A LITTLE HISTORY
The Decorative Painting Ministry at First Presbyterian Church had it’s unlikely beginning as a result of another ministry. During the early years of the Easter Egg Ministry, several of the “egg makers” asked Donna Myers* if she would help them with painting flowers on a sweatshirt. That was such a success – one of the participants, Laura Beane, proudly wore her creation for many years – that the “paint class” became a weekly happening.
Early projects included Christmas ornaments and sweatshirts, a denim shirt with dogwood blossoms, and sampler projects which taught the basics of decorative painting. Many of the students were members of First Presbyterian Church. Classes were also made available to others in the community, some of whom eventually joined the church.
The first major project was a Beginner’s Class which provided everything a student would need to get started. Instruction book, brushes, paint and four projects to give the student the opportunity to learn and practice different techniques. This package was made available thru the DecoArt Helping Artists program of which Donna was a member.
The Beginner’s Class With Their Teddy Bear Plaques
(Clockwise left to right):
Teri Hicks, Donna Hollis, Jan Vincent,
Faye Hodges, Konnie Conrad and Rosalie Nicholson
Kay Sudderth and Sheila Burnette
After completion of the beginner’s class, Donna carefully developed a course plan which would allow the students to build on what they had learned in previous classes by learning new techniques and elements. Her purpose is for students to continue to grow and develop instead of doing the same thing week after week.
Basic techniques and elements studied included introduction of color theory, the art of strokes and brush control, side loading, working on different surfaces (i.e. canvas, wood, tin), landscapes and figures. In addition, European styles were also studied, such as Bauernmalerei (Germany); Hinderloopen (Holland); Rosemaling (Norway); French Regency Scrolls, Flemish Floral Still Life and others too numerous to mention.
Each year several class participants travel to Elizabethtown, PA, to attend one of David Jansen’s annual seminars. Jansen, world renowned for his innovative painting projects, is a Master Decorative Artist (MDA). He was granted the title of Chevalier by France’s Order of Lafayette for his work in preserving and teaching the decorative arts.
The following photo was taken in May 2013 at the seminar for landscape painting.
Standing (left to right): Shari Downing, Konnie Conrad, Donna Myers, Shirley Smith,
Kay Sudderth, and Ellen Watts. Seated: David Jansen
2014 Tuesday Class
Students are encouraged to develop a new project including the research necessary to determine the materials needed, and then leading the class in the execution of the project. This would be their first step toward becoming a certified decorative arts teacher.
Students are eligible to join the Society of Decorative Painters which is a national organization. They may then join the local SDP Chapter, Triad Decorative Painters of North Carolina, which meets at the Kernersville Masonic Lodge.
Triad Decorative Painters has been instrumental in bringing nationally acclaimed decorative painters to the area for seminars. This allows members to access other instructors without the expense of travelling to other cities. Some of the instructors who have provided seminars in the past are: Sandy Abuschon, Scottie Foster, Lynne Andres, Teresa Maxwell, Cheri Rol, Priscilla Hauser, Arlene Linton and Liz Miller.
Each October the work of the students during the previous year is featured in the breezeway at First Presbyterian Church.
More Than a Painting Class
The Decorative Painting Ministry is not just another painting class. It also provides a time when participants can come together to enjoy fellowship, sharing and support for each other. Ellen Watts has been attending the class since 2005. When asked about her experiences, she replied:
“I originally started the class because I love to do craft projects and I wanted to learn to paint a flower. I have learned so much more than how to paint a flower. Through Donna’s tutelage, I have learned to paint many kinds of flowers, even the "dreaded tulip", which I had trouble with in the beginning, as well as many other types of painting. The class has provided a great knowledge of art and art history, especially European art history.
I have also developed great friendships and a camaraderie with a group of people with similar interests. This painting group has also become a support group, where we laugh, cry and share our joys and sorrows. It is so much more than just a painting class!“
For more information about this ministry, contact Donna Myers at 1.336.993.5680
* Donna Myers is a Certified Teacher of Decorative Arts (TDA) and a Heritage Teacher with 30 years of experience in decorative painting. With a background in ceramics she became interested in decorative painting when she moved to Kernersville in 1986. She took her first class in decorative painting at Forsyth Tech under Jeanette Peace and, as they say, the rest is history.