ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Greetings of the Season

From my house to yours, I am wishing you the best of this Season. I hope you enjoyed a restful and Merry Christmas and are now looking toward a brand new year in anticipation.

One of the sights I love at this time of year is seeing my feline family settling down for a long winter's nap. OK, I confess that winter has not hit Ontario yet, but is due this coming week. We will likely pay for a Christmas day that was as spring-like as Easter.


Peekaboo and her tongue.

For a while now, we've had a third cat at our house. "Foxy" comes around to eat each day and we do not know if she has a home. She seems to be outside at all hours of the day and night. This photo was taken a few weeks ago when we had a brief, light dusting of snow. My husband built her a shelter as per the Humane Society instructions. Actually we don't even know if "she" is a she yet. We could probably accommodate a third cat so she is welcome to move in, but it will have to be on her own time. However, it is also possible that she likes the food better at our house than her own?

If you read Quilting Arts Magazine, you may have noticed that they featured my last fabric line with Northcott in their December issue. While the Poppy Passion collection was released last April, it is probably still available at many stores. On the Northcott website, it has now been "archived" meaning that no more will be available for sale to stores.

I confess that I've been in a bit of a creative slump this past year, due partly to a busy teaching schedule. The last few days I've been warming up by sewing a bed quilt, something I have not done in more than a decade. I love polka dots, the colour turquoise, lots of white, and improvisational piecing, so I'm working on a new quilt for our guest bedroom. Remember the one that I painted in "Serene Moment" this past summer? Photos here. Yes that one, and it is also my office.

Some of you will recognize that these blocks are similar to what I teach in my Reflections class. In this case, however, I have only pieced half the block, leaving the other half white, and I have arranged the blocks into a spiral setting. The design possibilities are endless with these blocks.

Hoping you enjoy the rest of this Christmas season! I'll be working on a new art quilt during the first week of January. Can't wait to see how it progresses.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Painting in the Style of Mary Pratt, an Inspiring Weekend

At the age of 80, Newfoundland painter Mary Pratt is still painting. It takes months to create a piece such as her "Red Current Jelly". I am a huge admirer of the light and colour in her work. I also love her use of the colour red.

So I jumped at the chance to take a two-day painting class in the style of Mary Pratt, with instructor Andrea Mossop, this past weekend at the Shenkman campus of the Ottawa School of Art. The class was about learning to paint with colour capsules, achieving luminosity, glow, sparkle and shine.

We had to bring an inspiration photo. I chose this photo of a fountain, taken at Ville Lante in Italy in 2012.

Our first task was to sketch out the basic shapes and lay down a colour map using a very light wash of paint, and then the work of painting all the colour shapes began.

After two days, this is where the class ended. I probably have months of work ahead of me to finish this, but I am pleased with my weekend as I learned a great deal that I hope will make its way into future art quilts. The whole subject of refracted light has me facinated.

I am heading back into the studio this week. Still playing with some sketches and ideas before I haul out some fabric.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Back from Vacation, Wilma is in Print, and Knee News

Last week I spent a week relaxing in Costa Rica with my sister. We spent many afternoons sitting by the infinity pool, gazing out at the Pacific Ocean in the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica. This was to be a restful holiday, and it was.
The rainy season ended the day we arrived, and we were lucky to experience nothing but beautiful weather, blue skies and warm temperatures the entire week. We spent many afternoons reading by the pool, although I also spent a fair bit of time walking in the pool. It extended a good length of the property, toward the ocean, and was 4 ft deep most of the way. Perfect for water walking sore joints. At 30 and 31 degrees celsius most days, it was also immensely refreshing.

We enjoyed this view from our room.

We took a couple of excursions. One, a riverboat cruise to see wildlife. We sure saw a lot of crocodiles and birds. The other excursion was a shopping trip to the town of Tamarindo, about a 15 minute drive from our resort.

Upon returning home, my Winter issue of the Canadian Quilter was waiting for me. I had been asked by Editor, Marcy Horswill, to submit photos of my studio for a series of Creative Spaces she was planning to feature in this issue. Although my studio is small (10 ft x 10 ft) Marcy was still interested :-) With a new colour of paint on the walls and new bookshelves I was willing to share.

It just so happens that on the day I took photos for the article, I found our cat Wilma sleeping in her favorite corner of my studio, and thus Wilma has made it into print! I'm very proud of her.

On Monday I had my assessment at The Knee Clinic. The good news is there will be no knee replacement YET. And the bad news is there will be no knee replacement yet, meaning I'll have to suffer for a bit longer. However, I agree with their assessment. I saw the X-rays from both knees, and the arthritis in the main knee compartment is mild on both knees, there is still lots of space between the bones so that means the cartilage pad is still relatively thick. However, both knees have severe osteoarthritis of the knee cap, and are bone on bone. In fact, she said the knee caps couldn't really be any worse and both are equally bad. She also said the fact that I am kinda knock kneed contributed to this. Given my age, ability to sleep without pain, etc. they don't recommend bringing out the big guns for knee caps.She recommends I continue with conventional treatment (physio, mild exercise, icing, and give the gel shot a bit more time to work) and of course try to reduce weight on my knees. She is hopeful this inflammation flare will settle down eventually, like the last one, and especially since it was preceded by an injury. She says there are two surgeons at the hospital who do knee cap replacements but she does not recommend it because at some point I'm going to have the whole knee done anyway ... however, she did say it might be soon and might not be for a long time. No one knows how long before the mild arthritis in the main knee compartment turns moderate to severe ... she said it can go fast in some people and slow in others.
So status quo ... keep working with conventional methods and try to get things back under control. Fortunately I have two quiet months coming up. I plan on taking care of myself and strengthening my legs to get me ready for my late winter and early spring teaching. I am also slowly working my way back into studio mode.