STIR-IT-UP - Vol. 13

Zoom Walls are the New Feature Walls!

by Beth Warnecke and Kathy Otto

Now that we are over a year into this new normal of spending more time at home and interacting with friends, family, and coworkers solely over video chat, it's not surprising that many of us are craving a bit of change, especially when it comes to our interiors.

This new norm of working from home does not seem to be stopping anytime soon and the design tips to up your digital game are abundant on the web. Tips on proper lighting, camera placement, along with appropriate color and design choices to make the space behind you as appealing as possible, have become the new Google search rage.

This is where decorative painters step in. We, as artists and finishers loved the idea of feature walls when they became popular. One wall, quick and easy, you can throw them in between other projects. That is what the new Zoom wall is - a feature wall with purpose.

Sitting in front of anything other than a blank wall creates a mood, whether it’s an eclectic picture wall, a mix of patterns or textiles, or a colorful wall. You can make them understated like in Beth’s client’s home office or showcase your client’s style as seen in Kathy’s project. Try to make the backgrounds as eye-catching as possible but don’t overdo it with too much going on behind you. The goal of the Zoom app is to create the feeling of sitting and talking in a room together, so ultimately the focus should be on you or your client.

Beth’s story:

My client is actually a friend of mine that has been working from home for several years now, before it became the thing to do. She had never noticed the plain white wall behind her until quarantine. She started to see other people’s interiors, was inspired for change and asked for a nice background for herself. Her office is the original living room of the home. Privacy had never been an issue, but during quarantine she has had to share the daytime hours with teenagers being home and in virtual school. Background noise had become an issue. I applied a sound dampening plaster on the walls, keeping it understated but with pattern. We also added a barn door for privacy finished in a weathered white wash finish. She is thrilled, and I loved fitting in a quick 2-day job in between all of my other work. A win/win for both of us.

Beth Warnecke

Beth Warnecke was born in San Francisco, a Navy baby, but grew up in Illinois looking at the St. Louis Arch from her backyard with her three brothers. Even though she always had a love for art classes she went to school for a bachelor's degree in accounting. After staying home to raise a family for 17 years, she decided to go back to what her passion had always been and took her first decorative painting class. Once she discovered the St. Louis IDAL chapter, Metro Artisans Guild, there was no looking back. Serving her chapter and now the national IDAL Board as Treasurer and current President, Beth runs her business out of a studio that she absolutely loves. It is a 120 year old brick building with the original wood floors (now unceremoniously covered with splatters of paint). She specializes in kitchen cabinetry finishes and plastered walls and ceilings.

Another passion for Beth is working with the St. Louis Cardinals baseball and Blues hockey teams, she loves the atmosphere and energy. “I’m an artist by day but a baseball and hockey freak by night!” Her favorite part of working these part-time jobs is meeting all of the wonderful and kind people I take care of. I’ve met Warren Buffet, Lou Brock, Stan Musial, two presidents and many other St. Louis celebrities. "My life is full." When she is not traveling to keep her portfolio current, Beth loves surrounding herself with her 4 sons, daughter, and daughter and son-in-law. Beth is happiest when all of her children are home and her kitchen is crowded and crazy loud.

Kathy’s story: 

A designer called and asked if I could do a wall for her client that was behind her computer, for a Zoom wall. I told her, “of course I could!” Her walls were painted pink and she had two storage closets on each side of an alcove. I painted the doors and molding the same pink, so they would blend in. She wanted it to be as sparkly as possible. I used Golden Artist Colors Regular Gel Gloss and mixed in some Modern Masters Silver metallic paint and Sheri Zeman’s silver shatter. My daughter rolled the product on the wall and I came behind her and rolled through it with my chamois roller. Then, for good measure, I blew some silver glitter onto the wet walls.

My client was beside herself,
she loved it so much.

Zoom walls are the new trend I will be promoting to my designers.

Kathy Otto 

Kathy Otto was born in St Louis, is married and the mom to 4 kids and 2 bonus kids, Grandma to 6! She has always loved art and drew constantly. As stated on a grade school report card, “Kathy’s grades would improve if she put as much effort into her work as she does decorating the margins of her work.”

