Manual Journey to Inspired Art Quilting: More Intuitive Color & Design

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They symbolize all the things we contain in our lives. My art quilt collages are created with layers of fabric, paint and stitching, but also explore the layers of experiences in my life. I try to create art with a strong visual impact from across the room, but with several small, intimate details that the viewer can only appreciate upon close viewing. This is also like life — the big events are as important as the day-to-day routines.

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I also love to include handwriting as a graphic element. It suggests that there is a narrative behind the work. Every artist has a story to tell, an idea to explore or a message to convey. Q: If you could give one piece of advice to a beginning artist, what would it be? DB: Pull out some supplies, grab on to a bit of inspiration and begin! Just see what happens. As you create, think about what materials, techniques and ideas you enjoy working with, and continue with those. Use your head, heart and hands! Explore ideas that interest you. Use materials and techniques you love. Find techniques that fit your skills and ability.

DB: Well, what else am I going to do with all this fabric? Seriously though, I am always curious to see what I can create with different shapes, textures and fabrics. It might be a song lyric, a scrap of fabric, or an interesting shadow. I may explore small sculptural pieces, or maybe vessels or possibly something related to the form of books. Another new artist for us in will be Brazillian-based Fabio Cembranelli! In advance of his workshop, Fabio took the time to let us know a bit more about his background and art practice. It was an acessory to represent my projects but when I handled a brush for the first time I noticed that I wanted to use this medium to portray much more than a project illustration; it was the right tool to express my feelings.

A few teachers at the University showed me the basic principles of watercolor, so after that I started painting and learning by myself as I wanted to develop the technique in another way not only as an illustration resource , so I started trying and trying to paint in watercolor every evening, just as a hobby.

FC: I work one at a time. My style is intuitive with an spontaneous approach to the subject, painted in a wet on wet style. I like to portray the essential of each subject: a light effect, a colorful contrast, an interesting play between hard and soft edges, foreground and background. All these things are very important to each artist but the difference in my technique is that I aim to make an intuitive painting very quickly. Timing is very important in my technique so I must start and finish in a couple of hours each piece. FC: I teach workshops around the world, so most of my inspiration comes from my travels.

Each country has specific flowers, skies, greens, buildings, and mood. There are beautiful, sometimes gray skies in Scotland, for example, quite different from the golden light of Australia. There are wonderful and exotic flowers in South Africa and they are different from flowers from France or Canada. Fall in New York state is so different, not the same colors of anywhere in South America.

As an artist I am exposed to all these influences. My artwork is colorful and vibrant and I aim to cause some kind of reaction in each viewer. I hope they are attracted by the diversity of colors, shapes, light and shadow effects. I want them to feel a joyful sensation, how interesting and particular is my way of portraying a subject. FC: My painting technique is a challenge, I take a risk everyday. I want something unexpected to happen during my painting process. I need to feel that I am working in a subtle line between a good piece and a bad one. My preferred paintings are those painted intuitively.

Like a challenge, I need to discover the best paths at the moment I am painting. Take a few risks, some risks are worth to a new country or a new workshop venue but try to be as professional, transparent, and honest as you can. Bringing us a different and much needed type of workshop this year will be multi-disciplinary artist, KathyAnne White. The workshop will include an advanced consultation of KathyAnne, so she can tailor the workshop to the participating artists. Learn more about her workshop on our website and read on to learn more about KathyAnne!

KAW: Art first entered my life when I was seven. My grandfather was a tailor so we had several sewing machines. There was nothing free style about any of it, but I made my first skirt after learning some of the basics of a machine and joining seams. The skirt had a waistband and gathered bottom. Crocheting came later that same year in the style of a ripple afghan.

KAW: The stark trees here in the southwest have long influenced my work. Their skeletons remain growing out of rocks and off the sides of hills. Burnished and twisted roots of a bristlecone pine become a sculpture of wind and tenacity. My depiction of these elements have traveled through various mediums throughout the years. Their shape and form is evident in my sculpture.

