Yesterday being Thanksgiving here in the U.S. made me think. Think of what I am most thankful for in my life right now. I am thankful for love of family, the wide range of good people I call friends. The roof under my head, the good food and the lack of worry I have within my life now. 

I am so grateful for the purpose I have each day since I retired. The knowledge that I have a creative mind, one that is constantly spurring me to make something new. I am so filled with ideas I wonder if there could be more than 24 hours in a day. 

I am grateful for my artistic ability. This came more to mind when I delivered the commission piece I walked you all through with my last blog post. The buyer is color blind yet he truly enjoyed this artwork. Knowing the thrill of color in nature, one of the driving forces in my art it made me think what it would be not to be able to see that color. 

I know that color blindness usually happens when someone cannot distinguish between certain colors, usually between greens and reds, and occasionally blues. It commonly starts at birth so not knowing what is green or what is red would not be an issue if you had never saw these colors before. 

My friend says he sees these colors in different shades of gray. The master oil painters would often do an under painting of grays and blacks to obtain the correct value. It is also a good way to keep your colors clean and vibrant while showing dark and light. I wonder if I should find a way to use this in my fiber work. Another idea that will brew in the back of my mind. 

So here is the finished commission, Tortuga Sun. It is 11 X 14 with an collage of fiber with a lot of colored pencil on top of fabric for the water. The palm frons are from fabric that are printed, fused with iron on bonding then cut out and ironed on. I really enjoyed working on this and hope you enjoy it as much as my buyer did. 

New ideas

I was successful enough with my first commission in February this year that I am doing another. 

I am not as intimidated now as I was with the first picture. Yet it still has the pull for me to match the details of the photo I am working from. It is the small details that we remember. Be it in a piece of art, a distant memory or the smell and taste of grandma’s sweet potatoe pie. 

Details have been my focus lately coming from an amazing art business conference recently. If you are an artist who wants to understand the business end of selling art I highly recommend you start with Alyson Stanfield’s book “I’d rather be in the studio.”  Very good resource but also check out her website and her blog at

The details for this work seemed a bit vague. It started with a photo taken by the buyer. This is a scene looking out at the ocean from his sisters rental property in the Tortugas. Lots of sea, a few islands in the background and palm trees in the foreground.

Looking at the details I see the water is calm, the sky is plain with a few clouds and the palm frons are interesting but have no real color to them. How to add some interest without changing these details too much? I know that this photo is a good reference but it also can fool the eye with the color in the photo. Take the palm frons. If I make them all black, in shadow as the photo shows it will be hard to see them as “alive”.  

I have to add more clouds to the sky for interest. Otherwise this space will read flat and boring. So this is a detail that will be altered. The sea area is very cool and calm may need to add some waves for interest. The rocks in the foreground are interesting but I am thinking of adding more for interest in this area. 

Here is the beginning with the sky and sea done with colored pencil on the collage of fabric that I fused down to a base. I often take a photo of my work while working on the piece. It makes the eye see things differently, catch color conflicts and any area that is not complete. 

Viewing this picture I see that the hue of the blue in the sky and sea are too similar. I want to show distance thus I will need to lighten the sky by adding some light gray, a small amount of yellow for warmth and white. I also want to add to the waves. I like the movement so far but it will help to move them across the whole length of the picture. 

As I analyze the base colors I am anxious to get to the foreground details. I start looking thru my stash of fabrics. I find some rock fabrics in different sizes. I locate a brown batik that will be a good base for the tree trunks. I find a sandy colored fabric for the beach behind trees. The small patch of green lawn is very bright. I find the perfect piece knowing I will add the dark shadow of the middle tree with fabric markers. 

Here are some of those fabrics before I altered them. 

Now this next picture is after I made the changes to the sky and sea, added the trees and foreground fabrics. I used both colored pencil and fabric markers to all, adjusting the color as I placed each piece. I cropped this picture lower than the finished piece on the bottom. This way you can see I really did use that tan sandy fabric. With the blue gray over it you may have never known. However I knew I needed the warm of this yellow tan. 

I see I got carried over with the clouds but some of them will be covered by the palm frons. I will need to add some shadows to anchor the rocks on the beach line. Then to figure out what fabric or technique to use for the palm frons. Need to get busy. Next post I show you the finished piece. 


Life as an artist is an observant one. I often see things differently than most but I also sometimes let my busy everyday life get in the way. I attended a quilt guild meeting last night. We had a guest speaker who spoke about color and how it can be used.

It was a wonderful talk. One filled with info and encouragement for those that believe they know nothing about using color and the basic ideas of color theory.

I was taught a lot of what was discussed first by my artist mother then formally in art classes and at college. Yet even then I knew that if I could just observe what was around me from nature I would never go wrong.

When thinking of greens in particular to be used in an art work there really is no green that does not go with each other.  This was brought up in our lecture with the explanation that we live mostly in a green world around us everyday. I totally agree with this statement. It works especially well when the greens are analogous, meaning that they range in at least three hues on the color wheel.

Okay enough words here is a visual that I want to point to that explains this better. Below is a Van Gogh picture titled Green Wheatfield with Cypress.

First you see lots of greens, dang it fills two thirds of this painting. Yet it is not a flat opaque color of green. Looking at the foreground you see dark greens but there is stroke of blue to indicate it is in shadow, yellows and even a bit of orange other than the greens you can see.

The middle of the painting repeats these same colors without the blue. There are more orange and yellow greens. A new element is white added on top of the greens to indicate coolness. A middle ground can often be the focus of a picture. However here it is cooler, a way to show depth from the foreground to the background.

This is the way we see depth in nature too, when the light is not in high constrast. Van Gough also uses the texture of his pallet knife for this visual illusion. That is a different subject for another post.

Moving to the background you see yet another repeat of these greens. There are blue-black greens that mimic the dark greens in the foreground. Do you now see the yellows both on the rooftops and in the clouds? The blue of the sky is a clean bright blue but it is also in the greens. This is what makes the green color in this picture so interesting. They are clean, in the same hue as each other. This is what makes the painting so compelling.

How does this apply to quilts let alone art quilts? It is all the same, color rules no matter what you use to express your creative spirit. If you want clean and clear colors use analogues colors. I have discussed greens but they could be purple, reds or even blues.

I often start an art work thinking of the lighting and the mood I want to express in that work. I have found using low light greens with a bit of contrasting purple can evoke a sense of the serene. Think of moss green, olive green, light tans and browns and it is so serene. This was my intent with this work I call Serenity.


As you can see the background of this work is mostly muted olive green, yellow and purple. Yet the colors are all in the same tone with each other. None of the colors are brighter than the next. This evokes a quite and serene mood, one of calmness.  There is rhythm with the repeating lines of the poplar trees. To show that there is space between one set of trees from the other I used the same muted purple and some rosy pink in the background tree trunks.  The leaves are a muted blue green in different shades. I also have repeated the purple from the foreground in the small lavender colored trees in the background.   Finally I used cream for the foreground tree trunks and a light olive and yellow green for the leaves.  Color is important for each and every piece of art work. It evokes depth, feeling and mood. Next time you are looking at a piece of art or even a quilt perhaps you can see how the colors are being used to evoke depth, feeling or mood.