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jeanne-quilt

A Quilt for my Sister

Jeanne quilt
I have been spending more time with my sister lately and I decided to make her a quilt. Our mom passed away last year and all of her fabric is neatly folded on shelves in her old sewing area in the basement of the family home where we grew up. I filled a huge tote bag with floral fabrics that would make a wonderful memory quilt.

When I got home from the hour and 15 minute ride, I thought about what type of quilt I should make. I wanted it to be an oversized lap quilt/ couch throw and I wanted it to be different than any I had made before. I searched Pinterest and found a lovely lattice pattern that was perfect for the delicate floral fabrics. That led me to a Missouri Star Quilt Co. tutorial here. Awesome!

The fabrics were all light in value so I decided to add some medium value fabrics to make the flowers sparkle and dance across the surface of the quilt. I made a trip to Joann fabrics and brought my 5 inch strips of mom’s fabric with me to coordinate colors.

It was a lot of rotary cutting and sewing so it took me a couple of weeks to get the top together. The top came out great and my sister loved it! I had a friend of mine quilt it on her big long arm machine. I got it back yesterday and the quilting is gorgeous. All I need to do now is sew on the binding.

I realized that I enjoy making traditional quilts just as much as I like making art quilts. Traditional quilters and art quilters are often at odds with each other and at times seem to be polar opposites. I shouldn’t have to choose between the two camps or make excuses for doing what I want to do at any given moment. I am a free spirit and will go the way the winds of change take me.

jeanne-quilt

Paint the Sky with Stars

Paint the sky with stars
I am a big Enya fan and after painting this layered and spattered evening sky art journal page and letting it sit for a few days, the song Paint the Sky with Stars came to mind and those words gave me a good way to finish the piece. I like to let things sit and think about them instead of just rushing in and finishing without letting it percolate.

A friend of mine kept asking me every time I saw her, “Did you finish that [whatever it was that I was working on the last time I saw her]?” and I finally had to explain that is not why I make things. I enjoy the creative process and I just want to have fun. I don’t care if I finish an art or quilt piece at any given moment unless it is intended for a specific recipient because that is not my raison d’ĂȘtre [reason or justification for existence]. I am a process person, not a product person. I love the process!

I have big news! I will be teaching 2 mixed media art workshops for teens through adults as a volunteer at Epoch Arts in East Hampton, Connecticut in March and April. The workshops are Art Journaling and Inspirational Cards and each workshop will have 2 sessions. I am very excited about this opportunity to teach at this “arts for youth” nonprofit organization in my home town. I am working on handouts which will be shared on my offerings page. Teaching art has been a dream of mine for a long while and now it is coming true!

I have been thinking about vulnerability a lot lately and why it is important. Brene Brown has done a lot of work in this area and her Ted talk on vulnerability is one of the top ten most viewed TED talks in the world. Vulnerability is basically uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. Her research uncovered a common thread in those who embrace vulnerability: “They talked about the willingness to say, ‘I love you’ first… the willingness to do something where there are no guarantees… the willingness to breathe through waiting for the doctor to call after your mammogram.” This really resonates with me right now and I wanted to share it with you.

jeanne-quilt

Follow Your Dreams

Exuberance

I walked down to the lake on Saturday afternoon wearing just a sweatshirt because we had an unusually warm sunny day for a Connecticut winter. There are a few park benches where you can sit and look at the ripples in the water and let time slowly pass by. It was so peaceful.

When you let time stand still like that you feel rejuvenated and renewed. You gain perspective on your life. Later on, when I was home, I went downstairs to my art studio and exuberance is what came out in my art journal. Giving myself space to just be let the feelings flow through me.

I had attended a volunteer meeting at Epoch Arts that morning and I am happy to say that I will be teaching two mixed media art workshops there in the next session of classes, art journaling and inspiration cards for ages 12 through adult. Teaching and sharing art has been a dream of mine for a long while. You need to follow your dreams.

Tonight I decided to relax and not do anything but daydream and listen to the rain on the skylight. My thoughts drifted like the ripples on the water at the lake and I realized I need to spend more time like this and less time rushing around in busyness and activity. The world isn’t going to stop turning if I miss a meeting. The dishes in the sink can wait until tomorrow. The To Do list will always be there and most items on the list can wait another day, or longer.

What is truly important? The people you love – your family, your true friends, that special person in your heart and life. And you are so important – that person inside of you who needs to take time for self, to relax, and to just be.

jeanne-quilt

Art Journaling – Medicine Wheel

Art journal medicine wheel

This piece was loosely inspired by the Medicine Wheel which is used by Native American tribes for health and healing. The four quadrants of the circle represent the Four Directions: East, South, West, and North.

Different tribes have different interpretations for the Medicine Wheel. Each direction typically has a distinctive color and each direction can represent a number of different concepts, for example stages of life, seasons of the year, aspects of life, or elements of nature.

On Friday night, while drifting off between awake and asleep, I had a vision of what I wanted to create the next day. I reached for the pad and pen on my nightstand, drew a circle with a horizontal and a vertical line, and wrote the words four seasons. When I looked at the piece of paper the next day, I realized that this was a Medicine Wheel.

