Suddenly Spring!

This photo features Linda Barnicott, Pittsburgh's Painter of Memories, smiling next to her booth at the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show.

Can you believe Spring is here? It may not feel like it outside, but inside the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, it sure looks that way!

Yes, it’s that time again… today is Opening Day of the 2019 Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show.

This year promises to be bigger and better than ever. In fact, the 2019 Farm to Table Conference is now a part of the Home and Garden Show, adding a whole new section – including live chickens!

I’ve spent the last few days getting the booth set-up for the show. Ready or not, the doors open at 10 a.m. this morning!

This photo features the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show booth of Linda Barnicott, Painter of Memories.

If you’ve been dreaming of Spring, I recommend a visit to the Home and Garden Show. It’s just the thing to cure your cabin fever.

The 38th Annual Pittsburgh Home and Garden show runs from Friday, March 1st to Sunday, March 10th, at the David L Lawrence Convention Center in Downtown Pittsburgh. You can find me at Booth 3146-8.

The photo features the logo for the 38th Annual Duquesne Light Co. Home & Garden Show.

Celebrating 25 Years at the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show

Linda Barnicott, Pittsburgh's Painter of Memories, poses in her booth at the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show.

The first robin hasn’t appeared yet, and there’s still snow on the ground, but Pittsburghers know Spring is just around the corner when billboards for the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show start popping up. Opening Day is tomorrow!

It’s hard to believe that this year will be my 25th anniversary at the Home and Garden Show. It brings back so many memories of my very first time as an exhibitor… could it really have been a quarter century ago?

Linda Barnicott, Pittsburgh's Painter of Memories, poses with her painting "Walking in the Light of the Cathedral" when it was finished in 1990.

Because I was young, inexperienced, and broke, I actually shared my booth with another vendor, Black Swan Gallery.  Booth rental that year was $1200, which seemed like a fortune to this struggling artist. I also had to come up with the cash ($800) to advertise my Home Show debut with smudgy black-and-white ads in the Sunday Pittsburgh Press. Sounds a little primitive, doesn’t it? But at the time, it was the most effective way to reach the most people, especially former Pittsburghers who now lived somewhere else and subscribed to keep up with hometown news.

It was a huge step to be striking out on my own, and participating in the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show was a big deal for me. I was nervous about making the investment, but I figured that my $1200 would buy me 10 days to show my art to over 300,000 people. I wrote the check, but not without a lot of anxiety!

Then (to my surprise) two days into the show, I realized I had already earned back my investment! I remembered being in shock, looking at Tom and saying, “How did that happen? We still have eight days left!” To me, that first Home and Garden show was when my career as a serious artist really took off.

How many of you go back that far with me?

The photo features the logo for the 38th Annual Duquesne Light Co. Home & Garden Show.

The show runs from Friday, March 1 to Sunday, March 10 at the David L Lawrence Convention Center in Downtown Pittsburgh. You can find me at Booth 3146-8.

As I take care of all the last minute details, it’s been fun reminiscing over happy memories of Home Shows past, especially all the wonderful people I’ve met there. I hope you’ll come visit me this year and wish me a happy 25th anniversary! Everyone needs more art in their lives, right?

Let’s make this year as memorable as the first! See you there…

Making Wishes Come True

Linda Barnicott, Pittsburgh's Painter of Memories, hangs a large canvas reproduction of her painting "Waiting for You Under Kaufmann's Clock."

As an artist who owns her own business, it’s sometimes within my power to make someone’s wish come true. And on this Florida vacation, I had the opportunity to do just that!

During the holidays, I was contacted by a customer who was interested in purchasing one of my paintings. She wanted something to remind her of her Pittsburgh home while she was at her condo in Florida. Eventually she decided on “Waiting for You Under Kaufmann’s Clock” – she had fallen in love with it after seeing it on a new metal piece I had at the Chalet.

But there was one problem; the wall it would hang on was long and narrow, and most of it was taken up by an unsightly electrical box. The painting would have to cover the box completely.

Putting our heads together, we decided that a canvas gallery wrap might do the trick. So I was off to see Alex, my printer, with the dimensions. Alex was able to create a slice of the painting that included the clock and the streetcar that would fit perfectly within the space available.

I mentioned to my customer that because of the size and the delicate handling it would require, I would rather not ship it. I told her that Tom and I would be happy to deliver it right to her condo while we were in Florida. Hey, why not? It was a beautiful day to take a long drive, and besides, we could visit Riviera Beach, a place we had never been! It’s “all in a day’s work” for an art entrepreneur.

