The first thing you should know about me is I like to talk. A lot. As in – can’t say Hello in two words. The second thing is, I’m pretty transparent about my life on the blog. I’ve written about infertility, perils of owning a flower shop, and even my husband’s passing.
All that being said, here’s your typical About Me stuff:
My name is Colleen and I blog about paint because I’m a self-taught artist. I’m what’s called a ‘decorative’ artist. As opposed to a ‘fine’ artist. Fine artists paint canvases to hang in galleries. I paint canvases and then slide them in serving trays, or make table runners, or whatever.
Basically, I paint to decorate stuff. Sometimes I paint stuff to hang on walls, or I might wind up just painting a mural on the wall itself.
I started painting in 1995, after a 20 year self-imposed hiatus induced by a college art teacher who didn’t like my paintings because they looked “real”. I quit painting, believing I had no talent.
That was the one and only art class I’ve ever taken.
So I do understand when people think they can’t paint. Years of painting and drawing as a child were tossed aside as I let one man’s opinion destroy my confidence.
Other than helping my stepkids with homework assignments, I hadn’t painted for years. Then my boss needed a sign for her Winnie the Pooh display. I painted one . . . on poster board. When my husband saw my Pooh he got angry. Seriously angry. “How dare you have such God-given talent and not be using it!” Um . . . Okay. So I started painting walls.
Why paint walls? I have no idea. Just seemed like the thing to do at the time.
Friends and neighbors saw our wall murals and wanted me to paint some in their homes. Over time, I eventually had a mural business, with only OTJ (on the job) training. I made lots and lots of mistakes but the great thing about paint is you can always start over and nobody is the wiser.
Because I’m self-taught it means I’ve spent a lot of time experimenting and discovering and making mistakes and trying something different. Talented? Perhaps. But mostly my ‘talent’ comes from determination and a lot of hours spent holding a paintbrush.
On the way to a new client in 2007 I was rear-ended and suffered a herniated disc in my back. Painting walls was doable but after painting two days I’d be in bed for five. I had to come up with some other way to paint.
I tried adding more classes to my already full teaching schedule, but I quickly burnt out and looked for another way to share my love of painting. Which led me to blogging.
About The Blog
I started the blog as Mural Maker & More in 2009, thinking it would be a nice way to chronicle painting wall murals, hoping I’d eventually get back to them. Instead, I started posting painting tutorials and eventually changed the name to Just Paint It in 2012. The blog is definitely my biggest DIY project to date, and so much more.
It’s become my friend, my therapy, my journal.
Here’s the way I look at it – everyone loves to paint. Or at least they did as kids, before they started comparing their own paintings to their classmates. I love teaching others how to paint, especially those who think they can’t. I love when someone gives themselves the chance to try a paint project and then seeing/reading the joy they experience when they realize that they actually can paint!
My goal, my mission, with the blog is to entice people to try a paint project. Just try one. When they see how much fun it is, and really is pretty easy, then they’ll want to try another, and another. Pretty soon, they’ll be like me when they look at crafts and home décor and think that they’ll Just Paint It!
I post a lot of tutorials but I also post my artwork that will go into reproduction. I like that I can decorate stuff with my art and also make it available for sale.
More About Me
I’ve been a DIYer all of my life. Being raised in with family-owned resort business encouraged that. At age 19 I opened a flower shop, which wasn’t the smartest move of my life. I’ve always had a business of one kind or another. When my husband’s three boys moved in with us, I couldn’t find any resources on step parenting so I started my own magazine. Again, not too smart, but I learned a lot. More about publishing than parenting, however.
I’m a daughter, sister, wife (widow), grandmother, and stepmother. I wasn’t able to have my own children so I welcomed, with open arms, my husband’s three sons in 1992 and raised them as my own.
I live in Northern California in a little town called Placerville, midway between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe. I moved in with my mother after my husband died unexpectedly in May 2012. Mom and I moved in June 2013 to a ‘dual-living’ house where she has the upstairs and I have the downstairs, which has kept what little sanity I have left fairly intact. I also now have two homes to decorate! Since our home is a rental, I’m challenged to find ways to decorate without painting the walls. But I’m always up for a challenge.
About PIY – My Painting “Method”
Even though I’ve only taken one art class, I’ve spent countless hours painting over the past 20 years. When I started teaching in 1998 I had to come up with some way for students with no painting experience to get a good result . . . in a two hour class.
I’ve always painted with craft acrylics. Okay, I tried oils once and wound up smearing the entire canvas with my forearm. So back to craft paints. Because they’re not completely opaque with one coat, craft acrylics work well when layered.
Here’s the basic formula:
- Paint the basecoat
- Add highlights
- Add shading
- Paint the basecoat over the top
You don’t need to know how to blend paints or use a special brush or anything special. If you use the colors in my tutorials, you’ll get a nice painting. After teaching hundreds, if not thousands, of students, I can honestly say that this method is nearly foolproof.
I call it PIY – Paint It Yourself. Like DIY, only with paint. It hasn’t made me famous or anything, and that’s fine. I’m happy when someone reads my blog and decides to Just Paint It.
One Last Thing . . .
People often ask me if any of my paintings are for sale. Yes! While I turn most of them into affordable reproductions, I also will sell the originals. I’m also planning on opening an Etsy shop soon where my art will be available as digital downloads.
I also paint commissioned work. That is, custom paintings. Pet portraits are popular right now but I can paint nearly anything you want with one exception – human portraits. That is something I haven’t accomplished, unfortunately.
If you’d like to talk more about purchasing or commissioning my artwork, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.