My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1853: New Project for Toletown for September

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 08-30-2017 01:40 PM 3820 reads 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1852: Lots of Changes Part 1853 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1854: New Patterns and Adventures »

In keeping with my promise to myself and you all to try to do better with blogging regularly, I decided to post some pictures of a project that I am working on for the Toletown painting community for September. 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Toletown ( it is an online painting group that is a fun place to learn about and share our love of painting. I have been aware of them for well over ten years and have been a member for as long as I can remember. a few years ago, Lorrie (I'll call her the Mayor of Toletown) asked me if I would like the join her 'Design Team' of artists who create projects for the website. I gladly accepted.  

As a member of the design team, I create two "full projects" per year, which means they include video lesson(s) and what Lorrie calls a "quick paint" which doesn't require videos. Those who know me though know that my quick paint projects are also usually full patterns – complete with lots of step-by-step colors photos and instructions. I don't know how to teach any other way.  I am in the company of some wonderfully fabulous designers, and as a member of Toletown, each month the members receive two new full patterns with access to the accompanying videos, a quick paint, a line work "challenge" piece to play with from Lorrie, and access to the archives of classes, patterns, etc. that Toletown has to offer. It is a great value for painters both financially as well as in regards to the wealth of information/patterns/lessons it has to offer. You can join month to month or yearly, and there are always some fun specials and events that are offered. I hope you check it out.

I love designing for Toletown because it kind of forces me to create and shoot a video now and then. While I have lots of good intentions about doing so, I rarely find the time to really sit down and get it done. This gives me a 'reason' to pull out the camera and teach on video. It is funny – I actually like doing things that way and teaching through videos. I always say I need to do it more often. But as usual, time isn't always my friend and as per tradition, I have more ideas than time allows. This helps me make it a priority.

I also like to choose a project with somewhat of a 'different' technique that isn't common to tole painting. With all the new products out there – especially from DecoArt – I look at it as a wonderful opportunity not only to educate others on them but to learn something new myself. After all, I want things to be a bit more exciting than the typical "base coat, float shade, highlight, detail" sequence that is the core of many painted projects. I usually try to throw in at least a little something 'different' so that the projects are truly a learning experience. It makes it fun and exciting. 

With exploring new avenues and techniques also comes failures. That is just the nature of the beast, I believe. I am a firm believer in that nothing teaches better than experience and sometimes things don't always work out as we planned. 

I try to be genuine in my posts here, and that sometimes includes showing my botched attempts. While some of you think that every time I do something it is successful, we both know that if I allowed you to believe that, I would be lying. I have had my fair share and then some of "mishaps". The thing is that I have learned to take them in stride and learn from them and try again. This project was a fine example of just that. 

I had a 'vision' in my head of what I wanted this to look like. The intention of this project (besides looking cool!) was to give a lesson on high-contrast to create drama. I wanted the painting something that was going to make the viewer really 'look' at it and say, "Wow!" and make a statement. Personally, I love painting 'dark' things. Creating 'dark' paintings where certain elements catch your attention would be a nice lesson and challenge for most. I had an idea . . . 

I had given you all a peek at the background for this project in the last blog post. This only came to be after no less than THREE attempts to achieve the look I wanted. The first time was pretty much a disaster. After trying a technique that I thought would work, it turned into a mucked up mess. I had to head to the sander and begin over again. 

The second attempt was 'closer' but I still had issues. While the look I was seeking was 'almost' there, the paint began lifting in places which looked bad:

It was back to the sander again, and after several hours of work, here is where I was with my painting:

But I was undaunted and determined. What I learned from the two previous mistakes was taken into account and I wound up changing my plan of attack completely. (I will talk about the details in the video.) After the first evening of painting, I had my background where I wanted it to be. I was happy. I knew I had a victory under my belt and I was really excited to continue on. 

Here is the finished background, as I showed you last time:

From here on, I knew it would be 'smoooooth sailing!'  The rest of the process was something that I felt good and comfortable doing, and it would be a pleasure to see if I could bring my vision of this project to life. 

I added a CAT:

(I know that may become as no surprise to you, but I really don't paint THAT many cats – really!)  I also added the moon. I didn't originally think I wanted a moon. It seemed kind of cliche. But in thinking through the way I wanted to have things laid out, it seemed to naturally go where I put it. Maybe subconsciously it was my intention all along. In any case, it now had a moon. ;) 

From then on it was pretty easy. I based out the pumpkins where I wanted them to be:

. . . painted in the undertones . . . 

. . . and started the shading . . . 

I had a fabulous evening of enjoying my painting time. By midnight or so, I was pretty much done with this part of the painting:

I am happy. :D

Ah – but it isn't done yet. There are more surprises to come. I will be doing some things to really make it special and even better – and even throw in a nice little variation as well.

(Did I ever say how much I LOVE my job?) 

I hope you enjoyed seeing this little step-by-step demonstration. I want to show most of all that these things are easy to do. No great skill was required to create this cute painting. Just a little patience and some familiarity with some easy techniques. 

I invite you to stay tuned and stop by to see the finished project in the next post. Better yet – join Toletown and paint it yourself. You will be amazed how fun and easy it is to create! 

Have a wonderful Wednesday! 

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

5 comments so far

View bushmaster's profile


3939 posts in 3056 days

#1 posted 08-30-2017 03:31 PM

Surprize when I checked my email this morning, Very nice tutorial on your painting, we always liked black cats, but I didn’t know they could turn there head around and look backwards, I tried but can’t, guess I am getting old. Thanks for taking the 2 hours to do the blog.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3693 days

#2 posted 08-30-2017 03:50 PM

Oh, Coco does that. She did it this morning and I was going to catch it in a photo but couldn’t get the camera fast enough. just a quick glance over her shoulder.

Or . . .

Is the cat looking BACK or looking FORWARD? Humm . . . I think it could be either way easily.

I don’t know if I am slower or putting better quality pictures that take a little more time to adjust, or just because I need to share the blog in so many places, but it does seem to take a lot of time. I was up until almost 1am last night painting though and got up around 7am today. I used to get up anywhere between 5am and 6am. So I ‘lose’ an hour in the morning. But I used to go to sleep at 10pm then too. It is give and take and choices have to be made.

You all don’t need to hear my ‘musings on life’ in the mornings, anyway. They aren’t as positive as they used to be. I am from the old school of ‘if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything.’

Maybe that is why I have been so quiet lately. ;)

Thank you for stopping by. I always appreciate your thoughts and cyber-friendship. I hope you are safe from the fires.


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Druid's profile


2205 posts in 3569 days

#3 posted 08-30-2017 09:26 PM

More surprises to come??? It already looks great. I’ll stay tuned… ;)

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View Celticscroller's profile


1286 posts in 2846 days

#4 posted 08-31-2017 02:56 AM

Love how this painting project is turning out Sheila. I can imagine that some glitter will be added! :) Looking forward to seeing the finished product. You are inspiring me to get back to some painting again. I haven’t taken up the brushes in a while.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3693 days

#5 posted 08-31-2017 12:27 PM

Thank you both so much.

Yes, John – there are lots of layers involved. I could stop now, but why? Still a couple of additional things to add.

And yes, Anna – there is some kind of shimmer/sparkle involved. ;) How can I not? LOL! I would love to see you get back to some painting. It amazes me how little I do my own original painting projects. Like you, I have so many creative outlets that it is hard to find time for them all.

I hope you both stay safe and sound on your side of the country. ((HUGS))

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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