Tutorial: Finding Copyright Free Images at The Commons at Flickr

In an ongoing effort to help you find copyright free imagery, or imagery with “no known copyright restrictions” here is another source.


William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877)
Collection of National Media Museum
Photomicrograph of insect wings, as seen in a solar microscope.
We’re happy for you to share this digital image within the spirit of The Commons. Certain restrictions on high quality reproductions of the original physical version of apply though; if you’re unsure please visit the National Media Museum website.
For obtaining reproductions of selected images please go to the Science and Society Picture Library.
According to the site’s description of the rights statements:
Participating institutions may have various reasons for determining that “no known copyright restrictions” exist, such as:
  1. The copyright is in the public domain because it has expired;
  2. The copyright was injected into the public domain for other reasons, such as failure to adhere to required formalities or conditions;
  3. The institution owns the copyright but is not interested in exercising control; or
  4. The institution has legal rights sufficient to authorize others to use the work without restrictions.



You might also like to explore: 
The Library of Congress
WikiMedia Commons

for your inspiration: from the air


I reserve window seats as often as I can. There is something unbelievably beautiful about seeing the land from the air. On a recent trip to Omaha, Nebraska, the air itself was beautiful.


In a land that is full of rows and rows of cornfields during the growing season, the sky was seeded with row upon row of clouds.


Layers of soft floating blankets, clear blue, then line upon line of puffs. Weather fascinates me. If I had time I would go back to school and get a meteorology degree. And a fine arts degree, and an archeology and anthropology degree….. you get the idea.


It’s never too late to learn new things. The Omaha Quilters Guild was full of wonderful ladies who weren’t afraid to play and learn new things! Stamp carving, stenciling, screen printing, foiling, photo transfer! Art school for quilters!

apps for artists: waterlogue

More fun with the Waterlogue App for iPhone/iPads. Painted in Waterlogue

Two photos takes from the air – they translate to lovely abstracts don’t they?
Painted in Waterlogue


If I’m remembering correctly, I ran the original photos through the Snapseed App first to really boost the contrast and color saturation.Painted in Waterlogue

Painted in Waterlogue

Painted in Waterlogue

apps for artists: waterlogue

More fun with the Waterlogue App for iPhone/iPads. Painted in Waterlogue

I wondered what it would look like if I ran photos of my own artwork through the app
Painted in Waterlogue

Very fun, don’t you think?Painted in Waterlogue Painted in Waterlogue

apps for artists: waterlogue


snowbird7So a lot of people play games on their tablets or smart phones when they have time to fill or kill. It seems that the only time I EVER have time to fill or kill is when I’m traveling. Even then I usually have hand work or something to keep me busy while I listen to an audio book. But sometimes I just want to play. Instead of playing games I end up “playing photos.”

I was cruising Facebook and saw that Susan Brubaker Knapp had posted a picture using the Waterlogue app for iPhone and I was immediately hooked. I had just enough time to download the app before I boarded the plane and spent the whole ride playing.

Here is the original photo, taken at the top of the mountain at Snowbird Ski Resort in ear Salt Lake City, Utah.

Painted in Waterlogue

I learned that the best pictures for use in this app have clearly defined contrast – light/dark etc.

Painted in Waterlogue

You can adjust the setting within the app and try different filters to give it different looks.

Painted in WaterlogueI’m SURE you’ll be seeing more photos here with this app. Enjoy!


on the road: snowbird Utah


A trip to the top of the world…. it seems my heart lifts right along with the elevation.


I grew up just down from this mountain. Some day I will climb it, but this day we rode the tram.




Yes, if this sea-level girl was acclimated to 11 thousand feet I might have burst out into some serious Sound of Music singing! Look at that! REAL mountains… with tree lines and everything!

snowbird7And snow and sweet mountain blossoms.


