Scroll down to learn more about Darla Foreman, Carolyn Bacon, Cindy Forsythe MDA, Doxie Keller TDA,
Linda McDonald, Maureen McNaughton CDA, TDA, Janette Ward, Barbara Jenkins MDA,
Priscilla Hauser MDA, Kathy Swigon CDA and Wendy Watson - the Turtle Hollow Artists

Darla Foreman  Oklahoma City, OK

1983 was a year for new adventures.  Moving from Oklahoma City to the Tulsa area, with husband and 3 little girls was exciting and full of new experiences.  I began to paint and study with Tulsan, Carol Mays.  After a few months of study I began to teach like many others at the time, around the kitchen table, and Turtle Hollow was born.  Then I was introduced to the Society of Decorative Painters.  Being involved with SDP has brought lots of new friends from around the world.  With Priscilla Hauser’s encouragement, I became very involved with the Society in many areas and today, I have completed a term on the SDP Board of Directors and a term as VP/President/Past President and Turtle Hollow has grown from home classes, a home studio to Exhibit booths and now a beautiful website.

Several of my friends have joined me on this journey.  We hope you enjoy your trip through our site and find lots of goodies that will help you experience the world of decorative painting. 

By the way, those three little girls are grown and one is married with two little boys.  My husband and I are still experiencing lots of new adventures, that is common when you are in education.  May painting always brighten your life with color.

After graduating from the university, I promptly started my professional career as a school librarian.  In 1969, the P.E. teacher and I both became pregnant.  She decided we needed a hobby so we could get out of the house after the babies were born.  We considered various activities.  She suggested tole painting.  I wasn’t sure what it was, but I always made great bulletin boards for the library, so why not.  She signed us up, bought the supplies and off we went to class.  She took 3 classes and quit, whereas 38 years later, I find myself still painting.

I fell in love with all aspects of the painting industry.  I’ve taught in shops, adult education programs and operated a home studio for 20 + years.  I attended my first SDP Convention in Albuquerque, NM.  At the time I told my husband that our daughter (who was mama’s girl) better have a good time while I was gone, because I just might want to go again sometime.  It turns out I have not missed a single SDP Convention since; in fact I have taught at most and exhibited at many.  I travel teach around the country, and teach and exhibit at many of the regional conventions.  Allison, my daughter, paints and attends the conventions with me, what fun!  I have contributed to several books and magazines.  I also have an extensive line of pattern packet.

I served on the SDP Board of Directors as Board Member at Large for two years.  I was elected Vice President/President Elect in 2002.  I served as President in 2003-04.  I finished my service on the Board of Directors in 2004-05 as Past President.  I remain quite active as a member of SDP.  I urge all of you to check out the Society of Decorative Painters.

Cindy Forsythe MDA -- Humble, TX

When we moved from Seattle, WA area, in the late 1960’s, I learned to paint and play golf.  Both have proven to be very rewarding experiences.  I joined the Society of Decorative Painters in 1975.  At that time it was called the National Society of Tole and Decorative Painters.

The Society offers a once a year certification program, where a member’s art work is judged at the National Convention.  I passed all 4 pieces to qualify as a Master Decorative Artist.

As a teacher I have taught classes in every state in which we lived, as my husband’s career moved us from place to place in the 70’s and 80’s.  It has been my privilege to teach at National Conventions, mini conventions, and to local chapters in Texas and other states.

My work has appeared in various painting magazines such as: The Decorative Painter, Paint Works, The Best of Decorative Painting and 4 pieces are being exhibited in Japan.  There is one piece displayed in the Decorative Arts Collection.

It was my honor to have been elected to the Nominating Committee and to serve as a judge for the Certification Program.  Also serving the Society of Decorative Painters I have served as chairperson of the Awards Committee and been a member of the Teachers Committee, Certification Committee and a Teller for the Annual meeting.  The exciting part of all this is the opportunity the Society has provided me to be able to attend 32 National Conventions.

Locally I have served 2 terms as President of the Decorative Painting Pals of Texas.  Today I am a member of four local chapters in the Houston area.

Doxie Keller TDA -- Hutchinson,KS

I have been painting and teaching Decorative Painting since 1964.  I love teaching beginners and enjoy showing them the pleasures of creating and having lots of fun, doing both the simple and the more advanced techniques of decorative painting.

I have served the Society of Decorative Painters since it’s beginnings in various positions.  I am the only member to have served twice as President and currently severing as Board member at Large on the Board of Directors.  Conventions are the most fun, 2008 will be my 36th attended Convention.  Creative Director, teacher and booth manager for Deco Art, Inc of Kentucky are among my jobs responsiblities.  Visit the Society of Decorative Painters on their website,

Linda C.McDonald  Frisco, TX

Painting has been in my life from more than 30 years and I’ve been teaching around the country for 20 years.  I am a pastel artist that works to capture the essence of an animal whether a pet portrait or animal in the wild.  When I moved from Minnesota to Texas seven years ago I refocused on portraits in oil by studying at the Liliedahl School of Classical Art.  With renewed inspiration in my painting I have taken on a new vibrancy of color and understanding of design.  I will continue to design and teach in all mediums.  My pattern packets include life size line drawing, photo supply list and detailed instructions on how to paint the design.