We had a great visit with their tenants, and we even got to see what the painting looked like up on the wall. Then we had some time to check out the beautiful beach.

Have I mentioned lately that I love my job??

Linda Barnicott, Pittsburgh's Painter of Memories, poses in front of the Epcot International Festival of the Arts sign.

We also paid a visit to the Mouse House on Tuesday to see the International Arts Festival at Epcot. Tom and I had a lovely day seeing all the beautiful works of art, listening to the musicians, and enjoying the special foods they prepared for the festival. Being surrounded by art and beauty was just what I needed to get my creative juices flowing. Which, as you can see from the picture below, was something I was really in need of!

Linda Barnicott, Pittsburgh's Painter of Memories, poses in a reproduction of Edvard Munch's "The Scream."

Though I didn’t intend this to be a working vacation, I did take the precaution of bringing along a few sketching supplies. Thanks to all the creative inspiration, I’ve been able to get a head start on the first drawings of my new Santa painting for 2019… Woodland Santa! So far, I like the feel of it.

And one more thing that’s a sure sign that Spring is just around the corner… my mind has been wandering to planning for this year’s Home and Garden Show. This year, it runs March 1st through 10th at the David L Lawrence Convention Center.

I think the vacation has done a good job of clearing my head, because something just dawned on me since I’ve been away… I thought 2019 was around my 23rd year for at the show, but my numbers were all wrong! It’s not 23 – this year will be my 25th Home and Garden Show!!

Yes, 25! A quarter of a century!

Now that I know this, I’ve decided there will be an ongoing celebration at my booth! In just a few weeks, you can come check it out.

Spring Is Just Around Corner

"Rose Garden," a landscape by Linda Barnicott

We’re only one month into 2019, and it’s already been a year of big changes for Tom and me. In the last few weeks, we have moved to a new home, Tom has officially retired, and as of this past weekend, we’re on a much-needed two-week vacation. All this in about four weeks! Not to mention planning and successfully pulling off a surprise retirement party with over 200 friends. So needless to say, I’ve been a little busy.

So busy in fact, that last night as I was sitting in the car waiting for Tom to run an errand, I realized that I had forgotten a very important meeting!

The Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show has an annual meeting for exhibitors about a month before the show begins to help gear up for the event. This year I was so distracted that I almost forgot – for the first time in 23 years!  Leaving poor Tom at the church to pack up all by himself, I hurried into town and made it just in time for the two-hour meeting.

A photograph of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, site of the Pittsburgh Home & Garden Show

As I walked through the Convention Center to the third floor, I looked around at all that vast, empty space, remembering all the years I’ve brought my wares here and set up for this show. I pictured the dark cavernous space full of booths, with people walking the aisles looking for ideas to improve, decorate, or make over their homes… or maybe catch a cooking demonstration or pet a rescue dog. I remembered the joy I felt every year, meeting new people and being reunited with old friends and customers.

Driving home after the meeting, I was feeling nostalgic about my 23 years as an exhibitor at the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show, and also feeling inspired, as I dreamed about the upcoming show. That was when I realized that I was on autopilot, halfway to my old home in Bethel Park instead of my new home in Brentwood.

My mind may be a little preoccupied right now, but I when I sit down to paint this year, my heart and soul and mind will be focused. And if you need help finding the perfect piece of art, whatever your needs, you can be sure I’ll be listening!

So we may have just experienced a Deep Freeze, but Spring is just around the corner. Tom and I are grateful for being able to take a little break for now before we have to start preparing for the Home and Garden Show – the first sign of Spring in Pittsburgh. Can’t wait to see you there!

Linda Barnicott's granddaughter, Aria, paints at the Pittsburgh Children's Museum.

P.S. – Tom and I recently took our granddaughters to the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum. Aria’s favorite place is the Painting Room. Sometimes she paints with her right hand, sometimes with her left… this could be interesting!

New Year, New Home

Linda Barnicott, Pittsburgh's Painter of Memories, will be moving her studio to Brentwood in February 2019

Have I told you that I’m moving? Now that the holidays are over, I can think of little else! On the 23rd of January, we’re moving the whole Barnicott operation – not just our personal home, but my studio as well – to our new location in Brentwood.

Though preparing for the big move has been a lot of work and perhaps a little stressful, I have to say it’s still very exciting.

The reason for the move is that on January 31st, Tom will officially retire from the church after 36 years of ministry. Of course, he’ll never truly leave it behind. When you’re called to the ministry, it’s a lot like finding your passion as an artist – your calling is always a part of you. But in the months and years ahead, Tom will have more freedom to explore the other aspects of who he is as a person. I’m really looking forward to sharing this next chapter of life with him.