(click to see this larger!)


on the road: little wild horse canyon

One of my daughters found out about Little Wild Horse Canyon
and suggested that we try it out.little_wild_horse_canyon1

I love it when they get all grown up and participating in stuff… like planning!little_wild_horse_canyon2

Little Wild Horse Canyon is right next to Goblin Valley and is an easy hike.little_wild_horse_canyon3

Well – easy once you get over a little rockfall at the very beginning of the hike. We were too busy laughing uproariously at ourselves, pushing and shoving each other (mostly ME) up and over to get pictures to that. little_wild_horse_canyon8The little ones were totally easy, just hand them up. It’s only about 6′ and there are a few clamber points but I found myself to be hilariously uncoordinated – especially on the way down. Good thing we all have a sense of humor.little_wild_horse_canyon6

The canyon itself was spectacular!little_wild_horse_canyon7


on the road: take a flying leap

flying_leap1 flying_leap2 flying_leap3 flying_leap4 flying_leap5 flying_leap6 flying_leap7 flying_leap8 flying_leap9

 Had waaaaay too much fun taking stop action photo bursts (and a few slow motion videos as well) with my iPhone.

flying_leap10Leaping is always more fun as a team right?

Goblin Valley, Utah


on the road: goblin valley utah

Welcome to the moon, otherwise know as Goblin Valley State Park.

goblin_valley_utah4We’ve all decided it’s our favorite Southern Utah Park.

goblin_valley_utah1Well, OK. It’s one of our many favorite Southern Utah Parks.

What a fabulous morning of climbing and jumping (stay tuned!) and playing with my camera.goblin_valley_utah3

for your inspiration: lin ottinger’s rock shop





Located in Moab, Utah near Arches National Park, Linn Ottinger’s Rock Shop is a fascinating, fun, and funky place to spend an hour or two. The crazy conglomeration of mining mechanicals out front was too much to resist. Photographs were manipulated using the Snapseed App.

for your inspiration: the beauty of rocks





During this road trip I spent time, as I always do in this landscape, gazing in wonder at the beauty created from minerals, time, wind, and water.

on the road: delicate arch

Pictures almost never do this landscape justice. They can capture a little bit of the vastness and beauty of this landscape but I don’t have the skill (yet) to truly capture what I see. And seriously, until we have that Star Trek holodeck you just can’t get that depth and dimension, the feeling of the heat on your skin and the sharp dry smell of the desert.arches_redrockThat doesn’t mean I didn’t have fun playing with apps that stitch lots of photos together and make ghost people in the process. (AutoStitch Panorama in this case.)

arches_off_the_cliffThis is the last little bit of the trail that we skipped during our night hike. With kids skipping in and out of the narrow path of our flashlight beam I think that was a good idea. It was really interesting how different the same hike was during the day in the scorching heat vs. the cool night. For one thing, there was no little pom-pom puff ball of a desert mouse thinking that my feet were a great hiding place from the big scary lights. That was another favorite thing about night hiking … seeing a few night creatures.arches_looking_back

Another difference between night and day: when you can’t see how very far you’ve come, how very steep the path is…arches_looking_up

…and how very far you still have to go to reach the next patch of shade, the hike seems much longer. We were skipping and running around under the stars and simply trudging under the hot sun. 

 The views all along the trail are spectacularly rewarding though. arches_delicate_arch_shoesThe hard work paid off dramatically. 


on the road: moab and arches national park

horses_moab1I thought I’d be posting pictures during our recent family trip. If anyone has experience posting to WordPress blogs via an iPad let me know. Because it just wasn’t working…. there must be an app for that right? No matter. Just like going on a hike – the best view when you rest is looking back at where you came from!

horses_moab3The family went to Utah for my firstborn’s wedding. But first we skeedoodled down to Arches National Park in Moab for a a few days of playtime. We couldn’t fly all that way and not catch up on a few things we didn’t have time for on our epic road trip last summer. The big boys went mountain biking on the slick rock trail and managed to not take pictures. Imagine that! The rest of us took it easier and mosied along near the Green River on horseback.


It was a very long and active day and the weather was, thankfully, perfect! After a hearty meal we rested up and went for a little wander to view some exposed fossils. It was good they had interprative signs because it took us a while to figure out what we were seeing. They looked just like the rest of the rock to us for a while until we learned what to look for. Then we went on a spectacular night hike. Truly spectacular!


Photo by Albert Herring from Wikimedia Commons

If you’ve been to the Southeastern part of the United States you will understand how much I miss having a view and seeing the sky. I love North Carolina. I also call it the “Great Green Tunnel of Trees.” If you don’t mow or pave there will be a very tall tree there. It is beautiful but there are no views anywhere and you can only see a postage stamp of the sky right above you. I miss the stars.

