Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Art is a way of life


I have been thinking a lot about what drives me to do this creative stuff over doing things like washing the kitchen floor that desperately needs it or vacuuming the bedroom that is full of dust bunnies. I am still not sure what it is.

I have been driven since I was a kid to do creative things and got to go to Carnegie Museum for free art classes for 3 years. My dad went when he was a kid, too. In fact I had the same teacher he had. That is something that we have talked about lately.  Those classes have been on my mind a lot as I am coming to the end of my career as a science teacher. Even though I taught science I never gave up doing art. My ties to those classes apparently went much deeper than I ever thought.

I think back to some of the things our teacher, Mr. Fitzpatrick said during those 3 years of classes. “Art is not just a subject. It’s a way of life. It’s the only subject you use from the time you open your eyes in the morning until you close them at night. Everything you look at has art or the lack of art.” I certainly know that I do spend a lot of time thinking about art and doing art during the day.

the-starry-night-1889(1) I do have some favorite artists. Van Gogh has always been on the top of my list. Last year I finally got to see Starry Night in person at MOMA in NYC. I was shocked how small the painting was.  The 12 in by 12 in quilt I made in tribute to this painting is not much smaller than the actual painting.




I call my quilt “Tribute to Van Gogh.”










Another favorite artist of mine is Monet. We got to see his wonderful water lily panels and his gardens while in Paris last summer.






I’ll never forget the first time I saw Picasso’s Guernica at the MOMA in NYC. I walked into a room and there it was. I could hardly believe my eyes. Now this one was a gigantic painting, but I guess that was what was needed for this subject.



Now Dali is an interesting character. We saw his stuff both in Bruges and in Paris. My daughter is a big fan. My husband is not really a fan at all. I am somewhere in between.







I have always loved this Escher print. I used to have a poster of this. I think I like it because of the science in it. One of my favorite physics topics is reflection and light.





This is a 12 in by 12 in challenge quilt that I call “Cloud Illusions.” I love the reflection of clouds in windows.








After seeing the Quilts and Color exhibit at the MFA in Boston I have fallen in love with Josef Albers. There were several quotes of his around the exhibit so I looked him up when I got home. If you have not seen this quilt exhibit and get to Boston you should go to it.

This picture by Albers makes me want to make a quilt using all of those solids I have stashed away. It reminds me of some of the Amish quilts that I made early on in my quilting career.


Midnight stars


One of my favorite ones was “Midnight Stars.” I loved the 4 different grays that were used in this plus my really wonderful cables and feathers hand quilting.






There are plenty more artists that I love and some that I cannot remember the name of right now. I am that way with remembering actor’s names as well. I recognize them, but don’t know their names. Hard to believe I can learn 100 plus students names each semester!

So what is your take on art as a way of life? Do you think about it as much as I do? What are some of your favorite artists?

If you love color you will love seeing this color explosion exhibit by Kaffe Fassett.

As always thanks for stopping by.



  1. What a meaty post. I've never thought of art as a way of life but it does make a lot of sense. Of course, I was often told I had no sense of design. Harrumph! I take it you are retiring soon. When do you leave the academic world and move on to the fun of retirement?

    I have always loved the Impressionists also. But don't really go to art museums unless we're traveling. Your star quilt is amazing. The quilting is stunning. And I too love how you used the different grey fabrics. Thanks for your insights.

  2. What a treat to see work by some of your favorite artists and the quilts they have inspired. I too made an Amish-style quilt with massive feather quilting on it. Yours is quite special.

    I suppose art has been more of a way of life for me than I realized, based on your teacher's description. I become more aware of it in the last 15 or 20 years than I did in my younger days. That always looking and assessing thing.

    Escher is a long-time favorite of mine too. Fascinated by both his reflections and the tessellations. Also Ansel Adams and Picasso's blue period - those elongated figures in monotone. More recent additions to my favorites include Chiura Obata and David Hockney. Not sure I could trace their influence in my own work but I do know they inspire and often take my breath away for different reasons. As you say, I'm sure there are more but can't put my finger on them at the moment.

  3. I too was always creative, but didn't have an 'eye' for representational art, and no art classes were offered in my small town till I was too far along in high school and had long since given up thinking of myself as artistic. In my fifties something went off in my brain and I began to 'see' a bit differently -- and to create original textile pieces.

    I am drawn to O'Keeffe, Rembrandt (I saw a late self-portrait of him in a Stately Home in London, UK, that positively glowed and I've never forgotten it.) I also like the impressionists, and have books by Escher and Charles Rennie Macintosh who is a favourite. I recently did a piece in tribute to his Glasgow rose.

    Thanks for sharing your art and your favourites. If we ever gathered together I'm sure we could have great conversations.


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