A Legacy of Love

You may have been wondering what happened last week when my usual cheerful email didn’t appear in your inbox.

I try not to miss a week very often. Even when I’m traveling and far from home, I usually manage to keep in touch and write to you every week. Most of the time I’m upbeat and happy about my career and the blessings in my life… in fact, I’m usually just thrilled with life itself.

I’m a person who always tries to “keep on the sunny side,” and I know I’ll find my way back to feeling that way again, although I’m finding it a bit difficult right now.

The last two weeks have been very rough for me and my family. My mom passed away on July 23rd, joining my dad, her parents, and the other loved ones who have gone before her. My mother was a beautiful soul, full of giving and joy, who loved her family more than anything.

There was another thing that she loved, and it was a subject that she was happy to talk about to anyone, at any time, whenever given the chance. That was me and my art.

Sometimes I would be just out of sight, and I would hear her proudly tell a friend (or often even a stranger!) that I was her talented artist daughter and how proud she was of my artwork. It never failed to bring a smile to my face.

I was very blessed to be her daughter, and I always strive to pass along the tremendous love she always showed me through to my own girls. I too am proud of my children and who they have become, and I cherish every day with them.

In a few days, Tom and I will leave on the trip of a lifetime – we’re going to Hawaii! Talk about a painter’s paradise! We’re looking forward to our visit to the islands for some down-time and especially a time of spiritual renewal. Until then, my goal is to get back to my work, though it has been hard to focus. There is still work to be completed and loose ends to be tied up before we go.

One thing I’ve been working very hard on these last couple months has been my brand-new, better-than-ever website. I can’t wait to unveil it for you! By the end of August, I’ll announce the new site launch and celebrate with a special sale on some of my art – a secret sale that will be just for my faithful readers. Stay tuned…

Make sure you are the first to know about all of my news, appearances and any “special deals” I am offering to my subscribers, by taking the time to sign up for my weekly newsletters now. CLICK HERE to sign up. You will also receive a FREE slideshow showing the step-by-step development of my painting, “Celebrating Time and Tradition at Macy’s”.

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Christmas in July, Part II

Looks like another hot and humid weekend ahead, but I’ll be cooling off at Wendell August Forge on Saturday July 22nd at their exciting Christmas in July celebration. You can find me, as usual, hanging out with my homeboy Santa, and we’ll be ho-ho-ho-ing it up from 11 AM to 3 PM. CLICK HERE to view my Calendar of Events and find out more about this and other upcoming events.

Come see my new ornaments in person, and I will sign and personalize them for you. You can even have free pictures taken with Santa. (Idea – a family photo with Santa would look great on your Christmas cards this year!)

Speaking of Christmas, I want to tell you about a wonderful experience I had at the Pittsburgh Night Market last Saturday.

David, one of my most devoted art collectors, made a special trip up to Pittsburgh that evening just to see the original of “Santa’s Joyride.” David has had a long successful career in law enforcement, and he’s had some pretty interesting jobs over the years. David rides an old police Harley, and he comes from a long line of Harley enthusiasts. So you can imagine how “Santa’s Joyride.” captured his imagination!

The painting really spoke to him. He loved how the framing was so perfect for the painting, from the tread on the wood, to the leather mat, to one of the mats looking like the chrome on the bike.

His favorite part, however, was the backstory of the little puppy dog hitching a ride in Santa’s toy bag. The real puppy was just riding home with his new owner in the front seat of the car, and with the air conditioner blowing in his face, he had exactly the look I was going for!

I had teased the puppy’s owner that I was going to steal his dog… but only in a painterly way, of course! When I told David that his name was Michael, he told me St. Michael is the patron saint of police officers. How perfect!

I’m always emotional when one of my beloved originals finds a happy home, and “Santa’s Joyride.” has found the perfect home with a kind and loving man. I couldn’t be happier!

Though the original has been spoken for, of course I still have plenty of “Santa’s Joyride.” prints (as well as the entire Jolly Old Elf series prints and gifts) available for the rest of the world. I hope you’ll come meet me at Wendell August Forge on Saturday to enjoy a little Christmas spirit in the middle of the long, hot summer!