Photo by Neal Herbert from Wikimedia commons

Photo by Neal Herbert from Wikimedia commons

We didn’t actually hike all the way up to the arch – we skipped the very last bit that involves narrow ledges and steep drop offs. Right before that last bit is a very large flat rocky place where we laid down on our backs and just gazed for a good hour. We had the Star Walk apps on our iPhones and enjoyed finding constellations and watching satellites zoom across the sky. Shooting stars, the Milky Way! What a beautiful and vast galaxy we inhabit.


On the road: the desert southwest

imageThere are some landscapes that make my heart sing. image

imageI drink them in like life giving water.


I take photographs hoping to save some of the beauty for later.  But then i get home and there are kits to make for students and supplies to order and kids to schlepp. All wonderful things. I keep telling myself that there is a time and place for everything. There will be a day when i will have time to come home and create the art I’m longing to make before those inspirations slip away again.

for your inspiration – from the air


I know most people hate air travel. It isn’t like it used to be for sure.  My mother in law was a flight attendant back when they wore heels and white gloves and a prescribed lipstick color and had pat down checks to make sure you were wearing a girdle – even if you were an ultra petite size nothing. No jiggling allowed apparently.


I wouldn’t really know how it used to be because it used to be unaffordable for the majority of people.  Now most of us can afford to fly and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It’s still a miracle that we can get from coast to coast in one day.


I know it might be a hassle, but personally, I can keep myself happy forever in an airport or on a plane. Nobody is needing me to do stuff. I’m not fighting about getting homework done. I’m not driving endless hours dropping kids off and picking them up and grocery shopping and making dinner for people who won’t eat it. Frankly, it’s sheer luxury for me to sit and read a book or listen to one while I do handwork.

And then there are flights like this one. Perfectly ordinary but if you look out the window you see miraculous things. I flew over the most beautiful farm country. I watch as the geometry of the flat lands became more and more abstracted as the rivers and hills interrupted the long straightaways of endless roads.

from_the_air4Three hours flew by as I gazed out the window and snapped shot after shot then madly filtered them on my iPad (mostly Snapseed again) until the blended beige filter of the airplane’s window lens came close to matching what I was seeing in my minds eye. This is a beautiful place!

iPad Photo Fun – Snapseed

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 12.21.17 PMI’ve had a few requests to show my workflow/process as I play with my photo apps on my iPhone or iPad. So here you go.

One of my first favorites was Snapseed. (Which I believe is also available for Android users.) You take your photo as usual then open the app on your device and start messing around. I don’t spend time on games on my divides – well – Sudoku once in a very great while. The few games on my devices are there for children to play ONLY when we are waiting in a Dr’s examining room or somewhere that they aren’t involved in the main event andmust sit still and behave for more than 30 minutes. (I’m such a mean mom!)

Open the app then choose a photo from your library. You also have the option to take a photo right in the app but I find them to be much lower quality than those taken the regular way. The original photo is always still there, when you save your altered photo it saves as a new copy.coneflower1

My “go-to” first process is to click Tune Image then numb up the Ambiance, then adjust the Contrast, Brightness, and Saturation a bit. Click Apply when you are happy with what you have. If you are playing and like a photo at any step simply save it then move on. If you apply a filter and don’t like it you can open the most recent saved version and mess with it from there.

photo 1-2

Then the real fun begins. In this photo, sort of humdrum, I’ll play with Center Focus. I move the blue dot and expand the circle so that the flower is centered then mess with the inner and outer brightness and blur strength.photo 2-2

Now it’s time to get funky. The Grunge filter has about a thousand variations that you can slide through and you can also vary the strength of the Texture, Saturation, Contrast, etc. In this case I think I’m going to Crop the image so the petals aren’t quite so much centered. I always like a little more visual space on the side the subject seems to be “looking” towards.photo 3-2

 And just for fun, here are a few more workflows….

photo 1-1original photo of the Smithsonian Castle

photo 3-1
Drama filter

photo 2-1Tune Image adjustments

photo 4-1
Tilt-Shift filter

photo 5Frame

for your inspiration: art from the freer and sackler galleries

horse_chinese_bronzeHorse: China, Han dynasty (206 B.C. – A.D. 220)

ganesh_art_sculptureGanesha, the elephant god
South India, Mysore region, 13th century

cuneformFoundation Inscription: Iran, Persepolis, southern terrace wall, paper, ca 1923–35

chinese_bronze_wine_vesselRitual Wine Vessel: Eastern Zhou dynasty, 8th century B.C.

