Where the Toys Are

Wow! I was really inspired this week by your comments and title ideas for the new painting I’m working on… one great suggestion after another, each one heartfelt and illuminating. I’ve put them all together in my head and rolled them around a bit, and now I’d like to run one by you… how about ”Santa’s Favorite Toy Shop” (or something like that). What do you think?

I never know when I start a piece how it will touch the hearts of others and whether it will resonate with them or not. I promise to give it my best shot so that even if you’re not from Pittsburgh or have never shopped at S.W. Randall, you can still appreciate it as a delightful fantasy land for the young at heart. And it would make a great addition to your wall for the holidays!

I promised to update you this week, so I have a little slice of the painting to show you. The details are starting to take shape, and I’ve added some snow.

My girls’ contribution to this process was to tell me that I needed to soften the expression on Raggedy Ann’s face (and I will not share the exact words they used!). My reply was that her face in the actual painting is only ¼ inch in size, so it shouldn’t matter. Yet off I go to fix it anyway. My family members are my best art critics – I’ve trained them well, and they tend to be brutally honest with me!

Before I go, I want to remind you that the release date for “Pittsburgh at First Light” is coming soon. If you want to take advantage of the special pre-release price, you have until 11:59 p.m. on September 1st to order your print. Just enter the code FIRSTLIGHT15 at checkout to receive 15% off. It’s a one-time opportunity to get this new piece at a reduced price, so it will be just a little bit sweeter when you hang it in your favorite place!

P.S. – We have another painting project going on this week… we’re painting our patio furniture. Since we just came back from Florida, guess what colors they are going to be!

Hint #1 – Tom says he wants to be able to look outside and imagine he’s on vacation.

Hint #2 – You may need sunglasses when you look at them!

Expect the Unexpected

You would think by now I would have learned to expect the unexpected. There sure has been a lot of it lately… especially in the last couple weeks!

It all started when Tom and I arrived home from our painting trip to Albuquerque, just in time for Brentwood’s Fourth of July parade. Everyone had a jolly good time.

Not long after that, one of my twin granddaughters (Abigail) was playing with Aria, her big sister, and managed to sprain her ankle. Then, the very next day Aria was running across her living room and fell smack into the corner of the coffee table, landing on her ear!

(Who ever invented coffee tables in the first place? I think I’ve tripped over them and stubbed more toes on them than anyone! Unfortunately, it looks like Aria is taking after her Grandma.)

Well, that ended up with Aria and her mom (daughter Alyssa) spending the entire evening, night, and next morning in the ER, finally followed by Aria’s surgery on Thursday morning. The doctor said she would have developed a “cauliflower ear” like some boxers have if her mom had not brought her in.

And that’s not all… later that day, the exhausted Alyssa and Aria tested positive for COVID, even though they were both fully vaxxed. The good news is that Aria is already better, and Alyssa is well on her way.

But it wasn’t all accidents and COVID… this week also brought the distressing news that Heinz Field is changing its name to Acrisure Stadium. What??? I mean if they had to do this, why couldn’t it be “Acrisure Stadium at Three Rivers” or at least something related to Pittsburgh?  After Consol Energy Center changed its name to PPG Paints Arena, my print, “Pittsburgh’s New Home for Hockey” entered the realm of nostalgia. So I guess my painting “Game Time at Heinz Field” will now do the same! Maybe it will become a collector’s item?

Which brings me to Picklesburgh. I love Picklesburgh, and I really wanted to be there this weekend, but it wasn’t in the cards for this year.

Last year, Picklesburgh was in August. Let me tell you, it was more like a marathon then a show! Tom and I had a blast, and we were totally worn out by the end. Who wouldn’t want to come back the next year and do it all over again?

However, in July 2021 we had received the last of Tom’s Dad’s estate, and we promised ourselves we would spend it doing something special with our family. The grandgirls love all things Disney, so we decided to take the whole family to Disneyworld. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to treat our children and grandchildren. I knew three bedrooms would be hard to come by in WDW’s busy season, so I needed to plan ahead. I thought I was safe booking it for July.

Nope! Picklesburgh moved to July this year; in fact, it’s the very weekend that we’ll be leaving for Florida, and it wasn’t possible to reschedule.

