Saturday, July 31, 2010

Student Spotlight: QU Screenprinting

On-Line Class opening August 27th
Blended Stencil Print by Julie Anne McDonald

Flour Paste Print by Sue Price

Thermofax Print by Sally Wescott

Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New York New York... it's a wonderful town!

I've been wanting to visit New York City for a while now. I've had the opportunity but never felt like dragging the kids along for the ride. It seemed like more of an adventure for grown ups. The past few days after paying my dues (I watched my brother's kids in Philly then he watched mine) I got the chance to take a quick overnight trip into the city.

The lovely and talented Melanie Testa and I spent two days walking and playing and having, in general, a fantastic New York experience! Here she is getting ready to unwrap a tasty lunch packet we got at the Japanese store. Oh, my - a whole floor of books. A floor of stuff including office and art supplies and a cafe on the top floor. Check out this lovely pen that Melanie had me try out - refillable ink cartridges and an actual brush tip - bristles and everything. Naturally I had to come home with one. The lunch packets were rice with spicy cod roe, wrapped in seaweed. Of course it took an engineer to open the thing. There was plastic between the rice and the seaweed as well as the on the outside and if you opened it just right then it all lands together in a lovely packet. (No - neither one of us got it quite right but they were delicious anyway!

Our first stop was Central Park and the Zoo. It's the tiniest zoo I've ever seen but it was lovely. We truly enjoyed the tropical house with lemurs and birds and a few reptiles here and there. 

Check out these legs. Coming from a woman who loves, loves, loves crazy socks, this was my favorite shot of the morning.

We traipsed up through the park to the Met, but had forgotten that it was closed on Mondays so we simply walked west a while then hopped onto the subway and would our way to Melanie's lovely (tiny) apartment and studio. I must say she has made the best  of her situation. She's very organized and everything had a space. I'll not complain about my studio any more. Hers is the size of my closet. Literally.

Day two and we went to Spring Studio in SOHO. It's just a basement room but they have life drawing sessions two to three times every day!!! We spent a full three hours drawing two, five, ten, and twenty minute poses. (I think this is a five minute pose.)

What a fun opportunity - not having had the opportunity to take life drawing courses in college. It was three hours of drawing - sometimes fun, sometimes frustrating - but a wonderful chance to learn.

Next it was more subways, more walking, more quick stops into churches, shops, (even a quilt shop), and elegant train stations with beautiful constellations on the ceiling.

We ate our lunch outside of Melanie's Alma Matter, the Fashion Institute of Technology, the popped in to their gallery to view their current exhibit, Eco-Fashion: Going Green. I found it quite interesting to see how they fit some of their historical collections into the theme, as well as spotlighting some very forward thinking current designers.

One of the big impressions I'll take from the city is the interaction of so many people sharing the same space. Standing together on the subway. Making way on the sidewalk. Enjoying a pleasant sunny day.

People going places and doing things. So many all together in one place. And guess what. They weren't rude or all dressed in black. Just as many people smiled and were helpful as in any other place I've been. Guess what? I love New York! Two thumbs up. 

Just remember to bring very comfortable walking shoes, be prepared for adventure, and just soak in the humanity, the art, the environment and all the wonderfulness in its colorful and myriad forms when you visit. NYC will definitely be seeing me again.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Student Spotlight: Sally in Tasmania

Don't you just love saying "Tasmania"? I do.

Sally has been having fun, fun, fun in my current on-line class. 
I'd love for you to pop over and see some of her work.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

On-Line Class: Playing With Paint

There is still plenty of time to register for my upcoming class at
will include many wet brush painting techniques, stamp carving, stenciling, and yes - 
playing with your food.
Class opens this Friday but registration will be open through next week.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Tutorial: Discharge Printing With Bubble Wrap

Do you love messing around with fabric as much as I do? The instant gratification of painting and discharging fabric is one of my favorite things about textiles as a medium.


Next week my on-line class Playing With Paint will be opening at Here is a little sneak peak. This discharge technique is just one bonus out of the four jam packed lessons that you get when you sign up for the class. 

On-line classes are different than live classes of course. While you don't get the face time - you do get interaction with me and the other students for a full six weeks. A new lesson opens up each of the first four weeks and then there are a couple of weeks of make-up time in case you don't have time to get around to trying everything. And believe me - you can cram a lot more information into four written and illustrated lessons than you can in one live class. I'll be there in the class forum each day commenting on the pictures posted in the gallery and to answer questions. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Artist Spotlight part 2: Judy Coates Perez - Teaching

You know I love teaching - the amazing interactions that happen between students and their work and the teacher are inspiring. I've watched Judy teach and think she has a gift. If you are going to be in Long Beach at the IQF show next week - run, don't walk - to sign up for one of her classes!

Judy Coates Perez  on teaching
I try to teach skills, techniques and how to use various media so that people have more options for making their art. I think the more tools you have under your belt the better equipped you will be to communicate your idea or vision. I love working with people and helping them to achieve their creative goals, make the art they envision and unleash their creativity.

International Quilt Festival, Long Beach
Thursday, July 22
Mixed Media Painted Fabric
Using textile paints, gel medium and decorative printed paper images create a fun versatile fabric that can be used to make tote bags, fabric bowls, vessels, sculptural objects or book cloth.

