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Faux furniture decorator to hold class

Westlake particularly enjoys painting fanciful country and western designs on furniture, but she has been known to paint up a storm on mail boxes, lamps and lampshades as well.
Her work is zany and charming, with vibrant colors that zing the eye and temp the heart. Prineville's Casey Westlake is an expressive artist with a talent for painting colorful designs on just about anything.
   Westlake particularly enjoys painting fanciful country and western designs on furniture, but she has been known to paint up a storm on mail boxes, lamps and lampshades as well.
   Previously a featured artist at the Old Bank Gallery, where she also offered picture framing services, Westlake and her faithful companion Josie (a friendly old Australian Shephard) can be now be found in a tiny alcove studio over the Robin's Nest on Main Street.
   The thunder of tiny dancers honing their dance skills in the dance studio just outside her door doesn't seem to faze this whimsical artist. In fact, she seems to thrive on it. "The foot traffic from the dance studio actually helps," she said. "The adults are always stopping in to admire my designs and ask about how they can learn to put their own decorative designs on furniture."
   Westlake has been in Prineville as a picture framer and faux furniture decorator for about a year and a half. She says she is busy building up inventory so that she can take her art on the road for street fairs and art shows nationwide.
   "I've never been interested to flat work, painting paintings has never been my thing. I've always painted on objects that have more functional purposes," she explained. "It's evolved over time from mail boxes to furniture to bigger things."
   Westlake will be teaching a decorative furniture art class through Central Oregon Community College starting with an orientation from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, May 14, in Room 101 of the Prineville Center.
   "Faux for Furniture" will give students a chance to learn how to decorate and personalize furniture for themselves. This unique style of artwork requires a personal flaire, and every finished piece will no doubt reflect their owner's taste and ideas of color and balance.
   Students will be able to bring a small piece of furniture such as a stool, chair or small table, to which they will add color and designs themselves, using ideas and tips from Westlake's own work. Students will also utilize one or more faux finishing art forms; stencils, free form figures, crackle, distressing, combing or antiquing to create their own original pieces.
   "On Monday we will make sure that the pieces of furniture the students want to finish are properly prepared for the Saturday workshop," she explained. "Which means that if it's been painted before, the paint's been stripped and the wood is sanded and smooth, ready for the next session."
   Westlake indicated that this class is suitable for people of all levels of experience. "Faux For Furniture is for anybody that has that chair, but they're afraid to get started on their own," she said.
   A Saturday workshop, set for May 19, will follow the orientation. The cost of the class is $22 ($16.94 for Seniors 62 and older). To sign up or for more information call the COCC Center at 447-4418.