Make sure you are the first to know about all of my news, appearances and any “special deals” I am offering to my subscribers, by taking the time to sign up for my weekly newsletters now. CLICK HERE to sign up. You will also receive a FREE slideshow showing the step-by-step development of my painting, “Celebrating Time and Tradition at Macy’s”.

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New Release: “All Aboard with Santa”

This is the official release date of my newest painting, “All Aboard with Santa,” the third limited-edition giclee print in my five-year “Jolly Old Elf” series.

I’m especially proud of this painting! The whole time I was creating it, I was musing over the backstory in my head.

“Delivering toys to all the children of the world can get very tiring at times, and sometimes even Santa needs a break. As he walks around the house, he smiles as he spots milk and cookies and an old train set. He can’t resist! The next thing you know, the Jolly Old Elf himself is laying flat on his stomach next to the train tracks.”

“Just as any child will do, he bends over so that his eye is over the train, creating a whole different world at that level. Santa cranks up the power a little. The train lights up and comes to life, slowly sparking and traveling down the track. Clickity-clack, the train circles round the platform and heads back to the curve. As the train roars past Santa and heads to the station, once more Ol’ St Nick just CAN’T resist: “CHOO CHOO! All aboard!”

“All Aboard with Santa,” is the third of five paintings in the series, each one with a holiday theme starring Santa. There’s still time to collect them all! Click Here to see the whole collection.

Meanwhile, I’m getting an early start on Christmas, appearing at Wendall August Forge Flagship Store’s Christmas in July event. Come on and see me on Saturday, July 22nd between 11 AM and 3 PM. I’ll have plenty of prints with me for sale – hot off the presses! CLICK HERE to view my Calendar of Events and find out more about this and other upcoming events.

Wendell August Forge has released two new ornaments from my Santa series. I absolutely love my “Making Magic in Santa’s Workshop” handmade aluminum ornament. The detail is incredible. And “Santa’s Joyride” looks great, too! They’re now up on my website if you would like to pre-order them for Christmas in July. CLICK HERE to check them out.

I’ll also be hanging out with a special guest that day. Santa is making a rare off-season visit in honor of Christmas in July. So join me, take a break from the summer sun, and even get a selfie with The Man Himself. Because as the Jolly Old Elf says…

“You’re never too old to get a picture with Santa!”

Make sure you are the first to know about all of my news, appearances and any “special deals” I am offering to my subscribers, by taking the time to sign up for my weekly newsletters now. CLICK HERE to sign up. You will also receive a FREE slideshow showing the step-by-step development of my painting, “Celebrating Time and Tradition at Macy’s”.

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Kennywood Revisited

On Sunday, our family visited Kennywood for the first time in three years. It’s hard to believe it had been that long. The park used to be a big part of our summer; in fact, I was a vendor at their summer festivals for 18 consecutive years.

But this time we were there strictly for the fun of it! We brought our granddaughter for her first Kennywood experience, and like any true Pittsburgh kid, she loved it! She never even took a nap – she was fascinated by everything going on around her. She laughed and smiled all day, and we all had a blast.

Our day at Kennywood reminded me of another time long ago (way back in 1996!) when I was a vendor at their Grand Victorian Festival. I even got to play dress-up in a turn-of-the-century costume!

I had painted “Ride with Me on the Carousel” the year before, and the park had asked me to work on a new painting during the festival. As I had learned so much about the Carousel, I thought it would be fun to paint the beautiful Lead Horse who started the carousel circle. His name was Pegasus, and he was the only horse on the carousel who had a face on his breast plate.

Throughout the festival, people stopped to watch me paint as Pegasus took shape on my pastel paper. I paid special attention to his fiery eyes, and even though he was made of wood, I felt like I was bringing him to life. I added a blue background to the piece to represent the perfect summer weather we were having while I painted him.

After the festival had ended, I took the painting to show it to Tony Sacramento at the nursing home where he was living at that time. In case you don’t remember, Tony was the ticket master for the carousel for 60 years and was such a beloved ambassador for the park that he was dubbed “Mr. Kennywood.” He was always very kind to me.

When I went to see him that summer, Tony had had several strokes and was unable to speak. But when he saw Pegasus, he gave me the biggest smile and two thumbs up! While I was visiting him, I noticed that hanging on his mirror was the small postcard of my carousel painting that I had given him the year before. It tugged at my heart to know that it was one of the few treasured possessions he chose to keep with him.

