Best Event of the Year for Artists!

On November 3, 2015 Decorative Artists from all over the world will get together for 4 days to take classes from the top instructors in the industry, learn about new products, listen to speakers, and lots more.  Best of all they will get to meet people they may have only chatted with online, make some new connections and friends.

All of this will be in a city known for its amazing art, Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Portions of the proceeds will also benefit national and local charity, including Caring With Colors which raises money to help artists who are battling cancer and other illnesses.

There are going to be a lot of fantastic instructors at the ArtFusion Event in Santa Fe this November. Click on the Schedule to view class descriptions.

Instructors will add an additional class day if needed.  For full descriptions go to

Melanie Royals - Printing Your Own Patterned Papers $250

Patti Halstead Schlotterlein - Underground Faux $150

Sheri Zeman - Dynamite Dozen $90

Sheri Zeman - Glitz & Glamour $90

Deb Drager - "Share the Love" ART on canvas workshop $65

Deb Drager - "Giving Thanks" ART on canvas workshop $65

Cindee Lundin - Exterior Bas Relief Art Panel $450 "hands on, location class"

Angel Wynn - Using Photography with Encaustics $195 First class SOLD OUT

Gary Lord - Money Making Woodgrain and Marble $200

Darlene McElroy - Creating Image Transfers & Taking Them to the Next Level $210

Igor Turovskiy - Mica Pigment and Resin Art $200

Shauna Gallagher - Layered With Love: Crossover Finishes $325

Alan Carroll - Painted Ornament $210

Alan Carroll - Grisaille Painting $210

Annie Lemare - Decoration on Water Gilded Surfaces $280

Sheri Hoeger - Trompe L'oeil Mural Class $250

Debbie Hayes - Funky Chunky Finishes for Cabinets and Furniture $195

Speakers   Free for registered event participants.

Dr. Brenda Schaeffer - Where Does Creativity Come From?
Diane Franklin -


FauxFusion - Based on the idea of Iron Chef.  There will be awesome prizes!
Art Sale - ARTFest will be open for any event participants to sell their artwork.  ARTFest will be open to the public and will also include a painted clothes sale.  Now you really have an excuse for getting paint on your clothes!  More info is going to be posted in the ArtFusion Event group soon.

Check the website for a full list of the activities.  You can also find information on travel, lodging, sightseeing and tons more.

Website -
Facebook page - Informational page. Be sure to "Like" the page for a chance to win something special.
Facebook group - This is an interactive group.  Great place to find travel buddies, roommates and more.

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Decorative Gilding

My 14 year old niece asked me yesterday if she could borrow this book from me. I almost didn't let her because this was the very first book I ever had on any type of decorative painting.  I was living in Colorado and my parents had found it in a book store on their drive from Minnesota to visit me.  It was a year or two later in 98' that I officially launched my business and I still love reading this Annie Sloan book just as much today as I did way back then.

This Decorative Gilding book, as well as the other Annie Sloan books I later added to my collection were an enormous influence on my work.  I was going to say my early work, but I know with whatever I create, all the influences of the past have helped shape what I do now.

I remember several years ago saying that I wanted to take a class with Annie and the person I said this to, who happened to be another Decorative Painter looked at me like a deer in headlights and said "who?".  I was incredulous that someone didn't know who she was.  Don't you read?  I came to find out a lot of people didn't.  Then a year later the "Chalk Paint" boom happened, and I would bet you would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't know who she is.

In the age of the Ipod, Kindle and other electronic devices, which admittedly I love, I will never part with any of my decorative painting books by Annie or any of the other ones I own from many other authors.  They are my treasured collection.

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Museum of the Gilding Arts

In June of 2012, the Society of Gilders formally opened the Museum of the Gilding Arts in the city of Pontiac, Illinois.  The museum currently is a small exhibition space located inside the Walldogs Mural Museum, located on the square in the heart of Pontiac.

The room devotes space to "What is Gilding?", items from the Swift Collection,  "How Gold is Made" with photos and video from Guisto Manetti Battiloro - SpA (gold leaf manufacturer), a case of gold beating tools, antique signage, a section on "How To Gild" with various gilding tools, leaf and equipment, a visual demo of the steps involved in both mordant and water gilding, and then two walls of member works entitled "Where Do You See Gold Leaf?".  The latter is an opportunity to show visitors the everyday places that they can see gold, from window lettering to fine art, to architectural items, frames, mirrors and everyday items.

Pontiac, Illinois is a vibrant small city about an hour drive southwest of Chicago, located on the historic Rt. 66 highway.  When the recession hit, and most small towns were hoping for state and federal government intervention, the City decided that their fate was in their own hands and banked on tourism to keep their city vibrant.  As a result, the City is a model community for restoration and tourism development.  Pontiac boasts an variety of museums and attractions which, together with frequent regional events,drawing visitors from around the world to this charming mid-western city.
As part of our Grand Opening, which was held on June 29, 2012, Society members gilded a ribbon ornament on the City's Desert Storm monument, located on the ground of the historic County Courthouse, across the street from the museum.
In 2014, we will be working on an expansion of the museum, which will include a gallery as well as a gift shop.