dancer_india_sculptureCelestial Dancer: India, state of Karnataka, 12th century

for your inspiration: washington DC

american_indian_museumThe American Indian Museum

column_capitalBotanical Gardens

fountain_mosaid_first_ladiesFirst Ladies Fountain: Botanical Gardens

smithsonian_castleSmithsonian Castle

mouth_eye_fountainOld Town Alexandria

eye_fountainOld Town Alexandria

old_town_alexandriaOld Town Alexandria

showing your work – photographing your art

Remember when I said that  one of the most frustrating things for a juror when looking through a pool of entries, is trying see past poor photography. Having unprofessional photography simply makes your work look bad. Hiring a professional photographer is expensive and I believe YOU can figure it out. The minimum equipment you need is a tripod and great lighting.

The fabulous Sarah Ann Smith recently posted a really wonderful tutorial on photographing your artwork that I think is really useful. She links to several other great articles, all of which I have used. (Reposted with her permission.)

I just read a fabulous article on photographing your artwork here, at textileart.org.  I highly recommend it!   I was thrilled that they link toHolly Knott’s instruction page for textile artists and art quilters, and they also had embedded a very useful YouTube video put up by the folks at Saatchi Online (see the video at the bottom of this post).  Those posts inspired me to share with you how I do my own photography.
2014.02.28.PhotoQuilts004-2I’ve become adept at photography through self-education and practice, and you can too.  My photographs have been used in my book (AQS even gave me a photography credit!), in Quilting Artsmagazine (which has some of the best photography out there),Machine Quilting Unlimited magazine, and a number of Lark Books including 500 Art Quilts, so I think I’ve reached proficiency–at least with the best of my shots.  Here’s a little of what I do in hopes that it will help you!

Set-up and level:  In the photo above, I’ve shown how I set things up in my studio.  I am very fortunate to have a LARGE (vast!) design wall, which I had built and installed when we moved into this house three (!!!) years ago.  I can pin my quilts to the wall and photograph them easily.  If you don’t have a design wall, you can create a temporary set-up easily and inexpensively:  purchase either foam core or rigid foam insulation.  Place the foam core or insulation flat (or as flat as you can get) against the wall (poster tacking putty may be helpful).   If you have to tilt the board, make sure the camera lens is parallel to the surface (see the Saatchi video, at the bottom of this post).


Hotshoe bubble level and first screen on my camera. The hotshoe (if your camera has one) is where one attaches a separate flash mechanism. On my camera, it is on top of the built-in flash. These small bubble levels are inexpensive, about $15. Mine will show you level whether the camera is positioned in landscape or portrait orientation.

I purchased a small “gizzie,”  a bubble level that fits into the camera hotshoe (the place where one attaches a separate flash) of my camera so that I can be sure that the camera is perfectly parallel to the vertical wall and also level, because my basement floors definitely are not perfectly level.  I purchased my camera level fromB&H Photo Video, a vast emporium (a real store and online) for all things photo and video; they have really expert sales people who can help you with expensive decisions (like a DSLR!) and great prices.  They are a Jewish business, so they close for the Sabbath (Friday to Saturday evenings) and holy days, so check on the website for special closings.  Otherwise, they are there.  Type “Camera level” into the search box on the site to find their current offerings.  If my eyes are telling me one thing and the hotshoe level is saying another, I often use a small “torpedo” level to double check.  When I turn the camera to vertical on the tripod, because the barrel of the lens has ridges, I make certain the front of the lens is level (see photos below).

With this particular lens, I notice that the lower right corner isn’t sharp no matter what the focal length, so when I want ALL the quilt to be super-sharp, I allow extra room around the edges.

With this particular lens, I notice that the lower right corner isn’t sharp no matter what the focal length, so when I want ALL the quilt to be super-sharp, I allow extra room around the edges.

