Thursday, July 18, 2019

Inspirations for green quilts from a hot day in GA....

Anna Ruby falls
So what d'you do on a hot day in Georgia?
you go up into the mountains!!! and visit one of  the many beautiful waterfalls we have...

The falls are located just a little bit north of Helen, GA.

Of course you need to get there early!!!

They are very popular in the summer....but we were lucky and were the first ones into the Park..

..The path upto the falls is very easy..

.and it's all in a beautiful green shade.....

I have made several green quilts...
used to avoid them before digital photography as the color green was so hard to capture with the red-biased film I used...

but now!!!

o my...

we can have all the green we want...

and with these record breaking temperatures,

the color green feels so good....

see the quilts!

Let me know if you want to know any more about any of these is sold, two won prizes, two were given to a daughter, one was cut into small pieces which were then sold!!

ANd, if you have been...thanks for reading!   Elizabeth....

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Have you ever seen an image (painting, photograph...) where the  selection of colors was so beautiful that you just wanted to eat in it, bathe in it, surround yourselves with it???

And here's another one...these are just in our garden by the way....

The first one is a complementary color scheme...colors opposite on the wheel...all those lovely pinks contrasted with the greens....the second one is largely monochromatic...with a neutral added which not only makes the yellows glow but gives you the needed dark value.

Above is an image from color?  Look again, my friend!!!  see all those pinks and purples and silverly sage grey...oh so delicious...

So from nature we can extract the most gorgeous schemes...but we can also analyze them and see how they are working...and how we might enhance them...deepening saturation, increasing the spread of values etc...

And each wonderful combination has a different "feel" or mood or ambiance to it...

Above a cold wintry morning over the neighborhood pond...analogous plus black...color used as the focal point ...high contrast....and oh so gorgeous!!!

So many people, when you ask them what inspires them, say "oh color, colour, colour is what I love!" (no matter how you spell it!)...... the right colors really work to attract, nay, seduce!, people...


On the other hand, I've noticed that when I'm teaching, and ask people to bring images from which they'd like to work to design their quilt, the photos or prints etc they show me often have gorgeous colors and it's really hard  to get beyond that to see the "bones" of  the design.  Very reluctantly, some can be persuaded to photocopy the image into black and white we can really see what's what.  And some look great in grey...others just disappear into a moosh of flat nothing!!
It is hard to get beyond  color, its siren song is so powerful..... 

Some artists are strong on color,  some on the basic design... a few can manage both. 
I advocate one step at a works for mountain climbing!  First, decide on the shape of the mountain!   Then go into color...and a lovely way to choose colors for a project is to work from those gorgeous photos you've collected over the years.

Color Immersion

But, one of the problems for our medium, when it comes to color, is actually finding cloth in the right hue/saturation/value/temperature - even knowing what to call the colors  is difficult sometimes!
If you look at the picture above, the turquoise on the left is in several different values...and it also shifts from a cool to a warmer blue.  The pink on the right goes from a warm orangey pink, through a slightly greyed pink to a blue-pink and then into mauve.  And then what color is that shadow?  What kind of a grey is that?  Is it important to the image?

I really enjoy analyzing the colors in an image - it's like tasting a lot of different wines!  There are so many subtle shifts in hue and value etc.    And so it was natural for me to try to learn how to dye all these different colors.   Now I don't believe in the blanket approach of taking every ingredient you have, working out all the mathematical permutations you can create, then dyeing them all and making a giant book of samples.  You know they tried that method when they were figuring out AI - artificial intelligence, and it actually doesn't work well.  It's much better to work from solving one problem at a time as you encounter it, and then adding that information to your body of knowledge, your working process.  

Want to know more about color and how to use it?   Check out my classes at   

Please ask any questions in Comments!  or email me - there's a link on the sidebar at the top....
or:  elizabethyork100 AT will work too!
And, if you have been, thanks for reading!  Elizabeth

Monday, July 1, 2019

New Class on Color!

I start a new class this week - on - on Color!!
Everybody loves color, everyone is seduced by it....everybody uses it...and a lot of people have trouble with it.  I remember one of my Dad's aphorisms (he was a mountain of walking aphorisms!!) was "Fire is a good servant but a poor master".  Well the same could be said of color:  a good servant, but a poor master.  Used well and your artwork is stunning, evocative, inspiring and satisfying.  Used badly and it destroys the art dies in a blaze of meaningless color! or withers for lack of it...

