That face you make when the power goes out.

So the crazy storms with their 90+mph high winds hit Wednesday night, and I am without power for going on 4 days.  Now, I wasn’t totally cut off from the world,  my phone and iPad were at 6% and 18% charged respectively, so I was able to post photos on Facebook of the massive trees downed over my drive and elicit sympathy about being trapped.  After cutting, hauling and cutting again for a couple of hours starting at the dreaded 5am, I got a ride from a friend and was able to buy one of the last 3 chain saws at Home Depot. They said it is the worst storm to affect its electrical system in the Duluth area in 15 years, with about 41,000 customers without power and massive trees were down everywhere you looked.
Did I mention it was in the 90's and humid?  I don't do well in the heat.  I really don't do well chain sawing and hauling wood all day in the heat. I really really don't do well chain sawing and hauling and forgetting to drink water in the heat. So the first night I really didn't have a problem going to bed at 7PM. 
The second day without electrIcity also went relatively well.  Kind of like camping except with this kind of camping the back of my legs get stuck to my leather sofa because it is so hot.  This might actually make a great Instagram photo (with someone else playing my part.)  Me, sitting on the sofa in shorts using a spatula to un-stick the back of my legs from the sofa so I can get up and drink some warm, soon to be hot water.  Oh my dear refrigerator....I did so take you for granted.   
7pm decide to read.  Crap!  My books are now on the uncharged iPad.  7:15pm found halfway working flashlight and start reading an actual hardcover book.  7:21pm the batteries die.  7:30pm decide to take a shower in the dark.  7:32pm the hot water is out.   Did go out and got some dinner at the closest grocery store that still has power, but made the mistake of bringing it home to eat.  Cold curry chicken is not good. Curse you non-workable microwave oven.  
Let's look at the positives.  I have been wanting to clean my fridge so now I got the chance.  Everything got thrown out and it has been scrubbed down.  If the power outage hadn't occurred, I probably wouldn't have found that shriveled up lemon on the bottom shelf for another few months.
Not being able to use the AC or fan has been great for sweating out the toxins in my body. 
My next electric bill should be noticeably lower.
I have stopped procrastinating about getting the BBQ propane tank filled up.
I can live without my weekly doses of Andy Griffith and Gunsmoke.  Someone will tell me how Festus and Opie made out.
Without having the distraction of the stereo I have more time to listen to the Paw Patrol theme song going through my head.
Now I can really listen to those voices in my head.
Tomorrow, day 5 without power I will be channeling my inner Little House on the Prairie and washing clothes in the creek, and for the third morning in a row I am now the reining champion for getting to the coffee shop as it opens and making a beeline for the "special" table with the 3 hidden outlets so I can charge my "stuff".  

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Leslie Sinclair of Segreto Finishes

The world of decorative painting is limitless, ever-changing and richly complex. Finishes for walls, ceilings, floors and cabinetry are crucial to the embodiment of a home’s character. Segreto Finishes’ niche in the world of design motivates owner Leslie Sinclair to constantly explore new techniques and finishes that appeal to a vast multitude of styles and personal tastes.

Leslie lives by the philosophy that upon entering a room, your eyes should not draw a distinction to one element or finish but should see the surroundings as a whole. By developing a palette that complements a home’s architecture and design, surroundings are given a new perspective.

Graduating from the University of Texas with a business degree, Leslie, mother of three, left her corporate job in 1995 to start Segreto Finishes, naming the company after her husband’s family. Segreto, which means secret in Italian, rolls up all of Leslie’s passions — architecture, interior design, art, people and business– into her idea of the perfect job. Leslie’s talent for color, bringing innovative products to Houston, hiring and training a quality staff and working with people on their individual needs, built Segreto’ s reputation.

With a staff of over 35 artisans, the company has become a premier finish design firm with work featured in numerous publications including Architectural Digest, Veranda, Traditional Home, House Beautiful, Country French, Elegant Homes, Beautiful Homes and Beautiful Baths, to name a few. Leslie also regularly contributes to Antique Shops and Designers magazine.

Inspired by all aspects of artistic painting, she owns an art gallery, Segreto Studios, and writes a blog, Secrets of Segreto, about interiors, art and finishes. She has written two books, Segreto: The Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors, and Segreto Style, and is working currently on her third book Segreto Vignettes.

Join Leslie at the ArtFusion Event in Estes Park, Colorado October 28 and October 29, 2016.

Beyond Technique: The Consulting Side of Fine Finishes

$150 Includes a signed Copy of either Segreto Style or the Newly released Segreto Vignettes 85$ value.

