Something New in Santa’s Bag This Year

The image shows a close up of Linda Barnicott's new throw blanket featuring her painting "Shhh!" Santa Claus is holding his bag of toys while standing beside a Christmas tree.

How can it be time for me to get started on the holiday season already? I haven’t even had time to enjoy my backyard garden yet!

Though summer will soon be just a memory, I’m very excited for the holiday season this year – I have something really big in store for 2019… something new and special I’ve created that will only be available for a limited time.

Despite the summer heat, I was thinking not long ago about the things that remind me of a cozy, old fashioned Christmas. Things like hot cocoa with marshmallows, listening to carols, and baking cookies. One of the things I pictured was cuddling under a soft, warm throw on a cold winter night with someone you love.

Then I wondered… what if I could put one of my Jolly Old Elf paintings on a throw blanket? I immediately thought of “Shhhh!” – the first painting in the series and still one of my biggest sellers.

So now for a limited time (this holiday season ONLY), I’m offering this plush “Shhhh!” 100% cotton woven jacquard throw blanket. The blankets are a generous 52″ x 68″ with a tapestry look in a multitude of colors. They’re even made right here in the USA. And as you can see, they have Santa’s approval!

Santa Claus holding Linda Barnicott's new throw blanket that features her "Shhhh!" painting.

My Santa blanket would make a wonderful and unique Christmas gift for someone special… or perhaps a lovely addition to your own home for the holidays!

Pre-order your blanket today!

Post-Picklesburgh Projects

Linda Barnicott, Pittsburgh's Painter of Memories, sitting on the ground of the Clemente Bridge with a pickle balloon.

Picklesburgh was tons of fun!  Who knew there were so many pickle-loving people in Pittsburgh?

You never know who you might meet at a show… and thanks to one of those random encounters, long story short, Grandpa Joe’s Candy Stores will soon be carrying my Pittsburgh-themed magnets.

I also wanted to let you know that my work is now available at Pittsburgh International Airport! The two main stores are the new Pittsburgh Exchange and the Black and Gold store as well as five Travel Marts. As you can see, they have done a wonderful job of displaying my work.

Two photos: one of Linda Barnicott in one of the stores at the Pittsburgh International Airport. The second photo features her work displayed at a store in the Pittsburgh International Airport.

Now that Picklesburgh is part of the past (won’t you miss all my “P” alliterations?), it’s August… time to think about Christmas! At least it is for me, as I’m starting to work on the first of my final two Santa Claus paintings in the Jolly Old Elf series.  Here’s a sneak peek at the very first sketches!

 

The initial sketch of Linda Barnicott's newest Santa painting featuring Santa sitting with a baby and a little girl looking up at him adoringly. The baby is Linda's husband, Tom Barnicott, and the little girl is Linda Barnicott as a child.

Anyone recognize the chair Santa is sitting in? If you guessed Santa’s Chair at Kaufmann’s Toyland, you’re right!  For many years, this was the throne where Santa sat, hour after hour, patiently listening to little children (or kids of all ages!) telling him what they wanted for Christmas.

In this year’s first Jolly Old Elf painting, Santa has two very special children sitting on his lap…

Months ago, my cousin was going through pictures and came across one of a little girl – in a sailor suit, no less! – gazing up adoringly at Santa Claus. Yes, it was Yours Truly, with my hands folded just so, fascinated just being in the presence of the Big Guy, sure that he would magically bring me exactly what I asked for.

Since the beginning of the series, I had been thinking it would be cool to do a painting where the artist and Santa appeared together, and this photo provided just the inspiration I needed to do it.  Thank you, Ruth Ann, for thinking of me!

Then one day Santa and I were talking about the painting, and he reminded me of how I always find a way to put Tom in my paintings.  Maybe a young Tom could be one of the children on his lap? In a split second, I remembered seeing an old picture of Tom looking up at his dad, who was showing him a toy train while sitting on the floor in front of their Christmas tree. So we got out the old family slides and had a fun night of popcorn and memories!

The next step was setting up the photo shoot for this Christmas scene… in July.  A very hot July. I needed Santa to pose for me once again in his full “uniform.” But he was a good sport about it! It’s a good thing he loves Christmas so much.

