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!!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Color Course - theory and beyond!

The lure and seduction of color!!!
Nature does it so well...but it's so easy to get it wrong in one's art work....

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!
Much easier with paint, thank goodness!
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?

Want to know more about color and how to use it?   Well, I'm just about to start a new Color course at
The class covers basic color theory in videos and text with simple examples - You can learn about the 4 properties of color, how to use them to enhance your artwork, how to choose great color schemes and visual effects...and how to generate specific moods with the use of color.  
Think about it!  wouldn't it be great to make no more expensive mistakes with cloth, or having to start over on a watercolor?  and the basics are easily learned and very straightforward and with a little practice you'll develop an intuitive sense of color that will serve you well.

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!!!