On-line Course: The Artist’s Toolbox part 1 – the Elements of Art

Wake Up Your Artist’s Eyes

April 1 – May 31, 2019

After you have designed the composition, everything else you do is merely execution – not that execution is by any means trivial, but virtuosity of execution is for naught if the composition is wanting.
-John Gargano

The elements and principles of art are the building blocks for every piece you create. It doesn’t matter if you think about the elements consciously or design intuitively. Every single work of art you see is made of various combinations of texture, shape, line, color, and value. They are the basic five-letter alphabet of the visual language.

Registration is Open Now

Early Bird Pricing $149.00 Until December 31, 2018
Full Price $169.00 begins January 1, 2019

One of my favorite courses to teach is The Elements of Art. I’ve been working for a long time to bring this course to you online and it’s finally ready. It’s fun like kindergarten playtime, but also a seriously informative and in depth study of composition. Gaining an understanding of how the basic elements of texture, shape, line, color, and value function, can be life changing for an artist, especially if you are not formally trained. If you have been to art school, this refresher is presented in such a clear and easily understandable way that you will feel you are learning it for the first time.

Being able to articulate and understand what you already intrinsicly know can help you to see your work, and the world, with new eyes. It can help you move your unique vision from your mind out into the world where you can share it.

There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.  -Jiddu Krishnamurti

Whether you have a formal background in art or are completely self taught, this course is something you can truly benefit from. Check your fall calendar and save the date!

Registration is Open Now

Early Bird Pricing $149.00 Until December 31, 2018
Full Price $169.00 begins January 1, 2019

Lesson Schedule:

  1. April 1: Welcome and course philosophy
  2. April 8: Texture
  3. April 15: Shape
  4. April 22: Line
  5. Break/Catch Up
  6. May 6: Color
  7. May 13: Value
  8. May 20: Wrap Up
  9. May 31: Lyric’s last comments on student work.

Lyric’s last comment on student assignments will be May 31st but the classroom will not close. You will have permanent access to these lessons and be able to refer back to them as long and as often as you wish.

Lessons will consist of written material, assignments, and instructor feedback.

Q: How does the class work?
A: You will log into Ruzuku to access the course. Each week a new lesson will open consisting of both videos and written instruction. You will need to have an internet connection to stream the videos but can download the written material to peruse at your leisure. In the bottom of each section of the lesson there will be space for you to post your work and interact with the teacher and other students.

Q: Do I need to know how to draw?
A: NO! We will use pen and paper but Lyric will show you exactly what to do. This class isn’t about drawing, it’s about learning to see and understand what it is you are seeing.

Q: Do you require special supplies?
A: No, you most likely already have everything on hand. If you own a sketchbook, use it. If not, plain paper is great! Use whatever your favorite medium is to create the studies for this course. Acrylic on board? Great! Cloth and thread? Wonderful! Collage paper and glue? Fabulous!

Q: How much time will the class take?
A: I would love it if you spent one hour each week on the exercises. You can delve much more deeply and really get into each lesson if you’d like, repeating and refining your skill and strengthening your understanding as an artist. The more work you put into your individual study, the more you will learn and grow.

Q: I’m half-way across the world in a different time zone. Will I miss half of what is going on?
A: Not at all. The beauty of online classes is that you can come to them at your convenience. There is no “live” element to this class that you will miss.

Q: I’m out of town during a week of the class, what will I miss?
A: Nothing. You can catch up when you get back. All lessons will be there the rest of the class and you can post your work at any time while it is open. I will comment for two weeks past the last exercise (a total of 8 weeks) so there is a little wiggle room. The lessons themselves will remain open to you permanently.

Q: How much interaction is there from the teacher?
A: Lyric will comment on posted assignments until November 1st. The more you post, the more interaction you will get. Lyric will respond to each individual student, but also formulate her responses to the benefit of everyone in the course. Please read other student’s questions and answers as you they might ask something you hadn’t thought of.

Q: Is the content downloadable?
A: Only the written content, available as PDF lessons i available to download. You can download them as soon as they are released or wait until the end of the course when they are available in one continuous file (great for e-readers). The videos are not downloadable but you will have permanent  access to them after November 1st.