One of my collectors loved the painting and bought the original. After that, I painted Pegasus several times and sold every one. At the time, I was not yet publishing my own work, but I felt that I needed to print this piece so that others could have one too. Thus, “The Spirited Pegasus” became my first self-published print and launched Linda Barnicott Publishing, a new phase in my career.

You can find “The Spirited Pegasus” on my website in print, note cards and magnets. I’ve been blessed to sell them to many carousel enthusiasts over the years.

As always, summertime is a busy time for me, with a lot of outdoor shows. This week I’ll be in Market Square for the Pittsburgh Night Market on Saturday, July 8th, and 15th from 5 to 10 pm. I will have lots of artwork for you to see – so join me there! CLICK HERE to view my Calendar of Events and find out more about this and other upcoming events.

Make sure you are the first to know about all of my news, appearances and any “special deals” I am offering to my subscribers, by taking the time to sign up for my weekly newsletters now. CLICK HERE to sign up. You will also receive a FREE slideshow showing the step-by-step development of my painting, “Celebrating Time and Tradition at Macy’s”.

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Back in the Saddle Again

What an amazing couple of weeks I’ve had in New Mexico… between the life-changing art convention and our wonderful vacation, I’ve been inspired to say the least. We took hundreds of pictures of our trip to New Mexico because we wanted to remember everything. So we couldn’t resist one last snapshot before leaving Taos. We certainly look happy, don’t we?

When we finally rolled up in front of the house on Saturday morning, Tom and I were delighted to see that the flowers in our garden here in Pittsburgh had grown into giants. Thanks to the good care given by our children and Mother Nature, we didn’t lose any plants. Every time I see our garden, it makes me smile. I remember writing to you this spring about how I felt like I was actually painting our front yard with flowers. Coming home to our beautiful garden was a pleasant way to end our adventure and return to the rhythms of daily life.

Although I’ve left the Wild West behind, I was more than ready to get “back in the saddle” again and do some serious painting! I had a lot of important work waiting for me when I arrived at home, so unfortunately painting sagebrush and sunsets will have to wait.

I didn’t mind, though – traveling has a way of grounding me and renewing my energy so that when I come home, I’m eager to jump back into my work.

In the days leading up to my trip, things were pretty frantic, but I was relieved because I had just finished “All Aboard with Santa” and could leave town with a clear conscience!

Since I’ve been home I’ve started to work once again on the mural for Forbes Hospital. I have one more step to set up the pastel boards for the first three panels of their history wall, and then I’ll be ready to paint them. Then I have to design the last two panels and get them approved before I can get started on painting them. It’s a long-term project, so I try to work on my other pieces around the deadlines and approvals.

Some great news I received while I was away – Wendell August Forge has released two new ornaments from my Santa series. I absolutely love my “Making Magic in Santa’s Workshop” handmade aluminum ornament. The detail is incredible. And “Santa’s Joyride” looks great, too! They’re now up on my website if you would like to pre-order them for Christmas in July. CLICK HERE to check them out. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some Christmas gifts handled before the season even begins? I’ll even sign the back of your ornament for you – just let me know in the Comments section of the order form.

As always, summertime is a busy time for me, with a lot of outdoor shows. This week I’ll be in Market Square for the Pittsburgh Night Market on Saturday, July 1st, 8th, and 15th from 5 to 10 pm. I’ll have plenty of gift ideas for your favorite friends, family, and co-workers. Stop by and see what’s new this year. Can’t wait to see you and catch up! CLICK HERE to view my Calendar of Events and find out more about this and other upcoming events.

Make sure you are the first to know about all of my news, appearances and any “special deals” I am offering to my subscribers, by taking the time to sign up for my weekly newsletters now. CLICK HERE to sign up. You will also receive a FREE slideshow showing the step-by-step development of my painting, “Celebrating Time and Tradition at Macy’s”.

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“This is mine”

Today is our last day in New Mexico, a place I’ve fallen in love with in the past two weeks. But even though I’m sorry to leave it behind, I’m excited to return home to my family, my business, and my painting.

