“Blue Streak Thrills at Conneaut Lake Park”

Despite all this crazy cold weather, summer is indeed on its way, and our thoughts are going to outdoor activities.  For me, that means long rides in the country, finding views with rivers or lakes, and going to amusement parks with my family.  One of our favorite destinations over the years has been Conneaut Lake Park.

The park was built in 1892, and it’s had its struggles in recent years. According to their website (newconneautlakepark.com), there’s a lot going on there this summer, but there’s one thing that will be gone and sorely missed – the Blue Streak roller coaster.

In 2010, I was part of a campaign to help with renovations on the Blue Streak by donating a percentage of the proceeds from my print, “Blue Streak Thrills at Conneaut Lake Park.”  That campaign lasted a few years. I’m sure it wasn’t much, but I think it did help the cause at that time.

I still remember the day I drove up to the park to take the references photos I needed to paint the piece. As I was escorted through the park, I could imagine the shrieks and laughter of the children as they rode the Little Dipper, the Tumble Bug, and the Flying Scooters.

I was given permission to walk alongside the Blue Streak tracks to get inspiration on how to show it to its best advantage. The first thing I noticed was that the Blue Streak reminded me of another painting I had done several years earlier, “The Dips at West View Park.” I remember asking myself, “Is this the same coaster design?” I later found out that they were sister coasters sharing the same design characteristics, so I found myself on familiar ground!

Unfortunately, the Blue Streak was a big coaster, and beyond the loading platform, it entered a stand of huge trees and then emerged from the other side. This would make it very difficult to paint the entire coaster, so I had to decide which part of the ride I would put in the painting. In the end, I chose to show the coaster coming out of the woods and the quick turn out by the highway. Many families, I was told, would enjoy the nice weather by playing and picnicking in that area.

Once I had the coaster sketched out, it was time to bring in my “models.” Some park employees joined in, and a few American Coaster Enthusiasts added to the fun.  Of course, my usual models, Tom, Britt, Alyssa, and my soon-to-be son-in-law Jon were happy to help out!

The biggest surprise ended up being the assistance of a wonderful family from our church at that time (in Monroeville). We were talking about the painting after the first service, and I discovered that both Sharon and Tom had many special memories of family fun outings at Conneaut when they were kids. They agreed to pose for me out on the church lawn with their three daughters, and then after the second service, they came back in their picnic clothes, complete with a ball, a picnic blanket, and even some bubbles to blow! The painting turned out to be a lot of fun to create, in part thanks to their contagious enthusiasm!

Riding the Blue Streak was a beloved tradition for generations of kids growing up in Western Pennsylvania. If you’re interested in acquiring this colorful nostalgic print, it’s available as an archival giclée limited edition.

I sold the original “Blue Streak Thrills at Conneaut Lake Park,” just this morning. I’m so excited that it will soon be off to its new home!

Color Archival Giclée Prints and Artist-Enhanced Giclée’s are available on my website: https://lindabarnicott.com/product/blue-streak-thrills-at-conneaut-lake-park/

P.S. – Update on “Unbroken – The Heart of Ukraine.” I shipped out another 35 prints on Tuesday! And as of Thursday (4/28), you can find the article in the South Hills Record and the Bethel Park Journal. It sure is making the rounds! I am thrilled that the print and our fundraiser have been so warmly received. Shall we set a goal to sell 100 prints?

If you’d like to order a print or maybe even more than one (which is happening!), check out the link on my website, https://lindabarnicott.com/product/unbroken-the-heart-of-the-ukraine/

Remember, all profits go to humanitarian relief in Ukraine. Thank you!!!

Linda Goes Postal

What an amazing week this has been! We are now up to 48 prints sold of “Unbroken – The Heart of Ukraine.”

As soon as I got the first 33 prints from my printer, I signed each one of them in gold. Tom and I worked together to package everything, and then I was off to the post office.

Well… let’s just say it’s not cool to show up at the post office on Tax Day with 28 packages!

