Contest – What’s Inside the Snow Globe?

Artists sometimes have an upside-down perspective on the seasons. Because the creative process takes time, we have to think many months ahead to prepare for the next season.

So now that spring/summer has fully arrived (simultaneously this year!), my thoughts have turned toward Christmas… particularly, the 2018 paintings in my “Jolly Old Elf” series.

This year’s companion print – the one that inspired me first – is Santa looking into a beautiful sparkly snow globe. But as you can see, the globe is empty!

It’s not that I don’t know what to put in the snow globe – I’ve already decided, but I’m just not ready to finish it quite yet. So in the meantime, I thought why not have a contest to see who can guess what’s going to be inside the snow globe?

Here are the rules…

Each person gets one guess. The contest will run until I reveal the entire sketch. Everyone who guesses correctly will be entered into the drawing, and the winner will receive a free print of this painting when it’s finished. As always, you’ll know when it’s done because I like to share the progress of each painting with you!

The deadline for entry is Thursday, June 14th, and the winner will be announced on Thursday, June 28th.

What’s inside the magical snow globe? Put on your thinking cap and send me an email with your best guess!

Merry (early) Christmas!

P.S. – Some of you have young children who are finishing up the school year, and you may be looking for gifts for teachers, aides, cafeteria staff, and so on. One of the attendees at my morning meeting today just ordered a Mother Teresa candle and three boxes of Pittsburgh and Kennywood note cards.

She told me that she needed them for next Wednesday and requested that I sign them in gold (as I’m always happy to do for any customer). I assured her that I had them in stock and would have them ready in plenty of time for her son to take them to school.

So if you’re thinking about end-of-year teachers’ gifts, check out my website,  www.lindabarnicott.com. You may find that perfect gift to say ‘Thank you for caring for my child.’

I’m in Love

Can you believe this weather? When Spring finally came, it came in a big hurry, and I’m in love!

I’m in love with the sunshine. I’m in love with the white flowers of my cherry tree floating through the air. I’m in love with the fragrances of the flowers, and I especially love with playing outside with my granddaughter. Outside is her favorite place to be, and blowing bubbles is her favorite pastime.

I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned it to you or not, but this year I’ve been serving as president of the Pittsburgh Pastel Art League. It’s a real challenge for someone (like me!) who is really lousy with administrative work. But so far, so good. I’m really enjoying it, and the group seems to be having a great time.

Last Saturday we had planned a “Paint-Out” at the Gilberti Gallery in Coraopolis from 9 to 3, meaning we would be painting outdoors in the community. Well, at 9 a.m. it was raining cats and dogs. I had no clue how many people would actually show up.

My original plan was to help everyone set up, then rush home and get back to work on painting the Forbes Hospital piece (I’m on the fourth painting out of five). I wasn’t planning to actually participate in the Paint-Out myself, so I didn’t bring any materials with me. I had to leave early, and that was that.

But you know how painting is like an addiction to me! Here’s what actually happened…

Artists began to show up, and as their numbers grew, I got more and more excited. We decided to move the event inside the gallery, and we began to set up painting stations. Cindy even had all the easels we needed to make it happen.

People showed up with food to share and plenty of excitement at the prospect of painting together. Artists came from all over to join in the painting party… artists from O’Hara Township, Indiana Township, Westmoreland County, and elsewhere.

Being surrounded by artists and paint and easels, I must have looked pretty eager, because Cindy looked at me and said “Linda, I have pastels and paper here if you would like to paint. I also have reference photos to choose from.”

She didn’t have to ask me twice. My inner painter said, “To heck with going home, I’m going to stay here and paint!” I don’t get as much downtime for fun as I would like to, and when I get the chance, I call it “Bingo Night” – remembering the times when I was a little girl and my grandmother would take me with her to Bingo! It was my idea of honest-to-goodness fun.

Anyway, Cindy, the gallery owner, is terrific, and just getting to hang out with her any time is in itself a real joy.

So I started painting. It felt so good and so liberating to paint something beautiful just because I wanted to – with no commitments! I picked a photo of New Mexico, similar to a scene I remembered from last June when Tom and I spent a couple of weeks there after the pastel convention.

In the end, I was truly glad I stayed to spontaneously create art with my new friends. It was like a breath of fresh air.

I hope you also are having a beautiful week and doing what you love to do.

Spring Fever!

As we head into Easter weekend, the Barnicott family is caught up in holiday planning and activities. But even without the holiday, the entire family has a lot going on right now.

So much is happening this week!

