Saturday, January 12, 2008

How to Get to Faux Painting Heaven

Here's me, in faux painting heaven. I'm troweling on Faux Effects Quartzstone, learning to do a sample called Terrazo as part of a class I started referring to as faux college. I've always been a knowledge dork, never wanting to finish college, wishing I could go back someday. This week, the combination of new knowledge and new knowledge about painting made it one of my best weeks ever. I could have used a little lipstick in that photo (my grandmother and mother trained me well, but they weren't there to remind me to "put on a little lipstick.")

Back to my telling you about faux college: Located right here in San Antonio, Texas, is Vigini Studios, where people from all over the world come to be schooled in all aspects of decorative painting. For this class my super-smart instructor was none other than the very talented (and cool) Leslie Morrison Vigini. If you poke around on their website, you'll see pictures of all the unbelievable contracting work they do, and if you're into decorative painting, you can find a class to move you in the right direction. We're so fortunate that San Antonio native Leslie brought her super-talented Italian husband Nicola to San Antonio, which allows us to learn from two masters right here at home. Here's a picture I snapped Friday just before lunch. We were working on the Terrazo finish. Nicola was just back from teaching a class in Dallas.

Those of us "in the know" realize what a privilege it is to be able to learn from and know such talented artists. Trust me, some people find it hard to stumble through complete sentences in Nicola's presence. The charming Italian accent only adds to his charm.

So all this week, I fluttered around on air, learning fabulous new finishes in the Designer Wall I class like Fortuny silk damask, Texas limestone, a really super cool plaster finish I've named Fran's Fresco, and even a burly walnut faux bois. To be surrounded by other artists as crazy and driven and excitable about decorative paint finishes as me -- for a whole week -- while learning from someone who's worked all around the world. It really doesn't get better than this.

A few years ago I took a class dedicated to furniture finishes from Nicola Vigini. That class changed my life because I learned the right way to do even better finishes on everything. I also learned about the Faux Effects products, many of which you can't even buy until you take classes so you know how to use them. My crackle finishes have never been the same. I'm embarrassed to show anything I did prior, even though it was considered "pretty good" then. After that class, I moved right on up the food chain and out of the Home Depot paint department forever. I'm supposing this class will change me forever, too. Even a few pieces I'm transforming for Lavenderchick's trip to the Dallas Market are going to be so much better than they would have been last week.

I'm on fire. I can't wait to get back into my own studio to tinker around with new ideas that have come to me this week. And out on some new jobs that are looming. I promise to share photos of projects in the works.

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