So when my boss suggested I write a color course, I was immediately energized...filled with ideas on how to help people understand and use color in their work much more effectively and meaningfully.

The course covers a wide ranging of topics related to color but without getting into unnecessary technicalities like wavelengths and so on.  Nor do I spend a lot of time on dry theory or the history of discoveries...but I do take a general look at how artists and  scientists have used and understood color.  I think it's helpful to have a little background knowledge.

I examine the different properties of color - for example how to differentiate between the three reds above, how they differ, why they differ and why you might want to use one rather than another.
I explore several ways of deriving good strong beautiful color schemes.  How to create illusions and special effects.  How to create an atmosphere....
There's a unit on the meaning of colors, and how they affect (or don't!) us psychologically.
Lots of the one illustrated below...for I feel the best way to learn is by DOING!

Questions?  happy to answer...just email me
elizabethmasterclass   AT go to the academy  for more info.

And, if you have been, thanks for reading!

PS  Happy color day!!!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Inspiration! A visit to New York City Part 1

And you know, tea is just as good, if not better!!!

So here I am in the Big Apple.....on my way to the Whitney.
Every other year, the Whitney Art Museum, a marvelous art museum with long open views of the Hudson river, has a major show of up and coming (well maybe!) artists....

View to the south from the roof terrace of the Whitney Museum, NYC
View to the North

Stripes....steal the colors, steal the spacing...

I love modern quilts (well the best of them!)...their clean cut elegant simplicity......and above is a beautiful example...well it just happens to be a large painting...or rather a section of one...
notice how the artist has contrasted varying widths of stripes...and how satisfying that is.
Notice the bold yellow in the "focal" area...
see how the warmth of the yellow is enhanced by the color green adjacent to it.
Notice how the artist has skillfully alternated values...
There is much to see and learn in this painting which at first glass doesn't look very unusual.

Alvin Loving

But, you don't need to use every color in the rainbow to achieve a very bold dynamic look.  Notice how the stripes look positively quiet and calm next to the red painting above.  bold saturated color in a narrow range of values outlined with a cool grey blue....and the use of diagonals are the techniques this artist used to make this idea so strong.  and yes...this would work in a quilt!!!

Looking straight down to the lower terrace from the roof...the museum's artistic arrangement of picnic tables!!!  Great color scheme: yellow and orange made even bolder by being surround with soft pale neutrals....

Of course everyone was intrigued by the oppressed figure farting in defiance!!!
This was part of a roof installation by Nicole Eisenman......more figures from this installation in my next blog!!!

Meanwhile I'm going to be pondering how to incorporate such defiance into my next quilt!!!

and, if you have been, thanks for reading!!!
Comments are more than welcome!!!  And I'll reply to all...
if you want to tell/ask me anything more directly I can be found at elizabethyork100 AT


Monday, June 3, 2019

Art Quilt show in a public gallery

Last week I took 9 quilts and about 20 watercolors over to the Regional public library and they were hung and arranged by Tatiana Veneruso, an art installation expert with Athens-Clarke County.
She and Van Burns spent over 4 hours hanging and arranging the work and it's a beautiful job.
The library was also kind enough to give me an opportunity to speak about my work and this was followed by a reception.

It's always interesting to see how somebody who has arranged and hung many shows decides to arranges your work.

I had planned the paintings on one wall, the quilts on the others, but it's kind of fun to see them hanging together.

The arrangements are very interesting and it's a beautiful long narrow light room...and any library patrons can wander in and curl up in the comfortable armchairs, read and enjoy the artwork.

 some pictures:

So tell me what you think about mixing the two mediums in one show.....also ...any stories about your own experiences with hanging in public spaces.   I have always preferred having a show in a space where many people visit, rather than in a specialized gallery where few go.

And, if you have been, thanks for reading!!!!  Elizabeth

PS if you've been wanted to learn improvisational piecing...or how to design a Modern Quilt...consider my class starting this Friday with

Questions?  contact me:  elizabethyork100 AT

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

New Ventures, upcoming classes.

Quilt: Runner (about 50" wide)

After a break due to health problems, I'm starting to teach again...mainly online...but also around and about in Georgia.  
And not just art quilting!  but of course that is my main love...and where I have learned so much.