She started her career teaching art classes in a small art store and then started receiving commissions for large canvas work. She was introduced to SALI (now IDAL) by Margaret von Kaenel, it opened up a totally new kaleidoscope of possibilities! She found a love for textures and metallics. She joined the local St Louis IDAL Chapter, Metro Artisans Guild and served as President, Vice-President and Treasurer.

She is also a member of the Gateway Decorative Artists and was featured on the Chapter page of the Spring Decorative Painter Magazine. She has taken many classes across the US to continue growing and keep her skills sharp. Currently, she serves on the national board of IDAL as Vice President and was the national Chapter Director. Her husband is retired and works with her on cabinet jobs, adding trim or corbels to islands, building cabinets, bookcases and fireplace mantles.

Self Care

by Tracie Weir

“What? Hang on, let me turn down the tv.” I said.
“Why is it so loud?” He asks.

I just can’t hear it anymore, so frustrating. Why am I telling you this? Because I lost 40% of my hearing. Why did I lose 40% of my hearing you ask? Because I didn’t protect my ears while running the sander, air compressor etc. for years. I was fully exposed.

In the spring of 2020, it seemed like out of nowhere I couldn’t hear well and I was driving everyone crazy constantly saying “what? What?

I went to get my ears tested. I thought they were plugged with wax. NOPE! Clean as a whistle. Sure enough, I have hearing loss. I’m so mad at myself. I was sitting in the doctor's office trying on my new hearing aids thinking how cool the technology is, having Bluetooth, an app on the phone to control everything among so many other features. They even have cheetah print covers! What?”

But once I put them in and all of a sudden I heard a car beeping from outside of the building, I started crying. “Oh my gosh how horrible is this. What did I do to myself?”, shocked that I couldn’t hear it when I didn’t have them in.

My life has changed forever and I lost $3,500 that the insurance didn’t cover.

I’m telling you this because I now know the importance of taking care of the simplest little thing while working and doing what we do on a daily basis. Wear a respirator if you spray! Wear goggles for sanding and spraying-keep your eyes safe from any dust or paint droplets that could get in! Wear ear protection! I can’t stress it enough. Don’t make the same mistakes I made! This is what I look like now when I go into my spray booth!

Tracie Weir

Tracie Weir was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1968. She has been interested in art since she was a little girl always drawing and painting with her grandmothers and mother. At the age of 5, Tracie won a coloring contest and got to meet Disney’s Herbie the Love Bug and Goofy. She continued to draw and paint as a hobby. Tracie completed her degree in Business Administration with a focus on Accounting from Cleveland State University and Canyon College. Every year in college she took a series of art classes to keep up with her passion and understanding the history of art.

After spending a few years in business after college, she decided to start a mural and decorative painting business in Miami, Florida. After 5 years of business in Miami, Tracie and her family moved to Northern Virginia where she continued to paint and grow her business. Her clientele grew by working with interior designers and other decorative painters. While Tracie resided in Northern Virginia, she spent years in decorative painting for commercial and residential spaces. She took classes in Europe including Spain, Italy, Morocco and many places around the U.S. She has been a part of showing her works for the Great Falls Studios and Atelier and had a mini solo show at Touchstone Gallery in Washington, D.C. Tracie moved to Ft. Lauderdale in 2017 and her work predominantly now includes furniture and cabinetry painting. Occasionally, commissioned art includes acrylic on canvas from abstract to landscapes for clients. Tracie currently belongs and shows art to two local art chapters, Plantation Art Guild and the Weston Art guild.

What it takes
to make the pages of inPAINT Magazine

Amanda Haar, editor of inPAINT magazine

As the managing editor for inPAINT magazine, one of the questions I get asked most often is “How do you choose who you’re going to feature in a story?”

Given we feature 10-15 pros per issue, I tend to cast a wide net when searching for sources. Here are a few of the places that have proven fruitful:

Networking at events: Whether virtual or live, events are a great way for me to make contact with pros and learn what they specialize in and what they’re passionate about. For every event I attend, I build a spreadsheet of who I met, what they do, what products they use, their history in the trade, and anything else I learned from them. I not only refer to those documents when sourcing stories but also when we’re looking to create our annual editorial calendar. If I’m hearing about, say, metallic ceiling treatments, more often, I’ll push to include coverage.

Social media: I follow a number of paint-related Facebook groups and Instagram pros. Again, I’m looking for pros with skills in given areas, as well as trying to spot trends. If I see an impressive piece of work or read a strong comment, I copy it and retain it for my files.


