Friday, December 31, 2010

The Last of 2010

The end of  the year is upon us.  In the latest e-newsletter Robert Genn writes about things we may not see anymore, such as newspapers, and things, such as electronic books, that may become more a part of our lives.  I know there are differing opinions about that subject, but my main focus from the article is that art making is also growing...  Genn writes "art fills a vital human need for life enhancement. Art reboots the cerebral cortex, teaches new skills to underutilized hands, arouses dormant sensitivities and promotes latent passions. If need be, art gives us something to talk about besides the kids, grandkids and celebrities, hence making us more interesting people."  There is something about the connection of working with our hands...the link of hand to eye that people find fulfilling, especially in today's fast paced high tech times.  So I will continue to celebrate art, and the inward journey of discovery that it inspires! 
...And you may have noticed a change in the look of my blog.  I have redesigned it with a lighter feel for the new year.  The process was fun and easy with Blogger.  I do appreciate the technology we have, but for me it will never take the place of simple hand work.
Happy New Year to you all!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Family Tradition

I was reminded of  a holiday tradition in our family, which my Mother started some 20 years ago.  Each year we write or draw on the tablecloth after the meal is over, something the kids have enthusiastically enjoyed doing.   We continue this process even though I host the holiday meals now...the tablecloth is brought along. 
Throughout the year between the holidays, Mom embroiders over the writing and images.  It has become a history of our family as my nephews were growing up.  There were Lego, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings theme years.  There were reminders of special visitors. 

It is a beautiful hierloom thanks to Mom's fine needlework skills.  My own journey and love for the hand arts began as a young person due to my Mother's influence.  It is undoubtedly in our family genes.  What family traditions do you continue? 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Blossoming Evolves

One of the benefits of not overdoing with holiday preparations is that I have had time to watch and document the evolving blossoms of a Christmas Cactus.  This plant did not bloom last year, so I repotted it in the spring.  Obviously very happy, it has now gone wild with blossoming.  It was calling to me to be painted.   The first of the series is on my last post.  Here are three more, done in a variety of styles.  Hope you enjoy seeing the flowers as much as I have enjoyed painting them (while appreciating amazing nature).  May your holidays be wonderful!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Joy in Blossoming

"That sense of wonder and delight is present in every moment, every breath, every step, every movement of our own ordinary everyday lives, if we can connect with it."
-Pema Chodron

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Baking

For a change thought I would turn this into a food blog entry.... One of the holiday traditions we had growing up was cookie baking.  Oh, did the house smell great!  These cookies, consisting of 5 or 6 varieties from our Swiss and German heritage, were only made at the holidays.  We enjoyed them ourselves and gave as gifts.  First Mom handled the baking, of course, then as I grew older I began to take on more of the responsibility for the family cookies while my folks still lived nearby.  Mom still bakes her batches.  I have carried on baking, something I love to do, in my own home.  One year I gave the recipes with the cookies, so others could make them as well.  With reducing activities this season, I am sticking with two big batches of my favorites: Chocolate Drops and Hazelnuss Makronen (Hazelnut Meringues).   Thought I would share them with all of you - visually that is, and with recipes...


8 oz semi sweet chocolate
1 tbl butter
2 eggs
¾ C walnuts, finely chopped
½ tsp vanilla
⅛ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ C flour
¾ C sugar
Melt chocolate & butter together, stir until cool. Beat eggs until foamy, add sugar 2 tbl at a time, beating 5 minutes more after all sugar has been added. Blend in chocolate mix, then add rest of ingredients.
Bake 350º, 8 -10 minutes on greased or parchment lined sheet. Makes 3 dozen.


¾ lbs powdered sugar (about 3 C)
6-7 egg whites
4 ½ C ground filberts (1lb shelled nuts)
whole or half filberts, as topping
Beat egg whites until form stiff peaks, fold in sugar followed by the nuts.
Drop by teaspoonful on to parchment lined baking sheet. Top each cookie with one nut.
Bake 350º, 15 - 20 minutes or until dry.

