Behind the Texture

with Barbara Klein

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My name is Barbara Klein and I have been the owner of Creative Impressions since 1998. I am an accomplished Decorative artist that has been trained extensively to use a multitude of products as well as learning a variety of finish techniques that are applied to many different surfaces. I love creating unique and custom finishes for someone’s business or home. The many years of being in this industry and attending classes has allowed me to stay up on the cutting edge of design and updated on product knowledge. Passion and precision is implemented into every job I complete. It is important to me that any finish I design elevates the space and creates an inviting mood.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grow up and why?
As a child I had a love for fashion and design. After graduating from High school I worked in retail and enrolled in Fashion Merchandising in College. After one year of college I dropped out of the program and changed my career path to become a Respiratory Therapist. I stayed in the medical field for over 15 years but felt I was still wanting to utilize my creative side that brought me so much joy.

How did you get started with decorative arts?
After working many years in the medical field I needed to change course again and do something that would fill my soul and utilize my love for creativity. I found a store in my area that was offering classes on faux finishing and stenciling. I fell in love with what I learned and started doing finishes for friends and family. It was because of the encouragement of those I did work for that I opened up my faux finish and custom stenciling business.

Then I met an artist who told me about a decorative painting group that had conventions and offered more in depth classes. Once I joined this group in 1999 and went to my first convention I knew I found what I was missing in my life. I still look forward to learning about new products and finishes because everything is always changing and it allows me to stay current for my clients.

What are some of your favorite decorative trends? Are there any you don’t particularly like?
Knowing there are many artists or painters around me that are also in the faux finish industry it is part of my business practice to find unique products that I can offer that others are not. Some of those products are implementing glass bead texture and foils into some of my finishes. I have done embossed stenciling with glass bead and mica on walls that adds another dimension to the finish. I also love using decorative foils on furniture and walls that can elevate any finish in order to coordinate with the surrounding area.

In my industry the ceiling is considered the 5th wall and seems to get overlooked as an opportunity for finishes. It is my least favorite place to apply color and design because of the difficulty factor but it does give the space a purpose to complete the final look of the room.

Is there a person in particular that has had a substantial influence on your style?
In the year 2000 I attended my second convention that was held in Houston, Texas. It was at this convention that I found out my husband knew a very significant person who is well known to the Faux finish industry. This person is none other than Gary Lord who I had watched on many TV shows teaching how to do different types of finishes. They knew each other from their college days in the 70s.

Gary was kind enough to invite me to his morning class so that I could see how classes were conducted. Meeting Gary and getting to know the group of teachers he knew was very pivotal in my career as a decorative artist. From this point on I knew it was important to continually educate myself so I could keep improving my skills and continue to increase my product knowledge so that I could guarantee longevity of the finishes to my clients.

I am so grateful to all who I have met over the years because they have shared such valuable information and I treasure the relationships I have made. It saddens me to know some of my favorite teachers have retired but I am always open to learning from new teachers that are coming into our industry. I believe even at my age you are never done learning new things and growing as an artist.

What does a work day look like for you?
My work day always starts by setting up and securing my work space. First day is always spent preparing the room and getting all my supplies ready for the application of the finish my client has selected. Once the prep work is done it is time for the application to be started. The number of days worked depends on how many layers are needed to reach the final look. My day ends by cleaning up the work area, washing my tools and making sure none of my supplies or equipment are inconvenient to someone’s home. It warms my heart when I return to some homes years later to see that the finishes I have done are untouched and still loved by the homeowners. Some homes I have previously worked in have sold because the finishes gave the room beauty and purpose.

What’s your go-to restaurant for a work lunch?
It is part of my business practice to know how many days it will take to complete my job. Depending on the complexity of the finish I set goals to get done everyday that takes into consideration dry time of the products used. So it is important for me not to leave the job site for lunch so that I can stay on schedule. My practice is to bring any food and drink with me to the job site and take small breaks throughout the day. This system allows me to usually finish on time unless I happen to run into unexpected situations.

Explore more of Barbara’s work at

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