Thursday, August 28, 2014

Part One of Steampunk Granny's Interview of the Undercover Artist, Lily K. Doyle


About a month ago my ex daughter-in-law/forever friend, invited me and my neighbor, Rita to an event that was held at the Treehouse Coffee Shop in Audubon, New Jersey. Sue told me to bring a bottle of wine, adding, “We’re going to have a great night painting a picture.” I was somewhat doubtful that any type of art could be produced by me after I had a few glasses of wine, but since I’m always up for a challenge, I accepted the invitation.

I’m so glad that I went. I had a great time and the woman behind “Undercover Artist,” Lily K. Doyle had all the supplies ready for us to begin to create our work of art. With Lily’s expert guidance and easy to follow directions, I was able to set free my creative side; the wine helped, too.


I wanted to know more about the brains behind the art, and Lily has graciously agreed to be a guest on my blog. So...grab hold of your paint brush and easel and learn why Lily created “Undercover Artist”

Marie Gilbert: “What inspired you to start this business?”

Lily K. Doyle: “Well, I was teaching art for sixteen years in public school and I was very content and happy, however, some budget cuts came down around 2010 and I was out of work. I started my business out of necessity, but it has turned into a huge blessing in disguise.”


Marie Gilbert: “Tell us about these painting events?”

Lily K. Doyle: “I would describe my painting events as part art, part entertainment, and part party; so socializing.”


Marie Gilbert: “How did you come up with this idea?”

Lily K. Doyle: “Well after looking around for a job in art education for about a year and not being successful, my friend Heidi called me up. She lives down South and she said, “I went to something that I could see you doing.” So I began doing a lot of research and they had these studios down south where they did these paint and sip parties and this looked like something I could do with my skills as an art teacher, my personality and my experience.


I looked around in the North East and here in South Jersey and no one was doing anything like this in the area, so about three years ago I started my business and it got a very good response, but the ironic thing is that this business has migrated North. These painting parties are everywhere now and my business is peaking nicely; I‘m real busy now and very grateful for that.”

Marie Gilbert: “How do you go about setting up for one of these parties?”

Lily K. Doyle: “Well, I’m going to sound like a commercial for my Hyundai Santa Fe’- my “little Art-mobile” SUV! I stick more things in there; I’m basically an art studio on the go. I put tables in there, stools, easels, canvases, paint, aprons, drop cloths, you name it! The one difference with me from the paint parties down south is I couldn’t afford the overhead for a studio, so my little niche is that I go to you; within reason. I keep it close because the price of gas is so expensive. I pack up my Art-mobile and I go to churches, hospitals, Girl Scout troops, coffee houses, you name it

Marie Gilbert: “If someone wants to book this party, how do they prepare for it?”

Lily K. Doyle: “Well, it’s been wonderful because my source of business has been mainly word of mouth. I have a Facebook Fan Page and I get about ninety percent from there. You can go to my website to read general information, but I keep my Facebook page updated. It’s kind of like a blog where I put pictures of the parties up in the form of a story and it tells you why these people have gathered and how much fun they’ve had. There have been different reasons why these people have contacted me: a birthday, bridal shower or a fundraiser.

They can e-mail me, message me, or give me a call and we look at the calendar and find a date that works for them. We talk about the number of people and what they need if they need my tables or if they have tables and then we go from there. Sometimes I’ll even customize my painting just for them.”


Marie Gilbert: “So when someone hires you to do a party, how do they set up before you arrive?”

Lily K. Doyle: “Well, they do need some space, although I have squeezed a lot of people in little places. One house was very small and we were in their living room and dining room. It was opened up so we were all still together. But, I’ve had parties in basements, out on the deck, in the yard and on the driveway. It’s just this amazing little art phenomena that people are gathering.

One of my goals was for me to expose them to my love of art and to show them that it’s not a scary thing to try out. My tag line for my business, “Undercover Artist” is “Paint, Party and Uncover your Inner Artist.”


Marie Gilbert: “I like it.”

Lily K. Doyle: “My favorite kinds of client are the ones who say, “I’ve never painted in my life, or I can only draw stick figures.”   Of course, in the cases where we do drink wine, it does loosen them up and they have fun and sometimes the more wine they drink, the better they get. But, not all my parties are about the wine.


Sometimes, I’ll have a horizon line already drawn on the canvas or I’ll have a pattern of a tree or a glass to start them out, but once they get past that first brush stroke, their good and their laughing with their friends and having a good time. If you’ve never painted before, you’re going to be really surprised. If you’ve painted before, you’re going to look like a genius.”


We'll end part one of my interview with the fabulous Lily K. Doyle and return on Friday with part two. Hold on to your paint brush, Lily has more to tell you about The Undercover Artist.

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