Thoughts on being self-taught and works in progress


As we get older we tend to look back at certain times in our life.  I’ve done that a lot since birthdays seem to come faster and faster.  I’m looking forward to turning 50 (I know I’m already 50…stay focused!) when I think I’ll have some things figured out, specifically my creative path and journey.  Over the years, I’ve embroidered (cross-stitch), crocheted, dabbled in graphic design, made beautiful dried flower arrangements, and created scrap books and greeting cards all the while teaching myself.   There are classes for all those creative outlets, but I believed (and still do) that if I have the desire to learn something, I can teach myself.  And I didn’t like sewing and art classes in school because I didn’t want to make my own clothes and there is nothing wrong with drawing stick people. 

Fast forward to now.

Lately, I’ve had awful studio days where I couldn’t seem to conquer a particular technique.  I reminded myself, “When I want to learn how to do something, I teach myself.”  But one day repeating my reminder simply didn’t work.  I had to think long and hard on something I taught myself to do and that I’m pretty good at.  It came to me…I taught myself how to drive!

I sure did! (Picture me saying this with my hands on my hips and sass in my voice!)

My parents were divorced so my brother and I were shipped back and forth quite frequently, and I always missed the driver’s education classes for the semester.  So, I just took my Dad’s car…or if I was with my Mom, I took her car.  That’ll teach them to disrupt a teenager’s life…again.  Anyway, I did it often enough that I was eventually stopped…by a sweet-smelling officer with a sour disposition.  He hauled me off to the hoosegow for driving without a license.  My point?  Though I didn’t have formal drivers training, I wanted to learn how to drive, so, I just jumped in the car and drove.  I must add that I never had an accident.  Well, I did have a ‘mishap’ where I backed into a truck and shattered my van’s rear window.  Yeah, it was one of those times when I was in a tizzy, trying to get more school supplies from yet another teacher list.  I had a van full of children and I just don’t know where that parked truck came from.  😊

I say all of that to simply say, we really can do anything we put our minds to.  We need to be willing to dig deep and pull up our innate determination, set aside or schedule time, refuse to drag our feet, have patience, and believe (in ourselves and in what we are doing). If we do these things, we’ll be driving…I mean creating (or whatever it is you want to do) in no time.

Let’s get to the art, shall we?

pic of room

I love this living room.  And the art on the wall is perfect!

stitched spirations wip 2

Work in progress.  Resist on fabric

stitched spirations wip 1

Work in progress close up.  See the bleeding…hence the blog post.



WIP – Under painting.  This was freeing.  Sometimes I feel like I paint so tight.  So this was a good way to loosen up first. 

october art journal page

I managed to get some art journaling done in October.

You’ll have to stick around for December to see the finished piece on the under painting.  Just as I was about to “put it out there” to attempt to sell, I had a studio visit and it was sold.  Ok, so it was purchased by my husband, but its a sale nonetheless.  Do you think I should charge him?  I did say “attempt to sell…”

Until next time, I am Relaxing In Art

It’s been almost a year

I could not let another month pass without checking in.  I really do have an editorial calendar…you know, something set up to say, “Hey, update your blog.”  Well, it’s easy to let it slip by because there is something else that seems to take my attention away.  Well, that’s not entirely the truth.  I’d rather do something else, then sit and type out my thousands of …hundreds…okay a dozen of blog posts ready to go.  At some point I’ll add automation, but until that happens, please bear with me, as I try to stay disciplined with this.

And…that’s enough typing.

This is what I’ve been up too…no particular order, just pics with blurbs…



Fabric Post Cards.  This is my go-to project when I’m stuck on something.  Hmmm…I guess I could’ve used that time to update my blog…


I recently entered fiber art into a juried Exhibition in PA (I won’t know if any of my pieces were accepted until November)



Back to back publications in a card magazine including a first ever (for me) front cover!


Commission work for a client in Venelles, France



Sold work!



If Only in My Dreams was part of the African American Quilt Circle Exhibition in August.

I could keep going with other pics and “honorable mentions” but I want you to stick around for next month….when I’m back on my editorial calendar…for real this time ya’ll.

