Deirdre Newman Decorative Painting
Montclair, New Jersey
My first encounter with artist Deirdre Newman’s work came though a blog post entitled Stenciling is Hip at Little Green Notebook, which featured several examples of her stenciling artistry. Deirdre often incorporates stencils into her work, and has a number of wonderful examples of stenciling in her online portfolio.
“I use stencils to paint overall patterns and whenever possible to simplify every other project I’m working on. If I have a big decorative painting or border to do I look for any designs that could be repeated and make stencils for them.”, says Deirdre.
Deirdre has a background in book and botanical illustration that eventually led her to decorative painting. When a friend, the owner of a large decorative painting company, needed someone to do botanical style flower borders, he called on her. “He thought of me because my botanical illustration was appropriate and I’d been saying how much I’d love to work with him for years!”
“The very first job I did was the flowered border in a dressing room/bathroom in a very expensive penthouse apartment with a tight deadline just before Christmas. I expected to go in with my sketches and supplies and, in the manner to which I was accustomed, have the room to myself. But there was such a push to get the job done that to my horror there were about five other trades in the small part of the room I needed to paint in. I couldn’t even fit a ladder in there. I had to straddle plumbers and reach around electricians but after a while I was hooked. Now I love to paint to the sound of a jigsaw balancing my paints while standing on a toilet! The job was a beautiful success.”
Deirdre’s work now includes stenciling on walls, ceilings, and floors, decorative borders, faux painting, trompe l’oeil, and murals, and she enjoys the more hands on aspects of her new career path. “The publishing work I was doing was becoming almost totally computerized and I spent most of my time sitting at a desk. Decorative painting gives me a chance to play with paint and colors, create beautiful designs for amazing environments and be very physically active.”
Her biggest challenge? “Knowing when to stop being a perfectionist! It’s not cost effective and it doesn’t improve my work, surprisingly.”