This week in Taos has been nothing short of amazing. Tom and I have been doing a lot of hiking and exploring the history of New Mexico.

One of the highlights was visiting Ghost Ranch, where painter Georgia O’Keefe first fell in love with the West. I read that when she arrived at Ghost Ranch, she looked around and said “This is mine.” Later she told a reporter that if she painted the land of Ghost Ranch enough, God would give it to her. She did eventually acquire 7 acres on the ranch, where she lived a long and productive life, painting the beauty surrounding her until she died at the ripe old age of 98.

I definitely understand where Georgia was coming from. Once you’ve experienced this amazing part of New Mexico, it would be hard not to feel the same way. It’s so different from Pittsburgh (or anywhere back East for that matter) that I can’t even imagine what it must have been like for the settlers as they arrived here. What did they think when they saw this alien landscape?

As Tom and I hiked extensively in the desert with nothing but our water bottles and each other, I developed a deep respect for the original Native Americans who inhabited this land. How were they able to survive and thrive for centuries here in the desert? Tom and I don’t possess any survival skills whatsoever. And if we had to walk in their shoes…. well, let’s just say we probably wouldn’t last very long!

At Ghost Ranch, I really took to heart what Georgia O’Keefe said, “This is mine.” The beauty of this place has reached into my soul, and I too feel that God has given it to me, to live forever in my heart and to share with others through my art. I have so many photographs from our trip that I could paint them for years.

The last two weeks have been a brilliant, enlightening art experience for me as well as an inspiring and restful vacation trip. But I’m ready to hit the ground running when I return to Pittsburgh!

P.S. – Don’t forget, I’ll be at the Night Market in Market Square on Saturday, July 1st, 8th, and 15th from 5 to 10 pm with all of my smaller gift pieces. Stop by and see me! CLICK HERE to view my Calendar of Events and find out more about this and other upcoming events.

P.P.S. – I know summer is just getting started right now, but when the fall months come, thoughts will turn toward the gift-giving season. In September and October, I will be offering Lunch Gift Shops where I come to your place of business with my art gifts for sale. If you think this is something you might like to do, please contact me.

Make sure you are the first to know about all of my news, appearances and any “special deals” I am offering to my subscribers, by taking the time to sign up for my weekly newsletters now. CLICK HERE to sign up. You will also receive a FREE slideshow showing the step-by-step development of my painting, “Celebrating Time and Tradition at Macy’s”.

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The Land of Enchantment

They call New Mexico “The Land of Enchantment,” and with good reason… I must admit I have fallen under its spell!

As I mentioned in my last email, I’m in Albuquerque, New Mexico, kicking back and enjoying a little getaway with Tom after a whirlwind week at the IAPS Convention.

The Convention was truly life-changing! I met amazing artists from all over the world and learned from wonderful master instructors, each one with their own technique of painting with pastels. There were painting contests and a huge pastel art show. There was never a dull moment, and definitely no chance to get bored.

Here is one of the paintings I created during the convention:

I had planned to write to you from the convention, but I was so caught up in things that I just completely missed it! By the time I remembered I was supposed to write, the weekend had already come and gone.

When I returned to my room on the last day of the show, I was so excited about what I had learned and so inspired to paint that the first thing I thought of when I came back to my room was to figure out how to create a pop-up studio. There was no extra table to lay out my pastels and work, but necessity (or a burning desire to create art!) is the mother of invention… so one ironing board, two plastic bags, and a paper bag from Whole Foods later, and – voila! – I had a “good-enough” studio.

When the convention had ended, Tom joined me in Albuquerque, and we had a few days to see the sights and explore a little. I have found so many cool places to paint that I could stay here for years and never get bored!

We will be heading to Santa Fe on Friday and then off to Taos for the next week. I hope to keep painting along the way… and now that I know how to make a studio out of an ironing board and some bags, I’m good to go!

P.S. – I sold the original painting of Sid Crosby!

P.P.S. – I will be in Market Square for the first three Saturdays in July for the Night Markets. If you need any gifts, I’ll be fully stocked with my smaller art gifts that I can personalize for you!! CLICK HERE to view my Calendar of Events and find out more about this and other upcoming events.

