Society of Decorative Painters -
1220 E. First St. Wichita, KS 67214
Phone: (316 ) 269-9300 Fax: (316) 269-9191
Hours of Operation: 8:30 - 4:30 Central Time, Monday - Friday
Contact list with Emails and Office Phone Extensions
by Bobbie Campbell CDA
In 1982, I started teaching painting classes. At that time the idea of designing my own projects was not something I had even considered. After all, there were too many designs already published that “needed to be painted.” Designing started some ten years later—I finally found my confidence level.
After developing a line of pattern packets, I took the next step and started to attend conventions as an exhibitor and teacher. The shoe was now on the other foot and I was now selling designs instead of buying them. I was no longer only there to learn and enjoy as an attendee, or a student. I was a professional, there to do business.
After exhibiting for a few years, I was approached by Prudy Vannier of Prudy’s Studio to author a book and shortly thereafter approached about travel-teaching. I put a lot of thought into the decision to travel-teach. After all, I would be traveling to a different locale to teach two- or three-day seminars—working a ten-hour day most of the time. The seminar day is generally
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; however, I would be there an hour before to set up everything and stay roughly an hour after until the driver was ready to take me to dinner. Unlike teaching a convention class (where I would probably go with friends), as a travel-teacher I would be alone. As the teacher, I would be working with unknown students with unknown abilities in an unknown atmosphere. For all of the students who know one another, the teacher becomes the unknown.
Skills and Responsibilities
Organization is the most important skill to have when embarking on a travel-teaching schedule. Dates, times, and projects must be kept separate. And, although the chapter pays for transportation, the teacher must make the travel arrangements, meet the chapter’s deadlines, and be ready to teach with finished samples and teaching samples in hand.
Understanding responsibilities is just as important. Chapters invest a great deal of time and money to bring in teachers for their members. Airfare and transportation expenses are paid—this can amount to $500 or more depending upon the location of the chapter. The housing cost is generally at least $100 per night for two or three nights. A teacher’s daily fee can range from $300 per day to as much as $1,000 per day, again depending on how much the teacher is in demand. And let’s not forget that the teacher has to eat, so add on another $100 for three days’ worth of meals. The cost of a teacher for a three-day class can be $1,800 to $2,000.
Most chapters try to offset the cost of the seminars with fundraisers and raffles to cover these expenses. They generally underwrite a portion of the seminar to keep the cost down for the members. The seminar is a benefit to chapter members and to further increase their knowledge and skills in decorative painting. The chapter generally does not want to make money on the education program, but the chapter cannot afford to consistently lose a lot of money either.
It is the travel-teacher’s responsibility to make sure that the class is a worthwhile experience for everyone in attendance. So, you can see that there is a lot of responsibility on both sides of the teaching table.
Be prepared and enjoy the process. There is a lot of enjoyment and fulfillment in travel-teaching nationally and in other countries. But, be aware that issues can arise, including flights being canceled or delayed, no one greeting you at the airport, no hotel room being booked, the paint not arriving, or maybe your luggage (and your enclosed samples) not arriving. A multitude of things can and will go wrong. But at the end of the day for this travel-teacher, the gratification of teaching enthusiastic students makes it all worthwhile.
Many, many friendships have been made over the years teaching seminars, and I wouldn’t have missed making them for the world—even when the baby next to me has airsickness and I find out at 32,000 feet. Just one of those little unexpected surprises!(Back to Top)
This year, SDP had 363 submissions to fill eighty-five classes. Wow! My first impression was that it would be a hopeless, daunting task. Thankfully, SDP has this down to a science, so it was daunting but not hopeless.
STEP 1: Staff liaison Lisa Curry organized all projects by category onto a CD. The CD was sent to each committee member. All information was included, including price and length of each class.
STEP 2: Each committee member looked at every project and voted “yes,” “maybe,” or “absolutely not.” Votes were tallied. The unanimous “absolutely nots” were removed. All others were up for discussion.
STEP 3: Discussion took place via Skype over a span of two days.
These are the things we discussed that influenced our decisions. Pay attention here—this is where you can pick up some hints:
Priced Fairly: Sometimes, when comparing two like projects for one slot, we looked at pricing. If the length of the class time was appropriate for the project, and other aspects of the class were relatively equal, we looked at pricing before making our decision.
Design Flaws: We all agreed our Conference catalog is a public window to SDP and our quality of art. We saw some projects that were fairly good, but a portion was a detriment in some way. Perhaps a border or lettering was off. Maybe a perspective was incorrect. A flower might’ve been beautiful, but if the sides of the vase were crooked—out it went!