 If you want to get REALLY obsessive (guilty!) you can make sure your quilt is exactly vertical using a small bubble level from the hardware store:

Making sure the sides of the quilt are vertical (or that the top is horizontal)

Making sure the sides of the quilt are vertical (or that the top is horizontal)


If you have the option, turn on a grid in the viewfinder. This will help you see if the now-truly-vertical sides of your quilt are parallel to the grid on the screen or at an angle. If they are at an angle, you can adjust the camera so everything is squared up correctly.

If you have the option, turn on a grid in the viewfinder. This will help you see if the now-truly-vertical sides of your quilt are parallel to the grid on the screen or at an angle. If they are at an angle, you can adjust the camera so everything is squared up correctly.

To obsess a bit more, you want to make sure that once the QUILT is vertical/level, that your camera LENS is also vertical/level.  The floors in my basement studio (painted that grass green!) are anything but flat and level.  So I triple check with not only the hotshoe bubble level, but I use the small red torpedo level (seen in the photo at the side of my quilt and below) to check if the camera LENS is vertical.  If the lens tips up or down, you will get distortion called keystoning, where a true rectangle appears wider at the top or at the bottom.

Using the bubble level on the top of the lens is a challenge because of the grip and changes in the surface.

Using the bubble level on the top of the lens is a challenge because of the grip and changes in the surface.


Instead you can use the hotshoe bubble level to make sure the front of the lens is in fact truly vertical (assuming of course that your wall is truly vertical!)

Instead you can use the hotshoe bubble level to make sure the front of the lens is in fact truly vertical (assuming of course that your wall is truly vertical!)

2014.02.28.PhotoQuilts011Distortion:  Through trial, error, and observation, I have learned that when I use my Nikon DSLR with the extra long zoom lens, the lower right of the lens has some distortion:  it just isn’t sharp in that lower right corner.  So when I set up and take photographs, I know that I need to have my tripod far enough away that I can avoid having a corner of the quilt in the not-so-sharp zone.  Next on my agenda:  take out the shorter zoom lens that came with the camera and see how that does.

A focal length on your zoom of about 50 is optimal. If your camera doesn’t tell you the focal length, just don’t do way zoomed in or really wide-angle.

A focal length on your zoom of about 50 is optimal. If your camera doesn’t tell you the focal length, just don’t do way zoomed in or really wide-angle.

Focal length:  I’ve also read that the optimal focal length for still photography like this is 50 mm (well, the digital equivalent of what 50mm was on old film cameras).  You definitely don’t want to go wide-angle because you will get distortion:  a square quilt will bulge out like a fish eye, the sides will appear to push out in the middle.  When I set up the tripod, I set the camera to 50mm, then I move the tripod so that the quilt fills the viewfinder (while avoiding that odd spot with my particular lens) but still allows me room to crop the photo in Photoshop Elements.

Center focus on center of quilt. Note hotshoe bubble level. Notice that the tripod is about ten feet back from the design wall and the quilt of Pigwidgeon dancing for supper nearly fills the screen, but avoids that lower-right area.

Center focus on center of quilt. Note hotshoe bubble level. Notice that the tripod is about ten feet back from the design wall and the quilt of Pigwidgeon dancing for supper nearly fills the screen, but avoids that lower-right area.

Tripod:  I cannot overstate how important it is to have a perfectly still camera.  As you push the button, your hand introduces shake to the camera.  My first tripod was purchased used for $27.  Yep, that inexpensive.   And photos from that set-up made it into books!  I eventually replaced with an “enthusiast” level tripod, but which still didn’t cost more than $150.  Since this is my business, it was a business deduction (and honestly, the only time I’ve ever used it for anything other than work is to film Eli at a few wrestling meets–I can videotape from the tripod and take still pics sitting on the floor!) and well worth it.  My tripod head has a built in bubble level on it, too, but I rely on the level on the camera to make sure the camera isn’t tilted on a level tripod.  If you don’t have a tripod, find a ladder, chair or other stable surface and put your camera on that.  Use the self-timer, press the button, then let the camera trigger the shot; this avoids wiggling from your hands pushing the button.

At the enthusiast level, tripods and heads are sold separately.   Some photography books urge you to buy a tilt-pan head, which swivels on a ball head.  I have found for photographing a quilt, I prefer the heads that allow you to level horizontally, then vertically, using two separate knobs.  I know that once I get horizontal level if I have to adjust for vertical, I would knock it out of level.  By having the head have two separate knobs, I can adjust in one direction, get it right and lock it in, then adjust for the other direction of level.

