New pathways

I realized the other day that I had not posted much to the blog this year. I have had some changes to my life that have taken me away from my regular routine. Change for some is scary but I find it to be constant in life. You can use those changes to grow or decide to take a different path down the road of life to just see what happens.

This weekend I am away with some friends enjoying good times at a lake house. Always invigorating to have no real agenda and just “be” in nature. Last night we went out to the boat dock to see the lunar eclipse. It was not late enough to actually see it eclipse but the moon was so bright and beautiful. It is amazing how small you can feel when you look up to watch the sky. Yet that feeling doesn’t scare me it actually makes me look at nature in awe.

I believe it is the smallest things in life that can easily be dismissed or ignored that once looked for can add true wonder to life if you stop to look. I was weeding in the yard the other day and found some interesting patterns in the grasses I was pulling up.

The heart shapes in the leaves are what first caught my eye. Then seeing the spread of the grass underneath all from the center in a wide circle made me stop to take this picture. I pondered how wide and far reaching the patch on the side walk looked from this view. It is a world in itself, sprawling out to the depths of its own universe. Yet if I had not looked down, I could not have appreciated the beauty and connection to me.

So I stopped longer to look for even more small wonders.

As my day continued I found even more wonders in the grocery.

Just look at the patterns and swirls in this cauliflower. Of course the bright green caught my attention first but this truly is amazing to look at. But before you think I have gone way too far into weird thinking I will share this for a laugh.

A very tasty cherry butt? I just had to share.

I also want to share my next art opening with those in the greater Kansas City area. It is a group show with eight other very talented and diverse fiber artists. This group has been very supportive, encouraging in every way and fun. The show will open on Thursday August 2, 2018 and run the whole month of August. Here are the details check it out if you can.

Tim Murphy Gallery 2018 Postcard (1).pdf_page_1

Tim Murphy Gallery 2018 Postcard (1).pdf_page_2


Just have fun

That is what a good friend of mine told me recently, just have fun. We were talking about art, how I go about starting a new piece. Often I will use a combo of photos that I have taken. I then go thru my ever growing fabric stash to audition colors and patterns together to find the feel I am aiming for in the piece. Once I have collaged these down I have a canvas so to speak to add to.

At this point I start applying my colored pencils to adjust any color on the fabric to fit the mood of the piece. Hand work with thread, silk ribbon, sequins and bead work is usually the last step.

As I explained to my friend she asked if I had ever just started a new piece of art with no planning. Perhaps a color in a fabric inspired me and I just ran with that without any plans or photos. In other words did I just have fun creating without any preconceived idea or plan? I said no I had not, perhaps because of my need to control things or that it is in my soul to produce art that represents something real.

So of course my friend challenged me to just have fun with my next piece of art. I will admit it was scary at first. I had no road map so would this new method be useful? Would it be a waste of time and materials? Or could it be the start of something new and different?


I have said before that I get my inspiration from looking at nature and taking pictures which I then use to create my art quilts.  Often this is the way a piece of my art gets started but there are times that a color or a piece of fabric inspires my imagination. It just clicks, I see mountains, oceans and full landscapes in commercially printed quilt fabric. So when I had the chance to take a road trip to attend the American Quilt Society spring show in Paducah, Kentucky the mecca of quilting,  I jumped at the chance.

I started with a trip to quilt store to outdo all quilt stores-


I admit I was so excited to shop that I showed up on Sunday, the only day that this shop is closed. Checked the front door for the hours, peeked into the store then went back to my hotel to wait till Monday. I showed up at opening and bam right inside the door my favorite fabric designer and on sale no less! Looking thru the isles and isles and more isles I found more inspiration than I could have imagined. I knew this store was big but dang they had more colorful and interesting fabric than I thought.

Three hours later and many, many choices to delete from what I selected, I settled on pieces that I knew I would use, two batik fabrics that had wonderful color and could be cut up to colage along with a print that I have used before but in a peachy color I have never seen before. I have so many new ideas running thru my head along with the image overload of all the fabric that I had to go back to my hotel room to take a nap. Here is my selection.