Q: What do I need to know about using a computer?
A: You’ll need to photograph or scan your assignments and save them as a jpeg. You can upload your pictures from your computer or devise to the online lesson. There is a video when you start class, that explains how to use the online classroom. Support@Ruzuku.com is very helpful and you can email them with any technical questions.

Registration is Open Now

Early Bird Pricing $149.00 Until December 31, 2018
Full Price $169.00 begins January 1, 2019

Creative Collaborative Collage

Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.
John Cotton Dana

I’m brave enough to call myself an artist, but I wonder sometimes. I don’t sell much of my art and most of what money I do make comes from teachingTeaching (and all of the development, preparation, marketing, contract negotiations, traveling, etc. etc. etc.) takes up a LOT of time I could be spending in the studio making art.

So why do I teach?

I’ve thought about that quite a bit. One of the main reasons I teach is because I love my students. I learn as much from my students as they teach me. I learn from my students every time I am in the room with them.

As an instructor, it’s imperative to stimulate people to think…
ask questions… the right questions…  
Bonnie Mandoe

When I read this quote it clarifies the way I love to teach. I want to empower my students with the ability to continue what they have learned in class without my presence. I want to make myself unnecessary. I want them to be able to think and play and to  analyze and explore.

Creative Collaborative Collage

…is one of my favorite classes that helps my students to think on their own. It is heavy on PLAY and EXPLORE, a perfect romp through a few of the elements and principles of art. It is a chance to goof off with friends you know and friends you haven’t met yet! It is a safe environment to make a mess and take chances. We will make a stack of small and unique collaborative art postcards following my whimsical and wild directions for you to take home and share with friends. It’s really more of a party with fabric than a class.

I’ll be teaching it on Friday afternoon November the 4th in Houston at the International Quilt Festival. It is the perfect time to take a break from walking the floor, sit down, and play with fabric. (The supply list is ridiculously easy – simply throw a bunch of your scraps and maybe a solid fat quarter into a quart sized zip-baggie and grab a pair of scissors!) You know you want to come don’t you!

sign up now for
(class #577)

There are still spots available but don’t wait too long – classes fill fast!

If you have a friend that will be attending IQF this year, I’d LOVE IT if you could forward this note to them. It really is a class where “the more the merrier” applies!

teaching: abstract-a-licious at APWQ


Students at the APWQ Symposium in Tacoma, WA

I think this is my favorite class. Yes, I say that about almost all of the classes I teach but I really do think this one might have risen to the very top of the pile.

There is something incredibly rewarding about helping students find the tools and the structure so that they can use their own unique experiences, access their own creativity, and create their own original art!


These three original designs all began (I think) as a tracing of a pair of scissors.Abstract-A-Licious_Lyric_Kinard_12

The tops are small studies, not masterpieces.

They are thoughts and ideas and explorations.And they are beautiful!

Getting ready for IQF!

It’s two weeks away but those of us who are teaching have to get our supplies shipped this week for the International Quilt Festival in Houston. I’ve been crazy busy (what else is new!?) ordering supplies and spent all day yesterday putting together kits for the Photos on Fabric class.lace2

I should have taken a picture of the floor before I cleaned it up. Hand dyed lace and linens in a glorious pile covering every square inch of the floor. Here is a picture of one of the boxes after I cleaned up. Maybe next time I put together kits it won’t end up as such an explosion since everything is now so organized. (I can dream can’t I?)


Photos on Fabric is filled, but two of my classes, The Elements of Art (#221 Tuesday 9-5) and Creative Collaborative Collage (#348 Wednesday morning) still have just a few slots. Tell your friends to sign up!

Once In a Blue Moon Fiber Art Retreat

This from my good friend and fellow fabulous teacher

Susan Brubaker Knapp 

Drumroll, please! I am pleased to announce that my 2013 retreat will be held at an exciting new location in Blowing Rock, NC. And I’ve asked a friend and truly fabulous teacher, Lyric Kinard, to join me! Lyric Kinard was named the 2011 Teacher of the Year by the International Association of Professional Quilters (IAPQ). She is author ofArt+Quilt: Design Principles and Creativity Exercises, and has created two DVDs (on beading and surface design).

