Bee-lieving in productivity and abundance

cherry blossom

Spring is all around us here with trees blossoming everywhere you look, I can’t help but feel inspired and after teaching in Visalia and before preparing for my next teaching gig in Amador county with a group of Northern California art quilters, I had a strong desire to paint.

I knew I wanted my work to feature flowers, bees and a graphic representation of a hive, so I began by painting flowers with a big brush on cotton fabric with acrylic ink.


The next thing I did was adhere images of flowers and bees printed on abaca paper to the painting and pull out wood and hand carved rubber stamps.

Then I painted some more flowers and added color to some of the black and white images.



Abby had to let me know, I was spending way too much time on this painting stuff.

abby on work


Next, I cut large hexagons from freezer paper and ironed them to the fabric

and painted over all the exposed fabric with rusty golden brown colored acrylic ink.bee3.5

I removed the freezer paper and colored individual hexagons with different colored washes of acrylic ink to give more variation to the background.

Then I painted 2 large graphic bees and silhouettes of smaller bees.


After 3 full days of painting I think it’s done.

bee5 bee4 bee6

I have plans to crop the piece into a longer narrow shape for a better final design, but before I could do that, I had to start preparing for my 3 day class with the group I mentioned earlier.

little bee

My friend Jenny Lyon and I have talked several times about the idea of doing a class where I discuss all the different media I use when I paint; the pros and cons, the different ways the paints look and behave and why I would choose either textile paint, acrylic inks or Tsukineko ink to work with for a project. This seemed like a really interesting idea and would be a very informative way to start the classes I would be teaching in Amador county on acrylic inks and Tsukineko inks, that she was also participating in.


photo by Schatzi Brimer

Last Monday, our first day of the 3 classes, began in my studio, (which took me days ahead of time to find the surface of my table and floor!) there I laid out samples of different painted fabrics that could be picked up, and studied closely to see the different finishes and feel of the painted surfaces.

We also talked about the quilts piled on the dining room table and artwork around my house.

Abby refused to be left out of the discussion, and grumbled grunted, until I picked her up so she could have a good view of everything that was going on.



Tuesday afternoon, I drove up to Pine Grove in the Sierra foothills of Amador county, where the other 2 classes would be held at Schatzi Brimer’s house. Do you know the meaning of Amador is lovable or loving? That would perfectly describe this gorgeous part of California.

This is the spectacular hill top view from Schatzi’s studio, looking east towards the snow capped mountains of Tahoe, unfortunately the snowy peaks in the distance, visible to the eye, were invisible to my camera. pinegrove


Wednesday, we focused on Acrylic inks and painted our little hearts out.

Acrylic inks

Photos by Sue Seifkin

painting acrylic inks

Photo by Schatzi Brimer

Photo by Schatzi Brimer

Photo by Schatzi Brimer

Photo by Schatzi Brimer

Photo by Schatzi Brimer

stampsI loved trying out the 2 part foam stamps I made the day before class on one of my textured background demo samples. I made 2 different tree designs and also used one of my hand carved rubber stamps.


Thursday was another gorgeous day

IMG_0986and we switched to working with Tsukineko inks. Two completely different mediums with very different results.

Sandy and Valerie

Sandy Wagner and Valerie

Schatzi and Joan

Schatzi and Joan

Jenny and Lannie

Jenny Lyon and Lannie

There was so much wonderful work produced over the two days.
IMG_0983Thursday afternoon each student chose two pieces they really liked to put up on the wall, along with a 5″ x 7″ prayer flag cut from one of their other samples.


Photo by Jenny Lyon

What a warm and wonderful group of talented women, it was such a joy getting to know them and creating with them.

On Wednesday this week I’m off to Boston, where I’ll be teaching 2 workshops and giving a lecture to the Quilters Connection Quilt guild in Watertown, Massachusetts. I’m really looking forward to this not only because it will  be my first time teaching on the east coast, but it will also be an opportunity to visit my younger sister who lives in Massachusetts, and my step mom and brother, who I haven’t seen in 7 years in Maine.

Then I’ll be taking a train to New York city to meet up with my boyfriend Phil for a week. He’s flying out to perform original music to accompany a modern dance company performance that he does every year. After that we will spend 2 days in Stonington,Connecticut to visit Phil’s brother before flying home.

I’m a very busy bee this month!little bee

Bee-creative, Bee-happy, Bee-lieve in yourself!

15 Responses to “Bee-lieving in productivity and abundance”

  1. Schatzi says:

    What a wonderful summary of our time together. We can now relive your fun, informative class when ever we want. Your work is stunning, your teaching style is warm and engaging, the content was jam packed, and my head is still full of the buzzing sounds of happy chatter and laughter. What a special person you are. What a great time we had. Thank you.

  2. I love the process of the layering. Thanks for taking the time to photograph it.

    • you’re welcome Regina.

      So often when I’m in the heat of a new project I forget to pull out the camera, especially since I never know where the piece is going to go. But when I do remember and take photos along the way, I’m always glad I can go back and look through the various stages. It also helps when I can tell my students to go look at the photos when in a class to help understand where the techniques we are doing can lead.

  3. ssiefkinsue says:

    I had such a good time and came home with some terrific techniques to add to my tool box. Thank you Judy.

  4. Barbara Furgason says:

    I wish I was there and I loved hearing about many ways to paint fabric.

  5. Lisa Chin says:

    Your 3 day class sounds fabulous. What a great way to get to know the paints! Love your finished bee piece. Your class’ pieces turned out fabulous! I love the prayer flags! Did everyone take their own prayer flag piece home?

    • the prayer flags looked so great hanging up together, I kind of want to do that exercise with all my acrylic inks students now 🙂 These flags will be sent to Kathy York to be sewn to ribbon for Jill Berry.

  6. Mary R. Beat says:

    Informative entry!!! Thanks. Warms my inner being seeing your pictures, reading your dialogue, and following your adventures. The return to CA has been a blessing.

  7. beachbreak says:

    A terrific summary of a magical workshop. I was transformed from feeling totally inept and far from my comfort zone to thinking I might actually be using some of these very enjoyable new techniques with paint and ink. No wood stamps though! 🙂 Thanks Judy!

    • It was so wonderful to meet you Joan. I’m glad that I was able to guide you safely out of your comfort zone to a place that was new, yet felt comfortable and worthwhile. I look forward to our paths crossing again 🙂

  8. How lucky of you to be in such a beautiful area of the country. I enjoyed reading about your piece, the bees! I’m always in awe of your work!!

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