Tulip bulbs in inexpensive shop light reflectors. The bulbs cost about $35 each, so I store them carefully! But they are the most expensive part of your lighting set up and are still far less expensive than hiring someone to shoot your quilts! Unless you drop them, they last a long time.

Tulip bulbs in inexpensive shop light reflectors. The bulbs cost about $35 each, so I store them carefully! But they are the most expensive part of your lighting set up and are still far less expensive than hiring someone to shoot your quilts! Unless you drop them, they last a long time.

Lighting is CRITICAL!   I followed the information on Holly Knott’s website (paragraph and links below) to purchase the tulip bulbs that give even light when correctly positioned.  I screw them into inexpensive shop fixtures from the big-box hardware stores (about $9 each).

If you use only one light, or have it too close to the quilt as in this photo, you will get a “hot spot” or uneven lighting. Notice how bright the right side of the quilt is compared to the other three sides. This inconsistent lighting does not show your quilt at its best!

If you use only one light, or have it too close to the quilt as in this photo, you will get a “hot spot” or uneven lighting. Notice how bright the right side of the quilt is compared to the other three sides. This inconsistent lighting does not show your quilt at its best!

Instead, follow the info on Holly’s site and move the quilt stands (made from a 2×4 and four basic shelf brackets each, construction details on Holly’s site) back from the quilt to get good, even lighting.  Play with the White Balance on your camera to adjust for the type and color of light in your studio combined with the tulip bulbs.  If I recall, they recommend NOT having the overheads on, but I find that my studio is so dark that I really need my daylight-bulb overhead lights on to get a good shot.  Experiment to see what settings and lighting give you the sharpest, most color-correct photo.

Light stands and tripod set up at a good distance from the quilt.

Light stands and tripod set up at a good distance from the quilt.

Holly Knott’s Shoot That Quilt:  For fabulous instruction on how to “Shoot That Quilt,”  visit Holly Knott’s very helpful site, here.  She collaborated with a professional photographer, and I can say unequivocally that her information–especially on lighting–has made a key difference in improving the quality of my photos.  In particular, take a good long look at the “Gallery of Wrongs” which shows common errors and how to avoid them.

And watch this video prepared by Saatchi Online, a mongo huge online art gallery.  It is very well done, with a lot of good information.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this post!  Now go make art, then photograph it well! 


showing your work – the jury process

I thought I’d continue the subject of showing your work by reposting an earlier series of articles. Be inspired! Enter your work and get it out into the world!

It takes a lot of courage to put your work in front of a judge or juror, or so I’ve been told. I’ve done it many a time and paid good money for the privilege. Why? Because I want people to see my work. Some artists might create their work entirely for their own pleasure, happy to let the art live in a closet forever, but I haven’t met them yet. Most of us have a message to send with our art – even if that message is as simple as “smile.”

Do I find it scary to submit to the jury process? No – but not because I think my art is great or because I always get into the show. This year I’ve been accepted to two out of four of the shows I’ve entered. Part of my “courage” is having seen enough jury processes that I know what is involved. Part of it is that I am able to emotionally let go of my work once it’s done. Let me explain.

In a juried show artists submit either images or the actual artwork, and a juror chooses which out of all the submissions will be in the actual exhibit. Jurors are usually professionals in the art field; established artists, gallery owners, professors, curators.

You fill out a form, you pay a fee. It’s not unreasonable. It costs money to advertise the show, to staff the exhibit, to pay the juror. Most of the shows I’ve worked with just barely break even.


What happens on the other end? Imaging receiving hundreds of files, some of which might actually have followed the guidelines in the prospectus. You’ve already answered what feels like hundreds of Email questions and helped people format their files or simply restated what is already written in the entry guidelines.

All of the entries are now organized into a slide presentation and you have prepared numbered sheets for the jurors. The most common process that I’ve seen goes like this: A full and detail image for each entry is shown on the screen either side by side or one after the other. Most of the time the jurors will be shown a quick run through of all of the entries so that they can get an idea of what they are looking at. If the show has a theme the jurors might be told what it is and asked to find pieces that adhere to that unifying idea. Sometimes the jurors are given free reign to choose whatever pieces they think will make a wonderful exhibit. They will usually be told the number of artworks that can be accepted.