I then went to one of the many quilt shows in the area. More inspiration from a selection of art quilts done for the National Parks system. There were all depicting national parks from the southern region of the United States. I was happy to be allowed to take pictures for they were very impressive.


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I was able to get to the International Quilt museum after my rest. This is a wonderful place to visit anytime of year, they have a rotating permanent collection along with special exhibits.  No photos are allowed inside but it is an excellent collection.  Please consider this museum yourself if you are in the Paducah area.

I took a trip around the old town of Paducah. Lots of little shops full of antiques, clothes, a tea shop, another fabric shop, artist gallery and just for the week of the show a book store from the American Quilt Society. I am crazy about books of any kind and they were selling for five dollars a piece. If you bought five then you got a sixth book for free, so of course I picked out five. Lots of new ideas from these books too, how am I going to decide on what to start?

That evening I had a ticket to the “sneek peek” of the show. This gives you two hours to see all the quilts that were chosen for the different juried exhibits of the show including the winners in each catagories. You also get first choice of the vendors wears before the general public. There were plenty of folks at this sneek peek but not as many during the regular show hours, well worth the extra cost. I am in awe of all the precision and creativity in each “sane” or reqular quilts.

I then head to the second floor for I have been told that is where the art quilts are displayed. I am not disappointed in my delight to see all the creative and ingenious art. Wow, just wow is all I can say at first. I was so excited I have to admit I forgot to get most of the names of the artists of these beautiful pieces of art. What do you think?





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Lastly there was a special exhibit of art quilts done all in denim. Yes I said denim, so many colors of blue that one can see. The artist is Ian Berry a skilled artist using only a single color pallet of used jeans. It is so amazing what one can do with prue talent.

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Lots of pictures for such a wonderful time. Now to get off the computer and take this inspiration by the horns and create.


How far have you come in a year?

I was talking with a group of friends recently while doing my best to actively listen. As my friend who was lamenting her progress on a project paused I asked her to reflect on how far she has come from that time last year. It stopped her long enough to turn the conversation into gratitude for what she had accomplished. We all were happy to add things she had forgotten herself. Needless to say the mood lightened and we were all laughing and smiling.

I have not posted for sometime due to some family and life changes. During that time I lost my muse, my interest in creating art on a regular basis. I spent some days and weeks beating myself up for this void. Then it just occurred to me to stop, take a breath and take into account how far I had come this year. Life is never a straight line but this viewpoint for me pulls the mind into gratitude and fills my soul with joy.

With that I have started two new pieces and am getting back into the swing of things. I think it would be fun to show a review of my art from the beginning of this year to now also. So here we go.


Keirnan-Hale Fireflies




Another sunrise 

We are all encouraged to live in the moment. To cherish life as it comes to us each and every day for no one knows what will happen tomorrow. I try to do this each day, to see the abundance of life and have gratitude for what is before me. To appreciate the single moment of the beauty of nature and express that in my art has been a driving force.

I want you the viewer to see nature as I do in all it’s glorious wonder. I find I have a fascination for sunrise and sunset pictures. It has to have something to do with the rich and colorful skies. Yet I believe it also takes me directly to seeing things in the moment for the sky can change so dramatically in just a second. 

I have completed another sunrise art quilt from pictures I took one early March morning in my neighborhood. I wanted this piece to focus on the colors of the sky ranging from yellow to dark rich red. I started with some commercial batiks that had the colors I wanted to use as a base moving from the orange to a green grass for the base. Collageing the two pieces of fabric together it appears I could have used just the fabric but thought the stripes of color in the sky were too predictable. 

Working over the entire area of the sky with colored pencil I added clouds and definitions to the colors already printed in the fabric. You can see I blended the grass line into the sky lightly using orange and red over the green of the fabric. I am really liking the way this is coming along at this point. 