My younger daughter (who as I’ve mentioned before is expecting twins!) and our beloved son-in-law Jon along with our little granddaughter Aria are closing on a house of their own next week. Meanwhile, Jon is looking for a new job, and my daughter Brittany just got one – she was promoted to Director of Marketing for St. Vincent de Paul.

Tom, of course, is immersed in work with Holy Week activities. Holy Week for ministers is like tax season for accountants!

As for me, I’m working double-time on my special commission for Forbes Hospital – a huge five-panel painting for their new History Wall. The paintings will be unveiled at the Omni William Penn at a black tie event on April 19th.  Although the project isn’t quite completed, three of the five panels are finished, and the last two paintings will be shown as “works in progress.”

Whenever I sit down to work on the History Wall paintings, I’m reminded of how grateful I am for the opportunity to honor the men and women of Forbes Hospital. It boggles my mind to think that my work will hang there on the History Wall for decades to come as a tribute to those dedicated people.

As much as I’m enjoying the Forbes Hospital project, it doesn’t allow me much time for other things (especially housework!). I’ve been so busy, in fact, that here we are with Easter almost upon us and – believe it or not – I still have some Christmas decorations up. I definitely need a maid… or maybe a clone?

It looks like we’re finally getting some springlike weather here in Pittsburgh. When I think about which of my paintings reminds me most of spring, the first one that comes to mind is “Oasis of Beauty at Phipps.” I’m not the only one who feels that way… just this morning, someone at my BNI business meeting asked about purchasing one of my metal sandwich trays featuring that image.

There’s something about that painting that really evokes the light and warmth of springtime for me. I had wanted to paint that scene for over a decade, and when I finally did, it was like bringing sunshine into our home. I like to think I was channeling Monet when I painted this piece, inspired by the soft light and water lilies in the pond.


Monet “Water Lilies” 1916

I hope you enjoy “Oasis of Beauty at Phipps” as much as I do. The original is sold; however, the image is available as a print or on note-cards or gift-ware. Visit my website and see what’s available… http://lindabarnicott.com/product/oasis-of-beauty-at-phipps/.

Spring Therapy

What happened to spring? Tuesday was supposed to be the first day of spring, and we ended up getting buried under a blanket of snow. (That stupid groundhog lied AGAIN!)

My brain and my body are so tired of winter… so what, I wondered, could I do to console myself while springtime is so elusive, and we still have a landscape covered in winter white?

Well, I found just the thing… I pulled together some of the plein air landscapes I had painted during my travels. After being battered by the shock of yet another cold snap and close to a foot of snow, surrounding myself with those springlike scenes was just what I needed to soothe my spirit.

Often when I create a new painting, I do a photo shoot and then return to my studio to compose and paint it.  Each of my plein air paintings, however, was created as I stood right there at the scene and painted what I saw. It’s rather zen, a very tranquil kind of process.

The painting at the top of this email, Flowering Potato Fields, is a particular favorite of mine… When I first visited the state of Washington, I remember driving past beautiful fields of flowers. I’d never seen flowers like that before, and I had no idea what they could be. Being an Easterner, I was surprised and delighted to find out they were potatoes! Who knew potatoes had flowers? Or that they could be so pretty? The pink flowers are the red potatoes, the yellow flowers in the background are Yukon potatoes, and the white ones are your basic white potato.

Here’s another painting from my travels but in the upper Midwest, a scene from Grand Marais, Minnesota by Lake Superior. Standing in this field of flowers with the beautiful lake in the background was a taste of heaven. Fun Fact: There was a broken-down rusty tractor right smack in the middle of the flowers that I chose not to include in the painting… artistic license, right?

The last painting is of a place that has great meaning for me – Strawbridge Lake Park in New Jersey. When I was just 19 and working at RCA, it was my special nature place where I would go on my lunch hour to kick up some leaves and climb some trees when no one was looking.

But what really makes this painting special to me is that my husband Tom and my two best friends, Kathy and Ron were with me when I painted it. (Ron was my best friend since childhood, and Kathy was my coworker. I introduced them over 40 years ago, and they’re together to this day.)

Want to get your own little dose of spring? Check out my landscapes collection at www.lindabarnicott.com.

Speaking of spring, I have two other paintings in “Pure Pigment,” a new show at the Gilberti Gallery in Coraopolis. You can check out this great show of pastels artists from around the region any time between now and the end of April.  The gallery is also a working studio for the owner, Cindy GIlberti. The Gilberti Gallery is located at 1030 5th Avenue (Coraopolis 15108), and you can contact Cindy at (412) 303-4590.