KAW: Find a medium you are drawn to and would like to explore. Get in touch with what moves you about it and what you might want to do with it —and then dive in. Learn about the media create, create, create. The more you work the better you get. Express yourself with the media — make a piece and do another and another and another…..

All the artists that inspired you started somewhere. Just keep working and enjoy the ride. KAW: Not sure there is one thing that drives me—driven seems to be my natural state. Maybe I could say curiosity and pushing my media. Making art is part of me.


  1. Events - Handi Quilter;
  2. Grading Coins With Confidence?
  3. Adventures of a Travelin Family.
  4. The Night I Disappeared;

My art practice leads me to what is next intuitively. I explore and play with new ideas on construction or added elements constantly. If I have something that I am considering creating— I start actual construction on the ideas running around in my head. This way I know how they could influence the work.

I would say I am more inspired than driven to produce art. KAW: Well there are two — one is related to teaching and the other to an art project. I love teaching there and meshing with the students who participate. The classroom is available for learners to work as much as they want—so the entire stay at HRVAW becomes a retreat.

My class will be an exciting, exploratory experience as artists come together and learn to show their voice with their work in any media. Everyone is different and that is a good thing.


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  • The facility is great for this workshop. The second is I am starting work on a new project to expand my current body of work. There is a bit of a learning curve so most of what am doing is in the early stages. Once it gets past that I will be publishing videos on my youtube channel on my ideas and how it is working. Elizabeth St. In advance of her workshop, Elizabeth took a moment to answer a few questions for us! ESH: I have a BFA from Syracuse University, I have always been a full-time working artist, starting off in Graphic Design and ultimately making the transition to full time painter and workshop instructor.

    ESH: I have two easels in my studio and i work on multiple pieces at a time depending on my deadlines. I have one easel that holds larger, oversized work, and one that is set up for smaller work. ESH: Deciding to give up the commercial life of graphic design in order to be a full-time fine artist. Just as the northern Catskills are at their greenest, join us and watercolorist Joel Popadics from June , to work on those green tones!

    In advance of his workshop, Joel took a moment to answer our short interview to help us learn a bit more about his background and approach to art. Art and creating has always been part of my life. As a child we attended a church that was elaborately decorated in paintings depicting biblical scenes. To this day, I vividly recall those images and how profoundly they inspired me to become an artist. JP: Yes, a major theme in my work is light and mood of weather. The subject is well suited for watercolor and creates an instant mood in a picture.

    JP: If a beginning artist wants to become a painter, then I would suggest that they draw constantly and work on their craft. I love to learn and really enjoy the process of painting. In advance of her workshop, Laurie took a moment to fill us in a bit more on her background and approach to art. LGW: I began drawing with my brother when I was young, took art in high school. I was also a ballet dance with the Rochester Academy of Performing Arts.

    I had to quit dance when I was 19 due to knee problems. I returned to art when I moved to West Virginia in We live out in the country and I felt that now I had the time to reinvest in my art. I never looked back. LGW: I usually focus on one painting at a time. Occasionally, I do work on workshop demo pieces along with my current work. If I am working on two or more at one time, I focus on the one in front of me at the moment, but sometimes, I may get an idea from one painting to incorporate into the other.

    LGW: I have many photos from trips, etc. But for my portraiture, I also have some ready models, who are most gracious with their time when I need an inspiration. LGW: Painting is like breathing to me. I do not like to go a day without some painting time. My motivation is to continue learning and bringing what I learn to my workshop students.

    Classes - Alegre Retreat

    I remember thinking what could I possibly show these artists? After the first day of that workshop, I was hooked! I love to teach and my students have been very happy with my teaching style. Learn more about Larisa and her approach to art through our short five question interview with her. LA: Flowers is one of the subjects that come and go and then come back again. LA: Beginners often are too hard on themselves and do not have enough patience. My advice would be to paint as often as you can and be more patient with themselves.