Photography: I work hard to get a good picture when submitting for classes, so it was a shock to see the poor quality of photos some people submitted . . . you know who you are! What were you thinking? Who photographs a painting covered by glass? And then shoots the photo at an angle so the glass doesn’t reflect? Who takes a picture with the project on a wrinkled or colored background, or with all kinds of stuff sitting behind it? Every contract/submission guideline sent out in the past several years states for backgrounds use gray. Use Gray! USE GRAY! Hint: Gray felt works great.
Submissions: Everyone wonders what to submit. Teachers generally know what sells, but you should be aware of the shortages we had during our review session. We had more oil paintings than acrylic, and more six-hour projects than four-hour projects. We had lots and lots of landscapes and florals. If you submitted those, please know the competition was stiff! We were very short on people and theory classes.
A word about theory classes: They are the only classes that can be taught multiple times at multiple convention venues. Before submitting a theory class, ask yourself if the class successfully filled at another convention before submitting it. We look at that, and so should you, to determine if that class is worthy.
Originality: Have you sent projects that have been in articles or other conventions? If it was seen in a class catalog or magazine of any kind, it cannot be selected to be taught at SDP. This applies even if a project was pictured in a catalog but not taught. The committee felt if a project didn’t fill in one venue, chances are it won’t fill in the SDP venue.
STEP 4: Teachers were notified, and a scheduling nightmare began.
Scheduling Issues: Each day at Conference must offer four-, six-, and/or eight-hour classes in a variety of mediums. A successful convention is set up like this so that every guest has something exciting to fill his/her time. Moreover, teachers are invited to list teaching time preferences. Some of you have five or six time requirements. Impossible! There might be a fabulous project, but there is no time slot that fits all the criteria.
FINAL NOTE: Many of you have wondered why there isn’t feedback from the selection committee. There are so many factors considered with each project, and so many projects submitted, that the volunteer time, staff time, and total time involved in thorough documentation of each conversation about each project would be virtually impossible. Advice for all of you: Check your photography. Make sure your subject matter, surface, color, and design are fantastic and current. Lastly, make sure you offer quality at a fair price. If you didn't make it this year, keep trying! We want to see projects from you next year!(Back to Top)
SDP members are a wealth of knowledge in not only the area of art but in so many others ways as well. The 2013–14 Education Committee has put together mentors to function as a resource to our members.
Below are your current mentors and some areas of expertise :
Joyce Sieve CDA—firstname.lastname@example.org. How to promote and organize a craft show, travel-teach, teach at a convention, exhibit at regional or national conventions, and run for SDP office
Corkie Dunlap CDA—email@example.com. How to set up local classes, travel-teach, teach at a convention, exhibit at regional or national conventions, and run for SDP office
Mary Kingslan Gibilisco CDA—firstname.lastname@example.org. How to set up local classes, travel-teach nationally and internationally, teach at a convention, exhibit at regional or national conventions, own a studio and shop, host seminar teachers, hold seminars, run for SDP office, publish books, host online classes, create a marketing plan, and maintain a website
Linda Underwood—email@example.com. How to plan educational chapter programs, encourage chapter involvement, and recruit chapter members
Donna Frost—firstname.lastname@example.org. How to increase involvement with SDP on a national level, either by serving on a committee or running for office
We invite more members to join our mentoring team! Just email Mary at email@example.com for all the details and to volunteer.
Your Education Committee will be setting up a members-only bulletin board so that all questions may be answered and shared. Please email the mentors listed with your questions and we will start educating our members on how to paint and what else you can do with your painting passion.
Your committee members eagerly await your questions.
Wiregrass Decorative Painters on the Recruitment Road
Linda Underwood has excellent and insightful mentoring advice on chapter recruitment through creating beginner classes.
The Wiregrass Decorative Painters chapter was stagnant. We had good monthly projects and wonderful member teachers, but the same few members were swapping the officer positions every year or two, and we didn’t have enough people to form committees to spread the work of additional activities. Sound familiar?
Our solution was to teach beginners. Not one person volunteered to hold classes in their home. Two of us were determined to make the program happen, though. We had no idea how to go about it: what to provide, what to charge, where to have classes, and what projects to teach. We all wanted to save our chapter and were convinced that we could only save it by teaching people to paint, and hopefully recruiting them to join our chapter.
