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

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Return of The Fabulous Maggie

I just received these pictures of my friend Maggie Winfield's latest red-carpet outfit for the upcoming Houston International Quilt Festival, and she gave me the OK to share them here.

As you know, Maggie is an irrepressible free spirit, and loves to express herself in her hand-crafted clothing, usually retrofitted from thrift-store finds. She is always, always, The Fabulous Maggie!

She started with this find, which she purchased solely for the train alone ... here it is before she even touched it.

The train

The lining of the train ... this is the "fabulous" part!

The beginning ...

This sparkle-enhanced velvet corset started out as a jacket.

The Fabulous Maggie ... in one iteration of the outfit.
Here, she's wearing the black velvet corset.

The fabulous back view.

With different vest, polka-dot leggings ... I love it!

aaaannnnd .. the back view. Fabulous, right?

Maggie says she ended up cutting off almost 20" of the train. I think it was a great success, and can't wait to see this outfit in person at Houston.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

QuiltCon 2015

In my excitement over getting ready for the Houston International Quilt Festival coming up at the end of October, I suddenly remembered that I had never posted my pictures from the Modern Quilt Guild's QuiltCon from earlier this year.

Here are a few of my favorite quilts from that show.

33 by Gabriella Kirst

Citrus Wedge by Jen Carlton Bailey

Citrus Wedge - detail

CPU by Katherine Jones

Squaring the Circle by Jo Avery

Steal This Quilt by Chawne Kimber

Little Brother by Stacey Murton

Tessellation 3 by Nydia Kehnle

Tessellation 3 - detail

Moving Target by Christine Perrigo

The American Context 16 - Christina's World
by Luke Haynes

The American Context 16 - Christina's World - detail

Barb Knoblock, me, and Lynn Douglass in back row,
Betty Baker and Sharon Dixon in front.
(FMLC Plus One!)
We are all longarm quilters, and long-time friends.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Hand-Stitched Vintage Photos

My fiber-art group has a tradition of exchanging postcards on our birthdays, usually quilted, painted, stitched, or otherwise artistically enhanced fiber. This year I wanted to do something a little different ... hand-stitched vintage photographs. Here are two of them ... I can't show the others yet because they haven't been gifted yet.

This flapper was stitched for Nancy.
She wears a Guatemalan worry doll pin.

I thought Connie just "needed" this crazy lady!
She is also enhanced with a worry doll pin.
These were a lot of fun, but a little more difficult than I had imagined. Each hole had to be individually punched before stitching, and I found that I needed a stiff backing to prevent tearing of the photo paper. Some rubber thimbles ultimately came in handy too. I really liked the effect of colored thread on the black-and-white photos.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Throwback Thursday - The Four Corners

My younger sister, older brother and me, at The Four Corners
(Colorodo, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona),
it looks like around 1955.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Boerne, Beautiful Boerne

I just spent a lovely day in a sweet little town just north of San Antonio that I had been neglecting to visit since my move here from Houston 5 years ago. Boerne, Texas was founded by German "Free Thinkers" and still has that independent flavor.

The beautiful 1870 courthouse. I couldn't get a clear picture myself today,
so I cadged this one from the internet.
A street sign in Boerne ... duck crossing!
The Dodging Duck Restaurant,
where I had lunch with an old friend today.
Judy is one of my oldest friends ... she reminded me that it's been
over 40 years that we've known each other! (She gamely came
along, despite her broken shoulder. Happy Birthday, Judy!)
We spotted this tiny little well-house, and stopped to take a picture.
(This image is the result of quite a bit of Photoshopping, for clarity
and color. I may use it in a future art quilt.)
Boerne is gold-mine of photographic opportunities ... I'll be back!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Creepy Critter Messenger Bag

I had this little canvas messenger bag, useful but very plain. I also had some sketches of a creepy critter in my art journal, inspired by something I had seen in an art magazine some time ago. Creepy Critter plus messenger bag = New Favorite Bag.

As usual, I neglected to photograph the bag "before", but here is the "after".

Creepy Critter Bag - front
Creepy Critter Bag - back

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cat As Trump

I know a lot of people are doing this, and wondered how they got their cats to sit still for a "Donald Trump Makeover". After giving my boy his nightly brushing, I thought I'd try it. I was amazed that he didn't even notice the little "wig" on his head, although he did look a little grumpy about it!

Grump Trump

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

"Remember Ben Clayton" - book review

This was recommended to me by two different well-read friends. After putting it off for several months, I finally dived in, and then ended up rationing my reading time over more nights than usual, wanting to stretch out the enjoyment.

Set just after World War I, the gist of the story is about a cantankerous Texas rancher who wants a sculpture made of his son who died in the war. He hires an equally "difficult" sculptor, who brings his adult daughter (who is also his sculpting assistant) to the ranch outside of San Antonio to gather images and information about the young man for the artwork.

Each of the characters is carefully, even lovingly teased out of their shells, to reveal the kinds of inner lives that most of us never reveal to the outside world. Some are the every-day joys and pains that we nevertheless experience alone, and some are devastating secrets that must be held closely, sometimes even from ourselves.

Besides the individuals, there is quite a bit of descriptive narrative about the Texas landscape, as well as about the process of creating a bronze sculpture, which I found fascinating but not too detailed or overwhelming.

These are beautiful character studies of a few individuals who are very different from each other, but in whom we might find familiar traits. Some are understandable, even forgivable, while others I found harder to understand and forgive. By the end of the book I was actually feeling proud of two of the characters. Ultimately, a worthy and fascinating read.

Monday, July 20, 2015

"Peas 'n Honey" goes to Festival

I'm thrilled to have been accepted into the juried invitational exhibit, "Affinity", hosted by Leslie Tucker Jenison's and Jamie Fingal's Dinner at Eight Artists for the 2015 International Quilt Festival. According the rules for entry, the theme of "Affinity" could be interpreted by the artist in any way he or she chose, and I decided to portray my affinity for humor in art.

I've always loved the inclusion of humor, whether overt or subtle, in any form of art. Much of my own artwork reflects my sense of humor, even if it is sometimes apparent only to myself.

For this submission, I wanted to use a favorite old poem by Ogden Nash. It became slightly mangled over the years of oral repetition by my family since its original printing in 1944, but it remains essentially the same ...

I eats my peas with honey,
I've done it all my life
It makes the peas taste funny,
But it keeps 'em on my knife.

Peas 'n Honey, 40" x 40", Silk Charmeuse

Peas 'n Honey, detail
I feel honored to be in the company of these fine fiber artists for this exhibit:

Frances Holliday Alford
Linda C. Anderson
Sue Bleiweiss
Loris Bogue
Deborah Boschert
Cindy Cooksey
Lauretta K. Crites
Diane R. Doran
Jane E. Dunnewold
Robbi Joy Eklow
Suzan Engler
Barb Forrister
Lyric M. Kinard
Susan Fletcher King
Karol Kusmaul
Cathie I. Hoover
Stacy Hurt
Susan Brubaker Knapp
Sandra E. Lauterbach
Jeannie P. Moore
Susie Monday
Rachel K. Parris
Andi Perejda
Judy Coates Perez
Yvonne Porcella
Heather Pregger
Wen Redmond
Cynthia St. Charles
Julie Schlueter
Gayle Simpson
Sarah Ann Smith
Virginia A. Spiegel
Terri Stegmiller
Ann E. Turley
Larkin Jean Van Horn
Valerie C. White
Kathy York
and, of course,
Jamie Fingal and Leslie Tucker Jenison