I can tell you that the next couple of months will still be busy.  No rest for the working artist!  Not only am I working on building my portfolio, I’m also working on a series, and there’s a show in New Orleans in September 2018 that will make my 2018 off the charts if I can get in.  It’s one thing to enter your work into a show where it’s not judged…it’s a totally different ballgame when you’re competing.  And I’m still learning, so there’s a lot of frustration being slung around in here along with paint and thread!  I’m also the Exhibition Chair for the 2018 Professional Art Quilters Alliance – South (PAQA-South) Member’s Show.  It was my responsibility to choose the theme,  find jurors, get the prospectus out and come up with a blurb about the theme…AQPass color 080817

Passion has been defined as the object of a strong desire, compelling emotion, or even violent anger. This intense vigor is, at times, at the forefront of our drive and determination to get something accomplished. Perhaps one will have to maneuver through muck and mire to arrive at the sweet spot, but it’s the energy throughout the journey that fuels the enthusiasm of the drive forward. Meditate on something that stirs you up, then share your interpretation of passion in art quilt form.

The logo was created by Jill Kerttula ( who was a graphic designer in her former life…and now creates amazing art quilts.

It’s an exciting position to have and will really give me insight into what goes on behind the scenes.

Now…you go and make something!  Even if it’s just dinner…put that creative mind to work and whip something up.  Go scribble some thoughts down to get something off your chest.  Then take paint (or a sharpie, or whatever you have) and draw a picture over it.  No one will be able to read what you wrote, you’ve gotten something off your chest, and created a piece of art.  Or take a piece of fabric and just stitch!  Slow stitching is fine if you don’t have a machine.  If you prefer to create something in the kitchen…come up with an original recipe…then call me!

Until next time, I am Relaxing In Art.

The Other Side of Fear


I’m not a huge Facebook user.  I’ve been in and out, joining groups, browsing around and finally accepting friends (I’ve had an ID for years) because I “think” I want to share my artwork beyond the four walls of my studio.  One morning, I joined the other 5, 993, 107, 230, 548, 001 (I’m trying to type a billion quadrillion), users on Facebook, and came across this:  “EVERYTHING YOU WANT IS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF FEAR.”


It IS a constant struggle of facing the fears of my work being good enough, acceptable, pleasing…you know the drill. This back and forth limits me in ways that stunt my growth and honestly sends me to another type of pajama day (in bed with the covers pulled over my head).

I don’t believe in coincidences.  I saw that phrase because I was supposed to see that phrase at that moment, at that instance.  Everything I want IS on the other side of fear.  The light bulb went from dim to temporary blindness. I get it!!! When my mind sight recovered, I went into the, “I am an artist mode.”  I started pulling canvases from their comfortable resting place (hiding) and accepted the fact that I need to face my fears of showing my work.

First up was to revisit a request from my friend to hang my work in his salon.


11 x 17 Acrylics, 8 x 10 Canvas, 5 x 7 Acrylic



8 x 10 and 7 x 14  Acrylics on Canvas


5 x 7, 11 x 17, and a teeny one Acrylics on Canvas

I don’t want to hear any comments (out loud) about the size of the work against the allotted wall space, placement or the like.  They are out there.  I had it all planned out about what size was needed to fill the space, but fear kept me from creating the size I wanted.  And…sometimes things happen that we don’t have any control over…like after you carefully wash the glass for the frames you have and all of a sudden you are without the glass for the last one…



Alrighty…that’s not usable.  I took a picture of this when it happened because I knew it would serve another purpose other than frustration.

Anyway, my point is, we can’t let fear rule us.  And I honestly think  it rules us much more than we care to admit.  What are you afraid of?  How do you work past the debilitating, paralyzing, stop-you-in-your-tracks, loss of rhythm feeling that keeps you from doing? The key is to just keep moving.  You have to.  Otherwise, your dreams, desires, passions and most of all talent will be shelved, placed under a ‘don’t bother to look at’ corner of a room…and only you can see it.  That’s not living.  That’s hiding.


Early work, 7×14 canvas

This verse from Proverbs proves that we only need to fear the Lord.  Everything else is irrelevant.  Yes, it’s hard to live by.  He knows that.  Trusting in Him makes it that much easier when we’re not relying on ourselves, remembering our inadequacies, or finding faults and the rest of those negative words we use to keep us from the act of doing.  The glass break happened at my breaking point too.  I was in the middle of talking myself out of installing my artwork (yet again) when it broke as if it were a way to confirm my feelings.