Make sure you are the first to know about all of my news, appearances and any “special deals” I am offering to my subscribers, by taking the time to sign up for my weekly newsletters now. CLICK HERE to sign up. You will also receive a FREE slideshow showing the step-by-step development of my painting, “Celebrating Time and Tradition at Macy’s”.

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Coloring Outside the Lines

When I was a little girl, I was terribly jealous of my older sister, Lee-Ann. When Lee-Ann colored in her coloring book, she always stayed perfectly within the lines. As for me… well, I was very different. No matter how I tried, I just couldn’t limit myself to staying within those lines.

So I was pretty hopeless at coloring, but I did love to draw! If you gave me a pencil, I could do great things with it.

During my high-school years, I attended a Vo-Tech school studying computers. Why not study art? Because, they told me, you can’t make a career out of art, and anyway, computers are the next big thing. Fortunately, my instructor was a good guy who gave me permission to draw portraits after my programming work was done.

It was another teacher, the Architectural Drawing instructor, who introduced me to my first set of drafting pencils. I immediately fell in love with all the shades of gray I could get out of those soft- and hard-leaded pencils, content to live in my little black, white, and gray world. I could craft each portrait with delicate transitions of value – a skill that turned out to be valuable in the full-color world of art as well.

After high school, I went right into the working world. Unfortunately, I was too poor and too far from Philadelphia to attend art school. But it wasn’t long though before I was the “resident artist” at my job. Nancy, one of my co-workers, asked me to paint her portrait in color. I just laughed. “No, that’s not me,” I said, “but if you want, I’ll draw you!”

But Nancy wouldn’t take no for an answer. One day she brought me a gift – my very first set of pastels, 12 half sticks. (As a more mature artist, my collection is now over 2000 and still growing!) She looked at me and declared for all to hear, “Now you can paint me in color!”

I remember buying gray velour paper (a little tacky, but hey, it was the 70s…) and using a photo of her to paint from, I played with my tiny new set of pastels. I had to learn to control them, just like I learned to use a pencil. To be honest, it took some time. But before I knew it, I was hooked. And to this very day, I’m still experimenting with my pastels.

However, back in the 80s, my dream was mostly to paint portraits in oils and fill in with pastels. (Pastels weren’t as popular at that time.)

Then with my first pregnancy, I had to change course. My doctor was concerned that the fumes from the oils might be dangerous for the baby. Fortunately, I could still paint with my soft pastels.

I had just returned to painting with oils again when Brittany turned 3, when I found out I was pregnant with Alyssa… so it was back to the pastels once again. Then by the time Alyssa was old enough for me to switch back to painting with oils, it was too late! I had fallen in love with pastels and decided to stick with them from that time on.

I think what I love most about pastels is feeling like I’m in control. Because even though I’m still the little girl who won’t color in the lines, pastels let me make my own lines wherever I want to.

I recently went on an epic painting trip to New Mexico and attended an international pastel convention. I was excited about meeting masters of pastel from all over the world and seeing things from new perspectives. Better yet, there was a room at the convention full of all kinds of pastel vendors… they call it “The Candy Store.” I excitedly picked out some beautiful rich pastels to add to my collection to paint with in the coming years.

Always remember to think in color and don’t worry if you color outside of the lines!

Make sure you are the first to know about all of my news, appearances and any “special deals” I am offering to my subscribers, by taking the time to sign up for my weekly newsletters now. CLICK HERE to sign up. You will also receive a FREE slideshow showing the step-by-step development of my painting, “Celebrating Time and Tradition at Macy’s”.

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Painting with Flowers

I’m sorry I missed writing to all of you last week. My father-in-law has been very ill, and we’ve been focused on trying to get him the best care possible. It has been a quite a struggle, but I’m happy to say he is now in good hands and responding well to his new medication.

Of course, making it to age 90 is already beating the odds, and we know we have been very blessed to have him with us for so long. His recent health problems, however, have been very severe. For a while, we weren’t sure he would make it. But after a number of false starts and setbacks, it looks like he’s finally on the right path. Our family is very grateful for all the dedicated and talented doctors and nurses at Shadyside Hospital.