With my painting activities I have been an active member of the Society of Decorative Painters.  Serving on the Teachers, Chapters, Awards, and Nominating committees have been very rewarding and I felt it an honor to serve as Nominating Chairperson.  In 1997 I served the Society as co-chair for the planning of the Minneapolis Convention.  I have taught at many conventions and exhibited at the National Convention and many mini conventions.  In 2001 I was awarded the honor of being presented with the Dedicated Service Award.

I’ve always been a crafter, not a painter.  In fact, I never dreamed I would ever consider myself a Decorative Painter.  Since my favorite hobby has always been crafting, I’m always shopping at Hobby Lobby. It was there that I met my first decorative painting teacher. With some very strong encouragement from her, I decided to take my first painting class. With even more encouragement, I attended a meeting of the Sooner Decorative Artists (SDA), formed by Gail Bonifay from the Society of Decorative Painters (SDP).  I felt it couldn’t hurt to attend, as one never knows; some of their expertise might just rub off on me. I joined SDA and SDP that day and have been excited about decorative painting ever since.     

I have eight grandchildren, ages 2 – 25 and two great granddaughters, ages 1 and 5, who I’m always painting with.  In fact, my five year old great granddaughter has been painting with me since she was three.  If you can hold a brush you can learn to paint, is my way of thinking.

I’m very involved in two decorative painting chapters - SDA in Norman Oklahoma, and the Central Oklahoma Society of Tole and Decorative Painters in Oklahoma City.  I have held multiple positions in each of these chapters; most recently I was the immediate past director of Tole Country, an Oklahoma decorative painting convention.

Thanks to all my friends and teachers and their encouragement, I can now claim that I, the crafter, am a Decorative Painter.  Someday I may even be a CDA, TDA, or even a MDA, but I realize it will take much more practice and lessons to accomplish this goal.  So pick up that brush, and let’s all get together and paint.


She’s the “First Lady of Decorative Painting,” and with good reason. Due to Priscilla’s efforts, dreams, and ability to draw people to her, the first meeting of the National Society of Tole and Decorative Painters (Society of Decorative Painters) took place on October 22, 1972, attended by Priscilla and twenty-one other people. Since then, the organization has thrived (35,000+ members), and so has Priscilla.

From Priscilla’s beginning efforts as a tole painter in the early 1960s, when she took tole-painting classes at a YMCA in Raytown, Missouri, she has become a world-renowned teacher and author, and the decorative-painting industry’s ambassador to the world. She has traveled and taught in Canada, Japan, Argentina and the Netherlands.  She introduced Zhostovo Russian tray painting to the American Decorative Painting Industry, as well as instructing extensively throughout the United States and at her “Studio by the Sea” in Panama City Beach, Florida.  Priscilla’s Studio is now located in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Besides teaching all over the world, Priscilla has used nearly every outlet to share her enthusiasm for decorative painting, illustrating her techniques through books, magazine articles, videos and television. The results of her teaching methods have led to an accreditation program for teachers.

“The latest of many prestigious awards
bestowed upon Priscilla include:”

Hobby Industries of America Hall of Fame Award – Priscilla was one of the first inductees to receive this coveted award. Patricia Koziol, Executive Director for HIA wrote, “As a pioneer and innovator in the craft and hobby industry, we would like to honor your support and participation in leading HIA and the industry with our Hall of Fame Award.”

Priscilla Hauser Award for Business & Industry – The Society of Decorative Painters named this award in honor of Priscilla. It is presented annually by the Society at their business meeting’s annual convention and honors someone in the industry who exhibits high ethical standards, exudes personal integrity, and has made a phenomenal contribution to the success of decorative painting.
His Royal Highness Prince Bernard of the Netherlands – Priscilla was one of the only ten artists from around the world chosen by His Royal Highness Prince Bernard to paint a panel for the Worldwide Wildlife Foundation. Priscilla was invited to the palace to make the presentation

Deborah Bonnewell
Churchville, NY

My story begins with a small family-based business ‘Calico Colts’ in Churchville NY, with my husband Frank and two sons Todd and Scott.

Our family worked together for 18 years manufacturing and marketing children’s toys, including stick hobby horses, marionettes, doll furniture and clown marionettes. I clumsily and reluctantly picked up a paint brush to create an eye on a wood hobby horse which led to my first class at a local shop Love of Crafts. My paint brushes haven’t been idle since.

In 1986 I was introduced to the Genesee Country Decorative Painters in Batavia NY, attended a multitude of seminars, and became an active member of the Society of Decorative Painters.

I love any medium I can get my hands on but my favorite is oils. When I took a seminar project of lemons with Mary Gibilisco, the results looked so real that I puckered from their juiciness ... from on a flat piece of Masonite board!!! That fueled my enthusiasm and began my education with Dixie Rheinholtz. I attended SDP National Conferences and entered the SDP Certification program, which provided additional knowledge, and I have grown since.

Two years ago I began teaching at our national conferences and HOOT of Ohio. I am energized when I share my love of painting and the knowledge I have accumulated over the past 26 years.

I feel like I have just begun my painting journey. The possibilities are endless. Let’s take this journey together.