The next run through is usually silent but takes more time. Each juror looks carefully at each piece and simply writes down “yes” or “no.” At the end of this run the jurors compare notes and any piece that has unanimous rejections are, well, rejected. Harsh? Not really. There are many, many reasons pieces are rejected that have nothing to do with the quality of that particular piece.

I’m sure the most frustrating reason for rejection is poor photography. When the jurors cannot see the artwork clearly it is impossible to judge it. Having anything at all showing in the background of the photograph is distracting. I remember one photograph in particular where the piece was pinned to a piece of bright purple foam core set on an easel. You could see half the living room and the jurors couldn’t tell if the purple was part of the quilt or not. Truly, if you present your work in the the most professional manner possible it will make a huge difference. Your work IS your best effort is it not?

Now things get difficult. After the rejected images are deleted from the pool the jurors once again view the pool, this time either meticulously rating each piece, or conversing with their colleagues to come to an agreement on the final selections. There is a good bit of cajoling, campaigning, and compromising that goes on here. Things get really interesting when you get more than one strong willed artist with an opinion in the room. I have yet to see anything but good manners and a willingness to work together in the best interests of putting on the best show possible.

Reasons for rejection at this stage? Numerous. The theme could be “Trees” and they reject the artwork depicting fishes and candy canes. The pool of entries might lean towards abstract and one photo-realistic piece, no matter how spectacular, just isn’t going to create a cohesive show. Perhaps these particular jurors love politically challenging pieces whereas another set of jurors might shy away from them. The venue for the exhibit might also issue guidelines regarding things such as nudity if children frequent the site.

You see, it really is simply the luck of the draw. There are so many factors that go in to the process that there really is no guarantee that you will be accepted into a show even if your work is truly wonderful. There are things you can do to raise your chances of being accepted.

1 – Research the show – what type of artwork has been exhibited in past shows?
2 – Research the juror – find out what other shows the juror has put together and what they look like.
3 – Take the best possible photographs of your work possible. Neutral backgrounds. Good light. Focused!
4 – Follow the instructions on the prospectus to the letter! Do not expect the organizers to resize your images or accept late entries.
5 – Stop worrying about it and just enter the show if you feel your work fits. Let your babies grow up and go out into the world.

Here is a short list of articles and a book that can help you with the tasks above.

Shoot That Quilt by Andy Baird and Holly Knott
A wonderful tutorial on how to digitally photograph your quilt including plans for building your own nifty light stands. Yes, it can be done!

Digital Essentials by Gloria Hansen

This wonderful book clearly explains how to prepare your digital files for entry.

A list of art-quilt shows to enter compiled by yours truly
Listed by entry date, includes title, website/prospectus, show dates and shipping windows.

Judge and Jury: What to Expect When Entering Art Shows by Annie Strack. This is a great overview of how the entry and  jury process works in the general fine arts world.

And finally – cut the apron strings. Let your babies grow up and venture out into the world on their own. Make enough work that all your hopes and dreams are not riding on one piece. Put your heart and soul into the work while you are creating it and then release it. A rejection of your work from a show is NOT the same as a rejection of you as an artist.

Look for more on this topic over the next week or two. I’d love to hear your experiences, opinions, and suggestions. Have you been involved in a jury process that worked differently? How do you think it can be improved?

For Your Inspiration: a walk in my garden

photo 1

photo 2

photo 3

photo 4

For Your Inspiration: Beaufort, North Carolina


photo 4-3This past weekend I had the great good pleasure of spending time with my best friend.

photo-4It was the slowest vacation we’ve ever taken.




Time spent with books.photo 2-11

Time spent slowly wandering on the sand and the marshes.photo 3-9

photo 3-6

photo 4-2

Time spent looking at houses from the 1700’s.photo 5-1

Time spent eating amazing food.photo 1-9

Time spent in laughter.photo 4-7

Time spent exploring a fascinating old buildings and graveyards and history.photo 3-10

photo 2-10


I really needed that. I’ll get back to the giveaways on Wednesday – and draw the winners for the last three then. I’m still not quite all back yet.