The retreat will be held Nov. 13-16 at Meadowbrook Inn & Suiteson Main Street in Blowing Rock. This is a wonderful town, full of fun shops and wonderful restaurants, and surrounded by natural beauty of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains.

Susan and Lyric

Lyric and I will be offering two full days of classes, plus a half day onNov. 13 for early arrivals. Subjects include wholecloth painting, surface design, elements of art for quilters, thread sketching, funky embroidery, and beading. You can sign up to take both of your classes with me, both with Lyric, or one day with each of us. Each class is limited to 25 students to ensure that everyone gets enough individual instruction.The base fee for the two full-day classes is $240. There are kit fees for some classes. Registrants choose their own accommodations andmeals. We have reserved a block of rooms at Meadowbrook at a reduced rate (see retreat flier for details). And there are many wonderful restaurants within walking distance of the conference site.

Meadowbrook Inn & Suites in Blowing Rock, NC

My friend and conference facilitator extraordinaire, Joyce Mullis, is handling registrations and most of the organizational details.You can download the flier – which contains detailed information and pricing — and the registration form by clicking here. We hope we will mark your calendar and make plans to join us! 

Choose one three-hour class (these are optional add-on classes are not included in the base fee):

Free-style Embroidery Apron (with Susan)
Stitch up a funky art apron using Susan’s designs and colorful perle cotton. You’ll start with a flirty hand-painted canvas apron, and embellish it, using simple embroidery stitches. A relaxing, no-stress class.  Class price: $55 (includes kit fee)
– OR –

Bead It Like You Mean It (with Lyric)
Come learn the basics of beading and create a fun little art quilt. You will learn techniques for adding beads of all shapes and sizes to your quilts and wearable art, easily and after you are done quilting. Here’s the prize: no knots or mess on the back! Learn to embellish in a way that adds to the overall design instead of looking like an afterthought. Class price: $55 (includes kit fee)

Choose one six-hour class:

Wholecloth Painting: Botanicals (with Susan)
Learn the basics of creating wholecloth painted quilts based on photos. Choose from the four projects shown above, and work from line drawings and photos to recreate the image using acrylic textile paints. You’ll learn how to: select the right photos for great results; choose paints and fabrics to use; transfer your design to fabric; mix and blend paints for a range of values. We will also discuss how to thread sketch, quilt and finish your piece. Supply fee includes paints, brushes and fabric. $25 supply fee

– OR –

Surface Design Sampler Platter (with Lyric)
Can’t choose which surface design technique you want most to learn? Try a taste of each! Make a small art quilt or bookcover while playing with paint, foil, photo transfer, screen printing and stamp carving, and beading. Techniques include printing and stenciling, stamp carving, screen printing, foiling, photo transfer. The supply fee includes everything you’ll need except scissors and an X-Acto knife. Lyric will have extra supplies available for purchase in class. $35 supply fee

Choose one six-hour class:

Elements of Art for Quilters (with Lyric)
Kick-start your creativity and learn about the basic elements of good design. Learn why some colors fizz while others explode, why some quilts calm and some excite. A few simple tools from the artist’s kit will help you take your work, whether traditional or contemporary, to the next level. Students will discuss some of the basic principles of design, including focal point, line, texture, color, shape and motion. Quick, hands-on exercises will help you understand and implement these principles in your own artwork. No supply fee.

– OR –

Threadsketching: Snowflakes (with Susan)
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Whip up your very own flurry in this class, using thread, fabric and a tiny bit of paint. You’ll learn the basics of how to thread sketch, using Susan’s patterns for gorgeous, realistic looking snowflakes. Learn how to trace the design onto your background fabric, stabilize your piece to avoid draw-up, regulate your stitch for perfect tension, and improve your control while stitching. We will also cover free-motion quilting ideas for this piece, and discuss finishing techniques. $3 supply fee.

Detailed supply lists will be available in summer 2013. You can download the retreat flier and registration form by clicking here.

Abstract-a-licious: Studio Class

by Deborah Young

by Deborah Young

Join me for a wonderful class here in my Cary, NC studio.


