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Spotlight:  Brenda Stewart BFA, CDA, TDA

Brenda Stewart BFA, CDA, TDA works in acrylic, watercolor, oils and alkyds. Currently, most of her work in done in DecoArt Americana acrylics or watercolors. She has been drawing and painting since the age of seven, and is best known for her contribution to the art form of Decorative Painting. For 35 years, she has shared her knowledge and techniques with decorative painters through the many classes and seminars that she teaches in the US and internationally. She has produced a large body of published work including over 500 instructional packets, and is also the author of 18 books and 4 DVDs.

Brenda received the Certified Degree Artist award in 1979. She became a TDA with the inception of the program in 2000 and played an active part in the early ongoing development of the program. She has been an active member of the Society of Decorative Painters since 1975, and served on the board of directors for six years, and as President from 1990-91. She was awarded the Silver Palette in 2006 and the Distinguished Service Award in 2011.

Brenda and her husband, Robert, owned and operated a retail shop in Louisiana for 15 years, currently operate an e-commerce web site, conduct and merchandise a series of seminars in Williamsburg, VA, and exhibit at several decorative painting shows each year. Brenda also maintains an active travel seminar program in the US and abroad, and in 2008 began working with a licensing agent to market her designs.

In her free time, Brenda stays busy with church activities and her children and grandchildren, and enjoys antiquing.

How did you get started painting?
My Dad was a self-trained artist. He did not work with color, but he drew and did beautiful woodcarvings. He noticed my interest in drawing and enrolled me in art classes when I was seven years old. Over the years, I studied with numerous artists and worked in many varied mediums. I have degrees in music and art, but when my husband and I moved to Louisiana as young newlyweds, there were no secondary music positions available, so I returned to teaching art classes, and taught seven canvas classes a week. Then I happened upon Decorative Painting and found a new home!

What type of painting do you do?
This is a difficult question to answer. I suppose you could say that most of what I paint is realism, whether it is flowers, still life, portrait, or landscape. I use stroke work and stylized design to complement many paintings. I paint in slightly different styles for different markets and enjoy whatever I am doing at the moment.

What has been your biggest challenge?
Unreal expectations of myself. I’ve had to accept that I will likely never bring every idea from a very crowded brain to completion, nor accomplish every task on my endless lists.

When did you start using DecoArt products?
About 13 years ago, I made a total switch to DecoArt. Prior to that, we used them for base coating and some of our shop projects.

What impact do DecoArt’s products have on your work/life?
What a difference! The difference in the ease and time it takes to execute a painting, the marketability of my published work, and the teaching opportunities have been phenomenal.

How long have you been a Helping Artist?
From day one of the switchover to DecoArt products, I was welcomed as a Helping Artist.

What has been your best and brightest moment as a Helping Artist?
Every time a student achieves success with a DecoArt product or a product makes it easier for them to execute a painting, it is a bright moment. I am always proud to be associated with this company that makes top quality products available to the industry and also gives such excellent support to artists and educators.

What’s your favorite DecoArt product?
The Americana paints and mediums.

What has been your greatest success, so far?
How does one measure success? As far as I am concerned, my success can be measured by how well I utilize my God-given talents, and how I handle the job of being a parent, grandparent, businessperson, and friend. Any day that I feel good about any of those things, I am successful.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Still painting, publishing, teaching, and doing more in the field of licensing. I hope that in 5 years, my painting is still evolving; I love learning new things and experimenting with different techniques.

Who is your favorite artist, and why?
There are so many, each using different styles to create various moods and to communicate with us. I can get lost in any good painting or illustration. It is impossible to state a single favorite, but a few that illustrate totally different styles are:

Pollyanna Pickering – an English wildlife artist. She does magnificent African and also English wildlife. I have a painting of a bunny in a cabbage patch in my sunroom that was done by her.

Norman Lowell – An Alaskan artist who walked up a mountain in 1958 to establish a homestead. He and his wife, Libby, raised a family in a dugout cabin, were almost totally self sufficient, and built another log cabin home and gallery, all the while producing a phenomenal body of art of Alaska. I do not own any of his work but did have the opportunity of a long visit with the Lowells while visiting Alaska for a seminar.

Carl Larsson – the detail and charm of his paintings draw me in. I particularly love the paintings of his family and home. They tell so vividly the story of his life in Sweden.

Contact information:
Website: www.brendastewart.com
Email: bstewartbd@aol.com