We used a stuffed bear to hold Tom’s place on Santa’s lap, and after a few shots, I got the perfect pose.  Next question – what should he be holding? We considered a toy train… a wrapped present…  maybe an old coloring book?  Santa is a collector of vintage Christmas items, and he happened to have an old toy catalog from Kaufmann’s. What could be more perfect than little Tommy bringing along the catalog so he can show Santa exactly what he’s wishing for?

I’ve just started painting the Kaufmann’s “Santa’s Throne” part of the piece. It’s a challenge because of the intricate detail of this beautiful chair, but it will be worth the effort to bring back happy memories for those former children who once sat on Santa’s lap.

What are your memories of childhood visits with Santa?

Pittsburgh’s Pickle Party Proves Particularly Popular

Pittsburgh's Picklesburgh Proves Particularly Popular Blog Featured Image of the Picklesburgh Festival and Logo

Tom and I are back from Sedona. We’ve traveled to many different places around the US and Canada, and we agreed that Sedona was definitely one of the most beautiful areas we’ve visited.  So the big question is… Would anyone out there like to see some paintings of brilliant red rock against gorgeous green trees in a majestic mountain setting? Hint: It just may happen!

This image features Linda Barnicott with her husband, Tom, in the mountains of Sedona, Arizona.

So now that we’re back, the first order of business is preparing for Picklesburgh 2019 this weekend! Our plane may have landed on Monday, but my feet have barely touched the ground since then – driving around, running from place to place, collecting all my gift items and prints from their makers… most importantly, the newly framed original Picklesburgh painting, just in time for the weekend’s festivities!

This image features the different products available with Linda Barnicott's new painting "Pickle Fun In Pittsburgh": print, borderless 8x10, sandwich tray, mint tray, ornament, coaster, and pint glass.

I was thrilled to hear that the number of my tent was 57 (think “Heinz 57!”). I’m in a prime location on the city side of the Clemente Bridge near Fort Pitt Boulevard , on the right if you are heading across the bridge toward the North Side, where I’ll be fully stocked with all kinds of new gift items, new Picklesburgh prints, and a whole lot more.

Picklesburgh – now with the title of “America’s #1 Specialty Food Festival” – has doubled in size since last year, with even more live music, contests, demonstrations, and of course, many pickled products. And where else can you get a selfie with a giant Heinz Pickle balloon?

The fun begins at noon on Friday and runs until 6 pm Sunday. Hope to see you there!

http://www.picklesburgh.com/festival-schedule/

Where in the World is Linda Barnicott?

Linda Barnicott with husband Tom in Sedona, Arizona.
We had a wonderful time in the desert in Sedona, Arizona. Sedona is such an inspiring place for an artist. The desert landscape feels exotic and unique to this particular artist from Back East, with its dramatic, austere beauty so different from the lush green hills of western Pennsylvania that I’m used to.
We had lunch with an old schoolmate of Tom’s who lives and works there. When they asked if I might paint Sedona someday, my immediate response was “Absolutely yes!” I think I could paint Sedona forever and never run out of inspiration.
Though our time in Arizona has been relaxing, it’s time to return home to work and family. We left Sunday night on a red-eye and won’t actually get home until Monday afternoon. No direct flights this year! On the bright side, I have plenty of time to work on the second portrait of my twin granddaughters.
While most people on vacation sit by the pool or read a good book to chill out, that’s not me! I, of course, would rather be sketching… especially sketching my grandchildren. It’s something I really don’t get a chance to do at home because I’m so busy with other projects and daily routine.
 
An original sketch by Linda Barnicott of her granddaughter, Autumn Stadelman.
Autumn’s was the first portrait I finished. I wanted to sketch Autumn first because she is having some medical tests last week, and I felt like it was a constructive way of keeping her in my thoughts while we waited. In fact, I spent some time each day of our vacation doing just that.
For Abigail’s portrait, I’m basing it on a photo that was taken of her the very first time she stood on her own, using the couch as a prop. She was so happy and proud of herself! Stay tuned to see how it turns out.
The desert in Sedona, Arizona.
Though I had fun and recharged my batteries in Arizona, I’m excited about returning home. Next week will be action packed, getting ready for Picklesburgh – named America’s #1 Specialty Food Festival for 2019! – one week from today.
 
I’ll be there manning my booth from Friday through Sunday (July 26th – 28th), with all kinds of new art gifts that will debut at the Festival. Then when that’s over, I’ll be settling into the studio to start my 2019 Santa paintings, the final year of the Jolly Old Elf series. Maybe painting winter scenes will help me forget about the heat?