    LA: Inspiration. New ideas. But there is also an element of studio routine and discipline, I just have to be in the studio every day and work. Teaching the workshop in the Hudson Valley is an event I am looking forward to and also I was invited to teach a plein air painting workshop at La Romita School of Art in Umbria, Italy — I am very excited to teach there and looking forward to this workshop too!

    Join her and us to work on nightscapes with pastels. Want to know a little more about Christine and her approach to art? Read on down for her responses to our five question interview series! CI: I owned and operated a full service ad agency for many years and when everything crashed in , I lost the business. The only thing I knew how to do was draw. I cleared my office and made a studio and put a sign out in front to teach art lessons.

    It all expanded from there. CI: I work on a few pieces at the same time. When I have a few things in progress I can go to another piece and view it with a fresh eye and usually resolve a problem that was causing me to walk away from that one! CI: Having been a Creative Director for so many years, I am constantly looking for inspiration around me. I usually carry a small point and shoot and the iPhone, so when something interesting strikes me I can immediately record it and store it for future use. CI: The world around me. Everywhere I go, everything I see, the people I meet, and the journey that lies ahead are always my motivations.

    I mortgaged my house to do that and successfully paid it off, so starting from scratch in another unstable industry the fine art world was just another challenge. Since I knew that I had to somehow making a living at this second career in my life, I put together a business plan just as I had for the ad agency.

    I knew that. So I was determined to set reasonable goals for yourself you can get there. So this is my second career and business. Looking back I would have it no other way. Joining us from May , will be artist Peter Fiore for a workshop on landscape painting from photographs. Before his workshop, Peter took a moment to give us a taste of his approach to art through our five question interview series.

    PF: Art entered my life when I first opened my eyes — seeing and remembering — my first memories are about light. PF: I use the landscape to convey the feeling and quality of light. Light is the true subject of my paintings. Making art is a life time battle. PF: The need to communicate. The need to make things. This spring, we look forward to welcoming British Columbia based artist Christine Camilleri for a five-day studio workshop from April May 5, In advance of her workshop, Christine took a moment to help us get to know her a little better! I always want to challenge myself and my viewers.

    I take that thinking into my painting classes to share with my students. CC: In order to stay creative and focused I clean out my studio once or twice a year. I mean I throw out old ideas, sketches and half finished paintings. I find I have to be ruthless. It clears my mind and helps me to see where I am going. I also keep my mediums separate and work on one medium for weeks at a time. Oils in one corner, pastels on a big table, acrylics on another table. CC: Bison have become a fascinating focus and I am drawn to wide, open landscapes like the prairies they once roamed. I am planning a series of paintings inspired by the last of the intact prairie areas in Canada and the US and hope to capture what these may have looked like before settlement.

    We look forward to welcoming quilt artist Paula Nadelstern back to our workshop series next year from April , ! Get to know a bit more about Paula and her approach to art in our interview with her below! PN: My own fabric designs inspire me. If I understand the question correctly, the answer is no. First come the patterns and then come the quilts. Until my unplanned, unexpected apprenticeship with textile designers, everything I knew about color I learned as a kid from my prized box of sixty-four, kid-worthy crayons.

    This exploration steers you in lots of valuable directions. It leads you to the vocabulary needed to articulate your private visual language. It helps you recognize the kinds of mistakes students are likely to make and head them off at the pass. And it awakens new ideas, pushing you, the artist, further along your creative path. A major distinction between the work of a teacher and that of an artist is the proximity to the creative act. The artist initiates and implements the work, investing her entire self into the art.

    Teaching is also creative but in a very different way. The teacher initiates by sharing an approach but someone else implements. To be content with being the source of inspiration rather than the one inspired. PN: I have no tips for keeping my 12 feet by 15 feet studio organized.

    Buy a magic wand on Ebay? There is a door at each end. I roll up the quilts and slip them into the cabinets. PN: Itchiku Kubota was a Japanese textile artist. He was most famous for reviving and modernizing a lost lateth- to earlyth-century textile-dyeing and decorating technique called tsujigahana literally, flowers at the crossroads. At the time of his death, he had completed 40 of his projected 80 kimono in the series.

