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Chris Thornton

I’ve always felt my artistic ability was greatly influenced by being raised in Alaska. It was dark when we went to school and dark when we came home. Being one of three children in a very small house, my mother always kept us “occupied” at the kitchen table with a variety of art projects—this saved her sanity.

The other feeling that I have is that much of my ability is inherited. My home is an interior decorators nightmare, but it means a lot to me. A display of artwork painted by five generations, beginning with a piece done by my grandmother in 1910 when she was only 13 years old, adorns the walls of my living room. There is also a painting by

my grandfather that was composed during the same time period while he was a student in Germany. This collection also includes paintings by my mother, my two sons, John and Eric, my grandchildren, as well as some of my own work. The fact that my father owns a framing shop helps out a lot around here, as framing tends to be quite expensive!

My family is constantly growing. I have two wonderful sons, John and Eric. Their loved ones, Anne and Crystal, have become the daughters that I never had. Being a grandmother of seven (Jacob, Abby, Nick, Sean, Mitchell, Danny, and Gracie) has brought me a tremendous amount of joy. I am very proud of all of them.

As for my history in the decorative painting world, it started in about 1978. I wish that I could say that I was “hooked” from the start, but in all honesty I wasn't, as most people were painting with oil paints. When I discovered acrylics in 1980, my passion for decorative painting took on a much greater significance. Now I was truly “hooked.” For three years, I owned a tole painting shop and loved every minute of it.
Looking back, I remember the first book that I published with Susan Scheewe Publications in 1986. When Count Your Blessings arrived from the printer, I don’t think that I sat down for a week! Thirty-one books later, it is still a thrill when someone tells me that they love my work. It is an even bigger honor to know how much enjoyment people get from painting the projects in these books.

There have been so many wonderful things that have happened to me throughout the course of my career in the decorative painting field. I was the Convention Artist for Society of Decorative Painting convention in Nashville, TN. When the Society launched its Learn to Paint program in 2000, I was honored when my design was chosen to be taught to thousands of people throughout the US. This was such a wonderful project, involving untold, massive amounts of work for the Society and huge contributions from all of the manufacturers. I'm not sure that an adequate amount of praise or thanks for this could be sung for everyone involved. This combined effort exposed a great number of people to decorative painting.

Currently I work with Decorator and Craft Corporation, D&CC, on their gift line, HIA and projects. I'm also a member of the Delta Design Force team and serve on the editorial advisory committee for both PaintWorks and Quick & Easy Painting magazines (both All American Craft, Inc. publications). Recently, I became an Ambassador for Royal Brush Manufacturing, Inc. My newest book, Blessings in a Jar 3, was released in Jan.

Can I imagine doing anything else? The answer is a firm No. There hasn’t been a time in my life when I wasn’t involved in an artistic endeavor of some form. I believe that God gives each of us a gift to share with others and I think one of my greatest blessings was the discovery of my gift. So many of us go through life never knowing, but I do know and hope that I am given the ability to share it for many years to come, because the greatest gift of all of this is you--the wonderful people I have met, talked with on the phone, and come into contact with through decorative painting.
Keep painting and keep smiling.