From Deluge to Desert

Linda Barnicott with husband, Tom Barnicott, on vacation in the mountains.

I’m on the road again this week – Greetings from Red Rock Country, Sedona, Arizona!

As we enjoy some downtime in the dry desert, it’s hard to believe that just a few days ago we were manning my booth through a very wet (and also hot!) weekend at the Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival. It rained through almost the entire show, but despite the weather, there was a great turnout, with so many precious moments shared with folks stopping by my tent.

One of the fun features of the Festival is the Town Crier, who strolls around the festival grounds with his bell, announcing all the different activities and events. On Friday afternoon, he appeared on the corner next to my tent, ringing his bell. I was busy, so I wasn’t paying much attention… until he proclaimed, “This year’s winner of the Westmoreland Art Award is… Linda Barnicott!” I nearly fainted! My prize was a fancy ribbon and – even better! – a free booth at next year’s show.

The next day, the Town Crier was “captured” by his fellow actors brandishing a huge pistol. As they led him away, he turned to call over his shoulder – Linda, paint me a hero!” and then he was gone.  Britt looked at me and said “Wouldn’t it be fun if you did?” So that night after I put my booth to bed, I found a photo I had taken on my phone when I received the ribbon the day before.  I picked up my sketchbook and sketched until 1 a.m.  The next day, I worked on it between customers until it was finished.  At the bottom, I wrote “He was a hero.”

When the show was over, I tracked him down and asked him to come and see me. He couldn’t have been more surprised and thrilled with his portrait. I remember the director who runs the show telling me she couldn’t do it without him, so maybe he really is a hero!

Sometimes it seems that no matter how far you go from home, you can always find a little bit of Pittsburgh… today as we were sightseeing in Flagstaff, Tom proudly sporting his new Pirates hat, we passed a parked car and heard someone call, “Go Buccos!” 

So of course we had to stop and chat!  The fellow told us that he was a huge Pirates fan even though he’s never visited our city. We had a lot of fun telling stories about Tom’s job at PNC Park, especially the part where he uses a microphone on the sidewalks outside the park for crowd control. He loves to tell the crowds terrible jokes to keep them entertained while they wait. I mentioned that after 36 years in the ministry the last thing they should do is give him a microphone!

To our surprise, our new friend told us that he had been praying about whether to go into the ministry and that this was the third time this week a random conversation had turned in that direction. We wished him the best in his decision about answering God’s calling.  As we walked away, I told Tom, “If you hadn’t worn that hat, the man would have never had the chance to talk with us.”

Isn’t it funny how small choices we make day to day – perhaps to wear a certain hat or strike up a conversation with a stranger – can turn out to be life-changing for someone?

A photograph of the mountains in Sedona, Arizona

Though we’re really enjoying our time here in Arizona, I’m actually looking forward to returning home.  Then it will be full speed ahead – time to get ready for Picklesburgh and start my 2019 Santa paintings!

Tom Barnicott’s 15 Minutes of Fame

Tom Barnicott at PNC Park

The 4th of July has always been a great holiday for fun with family and friends. As you can
see, our girls are growing up fast! The twins are coming up on their 1st birthday later this month, and Aria will be 3 at the end of August. It’s been quite a ride!

However, this week my family’s biggest story is Tom Barnicott, TV Star!

Tom, as you know, isn’t your typical retiree.  Instead of finding a new hobby and catching up on his reading, Tom landed his dream job as a guest relations ambassador for the Pirates at PNC Park.  Basically, his job is to help make sure fans have a great experience when they come out to see a Bucs game.  So when a fan in the stands caught Josh Bell’s homerun ball and asked if he could get his signature on it, Tom was happy to help. To our surprise, the whole thing was caught on camera, and there was Tom, way bigger than life, making it happen up there on the big screen!

But as much as I enjoy the Fourth, it’s typically not a lazy holiday for me. I’m already packed up and ready to head out for Twin Lakes Park for the Westmoreland Arts and Heritage Festival. And I’m taking lots of new pieces with me!

But as much as I enjoy the Fourth, it’s typically not a lazy holiday for me. This year it marked the first day I was at Twin Lakes Park for the Westmoreland Arts and Heritage Festival. And I have lots of new pieces with me!

Plus, this weekend I’m celebrating my 30th anniversary of Painting Pittsburgh with unannounced Twin Lakes show-exclusive specials!