What traditions did you grow up with?   If you try these, I hope you will enjoy them as much as we do!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Comings, Goings, & Doings

Some updates - "Flowing On" (photos on June 10th post) has gone to Road to California for the January show, while "Flowing Through" is returning from the Fiberarts V exhibit in Sebastopol. 
Flowing On  -  22.5" x 17"  © 2010 Linda A. Miller
Flowing On  -  22.5" x 17" 
© 2010 Linda A. Miller

"Landscape" has sold and found a new home!  This sun imagery from 2008 includes hand dyed painted cotton, fusible applique and threadwork.

Meanwhile, work continues with texture experiments....or will resume again after the holidays.  I was inspired by Karen Rips and C. June Barnes.  Playing with wool batting and wool felt that creates shrinkage and distortion when washed.  The!

In progress - Detail

Friday, December 10, 2010

Softer Season

I am taking the season in measured steps this year. As the marketplace pushes shop-buy-spend, I am keeping it simple and honoring a more reflective state.  Around this time each year my natural inclination moves in a quiet inner direction, undoubtedly following the waning of the days. Then the holidays hit in a big city way, and it becomes a push to do everything with me crashing after it is all over. I am saying, not this year! My family has decided to simplify with the gift giving. I am postponing non-essential projects. And I am doing what I love, such as going to hear music, visiting with friends and family. What better gift can there be than that?

Last weekend was another superb concert by the Orange County Women’s Chorus.  I have seen the chorus grow in presence and ability over the years of attending these musical events, which started because a good friend is one of the singers. Their artistic director, Eliza Rubenstein, always seems to find unique pieces to present.  This program, “Ice Age - Come into the Cold”, was no exception. One selection was based on a collection of Japanese Haiku poems…when sung by female voices was so fine! One of the poems below:

“The winter’s fitful gusts, as they expire,
Bring enough fallen leaves to build a fire.” 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Value of Art Groups

Yesterday was the meeting and lunch for my monthly art group, Fiber Fanatics.  What fun we had!  A member of this wonderful group for several years now, I have found our gatherings to be a source of  friendship, inspiration, information, laughter, food, and support.  The smaller informal size allows everyone to actively participate.  We share our work, life and processes... learn and grow from each other.  Each of the seven of us has a unique creative voice, and that mix brings a rich range of experience to the collective whole.  Fiber Fanatics consists of Carole Gentile, Nancy King, Sherry Kleinman, Sandra Lauterbach, Roberta Walley, and Sally Wright.  Thank you Ladies, you have enriched my life, artistic and otherwise.  And for those of you out there considering it, I highly recommend finding such a group!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Grateful for the Little Things

Each small task of everyday life is a part of the total harmony of the universe. 
- St. Therese of Lisieoux

Wonderful as we head into the holiday season, remember to stop for a moment  and pay attention to your breath.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fruitful Reflection

I have been fascinated by the magnolia fruit this fall.  What an amazingly curious and complex thing!  After years of walking past those trees, how is it I have never really looked at them?  And it more than just the magnolias, this re-emersion in drawing from life has opened my eyes to more of what is around me.  Seems like we do that in life generally, take things for granted.  I am grateful for another reminder to wake up.  Truly meditation in action, being present to what is here. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New Work and More

"Luminous", 10" x 12" quilt, was commissioned by friends in memory of a mutual friend, Lahar Goldberg, who passed away last year.  It is s gift for her son.  In the process of making it, I sought to capture Lahar's brightness and energy, as well as reflecting her island home of Maui.  The center is hand painted silk, surrounded by hand and commercial dyed cottons applique.  It is machine quilted and hand embroidered.

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to go to Connie Rohman's open studio on the Northeast Los Angeles Discovery Tour (though I did not take the tour).  Great to see what she is up to with some wonderful new deconstructed screen printed pieces and quilts made from recycled old sweaters.  Ideas, ideas!

Friday, November 19, 2010

More Footwear

A few more from the shoe journalling week... Plus an added bonus at the end done during my printmaking years.