    I am in awe of his highly refined process creating a fluid, rather than static, surface. As he said in his video: he makes you see brown where there is no brown. I am a Patternista, hardwired to see pattern everywhere and here was a glut of designs bumping into each other. I think I could work on this one quilt for the rest of my career, editing, auditioning and refining as the nuances and possibilities of the concept evolves.

    Interested in a new approach to free motion quilting? Join us for a three-day workshop with artist and trained graphic designer, Paula Kovarik from April , Want to know a little more about Paula and her approach to art? PK: I had my own graphic design business for over 30 years. From the beginning my goal was to retire from that business early so that I could pursue my own art.

    That happened about 5 years ago. I am still a designer but now I can design for myself instead of others. PK: I usually have more than one piece going at the same time. I find that larger pieces need some rest between sessions so that I can see the life in them come into focus. If I work on a piece without stopping to think about it I can sometimes get lost in the details instead of the whole. In addition, I do a lot of exploratory stitching on small pieces to test threads, fabrics, batting and dyes. PK: Reading, learning, reading, learning, reading, learning. When an idea comes to me it is often just a glimmer of a thought, a thumbnail sketch or a flicker on the edge of consciousness.

    Though sometimes there are blank zones often on completion of a piece , a walk in the woods or a new book or article will reinvigorate me. PK: My parents taught me that you create your own reality. My training as a graphic designer — working on deadline, with the constraint of budget and format — helped me to focus in on what is the most important part of any communication.

    Intuitive Color & Design: Adventures In Art Quilting

    I look at my artwork as a process rather than a product. Not the end product. So if I feel like taking a rotary cutter to a piece because it might lead me to new insights, I do it. In this design intensive, Lyric will offer a perfect mix of surface design techniques and instruction in the elements and principles of good design. Music, writing, architecture.. LK: I have a broad range of interests in subject matter, but my abstract work almost always involves circles and grids and my portraiture is usually inspired by the women in my family.

    LK: Make lots of art. Your bad art is often the very thing you needed to create in order to get to your good art. LK: The most honest answer would be a quickly approaching deadline.

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    LK: I want to continue an abstract series I started last year inspired by mill wheels. I still have many ideas to explore inspired by the ideas of time and stone and grinding… and of course the circles and lines. As our first workshop of the season, we look forward to welcoming back Scottish artist Margaret Evans!

    Margaret will be joining us from March , and expanding her Unleashing the Pastels curriculum for artists of all mediums! Margaret herself will working in pastels, but will also bring watercolor, gouache, and water soluble pens for additional demonstrations. In advance of her workshop, Margaret took a moment to answer a few questions we had about her approach to art. ME: Scottish weather! ME: I have to remind myself of what I preach when getting into difficulties! I make it fun, and remind all to keep an open mind and willingness to gamble.

    ME: Working on large scale corporate paintings and exhibiting outside Scotland. Fiber artist Esterita Austin returns to Greenville at the tail end of our season for a workshop exploring her original technique utilizing fusible web to transfer original painted imagery to Organza using metallic acrylic and textile paints. In preparation for her December , workshop, Esterita took a moment to answer a few questions about her approach to fiber art. You will work mostly in a 12 inch square format.

    These exercises can then be a start of a larger piece, if desired. Composition with Line and shape will be explored as well as addressing negative space, soft and hard edges, abstraction of realistic inspirations, etc. Critiques of work will be held each evening. Participants in Independent Study will join in on the festivities, the good food, the lecture series and everything else that goes along with attending Alegre Retreat and will work unsupervised in a class room having a set time for self critiques within their group.

    Each teacher will set aside one hour of class time to share their critiques of your work if desired. Click here to download the Teacher and Class Information. But if necessary, two one-day wokshops that complement each other can be scheduled so students can take one or both. Leftovers you don't know what to do with? Traditional blocks from another era? Experiments that didn't work? Get them out of hiding and go Modern!!

    You'll fall in love with these modern versions of the string quilt! Modern and contemporary or wild and funky! Use a limited palette or go wild with scraps.