The festival runs today 11-8 and tomorrow from 11-6 at Twin Lakes Park, 252 Twin Lakes Rd, Greensburg, PA. Can’t wait to see you there!

Visit https://artsandheritage.com/ for more festival information.

Partying with Pittsburgh’s Pickle People

The completed version of Linda Barnicott's newest painting "Pittsburgh Parties at Picklesburgh"

Rain, rain, go away, come again another day…

I know rain is good for the flowers, but enough is enough!

For me, there’s an upside to all this wet weather. It keeps me indoors, and that means more painting time to finish my latest pastel piece.

But before I get into telling you about my new painting, I’m going to share a little bit of personal history…

Anyone who has met me in real life knows that my teeth are… let’s just say they’re somewhat more front and center in my face than is the case for most people. My husband says he married me for my smile (yes, I’m a lucky woman!).  As an adult, my “unique” smile is somewhat of a trademark, part of my brand. However, back when I was a kid in grade school, those teeth really got in the way.

The first thing I remember wanting to be when I grew up was a ventriloquist. I thought I was so talented because I could talk without moving my lips! Unfortunately, my teachers didn’t agree, and off I went to speech class to work on my m’s, p’s and b’s. Sadly, my original career goals were not to be, so I went with my second choice and became an artist instead.

Fast forward to the present… As I was finishing up my latest painting, Tom and I were going back and forth about the title, experimenting with some word play using the words Pittsburgh and Picklesburgh. Maybe it was because of all those speech therapy classes, but I was fixated on all those “P” words – partying on the Clemente Bridge, pickle eating contests, pickle ice-cream, pickle drinks, and of course, Pittsburgh Pride.

Suddenly, it came to me — “Pittsburgh Parties at Picklesburgh!” Not just a title, but a pretty good tongue twister as well.  As my dad used to say, “Try saying that three times, fast.” If I had pursued my first career choice, I definitely could!

I have to say that the process of working through this painting was a lot of fun. I started by heading downtown to do a little research, getting an idea of what I wanted the painting to look like and what l wanted to include. In the end, the final composition included the Clemente Bridge, the Heinz Pickle, Downtown Pittsburgh in the background, and of course, a crowd of vendors and Pittsburghers who are crazy about pickles!

(So crazy, in fact, that Picklesburgh has been named America’s #1 Specialty Food Festival for 2019!)

Once I had my composition in mind, I started with a sketch, which I then transferred to museum pastel board and did a quick watercolor wash to set the stage…

A sketch and under-painting of Linda Barnicott's newest painting "Pittsburgh Parties at Picklesburgh"

Then I completed it in pastel chalks…

A progression of Linda Barnicott's newest painting "Pittsburgh Parties at Picklesburgh"

Can you guess what my favorite part of the painting is? If you guessed the giant pickle, you’re right. I feel like it jumps right off the canvas!

Picklesburgh runs from July 26th to July 28th, and I’m excited to say that I’ll have my booth right in the middle of the Picklesburgh action. I’m even creating some new awesome gifts and prints just for the occasion.

If you’re interested in the painting or prints, just email me at linda@lindabarnicott.com. I’ll be sure to get back to you and let you know the details.

Perhaps I should promote it as a pastel painting of Picklesburgh, Pittsburgh’s positively perfect pickle party…possibly in perpetuity?

Picklesburgh – Kind of a Big Dill!

Photo of Picklesburgh with the city of Pittsburgh in the background.

With my Forbes Hospital mural now in the hands of the printers and the originals at the framer, I’m finally free to turn my attention to new summer projects.

And just in time, a new opportunity has come along! I have been asked to consider painting a piece for Pittsburgh’s annual Picklesburgh festival! Picklesburgh has been named America’s #1 Specialty Food Festival. In fact, Picklesburgh 2019 will be double the size of last year’s event to accommodate the huge crowds.

Picklesburgh will take place on July 26-28 on the Roberto Clemente Bridge and extending to the riverside lanes of Ft. Duquesne Blvd. I’m not sure exactly where I’ll be located as of yet, but you will find me there somewhere, painting pickles! After focusing so long on the mural, I’m looking forward to doing something new and different.

