Santa’s Workshop

It’s been all about Santa’s Workshop here, working out new designs, tweaking, re-doing, making messes and mistakes and going back in to redesign!  Designing is a never-ending process that takes place behind the scenes in all studios where after sometimes weeks or months of work have little or nothing to show for it.  Often the whole concept gets scrapped. Sometimes we are persistent and are lucky enough to find where we went wrong and what we were after.  These are the ones that pass muster and make it to a final product that’s worthy of showing.

It’s really quite astonishing how hard we artists work sometimes, especially when we get little or no external rewards for what we do.  Some give up when at first we don’t succeed.  They walk away and say “I’m not good at that.” or I have no talent.”  They think art just comes easily to those who are talented.  Others like me are driven to keep on keepin’ on until we figure it out – what went wrong and how to solve the problems that arise.

Artists are really problem solvers and are inclined to want to solve the problem.  I guess more importantly, we think we CAN solve the problem rather than think that we just aren’t talented.  We know that everything good takes hard work and we have faith in ourselves that we might have it in us to succeed.  We might not, in all cases for sure, but we know that we can set aside the failed efforts and proceed with the next experiment.

In this case, at first I thought it was my sewing skills that was causing problems for me.  Add to that this is some very small work for to do with arthritis. But it turned out, the real main problem was my sewing machine which really needs to get tuned up but has to wait.  I realized that there were some serious nicks in the needle plate again, so I used some very fine sandpaper to do my best at minimizing the effects of the thread getting derailed by the nicks.  Mind you, these nicks are minuscule but if you know what to look for they become very obvious.

More are in process now, refining and adjusting and evolving.  I’m enjoying the change up from working large to really small.  I love the design process even though it can be frustrating because it’s always challenging.  And because when it turns out with a product I’m happy with, it doesn’t get much better.  Of course, I didn’t say, “It doesn’t get ANY better.”  A sale or two would be better.  But I’m also happy when I gift something that comes from my heart and my hands that I’m proud of.  This is the meaning of Christmas for me.

20151213_010656_3 copy



The Hidden Order, 2

The Live Master Class was essentially an abstract art class that focused on elements of design with instructed assignments based on information given during class presentations.  We spent some time examining the structure of art composition and various forms of design – “ the bones of the design, like the skeleton supports the human body” as Elizabeth put it, which she calls The Hidden Order.

In some power point presentations we reviewed the art of many master painters from Lalevich Gris to Bill Scott, with Evie Hone in between, analyzing their many abstraction processes.

Afterward, Elizabeth distributed a photo, one that had a lot of visual information in it for us to break down into small sections of our choice and were instructed to abstract it out to develop as a piece of textile art. It was a very busy picture so we would not be likely to do anything alike between the 17 of us.

Indeed she covered a lot in a short span of time, much more than we can act on in five days.  So this class continues in the weeks ahead as we work in our studios for all of us as we put into play all that we derived from her lessons.

Here are some drawings from the first day or so.

Karen Gilligan’s trees are pretty vertical as  they reach for the sky but in this arrangement they take on a horizontal orientation much like the Motherwell above. And the one on the right takes on the most iconic structure for modern art.

Karen Gilligan's drawings 1.



The grid is a visual structure that lies at the heart of contemporary art. As a graphic component in painting, it came to prominence in the early 20th century in the abstractions of the Russian painter Kazimir Malevich and the Dutch-born Piet Mondrian, who was widely considered the “most modern” artist of his time. In 1912, Mondrian began to create his “compositions,” paintings constituted by grids of horizontal and vertical black lines in three primary colors. “These basic forms of beauty,” he wrote, “supplemented if necessary by other direct lines or curves, can become a work of art, as strong as it is true.”  [ Nessia Pope]


Mine, Janis Doucette’s  also have a grid structure and is concerned with line, shape and balance. In the manner of Paul Klee, I focused here on balance, tonality and the graphic quailty of imagery.



In 1949 Marcel Duchamp commented on Paul Klee: “The first reaction in front of a Klee painting is the very pleasant discovery, what everyone of us could or could have done, to try drawing like in our childhood. Most of his compositions show at the first glance a plain, naive expression, found in children’s drawings. […] At a second analyse one can discover a technique, which takes as a basis a large maturity in thinking. A deep understanding of dealing with watercolors to paint a personal method in oil, structured in decorative shapes, let Klee stand out in the contemporary art and make him incomparable.

“In music, texture is how the melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic materials are combined in a composition, thus determining the overall quality of the sound in a piece. Texture is often described in regard to the density, or thickness, and range, or width, between lowest and highest pitches,

In 1968, a jazz group called The National Gallery featuring composer Chuck Mangione released the album Performing Musical Interpretations of the Paintings of Paul Klee.[93] In 1995 the Greek experimental filmmaker, Kostas Sfikas, created a film based entirely on Paul Klee’s paintings. The film is entitled “Paul Klee’s Prophetic Bird of Sorrows“, and draws its title from Klee’s Landscape with Yellow Birds. It was made using portions and cutouts from Paul Klee’s paintings.[94]

Elizabeth, however, saw Joan Miro in these pieces. “In 1922, Miró explored abstracted, strongly coloured surrealism in at least one painting.[28] From the summer of 1923 in Mont-roig, Miró began a key set of paintings where abstracted pictorial signs, rather than the realistic representations used in The Farm, are predominant. In The Tilled Field, Catalan Landscape (The Hunter) and Pastoral (1923–24), these flat shapes and lines (mostly black or strongly coloured) suggest the subjects, sometimes quite cryptically.”

Both Klee and Miro have a lyrical quality in their work.

Joan Miro, Illustration for Cavall Fort, a children’s magazine in Catalan Public Domain


Liz Devlin worked up the first drawing in the style of Robert Motherwell in an organic,and horizontal mode. Motherwell often expressed the monumental. His work was extremely experimental especially in his later years.

Her second drawing, in a horizontal and a triangular configuration,  is more in the fashion of Arthur Dove, who was most interested in nature and its essential elements.


Liz' Drawing
Liz’ Drawing 1
Liz' Drawing Bottom 1
Liz’ Drawing 2


220px-Robert_Motherwell's_'Elegy_to_the_Spanish_Republic_No._110' (1)
Robert Motherwell
Arthur Dove

More To Come! And linking up to Off The Wall Friday!