The Swift Collection

The Society of Gilders became the proud owner of the Swift Collection in 2007.  M. Swift & Sons was a Hartford, Connecticut business whose specialty was gold beating and the manufacture of gold leaf products. When the business was started in 1877, Swift was beating gold by hand in order to produce leaf. In the early 20th century, machines began doing part of the process of making leaf. M. Allen Swift, a fifth generation gold beater and the last owner of the business, was one of the last people in this country to beat gold entirely by hand. When the business closed in 2005, Allen had the foresight to save the gold beating shop as it was used. He created a private museum where the shop was rebuilt exactly as it had been.
Swift packing desk with tools
Swift packing desk with tools
The Swift family donated the collection to the Society of Gilders in 2007.  The collection includes eight gold beating stations, gold packers desks, chairs and stools, mallets, cutches and packing materials, melting crucibles and other tools and equipment used on a daily basis from 1877 until approximately 1920.  The collection also includes signage, items from other companies that the Swift Company acquired over the years, documents, photographs, awards and even some trade show display items.
The Museum of the Gilding Arts currently displays one beating station and stool, one packing desk and chair, numerous pieces of equipment and tools and two display signs from Swift.  The photo above and to the right shows the current Swift display area. Over the next year or so, as the Museum moves to larger quarters, we will be able to recreate parts of the factory.
This article is from the Society of Gilders.

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How to Charge What You Are Worth

Are you winning the fight, but losing the war?
When I started my painting company back in Michigan, I was 19 years old and, worse, I looked like I was 12 years old. Now, that is an exaggeration, but I did look quite young.
Can you picture a young guy starting out, maybe yourself, looking much younger then you actually were, showing up to an estimate and then claiming to be a professional?
Starting out, I had to almost give jobs away just to get started, which included working for builders. Believe me! Builders saw this as an opportunity to get cheap work!
Like most of us, I started off in the trap of giving work away then hustling like a crazy person just to break even. Not that I had any idea what my true breakeven was at the time.
I figured if I made $20 an hour after everything was said and done that I was doing well. When it was $25 an hour, I was on top of the world!
The greater danger with this downward spiral is not that I wasn’t making a profit; yes, that is a danger, but even greater are the things we did just to try to break even at the end of every job. Namely, sacrificing the customers’ experience.
The greatest danger is sacrificing the customers’ experience to win the fight, but we continue to lose the war.
Starting out, the typical job went from one bad customer to the next. I couldn’t believe how they were picking my work apart. How they would go line by line over my proposal, if I even wrote them a proposal, to make sure I did everything they expected.
By giving my work away, I was fighting to make a dollar at the end of each job and they were fighting to get full value for their dollar.
Operating this way, we will continue to win the fight of getting paid for that one job, but we continue to lose the war on receiving customer referrals.
So, we continue to give our work away just to we can stay busy and the cycles continues. Can you relate?
How do we break the cycle and turn the ship around, so that we can charge what we are worth?
You have two options and they both require hard work.
The first option is to continue this grind and remain frustrated and broke. No, thank you.
The second takes longer to pay off, but once it starts, not only does it pay better (most cases, twice as much), but you will truly begin to enjoy your business and all of the fulfillment it’s meant to provide. That’s what we are talking about, right? That’s why we are entrepreneurs!
The key is to stop and consider it from your customers’ perspective. They are not out to get you, as I once thought while starting out. They are looking for two things, a properly painted project and, more importantly, a great experience during the process.
What does a great experience look, feel, and smell like to them?
Well, we can cover the very bottom basics, show up on time, dress professionally, speak with respect, no blaring classic rock, or rap music, not parking on their lawn, and completing the project on time.
If you are doing all of this, then good. You are doing the bare minimum. If this is the extent of the level of your customers experience, then don’t expect many referrals.
The key to exceeding their expectations is to ask them this powerful question at the estimate:
“Mrs Jones, what does a great painting experience look like to you?”
Just listen and take notes. Don’t suggest or assume anything. Write down what you hear next. It is your golden ticket to knockin’ their socks off! This sets you up nicely to capture a video testimonial at the end and creating those raving fans who become your best referral sources!
We think we know what they want, but we have no clue. They/we are all so different. Some are most concerned that their cat won’t wonder out the door while painters are coming and going. Another is concerned that the color they selected is spot on. And another that you will carefully protect all of their furniture.
Now, repeat back to them, what you heard them say.
“Mrs. Jones, if I heard you correctly, a great painting experience for you is that we properly protect all of your furniture and also during the process we do not let Mittens, the pet lion, escape. Is this correct?”
By asking, writing down and repeating this back, you have already made a distinct impression and position yourself to charge what you are worth.
Next, make sure the crew knows what is most important to this customer.
Then, when you or your crews are painting her home, keep the customers experience #1.
When we checked in, we didn’t ask, “How’s the job going?” or “Are the hours are on budget.” The first thing we asked our guys was, “How is the customers experience.” This kept our team focused on our #1 priority, the customers’ experience.
If you focus on your customers’ experience, you will turn your ship around, most definitely start to hit ’em out of the park, and be well on your way to Doubling Your Business, profitably while making extremely happy customers along the way.
At the end of every job, during your final walk through and settling up, ask every customer, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to refer us to your friends and neighbors?”
This is straight from Jack Welshes, GE’s Net Promoter System. What they found was: if they give you a 1-6, that means they will not be calling you again. If they give you a 7-8, that means that they will use you until another comes by with a better price. If they give you a 9-10, they are a Raving Fan!
Here is the last golden question you can ask that pays dividends, whatever score they gave you, even an 8. Ask them what you could do next time to earn one more point, in this case a 9.
What they tell you next is pure gold. They will share opportunities for you to step your game up that you didn’t even realize was important or available!
Focus on the customers experience. Ask them what it looks like to them, Provide it and more. Then ask how you can improve on it, and you too will be well positioned to charge what you are worth!
On a scale of 1-10, how helpful was this article for you? Please post your answer below. 
If you would like more in depth strategies on how to take your business to the next level, I have put together Mastermind Groups,  specifically for painting contractors who are not in a position to pay a business coach $500-$2000 a month.
You receive direct access to myself, all of my strategies, and the perspective of other non-completing painting contractors.  We meet every other week for a hour and a half over a web-conference to go deeper on making changes for greater profits and personal/family time.
We set and track self assigned action task so we actually implements these strategies, then we hold each other accountably to follow through. 
You’ll also be include in our members only Facebook group where we all come together to further brainstorm, ask questions, and share our achievements. Full access membership cost $147 a month.
 By Steve Burnett
Click here for more info:

