Tuesday, December 29, 2020

When all is said and done, more is said than done. ~Lou Holtz

 Hey There! Anybody recognize this guy? I want to share with you a little story. On the day Lou Holtz received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, I watch an interview with this American Legend. Among many things, he talked about his youth and being born into poverty and how his choices brought him to his level of success in life. He went on to say that he believed that "CHOICE" was the greatest work in the English language. I felt compelled to send him a congratulatory letter and a copy of my book. I had no idea if he would ever see the letter or the book but, hey when a voice tells you to do something, you give it a shot.

Well, not only did this amazing human being receive my book and letter, he was kind enough to read it, pass it on to people who could use the lessons within and then write me a letter back! I was blown away. Here's the letter and if you are reading this today, December 29, 2020, you can grab a copy of the eBook for 0.99 cents on Amazon.
This is why he is a great leader. It's not about thinking you're better than anybody else, it's about helping everyone you meet be their best selves. I am still welling up with tears at the thought that he reached out to me.








Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Orange is the New Fabulous!

 Hello folks,

I thought I'd take a detour from the art projects today and share with you my latest creation. This has been a couple years in the making and required a lot of time, effort and patience. But here it is!


And if you look carefully, you will see what I woke up to this morning - the #1 New Release Banner! So today orange is my favorite color, and it will be for quite some time!

If you are interested in taking a look at the book, it will be 0.99 cents for a few more days as an eBook. The eBook was not what I was going for initially but, launching a book is like climbing a mountain and there are many unexpected things that happen. I am so happy to have this available because it was piloted by me for two years in my classroom as I wrote it, tweaked it and now published it. It was so helpful to my students and created a climate of growth and respect that I don't think I could have created without these lessons. 

Here's the link:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08MYY5G5S

I have become a better person for the challenge of this journey. If you are so inclined to give it a peek, I'd love it if you left an honest review. If you parent, teach or coach teenagers this is a great tool for their personal development.

As always, thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment. Have a great day!


Wednesday, August 26, 2020

There's Sooooo Much Going on Around Here!

 Let me begin by telling you about the most exciting news we had this month.  Our daughter was finally able to get married!!! The plans were vastly different than the original but, the number of attendants did not change.  She and her now husband did not want a big wedding. But they did want a different destination.  Oh well. Then they wanted to get married in June but, the municipalities would not issue marriage licenses. There was no real schedule of when that might change so they were on a temporary hold. But this past weekend, under spectacular skies and beautiful weather the magic happened.  Here's a couple sneak peeks. Not too much so as to annoy the happy couple.



On the banks of the Severn River in Annapolis, Maryland Beth Ann and Joseph Pierce tied the knot! It was a wonderful day!!

On to the next exciting adventure for me. About a year ago I completed the process of writing a book. It's a lot like birthing a child except you don't get the swollen ankles. Anyway, it is geared to middle schoolers and I actually created and used the contents of this book while I was a science teacher a couple years back.  I made a 25 year career in education and spend the bulk of that time with 8th graders, so it is for them. The bonus was that is made my career and day to day enjoyment of teaching skyrocket. The kids liked it and I liked it.  So, it had to be compiled into a  book. After a fair amount of research looking for a way to publish it (and one decision that derailed the progress for a bit) I finally found the right fit for me. So now I am delving into the publishing process and learning all the ropes of what to do and what not to do. Thankfully the book is written and professionally edited so I am very close to the finish line on this. 

If you are a teacher or know a teacher who is struggling with the stress of too much classroom time being used for discipline instead of instruction, this book is an incredibly useful tool to help your students become more productive and less disruptive.  I know this because I used it and it was such a benefit to both them and me that I absolutely had to write this book to help teachers in this current climate of education. You can send me an email if you want to hear more about it. For now, know that it should be available by late October.

With taking on the time commitment to publish a book, even with the help of the cover artists and formatters, I have put art on the back burner for a bit. I use my creative and energetic morning hours for book work and then I approach my artwork with the energy I have left in the afternoons. It is still getting done, but at a slower pace.  Which is fine because I can ramp up again once my book is on the market. It is also way less stressful than following the steps in a process that I have never done before.

Here's the fifth in a series titled "Simplify". Really it was about how we all pared down our schedules in the past five months to the real necessities and life became a lot calmer. It is pieced and basted. I can quilt it slowly as the days go by. Making sure that my book project work is complete before I relax at my sewing machine.

Putting the color palette that I selected to work for me.


This is a piece of overdyed fabric. No idea what colors were originally used but, it fit right in with this color palette and has some real depth.


Another close up. I laid the pieces in an overlap so that I could cut through both pieces at the same time. I wanted the stripes to be horizontal and not off kilter. You can't do that unless they match up and get cut on the same line. 

