The Creative Journey

For me, the creative life is a journey…and I learn and see so many interesting things along the way!

Some artists are able to plan ahead; I love their work and their process, but that doesn’t seem to be the way I work. I am a fly-by-the-seat-0f-your-pants serendipity kind of gal. Too much planning and I would probably be bored. A case in point…since a larger, new art quilt I had done didn’t fit the size requirements for an upcoming arts council exhibit, I decided to start a new piece of art. I was on a deadline, so I decided to keep it simple. I pieced and quilted it, using simple hand dyed fabrics and one black and white screen printed fabric.  I didn’t quilt it all over, but left areas that were not quilted which “poufed” a bit.


At some point after the work was done, I decided I wasn’t happy with it. It was too one-dimensional; it needed more depth.  I painted a diluted layer of black paint over it…but was still dissatisfied.


At this point, the adventure was still good, but getting a bit scary.  I decided to “whitewash” it a bit with gesso.  I like to use white artists’ gesso to tone down colors.  The whitewashing effect is great for a background.  In this case I was just going to (gulp) add the gesso sparingly. I rolled it on with a roller in a hit and miss style.  My intention was not to completely cover the quilt, but to add highlights.


Hmmm…the gesso was interesting…I liked how it hit and accentuated the unquilted spaces.  After considering it for awhile, I decided it still looked unfinished.  I didn’t like all that white.  This was a good time for panic..what could I do to change it?  It had way too much white and it was too late to start another piece.  This one would have to do, but it needed something…


I have been using paintstiks for a couple of years. Shiva oil paintstiks are oil paints in solid form.  The paint doesn’t spread like a liquid paint does; it stays where you put it.  This solid characteristic of oil paintstiks is good for hitting the raised areas of  quilting.  I decided to go with these, adding color to both the red and blue-green areas of the quilt.  Now I’m pleased with it.  I do feel this was a lesson that nothing is unredeemable and maybe one needs to just keep going and searching until the answer comes.

Picture 027

Weathered Places 32″ x 30″

Update on this post: Weathered Places was juried into the “Form, Not Function” show in 2010. ( I think that was the year.) “Form, Not Function” is held every year at the Carnegie Library in New Albany, Indiana. I was told it drew much interest and was under consideration for an award. Alas, it did not get an award. But it was exciting to be CHOSEN for the show!


  1. Posted April 21, 2009 at 1:55 am | Permalink

    Katharine, I thoroughly enjoyed watching your process…….and the end result is great!

    Posted April 21, 2009 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    I loved the layering and the fact that you kept adding demention until you felt it was finished.

  3. Phyllis
    Posted April 21, 2009 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed seeing your step by step process and your techniques for highlighting. Beautiful work.

  4. Posted April 21, 2009 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Katherine, your bravery inspires me!

  5. Posted April 21, 2009 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    I really like seeing the progression of design elements. Create and respond. Making art is a process!

  6. Posted April 23, 2009 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    Hey thanks everyone for coming by and commenting. I do like the process and sharing what I did with you. Now go and try something new!

  7. Posted May 7, 2009 at 10:08 am | Permalink


    I really enjoyed seeing the progression of this piece. I have an “unredeemable” piece that I, too, have been considering painting over with white. Your experience encourages me to give it a try.

    One thing that I think really helped make your piece a success if your wonderful quilting. That created interesting textures for catching the gesso.

    Your final result is awesome! Ellen Lindner

  8. Posted July 1, 2009 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Ellen, for leaving a comment. I am so glad you enjoyed the process and final results.

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