Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Painting with the Society of Decorative Painters and Going To Washington 1998 and 2004

Hi Friends
Merry Christmas!

Being a member of 
The Society of Decorative Painters since 1989
has been a joy and blessing.

Once again I am remembering two special occasions being invited to the White House
after creating ornaments for the Blue Room Christmas Tree.  
These thoughts bring back wonderful Holiday memories.

Local paper feature December, 1998

 I haven't shared pics of those unique times here in blogland, so I thought this holiday,
 I would share a bit from my experience.

This is the North and South Portico of the White House.

I had the joy of painting twice for the Blue Room Tree
and actually attending a reception to view 
the collective efforts from the Society members twice as well.

For the 1998 painting assignment the theme was
Winter Wonderland.
We were asked to create ornaments with a winter snow sports theme
with specifications for sizes, scale and weight.

As most of you know,
I am a long time member of the National Society of Decorative Painters.
 This wonderful group of artists in all stages of skill levels, form a special group around the world.

Being a member has blessed me with a path I might otherwise not have taken.
As a member since 1989,
I have improved my skill, met many great artists, studied alongside kindred spirits,
and yes, even taken the road to the White House.
What an honor it was for all of us!

Each year after Christmas,
 the decorations and holiday theme is decided by the first lady and her staff of designers for the following Christmas display.
Once the theme for decorating is agreed upon,
work begins that lasts all year long
right down to every little detail for the first White House Party.

The 2004 theme was A Season of Merriment and Melody.

In the years I designed and painted for the holiday theme,
our society was invited to do so and we were all given instructions to create ornaments for the Blue Room Christmas tree.
Size, weight and theme had to be exact and followed for consideration in being chosen.

 In 1998 the theme was snow sports and in 2004 musical instruments.
 Once your creation or more were complete, it would be sent to the Society for acceptance for the Blue Room Tree.

 If it was selected, it then was sent on to Washington, if not, it would be displayed at the Society's beautiful location on display for the season in Kansas, the National Headquarters.

My attitude was, to do the best I could and if my ornament went on to Washington, wonderful,
if not,
I would be very happy and proud to be included with the Society's display for the Christmas season.

Low and behold,
 I went on to Washington both times I created.
 However my greatest surprise was,
being invited to come see the display by invitation
from the President and First Lady in 1998 
and The First Lady in 2004.

 I never dreamed I would receive an invite to see the Blue Room Tree all decked out in the ornaments created by artists from all over the nation.
350 ornaments were chosen and 313 members attended.

I will always be thankful to be included among so many talented men and women.

The following are photos from both trips.

We each could include a guest
 and of course my guest was my best friend and husband.
He loved every minute spent in our nation's capitol.

 Washington is a wonderful place at Christmas.
 The lights, the history and the pride is like nothing else.
 To be apart of that experience once is amazing,
 to be blessed twice,
is beyond my dreams.

For both visits
we spent time after the reception day,
 touring the monuments and sites for three days.
 My memories are full and my experience will last a lifetime.

To attend with my best friend was extra special
and I thank God for the blessing to swing a paint brush!

I have many photos and it's impossible to share them all,
 but here are the highlights

The dinner buffet was over the moon amazing with every kind of dish imaginable.
The dessert table was incredible.
I don't remember eating or what I enjoyed.
The day was just a dream.
We dined with fellow artists,
took photos and toured the main level.
What a day both visits!

From 1998

Six years later, visiting once again.
From 2004

The Blue Room Christmas Tree in all it's glory stands 18 feet tall and isattached to the ceiling where the chandelier normally hangs.

 The White House provided ornament finder charts for us to locate our ornaments on the tree.

The tree was magnificent.
Below in the next three photos and to the left is my ornament.
A drum in blues, reds, gold and ivory 
with gold stroke-work to meet our specific assignment
for color and strokes.
Given a location chart of each ornament,
I was able to get close enough to get this shot.

I do not have photos of the ornaments I painted in 1998.
However, I painted 11 ornaments in a variety of snow sport styles.
Sleds, skates, and skiers.

On each visit, we took the time to tour around Washington DC.

There is so much to see and enjoy about our American history
and the time was well spent.

Here are a few pics from around Washington.

My favorite site was the WWII Memorial.
 It was here I met a few Vets from my Father's home state of PA.
 When I thanked them for their service, they cried.
 We all took some pics together
and then
I stood under the marker for Dad's beloved Pennsylvania.

For both visits we stayed at the Capital Hilton and took the same pic to mark our stay.

A couple months after our trip and WH visit,
Mrs. Bush sent us both, for our offices,
 a photo taken with her by the White House Photographer
 and a very special letter that I will forever hold dear.

Thank you for sharing in my wonderful memories from the White House 1998 and 2004.

 It was a time I will never forget
and I hope our Society is invited again in the future
so I might try to design and share in the decorating of the Blue Room Tree once again.

 It is "The People's House" and painting for it was a great honor!

 There are not enough words to express my thankfulness for the joy of painting.

 God has been so good to bless me with a gift that I might bring a smile to another through painting.

 For me, that will always be enough!

Merry Christmas!

Till next time, Blessings be yours.
Celestina Marie

As a special note, The ornaments painted for the White House stay with the White House and used in other ways in the future or displayed in the Library of Congress.

The 1998 ornaments I created were hand cut from wood designs and painted my me.

The 2004 ornaments were sent to members for creation and painting.
I was actually sent two ornaments to paint with the other  being a trumpet.
 The trumpet  arrived damaged, so my chances were left to one ornament.

I also want to add, my Father passed away just 6 weeks before my 1998 invitation and before the WWII Memorial was constructed.

 When he was a teenager, he worked on the grounds of the White House for a summer job one year.

 I feel he knows I was there both times
and in 2004  met Veterans he served this country with so proudly.
God Bless!

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