 The inPAINT Editorial Advisory Board also serves an important role in helping me source pros to feature. I share each issue editorial calendar with them in advance of stories being assigned and ask them to share the names of any pros they think have something to offer to a given story. If they come up short, I’ll reach out to other pros I’ve met and worked with on previous stories to solicit their thoughts.

Unsolicited emails: On occasion, I will get an email from a pro who is looking to land on my radar and maybe in the pages of inPAINT. Contrary to what many may think, I welcome these emails. I love “meeting” new people, finding out what they do, how their approach is different, what cool project they’ve recently completed, or even if they’ve invented a product. I place these emails in a potential source folder and tap them as needed (

So, if we’ve met or you’ve emailed and you haven’t appeared in inPAINT yet, here are a few reasons that may be the case:

  • Our editorial calendar for each coming year is set at the end of the previous year. Because we’re solely advertiser sponsored (which means FREE to you), we don’t have the luxury of adding pages to accommodate new features or changing coverage. So if we don’t have something slated on your area of specialty in a given year, there’s not much chance I’ll be reaching out.
  • We strive for regional diversity in every issue. What’s trending in AZ in terms of style or product choice is not the same as what’s going on in New England. If we’re interviewing three pros on faux finish products and one’s from your city or region, it’s unlikely we’ll choose another from the same area.

Other reasons we won’t reach out:

  • Bad reviews. We do check Google, BBB, and other review sources. If your reputation is sketchy, we won’t be calling.
  • Challenging or non-existent website: Like potential customers, we’re looking to understand and see what you do. In such a visual trade, images are really, really important as is text that clearly tells me what you do. There are a lot of pros who make it easy for me to understand exactly what they do. If I have to guess, I’m probably just going to move on to another site where guessing is not required.

Like painting, some of the most important work involved in creating a magazine is in the prep, with cultivating good ideas and good sources topping the list of essential steps. Like the readers of inPAINT, I’m always open to learning and doing better. If you have source ideas to share or want to be considered for future stories, just let me know:

Amanda Haar

Amanda Haar is a freelance writer and editor and serves as the Managing Editor for inPAINT Magazine. She's always on the lookout for interesting new products, approaches, people and story ideas that will inspire and inform pro painters.

PPP Updates: More Money for Sole Proprietors!

2020 was a wild ride, but it may not all be over yet! If your business had a tumultuous year, you may have overlooked some of the financial relief options available to you last year. Interestingly, many of these options have continued to evolve even into 2021, and may be even friendlier to the self-employed than before.

Many have heard "PPP" on business owners' lips in the last year, but quite a few felt left out by guidelines that made it difficult for the self-employed to get much help at all. Many small business owners were dismayed to realize that the version of this relief option, that was available to them for income replacement purposes would be based on the net profits of their businesses, and if they didn’t have any employees the help stopped there. As you may be able to relate to, net profits are often slim for sole-proprietors or contractors who try their best to expense as much as possible for write-offs each year. For some, this meant they applied for help and received as little as $1 in PPP relief funding!

As of March 3rd 2021, the SBA has said that you can apply for a PPP by using your gross income rather than your net profits. For many contractors this means a much larger opportunity for some forgivable-loan money. You can find this number by looking at your prior year tax return Schedule C (where the business income and expenses are located) and finding Line 7: Gross Income.

This change means that if you don't have any employees, (or even if you do) you have a lot more room to potentially calculate a PPP loan amount that could actually replace some income, and be easily forgiven as long as you use it properly!

The previous limit for owner-compensation replacement remains capped at $20,833, which is the equivalent of 2.5 months worth of a $100,000 salary. So, if you had gross income of $100,000 in 2019, you may be looking at over $20k in income replacement! If your gross income was even higher, you may receive enough PPP money to cover some other expenses as well.

So, if you receive a higher PPP Loan than the owner-compensation limits, but paying employees isn’t a factor in your business, what can you do with the extra funds?

Good news! You have some expanded options for ways to use the money, which are still eligible for forgiveness. These include:

  • Supplier costs which are essential to the business
  • Software or cloud based services which are essential to the operations of the business (this can include CRMs, accounting software, expenses for payment processing software, etc.)
  • PPE or other costs incurred as a result of the business adhering to federal, state or local COVID-19 Safety Guidelines

This means that if you don't have any employees (or even if you do), you have a lot more room to potentially calculate a PPP loan amount that could actually replace some income and be easily forgiven, as long as you use it properly (ie: replacing your income, or for most operating expenses your business may have).

