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Decorative Artist Spotlight: Bobbie Takashima

In the spirit of the fall season, Chroma is shining its spotlight on our “Queen of Halloween,” Jo Sonja artist and teacher Bobbie Takashima.  With her colorful, whimsical style, Bobbie is known worldwide for her imaginative designs and enthusiastic, inspiring workshops around the country.

Bobbie has been an artist all her life, and cannot remember a time when she hasn’t been drawing or painting.  She has a fine art background, which she believes helps her folk art style. When asked for her sources of inspiration, Bobbie said, “Life. I draw on all the things around me, and record the histories and events of the day.”

While the steps creating a lesson are disciplined and rely on a lot of strategies accumulated over 50 years of experience, the painting itself is spontaneous. Bobbie knows there will be happy accidents, a place or two where she goes “off lesson.”  She welcomes these situations, and encourages her students to do the same, as they are part of the creative process.  “Art is a journey,” she said, “and no one has lived long enough to complete it yet!”

Bobbie emphasizes the importance of practice. “I never want to stop practicing. I love practicing everyday.  I am like a child at play. You have to be willing to do the work, and not expect it (a great project) just to be handed to you.” Her color palette varies per project, and that’s one of the reasons why she uses Chroma's Jo Sonja line.  “All the great colors in there – wow!”  She does have some favorites that seem to sneak in all the time – Yellow Light, Vermilion, Jaune Brillant, Aqua, Brilliant Green, Amethyst and Dioxazine Purple.  She likes to paint with more saturated colors that she can grey down with compliments. Bobbie also relies on a neutral pool of colors including Smoked Pearl, Nimbus Grey and Paynes Grey, to help balance the lights, darks and intensity.

She says, “Trying Jo Sonja paint for the first time was a turning point in my painting journey. They delighted and inspired me to paint beyond my expectations, to try techniques and styles with passion”. She uses all the Jo Sonja Mediums, like Kleister Medium, Crackle Mediums, and Opal Dust, depending on the technique in the project.  According to Bobbie, the secret to success is, “Let the child come out and play.  That’s the hardest part. Don’t be afraid. Just let it all hang out, and be brave.  Get over what people think.  It sounds hokey, but frogs in witches’ costumes?  If that’s what you want to paint, paint it! Do it for the passion. . That philosophy has certainly worked, because Bobbie maintains an active painting, travel teaching, and writing schedule.  She currently has about 15 deadlines, and typically paints “up until the last minute!”  Look for her upcoming classes and projects on her website,