Two class choices.  Friday, 7pm or Saturday, 1pm  Class will not be more than 2 hours.

This class will explore how to walk into a home and advise clients on the way certain finishes can impact the overall allure of their space. You have an entire toolkit of finishing techniques, but knowing which finish and which color to use for different situations can be tricky. Rather than cover how to create a specific finish, this class is all about how to decide which finish to create and, more importantly, how to discuss those finish options with the client.

We'll talk about the latest finishing trends and the various ways you can enhance or downplay the architecture of a room, integrate old surfaces and fabrics into a new design scheme, and tweak or transform existing elements with finishes. Each participant will take home a signed copy of Leslie's newly released design book, Segreto Vignettes, so you'll have a resource to continue learning about the topics discussed in class.

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Darlene McElroy - Mixed Media Queen

As philosopher Joseph Campbell has told us, the saga of the hero in myth and folklore traditions across time is a journey of discovery leading from the real world into the primal depths of the unknown. Along the way, obstacles present themselves, challenging the hero to rely on training and instinct. At the point of revelation, it is the job of the hero to return to the real world and share this newfound understanding with the rest of the community—to give vision to the union of head and heart.

Throughout her career Darlene Olivia McElroy has combined head and heart in her journey of creating evocative mixed-media paintings. Trained as a painter and illustrator, she has an obsession for materials, passion for dreamlike imagery, and love of new technologies, which she uses to immerse herself in richly textured surfaces, mixtures of old and new, and brilliant and subdued tones. And always, there is a face or symbol of humanity that serves as a guide into mysterious layers which challenge reason and draw upon emotions.

Trained in the fine arts at Cal State University Fullerton, McElroy added illustration, graphics and design skills at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA. Throughout her career she has made art for herself, while creating award-winning illustrations, packaging, and collateral for small companies to large corporations. Never content in withholding her knowledge, she continues to teach art, design, and computer graphics across the country.

Her books, which are published by F&W Publications, are testaments to her inherent need to experiment. Working with co-author Sandra Duran Wilson, in Image Transfer Workshop, McElroy explains the image transfer process and offers tips for fixing mishaps. Her second book, Surface Treatment Workshop, outlines the mixed-media techniques that add depth and texture to her own artwork. Her third title, Mixed Media Revolution, due out in December 2012, examines ways to evaluate and reconfigure a work of art, taking it to the next level.

McElroy's exhibition record, which began in the early 1990s in the Bay area and Newport Beach, CA, includes numerous solo and group exhibitions. Among her suggestive show titles are Stigmata, Odd Thoughts, Scattered, Beneath the Temple, Novellas, Modern Myths, and Lost Thoughts and Ancient Cultures. A participant in Santa Fe's annual juried Contemporary Hispanic Market since 2002, she received the Best of Show award in 2010 and continues to serve as a CHM board volunteer, as well as for other arts organizations. Her work is represented at La Posada in Santa Fe, NM, and Muse Gallery, Columbus, OH. McElroy has lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, since 1995.

She works in a great-room-turned- studio with large windows that let in New Mexico's ubiquitous sunshine, while looking out to a rustic yard, complete with ponds, waterfalls and wisteria-covered arbors. Her "casa de chaos" overflows with furniture parts, antique frames, ephemera, and cabinets filled with what she identifies as "S.H.I.T. (second-hand interesting things)."

You can find any of Darlene's numerous books, DVD's and artwork on her website, book stores and galleries throughout the country.

Darlene will be teaching at the ArtFusion Event in October 2016.  For more information you can go to

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Do you know about SALON?

The SALON is a world wide gathering of some of the top
 artists and decorative painters. It is an exciting and unique
 Art show of masters  from different counties who  exhibit  their work; teach master-classes; discuss old and new techniques; products and information in the field.

 The Salon is non-profit organization, which began in
 1992 in  Belgium with a small  gathering of professionals,
 reconvened in 1996 and has been coming together in
 growing numbers every year  since.

 The Salon is now recognized as the most important and
 significant gathering of decorative painters in the world.
 Participants of The Salon include owners and teachers of
 Art school, businesses, independent and commercial
 companies. The Salon is a way for some of the most unique
 traditions within the field  of many  styles of arts and to be
 shared amongst one another and ultimately, passed onto
 participants’ students and future generations.
 Salon is an opportunity to enhances and extend the level of
 communication and cooperation between professional
 artists and  masters-craftsmen from many countries.  As
 well as great source for designers and architects: of ideas,
 styles and options of artistic designs for walls and ceiling in
 private houses or offices.