"Feet Suite" Series
Aquatint 1975
Linda A. Miller
So you see that I like shoes as subject matter!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Brush Strokes

I recently completed the 3rd in the series of 5 Shambhala Art classes. What is Shambhala Art, you might ask? Simply put, its “mission is to encourage the exploration of how meditation and contemplation works with the creative and viewing processes.” I am personally finding these classes beneficial, as I understand how to approach my art making and viewing more fully. I am finding I can accept the various stages of creative process rather than fight with them. In this session we painted in a direct and unplanned way, making marks that represented basic elements of space, form and energy. The brush work shown was done as a collaboration, where the marks became a conversation with each other (blue - space, black - form, red - energy). It was freeing to approach the brush in this way!  Who knows where it will lead?

“…what we are trying to do is to be very genuine and benevolent and basic, so that we do not create passion, aggression and ignorance in ourselves or in our audience.”

-Chogyam Trungpa

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Shoes and More Shoes

Our sketch journal lesson for the week is footwear...I am having so much fun, even dug out some old platforms as subject matter.  But also a reminder that, as Frederick Franck writes, "...a drawing is not a thing but an act."   It is the process that I become absorbed in.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

All About Flowers

 As you can see this week in watercolor journal class has been about painting flowers.  Once again, I amazed at the intricate complexity of even what seems the simplest of flowers.  As Frederick Franck wrote: "Drawing is the discipline by which I constantly rediscover the world."  I am glad to have come back to this practice, especially since my fiber work tends to be more abstract.  The simplicity of looking and then seeing is wonderful.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


"You are not copying nature, but responding to nature in full awareness, to the way nature expresses itself in that object."
 -Frederick Franck

"The Zen of Seeing- Seeing/Drawing as Meditation" by Frederick Franck was one of the most influential books I read as a young artist.  For me the seeds connecting art, meditation and mindfulness were planted with the reading of his words....and my experience with the process of seeing/drawing.  He writes: "We do a lot of looking: we look through lenses, telescopes, television tubes...Our looking is perfected every day - but we see less and less."  Seeing is his word for truly connecting with what is in front of you.  How relevant his words are today, if not more so!  Check out this insightful hand written book and other works by the artist.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Contour Drawing

Continuing on with watercolor journalling, Jane LaFazio has given us contour drawing this week.  Oh, do I love this, always have!  Releases me from getting too tight and aiming for perfection in rendering.  Just going for it, letting eye and pen be linked by following the form of the subject.  The pen is never lifted from the paper as you go.  Then color is added with paint.

I am reminded of contour drawings that inspired the creation of small journal quilts several years ago.  Here is my process that began from a self portrait blind contour, meaning I did not look at the paper at all during the drawing.  The photo shown is not the original one, but you get the idea. 

I drew into the linear image with watersoluble pastels. Next, I scanned the completed drawing (having first sprayed it with fixative to keep the scanner glass clean), then printed it on the inkjet printer on prepped fabric (one option: Printed Treasures sheets that are printer ready in various types of fabrics). 
This became the basis for the quilts by cutting up the printed fabric and applying as applique with other materials and threadwork for some fun results, as you see below.  Try it for yourself in any subject matter, and let me know how it goes.

"Self Portrait" 2008

"Restriction" 2009

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Leaf Week

So the lesson this past week has been greens and leaves.  Have you looked at leaves lately?  I mean really see them?  Oh my, so complex! The wonder of nature.  The challenge for me is not to try to get all the details right...then I tighten up.  I aim to be lighter with my painting.  I am loving connecting hand and eye again. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Visions Biennial Opening