Wednesday March 13, 9:30 – 2:30
(5 hours, lunch provided)

Creating your own unique abstract design is much easier than you think! Each of these quilt tops were created in class by students just like you. Some of them had never created an original design before!

Cory Allender

Cory Allender

by Michele

by Michele

This hands-on studio class will be a unique opportunity to experience Lyric’s favorite design class in a small group setting with lots of individual attention.

Lyric will gently guide you through simple and concrete design exercises that will help  you create numerous ideas for an original abstract quilt.

by Yvonne

by Yvonne

After a delicious lunch Lyric will help you sort through your design ideas and choose one you love to turn into a small, fused, art-quilt top.

by Eileen Sherman

by Eileen Sherman

Really – YOU can do it! Designs will be doodled, eyes and minds will be opened, and fun will be had.

by June

by June

I’d love to see you there! Please visit THIS LINK on my website to view my other studio classes, and to Sign UP!  (click here to see a supply list, detailed description of the class, and more pictures in the student gallery.)

Studio Classes in Cary NC


Wednesday March 13, 9:30 – 2:30
(5 hours, lunch provided)

Creating your own unique abstract design is much easier than you think! This is one of Lyric’s favorite classes to teach and this will be a unique opportunity to experience it in a very small group setting with lots of indibividual attention.

She will gently guide you through concrete exercises designed to help  you create ideas for original abstract quilts. Doodles will be  scribbled, eyes and minds will be opened, fun will be had.

(click here to see a supply list, detailed description, and student gallery.)

Photos on Fabric

Saturday March 16, 9am – 12:00pm
$65 includes ALL materials

There are so many ways to apply photos to cloth! Come play with some computer technology, some super easy solvent transfer methods, and try out Transfer Art Papers. Students will learn to transfer photocopies onto fabric and will also  review bubble-jet-set and various ready-to-print products.

Lyric will provide everything you need to learn each technique. You will have the opportunity to send an image of your own (jpg via email) ahead of time to work with.

(click here for more information about the class, what supplies Lyric will provide you, and a student gallery.)

Playing with Paint

Wednesday April 17th 10:00 – 1:00
$65 includes ALL materials

Join Lyric for a day of playful exploration as you learn various methods of applying textile paints to cloth. Learn to carve stamps, print with found objects, use resists, and use thermofax screens. You’ll go home with a series of small sample cloths and a whole lot of new techniques for creating your own unique fabric!

Show up with nothing but your playful spirit – Lyric will provide all materials for you. Wear clothes you don’t mind getting messy.

(click here for more information about the class, what supplies Lyric will provide you, and a student gallery.)

Elements of Art Study Group

Part 1 Wednesday group, 10am – 1pm
March 27th, April 10th, may 1st, May 15th
FOUR WEEKS for only $160.00

Part 1 Saturday group, 9am- 12noon
March 30th, April 13th, May 11th, May 25th
FOUR WEEKS for only $160.00

Delightfully informal and intensely informative! Students will meet together four times during each session to delve deeply into what it takes to become an artist. Learn to see, understand, and interpret the visual world as artists do. It is a journey full of joy and wonder! Come prepared to learn, work, laugh, and grow.

During the Spring Basic Elements Session, basic drawing stechniques will be taught, observational skills will be developed, and hands-on design exercises will be explored. We will explore the basic elements of art, learning the basics of the visual alphabet, namely texture, shape, line, color and vlaue. (principles of art study group will be held in the fall)

Click here for detailed information, supply lists, and comments from former students.

Student Spotlight: Playing With Paint

I’d love to share with you some of the wonderful work done by students in my class
Playing With Paint which will be opening a new session on Friday January 25th

Stamped by Sarah Stephens

These are from a previous online session www.QuiltUniversity.com

Dry brush by Madalene Murphy
Monoprint by Sally Stites
Tiger Eyes by Kathy Edwards
wet wash, stamp, shiva oil sticks by Anne Fornicola

Four lessons, one opening each week, plus a forum where I answer questions you have that is open for 7 weeks – all for $40.