I wanted the foreground to be in shadow to further inhance the brightness of the sky. I first positioned a dark green fuzzy yarn on the fabric to indicate a line of grass. I then layered two pieces of fine black tulle netting over the bottom half of the piece for a shadow effect. I then fused dark gray and black building shapes in the middle ground.  At this point I was able to gage the position and size of trees that were behind the buildings. I decided to use a very dark blue embroidery floss for the tree limbs, going all the way down to one strand of floss for the smallest limbs. You can see my faint pencil layout of a light pole on the right and a tree overlapping the building on the left. 

I then used various twisted dark green threads on top of the green yarn and over the bottom of the buildings to add texture and depth. I let some of the orange in the grass area to peak thru giving it a reflected light effect. Using colored pencil I added dark features of windows along with a touch of orange on the buildings. I also enhanced the yellows and reds in the sky with a watercolor pencil. I had to stop to allow this to dry before I could stitch anymore though. 

I started the light pole using a needlepoint thread that is a mix of wool and silk in a muddy gray color. I love the sheen of the silk in this fiber making it look reflective just like metal. I did a satin stitch at an angle so it would appear three demensional. This took a bit of time and patience to keep it all aligned but not flat. Once I got to the top I switched to a smaller spun wool in an earthy gray for the standard that holds the bulb. Using the same wool but in a whiter color I stitched the bulb making it a satin stitch also. Decided it wasn’t convincing so lightly went over the bulb area with a yellow watercolor pencil. Using a small brush I set the color into the fiber with water. 

As this was drying something started to bother me about this light pole. It has the right proportion, I really liked the shape and the placement as it makes the eye move to the sky my main focus. Still couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I pulled out the camera took a picture and adjusted to just black and white. 

I immediately saw that the base of the light pole was too light for the rest of the picture. Out come the watercolor pencils again. Using a black pencil to lightly go over the thread, blending it with water. This method of going to black and white is a very old technique used by the masters in paintings. Often they would start a work completely in black in white. Then the actual color was layered in a wash over the black and white painting. 

Trying out thicknesses of twisted pearl cotton thread I laid in the rest of the trunk in black. I just love how this mimics tree bark. I decided it needed a shadow so added a very dark blue pearl cotton thread. This turned out very well. I wanted this tree to stand out against the brilliance of the sky. I decided it would be a well worn tree, one with unusual curves, bumps and appear as it survived lightning strikes. 

After adding many smaller banches with thin black thread moving upwards and a bit to the side for movement I decided it was complete. I like it a lot yet as most artists I can see a few things I would do differently. Perhaps there will be another sunrise to work out. Dang that would be three making it a series. This one will be Holmes Street Sunrise #2. 

Green leaves and weeding 

I really don’t like to weed but with the rain that came pouring down last week everything sprouted overnight. Not a good time to have the lawn mower die either.

The rain broke two weeks of oppressive heat and humidity making for a wonderful day to be outside. As I began to trim the wandering vines and volunteer trees that are an unending battle, I begin to notice distinct leave shapes and colors. It always surprises me when you take the time to look you really can see beauty in the common everyday things.

Of course I had to take pictures for reference later. This common weed is just about spent with it’s light colored seedlings waiting for a strong breeze.

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There is precision in the direction of each seed. Lined up all in the same upward direction, one across from each other. However looking closer I see some are bigger than the other and not nearly as precise as they appear.

I move to another part of the yard to find what appears to be a weed from the fern family. No I am not any kind of plant authority but I like looking at plants. Leonardo believed that you had to truly observe something before you could even try to replicate it in art. I like the shape of these plants and they would be good to remember for my next landscape.

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Okay I will just show you the rest of the pictures I took before I bore you all to tears.

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So as you can see everything is green around here right now. I am awed by the various shapes, sizes and texture in each leaf. Something I admit I usually just pass by each day. But just in case you want some color here is a picture found on line of some colorful flowers, peonies I do believe. 

This color and the wild looking greenery just may show up in my next artwork. I certainly have several reference photos of green leaves to consider including now.