Wishing you good health and happiness in the coming week… and would a little warm and sunny weather be too much to ask?

It Takes a Village

The Home Show is one of those times each year when I feel most blessed… when I get to speak with so many people – favorite friends and customers and new friends alike – about my art, my family, and life in general.

Even when it’s too busy to have an actual conversation, just a quick hug or a wave from a friend warms my heart.  I always walk away from the Home Show with deep gratitude for all the wonderful people in my life.

Though I enjoy the people interactions and the energy and hard work of the show, one of my favorite times (believe it or not!) is the breakdown.

I always say “It takes a village to raise an artist” because there’s no way I could do what I do without my support team. For example, when it’s breakdown time, a group of my favorite people comes down to the Convention Center to spend a few hours wrapping, boxing, and bagging what’s left in the booth to return it safely to my studio. There’s a lot of laughter… and definitely exhaustion. But it’s a good kind of tired, and at the end of the day, I’m left with happy memories.

That being said, this year we had one “uh-oh” moment…

It gets pretty chaotic with everyone trying to leave at the same time and tractor-trailer trucks moving all around the Convention Center floor. Tom had to navigate our truck down a very skinny aisle, and we were in a hurry to get started once he was clear to go.

While Tom parked the U-Haul, and we started loading, I had asked the crew to get all the empty boxes and bags out of my van in the Convention Center parking garage. What I didn’t know was that when that task was done, they gave my keys to Tom instead of me.

As we packed late into the night, focused on our goal of getting out of there as soon as possible, we never gave it a thought.

Finally, I had just one last thing to do – taking a case of grape juice on my flatbed cart to my daughter’s car on the second floor of the parking garage. Once that last mission was accomplished, I headed back to my car with the cart, only to realize I did not have my keys.

Now let me just say that being stuck in a parking garage in the middle of the night alone without car keys is a very lonely moment.

I knew the girls would be coming down the ramp, so I ran there, trying to flag them down, but they never looked.

I called Tom but he was halfway home with the big truck. After several attempts, I finally reached my daughter, and she kindly returned to take me home. At long last, after we unloaded the truck, Tom and I headed back into the city to pick up my van. It’s a good thing they don’t lock up parking garages overnight!

Isn’t it funny how those times when things go a little astray are the ones you’ll always remember?

With another Home Show in the rearview, I would like to thank you all once again for your support and friendship and for allowing me to share a story or two!

There’s No Business Like (Home) Show Business

The Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show is an extremely busy time for me – it’s 10 days of nonstop action.  Just being here for so many hours every day, meeting, greeting, talking and selling all day long takes a toll on my body (and especially on my voice)!

Today with Zero Hour at hand – less than 24 hours to go! – I’ll be here into the wee hours of the morning, tweaking the displays and making sure all the finishing touches are in place when the doors open tomorrow.

But really it’s the week before the show – where we do all the preparations and set-up, moving in all my booth components and art into the David L Lawrence Convention Center – where I work harder than at any other time of the year.

Before the show begins, we put in long, long hours in the studio, organizing and packing up all the prints and giftware. Then we have to load it all into a U-Haul and drive it to the Convention Center, where we take it all back out again and set it up. It’s a job that’s certainly not for the faint of heart… or weak of muscle!

Of course, none of this would be possible without the help and support (and muscle!) of my husband and best friend, Tom. Tom is always there to help me be the best I can be.  He never fails to go above and beyond when it comes to helping me advance my career, develop my creativity, and channel my inspiration.

Despite the late nights and early mornings he has to work to fit me into his schedule, he’s always been there for me. And even after all these years, we still have a lot of fun working together.

This year I chose some of my favorite paintings to feature at the show. One painting that brings back happy memories for many Pittsburghers is “Ice Ball Treats with Gus and YiaYia,” starring the ever-lovable Gus.

 

For best selection, come earlier in the week while I’m fully stocked. The first Friday is always a slow day at the Home and Garden Show, so in exchange for keeping me busy that day, you’ll save even more.

Visit my website, www.lindabarnicott.com, and do a little pre-shopping research before you come to the show. When you get to my booth, you’ll already know what you’re looking for.

Come and see what’s new!  Remember, there will also be unique pieces at the show that are not on the website and will only be available during the show.

So print out this email and bring the coupons with you to get your special deal… I can’t wait to greet you at the Show (Booth #3146-8) or see you online!

Light ‘Em Up!