 The Salon is also a great way for visitors to experience the
 high quality of work present and meet true masters of this
 craft. Everyday ongoing demonstrations and exhibitions
 allow visitors and  participants to view  paintings
 specifically created for  Salon as well as during Salon.
  This is a very unique event and a great opportunity to
 discover the International world of artists and masters-
 craftsmen  at it's best.

Countries of Salon members are:
France - Great Brittan - Norway - Sweden - Canada-
Germany - Italy - Belgium - USA - Denmark - Spain -
Japan - China - Austria - Russia - Holland - Netherlands -
Ireland - Libya - Israel - Greece - Latvia

 Previous Salon Exhibitions:
1992- Salon founded
1996 Quimiac/France
1997 Utrecht/The Netherlands
1998 Alexandria/USA
1999 Norrkoping/Sweden
2000 London/Great Britain
2001 Paris/France
2002 San Antonio/USA
2003 Bruges/Belgium
2004 Oslo/Norway
2005 Philadelphia/USA
2006 Utrecht/The Netherlands
2007 Aarhus/Denmark
2008 Chicago/USA
2009 Bergamo/Italy
2010 Versailles/France
2011 Atlanta/USA
2012 Hamburg/Germany
2013 Tokyo/Japan
2014 Seattle/ USA
2015 Lecce/Italy

For information on the 2017 SALON

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Dean Sickler

Dean Sickler runs a successful and well-respected contracting business that specializes in architectural decorative finishing, both residential and commercial. From restoration of 18th century murals to the application of decorative veneer plasters, his expertise has taken him and his artisans around the world restoring and developing finishes in any style from Antique to Contemporary.

Dean has a degree in Art & Art History from the University of Toronto and has worked/studied with a multitude of masters such as Emilio Cianfoni (Chief Conservator-Vizcaya, Miami), Yannick Guegan (Handbook of Painted Decoration-France), Patrick LaHeyne (The Power of Illusion-Belgium), Pierre Lafumat Joanne Day (Day Studio, San Francisco), Grace Darby (Isabel O’Neil Studio)  and many others.
With over thirty-five years of work in the decorative field, Dean has been teaching workshops and lecturing across the country in color, design and finishing.  He is proficient in the crafts of woodgraining, marbling, gilding, painting and restoring murals and glazing.
With contacts in most of the major cities in America and many foreign countries, this enables him to find the resources and artisans to work virtually anywhere.   He does, however prefer to work in the Greater NY Metro area.
He has a special interest in the restoration of aesthetic and/or historically important projects.  A recent commission involved finishing 12 250 year old bleached, carved white oak panels originally from Fontainebleau palace to match existing panels.  An on-going commission(2013) involves stabilizing, repairing and restoring 55 painted-on- plaster panels of faux marble with trompe l’oeil moldings.   These were originally painted in 1857 and had been covered in wallpaper for over 100 years.
He has been helping the profession by taking leadership positions in the PDCA, the PDPA, and belongs to other trade associations like IDAL and ICAA.
Dean is the author of the book: The Keys to Color: A Decorators Guide to Coloring Paints, Plasters and Glazes.
Dean’s expertise in wood finishing, plaster and color design are very much in demand but he is always interested in challenging commissions and projects. Dean is certified as a Master Installer/Instructor of Texston Venetian Plasters.
Dean will teaching a Marble and Woodgrain class at the September 2016 Faux Retreat and two classes (Business and Metal Leaf and Patination) at the 2016 industry ArtFusion Event.

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Adrienne Wannamaker

An artist with passion, and a vision for what works in her industry. A native Oregonian, Adrienne Wannamaker established BuenaVista – Faux & Décor Painting in 1998 to satisfy her drive to create individualized living spaces utilizing unique combinations of custom colors, diverse textures and interesting surfaces for her clients.  She thrived and become noteworthy and successful with her business. The launch of Brush & Trowel is the culmination of decades of professional experience in the field, working with clients and providing outstanding service.  Now she can provide a service to her industry and peers in a showroom retail setting and provide outstanding products and resources… “This is the store I wish existed when I got into the business. When the opportunity to launch a retail location materialized, I knew this was the next step in my career.” In addition to her passion of faux and décor painting, Wannamaker creates framed art in compilations of “things she loves”. Currently residing in Portland, her professional and artistic work can be viewed in residential and commercial spaces all over Oregon and northern California.

Adrienne will be teaching two classes at the ArtFusion Event in October 2016.  For more information click here.

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