Monoprint by Cheryl Hansen

On-Line Class: Freeform Screenprinting

Registration is open for one of my favorite classes over at QuiltUniversity.com.
four lessons, one opening each week beginning May 4th


  • Lesson One
  • Preparing your materials and workspace
  • The mechanics of printing
  • Paper stencil screens
  • Lesson Two
  • Found materials and other resists
  • Finger blending
  • Plastic stencil screens
  • Bonus – discharge printing
  • Lesson Three
  • Flour paste screens
  • Preparing images for Thermofax screens
  • Printing with Thermofax screens
  • Printing yardage
  • Lesson Four
  • Cheap and easy home-made frames
  • Glue and paint screens
  • Spray paint screens
  • Bonus – drawing fluid and filler
The class will be open for almost seven weeks. 
An extra week is built in before one of the lessons to let you order or create your own Thermofax screen. 
Beginning experiments by Charlotte Robinson
I’ll be checking into the class forum each day to answer any and all questions you might have.
Layered prints by Maggie Birchenough

I’ve got to say that Quilt University is one of the best deals out there. $37 for four lessons and that much of my time is an absolute steal!
Stencilled screen by Sue Price
We’ll have a ton of fun – and best of all, you don’t have to haul stuff anywhere!
Screened discharge with a tape resist by Elizabeth Gobson

I hope to see you there!
sign up at

Just Foiling Around

Next month I’ll be teaching one of my favorite classes at the American Quilt Festival in Paducah, Kentucky. This is one of the BIG shows in the quilt world and it will be my first time there. I’m excited! I’ve heard so much about Paducah’s Artist Relocation Program, it sounds like a dream come true to me. Caryl Bryer Fallert has her studio there now and I’ve always wanted to be Caryl Bryer Fallert when I grow up.


But I digress. The class I wanted to tell you about is called “Just Foiling Around: Foil, Glitter, and Painted Wonder-Under.” Yup. You heard right – painted Wonder-Under. It’s fusible paint – you can tear it, cut it, play with it, and I’m completely addicted to using it in my work. It gives a lovely and mysterious texture to the surface of your work and is a very versatile.

I’m also addicted to the shine and whimsy and wonder of foil. It can be very subtle or flashy, smooth or textured, and yes, it comes in many colors other than gold – I just have a thing for gold.


There is still space available in the class. #6504 on Wednesday Evening the 21st of April from 5:30 – 8:30pm. Late in the evening I know – but I’m hoping to have enough room in my suitcase for …. chocolate! If that isn’t worth coming for I don’t know what is!? Hope to see you there.

Artist Spotlight part 3: Melanie Testa – up and coming

Our last week with Melanie Testa has arrived and I thought I’d give her the chance to let you know of a wonderful event she has coming up. If you can get to Hampton, VA – run, do not walk, to join her at Art and Soul…. in her own words:

For me, teaching is about interacting with students, the exchange and interplay of knowledge to such an extent that I too learn and grow from the experience. The supremely awesome thing is that students have ‘beginners mind’, an attitude of openness and eagerness and a lack of preconceptions. Who wouldn’t feel invigorated by this? In May, I will be teaching at an event called Art and Soul.  This retreat is held in Hampton Virginia, just as the weather begins to warm up and all the flowers are in bloom.

I will be teaching two classes, Inspired Journaling, every-single-day! on Sunday, May 23  which will cover visual journaling and we will explore using resists, paints and glues to create luscious pages in our journals. No need to ‘worry’ over your drawing skillz! I will help push and cajole those fear where they belong.

And a Soy Wax Batik class on Monday, May 24 . Soy wax, beside being very easy to use, is an ecologically safe alternative to paraffin. It is a magical medium that yields almost instantaneous results. To make it even easier on you, we will be using paint instead of my beloved dye which has proven to yield just as lovely results!

So if you have the time and are near this fabulous retreat, please come and join in on the fun! I would love to have you.

I’d love to thank Melanie for taking the time to say hello to you all. As in our first introduction, she is an amazing artist and a wonderful person. Don’t forget to leave a comment – especially if you’ve had a class with Melanie in the past. What was your favorite thing about the class?

