Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Journey - Dinner at Eight, 2016

This is my 5th year to be included in the Dinner at Eight Artists exhibit at the Houston and Chicago International Quilt Festivals. (One year I was unable to enter, and one year my entry wasn't accepted.) I'm absolutely thrilled that my piece, "The Journey" has been accepted for 2016, and want to thank Dinner at Eight's founders, Leslie Tucker Jenison and Jamie Fingal, for their ongoing commitment to this wonderful exhibit.

The Journey, 40" x 40"
created for the 2016 Dinner at Eight "Patterns" exhibit.

Shadows stretch out from beneath our feet, up toward
something greater. The Journey must start somewhere.

From their annual interview of the artists, I've pulled a couple of my own answers to include here.

Although I'm a visual artist, I get most of my inspiration from literary sources ... songs, stories, and quotations. One of my favorite resources is my 93-year-old mother, who still sings songs from her long-ago childhood ... oftentimes, these songs or verbal snippets find their way into my artwork.

I think of myself as a whimsical artist because I love humor in all its forms, but I also love bold and mysterious abstracts. My style has developed so gradually and has morphed in so many subtle directions that it's hard to pinpoint when I "found" it ... in fact, I'm pretty sure I'm still searching for it.

"The Journey" began as several digitally manipulated photographs, printed on cotton sateen by a printing service, which I then painted, inked, thread-sketched, and machine quilted. I have been using a "faced" method of finishing my art quilts, rather than a traditional binding. Below is a detail shot of the quilt.
The Journey - detail
As Karey Bresenhan's Quilt Festival in Houston grows nearer (only a couple more months!) I get more and more excited about all the fabulous traditional and art quilts I will see. Miles of inspiration, all in one huge building ... I can't wait!

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Creating business cards

A friend had admired my business cards and wanted me to make something similar for her. Since my cards are reproductions of my thread-painted art quilts, I offered to simply create something for her in Photoshop. She likes land turtles, but wanted something whimsical.

Here's what I came up with, to give her a choice.

I called this one "Mother & Son"

but this is the one my friend chose ... I think
because of the "tortoise shell" glasses!

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Shoes, Shoes, Shoes

Just found a stash of pictures of some of the painted shoes I've done, and had forgotten about half of them!

These first two pair are art shoes, made for exhibit only.

Below is "City of Illusion," loosely based on lyrics of the song "City of Delusion" by Muse.

Here is "Treasure Hunt," festooned with jungly creepy-crawlies and a few off-road vehicles for searching out that treasure.

These next shoes I either painted for myself to wear, or are commissioned shoes for customers. They never fail to get double-takes and compliments.

First step - base coat

Finished shoes.

"Tragically Cool and Incredibly Hip"
(and Awaiting Additional Inspiration)

This was my very first pair of painted shoes, but I still wear them sometimes.

Not much room for paint, but very fresh-looking.

Gold & copper painted Merrells, with faux script.

Remembering Oscar Silva

White Merrell slides, simply tangled.

And last but not least (because I can't remember if I posted pictures of it before), here is my favorite little purse I painted, starting with a plain canvas messenger bag.

I know there are some more painted shoes and bags lurking around here, I just haven't unearthed them yet!

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Pajama Quilters

A group of old friends, we try to meet-and-retreat at least once or twice a year for relaxation, quilting, food, wine, and fun. Several of the girls do longarm quilting as a business, and all of them (except me) are traditional quilters. (They let me hang out with them anyway.  ;^)

Jody, Betty, Sharon, & Barb

Betty's star quilt

Jody & Sharon, "oldest" friends.
Jody's great Singer machine.

Barb's Illusion quilt layout
Betty's Bow-Tie layout

Betty's Double Irish Chain
Sharon's Stack 'n Whack

Sharon - Overachiever
Sharon's Blue Star Quilt

Linda's Giraffe preliminary layout
Linda's Giraffe final layout

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Mom & Dad

My folks are 92 years old and have been married to each other for 72 of them. "Through thick and thin" is more than just a homily when it comes to their relationship. I'm so proud to be a child of Mattie and Jim, who have put their whole hearts and souls into being honest, faithful, and kind to not only each other and their children, but to everyone with whom they have ever come into contact. I love you, Mom and Dad.

Mom & Dad, November 2015

72 years of marriage

Friday, December 18, 2015

Lesley Riley, Quotable Artist

I'm often inspired by lyrics, poetry, and quotations for my artwork, and was honored to have my art included in Lesley Riley's first two books, Quotes Illustrated, and Inspirational Quotes Illustrated. Here is Lesley's recent article for ClothPaperScissors about combining art and quotes.

(P.S.  I love Lesley's subtly humorous P.S. to the article!)

Five Secrets to Combining Art & Quotes by Lesley Riley

The desire to create a book of illustrated quotes burned in my heart for many years. Once I realized that I didn't have to create all the art by myself (it takes a village ... of artists), I knew the time had come.
Find more inspiration and ideas at
Love Yourself  "Love yourself first and everything else falls into place." ~ Lucille Ball. At first glance, the quote appears to be white lace on the dress neckline. It fell into perfect place in the composition.

On January 1, 2013, I put out a call for art to my mailing list and Facebook network. By the end of the year my self-published Quotes Illustrated was Amazon's #1 selling quote book. One year later, in November 2014, Inspirational Quotes Illustrated, an expanded version of my self-published book, published this time by North Light, again became a #1 best seller.