So this year Picklesburgh will have to go on without me. However, my website is available 24/7 if you would like to commemorate the festival with a Picklesburgh print! You can see my prints of both Heinz Field and Picklesburgh on my website, www.lindabarnicott.com

And while you’re there, I hope you’ll also check out my newest painting, “Pittsburgh at First Light.” It will be released on September 1st, but you can pre-order and save 15% off the regular sale price by using code FIRSTLIGHT15 at checkout.

Online orders will be shipped after we return on August 2nd, while pre-orders for “Pittsburgh at First Light” will be shipped after its release on September 1st.

We are EXPECTING to have a great family vacation! Have a great week!

 

Homeward Bound!

Tom and I are back on the road again, headed for home. We said our goodbyes to the adobe homes and mountains of New Mexico, and now the scenery has changed to amber waves of grain.

I had a tremendous experience at the IAPS convention of pastel artists. As always, it was a wonderful time spent with friends both old and new, sharing techniques and stories and just soaking up the energy of fellow artists. In fact, I met a few whose workshops I can’t wait to take when this pastel party happens again in 2024.

Each artist showcased their own style of painting, sharing fun and helpful little tidbits like a new pastel or paper, a favorite color, or how they use alcohol, gouache, watercolor, or pastel under paintings.

I even won a raffle and received a bunch of the most coveted UArt papers and boards!

Upon leaving Albuquerque, we took a slight detour by way of Santa Fe to catch up with artist Barbara Meikle. She’s a good friend of one of my collectors, and he asked me to stop and say hi to her. Her colors really struck a cord in my soul… a lovely person and beautiful artwork.

We will be arriving home in time for the Fourth of July, and I’m already aching to get back in the studio to paint again!

I can’t wait to see how all of these wonderful experiences will enhance my work moving forward.

In the meantime, have a great Fourth!

Best of the West

Tom and I finally made it to Albuquerque this week, and I must say we have driven through some amazing countryside! We love the big skies, the beautiful clouds, and dramatic sunsets, not to mention the many nice people we’ve met in our travels.

We arrived in Albuquerque on Sunday night, though my workshops didn’t start until Wednesday. Five years ago, the last time I attended the IAPS conference for pastel artists, I visited the Los Poblanos lavender farm and took some fantastic photographs from their property. This piece was inspired by that visit. I spent about three hours getting it started, and I’ll finish it in my studio back home in Pittsburgh.

It was nice having Tom around to help carry my materials (of course, I overpacked!) to and from the workshop room. He also had to run out for 70% rubbing alcohol for my underpainting. I’m one lucky lady to have such an excellent “assistant!”

For the next three days, I’ll be taking more workshops with some incredible artists. Just being here is so inspiring… I can feel the creativity flowing through my veins!

Also, later today the “Candy Store” (where all the pastel vendors come with their homemade pastels and supplies for sale) will open for all of us to buy lots of goodies! Pastel artists can’t help themselves – they have to bring home some new colors! As they say on Star Trek, “Resistance is futile.”

After the workshop is over, Tom and I will be traveling home through more stunning landscapes (also known as “potential paintings”). Keep reading to follow our journey!

P.S. – Don’t forget to pre-order my new print, “Pittsburgh at First Light” before its release date of September 1st to receive 15% off the purchase price. Just enter the code FIRSTLIGHT15 when you check out. Click Here to Pre-Order!

 

On the Road Again!

I’m writing to you from the road as Tom and I are traveling out west for a painting trip. Instead of just flying into Albuquerque, we decided to make it a long-overdue official road trip!

Our first stop was Chicago and the Navy Pier. We arrived just in time to watch a spectacular sunset over this amazing city. Chicago, I never realized how beautiful your skyscrapers are… I’d better not stay too long, or I just might have to paint you!

Preparing for our journey, I spent a couple weeks getting all my supplies together for the pastel conference in Albuquerque. Being a studio painter and having a couple of thousand pastels at my fingertips, my biggest concern was choosing my 320 favorite pastels (harder than you might think!), cleaning each one, and then putting them in a working order in my new pastel box.