Last night our power went out. In the winter, that can be a little scary because you don’t have heat. And you never notice how dark it can get in your home until you don’t have electricity. We just take it for granted in our daily lives and don’t appreciate it until the lights go out.

When there’s a power failure, you have to rethink everything you do. For one thing, I couldn’t take our dog Allie out through the garage as we usually do – no power to open the garage door. No electric range and no microwave meant no cooking dinner. The house was slowly getting colder and colder with the furnace off. Even worse, if the power was out all night, I wouldn’t be able to style my hair in the morning… and no one wants to see that.

Fortunately, it wasn’t too long before the power came back on with no real harm done. But that experience last night made me laugh, remembering how just the day before I found out how much my granddaughter loves my candles.  (Seems like I was the last one to know!)

I walked into the living room to find Aria stretching upward, trying to reach one of the candles. I picked it up and brought it down to her level so she could see it. (It was unlit, of course!) She leaned into it and took a huge whiff. One by one, she asked to see and smell each of the candles – it took a while because I have so many candles with different paintings and scents. As we sat there together, Aria looked at each candle, closed her eyes, and smelled the fragrance. She kept saying and signing “more” as we closed up each one. So it looks like I can advertise my candles as Baby Approved!

This last holiday season I sold quite a few candles to my friends at BNI (a business networking meeting I attend every week). Since then, they’ve been telling me about how they gifted my candles to their loved ones and how well they were received.

It means so much to me to hear those stories, knowing that my work has touched the hearts of their families and friends. If you have any stories of your own to share, I would love to hear them.

Have you noticed that the days are getting longer? The groundhog predicted six more weeks of winter, but we Pittsburghers know better!

In three short weeks, the 2018 Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show opens at theDavid L Lawrence Convention Center.– where Spring comes to Pittsburgh a couple weeks ahead of schedule. You can find me in my customary spot, Booth #3146-8, at the beginning of Artists’ Row. The show runs from Friday, March 2nd to Sunday, March 11th.

Candles also make great Valentine’s Day gifts! If you’d like to order in time for the 14th, all candles are in stock right now except for Hills and My Hometown. I will, of course, be fully stocked at the show.

One Step Ahead of the Groundhog

I just know that rodent is going to see his shadow tomorrow morning, and we’re going to be stuck with winter a little while longer. But I’ve already seen the first sign of Spring – yesterday I received my vendor packet for the 2018 Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show!

I can hardly believe it, but this will be my 23rd year as an exhibitor.

It all started back in 1980 when I was just a newlywed. I had joined the South Hills Art League, and they asked me to do a demo at the show. That year the show was featuring a beautiful “Dream House” – a little yellow ranch house with a pretty pond, surrounded by lots of flowers. I remember happily standing there for hours with my pastels and easel, painting and fantasizing about what it would be like to live in that wonderful little house.

Years later, Tom and I were visiting the show when we ran into an art representative from the old Jerry Horn Gallery, who suggested I might want to become a vendor at the show. Back then it was held in the old Convention Center, where it occupied three whole floors. He gave me one piece of advice – even though there were galleries on the third floor, I should ask to have my booth on the second floor. Apparently many people never made it all the way up to the third floor… and if they did, they were too tired by then to care.

The very next year, I called the owner of the show and signed up. I was pleasantly surprised to find that he knew who I was right away, and that helped make my first experience very special. He even gave me a booth on the second floor like I asked… right between bathtubs and window treatments.

Did I mention that I was the only artist at the show back then? I remember putting balloons around my booth so people would notice me. Customers commented that visiting my booth was like having dessert after endless aisles of garage doors, windows, kitchen appliances, and of course bathtubs. That first year exceeded all my expectations… and now here we are getting ready for my 23rd time around!

The next four weeks will be action-packed…  once again organizing, ordering new product, and getting all my ducks in a row for those ten delightful days at the David L Lawrence Convention Center in Downtown Pittsburgh. You can find me in my usual spot, Booth #3146-8, at the beginning of the Art Aisle.

I’ve met so many special people over the years at this show… I can’t wait for the smiles and great conversations with friends old and new. The Home and Garden Show is a great time to purchase my gifts and decor because I’ll be fully stocked, especially during the opening weekend.

Save the dates – March 2 to March 11 – I have a feeling this is going to be the best show yet!

P.S. – In case you’re wondering what Aria is up to these days, here she is wearing Grandma’s gloves and hat. She loves to go out even on the coldest days, and sometimes you just have to go with what you have available.

I also have very exciting news! Aria will soon be a Big Sister… to two new siblings! That’s right – Alyssa and Jon are having twins, so we will be doubly blessed.