You can leave one comment on each of the four Artist Spotlight posts about Melanie. Late Tuesday night I’ll randomly choose one winner from among comments on the four posts to receive this original collaborative work. Melanie sent a lovely sheer organza printed with ginkgo leaves for me to work with. I’ve layered it with a peachy piece of hand-dyed cotton, printed with another set of ginkgo leaves. I also layered a few more leaves on the surface with a hint of gold foil. The 5″x7″ piece is machine and hand stitched with a spray of gold beads scattered across the surface.

Wednesday morning I’ll announce the winner so please be sure to check back so that you can send me your contact information. 

If you can’t get enough of gingko leaves head on over to Melanie’s blog – where she has created a little work of art with the ginkgo fabric that I sent to her. Same deal there – comment on each of her four posts about me. I’d especially love it if you’ve had a class with me – tell them what you loved or learned.

Chocolate and the American Quilter’s Society Show

Working, working, working.
I’m very distractible.

When I have a writing assignment I tend to find every little other thing that needs to be done. I do the dishes, I answer my Email. Today I just had to get up and take ten minutes to put together my favorite brownies. Then of course I had to take a picture and share with you.


Peppermint Brownies
2 squares unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup margarine or butter
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 cup flour
dash salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Melt butter and chocolate. Beat eggs with sugar and extract. Fold in chocolate, flour, salt, nuts. Bake in a greased 9×9 pan at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Cool. (yeah right!)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons margarine, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1-2 tablespoons milk
drop of green food coloring
Mix, adding just enough milk so it spreads or drizzles. Spread on cooled brownies – or not if you simply can’t wait.

So. Now that THAT is taken care of; there are still spots available in some of my classes at the American Quilter’s Society show in Paducah, Kentucky in April. 

JUST FOILING AROUND is a favorite. Are you attracted to gittery, sparkly, shiny stuff? Do you have a sheet or two of foil hanging around that you haven’t quite figured out what to do with yet? “YES!” I hear you say? Then you will love this class. I mean, really, really looooooove this class. Oh, and just to whet your appetite – we also play with painted Wonder-Under.
class number 6504 Just Foiling Around: Wednesday, April 21, 2010  5:30 pm to 8:30 pm

PHOTOS ON FABRIC teaches my favorite solvent photocopy transfer technique and more. I’ll have samples and demonstrate the properties of different commercial ink-jet photo-fabrics. This one is all about easy.

class number 6509 Photos on Fabric: Saturday, April 24, 2010  8:30 am to 11:30 am
It would be lovely to see you there! Let me know if you have any questions. Tell your friends!

New Screens

I’m in the middle of teaching an on-line screen printing course for QuiltUniversity.com. Totally fun. It filled before it opened so we are offering an overflow course beginning on May 15th. $36 for a four week course is a pretty great deal. The discussion forum is open a week or two longer than that so that if “life” gets in the way you can catch up on your own time. I’m there to help with any questions several times a day.

Of course I got a little carried away and started working on a bunch of new thermofax screens. All music related. I should have them up on my website by tomorrow morning. I’m thinking of putting my screens up on Etsy for sale as well. More exposure couldn’t hurt. If that part of my business picks up enough I’ll turn it over to my very talented and capable daughters who are always in need of more cash. I’m one of those horrifically mean mothers who won’t hand out an allowance. I do offer plenty of earning opportunities though.

First I need to make the Easter dress I promised to my youngest daughter. She picked out the fabric – I love it! I haven’t sewn a thing other than her blessing gown for her. I still have most of the things I made for her sisters so I haven’t needed to. Time to sew!

At The End of the Day

Tired but happy.
I spent the day teaching a group of absolutely lovely ladies from the Durham Orange Quilter’s Guild. We did some design exercises, learned different ways to mount or frame small textile artworks, and decided that the class doesn’t include time for making a peyote stitch beaded bezel.
I have the pleasure of working with this group again on Monday but am very glad that I have a day to rest. Monday’s class is fast, furious, and fun! The students in the Surface Design Sampler Platter usually come home buzzed but I’m ready to crash by then. I need to be well rested since I’ll be lecturing after the class. Hmmmm. Glad the lecture is “lights out” since my hands are usually well painted by the end of that class!
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