Over the weekend Quilt Visions Biennial 2010 "No Boundaries" opened at the Oceanside Musem of Art with a number of events.  It is superb exhibit, with wide spectrum of amazing quilts.  I enjoyed the Sunday morning Artist's Walk Through, during which about half of the exhibiting artists spoke briefly about their quilt.  Friends and I went on to a SAQA SoCal lunch at a local restaurant for conversation and delicious food.  In the afternoon the Museum hosted a panel discussion on the topic about balancing art making and life, moderated by Judith Content with panelists Diedre Adams, Gloria Hansen, Jane LaFazio, and Katie Pasquini Masopust.  It was a fascinating discussion....valuable to see the varied styles of working and of work produced...from planned out to intuitive.  Having community and the support of family and friends seems to be a big key.  I know that from my own life as well.  I acknowledge my family and friends with gratitude.  It was an inspiring day.
The exhibit runs until March 13th.  A wonderful catalog is available for those who cannot get there in person.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Seeing the Moment

Here are some sketches completed during the Watercolor Journal online class  (through Joggles) with Jane LaFazio.  Really enjoying it!  A wonderful reminder to really see what is in front on me.  Bringing a freshness and appreciation to the little things all around.

You might have noticed that my blog has changed.  I have added more pages to it, a feature I recently learned about (thank you, Jamie Fingal!).  Now I can bring more to this site to share with you.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Internet Overwhelm and More

As I have mentioned previously, I receive Robert Genn's email newsletters which bring in thoughtworthy subject matter for artists in particular and everyone in general.  There was an interesting one this week on the effects of too much internet time...and there have been great conversations going on from that post on the site.  Check it out!    I do personally find that too much time on the computer and internet makes me agitated.  Not only is it due to the visual overstimulation, a huge factor, but also due to sitting too long.   I even find this occurring at the sewing machine.  There the tension comes when I flip from being present to goal oriented (I-want-to-get-this-done syndrome - yes, this can happen to even those of us who practice yoga!).  It is good to set time limits and use a timer.  And remember to breathe!  And you...what do you do to maintain balance?
Fellow fiber artist, Judy Warner, has an informative short video about posture at the sewing machine on her blog which you might find of interest.

Fiberart V Announcement

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fiberart V

Flowing Through   -  20" x 22.5"
© 2009 Linda A. Miller 

I am very happy to announce that my quilt "Flowing Through" is now flowing to its next exhibit Innovations in Fiberart V at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, set to open October 28 to December 4, 2010.  Hmmm....can I get up there to see it?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Thoughts on Changes and More

Energy was one of those "needs something more" quilts that has been on my to do list.  I revised it by removing the old binding and then appliqueing the quilt on another background quilt, creating a wider frame.  I did this in much the same manner as I did with Essential Core earlier in the year.   I am very pleased with the results.  What do you think?


New Version

As a side note, the SAQA Auction raised $52,300!  Thanks to all!  There are still some pieces available in the SAQA store.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fiber Art Saturday

With Flowing On

It was a full agenda this past weekend with all things fiber art.  In the morning, the inaugural Westside Quilters meeting was held.  My friend,  Sherry Davis Kleinman , opened the presenter talks with a brief show of her fine work.  Lively and interesting, Carol Taylor was the main speaker displaying her amazing trunk show.  Completing over 500 hundred quilts, Carol  is internationally known as artist and teacher.

Later in the day, I joined guests and other artists at the Quilts on the Wall exhibit opening reception at the Whittier Framery Gallery.  Great job with presentation to all the behind the scenes crew!  Click here to see more.  There are many wonderful works for sale, so come on by!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Quilts on the Wall Exhibit

October 6 - 30 - "Quilting is Art" exhibiting the work of Quilts on the Wall artists (including some of my pieces) at The Framery Gallery, 13105 Whittier Blvd., Whittier 90602. Reception October 9, 3 -6pm.  Hope to see you there!


This week begins the final section of the SAQA Auction with more suberb pieces for sale. So check it out!

I am happy to say "Rivulets" sold, and has found a new home in the Netherlands with artist, Wil Opio Oguta.  Click here to see her fine work.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


May your inner eye
See through the surfaces
And glean the real presence
Of everything that meets you.

Excerpt "For the Senses" John O'Donohue

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


May I live this day

Compassionate of heart,
Clear in word,
Gracious in awareness,
Courageous in thought,
Generous in love.

Excerpt "Matins"  John O'Donohue

Photos from the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas.


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