Meet Kay Simkins : Tole Painter

Art in many forms is very important to my family. My art lessons began as a child as we tried a different form every month or two — drawing, punched copper and tin, watercolors, pastels and, of course, painting. My first success was the cover of my school’s Mother’s Day luncheon program. I was hooked! Since then I have had designs published in magazines for Decorative Artists.

I consider myself a tole painter and decorative artist. Traditional tole painting is done on tin or other metals. I love finding new surfaces to decorate, and I enjoy studying different styles of painting. Chinnoisserie , the art of painting with lacquer and metallic powders has long intrigued me and I do a few special pieces each year. Metallic powders of gold, silver, copper, aluminium are mixed with laquers and varnishes. You see this art form on lacquered furniture and Japanese style decorative pieces.

Christmas was always an exciting time in our home as a child and we started working on special projects throughout the year. I now spend a lot of time designing and painting Christmas decorations specializing in glass ornaments with the hope that they bring something special to the recipients. Many reflect my love of flowers, boating on the Chesapeake Bay and Christmas subjects..

I continue to take classes, attending workshops and seminars throughout the U.S.  I especially enjoy showing children how to turn simple letters of the alphabet into flowers with the hope that they start to see beauty in everyday things and at least try something new.

I attended Temple University in Philadelphia studying Horticulture, and worked as a floral designer for several years prior to opening my own flower shop. I live in Calvert County with my husband. We have three children, 4 grandchildren.


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