Great Sites for Stretching Your Art IQ

Fooling around on the iPad

Fooling around on the iPad

Have a look - and wander into the areas other than textile. It's time to stretch, the start of a new year, filled with possibilities. Yep, it's just a date on a calendar, and culturally limited even. But we all feel a little surge of new when that date rolls over, right?

Here's one site to check out for interesting artist interviews

And, a site that I learned about though Jane Dunnewold and one of her posts on Facebook: is filled with art news from the world, big art, little art, political art, artful ideas!

And, from a local textile friend, this one:



And speaking of stretching and working in different media -- my 2017 Summer Art Camp at The Camp at Capilla Peak in New Mexico will be a wonderful play fest of materials, different media, the summer camp stuff you loved as a kid (or maybe never got to experience) and the company of wonderful art explorers, both beginners and experienced. It's an experience you have to have to understand, a magical mix of clouds, pines, cabins, campfires, conversations, open studios, instruction in printmaking or metal work, surface design on fiber and even art on the iPad sessions on an individual sign up basis. What more could you want from summer fun. See the details on my website at -- the summer camp page.


Its not all serious art.. 

Its not all serious art.. 

Junanne Peck from Ft. Worth will be there with ink and presses, first session, June 29- July 4,    

Junanne Peck from Ft. Worth will be there with ink and presses, first session, June 29- July 4, 


Soy wax batik also part of the first session, with a other mark making and surface design on fabric and paper

Soy wax batik also part of the first session, with a other mark making and surface design on fabric and paper

Dale Jenssen will be the focus artist for session 2, July 6-11, teaching metal work with sconce making, boxes and a variety of big and little projects. 

Focus Pocus means Magic is in the Air

September Newsletter

Subscribe to my monthly email newsletter by clicking this photo to link to a form.

Subscribe to my monthly email newsletter by clicking this photo to link to a form.

What gets you to the strongest work you can make? Is this about style. genre, subject, time, luck? There's been a good amount of chatter about developing one's personal voice or style lately on the quilt lists I follow -- is it developed or discovered? 

Maybe a bit of both.

Where you start to develop a personal style in your art (no matter the media, genre or intention) you begin with discovery: experimenting, trying something a friend is doing, taking workshops or online classes with a teacher whose work you admire. 

Snake Woman (here in process) embodies a lot of what I think of as my personal voice: narrative, myth, color, texture, iconic imagery.

At some point you may decide you want to make work that "looks like you," that speaks your truth and story (whether you want art to be a full-time passion, an avocation or a hobby that enriches your life. You want someone to look at what you do and recognize you -- even though we know that in some ways looking at art is always about looking in a mirror. (What your audience sees is always going to be more about them than it is about you.)

That's the point where discovery becomes developing. That's where finding a balance between focus, play and imagination comes to play! (And not forgetting the Helsinki Bus.) 
I like what this painter blogger, Lori McNee, has to say -- though some of it has me thinking, maybe not that tip... What do you think?

If you'd like to spend a weekend taking the step from discovering to developing, sign up for my Artist Journey workshops coming in January. This year, due to demand, I'll be hosting two weekend retreats at El Cielo, each with a slightly different set of play books! Read more on the website (scroll down past the Temple and IQF events) and send me an email if you are interested. $25 nonrefundable deposit.

Read More about Finding Your Creative Voice


Creative Strengths Training

Jane Dunnewold needs no introduction to most of my subscribers. She's one of my mentors and a friend. Her courses set me firmly on my own bus line to personal style and meaningful work. She's added her wisdom, experience and a bunch of deep and meaningful exercises to this topic with her new book: Creative Strength Training. (She also teaches an online course with the same title.) 
If you are seeking a rich guide to forging an original, thoughtful, beyond-technique-trickster gimmicks, follow Jane's steps and see where you find yourself in a few months of self study.

"Creative Strength Training is a treasure. I was inspired from page 1 onward. I know all about discipline - but now I know how to transfer it to creative pursuits."

Christiane Northrup, M.D. 
OB/GYN and author of the New York Times bestsellers: Goddesses Never Age, Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom, and The Wisdom of Menopause

What resonates with me particularly -- beyond the abiding interest I have in this topic -- are Jane's examples and the thought processes she shares from those who have taken her courses. These snapshots of different minds and hands at work are inspiring and intriguing in equal part.

