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The following story appeared in The Faux Finisher, Spring 2008

Large Crowd Enjoys Big-Name Demos at Prismatic Open House

Gary Lord's Prismatic Painting Studio in Cincinnati, Ohio, held its third annual open house event on March 15. This year's day-long event attracted more than 250 attendees, with visitors coming from Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, West Virginia, New Jersey, North Carolina and even as far away as Florida.

What brought people from so far away? For starters, the event was entirely free. What's more, there were thousands of dollars worth of free giveaways. Breakfast, lunch, drinks, snacks and desserts were available all day long. The day was also filled with free demonstrations from nationally renowned artists, including Donna Phelps, William Cochran, Barb Skivington, Sean Crosby, Jodie Baldanza and Gary Lord. All of the artists showcased their wonderful talents with demonstrations of their newest techniques.

Donna Phelps started the day at 9:30 a.m. with samples from her unique finishes with a slight Asian flair to them. This collection was a huge hit at the Meeting of the Masters last fall in Texas. Donna proved she is able to deftly use a wide variety of products to create easy to replicate samples that are highly salable.

Next came William Cochran at 10:30 a.m. William gave a PowerPoint presentation of the work he has done in the public art forum, and the images were absolutely breathtaking in their realism. He also spoke about his teaching style and how anyone and everyone can learn to see the world from a different viewpoint that will help them elevate their craft to a higher level. In his PowerPoint presentation, he included testimonials from prior students who raved about his classes, what they learned in them artistically, and the passion he was able to give them again for their work. All of this is provided in his class, "Trompe L'Oeil Mastery Program, Level One."

Barb Skivington came on at 11:30 a.m. and wowed everyone with her ultra-chic "Urban Finishes." Barb designed this line of finishes to complement the high-tech materials and designs being brought out by today's architects and designers. These decorative finishes fuse the past with modern sensibility - almost always with something unexpected. Barb also spoke about her cabinet and furniture techniques. She proved to everyone that her finishes were creative and profitable looks. They are designed to transcend the typical stained or painted finishes in the market today.

An ample catered lunch and drinks were provided for everyone. The hour-plus lunch break allowed everyone to network with each other and browse the product areas. There was a special display area for a new line of women's paint clothes called Fauxy Painter. There was also an area for hundreds of new stencils from Royal Design Studios, WallOvers, Victoria Larsen and Raised Expectations. In addition, Melanie Royal sent some of her beautiful sample boards, which showcased her newest best-selling Modello and were available for sale.

At 1 :30 p.m., Sean Crosby exhibited his amazing talents by demonstrating a section of his Tiepolo Panel. Sean used his usual Irish charm to mesmerize everyone as he painted a section of a faux fresco mural that appeared to be centuries old. Sean also spoke about image transfer methods, painting figures, fabric as well as colored skies and clouds. In addition, he shared his know ledge of woodgraining by making a beautiful faux bois walnut sample.

Jodie Baldanza was the lead instructor for Faux Effects International for more than eight years. Her knowledge of the entire Faux Effects product line is extensive, and she was delightful as she shared her knowledge with her wonderful sense of humor. At 2:30 p.m. Jodie demonstrated a few new techniques by using the new RS Series product line from Faux Effects. This line is a unique Reactive Series of products that will produce a very complex multi-layered look at a fraction of the time required with traditional decorative painting products.

At 3:30 p.m., Gary Lord gave the final demonstration of the day. Gary showed the brand new StucoLux line from Faux Effects. Gary mentioned to the audience that two of the hottest trends in the market today are textures, and metallics. The StucoLux Line has plasters, Marmorinos, Hi Lite Metallic Plasters and Metallic Plaster in varying colors. This new line is able to combine two of the most popular techniques today in very creative and unique ways.

Throughout the day, everyone was also able to talk to any of the guest artists at their individual tables in the vendor area. Product knowledge, techniques and tips were revealed in this open networking environment.