Hot, hot summer

It has been a very hot summer here in the United States. The kind of burning sunshine and sticky humidity that makes you run for the closest shade and iced lemonade. I have been staying inside most days but I long to take a walk and be in nature. However that longing is not stronger than my comfort so inside I stay.

As I look out my studio window I see my neighbors volunteer hollyhocks have sprouted again. Planted by a bird years ago it is beautiful in this heat. Tall strong stalks with large lush green leaves at the bottom. I notice the blooms have come up a pink color this year. With bees cross pollinating you never know what color they may be. The flower is a soft pink but not a pastel. The bloom has almost a cone shape that flares out at the opening with a ruffled edge. I see a yellow staemen contrasting the pale pink of the flower.

The stalks rise high with more leaves that are smaller now along with distinctive buds ready to replace spent blooms. I have always been fascinated by the leaves of the hollyhock as they begin to dry and yellow. They dry with holes across the surface making them lacy and delicate. Reminds me of the lacy florentine cookies I ate as a kid.  I decide that these flowers will be the inspiration for my latest piece so I start sketching some ideas.

I decided to place the flowers in front of a garden gate. I want to have a bright green door with a pale gray fence, light foreground and perhaps some green leafy branches overhanging the fence. Using one of my small wrapped canvases I lay out fabric in a medium blue for sky, the gray boards for the fence and a warm gray for the ground. Out come the colored pencils to add shadows, depth and contrast. I add bright green fabric for the gate and sketch in a whimsical crescent moon shape at the top of the door. Lastly I locate some fabric printed as bricks to anchor the door to something.

Here is the top of picture showing the trunk and trailing leaves for the background.

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I really like using various colors of green silk ribbon for leaves. Makes it more realistic and interesting. I then used cotton embroidery thread to establish the stalks of my hollyhocks. A large French knot works for the buds. At the top of the stalks I wrapped these knots with silk ribbon. The ribbon was persnickety so stopped after 4 or 5 were done.


It seems silly to worry about these details that will just be covered up with leaves and flower petals but I believe they add to the depth and reality of the piece as a whole.  I bought a bit of fabric with printed leaves in the scale I needed at a quilt show. Cutting the leaves was a bit tedious but well worth it. I attached the leaves with a silk thread allowing most of the fabric looseto hang loose giving them demension.

Now to tackle the flowers. I had bought some pink silk thinking they would make beautiful flowers. Cutting strips I then gathered them into a circle, adjusting the gathers so the flowers would lay the direction I wanted. I then added some darker shades of red with a fabric marker in the center and a bit on the outside edges. A loop or two of fuzzy yellow thread works for the stamens. I love the way this came out.


Summer is booming

I have been busy entering online for shows getting new work finished and photographed. Due to my month long two person show in May, I had put off entering shows. So because all of my work was up for this show I see I need more inventory.

I managed to complete two new pieces, one made just for the member only show of Missouri Fiber Artist, MOFA. I found out I was accepted in the show earlier this week. Yet even better I received a wonderful critique of the accepted artwork today from the juror.

This is what she said  “Immediately the colour and contrast in this work draw(s) me in. I’m seeing the piece now as a small thumbnail image and even at this size, I can sense the detail and texture in the work. I find the mixing of rich blues and greens with the brighter white coral forms to be full of harmony as well as visual interest. ”

There is a theme for this show,  an altered environment. This is to show our air, water and ground is being polluted by human practices. The work could be realistic or not but each has a statement explaining what inspired the work. Only other requirement was the artwork had to be made of some form of fiber. My piece is 14 X 11 and is based on the bleaching of the coral in the Barrier Reef area. This is caused by the warming of the oceans and acid pollution.

Here is Barrier Reefs.


Here is a closeup.


I really am digging the fan coral on my seascapes now. The turtles are pre-printed on cotton fabric that a good friend gave me to use. Thank you Marci! I just had to add more color to the turtles with my colored pencils too. The heavy white kelp is from white lace embellishments for wedding dresses.