What that also means for Grandma is that I’ll be painting like crazy this year to finish before the twins are born. Wish me luck!

On Location with Supermodel Santa

What do you think Santa does in the off-season? I’m betting he takes a relaxing tropical vacation somewhere to unwind after the holidays.

Though Santa’s definitely enjoying his post-Christmas downtime, he did make an exception for me last weekend. He was kind enough to make a special trip from the North Pole to my house for our annual marathon Jolly Old Elf photo shoot.

(Santa may be a whiz at toymaking and overnight delivery, but those aren’t his only talents… he’s also a great model!)

First, I want to send out a big “Thank You” to everyone who helped us out with props for this year’s new Santa paintings. We don’t know yet which ones will be included in the final designs, but I truly appreciate the generosity of all of you who shared your treasures with us for a little while.

Meet our photography crew: There’s me, of course, and Santa, who needs no introduction. Carolyn and Nathan, the young couple in the photo, are friends I met at the Holiday Market in Market Square several years ago. They have been helping me out with the Jolly Old Elf photo shoots every year since then. We make a great team – when you get the four of us together, the creative juices really start to flow!

Now all that remains is to see how inspiration strikes and where it will take me when I sit down to paint…

Once Santa’s supermodel weekend was a wrap, I turned my attention to preparing for the Pittsburgh Travel Show at the David L Lawrence Convention Center this weekend. My van is packed up and ready to go to the Convention Center for set-up later today.

As their tag line says, “The World Awaits!”

So what’s this hometown girl doing at a travel show? I represent Pittsburgh from an artist’s point of view. My paintings are like a Pittsburgh travelogue – as you browse through my paintings, it’s like taking a tour of all your favorite Pittsburgh landmarks.

The Pittsburgh Travel Show runs from Friday, January 26 through Sunday the 28th at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. You can find me in Booth #129 next to the Hertz display. The hours are noon to 8 pm Friday, 10 to 8 pm Saturday, and 10 to 5 pm on Sunday.

In the middle of this cold, gray winter, this weekend is the perfect time to get out of the house and dream about faraway cities, tropical beaches, and exotic destinations. Maybe you’ll even find a gift or two, decorate your home or office, and have some fun. Come on down and visit me and forget about the ice and snow for a while!

Jolly Old Elf Scavenger Hunt

I’ve been sitting here in front of my computer this evening wondering what to write to you this week. Unfortunately, I’m having a really hard time keeping my mind on the written word – but I have a really good excuse.

I’ve been very distracted lately, deep in thought, seeking inspiration for my next painting in the Jolly Old Elf series. You see, this Saturday Santa will be coming to my house to pose for this year’s paintings. But I still don’t have all the props I need!

That’s right – Santa’s coming Saturday for his photo session, and I’m still short a few items. And thanks to my outstanding procrastination skills, I only have two days left to acquire them.

Can anyone help with this year’s Jolly Old Elf Scavenger Hunt?

  • A quill pen would come in handy.
  • A small old-fashioned braided rug such as you might have in your entryway or kitchen.
  • I need one of those long sleeping caps like the ones worn in olden days. (Think Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol or the dad in The Night Before Christmas.)
  • An old-fashioned milk bottle.
  • I could use a few more antique toys as well.

If you have any of these items, would be willing to let me borrow them for the photo session, and can drop them off at my studio on Friday, I would be most grateful!

Despite the cold and snow, these midwinter months are one of my favorite times of year. With fewer shows to worry about and lots of time indoors, it’s typically one of my most creative periods. I also get to do a lot of brainstorming and planning about what I will be painting in the coming year.

But what I enjoy the most in January is the process of designing and setting up my next Jolly Old Elf painting. Santa is always so much fun to work with, and he’s a great model… willing to try just about anything!

Then once this photo shoot weekend is over, hold onto your hats! I will be getting ready for my first show of 2018. And after 36 days out in the cold in Market Square during the holidays, I’m happy to be staying indoors this time.

The Pittsburgh Travel Show runs from Friday, January 26 through Sunday the 28th at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. You can find me in Booth #129 next to the Hertz display. The hours are noon to 8 pm Friday, 10 to 8 pm Saturday, and 10 to 5 pm on Sunday.

It’s my second year exhibiting at this show, providing a hometown presence in a world full of travel. After all, “there’s no place like home!” And dreaming about sandy beaches and exotic locales is a great cure for cabin fever.

So stop by and see me – I’ll have a booth full of art and giftware to decorate your home or office, to give to someone special, or just to spoil yourself a little.