After waiting for the eight people in line ahead of me, I finally made it to the window. I felt guilty and offered up only nine of the packages. The postal clerk was really fast and accurate, but I told her that I’d get back in line again. I was willing to do it as many times as necessary. But then when I finally made it back to the front of the line again after waiting for another half-hour and 10 more people, I asked the clerk if I should stay or do another 10 packages and get back in line. She quietly whispered “Stay.”

She flew through the rest of the packages as if she had superhuman powers. Still, when I looked back at the long line behind me, I whispered to her that I was going to put my hood over my head when I walked out of there.

The next day I heard from a customer about the print she had just received. Zandy is a special person who interviewed me years ago and has been part of my life ever since. I was honored that she reached out to me!

“Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your painting, “Unbroken,” to aid the relief efforts in Ukraine. It’s a beautiful painting, and the fact that it can help people makes it all the more beautiful. I have a distant cousin in Ukraine who has young children. I’ve been in touch with him during the conflict. Fortunately, they are in the country in a small town and not in any danger at this point. He is an artist himself, so I definitely want to share this with him. I feel so honored that I got to interview you all those many years ago and follow your career.

I have your Kennywood Noah’s Ark painting facing my desk at work. It’s such a pick-me-up on boring and gray days around here. Thank you for so much again doing this painting. I just love it!

(I didn’t make it clear, but it arrived today and it looks great on my blue living room wall. I just need to get a frame!)”

In other news, I was interviewed recently about the fundraising project by a local writer, Harry Funk. Check out the article at: https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/painter-provides-unbroken-support-for-ukraine/
Harry also knows people from Ukraine and has visited there. He told me this war is hitting him very hard as well.

If you would like to donate to help the Ukrainian people by ordering a print, you can find the link on my website at:
https://lindabarnicott.com/product/unbroken-the-heart-of-the-ukraine/

Friends Forever

Since I wrote last week, it’s been nonstop activity around here!

My oldest and dearest friends have been in town visiting Tom and me for the last five days. Friendships like ours are truly golden, and my soul has been full of joy. While they were here, my friend Ron remarked that my original painting of Mingo Creek Park’s Ebenezer Bridge (“Evening at Ebenezer Covered Bridge”) may just be his favorite of all my paintings.

So as we discussed where to go while they were visiting, it seemed like a perfect plan to take them and our grandgirls (who were on spring break) to see the bridge! I packed extra clothes for the little ones, because I just had a feeling they were going to end up in the creek… and I was right!

Last Thursday night, I was honored to be invited to speak to the Green Thumbers Garden Group at the Whitehall Library. I had an amazing experience just telling my story and later signing and selling my work. Everyone really seemed to enjoy themselves – plus, I didn’t put anyone to sleep during the program!  Just a reminder that for any one of you who may have the responsibility to provide programming for your group, I am available to speak at events. I’ll do my best to bring lots of memories and plenty of laughter and inspiration.

Ukraine Fundraiser Update

Wow! A big heartfelt “Thank You” to everyone who has already ordered my new print, “Unbroken – The Heart of Ukraine.” So far, we’ve sold over 30 prints just since it went live last week. Every time I’ve asked my printer to make some new prints, I’ve had to call him back for more! I am humbled by the outpouring of support for the humanitarian efforts for Ukraine.

I’ll be sending out the first group of prints as soon as I get them from my printer. If you would like to order a print for yourself or a loved one, each colorful print is 11 x 14 inches with an image area of 8 x 10 inches on archival paper. If you prefer, you can actually frame the piece without the need for matting – a definite plus!

Sales of the prints will be handled through a collaboration with the Unitarian-Universalist Church of the South Hills (Sunnyhill). (For tax purposes, I need to work through a charitable entity to receive and distribute the funds directly to the humanitarian relief organizations.) All profits – minus the cost of printing and postage – will be donated directly to these two fine organizations:

The Ukrainian Red Cross
The Red Cross is often on the frontlines of war serving to help those affected by armed conflict. The Ukrainian Red Cross is currently assisting people inside the country by aiding evacuations and providing shelter, food, and basic necessities.