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What's a little paint between friends?

Enter the Faux Retreat Paint Bucket Challenge for a chance to win FREE classes, food and lodging at the August Faux Retreat!

It's easy! Here's how to enter:

First gather your supplies!  A paint bucket, a video capturing device, probably a change of clothes, maybe a towel.
1. Take a video with Instagram, YouTube or Vimeo and use the hashtag #FAUXRETREATPAINTME
2. Fill out the form below and add your video!
3. Share with your friends!  Did you Like our page?


1.  Take a video with Instagram, YouTube or Vimeo and use the hashtag #FAUXRETREATPAINTME
2. Fill out the form below and add your video!
3. Challenge another Decorative Artist
If either of you win, you both win half off the August Faux Retreat price!

Second and third place winners will get either a Cutting Edge Stencil or Royal Design Studio Stencil

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How to Watermark your Images

We all know the importance of a watermark to protect our images, especially for brand recognition, but very few actually know how to accomplish this.  Most think we need expensive software like PhotoShop to watermark our images, but there are free and inexpensive ways to do it as well.  

Every time I post a photo of a decorative finish on the House of Faux Facebook page, that I have found, and that does not have the artist's name anywhere, I feel sad for that artist.  Thousands of people are going to see the photo, many will "like" it and comment on it and the artist may never know how much others are enjoying their beautiful work. 

So now that I am giving you two ways to watermark, quit procrastinating and make some time to do it!  


There is a very good, easy to use website where you can create a watermark on your images in batches.  Saves a lot of time if you want to do a lot at once.  There is a free and paid versions to choose from.


Here are step by step directions I found using if you prefer watermarking your images one at a time.

Step 1:  (this diy section from
{You can create a login if you want to, but it's not required.}
Click on the "Upload Photo" icon {if loading image from your computer} or load your image from any of the locations on the bottom if you store them somewhere else.

Step 2:
Your image will show in the main window.
Click on the "Layers" tab {second to the last one on the right} and click the "Add Images" option.

Step 3:
A window will come up for you to upload an image.
Click the "Edit from My Computer" button to upload the watermark image you created earlier in this tutorial.

*If you have a custom logo, make sure it is a PNG file with a transparent background.

Step 4:
Resize your logo/watermark to fit to your photo by dragging one of the corners and holding down the shift key. You can also rotate your image by clicking on the arrow above the logo. You can make the logo as big or as small as you'd like.

Step 5:
Your logo doesn't have to stand out if you don't want it to. To have it blend in a little bit to your image, select the "Opacity" tool under the "Layers" tab. Move the slider towards 0 to make it more transparent, and towards 100 to make it more opaque. Click "Done" when you're finished. You can select the "Opacity" tool again if you decide to make any changes.

Step 6:
Sometimes a white logo won't work for a light colored photo. Easy to change!
Make sure your logo is selected. Under the "Effects" tab, select the "Invert" effect. This will change your logo from white to black, making it easier to see on lighter images.

Step 7:
When you're done editing, click "Save" up by the FotoFlexer logo. You can save this in JPG format since you won't need it to have a transparent background.

Step 8:
Save your new image.

Now you're on your way to better branding and a step closer to protecting your images!

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