Friday, July 23- 10 am-12 pm Open Studios
3pm- MIU workshop: 
Embossed Metal Origami Pop Up Book
Using aluminum craft metal, simple embossing, alcohol inks and paper we will create a fun little art book, using the fundamentals of origami to create expanding pop up pages. These are so cool, easy to make and they make awesome little gifts. 

Friday July 23, 6-9 pm
Fiesta Ornaments 
Inspired by Mexican tin folk art, these fun and festive ornaments incorporate painting with textile paints, quilting, embossing and sewing metal.

Saturday, July 24
Painting Fabric for Whole Cloth Quilts
From adding details, dimension or shadow to creating fully illustrated scenes, paint offers endless 
opportunities for creating special effects on fabric. Working with various types of fabric paints you will learn different techniques for applying paint to fabric, creating smooth gradations of color and adding fine lines and details.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Artist Spotlight part 1: Judy Coates Perez

I'd love to introduce you to one of my favorite artists. Judy Coates Perez is talented in so many ways. I've loved her work since almost the first time I saw art quilts. My first favorite of hers was a weird and wild martian scene. 

There’s A Place Called Mars...   2004   37” x 62”
Judy Coates Perez

Looking at Mars mission photos, I was struck by the contrast between scenes of a rocky, lifeless planet and the rich, fanciful portrayals of Mars in popular culture.  I prefer a fanciful Mars. A place, where flora and fauna from the pages of Ernst Haekel’s book, “Artforms in Nature”, fill a Ray Bradbury inspired world and a 50’s Sci-Fi alien femme fatal watches a song, sung by my sister in Girl scout camp to the melody of “The Snake Charmers Tune”, weave it’s way though the landscape.
This is a machine quilted whole cloth painted quilt. I used textile paints, chromacoal powders, tsukineko inks, foil and beads.

Moon Garden  2008  69” x 56”
Moon Garden is one of my current all time favorite pieces. So clean and beautiful - a perfectly balanced composition in so many ways.

Lyric: I'd love to hear about your background, how did you become an artist?
Judy Coates Perez: I have a graphic design degree from Otis Art Institute of Parsons school of Design. As part of my curriculum I took drawing classes as well as a couple illustration classes. In my typography classes we had to perfectly render enlarged letters from specific typefaces with ruling pens and paint brushes, that really works to develop hand skills.

I learned a lot about painting from my ex when we were in school because his father was an amazing painter and had taught him. The one thing to keep in mind, is that painting is primarily a skill, once you learn some basic techniques, like anything else the more you do it the better you will get. you know- practice, practice practice. I still feel like a painting novice in many ways and would love to learn more since I mainly focused on design while I was in school and now regret not taking more classes on painting.

L: What are some of your inspirations?

J: I derive a lot of inspiration from my life experiences and fascination with global cultural traditions and mythology. When I was 12, my family moved out of our house, put everything in storage and drove to Guatemala, traveling through the US, Mexico and Canada, 18,000 miles in all. We spent a year on the road and rented a house in Antigua Guatemala, studying the arts, culture and archeology of these countries. My mom and I also spent time learning back strap weaving from Indian women in Guatemala. In college I went to Japan to study graphic design and now I have just returned from teaching in New Zealand, I find that it all influences me in some way.

Some of the nature inspired imagery has come from things my kids were studying. For example, when we lived in Texas my son was obsessed with fossils and lichen, I have made work based on both of those subjects.

You can see more of Judy's work at:

Stay tuned for more about Judy. I'll spotlight some of her wonderful upcoming classes (she's a fabulous teacher!) and a review and giveaway of her latest DVD workshop. Leave a comment on this or any of the posts spotlighting Judy for a chance to win. What about Judy's work inspires you? Have you had a class with her? Tell us about it.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

For Your Inspiration: Origami

I am simply in awe of this artist.

Awe - noun

Origami Joel on Flickr



Joel's work can be found at MakersMarket and on Etsy

Monday, July 5, 2010

Photoshop Elements for Photo Transfer - Examples

This photo of the beautiful Marion Anderson has too many grey tones to transfer well in the CitraSolv process. Deleting the background then boosting the Brightness and Contrast removes enough ink that we can get a great transfer - keeping the details in her face.

It's a common problem when trying to transfer photos of any dark skinned person. This little cowboy also has an awful lot of stuff to compete with in the background of his photo. I deleted the background then selected certain areas such as his face to boost more or less than other areas. Now that I'm looking at it I see that I've blown out (made too bright) all the detail in his chaps. 

If you are smart and save your work (as a copy or with a different name each time) you can go back to a certain step and work from there.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Photoshop Elements for Photo Transfer - Examples

I'll give you a quick run down of the process I used to get this photo ready for the transfer process. Take a look at the tutorials to get the full instructions on how to use Photoshop Elements (or any other digital editing program) to do it yourself.
Baroness De Guestra

I used the Zoom tool to blow the picture up quite a bit for better visibility. Next I used the Erase tool at 100% opacity to outline the Baroness. There isn't quite enough contrast between her dress and the background for the Magnetic Lasso tool to be effective. Once she's got an outline then I used the lasso to select her, Invert the selection, and Delete the entire background.

I carefully used the Magnetic Lasso Tool to select just her face and body then played around with Brightness and Contrast. I used the command and the shift keys to add and subtract areas to the selection before I did so.

Once done I realized that the shadow of her dress on her thigh bothered me so I Selected only that area and boosted the Brightness. I like that much better.

I think the Baroness might have been a very interesting guest at a dinner party, don't you?