The Voices of Children Foundation
Created in 2015, the Voices of Children Foundation has been providing psychological support to children affected by war in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine through art therapy, video storytelling, mobile psychologists, and more. Now the organization is working to support children across Ukraine with emergency psychological assistance and assisting in the evacuation process.

I hope you’ll consider supporting this very worthy cause. To order your print, just visit my website:
https://lindabarnicott.com/product/unbroken-the-heart-of-the-ukraine/

Supporting Ukraine Through Art

This is my new painting, “Unbroken – The Heart of Ukraine.” The symbolism in the painting represents the steadfastness and resilience of the Ukrainian people in the face of this brutal war. I was inspired to create it because I wanted to make a difference and do whatever I could to help support the Ukrainian people.

Finally, all the details are in place! Now you can donate to humanitarian organizations in Ukraine by purchasing your own print of “Unbroken.”

Each colorful print is 11 x 14 inches with an image area of 8 x 10 inches on archival paper. You can actually frame the piece without the need for matting if you wish. A definite plus!

I am happy to announce that sales of the prints will be handled through a collaboration with the Unitarian-Universalist Church of the South Hills (Sunnyhill). (For tax purposes, I need to work through a charitable entity to receive and distribute the funds directly to the humanitarian relief organizations.)  All profits – minus the cost of printing and postage – will be donated directly to these two fine organizations:

The Ukrainian Red Cross
The Red Cross is often on the frontlines of war serving to help those affected by armed conflict. The Ukrainian Red Cross is currently assisting people inside the country by aiding evacuations and providing shelter, food, and basic necessities.

The Voices of Children Foundation
Created in 2015, the Voices of Children Foundation has been providing psychological support to children affected by war in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine through art therapy, video storytelling, mobile psychologists, and more. Now the organization is working to support children across Ukraine with emergency psychological assistance and assisting in the evacuation process.

Now let’s all pull together and see how quickly we can generate donations to help the Ukrainian people and their war-torn land!

Visit my website through this link to donate directly to the church… and, simply for entertainment purposes while you’re there, check out the video I made right after I finished the painting!

https://lindabarnicott.com/product/unbroken-the-heart-of-the-ukraine/

Next up, the original painting will be auctioned to raise funds, and I’ll have more on that very soon.

Your support and encouragement are always so important to me!

Thank you so much! Slava Ukraina!

P.S. – A Big Thank You to Behar/Fingal Advertising and the group at the Unitarian-Universalist Church of the South Hills for going above and beyond with the creativity and hard work they put into this project! They made it look simple, but it was actually very involved. I appreciate all of them for their time and effort.

There’s No Business Like Show Business

Here I am, back at the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show at the David L Lawrence Convention Center in Downtown Pittsburgh and loving it! I didn’t realize just how much I’ve missed this show. All day long, I’m visiting with customers I haven’t seen in two years, and it’s been so much fun!

Did you catch the terrific article about the show that appeared in Sunday’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette? Of course, I wasn’t the only one interviewed for the article, but I was thrilled that they chose my photos to illustrate the article in color. Sincere thanks to writer Kevin Kirkland and the editors for making me look so good!

Speaking of Kevin, he visited my booth Monday before I saw the article. I had told him I had had a huge number of requests for my painting, “Remembering the O.” Now that I’ve seen the article, I think I know why!

When I appeared on stage last week, I met for the first time Mark Frazer from I Heart Radio (94.5 3WS) and his beautiful and talented wife, Elise. He also interviewed me on stage after the event. He has such a fun personality!

If you missed it, don’t worry – I’ll be Live on Stage again tomorrow (Friday, March 11th) with a slightly different program from last week. This time, I’ll appear on the main Home and Garden Show stage out in the lobby at 3 p.m. I’ll be sharing stories about my paintings, answering questions, and even some little-known back stories. I would love to have some friendly faces in the audience, so please come and join me!

There’s so much to see at the Home and Garden Show! Remember, everyone who purchases anything at my booth (#3146-8) – from a magnet to a framed print – will receive a free postcard while supplies last, so it’s smart to shop early!  (This applies to online purchases as well.)