In the meantime, I’m getting a head start on my pickle painting. Tomorrow I’ll start on the underpainting, then I’ll add pastel to an already sketched view from the Clemente Bridge. The composition I have planned uses the lines of the bridge to frame the crowd, and I’ll be lighting up the sky with color (and pickles). I even have my candle supplier working on a crazy new scent for the occasion!

So mark your calendars for the last weekend in July, and come see me at Picklesburgh! I hear it’s going to be a really big dill…

Now that Memorial Day is behind us, the Summer Solstice brings long, bright summer evenings, perfect for strolling neighborhood night markets. To kick off the season, you can find me downtown on Saturday for the year’s first Night Market in Market Square. I’ll be there from 5 to 10 pm. I’ll even have a photo on my phone of the Picklesburgh painting’s progress. Want to see it?  Just ask!

With Father’s Day coming up next week, Saturday night would be a great time to visit me in Market Square to purchase a personalized gift of Pittsburgh. They’re predicting perfect weather, so please stop by!

P.S. – Happy Father’s Day from this happily retired grandfather!

Surrounded By Beauty

Linda Barnicott, Pittsburgh's Painter of Memories, posing with her husband, Tom Barnicott, in North Carolina.

Last weekend, Tom and I went on a road trip to somewhere we’ve never been before – Asheville, North Carolina, a small city nestled in the palm of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

My #1 impression of Asheville is that it’s a city that loves art and honors its resident artists. There is beauty everywhere you look… it seems as if there are galleries and artists on every street! And while the beauty created by the gifted artists of Asheville is amazing, the majestic gifts of nature surrounding the city and its incredible mountain setting are even more inspiring. If you ever have a chance to visit Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains, it’s the best of both worlds!

Image: Roses in the backyard of Linda Barnicott.

When we returned home, we were pleasantly surprised to see that the flowers in our own humble little yard had burst into bloom. We’re thrilled with how our personal little piece of nature is developing.

Last year we worked hard to clear the backyard, and we’re still working on the front yard. Of course, we planted many, many flowers. I like to think of my flowers as another manifestation of my art. The colors in my garden inspire me and touch my heart the same way the colors in my paintings do.

Image: Flowers blooming in the front yard of Linda Barnicott.

For me, bringing beauty into my life is as much a part of who I am as breathing. Making paintings that brings joy to others is my passion in life. As I continue to work on my summer painting projects, I’ll be thinking to myself, “Who will relate to this painting, and what is it about the painting that will speak to them?”

That’s my motivation as I work on my new art pieces. I hope things will slow down a bit this summer to give me more studio time. I have a lot of projects planned!

Here’s to enjoying a great holiday weekend and good times with family and friends.

It All Comes Together

Linda Barnicott, Pittsburgh's Painter of Memories, finishes her latest project.

Remember that big painting project I’ve been working on for the past couple years but haven’t been able to tell you about? (Hint: It’s the Forbes Hospital History Wall.)

Well, late last week, around midnight, I put the finishing touches on the very last section of the last panel. Then while everyone else in the house slept, I did the Happy Dance! I can’t actually share the completed paintings with you yet, as I’m not sure how the hospital wants to present them. But I don’t think they would mind if I shared one small piece of it – one of over a hundred miniature paintings in the piece…

And the one I’d most like to share with you is the one that features my husband. 

Image: An excerpt of Linda Barnicott's latest project for Forbes Hospital. Featuring an image that resembles Barnicott's husband, Tom, riding a bike.

As you know, Tom has a tendency to show up in my paintings; in a way it’s a sort of trademark for my work. Kind of like how Alfred Hitchcock put himself in a cameo in all of his movies! This painting is no exception. It was fun posing Tom and making sure he didn’t look silly or weird or out of place.

This partial was the final section that I worked on. It seemed an appropriate place to finish, with Tom doing his cameo in the miniature that completes the piece. It reminds me of how he supports me through my entire creative process, from preliminary photos to sketches to finished painting.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be dashing from one printer to another, making sure these five panels are as perfect as they can be. Keep in mind that I painted them normal painting size, but the printers will enlarge each panel to 4 x 8 feet!

I’ll update you when the day is announced for the big installation at Forbes Hospital. It won’t be long before you can walk out of the hospital cafeteria and see the history of Forbes Hospital and all it has meant to the local community, bigger than life.

This past weekend, Tom and I spent some time in Asheville, North Carolina (a place where we’ve never been before!), for a little R & R.  But now I’m back in the studio, forging ahead on my next project.