Haller Schloß - My grandfather's house
St. Stephens Cathedral
Franz Josef Emperor of Austria
I am in trouble again
Heidi at work
Streetlights - Heidi adopted a city block
I was raised the Austrian way. My Dad was Austrian and my Mom was German. What can I say—once my Dad was done with us, we all were Austrians. Yes, there is a big difference between Austria and Germany. Itís like the difference between New York and Atlanta, Georgia. That being said, I also would like to mention that I do not teach my accent, although I do have a waiting list pending.
Most of my young life I spent at a boarding school.
A finishing school for young aristrocatic girls. Two hundred fifty (250) girls. I could tell you some stories (when you come to to my classes).
It seems that all we were allowed to do is study, go to the opera, learn ballroom dancing, etiquette, and go to museums.However, for some particular reason, I volunteered to watch “Dicker”, our principalís dog. I had to, because she clearly could not punish me, because I was so nice taking care of her dog. Yep “punish” me, because I was true to my nickname, “Hexie”, which means little witch (in a good way - I hope!!!).
Out of boredom I started to “doodle” and I actually became pretty good at it. My parents owned and were partners in department stores, so my love of fashion, design and style coupled with my doodling, was born. Once I graduated, I started to work as a VIP Hostess at the American Forces, Europe, in order to improve my 16 years of school English. Actually, it took me 3 months to get a word out of my mouth. I just couldn’t understand you Americans. Nowadays, YOU don’t understand me (I hope not). I used to be so conscious of my accent. But not anymore, because it seems that this accent is a part of my success with clients/studio/school.
Eventually I left this fun job and became the European Vice President of a large Amercican charter agency. My position gave me the chance to travel all over the world. Love was coming into my life and I met my now “ex.”
Once I was married for several years I gave birth to my son, my “wishchild,” and eventually we moved the the Philippine Islands. Now my fate was sealed… I truly became a dependent of a government civilian. As a “dependent” wife, it seemed that everyone expected me to give lots of parties. And party we did. However, I made a stipulation that I was allowed to invite whomever I wanted and not whomever I needed to invite. Here I was again, being bored. We were not allowed to work, had to have lots of servants, and flew arround the Far East to go shopping (after all, we deserved to be rewarded for such strenuous party days). Boredom set in!!
Living on a military base in a third world country and being considered as American is like living a life like “1001 and one nights” (lots of luxury). Playing polo, tennis and shopping was really not my cup of tea. My life changed, when I was asked by the President’s daughter, whom I had become friends with and who saw my artwork, to teach the local weavers how to faux finish the basket wares they were exporting to the US. I volunteered my talent and became heavily involved with the community. There was no paint thinner (we used kerosene), no joint compound (we used a white powder), but we did have universal tint color. The faux painting techniques I came up with were loved by the American consumer and when I introduced in 1981 white wash at the Chicago gift and colored glazes the rest became history. I decided to design furniture to add to our collection and actually became a full fledged designer with a factory. Upon my leaving the Philippine Islands, I was asked again to become an exporter. For Christmas, my father gave me a 40ft container filled with my wares. I became a very successful furniture designer and my designs are still arround. Eventually the big “D” (for diovorce) became necessary. I walked out as a pauper (strange American divorce laws); I was heavily in debt—no job, no money. Alas, very scary. I was not emotionally equipped to run my company any longer and had my son put a sign up—going out of business. But, with the help of faux painting I was debt free within 7 years.
I decided to take a class from Pro Faux, Greg and John and an additional one from somebody else. The latter was so bad, considering the human factor, that I decided that I could be a better teacher. So I started my studio and started to teach. I was ready to form a top notch school and invited such painting dignitaries like Garth Benton, the Faux Meister Karl-Heinz Meschbach and Carlo Marchiori etc. etc. However, the concept of having guest teachers was too avant garde and I just had to teach myself, without the benefit of having different styles, cultures and learning experiences.
Since 1990, my school has taught many successful faux painting artists and the faux finishing industry has grown in leaps and bounds, and my classes at the Sali conventions were always sold out. Matter of fact, I was told by one of the board members that I am their “Moneymaker” and that I am the only one in 25 years of their existence whose classes were sold out with the first try.
In 2004 I had a small stroke and it has been tough the last 6
My studio has worked for VIP clients like Andy van Slyke, Kirk Rueter, the Mayor of St. Louis, Sheraton and Hilton Hotel and many more. I love what I do and I like to believe that I am good at what I do. I am not perfect but one thing I know I always give my all.
I hope to I see you in class and that you decide to become a faux painting artist, because faux painting will be very good to you and your loved ones.
God Bless and Best wishes,