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

On-Line Class: The Artist’s Toolbox

Registration is open for
The Artist’s Toolbox

An on-line course at www. QuiltUniversity.com

based on the book
Art + Quilt: Design Principles and Creativity Exercises

Come learn the basic alphabet of the visual language, the elements and principles of good design.

I’ll walk you through each element, explaining them in easy to understand language and metaphors.

We’ll observe each element in the world around us both in art and in the natural world.

Finally we’ll put what we’ve learned into practice through practical exercises.

The supply list couldn’t be simpler:

Sketchbook and whatever drawing stuff you have, Glue Stick, Fabric Scraps

Registration is open now and the class fills almost every session so don’t delay.
Class begins this Friday, May 3rd
(4 lessons, the forum is open for 7 weeks)

Basic Design for Beginning Quilters: Shape (pt 2)

Today I will belatedly continue my little crusade to convince traditional quilters that design IS relevant to all kinds of quilts. If you missed my blathering on about why I believe that learning the basic elements of art is worthwhile and possible you can read Part 1 – Texture.

Today’s basic design tip?
Learn to understand



SHAPE is an element very easily understood for all quilters. After we walk into the quilt shop and pick out our fabric we take it home and (sometimes) wash it, fold it, but always we love on it with our fingers and eyes. Eventually we will cut (some of) it into SHAPES and sew those pieces together with other shapes into a quilt.


Shapes in a quilt or in any work of art perform an interesting function – evoking a sense of movement or stillness, carrying our eyes in one direction or another either quickly or gently. Letting the eye rest or encouraging it to lively movement.

Think about a body standing straight up – I always picture one of those palace guards in England – with the big black Q-tip hats. A picture of strength and stability (and tourists trying to get them to crack up.) Shapes that are predominately vertical have some movement to them but also stillness and strength. Take a look at Monet’s painting of the Parliament building. All those vertical shapes create a sense a quiet strength. Now how can you create that feeling in your patchwork?



Now think of a horizontal body. It is most likely at rest, sleeping. There is a feeling of quiet, of peace. The eye moves slowly back and forth and there is a feeling of peace. The quilt to the right is available as a free download pattern from Robert Kaufman. Read about it at the blog Film in the Fridge.

2009121459320067Look how peaceful and calm this landscape (also Monet) feels. The soft horizontal shapes play a big part in creating that feeling. How can you use that in your next quilt?


What kind of patterns can you think of with horizontal and vertical shapes. What happens when one shape or another is dominant. What happens when you combine the two?

imagesLet’s move on to diagonal shapes and what kind of movement they create. A body at a diagonal is either moving or it’s going to! Diagonal lines carry the eye quickly from one place to another. They imply and elicit motion. Monet’s landscape here is predominately created with diagonal shapes. Look at the edge of the river, the reflection and the way the sky creates a big triangle as well. Still peaceful but more movement than before.


Janet Wickell created this pinwheel design and it is definitely full of visual movement, don’t you agree? How can you create movement with your patchwork? What patterns create lots of motion as your eye quickly slides and jumps around the lovely thing you’ve created?

Now think of what happens with curved and organic shapes – even more motion! What kind of movement a feeling do you want to elicit? Sherri Lynn Wood created this fabulous quilt – available on Etsy. Where does your eye go? What happens when you include diagonal and organic shapes?

Claude_Monet_Water-Lilies-500x500Here is another Monet, this time the shapes are very organic made mostly of circles. Where and how does your eye move around the painting?

There now. Wasn’t that easy? You now know two of the basic elements of art: TEXTURE and SHAPE.

What kinds of shapes do you see around you? What kind of movement do they evoke? How can you translate that into your quilts?

Basic Design for Beginning Quilters: Texture (pt 1)

rocket-scienceIf you’ve been reading my work for a while, you know my “spiel” right?


I really, really believe it’s true. It takes work but it can be learned. Sometimes it’s like becoming a PhD rocket scientist work! Sometimes it’s just learning how to light some cardboard on fire work. Either way, you get to send something into the sky!

Once in a while I run into quilters who look annoyed with me and say, “Yeah – that basic design stuff is for the art quilters. I like traditional quilts.” Well. I have news for you. Traditional quilts ARE works of art! Just a few little tidbits of design knowledge can help lift even the most basic of traditional quilts off the ground and into the proverbial sky.

Today’s Basic Design tip?
Learn to understand


ACTUAL TEXTURE – THE WAY IT FEELS TO THE TOUCH. When we walk into a quilt shop we choose the traditional quilting cottons. Yum – I love quilting cottons! The texture of quilting cottons is smooth and crisp and wonderfully soft at the same time. I love the way cotton flattens out under a steam iron, don’t you?

VISUAL TEXTURE – THE PATTERN YOU SEE ON THE SURFACE. This is what I want to show you. Take a simple nine patch  and say you want to make a blue scrappy quilt. You shoe very carefully and make sure every blue you buy is a different pattern. But really look at this block. All the blues are the same color of dark blue with a tone on tone print. The scale of each print is almost exactly the same. If you look at the block from two feet away you don’t even notice that they are different fabrics. Go ahead and squint at the picture – it gives you the idea right?


What happens if you vary the VISUAL TEXTURE of each fabric? Some are swirly and bright and there is even a spot of a different color (gasp) thrown in. Things begin to sparkle just a bit, without compromising the idea of scrappy and blue!


Now, wasn’t that easy? One little design tidbit and things are beginning to get interesting. Come back tomorrow for the next tidbit.


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.

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