They do look pretty, don’t they? Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that when you put those sticks to paper you can create a 2-D version of a 3-D memory!

When I created my new painting, “Pittsburgh at First Light,” I also used five different styles of pastel pencils to get the fine lines and detail I needed for the city buildings. If you look carefully at the very top of a few of those skyscrapers, you can see even smaller marks that I made using a colored pencil to create the delicate lines.

I now have a pre-order page on my website where you can claim your own limited-edition print in advance of its official release on September 1, 2022. Until then, I’m offering a special price to my loyal subscribers. Just visit my website, https://lindabarnicott.com/product/pittsburgh-at-first-light/ and enter the code FIRSTLIGHT15 to preorder your print for 15% off the regular price.

Order yours now and save!

Want to watch me create the painting from start to finish? Follow this link:

The Making of Linda Barnicott’s “Pittsburgh at First Light”

Until next week from somewhere out west!

Best always,

Linda

P.S. – I’m going to have a number of new products that will be here in time for the Fall 2022 season. Some of them will be quite useful, some will be decorative, and others just for fun.

As we were packing for our trip, Tom called upstairs, asking if I was expecting a small package. Scratching my head, I went downstairs to find him holding a thin bag from a printer. We opened the package, and it was my first new product sample. I was so excited, I just had to take a picture for you!

Eventually, you’ll be able to order a phone case for your specific phone size. “My Hometown” is the first painting that will be represented on the new products, but we’ll definitely be adding a few other paintings for each new item.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this first sample!

“Pittsburgh at First Light”

I’m working on a new painting, and I’d like to share it with you today. It’s called “Pittsburgh at First Light.” It’s very much still a work in progress, and you may notice that some parts look a little awkward. It’s hard for an artist to show her work while it’s still unfinished… so please be kind! Some paintings go together a lot easier, but painting this city is a long and complicated process.

Don’t get me wrong – I dearly love this painting already, but the other night I vented to my husband Tom, “This painting is doing me in!!!” I tried to count my blessings and remind myself that Pittsburgh as a city is just the right size. It could be worse – I could be painting the New York skyline. There are so many buildings to include, but they’re part of what gives Pittsburgh its personality. I was inspired to capture that unique Pittsburgh skyline at dawn, and that’s what I set out to do.

The story of this painting started on the morning of March 1st. Why do I remember the date so specifically? Because that was the morning Tom and I were up at the crack of dawn, driving our U-Haul truck full of art downtown to the Convention Center to set up for the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show. We were headed down Arlington Avenue at about 6:40 a.m., and the sun was just coming up. The beautiful morning light was shooting down the river and hitting the sides of the downtown buildings so perfectly! It was just a gorgeous sight. I turned to Tom and said, “Why didn’t I ever think of painting this before?”

Of course, all the elements were perfect that morning. What were the chances of seeing it again at just the right time with just the right weather conditions? (I couldn’t help envying those lucky folks who live overlooking the river and wake up every day to this spectacular view.)

We decided it was worth a try, so Tom and I picked a morning that looked as if the weather would cooperate, and we drove down Arlington Avenue right before sunrise to find our spot. We left the car up the road a ways and started walking down. Finally, we found a spot with an opening in the trees and a set of “Pittsburgh steps.”

Dare I? Dare we? Well, let’s just say going DOWN the steps wasn’t that bad. The next street down looked like a good place to set up shop and watch the sun rise. But then I wondered… where will the next set of steps take me? Could I get a clearer view? Again, going down was no problem. But let’s just say that Tom and I realized how out of shape we were when we started our long, arduous climb back up the steps, huffing and puffing along, one landing at a time. I was surprised it wasn’t noon by the time we got back up to Arlington Avenue.

I did return one more time to get the detail on the Ukrainian church in the foreground, and I need to go back again once more now that the trees have fully leafed out.

You may notice some irregularities in the sky and maybe a few other things that need work, but please have patience. As the PennDot signs say, it’s a “Work in Progress.” I hope to have much more of the painting finished by next week. It’s been quite a while since I started creating “Pittsburgh at First Light,” but this is the first time I felt comfortable enough with it to share with you! I would love to hear your thoughts.

Have a good week! You know what I’ll be doing!!!

“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.