Born to Create

by | Jan 13, 2021 | 2021 January, Blog, Lifestyle

Born to Create

Denise O’Hare Nardulli of UpChic Glitz & Glam shares her creative journey.

My maternal grandfather made wooden dollhouses from scratch and wooden four-feet tall Santa Claus decorations. I used to repaint my Santa Claus for years in his memory until it was too shabby to keep. Now I paint Grinches. My father was a DIYer before DIY was cool. He tore down walls and redesigned our house and we kids helped! My brother was the youngest and so us girls had to help him with his projects, even cement work. My Dad also refinished hand sewing car upholstery and was always rebuilding cars as a mechanic. My mom was always a crocheter.

Mostly in fall, making teddy bears, children’s double-sided blue jean vests, blue jean purses with decorative themes, decorating wedding wine bottles and glasses with crushed glass, decorating glittery beachy pumpkins. One of my all-time fun things was redesigning rooms. I got hooked watching HGTV episodes. I redesigned every room in my house, tearing out paneling and installing drywall and most floors and bath tile and backsplashes inside my house and on the outside stone patio fireplace, buffet, and retaining wall. My son wanted a forest theme in his bedroom when he was young. I couldn’t find a local artist, so I found my way painting murals on all his walls by hand making it 3D, incorporating tree branches, and gluing leaves on the walls incorporating a castle, an elephant, and a leopard in the tree. He enjoyed it very much.

About three years ago, I picked up a paintbrush and started painting furniture. I found my way navigating sites about paints and tutorials, visiting stores that sold the paints, and asked tons of questions. I started with Fusion Mineral Paints and dabbled a little with Dixie Bell, Wise Owl, and Annie Sloan chalk paints, Modern Masters metallics, and Debi’s Design Diary DIY clay paints. I have fallen in love with the gold, silver, and rose leafing. I even painted my fireplace…

I seem to want to paint everything!

I found a community of artisans enjoying their craft and I love the creative output. This tribe is so helpful and I never thought I’d fit in with some of my idols and their work. But everyone learns from and inspires each other and seems to share their knowledge so we can all work alongside each other remotely throughout national and international platforms and expanding forums. I enjoy conversing with people and seeing trends in Canada, London, and Australia.

I have always been a beach girl and feel it unwinds me and I feel so refreshed and grounded after time spent there. Last year, I painted a beach-theme armoire inside and out with mermaids, seahorses and an octopus I called Mermaid Island and imported molded octopus-shaped resin handles from Paris, France by Gregory Besom (@Gregshome) on Etsy. It went to its new home in Georgia. I sculpted flamingoes under a waterfall and sculpted blue herons on the side and it went to its new home in Florida where I hope to move to soon!

I am honored to know such a “classic,” wonderful role model for women.

In the last year-and-a-half, I stumbled upon The Turquoise Iris and joined Dionne’s Creative Connection and Empowered by Design groups. Dionne has been a huge inspiration and a catalyst to take my painting business to the next level. She is the one who saw something in me and encouraged me to create more coastal/beach art styles. The beach themes resonate with my soul. So you will find many of my pieces in beach and coastal styles.

In December 2019 I traveled two hours to Dionne’s on-site workshop in Zanesville, Ohio at Kelly Wiler’s Reclaimed Warehouse. It was a life-altering experience. Dionne and Kelly painted live along with Debi Beard, owner of Debi’s Design Diary Creative Relief Group and DIY paint. All three women painted pieces live and I was the lucky recipient to win the piece Dionne painted and take it home. These women all shared their stories of success from the bottom up and had everyone in tears and then had us all dancing. I still cry when I think of the emotion we all experienced and such a bonding moment. It inspired me to go home and paint! I made a lot of friendships that night and encourage anyone to go to one in the future.

In one year, I went from being star-struck meeting Dionne in person, watching her tutorial videos every night, joining her Creative Connection and Empowered by Design groups, purchasing some of her hand-painted pieces, to having her as my mentor and friend, and painting live with her on her page, being interviewed in her groups, and asked to be a Featured Artist on her Turquoise Iris Journal website.

This year, I have been continuing painting mermaids and octopuses, dabbling in resin art, watercolors with Mermaid paints and brushes Pixie Paint, acrylic canvases with Niss & That Membership Group, and incorporating lots of raised materials, i.e., clay molds, sculpting paints and products to make them appear more 3D! I have had to repurpose molds or clay where there weren’t molds available for flamingos and octopuses. I have sculpted angel wings on canvas, wood, and dressers. I love the metallic paints and the shimmer and shine! I can’t wait to do some raised plaster stenciling on home walls and future project pieces and plan to do some flowers with sculpting plaster.

My power word is Timeless. I hope my statement pieces are timeless!

Find me on FacebookInstagram, and Etsy.

I hope to share more in the future,



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