So three cheers for the newlyweds! Stay tuned for the book launch. And I'll post this piece whenever it gets finished. Hope you are enjoying the end of summer as much as I am. Feel free to leave a comment of ask a question.  Thanks for stopping by!





Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Two Series and Two Mediums

 So, I've been busy in the studio this week.  I finished a fourth piece in my Simplify series.  No pictures yet but it's a black, white, grey and red piece.  I guess the neutrals had me missing my usual saturated color palette so I have selected the next color palette for what will be Simplify V.


It a big departure from my last piece and it will have the same dimensions but a very different vibe.  Keeping it interesting. The palette includes hand dyed cottons, cross weaves, cotton batiks, a few overdyed commercial cottons and one or two commercial cottons as is.  I'm looking forward to starting to design the piece, however, right now my design wall has my other project on display.

I decided to gesso 50 pieces of paper that I cut 11x11.  I divided them into 2 groups of 25.  I am currently working on the first 25 pieces.  I basically do one thing to each of the 25 pieces and then move on to the next piece.  Talk about avoiding creative block! I only have room for 12 at a time on the wall so as I work on one, I put another in its place until I have gotten to all 25 pieces.  I clean up, walk away and go back to in the next day.  No pressure and each piece will come to completion in its own time.  

I'm using acrylic paint and mediums, other mark making tools and collage.  So much fun! and no stress.



I use the leftover paints at the end of the painting session to make collage paper that I can use in this project or down the road on another one.  No paint wasted and I even put some acid free paper on the table just in case something good turns up and I can use that.

Feel free t leave a comment or ask a question.  I'd love to hear from you.  Have a great day with whatever you create!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

I'm on YouTube!

Now, there's a phrase I thought I'd never say.  But, I've attached the link here if you are interested in my first Artist's Talk from my show last month.  I hope you are staying busy with your own endeavors.  I plan to make more quick YouTube demos and updates.  But, without further ado - here's the link.  

www.youtube.com/watch?v=SW2PqimBT2I

Thanks for watching!  Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question.

Friday, July 24, 2020

This Week in the Studio - Finishing and Beginning



This week has been somewhat busy for my art projects.  Monday I took a road trip to Test Fabrics, about an hour and 40 minutes each way.  I was finally able to purchase fabric for dyeing and I even got a very useful, large container for storing rolls of fabric.  It even had room for a large roll of cotton batting that I have so that was an organization bonus.

Tuesday I washed and prepared the fabric for dyeing. I also tried to wrap up my most recent art quilt project.  Third in a series.


Here's a shot of it on my design wall.  And here's a few detail shots.  The series is titled "Simplify" and the idea was to use only one piece of each fabric that I had gathered in my color palette.  The first on e was red and green, the second blue and orange and the third purple and yellow.  I also included some neutrals or desaturated colors to help the colors I wanted to feature pop.  



 Finished size of each of the three pieces so far is about 17 1/2" X 32"

Frames have been ordered and mats are being stored in my recently acquired flat file cabinet.  

Wednesday I began painting the first layer on 25 out of the 50 11" X 11" pieces of paper that I gessoed last week.  Again I have a limited color palette and once I get further down the road with these I will be posting the work here. Stay tuned.  I also looked at my dye powders and decided to select a few for hand dyeing some cotton that I prepared on Tuesday.

Thursday was dye day.  I chose a bright warm red and blue green with a medium grey as my neutral.  I did a range of values and shades.  Again, I tried to add the grey to each color to get a variety of desaturated shades so the more saturated colors will pop.  Not sure how this will translate into a quilt yet, but isn't that always the way.  The materials inspire the piece but, for now the colors need to marinate for a bit until the ideas reveal themselves.  



Altogether, I think I dyed about 60 or so different colors of fabric.  I ran out of ziploc bags and had to go find my solo cup collection for the last few pieces.  Some of the pieces were also overdyed for more depth of color.

In the past, I have usually ended a dyeing session with a pretty achy low back.  But using these bed risers under the table legs was so helpful for getting through the job without any back tension.  I highly recommend them.

Finally, here's the end results.
The desaturation was done using the grey and also be combining the red with it's complement green.  Once I figure out what I'm going to do with the fabric, I know that the colors should be harmonious.  They most likely won't all be used,  but at least if I keep them together, I have a palette to work with.

It's Friday.  Heading down to the studio right after I finish here to begin another piece in the Simplify series.  I'll post once I have made some progress.  Feel free to ask a question or post a comment.  I'd love to hear from  you.  Stay well, stay cool and be safe.



Monday, July 13, 2020

Anybody Have a Little Extra Free Time?

If you find yourself looking for inspiration and bored of the same view out your window or doorstep, you can find me on Instagram posting whatever's new in my studio and at my exhibits.  I will also be preparing some online, "you can do this at home" classes very soon.  Feel free to check me out and follow if it interests you.  Thanks and I hope you get a chance to create something new today!

@claudeblarson