Can’t make it to the show this year? Or you’ve already been to the show and can’t make it back? No problem! With my Big Online Special, you can get (almost) anything you want without getting out of your recliner.

If you place an order through my website, www.lindabarnicott.com, you’ll receive 10% off plus FREE SHIPPING. Just enter the code ‘spring’ at checkout. (This offer is good from Friday March 11th through Sunday night, March 13th, 2022. Again, it does exclude those pesky, heavy, almost-sold-out candles.)

Pittsburgh’s First Sign of Spring!

The Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year! Can you believe it? After the show skipped last year and closed early in 2020 because of the pandemic, I am super excited and more than ready to be back. I’m so full of adrenaline that I feel as if I could float off into the air!

I pretty much have everything in order, which is a bit unusual for me. On Sunday, we will be renting our U-Haul truck and loading it up for a Tuesday morning move-in. Then it will be full days of set-up and organizing until the opening bell next Friday morning (March 4th) at 10 a.m.

Speaking of next Friday, I just got word that I’m scheduled to be up on the big stage on both Fridays, March 4th and March 11th, to share stories about my paintings. I don’t have a time yet, but I hope to have that that info for you next week.

Can’t make the show this year? No problem! Place an order through my website at www.lindabarnicott.com and receive 10% off plus FREE SHIPPING. Just enter the code ‘spring’ at checkout. (This offer is good at any time during the show, from Friday, March 4th through Sunday night, March 13th, 2022. And it does exclude those heavy, almost-sold-out candles.)

The Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show is the traditional first sign of Spring in our hometown! Who needs robins? If we close our eyes and think spring, it will be here before you know it.

Two Weeks to Showtime!

Well, maybe not exactly two weeks… but it’s just 11 days (not that I’m counting) until the opening of the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show! More reliable than the Groundhog, the show is known to be the first sign of spring in Pittsburgh.

As the show is celebrating its 40th year, it’s been 27 years since I was the only artist on the second floor of the old Convention Center. My booth was set up between windows and bathtubs. We were allowed to put up balloons back then, so I did it hoping it would help passersby notice me. People would comment that after seeing tons of garage doors, windows, and appliances, coming across my booth was like the dessert at the end of a meal!

Nowadays the Home and Garden Show has grown to include an artists’ area, an entire interior design section, lots of food to taste, and fun live shows. There is so much to do and see!

This year I’m unveiling my new painting, “Springtime in Mellon Green Park” as well as my newest puzzle, “Remembering the O.” I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone at the show – I hope you can make it!

Springtime in February?

Though the past week’s weather has been anything but spring-like, I’ve been making great progress on my new painting, “Springtime in Mellon Green Park.”

A few days ago, I was at the stage of the painting where I had to decide whether to put someone in the composition, and if so, where was just the right spot?  And who could I possibly use as a model? Hmm… I know! “Hey Tom, would you mind going downtown to Mellon Green and posing for me on a bench?”

Normally, there wouldn’t be a problem with that… except that this week we had a snowstorm and a lot of ice. But Tom takes his modeling duties seriously, and on Sunday after church we drove downtown to set up the shot. When we got there, we realized that the despite the sunshine, none of the snow had melted. As we got out of the car, I told Tom, “You’d better take the scraper in case we need to scrape the snow and ice off the bench.”

The other issue was that the park was closed. However, we didn’t come all this way just to be thwarted by a few chains, so Tom (such a gentleman!) held out his hand and helped me climb over. And then when we got to the bench, Tom brushed off the snow to find that there was at least an inch of ice under it! No matter. I just smiled and said “Don’t worry, just take off your coat and sit when I tell you… and not before!”

There was one prop for the scene – I asked Tom to bring a book to pose with so it would look like he was enjoying a leisurely lunch hour in the park. Once he was ready to go, I dashed over to set up my camera shot. I often tell my customers that I may be a pretty good artist, but I’m a lousy photographer. Too bad I have no choice but to live with the photos I take!

As Tom posed not-too-comfortably on the ice-covered bench for a springtime painting, I thought about our granddaughter Autumn and how she would be laughing herself silly at the sight.