Tom Barnicott, husband of Linda Barnicott, spends time with his granddaughter, Aria, at the Children's Museum.

Tom once told me that one of his fantasies has always been to work for the Pirates. That didn’t surprise me at all – he’s a lifelong baseball fan.

I remember once coming home and scrolling through the messages on my answering machine (you know, those boxes they used to have before voice mail was invented? The ones that sat next to your phone and blinked when you had a message?). I saw that I had a call from a “Nelson King,” but not being a native Pittsburgher and not really a sports fan, the name didn’t ring a bell.

Mr. King wanted to come to my studio and get advice on putting together a lithograph of his work to sell. I returned his call, and we agreed he’d come over that Thursday. When Tom came home that day, I mentioned that a fellow by the name of Nelson King was coming over. Tom clutched his chest as if he were having a heart attack! “NELLIE KING!!!???” he yelled… “I’m canceling my meeting, and I’m going to be right here when he comes!”

That’s right… my “Mr. King” was the beloved Pirates announcer (and former pitcher) Nellie King, one of Tom’s boyhood idols.

So needless to say, when I started my project with Bill Mazeroski, Tom was over the moon. Each time we got together with Maz to sign a set of prints, Tom was practically glowing. You might even say visions of peanuts and Cracker Jack (which, in fact, I put in his stocking this year) danced in his head…

Not many of the Maz signature prints are left, and sadly, several were destroyed in our last move (which is why I’m hand carrying every single piece of art to our new home). However, I have about 50 left with his signature and HOF01, which stands for Hall of Fame 2001. When they’re gone, they’re gone, so if a signed Mazeroski print is something you may want to give (or receive!) this year, this is the time to get one. 

Once I get settled in at our new home/studio, I’d love to have you stop by! If you’re in town, just give me a call and come visit. Being right on Brownsville Road in the middle of Brentwood is exciting, and there’s plenty of parking.

Our New Home/Studio
3211 Brownsville Rd
Pittsburgh, PA 15227
(as of 1/23/19)

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

Though the holidays are my favorite time of year, I still look forward to settling into my normal routines again when January rolls around. As I attempted to get back to my painting yesterday, I had a lovely moment that I’d like to share with you.

Our granddaughter Aria, who is all of 2 years old, was at our house for a few hours yesterday, doing what she usually does – playing, running around, and making a lot of noise. I had slipped away to my studio for a few minutes to get some painting done on a commissioned piece I’ve been working on, when the door opened, and Tom and Aria came in to see what I was up to.

Aria put both hands on her mouth and exclaimed “Oh my!” and smiled. She climbed up into my lap, and then we proceeded to pick up the pastels. Aria took great pride in telling me what some of the colors were, and Tom captured the moment in a photo.

Another special moment happened when a customer stopped this evening to pick up a piece I had framed for her. The frame is about 11 x 14 inches and holds a 5 x 7 image of one of my most popular Pittsburgh paintings, My Hometown  — the iconic view from Mount Washington with the Duquesne Incline.

Just below the painting is a cut-out oval in the matting with a saying that reads:

“You never really leave a place you love. Part of it you take with you, leaving a part of yourself behind.” 

I don’t know who was responsible for that saying, but I love it, and I’ve been using it for many years. It’s a perfect way to remind someone of home when they leave Pittsburgh.

Then on the back of the painting I wrote about a special memory of Pittsburgh and wished her a happy retirement. I signed the glass for her in gold, the signature shimmering in the light. (You can even clean the glass with glass cleaner and it will never come off!)

If I remember correctly, I’ve been signing my work with a gold pen like this for about 26 of my 30 years of painting. At the Chalet this holiday season, many customers asked if it would cost extra for me to sign my art. I just smiled and said “Of course not; it’s my pleasure.”

Would you like to give a special gift in the coming year to someone you care about? Someone who’s celebrating a wedding or a birthday? Someone who’s retiring or moving away? If so, I hope you’ll consider a piece of art that will last forever, a timeless reminder of Pittsburgh memories.

In 2019, I’ll be celebrating my 30th year of painting Pittsburgh! If you’ve given or received a piece of my art in the last 30 years, would you mind sharing a brief story about what it means to you or to the recipient? Even better, send a picture of you and the art piece; with your permission, I’d love to share the stories on my website.

As always, thank you for your constant friendship and support!

We’re Outta Here!

Linda Barnicott, Pittsburgh's Painter of Memories, packed up her chalet at the Pittsburgh Peoples Gas Holiday Market after a great season.