But…I don’t believe in coincidences.  I said that already because I really believe that there is no such thing.  What happens is what’s supposed to happen for a reason.  At the time, we may not know the reason and we may never know.  But we have to push through and keep it moving.   That was my test.  And because the painting is hanging without the glass proves that I kept it moving.

To further keep it moving, I am entering my work in my first art show at The Scrap Exchange.  It’s a community show open to creative reuse artists.

Wow!  All because I faced my fears?


What fear will you push through today?

UPDATE:  I didn’t realize that I’ve told you already about the community show, so by you reading this again should remind you to click through to The Scrap Exchange and if you are in the area on November 18th…you should stop in!


Pajama Day

We need to Talk

That’s right a PAJAMA DAY!  When was the last time you made yourself stay in your pajamas (or night clothes, old sweatpants, etc) and bed for real and not because you aren’t feeling well.  I’m asking because I am one of those that get up and get dressed everyday.  Maybe it comes from when my children were little and playing outside.  I never knew when I had to run out and turn into a referee or EMT technician.   Though those days are long gone, I still have the habit of getting up and getting dressed.  When working from home became the norm, I would be fully dressed for a 6AM conference call.  Ok, no lipstick, but I’d even have on shoes or sneakers and not slippers.  Anyway, I could feel the mental pressure creeping up on me along with a to-do list that had nothing to do with being in my studio (like updating my blog LOL).  So, today is that day.  Complete with anything that’s on Turner Classic Movies for white noise. Does this mean that my list will dwindle?  Nope.  But read on.

You’ve heard it before, we need to unplug.  There’s the unplugging from social media that  we should really do more often and actually not respond, comment or like (though you really should comment on this post) in a timely manner;  there’s that flat square contraption that used to be called a TV but is now called, well, it’s still called a TV but its more of a VSM-TV (visual social media TV – ok, I made that up) that doesn’t have much worthwhile programming, and yet we have to have it on to see what’s going on.  I’m not judging,  remember, I have mine on too; and finally there’s the human unplugging that we need to do.  Let’s spend a minute on that point.  This won’t take long, I actually like the movie that’s on now.  I’m just being honest…

Be still.  That’s it.  Just Be Still.  If you are a believer, you’ll naturally add the remainder of Psalm 46:10 and that works for me.  I’m asking you to Just Be Still.  We are in the ‘go and do’ phase so much in our lives that we sometimes just need to be still.  Call it meditation, or a quieting of your being it doesn’t matter, just do it.  Your body and your mind will appreciate the conscious, purposeful and forced attempt to keep out the noise.  Break down the word noise any way you want.  My definition is that it is simply a sound that is not wanted.  Period.  And so, maybe it’s not so much human unplugging as it is spiritually plugging in. 

As a working artist (I have my first non-family commission—Hallelujah!), I always want to be in  my studio.  It’s not some grand fully equipped space with large tables, a design wall, a cat, more natural light, a…  I’m sorry.  My wish list seems to always be at the forefront.  But that digression actually strengthens my point.  There is always something at the forefront that captures our attention.  We can be easily distracted and diverted ….so, when do we really take a break?  It’s not when we are sleeping.  We didn’t get to bed until close to midnight after watching VSM-TV, then the news, then wake up between  5AM-6AM to turn on VSM-TV…and check our phone.  Unless you sleep with the VSM-TV on—which is another blog post in itself.  Just Be Still. Unplug, tune out, tune in to what’s going on inside.  The silence isn’t deafening, it’s needed.

So, keep on those pajamas and stay put.

You’re welcome.

Moving on…

It may not seem like much with me only sharing one picture, but that’s the kind of week I had…hence, my PAJAMA DAY!

Another item at the forefront of my mind (see what I mean?) is an exhibition I’m prepping for.  If you are in the area, you’ve got to check out The Scrap Exchange – Creative Reuse Arts Center.

Third Fridays are a big deal there.  In November, they will be exhibiting artists that have entered pieces in their $25/$50/$100 show of which I am entering a few things from Relaxing in Art Studios.  What’s shown is a 6×6 reclaimed piece of wood that may become a part of a series.  Drawing a banana so that it looks like a banana…tsk, tsk, tsk.  That’s all I’m saying.

I’d show you more, but after scratching off update blog from my list, I’m going to pay attention to the white noise of the VSM-TV.