In other words, whether you had employees or not last year, you should consider submitting a PPP application and seeing how much support you may now be eligible for! The easiest way to do this is going to be to find a bank which you have an existing relationship with, and reaching out to see if they have been able to incorporate the updated guidelines for sole-proprietors. If they have, get your application in ASAP! The current deadline for PPP Funding is May 31st, though this may be extended.

You’ll need a copy of your 2019 Tax Return with the Schedule C for the business. If you had employees, you’ll need copies of some payroll filings, so make sure to keep your payroll provider handy for pulling those up.

Final Note: Forgiveness will be as easy as signing on the dotted line that you used the funds as intended. What a relief! Just be sure that you follow the guidelines.

Wishing you well,
Morgan Ray, EA
Bookkeeping for Painters

Morgan Ray is a managing partner at Bookkeeping for Painters, where she and her team help business owners across North America by simplifying their accounting processes and equipping them with easy to understand information to make better decisions. Morgan is a Houston native who studied Entrepreneurial Management; as a tax practitioner and business advisor her specialty is proactive advice in an easy-to-understand format. She currently lives in Tucson, AZ, where she enjoys the starry desert skies with her husband and two young children.

If you are coming to the St. Louis IDAL Regional Conference, please stop by, say hi and enjoy the Exhibition and live painting. You will not be disappointed. For more information about Salon Saint Louis please visit: 
https://salonsaintlouis2021 or FB Salon Saint Louis 2021

Margaret von Kaenel has been a decorative painter and member of SALI/IDAL since 1999, and a participant of SALON FOREVER since 2014. She is also a fine artist and has been juried into various St. Louis art exhibitions. Her work can be found at


A little history:
In 1992 Alfred Maraecau from Kuurne, Belgium asked a small group of local and nearby (the Netherlands) decorative painters to demonstrate techniques and exhibit their work. There was no “organization” behind this group gathering, just the desire to revive old techniques which were almost lost and known only by the older painter’s generation. Most decorative painters of this time were getting their training from the local painter associations or from books written on the subjects. Fast forward to 1996 - Yannick Guegan from Quimiac, France, invited the same artists and others to his studio to continue the sense of tradition of the decorative art and gather to exhibit, demonstrate, and share ideas. It was then that the group decided to make the meeting a yearly event…thus, The Salon Forever was born!

What is Salon?
It is a cacophony of visual delight and master skill! The first year I attended Salon (2008 – Chicago) as a “tourist” - someone who paid at the door to see the mystery inside. I thought I was a rather good decorative artist, but I was totally blown away and frankly intimidated by the talented exhibition. I was so inspired by the work that I was determined to take more classes hopefully by some of those who had exhibited and to take my level of decorative painting to a new height. Many Salon participants have taught at IDAL and so I was fortunate to learn from Matts Carlsson, Pascal Amblard, Jean Sable, Helen Morris, and Natalie Hallberg to name a few.

To define Salon further -
it is an invitational and juried annual gathering of highly accomplished international decorative artists exhibiting and demonstrating age old techniques handed down over the centuries from master to student. It is like a POP-UP Museum of interior and exterior painting in styles such as: Sign writing, Gilding, Painted Illustration, Painted Ornament, Grisaille, Grotesque, Fresco, Wood-graining, Marbleizing, Trompe l’oeil, Glass work, Murals and Street Art. It is a FOUR-DAY artistic HAPPENING where artists gather to learn, share, demonstrate, laugh, play, and work together. Enthusiasm is high, competition is low.

Salon Saint Louis 2021 will be open to the public and held in the St. Louis Artists’ Guild at 12 N. Jackson, Clayton, MO, from April 29 – May 2. During the event, alongside all the artists demoing their skills, there will be a series of “Master Classes” that will include some of the top Salon talent talking about and demonstrating specific topics. There will also be a Community Mural that the Salon members will work on throughout the event that will be donated to a local recipient.

415 S. Sharon Amity Rd, Suite B
Charlotte, NC  28211
Phone: (407) 618-3272

International Decorative Artisans League (IDAL)
is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
©2021 International Decorative Artisans League.

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