Thanks a Lot, Groundhog

According to Punxsutawney Phil, it looks like we’re in for six more weeks of winter. Well, for those of us who only like a little bit of winter, (you know, the “I like the different seasons” thing), this is not what we wanted to hear from our friend, the weather-predicting rodent! Though my garden looks pretty nice decorated with all that white flaky stuff, I believe I’m ready to enjoy the first signs of spring.

Of course, painting a springtime scene at Mellon Green (which I will be sharing with you soon) is an acceptable substitute for now. At least it helps a little with my longing to see blossoms and shades of green bursting forth from the earth. I expect to complete the painting this weekend; then if all goes well, the original will be framed soon, and I can unveil it alongside the new prints at the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show.

This week I’ve also been working hard on getting my stock together for the show. Even though we’ll still have winter weather until then, March 4th will be here before we know it!

My restock order of puzzles just arrived late yesterday, and I’m excited to announce that there will be a new puzzle available at the Home and Garden Show! The new puzzle will be an “only at show” item, as I have a limited number of them for the time being. Of course, “Holiday Memories under Kaufmann’s Clock,” “My Hometown,” and “Santa’s Woodland Christmas” are available now. More details about my newest puzzle will be coming soon!

I’m sorry for any inconvenience to those who weren’t able to get a puzzle in time for the holidays – they turned out to be more popular than I expected (which is a good thing)! As I work more and more with this company, I want to eventually put the puzzles up on my website. In the meantime, I appreciate your patience.

The puzzles (1000 pieces) are $35.00 plus tax and shipping. They measure 28 inches by 20 inches, and the colors are absolutely beautiful. The finished puzzles would make great wall art!

Again, quantities are limited. I’m bringing whatever stock I have left to the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show on March 4th through 13th. I will have a double booth (#3146) at the end of Row 3100, closest to the escalators.

Regardless of what the groundhog says, Spring is just around the corner. (Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself!). In the meantime, stay safe, stay warm, and have a great week!

 

Home Sweet Home

Another week, another happy customer!

I couldn’t wait to get back to my easel after the holidays and especially after all that organizing.  I’ve been working on a commission piece that’s been in the works since before the holidays. It’s always helpful when customers are really great about working with your schedule!

One of the good things that came out of this pandemic (and there were not many of them!) has been getting back to taking on some commission work. I can’t tell you how many years I didn’t accept commissions – I was too busy creating my Pittsburgh, Kennywood, and Santa series, not to mention exhibiting at so many art shows. My wide open schedule in the last two years has allowed me some time to accept more personal projects.

The families I’ve worked with are nothing short of amazing; they’ve made the whole process even more fun.  When Maureen and her son Connor sold their home and moved away last year, she decided that a great way to remember their beloved home would be to preserve it forever in a painting. This week, Maureen and Connor came over to pick up the finished piece. When Maureen walked into my living room and immediately saw it on my easel, she exclaimed, “It’s beautiful!”

Creating this painting was a bit challenging, in that I never actually saw the home in person. As we discussed the composition, (which would be entirely based on the photos we were working from), we realized there would have to be some changes.

For example, I knew right away the bush in the front yard had to go. We also chose to get rid of the railing and the basketball hoop. We decided to give the painting an autumn setting in order to add interest to the trees. Before she sold the house, I had asked Maureen to turn on the lights to give a warmer look and mood to the painting, and I added a reflection on the lawn cast by the lights. Finally, I added a few flowers to the urns and the planter based on the kinds Maureen used to plant.

We had a lot of fun sharing our stories, and I had a big smile on my face for their entire visit. They were truly delightful folks!

So what’s up next for me? Since then, I’ve started a new painting that I hope to finish in time for the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show. It’s basically just a smaller 9 x 12″ piece of Mellon Green, right on Grant Street across from the William Penn Hotel. It’s not Mellon Park on top of the garage, but a sweet little park with a fountain that is also across from the U.S. Steel Building.  In case you’re wondering, it’s a springtime painting full of flowers and blossoms. I don’t know about you, but right now I’m kinda tired of winter scenes. It’s quite the change… now let’s see if I can pull it off!