From Jane's book description: 

Artists and athletes alike benefit from strength training. Building creative stamina takes encouragement, mentoring, and regular practice. In Creative Strength Training, you'll discover powerful strategies that combine writing and hands-on art-making to overcome creative stumbling blocks, develop a unique voice and make creating art a regular habit. 
_ Overcome resistance while dismantling "the Committee" (that group of inner critics)._
_ Explore 10 exercises for making art that stands apart as uniquely yours._
* Receive support and inspiration from contributing artists who share how each chapter has improved their practice and helped them evolve.

Order the book from Jane here or from another online retailer.

s far as my own creative journey of late.... 
Should you be traveling up IH35 north between October 14 and November 27 please stop in to see my new work and that of printmaker Junanne Peck at the Temple Cultural Activities Center, just north of downtown on N. 3. If you can come to the opening, we'll be staying overnight at America's Best Value Inn, 915 N General Bruce Dr, Temple, TX 76504-2479 (Formerly Red Roof).We'll also share a great Chinese Banquet with anyone who wants to join us after the opening.

Inner and outer landscapes from Texas artists Susie Monday, Pipe Creek, and Junanne Peck, Fort Worth. October 14 - November 27, 2016

  • Monday’s new textile collage paintings explore the expanses of Big Bend, the roads traveled without and within— especially the paths of women -- and the legends that arise from those journeys inside and out. Peck’s etchings and monotypes express images that spring from her dreams and meditation, tapping into hidden resources of joy and expansion. Together the two women, whose art and teaching have brought them together, find find inspiration in nature, story telling and the power of images to make us think, feel and delight in the world.

Friday, October 14, 6-7 pm 
Opening artist's reception 

Saturday October 15, afternoon 
Art on the iPad Workshop

November 12, all day 
Spontaneous Mark Workshop
$99 includes lunch.

Junanne Peck, Scull with Rust monotype

Junanne Peck, Scull with Rust monotype

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I've jumped into some new ventures given the opportunities at the Temple Cultural Activities Center -- notably putting some of my designs up on the retail site

Here you can purchase journal, notebooks, scarves and a few garments using my designs that are featured in the work for this exhibit. I'll have a few items on sale in the gift shop and even more variety here on line. On line you can use this code through Midnight Sept. 19 for 15% off -- WHY15 at checkout. (I am also planning to open my Spoonflower shop before the October opening but it's not quite ready yet!)

Inner Critic...

Imaged into Submission

Here's a few app suggestions for the Adventurous Inner Critic Creatives. Turn your inner critic into a scary, horrible archetypal image. I use my iPad and apps, but we've also tackled the project by making scary dolls, impossible puppets and collage pictures to express exactly how that inner demon makes us feel. 

cartoon of Inner critic.PNG


Use CartoonCam to picture that inner leering monster looking over your shoulder (photo above).

Turn your inner critic into a cartoon character with
Toon Dream. You could print this one out and make her into a doll! You can actually make cartoon strips and books with this app if you want to have an extended conversation with your critic.


Make a word picture picture of your critic's inner diatribes with Visual Poetry or aTypo Picture.

Giving Actual Voice to the IC is a way to make those inner dialogues dissipate pretty fast -- they start looking and sounding pretty silly.

Inspired Patterns from Fine Art

Some of my favorite visual artists are masters and manipulators of pattern. See what you think of these. TO see more of their work quickly, do a Google Image Search including the artist name and the medium (i.e. Matisse paintings). PS these are intentionally NOT quilt or fiber artists. It's important to look out!

Henri Matisse

Aboriginal Artists

Norman LaLiberte

Yayoi Kusoma

Anni Albers

Robert Kushner

You'll notice that the last few of these artists were represented with art work on the site This site is a great place for inspiration. You can search by artist, genre, time period or a general keyword. Really good artist date time!


Pitter Patterns

The second installment of pattern inspiration blogs this month. If you didn't get the newsletter that started it off, follow this link!

Here's a great collection from creative bug, a website/blog/newsfeed devoted to all things design. One of the featured artists is Hope Little -- her geometric animals (right) could inspire an amazing pieced quilt! 

Another animal pattern inspiration comes from National Geographic -- a great source of photos and images for art.

Puffer fish pattern

Puffer fish pattern

To make a black and white abstracted pattern from any photograph, take a look at what these apps can do with that photo above

And finally, a few animal print patterns that could inspire thermofax designs, screen printing or even a hand cut stencil!

If you'd like to know more about editing photos with iPad special effects apps, consider taking my Art on the iPad online course! Or take my workshop at Quilt Nebraska this summer!