The chapter had taught some children’s projects during our local library’s summer reading program. The librarian asked us to participate in a fundraiser for the library. We painted windows and donated them for the fundraiser. The windows were in a highly visible area of the library on a day when it was having a book sale. This generated a lot of interest. People stopped and admired our work, and said they couldn’t paint because they could not draw. (All my life I thought I couldn’t paint because I can’t draw.) This gave us an opportunity to explain how decorative painting can be taught using our proven methods and techniques that don’t rely on an ability to draw. We explained that we have patterns and written instructions that are easy to use after an individual has learned the basic techniques. We use this slogan in every advertisement of our classes—“You Do Not Have To Be Able To Draw To Learn To Paint Beautifully.”
Next, we participated in the downtown fall festival. We displayed our work and did a simple make-it-take-it. We signed up more than forty people who were interested in taking classes. Now we were excited and encouraged. We held a one-day Introduction to Decorative Painting class at the library. We limited the class time to about two hours. We did a simple project on a small sled ornament and opened the class to adults only.
This got lots of attention. To kick it into high gear, we decided to provide everything that would be needed for up to six classes at one price—brushes, surfaces, palette, tracing paper, eraser, stylus, light and dark transfer paper, and bottle opener . We decided to use a variety of surfaces so the students could learn the proper prep for wood, metal, etc.
The hardest thing for us was deciding what projects to teach. It was important that the lessons be project-oriented. Students need to have something to show for their effort, and to give them encouragement and validation as they learn to paint.
Teachers: It is important to have several teachers so the work can be spread among a group. Also, we advise you to have at least two to four other chapter members present to provide individual assistance and to help with setup and cleanup. All helpers must be upbeat, helpful, cheerful, and forbidden to whine. This exposes the students to a lot of the chapter members so when they are asked to join the chapter or visit, they already know some members.
Where to hold the classes? We partnered with the local public library for several reasons:
1. It is a familiar public place. Even if people don’t normally use the library, they feel it is a place they are entitled to use. We asked our students after the course if they would have come to our regular meeting place for the classes. Most said no. Coming for classes in a more private establishment requires a larger commitment than they are initially willing to make.
2. Libraries are often funded based on the number of individuals coming through their doors, so the more people the better. We provided table covers and were careful to protect the surroundings. We had used the time teaching painting classes for their children’s programs in the summer to build a rapport with the staff. This made it easier for us to hold the adult classes there.
Most newspapers have a free announcement column for clubs and other community events. Find the contact person and email your announcements to them, directly. We sent our announcements to all daily and weekly newspapers in a fifty-mile radius. Television and radio stations usually provide a similar service. Look for local announcements in your area on the Internet. They usually do not edit what you send and print it as provided, but you need to be brief. We put brochures in the library and other public places. In addition, we asked local restaurants if we could display our art on their walls. And we provided cards on the art and brochures at the restaurant’s checkout area. Many local restaurants were happy to have a changing art display. Sometimes you can even sell your art this way.
Try this program—it works!(Back to Top)
For those members who are unfamiliar with the SDP Teacher Development Program (TDP), this program is a fantastic opportunity for artists who are passionate about painting and want to share their passion with others. I personally believe the best way for our organization to increase membership and grow is to get more people excited about learning how to paint, whether it be using acrylics, oils, colored pencils, watercolors, or other mediums—and the TDP can help you do just that!
The TDP provides an excellent educational program for members, offering the opportunity to improve the standard of teaching decorative painting. This program improves the skills of experienced teachers and helps artists who want to become teachers.
I recently conducted an interview with some of our teachers and wanted to share with you their reasons for completing the TDP to become a Teacher of Decorative Art (TDA). Artists Tina Sue Norris TDA, Debra Welty TDA, and Linda Biedermann TDA have been longtime TDAs, while Cookie Trent TDA and Carol Ganzi TDA are more recent additions to the TDA family.
Why did you decide to go through the TDP and become a TDA?
Debra Welty: I love teaching. When I heard of a program that would help me become a better teacher, I signed up.
Carol Ganzi: I am always looking for ways to improve my skills and make teaching more interesting to myself, as well as my students.
Linda Biedermann: I had decided to open a home studio and I wanted to be the best teacher I could be. I believe in life-long learning and will never say that I know it all.
Cookie Trent: In my previous life as a consultant I taught adults how to improve their processes and then later I taught high school algebra and computer science. While most teaching skills are transferable, I wanted to make sure that I was equipped with the right skills to teach my painting students. This was a no-brainer! Do the Teacher Development Program!
Tina Sue Norris: Of all the facets of my art life, teaching is the most rewarding for me, so when I was offered the chance to be part of the beginning program building, I was honored and excited to accept the opportunity.
