Monday, August 19, 2019

Quilts take so much time to make!!!

I don't know about you but I find it practically impossible to fit in all the fun things I want to do!
every day I see a new inspiration for a quilt, or a painting....and there's no time to do them all!

I certainly envy those quilters who make the quilt tops and then have them sandwiched and quilting and finished by someone else...but I think for most people that's not very affordable.

My answer to that has been to make several tops - maybe a half dozen or so, or even ten...and then select only the one or two best to actually quilt.

so these were the best of a whole series of "window" quilts that I made:

it began with the one above....but then I got into more color and less realism...abstracting the idea of the window frame...sometimes with the horizontal bar across the middle ...sometimes without...

 So why did I select the ones I did to finish them?  Well I chose the ones with the most impact, the ones that looked the freshest and most interesting after weeks of them hanging around in the studio.
I'm sure you all have bought some art work and then found after a week or two you're tired of it and it fades into the background and you don't even see it any more....
well quilt tops like that are the ones you don't finish!!!

I still like most of  these...looking back at them...
well the first one is pretty boring!!! but often the starting point is prosaic and boring...

I was just talking to a friend last night about how that happens with begin in quite a pedestrian way to tell the story...and then as you get into it the excitement takes over (or should if you're working it!!)...and then you discard the nondescript beginning!!

so please do write and tell me how you cope with the shortage of time...and the need to make lots of work!!!   it's so great to hear from you.

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

Monday, August 12, 2019

Abstract design quilt class

Like a lot of quilt makers, when I go to an art museum I'm usually fascinated by the abstract paintings...
because I start to visualize them as quilts!!
or at least certain sections of them....
Although I seem to be "known" for my quilts about old houses and streets, in fact I've made just as many abstract ones..

......and am fortunate enough to have two of them recently purchased for one of the public libraries in Atlanta!!   (see below!)   Great stuff!  Just when I was needing some cash too!!


I look at a lot of abstract art, particularly that by women painters...I feel more connection to them...I never copy directly of course...but look and look and think about what I like.
One of the things that always strikes me is the sense of movement...
so the quilt above was really about moving forward, yes sometimes getting a bit mixed up...but always a constant forward motion...

My Abstract Art for Quiltmakers class  starts again this Friday by the way...and this particular class is totally focussed on women abstract painters.  Just five lessons and very affordable!  And you have me at your elbow to help evaluate designs....or not! if you prefer to work on your own.
They said ten thousand hours AND a good coach is the way to gain mastery in an art form - or music or sport....

so I hear you asking ...and the other quilt that they chose?

well here it is:

This idea is "abstracted" rather  than purely non-representational...what's the difference?  Well I go over definitions in the class...but basically abstract is really anything short of realism...and you can get more and more and more abstract as you move further away from the physical characteristics of the subject.  yes!! fascinating!

So, if you have been, thanks for reading...yet again!  And do please comment, or ask me any questions you wish.  I'm here!   Elizabeth

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Quilt design ideas

I get inspirations and ideas for designs for quilts from a lot of places and things....of course every idea has to be carefully evaluated and honed and worked with.
I've found that making a quilt based directly and literally on a photograph never works out quite as well as I hoped.

Instead I try to figure out just what it was about the original image that really intrigued me....and it's rarely the whole thing.

so this quilt:

which hangs in the stairwell of my nearest public library (Athens Regional Library on Baxter St for locals!)    was actually inspired by a chair...looking at the woven rattan or cane seat and looking through the little holes created by the loose weaving just really fascinated me.
I actually did not need a photo.  As you can see I copied the color of the cane/rattan (whatever!) pretty directly....but was a bit more inventive with the backgrounds...I like the sense that these are all little windows onto different worlds.

This morning I was inspired by the light over the pond:

I may just take the colors...or that patch of light and shade...maybe it will be a quilt, or maybe a painting....WATER color of course!!

but the image below...taken last week sitting out an outdoor cafe ..would work both as a quilt or as an acrylic painting...

I would crop out or blur a lot of the detail...but I love the light/shade and the cream against the midnight blue sky....
hmm!!! I must away to my studio!!

And if you have been...thanks for reading!!  And do please write in the Comments and tell me how you get inspired.....


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Getting Inspired...

Nolde watercolor at the Georgia Museum of Art

There are many ways to get inspired.....I love to visit our local small art's on the University of Georgia's free...and if you pick your time right, parking is free...and there are no crowds people to stand in front of you blocking your way to see a picture, you can take photos....there are little folding stools available so you can sit and contemplate, or just sit and be!!!  
This little painting - it's only a quarter sheet - is so evocative...I just love it...Nolde usually painted big loose lush this (at least to me) was an unusual piece.
And it reminded me of my own version of  rain and wind and how it affects us:
Rainy Rainy Night, quilted wall hanging

Nolde focusses on the effect of wind and rain on the person ...he uses the diagonals very dramatically to create a sense of being buffeted by the elements...I was thinking more about how lovely it is to be in a cozy house at night with the rain and wind howling around outside...somehow the contrast adds to the coziness.
By the way this quilt will be hanging in the Quiet Gallery of the Athens Regional Public Library until next Monday morning when we'll be taking the show down.  9 quilts and 15 watercolors....

Sliding glass circles create multiple shifts in color - currently at the GMOA
Looking at the art work above....I started thinking about a current project I'm working on...which involves a lot of piecing...tiny little diagonals...this will be a new online class...but not till January!  I don't like to put up more than one new class a year...
We're videoing this quilt step by step so it should make for a very nice clear instructional sets of lessons....I'm getting some help with the videos which is a great boon.  When I tried doing it alone, I managed to chop off my head much of the time!!!

I'm also very much inspired by the nature I see around me...

  this lovely crepe myrtle spotted in a neighbor's yard early this so graceful...just look at the grace in those undulating trunks....they look like a slow uplifting dance....maybe a slow Latin dance with two dancers...and they end up all entwined together and produce beautiful flowers - what a metaphor for love!!!

And this field of daisies - this was a little earlier in the year...i'm still contemplating how to create an artwork based on this - I have to figure out the mood it creates in me...what fascinates me about the image and the memory of the scene

when I look at these photos also from my neighborhood, I love the sense of light..

.there is always light somewhere in our lives, always a sense of hope...and the frisson inside caused by a glimpse of a loved one....

These two images will be translated into watercolor almost certainly...but the daisies...well they might be a quilt!!

Below: this was a watercolor based on a local photo...not exactly sure where it was now...somewhere in Winterville I think...this painting is in the OCAF Members Show up now (School St, Watkinsville)...what really fascinated me here was the dappled light on the house....
don't you just love the shadows that trees make??? Especially when they are dancing lightly in a breeze...alas my little painting is not kinetic!! but i did try to convey a sense of movement...

And so, inspiration is everywhere!!!  Do write and tell me some of the places you have discovered it....personal experience is always best of course.....
And, if you have been, thanks for reading!!

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