Surface Design Pattern Tips from Experts

Searching the Web for expert tips for surface design gave me a slew of possibilities and lots of ideas. I hope these are helpful to you as well!

FIrst, from (a great design blog and website)

Pantone is the color expert that designers depend on. Their color forecasting is generally on target, and, if you want to design fabric or prints or even quilts that take advantage of color trends, this is the place to look.

A clever and handy iPad app that will let you match HEX color codes to your photos, quilts, art or other source images is ColorViewfinder.

A collage photo image of the Living Room/Dining Room windows at El Cielo. Come visit some time soon!

A collage photo image of the Living Room/Dining Room windows at El Cielo. Come visit some time soon!

Another set of tips from Digital  Arts Online comes from Dinara MirtlipovaLotta Kühlhorn and others.

 Some start on paper, others in illustrator or PhotoShop. Fab patterns all around. 19 pattern design tips:

"It helps to have at least five shapes so that there can be a nice variety within the composition – the same shape will never appear side by side. Leaving space between shapes also provides flexibility to go back in and draw smaller details to help bring balance to the overall image."

Leslie A Wood (USA)

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Patterns for Black-and-white Thermofax or Screen Print Designs

So here's the skinny. At least the short version. If you want the long version and the hand-holding (plus a lot more fun), sign up for Art on the iPad, my online course. It's mid course right now, but I'll be teaching another class online come late summer. Meanwhile, play around with these apps to get your black-and-white pattern skills going!

I used the iPad app Imaengine to translate the Puffer Fish pattern in the previous blog post to the black and white pattern above (first cropping to make the square image). Imaengine has an amazing number of customizable FX filters that are unique in their patterning options. 

Puffer Fish pattern from National Geographic nature pattern site

Puffer Fish pattern from National Geographic nature pattern site

Another good way to create a black-and-white high contrast pattern is to use the Pixlr special effects overlay (that's the little layers tool) "jean" and then under Adjustment (in the main tools under the two circle icon) up the contrast and loose all color by de-saturating the image with the Saturation tool.

For a completely different kind of black and white image from a photo, use an app that makes a sketch or drawing effect. Here's that same puffer fish pattern run through the SKETCHMEE2 iPad app. There are a lot of apps out there, many free, that will do similar transformations.

For even more sketchiness, look at what I did with this pattern with Sketch Master, and then upping the contrast in using the adjustment tools in the same app.

Me? I'm off to the Thermofax machine now! I'll share the results in a future post. 


I've been trying to figure a new "FOLLOW" system for my blog, since I'm reviving it this month. If you'd like to see some short (usually anyway) and always visually inspiring posts from me ONCE A WEEK MAX, then go to and put in the feed for my blog. Thanks!

Patterns Down the Rabbit Hole

Promising Pattern info this month has pleasantly opened up a whole new slew of wormholes to explore. Or do I mean rabbit holes? At any rate I'm done and I'm lost!

Here are just a few of the sites I found that include wonderful information about different kinds of patterns, whether in art or nature or both at the same time.

At the top of the list:


A pattern, apart from the term's use to mean "Template",[a] is a discernible regularity in the world or in a manmade design. As such, the elements of a pattern repeat in a predictable manner. A geometric pattern is a kind of pattern formed of geometric shapes and typically repeating like a wallpaper.
   Vortex illustration from Wikipedia


Vortex illustration from Wikipedia

Any of the five senses may directly observe patterns. Conversely, abstract patterns in science, mathematics, or language may be observable only by analysis. Direct observation in practice means seeing visual patterns, which are widespread in nature and in art. Visual patterns in nature are often chaotic, never exactly repeating, and often involve fractals. Natural patterns include spiralsmeanderswavesfoamstilingscracks, and those created by symmetries of rotation and reflection. Patterns have an underlying mathematical structure;[1] indeed, mathematics can be seen as the search for regularities, and the output of any function is a mathematical pattern. Similarly in the sciences, theories explain and predict regularities in the world.
In art and architecture, decorations or visual motifs may be combined and repeated to form patterns designed to have a chosen effect on the viewer. In computer science, a software design pattern is a known solution to a class of problems in programming. In fashion, the pattern is a template used to create any number of similar garments.


Just enter the key words : surface, design and patterns

My boards have lost of patterns by the way, and you are welcome to follow!


I like to collect pattern images both on Pinterest and using the app CURATOR on my iPad. It is a image collection app that is really great to use when I am finding and saving resource images for a particular subject or art work or even vacation. Here's where to find the iPad app