Looking back, it seems those 38 days in Market Square passed in the blink of an eye. But we were still pretty pumped on December 23rd when we emptied the Chalet, packed up the van, and took our traditional final “that’s a wrap” picture. We are done!

So what happens next?

Every year in the aftermath of our hectic holiday season, Tom and I often wonder…who received a gift of my art? Did they like it? What did they think when they saw the painting?

Well, this year I got some idea when I happened to receive an email entitled “Happy Customer,” so I couldn’t wait to read it! It was from a woman named Denise, who wrote:

Linda,

Last Christmas my son purchased the print of Consol Energy Center at your booth in Market Square. He was in Market Square again this past Sunday and was at your booth with Ally, his girlfriend. Alex was telling Ally how neat it would be to have the prints of PNC Park and Heinz Field. Much to his surprise, those two prints, plus the print of the Civic Arena were waiting for him under the tree on Christmas morning.

He was so excited!!!!! He was wondering how I could have possibly known that he wanted those prints and that I had time to get them under the tree. (I purchased the prints during your open house in October.)

Thank you for using your incredible talent and bringing so much joy to us all through your artwork. Those prints will keep Alex’s memories alive forever.

I had a huge smile on my face as I read this. First, I was thrilled that she had attended my Trunk Show – she had bought those two prints long before Christmas! Also, I was pleased that her son had visited my booth with his girlfriend and shared his wish list. And finally, I was grateful that Denise thought enough to write it all down and share it with me.

In the Spirit of the Holidays, I want to remind you all how grateful I am for you and for the blessings – big and small – of the season. If you read my last email, you know I’ve been very fortunate this year to hear so many heartwarming stories at my Chalet… stories that will bring me joy all through the year in 2019.

From all of the Barnicott family to all of you -- have a happy and healthy New Year.

Finally… from all the Barnicott family to all of you – Have a happy and fulfilling New Year! Let’s make 2019 the best year yet.

The Finish Line is in Sight!

Can you believe Christmas Eve is only 9 days from now? Before we know it, Santa’s Big Event will be upon us.

Somehow despite our hectic pre-Christmas busy-ness, Tom and I managed to schedule a day to play hooky from the Chalet down in Market Square to indulge in a festive new tradition – cutting down our own Christmas tree.

We decided to try cutting down our own tree for the first time last year. It was really pretty, but we thought it was maybe a little too small. So this year, of course, we had to overcompensate, and perhaps we overdid it a bit.

We had to cut a whole foot off the bottom and trim the top, but we finally got it to fit. Now we can sit back and enjoy the beauty of our tree as well as the satisfaction of a job well done. All is right with the world!

Isn’t shopping for the holidays a little like that?

First, you have to find the time to go shopping. And then it seems so intimidating… such a large task! We’ll never get it done! So you buy a little here, a little there – and then all of a sudden, you’re finished. Once that’s off your plate, you’re entitled to just sit back and enjoy the holiday beauty all around you, guilt-free.

I would be happy to help you achieve that state of holiday bliss that comes when you know your shopping is finished! My art and giftware make unique and personal gifts for everyone on your list. I’ll even personally sign each and every gift for your loved ones. White elephant gifts, office ornament exchanges, and special gifts are my forte!

I have tons of ideas for you. I’ll be at my Chalet every day for the next nine days. And if you’re up for a Sunday drive this weekend, I’ll be at Wendell August Forge in Grove City from 11-3 signing my work there.

I ho-ho-hope to see you soon!

Look Who’s Hanging Out in Market Square!

Pittsburgh Steelers legends Franco Harris and Joe Greene visit with Linda Barnicott at the Holiday Market in Market Square.

Despite the long hours and cold weather, one of my favorite parts of the Holiday Market is people-watching … looking out from my Chalet to see folks sharing the holiday spirit, shopping, and enjoying hot chocolate and live music.

At this time of year, Market Square truly feels like the heart of the city. Folks from all walks of life gather here to enjoy the Holiday Market. People not only from the many neighborhoods of the Pittsburgh area, but from many different cities, states, and even countries as well.

What do they have in common? I think it’s our love for each other and for this special season of joy, and I see it here every day. I may not be “Home” much lately, but being here in Market Square fills my heart with joy.

I just love hearing from people after they have received my art as a gift – it’s like the happy ending of a story… and who doesn’t love a happy ending?

This week I received a thoughtful email from Diane Cox, who asked me to send a print of “Meet Me Under Kaufmann’s Clock, Too” to her sister. What she said warmed my heart so much that I asked her if I could share it…

“My sister received her print yesterday. We had laughed and reminisced about our connection to Kaufmann’s clock. Thank you for making this nostalgic trip in time possible through your artwork! And thanks for putting the streetcar in the painting. Another Pittsburgh memory for our family.”