So things have finally started to settle down, which means I was finally able to get back to my painting… but first, I decided to create some art outdoors by painting my yard with flowers! Gardening is another way that I use my artist’s eye, designing the composition of my “canvas” and using different kinds of plants and landscaping elements to create form and color. It’s a lot like building a painting from start to finish, and digging in the dirt is way better than therapy – cheaper, too!

Not only am I painting with flowers this week, but I’m back to painting in my studio as well. I’ve been trying extra-hard to get re-focused on my work, and as a result, I was able to finish “All Aboard with Santa!” This painting, the third one in the “Jolly Old Elf” series, will be available in time for Christmas in July.

Stay tuned for more details, including a behind-the-scenes look at the making of “All Aboard with Santa” and the backstory about the painting from Santa himself!

Come on down to Market Square on Saturday night, May 27th, and visit me at the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership Night Market from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM. You can find me in my white tent, selling mostly giftware items and some prints. This is a great opportunity to purchase art to use as gifts for so many occasions. And as always, I’m happy to sign and personalize your gift of art!

My website is getting an all-new makeover, so not all of my new giftware is available online yet. But I’ll be fully stocked at the Night Market on Saturday with a number of new pieces as well, so come down and say hello!

P.S. – A gift from Linda Barnicott Art & Gifts is perfect for Holiday giving (Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s or Father’s Day, etc.), but can you think of any other occasions? How about…

Birthdays
Anniversaries
Graduations
Weddings, Favors, Wedding Party
Employee Appreciation
Client Appreciation
Sales Awards (can be customized)
Office Decorating
Home Decorating
Housewarming
Souvenirs from Pittsburgh
“I miss you” from Pittsburgh!

Make sure you are the first to know about all of my news, appearances and any “special deals” I am offering to my subscribers, by taking the time to sign up for my weekly newsletters now. CLICK HERE to sign up. You will also receive a FREE slideshow showing the step-by-step development of my painting, “Celebrating Time and Tradition at Macy’s”.

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He Shoots, He Scores!

As I’m writing this, my family and I are cheering the Pens’ Game 7 victory in the Stanley Cup playoffs. We’re so thrilled to see the Pens move on to the Finals!

The timing is perfect because I’ve just completed an original painting of one of my personal heroes, Pens captain Sid Crosby. Needless to say, he’s grown up quite a bit since he was dubbed “Sid the Kid!”

Coincidentally, Sid suffered a serious concussion in a game a few years ago, while at the very same time, my daughter Brittany also received the terrifying news that she had sustained a severe concussion in a fall. As the days, then weeks, then months went by, our family watched as both Britt and Sid endured the same symptoms. We prayed long and hard for both of them to have a full recovery.

My heart went out to Sid again a week or two ago when he suffered another (though milder) concussion. That incident plus the Pens making the playoffs this season brought back those memories of when we all prayed for Sid to overcome his injury. So with Tom’s encouragement, I got out my canvas and pastels… and I signed the finished painting last week just as the horn blew to announce the win. (Of course, I’m a perfectionist, so I returned back to it a few times since to give it a more finished look.)

I’m not sure if there will be prints, but the original, 9 x 12 inches in size, is available for sale. Give me a call if you’re interested in adding this special painting to your collection!

After I finished Sid, I was still “high on art,” so I turned that energy to my latest “Jolly Old Elf” painting! I had Santa sketched out a few weeks ago, but you know how life can get in the way of finishing a project. I had to really be disciplined to get back to work, but finishing my Sid painting gave me the inspiration I needed.

“All Aboard with Santa” is the third in my “Jolly Old Elf” series of pastel paintings.

As I’ve mentioned before, working on my Santa pieces gives me great joy. I spent all day yesterday just getting his face perfect. I especially love Santa’s expression as he plays with the miniature train, gazing down the track as his imagination takes a ride. He’s also enjoying some Christmas cookies with a nice cold glass of milk. I added my Dad’s Santa ornament (can you pick it out?) and a few other treasured family ornaments… not to mention a ceramic “My Hometown” ornament!

Make sure you are the first to know about all of my news, appearances and any “special deals” I am offering to my subscribers, by taking the time to sign up for my weekly newsletters now. CLICK HERE to sign up. You will also receive a FREE slideshow showing the step-by-step development of my painting, “Celebrating Time and Tradition at Macy’s”.

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