I have always felt the best way to learn something really well, and to get more and more in depth with one's learning is to teach.

Given that, I'm going to be teaching a painting class here in the Athens, GA area...every Wednesday 1.30-3pm.   I have never before taught a class that was a continuous weekly class and I'm so looking forward to working within a different format....if the class has enough people (and the minimum is only four so it should) we can go forward as long as we want.  That way I will be able to see how people develop and grow, and see their special interests...and as they learn, I will learn.

Painting: Light Takes the Tree

The class is at the Winterville Community Center    and starts May 15th.
I'm teaching mainly acrylic painting, but this is a water we'll also be thinning it down and using it like well as using it thick where emphasis and opacity is required - the best of both worlds!!

Actually, just in case you're wonder, I did offer to teach quilting, but they already have a quilting teacher, and are more interested in a traditional approach - I'm a bit way out there for the average quilter!!!

I do have a quilting class starting this Friday May 10th with the Academy of Quilting.
It's called More Abstract Art for Quilters.   I have two parallel abstract art for quilters can take them in any order, and there's no overlap in the content.
The one starting this Friday shows how to create designs based on inspirations from the well know Big Names of abstraction...and also describes some of the of this genre.

Abstract art gives art quilt designers an incredible amount of inspiration when it comes to creativity.  In the class I show you how to take an idea from an abstract paint, spin it, mix it, whirl it, simplify it, extract the essence of it....and come up with many different ways to create designs.
It's a lot of fun!!  Having come up with the designs, then we look how to choose the best ones, how to strengthen them (if needed) and then how to build a quilt based on that design...There's a lot of hands on from me...if you want!!!  I'm happy just to stand back and admire when that is more appropriate!

Happy to answer any questions...about either class....or any teaching gigs within driving distance of Athens....just email me at:  elizabethmasterclass   AT
And, if you have been, thanks for reading!    Elizabeth

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

How would Sherlock Holmes design a quilt?

Looking West

When you're thinking about making a quilt you are often inspired by a photo...but it's actually harder than you think to pick the right one....
it's not always the prettiest one!!!  some photos are marvelous - as photos....but not brilliant as an inspiration for a quilt. so choosing the right photo to start with is crucial!

As all good detectives know (beginning with dear old Sherlock of course!), it’s a great help to eliminate things. Narrow the field to the likely candidates.  think about why you chose the photo - probably not good if it's one of the following...THINK critically at this stage.If the reason that you chose the inspiration picture is totally based on any of the following, and nothing else, put it to one side.
Color is not important at all – any color can be changed. The beautiful colors should go into a separate “color inspiration” folder.

Value isn’t important, you can develop a strong value pattern on any background. E.g. a white wall can have all sorts of enticing shadows cast upon it…a sky can have clouds and nuances, stacks of white boxes can have light, reflected light, cast shadow, shadowed sides, side horizontal to the light source, side vertical to the light sources….
the photo on the left has very strong value patterns that could inspire you...but these could be reversed very dramatically ....AND ...are not original to the photo...I deliberately ENHANCED the values....
I don’t even think texture is the key, since you can add it too…unless your piece was all about a specific texture in which case I could definitely see beginning with it….
Subject too is largely immaterial – a good artist can make an interesting design out of any subject, in fact, that’s one of the important things about art – helping us see the beauty and design that can exist anywhere. The same is true of poetry: think about the poem by Rose Fylman that we all knew as kids: It begins: “I think mice are nice”!! 
Size – I have not found the size of the source material to be of any concern, small images can be enlarged, large ones made small.
photo of the corner of the garage...ended up as a perfect little quilt.....
Medium: again no problem, designs can be developed based on any medium that you can translate into a simple sketch: photos, paintings, fiber art, sculptures, theater…film, tv.
Pretty boring photo, but punch up the colors and the values, and then extract details and you have a wonderful series!

Incoherent jumbles of many different random objects can work: using your crop tools (the picture mat cut in half), you can find some areas that will work, but I wouldn’t recommend trying to copy something like that as a whole – so always use your crop tools when a big picture with a lot in it is your initial inspiration.
So, having taken out all the photos that related more to the above concepts, what does that leave us??

Well check out one of my   classes  to find out!!! - 
And, if you have been, thanks for reading!!!
also...happy to answer any questions...just put them in the "comments" box!