Please explain how this helped you grow as an artist and a teacher.
Debra Welty: It heightened my awareness of the learning styles and made me conscientious about relating information better to the students.
Carol Ganzi: The program makes you think and consider things you may have forgotten you knew.
Linda Biedermann: I had studied education at the bachelor’s level in college, so much of the teaching theory covered in the manual sounded familiar. It was a wonderful review for me. I especially liked the focus on learning styles. This information helped me as student, as well as a teacher.
Cookie Trent: As a teacher, I adopted the program’s format for student supplies and instructions. This has resulted in my being able to produce student materials quicker. As an artist, I look at subject matter and see how I can create it for either a beginner, intermediate, or advanced student. The differences are amazing!
Tina Sue Norris: I’ve always been a believer in the statement, “If you want to learn something well, teach it to others.” The people I’ve had the opportunity to have in class have taught me far more than I could ever learn any other way. The TDP gives me an outline for what I need to do to make sure I give my best when instructing and sharing what I have learned with those who have spent their time with me.
How did completing the course help you become a better teacher?
Debra Welty: I had already been teaching for eighteen years. Studying the manual was the most helpful.
Carol Ganzi: By making me more aware of the different ways of learning (visual, auditory, etc.), I became a better communicator and find I don’t have to repeat the same instruction twenty times.
Linda Biedermann: The program also made me aware that I was not including enough art theory in my classes. This gave me incentive to do more study and try to fill in any gaps in my knowledge base. Now I know that a good teacher can slip art theory into a class without making the student feel it is a lecture. This gives the student a knowledge base that will improve their paintings.
Cookie Trent: The program reinforced that people learn differently; therefore, I need to teach/demonstrate differently and engage my students in this process. It works for me, because my students keep coming back!
Tina Sue Norris: The language specific to decorative painting in the TDP gave me, and continues to give me, a firm base for classes and developing a plan for each new presentation.
Do you feel this certification adds credibility to your position as a Teacher of Decorative Art?
Carol Ganzi: It taught me some new things and reinforced things I already knew but didn’t always incorporate into my lessons, giving me more confidence in my teaching abilities. I am always surprised, though, at the number of SDP members who don't know what the TDA designation after someone’s name means and at the number of chapter people who don’t include it when publishing teacher names and rosters.
Debra Welty: Yes.
Linda Biedermann: Yes, having a credential helps me feel more confident and shows potential students that you are a professional who cares enough about students to seek out extra education. It is not enough to know how to paint; you must also know how to teach. I have received referrals due to the online listing of TDAs.
Cookie Trent: Yes—most certainly.
Tina Sue Norris: Doing the Certification Program was a personal goal to become a better painter; however, the TDP is so much more significant as it affects how I interact as a teacher. The hope always is that it adds to my credibility.
Discover the SDP Teacher Development Program for yourself. Contact Lisa Curry, education coordinator, at (316) 269-9300 ext. 104, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What would you say to someone considering taking the necessary steps to become a TDA?
Debra Welty: You learn a lot and it shows students that you care enough about teaching to learn how to become better.
Carol Ganzi: Much like the Certification Program, the TDP is not a contest, but a test. If you can open your mind to realize you don’t know everything, that even teachers must keep learning, you will find the program helpful and you will be successful in the testing and as a teacher.
Linda Biedermann: Whether you are just thinking about teaching, teaching casually, or are already a professional teacher, you can benefit from this program. It is a simple step-by-step program that makes you think and encourages you to teach. Everyone who paints will benefit from it.
Cookie Trent: Like the Nike commercial—“Just do it” and “Knowledge is Power” —there is so much that can be learned from this program.
Tina Sue Norris: As painters we are many times isolated while doing what we enjoy. If the thought of sharing what you have learned has crossed your mind, please consider the TDP as a path to how you can best give painting knowledge to others. The time and effort involved will pay off in many more ways than you may imagine.
I hope you find this information useful. Please feel free to contact any member of the TDP committee if you have any questions about the program.
Please consider becoming a Teacher of Decorative Art! You will grow as an artist and SDP will grow with new members!
Vicki Alley TDA
iLia's unique real-time instructional style allows the viewer to have questions answered, reviewed until understood, and to watch the physical demonstration of each principle until it's fully internalized. The periodic summarizing text lays out the organized methodology that led iLia to produce his thirty years of personal experience and seventeen years of teaching fresco classes into this precise, linear process within a progressive and organized format.(Back to Top)