How do you dream?


Some of the greater things in life are unseen; that’s why you close your eyes when you kiss, cry or dream.

It is often thought that artists dream their creations, they have an active mind and the subconscious mind is the most creative. I can not say if this is true or not but I rarely have a dream about a piece of art. Maybe because I often start with a photograph and try and represent what I am working from. Perhaps it is because I studied graphic design, basically a form of communication and I want the viewer to be able to know what my intention is with my art.

I am so into that process, imbedded in my psyche, that the work of starting a piece goes beyond conscious or unconscious thought. I do some sketches if there is something that needs to be placed in a particular space. Otherwise I start sorting fabrics to see how they work with each other and with the photo I am working with. I want to be sure the process meets what I am striving for in the work. We all approach things in different ways, but reading the quote made me think that perhaps I should try and let go sometimes. To close my eyes to picture that scene I have in my head and not obsess on trying to make it look exactly like something.

I have written about this before but it is a constant in my thought process as a full time artist now. I do not think this is a problem, just something that continues to challenge me, something to figure out and strive for. I do believe I have so many ideas on new work that I just may never get all of it done. However, it does make me happy to know that at this time I don’t believe I will loose my muse.

I am bursting with happiness that my art work is fueling my everyday now. Going into retirement around a year ago it was my hope to do art full time and get it out to the world. That has happened and I do keep coming up with new ideas for artwork. I recently sold the seascape posted to my last blog and I continue to enter and get accepted in art shows. I do admit this made the transitioin easy. So perhaps I should close my eyes and breath in the wonderful air of acceptance. Who knows what will come from that happiness? Perhaps a new pathway of art, or just an appreciation of the path I am running onto at this time.

So I want to document in a way the work that has lead me to this path. I am sharing one of my first art quilts given to a dear friend as a wedding present. He married a lady who has direct links to Ireland, my family’s homeland too. So decided to do a cottage scene with a lake near by and a bramble of grasses. Rocks and yellow flowers called gorse found everywhere in Ireland on the side of the road. These were done in many French knots but I just had to add some other color so added red fuchsia in the same style. This was a small piece about 5 X 7 and as I look back very basic compared to my most recent work. However it is good to see the beginning, the foundation that one uses in order to appreciate how far I have progressed. Life as an artist is good for me.





Fear of failure

The greatest obstacle to success is the fear of failure. 

I have no idea where I first read this but it is not mine. I say this as I look at the material I plan to finish out some crazy quilt blocks. The method to complete the blocks will wow if it works. But that is the crutch, if it works. As I look across my studio at what I plan to use I am fearful. 

What happens if that doesn’t work? What will I do then. Need to get these blocks completed to be in a quilt show. So what if it doesn’t work?  If it leads me to another path or idea that I never considered all the better. All I will ever know is I tried and it didn’t. This is the way my mind is working right now. Try and I will see if it works or not. Don’t want to squander my resources so will do a test to see if my idea ends up as expected. 

I posted recently that I would create two new pieces a month and am happy to say I have finished one for this month. I usually have a couple different things going. It is a way to keep things fresh, believe me it is easy to get tired working on the same thing.  

This is the completion of the work from my last blog post. The seaweed like dyed lace on both sides really helped to show a sense of movement but the overall color was way too light. They conflicted with the color range of the piece as a whole but I still wanted to include them. So I took some speciality yarn that is hairy looking in a deep green and layered it on top. This was exactly what was needed. It didn’t obscure the lace but it did push the color back a notch. 

I then got to work on the foreground adding beads, lacy looking stitches for fan coral and some straight stitches for sea grass. I didn’t want to do too much because the velvet really works so well as brain coral. I really think this whole piece hit the mark and was happy with the finished piece. A good friend thought the same for it is sold now. 


The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra. Jimmy Johnson

I have been thinking about what makes how I see things as an artist different from anyone else. Is it innate? Is it just the way I look at things? Or is it because I have tuned my senses to see that little extra.

My first sighting of fireflies for the season last night made me smile with joy. I know that most people smile at this same site so what makes it different for me? It brought up happy times with my daughter, catching them in her hand. Enjoying the damp sweet smelling grass on our feet and the wonder of the blinking yellow green light of the fireflies. 

As I enjoyed this memory an idea for a new piece of art came to mind. Dark blue sky, stars twinking, green meadow of tall grass, maybe some flowers among the grass, a blond young girl running with arms stretched high catching fireflies. 

Does this extra step, the movement from a personal memory to the visual creation including the colors of that memory for a piece of art make me different? I laugh because most of my good friends have called me “different” at one time or another. Yet I do identify with this because it helps to define me as an artist. 

However even though I know it is innate for me, I believe that everyone can try to see things in this same manner. I know that everyone can see something beautiful in everyday life if they only look. I have the ability to try and communicate that beauty to others in my art. I guess that is the extra, the thing that makes me different. 

I see things differently in ordinary things too. I can not tell you why but I can see a wave of tall grasses in a piece of upholstery trim. On the seascape I have been sharing I wanted something that would look like sea kelp. I had some hand dyed trim that arches, mimicking the movement of the sea. As I layed it down I realized that the color was too light. Fixed that with some alcohol dye pens making them a warm medium color. Here is the trim in it’s original form so you can see the slight changes I have made when you see the next picture. 

I have started adding beading, check out the turquoise green fan coral on the right hand side. There is a very large sea urchin with round disk beads too. The purple stitching is commonly known as the drizzle stitch. A simple cast on stitch used in knitting with the tail brought thru to the back with the line of knots twisting and turning. I just love how much texture this technique adds. 

I have added a few fish shaped beads in a moss green, light orange and a snowy white Mylar finish. I plan to add more fish all throughout the piece. I need to fill up the foreground with some more bead work and stitching. Then the true challenge will be knowing when to stop.