More than 400 artists submitted work, but there was only room for 100 in the book. One of the hardest things I've ever had to do was inform the unchosen. I never use the word rejection. It was important to let them know that "'Not now' does not mean 'not ever.'" We're all always improving and honing our means and methods of self-expression, right? And to do this we need insight on how to improve.
Find more inspiration and ideas at
Woods vs Books   "You will find something more in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters." ~Saint Bernard. An image of a woman walking in the woods, book pages, a transferred tree, mica mined from stone, and the overall colors work to convey the message of the quote. The metal stamping technique, size, shape and placement of the quote is balanced with the overall composition.

Quotes hold meaning and magic for so many of us. When you add a visual element to a quote, the words have even more power to inspire and motivate. I wanted to explore what made a successful illustrated quote and in turn, help others successfully combine their art with their best loved quotes.

So how do you successfully illustrate a quote? You will find the answer to this question and more in my latest book,Creative Lettering Workshop: Combining Art with Quotes in Mixed Media.

But for now, while I have your interest and attention, I want to share my most important secrets for success.
Find more inspiration and ideas at
Untitled by Katie Kendrick.  "I am in the mood to dissolve into the sky." ~ Virginia Woolf. Katie has integrated the quote into the artwork so well that you are quite drawn into the work to find it. It truly dissolves into the art.

1. Treat the words of the quote as another element of the overall composition, not an afterthought or add-on.

2. The quote should not be the focal point--that would be a quote illustration vs. an illustrated quote. Everything on the canvas/page should relate to and enhance the message of the quote.

3. Integrate the quote into the work. It doesn't always have to be set apart or easily readable.

4. Make it personal. What story, emotion, or feeling does the quote elicit in you? If you connect and convey that raw emotion, others will respond and connect to your art too.

5. Don't be afraid to use your own handwriting! Lettering is a beautiful art form in and of itself but it's not a necessity. Your handwriting is your mark making. The way you form your letters is a mark of your style, a personal imprint, and an impression that only you can add. The emphasis should always be to express your unique self.

P.S. Feel free to quote me! ~Lesley

Friday, October 16, 2015

From Insects to Elephants - Exhibit

Three of my thread paintings will be featured at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts' exhibit, "From Insects to Elephants", from October 21, 2015 through January 10, 2016.

I was thrilled to see my "Mr. Oziapous" featured on the WMQFA announcement postcard.

I'm very honored to be included in the group of 64 artists which curators Linda Reuss Benson and Linn Woodard selected from Wisconsin, Illinois, California, Maine, Texas, Nebraska, Massachusetts, Colorado, Washington, Connecticut, Georgia, New Mexico, Tennessee, Kansas, North Carolina, and Florida:

Eileen Daniels
Salley Mavor
Barbara Yates Beasley
Terri Sankovitz
Myra Van Uxem
Suzanne Mouton Riggio
Larkin Van Horn
Mary Alice Hart
Velda Newman
Grace Errea
Susan Balisterri
Cindy Garcia
Barbara Barrick McKie
Susan Carlson
Ginny Eckley
Melanie Marr
Jane Broaddus
Judith Roderick
Susan Brubaker Knapp
Linn Woodard
Darlene Determan
Bonnie Patton
Christine Sommerfelt
Paula Salzman
Candy Flynn
Jane Davila
Wendy Butler Berns
Nellie Durand
Nancy Linz
Deb Kinder
Barbara Strobel Lardon
Ruth Powers
Lisa Binkley
Marla Morris-Kennedy
Linda Teddlie Minton
Judy Raddatz
Karla Spinks
Nancee Ariagno
Barbara Kile
Pam Moller
Sandy Bates
Deanna Peterson
Jennifer Heynen
Anita Carpenter
Sue Rasmussen
Joyce Krueger
Michele Oxman
Christine Sparrow
Monica Ingwersen
Lorraine Jewell
Linda Reuss Benson
Laura Krasinski
Mary Young
Norma Klimpke
Hope Wilmarth
Vicki Quint
David Taylor
Kathy Golden
Tricia Glaister
Sharon L. Malec
Katherine Sharpless
Rhonda McClure
Mary Alice Schueler
Gayle Simpson

"Insects, correct to the smallest detail, multi-colored hippos and elephants, views of the undersea world, whimsical pincushions, favorite family pets, barnyard animals, and others more exotic -- all are part of WMQFA's celebration of nature's creations."

Mr. Oziapous, 4x6"

Stargazer, 12x12"

Miss Bliss, 12x12"

If you're in the neighborhood, wave at my three little pieces for me, would you?

"From Insects to Elephants"
Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts
Cedarburg, WI
October 21, 2015 - January 10, 2016
Opening Reception is November 8, noon to 3:00 p.m.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Some incredible art quilts at SAQA auction

A few of my favorite art quilts being auctioned at the 2015 SAQA Benefit Auction, starting today. I'll add more pictures tomorrow, but you should look and start bidding now!

Artist hand-dyed cotton broadcloth, muslin, and sateen, cotton fleece, batting,
buckram, and thread, and tulle. Machine piecing, pillow-casing, and quilting.
Tulle and snaps hand sewn. (SOLD)
Hand dyed fabric, paint, stitch, digital transfer, monoprint.
Commercial and originally printed fabrics, paint, thread, embroidery floss;
fused applique, surface design, free motion quilting, hand embroidery
Cotton and silk fabrics.  Raw-edge applique and free-motion quilting.  Satin-stitched
edge treatment and acrylic on cotton, stamped, textured and lightened with a thin
Gesso wash.  Tsukineko Inks used for highlights and shadows.
Did anybody say information overload .....Yesterday's news is old,
and today's news is often old an hour later.
Commercial fabrics, wool roving, fused machine applique.
Hand painted cotton.  Machine quilted.
cotton fabrics: painted (inked), discharged, screenprinted by the artist
from her original photographs, 
machine pieced, machine quilted.
SAQA auction