I went through my day thinking about this in the back of my mind. I work intuitively and don’t have any plan when I sit down to make art. Then I thought about what my special friend said to me the other night when we were talking about weekend plans. And he said… “No plan is the best plan – just go with the flow. Something good always comes up.”

When I was ready, I decided to work at the dining room table instead of in my art studio downstairs. I gathered up my new Canson CP 140lb art journal, my portable art tote, my Derwent intense blocks, and later on my bin of stamp pads. I don’t know how to explain how this piece happened, because it just did.

It’s a very simple piece and it reflects how I feel right now. It also reflects who I am as an artist. I was quite happy with this when it was finished. It marks a lot of new beginnings for me, both in my art and in my life.

jeanne-quilt

Painting on Canvas – Believe

Canvas-believe

I painted this canvas last weekend to celebrate the new year. My son gave me a package of 10 high flow golden acrylic paints for Christmas and I was eager to try them out. They are liquid paints in squeeze bottles and the colors are brilliant and super saturated.

I made a mess on my art table and got paint all over my hands. It was fun! I started out by dripping cool colors of paint (blue and green) on the canvas and spreading the paint around with an old credit card and a paintbrush.

While the paint was drying, I looked for my stencils and thought about which ones to use. The paint was not drying fast enough, so I used my heat gun to speed up the process. Then I added some warm colors to the canvas (red, orange and gold) and spread those around.

At this point the painting had a bit of a glow but it was looking kind of dark and I did not like that. Unlike watercolor paints which I had used for many years, you can always paint over something that you want to change with acrylics.

I chose an ivory bottle of craft paint, added some beads of this below the top edge of the painting, and tilted the canvas so that the paint would run down to the bottom edge. Now the piece was starting to take shape.

I had a circle opening cut out of plain paper and used that to paint a circle on the right side. The paint bled underneath the paper, so I used a baby wipe to restore the round shape. There is always a way to recover from a mistake and move on, if you open your eyes and see. Painting is like life and life is like painting.

I used my random circles template (this one came from Artist Cellar) and put a band of small ivory circles down the left side. Then I carefully put some small purple circles on top of the large ivory circle.

I stood back and looked at the canvas. The piece was saying what I wanted it to say. For me, it held that childlike wonder I feel when I look out my window and it is snowing outside. I added the word believe and I was happy.

Believe in miracles. Believe in the small things too. Most of all, believe in yourself.

jeanne-quilt

Believe – One Word for the New Year 2017

Believe - one word for 2017
I have chosen the word believe as my word for 2017. It has been a practice in the creative community to choose one word, or to have one word choose you, to serve as a guide for the coming year. This a simple way to say goodbye to the old year and welcome in the new year. Your chosen word helps you to set an intention for the year. It can also bring you back to your center as you make your way along the path of life.

For me, the word believe has a magical quality. It means believing in something that you can’t see but that you know is there. It means trusting in the goodness of a person you hold dear and not doubting them. Above all, it means believe in yourself and have faith in your ability to overcome challenges. It means believe that the world is a wondrous, beautiful place and that we all have a reason to be here, however small and insignificant we may feel at times.

Altered card deck collage
I have been choosing a word for the new year since 2010 when I saw a blog post asking for everyone’s one word posted on Ali Edwards‘ blog at the end of the year. I remember trying to read all of the posts about everyone’s chosen word, but there must have been over 2,000 replies to Ali’s blog post. I was alone at the time and it was so inspiring and moving to read all of these heartfelt intentions for the new year. I felt connected to women all over the world. Ali is a scrapbooking/ life artist and she has inspired many, not only for sharing her creativity but for sharing her life stories. She makes the ordinary, everyday things in life feel quite extraordinary.

jeanne-quilt

New Beginnings in Art

I have been thinking about doing this for a long while and decided to sign up for WordPress for my art website today. Over the next few weeks I will set up a new art website here. It is exciting to see all of the plugins and features that are available with WordPress. There is a learning curve of course, but it will be fun exploring this platform that is the backbone for many websites.

Canvas There are no words
I will be sharing my art work and inspiration here. I have been art journaling for about seven years and have grown so much through this practice. Art journaling lets you uncover and bring your feelings to the surface so that you can express yourself in a positive way and increase self awareness.

It is important to do what inspires you in the moment. I work in different media because at any one moment in time I am inspired to express myself in different ways. Sometimes I might want to draw or sketch out ideas. Sometimes I might want to work on an altered card deck. Sometimes I might want to work on a quilt. Other times I might want to paint and that could be in an art journal, on loose paper, or on canvas. There are often times when I don’t create anything while ideas are percolating in the back of my mind. Whatever you choose to do is your truth and your own path to follow. There is no must or should. There is only do what is right for you.

I want to inspire you to grow your creativity in your own way. I plan to develop offerings such as e-books, tutorials, and classes. I love creating intuitive art and am excited about sharing this with others.

We are all artists. You can follow our own path and express yourself in your own way. I would like to light the path to your art spirit and open the door to creativity.

Mary