Monday, March 6, 2017

Blissfully off-task

It is a true blessing to be able to say that I have very few regrets in my life. Not going to France with French club my senior year in high school is one of them. But not taking art classes in high school, college and beyond has to top the list.
I've always been creative, yes, but I've never felt like an artist. It was decided for me, early on, that my talent was being smart, so I was funneled into math and science classes, with very little consideration given to what I wanted. Shoot, I was just a kid, what did I know? I was good at math and science, who doesn't like being good at something?
There's always been a yearning, though, to be able to translate what I see onto paper with pencil and paint. But like so many, I just want to be good at it now and I'm very frustrated that I'm not. This is where I get to repeat to myself one of the mottoes I fling at my students: Anything worth doing is worth doing badly for as long as it takes. Ouch. No one likes to be quoted back!
I signed up for a terrific class by my buddy Joanne Sharpe. I've been playing along with her on her "Artfully Inspired Life 2017" workshop. It's been tons of fun, and slightly terrifying! We're making a mixed media (yikes) art journal (shiver), using tools and techniques that are solidly outside of my wheelhouse. Just to double down on the challenge, I also signed up for Joanne's Fountain Pen Follies mini workshop. I can highly recommend them!
Joanne's (rightfully so) requested that we not post pictures of the actual lessons, so what I've shown here are my version of the exercises, and proof that I am inherently incapable of actually following instructions, no matter how good my intentions.

In addition to the on line workshops, the Fiber Artisan group I've joined here in Green Bay (lovely folks, second Tuesday of the month at 10 am), is working on playing with paints and other embellishments on fabric.

Since everything I do seems to relate back to applique in some way, my project from last month is a painted background. When I can decide what color the table cloth should be I'll get the rest of it done. Blue seems to have usurped red as my favorite neutral, but I'm pushing back a little on my desire to make everything blue. I'm open to suggestions!

It's taken me quite a while to get used to freedom from deadlines, and the expectations of being a responsible adult and business owner. The time to make mistakes is a glorious luxury that I can finally appreciate. Suddenly I'm doing things badly and having the time of my life!


  1. I could really relate to you post here. I also didn't take any art classes and always felt like there was a big hole. I wanted to do things with my quilting that I couldn't because I didn't have the art experience to figure it out. In California we have a wonderful Junior College system (the equivalent of the first two years of college). I have slowly been taking some semester art classes there and while it is a lot of work, it is well worth it. I am going to check out the workshops you mentioned above. One of the thing I have learned that is that if you don't practice and try new things, the skills get rusty. Thank you for the inspiration.

  2. What fun you appear to be having! I took a sculpting class in high school as a way to explore my artsy side...I sucked at it! My creative writing class the same year was very successful and in college, studying engineering (good at math & science like you), my teachers outside of engineering tried to push me towards writing, but engineering paid better and I had two kids to support...I was in my mid 20s. Now at 60, I am back into art, along with my 13 yr old granddaughter...we are having so much fun even though my people will NEVER look as good as hers(she got the artists genes). I'm a great seamstress, quilter, cook and above all, grandmother.

  3. I love your art. I hope that I someday find inspiration for something more artistic than painting bathhouse in the campground.

  4. Dear Beth so great to see you back up and at it again after your long break form blogging and applqiue. It was so wonderful to see your name on Esther's new blog. Happy drawing, your journal book looks so much fun Cheers Glenda

  5. I love that you are incorporating art in your work. I needed to break out of the usual now I frequently add my painting in my quilts. I have just finished painting the centre of my Dresden plates and I love it. It is so freeing. Also I am using my watercolour painting on my white or plain fabric and heat setting it. It may not be Monet but I love it. Hugs xx