Getting back into creative mode

Now that I’m pretty much settled in, the holidays are over and life is returning to its new normal, it’s time to get back to work.

Recently, my good friend Lesley Riley, asked me to submit a piece for a new book she’s doing on quotes, if you’d like to participate check out her call for entries.

So the other day, I pulled out fabric and paint for the first time in months. Wow, what a disaster of a day that was, lol. Everything I started, I ended up discarding. The first piece began with some potential, but the fabric was wrong, and the acrylic inks bled. It could have been because the background was not completely dry, but I was impatient to work at a faster pace.


I used bleached unprimed canvas, I wasn’t sure how the inks would work on it, since I have painted unprimed canvas with textile paints in the past. I was really disappointed I hadn’t used a different fabric after an hour of time was spent on it. I think a primed canvas would have worked better for this situation.

Then I pulled out another piece of fabric from the cut fabric pile and threw some ink on it, but the ink didn’t brush on smoothly, it soaked in, had blurry edges and looked dull, and when I stamped it with wood blocks, the lines were not crisp.


I hadn’t noticed it was a fairly loosely woven cotton sheeting, it literally felt like an old sheet that had been cut up for something and inadvertently ended up in the fabric pile, NOT good.

Third times the charm huh? Finally I had the right fabric, the brush glided across the surface, nice brush stroke definition, great color, clear stamped images, but by that time I had lost all interest in the direction I was going and cast that aside too.


Hopefully this reassures some of you that feel like that only happens to you, that it’s not so, we all have bad days and sometimes it takes a while to get back into the groove of things, especially when it’s been a long time since you last sat down to exercise your creative muscles.

My next tactic was to look in the flat files and see if I had any previous unfinished projects to play with. I found just the piece to use, sort of a tea & ephemera technique base fabric in blue that had already been printed with a thermofax design, stamps and a few collaged images and papers on it. Sometimes a blank piece of fabric can be a tough place to start.

Now I had an idea about how I wanted to approach this project and was enthusiastic to begin. I went to find some more printed images to collage, then remembered I gave away all my matte medium before I moved!!! 4:30 sunday afternoon and no Blick art supply nearby, argh!!! So I called it a day!

After gathering my supplies: gel matte medium, textile paint, and images printed on abaca paper, I set out to work again and things started to click and I had a great day. Unfortunately, I can’t show you the whole painting yet, but here’s a little peak.


Next I’m going to rev up the machine and add some stitching.

3 Responses to “Getting back into creative mode”

  1. Regina Dunn says:

    Thanks for posting the troubles you had. It helps me to know to be picky about the type of fabric used for different purposes.

  2. Jan Givens says:

    Yes, it’s good to know even the ‘pros’ get stumped (not that I wish that on you). I’ve been using my stumped time to make some rubber stamps. I tested them all on a single sheet of paper – that inspired some playfulness.There’s just something fun about multiple images on a surface … When I took your class at LaGrange, my fabric was too loose a weave, and so was not pleasant to work with. When I came home, I tried all the same techniques on 140lb hot press paper – what a world of difference, and what a pleasure!! I will seek out some quality fabric to play with.

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