The show, Speaking of Fiber! 2017, will be at Maryville University’s Morton J May Gallery in St. Louis, Mo. It will run from November 9 through December 15, 2017. Reception will be Thursday November 9, 2017, 5:00 – 7:00 with a juror’s talk at the reception at 6:00. I know this is a way off so will repost when it is closer to that date.

Boom it is now July. Oh how is this year half over? Stay tuned to see what else is popping!

Results and other things 

My show is now finished. It took a bit of time to meld the work of my co-exhibitor Sean Christopher Ward. His work is as colorful as mine so we took our time trying to match colors to each of our work.

The time taken was a smash hit. The night of the artists reception came May 12th with a small but enthusiastic group of fans. Most if not all were impressed with the layout and how well both my and Sean’s work meshed so well. In fact one friend of mine asked if we had colabrated on color choices ahead of time. Here are a few pictures of the show displays for you to judge yourself.

I did sell a piece of work during the reception. One of my smaller works that I started doing last year. I consider these as a way to work out ideas without doing a full size work. Yet they are well done small works too.

Here is a picture of Sunny Afternoon done on a 8 X 10 gallery wrapped canvas.  I wrote how this piece came about in a previous blog post-Small Ideas Become Big posted December 2, 2016. I won’t bother repeating that post but here is my smiling face with that sold work.


Now that I have a show in the bag so to speak and have celebrated that goal accomplished, what is next? I will continue to enter exhibitions both local and national.  I also need to get serious with getting represented by a gallery. I have a very good lead on that point but can’t comment yet. More to come once it becomes final. I also learned from this show I need to produce at least twice as much work as I displayed.

I do have plenty of ideas so I guess I need to head to the studio and get cracking. Before I do I want you to check out my fellow artists website at

Off to the studio now that the dust had settled. More, much more to come.

Busy, busy, busy 

Seems when spring comes everyday is filled  with more things to keep one busy. Today I am delivering my work to the venue for my two person show that is running the month of May. I have to say I am excited and anxious to get my work on the wall.

I am also not sure most understand the preparations that are taken to get to this step. First there is creating a body of work that I truly feel is of a quality that I am striving for and just plan beautiful. Then there is finding a gallery, finding out if they have any openings and the anxious part of applying.

One of the best part of this journey is the thrill of acceptance, they like me, they really, really like me. Wait I better count how many pieces of work I really do have ready to show. Now I need to get busy because I should have 3 more done. Ready, set, go get them done.  Guess my late winter was busy too, for I did get 4 more new pieces completed.



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As I continued my prep, I had to mat the majority of my work then get them set in frames and wired for hanging. I decided to use the same frame style for each so went hunting for the best deal for 20 frames. I then set up a work station to mat then frame each. I did my best to keep this area clean and free of dust and lint but there is always that extra something that seems to always find it’s way between the mat and inside glass.  All ready to be delivered for this next step in my journey.

Set up day is here, time to meet my co exhibitor and the show organizers that not only picked both of use for this show but also decided to pair us up. I walk in and find the work of Sean Christopher Ward my co artist already in the midst of unpacking his work. I am amazed at the uniqueness of the work along with the color usage. It is bright and cheerful, it compliments my own work so well I am just tickled and happy to see such a wonderful pairing.

We all took our time moving each piece around to find the best location and which piece would work best with each other. The rest of the time was the grunt work of hanging, making sure they were level and moving around to full the space better, the grunt work. Yet the time flew by, knowing that with each it really is a wonderful showing. Nothing says how well a piece of art looks than putting it up on the wall and walking back a couple of steps to admire how well it looks.

I am so happy that this is happening finally, I can breath a bit from the busyness of preparing and relax.  I am sharing the link for the promo that Sean designed for his Facebook page for this show. If you can make this event please say hello.  If you can’t make the reception please come by  The R.G. Endres Gallery which is located in the Prairie Village Kansas municipal complex at 7700 Mission Road, Prairie Village, Kansas which is open Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.