her blog and Facebook page. Her artwork is usually 4" x 4" and depicts areas where she lives; New England.

In the beginning of June I came across Gallery 50's miniature art competition on their website. I called and requested more information and after reading the requirements thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try working small, like Debbie Shirley.

Below are the progression photographs of the development of this painting.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Salem County Arts in Bloom 2014

This year I did not participate as an exhibiting artist in the Salem County Arts in Bloom 2014 Studio Tour. Instead, I had the opportunity to visit fellow artists and support the work they are doing. Here's a glimpse of my day driving around Salem County:

I started my tour at Daniel Chard's house. He was my painting professor in college and he recently moved to another part of the county. I've been meaning to go over and visit and it was the perfect opportunity to do so. We talked about life, toured his home and, of course, talked about painting. It's great to catch up with old friends and I can't wait to begin working with him again.

Next, I headed to Alex Alampi Jr.'s Studio. I viewed his original watercolors and the works of Marion Williams, a porcelain painter. I purchased a print of "Crossing the Herd". This painting depicts the famous Smith dairy cows crossing through Aldine. As a lover of cows and resident of Aldine I HAD to have this print. I also purchased an ornament by Marion for our Christmas tree (A tradition we started to mark our travels and events throughout the years).

I headed home for some lunch and to regroup. I then went to Monroeville Vineyard and Winery to see what the artists and vines had to offer. I purchased a mini blanket with tags for my daughter (She is currently OBSESSED with tags) from Lminstitches and some wine to add to my collection.

My last stop for the day was to one of my best friend's, Janice Chassier. She recently purchased a shed and transformed it into a gallery. It is breathtaking! I snagged some of her signature clay log pieces for my kitchen; they are my favorite. I even got the chance to meet some potential homeschool art students and help them create some things in clay.

Below is a picture of some of the wonderful pieces I found on my journeys. It was a truly amazing day! Great weather, great artists, and great conversations. I am really looking forward to participating again next year and have lots of ideas to make my site exciting for visitors of all ages.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Another Hiatus

It's been six months since my last blog but there is good reason for my long hiatus: I had a baby! My husband and I welcomed our daughter, Courtney Danielle, into the world on October 23rd, 2013. Needless to say, life has become a little busier and a lot more fulfilling! I'm finding time after she goes to sleep to work on paintings. Below is a picture of what I am working on now. This will be a painting of Skyline Drive and the second of my vacation series.