I also wanted to share a beautiful photo I recently received from JP Diroll, a dear friend who happens to be a very talented photographer. Here, JP is helping his little daughter hang one of my ornaments on their tree as she celebrates her first Christmas.

Pittsburgh Photographer JP Diroll and his daughter hang up a Linda Barnicott Christmas ornament on his tree.

The highlight of my week, however, involved a very special visit from an old friend. Franco Harris dropped by the Chalet this week, accompanied by his friend Mean Joe Greene (who in real life doesn’t have a mean bone in his body!).

Franco wanted to purchase a signed print of my painting “Franco Harris – The Story of the Immaculate Reception” for his friend, Joe. I came outside the Chalet to get a photo with Franco and Joe, and as you can see, I look awfully small between these two legends – big guys with even bigger hearts.

"Franco Harris - The Immaculate Reception Story" features Steelers legend Franco Harris in one of the most iconic moments in Pittsburgh sports history.

So as we were looking at the print, I said “Joe, let me tell you a little about this painting.” Joe asked, “Now what can you tell me that I don’t already know?”

I proceeded to give him some of the behind-the-scenes details of the painting, like…

  • How Franco and I were text buddies during the process of creating the painting. We were always texting back and forth about some tiny detail, like whether the color of his wristband was exactly right.
  • The reason I added Frank Sinatra and Myron Cope to the painting was because they were Honorary Generals in Franco’s Italian Army.
  • How I had originally placed the Game Ball in Franco’s hand as he returns to the locker room in victory… but I didn’t know they actually had lost that very important ball that day!

It was a lot of fun hanging out that evening with Franco and Joe and their lovely families. I’m in awe of how they were so giving of themselves, happy to spend time with their fans, smiling, shaking hands, and taking picture after picture with anyone who asked.

It just goes to show, you never know who you might run into in Market Square. Come on down and say hello!

Happy Holidays!

Special Visitors at the Chalet

Greetings from the Chalet in Market Square! … pretty much my home-away-from-home until December 23rd. With the frosty weather this week, I’m really glad I invested in some Arctic-grade long underwear! But one of the things that bring some sparkle to all those long cold days is the wonderful visitors who come to see me there.

First, of course, The Jolly Old Elf himself has been visiting with children in his Market Square Santa House, and he stopped by on his break to say hello. I have a feeling he just likes looking at all those paintings he’s in!

Then just yesterday, the Penn State Lion was passing by my chalet, and he practically flipped out when he saw the painting of Old Main on the top shelf. He couldn’t stop hugging me and thanking me for the memories it brought to mind. The video crew he was with even interviewed me about the Market!

But the most meaningful, heartwarming visit this week was with a young man named Michael.

It was a busy day at the Chalet last weekend, and I was signing art gifts for one of my customers when I noticed a young man looking in from the other side of my counter. When we made eye contact, he asked, “Ma’am, are you the artist?”

“I am,” I replied.

Michael explained that he had served in the Marines, and he’s now newly married and living in Boston. He was visiting with his Pittsburgh family for the Thanksgiving holiday.

“Years ago,” Michael said, “you gave me a free magnet because I was in the service. I brought that magnet with me when I was stationed overseas. It reminded it of home through all my deployments. Even in Afghanistan, it kept me thinking of home.”

“I just wanted to say thank you.”

I think my heart swelled to three times its size that day – to think that a little magnet of my painting, “My Hometown,” meant so much to this young man that he made a special effort to thank me.

It’s people like Michael who serve on behalf of those who don’t have a voice, who just want to have a normal peaceful life. I was happy to have the opportunity to say “Thank you, Michael, for putting your life in danger so that others may be free.”

So this holiday season, take a few moments and let someone in your life know how much a small gesture meant to you. You may just make their holidays a brighter, warmer time… like Michael did for me.

Have a great week, and if you’re in town, please stop by the Chalet and say hello!

P.S. – Treat yourself to an old-fashioned Christmas!

My daughter Brittany will be representing the Barnicotts at this year’s Christmas at the Village at Old Economy Village. We are participating for the first time with my paintings and gifts at this lovely show.

Take the family to experience a German Christmas of the 1800s with candlelit pathways and decorated buildings. You can even visit with Belsnickel – Santa’s Pennsylvania Dutch cousin!

Christmas at the Village will be open to the public from 2 to 9 pm on Saturday, December 1st and Sunday, December 2nd from 2 to 7 pm.