For Your Inspiration: Spring

photo 1-6

photo 2-5

I hadn’t seen this before I moved to the South so I thought I’d share it with you even though it’s a terrible picture – taken out the window while I was driving. There are a few places where the Wisteria vines grow unchecked into the trees. You drive by and suddenly a great purple jungle blooms into the heavens.

photo 3-3

For Your Inspiration: Charleston SC architecture

A couple of weeks ago I had the great good pleasure of visiting Charleston, SC to film with Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson for The Quilt Show. I’ll tell you more about that soon, but first, the beautiful city. I love architecture that has character. Cities that have a living breathing soul. I love my suburban house – but it’s more like a carpenter loves her favorite tool. It gets the job done well but it isn’t like a work of art. Going into a place where the environment has the benefit of time for people and generations to truly give a place a feeling of depth and history – that is as good as sitting and breathing into the ocean tides for me.


Charleston has a structural history as deep as any place in the United States. It was one of the first settlements during the colonial era. Unlike most other early settlements it tolerated many religions, having one of the oldest synagogues in the country.

Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim

Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim

Charleston is a beautiful city to walk through, small enough to wander without getting lost – you’ll run into the ocean soon enough on this small penninsula. There are grand homes and small ones and many, many beautiful glimpses of tiny courtyard gardens. I love hidden gardens as much as I love soulful architecture.


I also love that first hint of spring with blossoms opening. There was a bitterly cold wind as we were walking around that kept us from feeling that expansive wonderful first warmth that is the harbinger of winter’s end, but we could see visible proof that it is on the way.


I look at such places and imagine the stories bricks could tell. I sometimes feel that if I could sit still and quietly for long enough I could hear their whispers. Or at least I could imagine the stories.


In the case of this city there is a deep and rich and often painful story to be told. For the first time I took time both before and after I visited to dig a little deeper. Over the next few posts I’ll share a little of my perspectives with you. Stay tuned.


For Your Inspiration: Snow

We simply don’t get much of it here. That’s a good thing.

photo 2-5

When we do get snow – we run outside and enjoy every minute of it.

photo 1-5

This was the first time in years (YEARS!) I’ve seen those big, fat, fluffy, sopping wet kind of flakes slowly falling from the sky.

photo 3-5

For Your Inspiration: Seattle’s Space Needle



Apps for Artists: Paper Camera

A fun APP available for iphone or android smart phones that might be of interest is
Paper Camera by JFDP Labs
As an artist, there are so many fun things to do with a smart phone or tablet with a camera. One late night waiting around I spent a very entertaining hour playing around with all the options on this camera app. Things got a little silly as you’ll see.

My favorite is the Sketch-Up filter!

There are a ton of filters to play with – you can take the shot right in the app or process a photo from your camera’s library. You can control the contrast, brightness, and lines for each filter but that’s it. It’s very simple to use. Here are a few more of my favorite filters.

Old Printer

Granny’s Paper

Andy Pop

I can’t remember if this is the Comic Boom or the Bleaching filter.

Neon Cola – bwaaaa haaaa haaaa haaaaa!

Gotham Noir 

As I look at some of these I’m realizing that they might be very good learning tools. In the picture above there are well defined dark and light spaces. Sometimes when I’m drawing features I have a difficult time seeing where shadows lie and instead of filling in dark and light will outline an eye shape or a nose. Taking a few pics here it would be easy to practice drawing simplified eye and nose shapes with dark and light alone shapes.

For Your Inspiration: J Raulston Arboretum

For Your Inspiration: Chicago

I spent an absolutely lovely weekend with my sister in Chicago.
(all of these were taken on my iPhone with the photo synth app)

For Your Inspiration: Verbesina + Kaleidoscope

 (and a little time with Paint Shop Pro’s kaleidoscope feature)



For Your Inspiration: Philadelphia

I spent a week with the family in Philadelphia over the 4th of July.

A city where old meets new

One of the nations first banks (I think)
The Barnes Foundation – one of the worlds greatest collections of art.
Watch the documentary “The Art of the Steal”

The Sketchbook Challenge: December Theme

I have a little confession. I’m having trouble with this month’s Sketchbook Challenge theme. As much as I usually love such things, “trashed, ruin, and decay” aren’t something I’m really feeling during this month of bright reds and twinkling lights.

decay: photo by Lyric Kinard

There isn’t anything wrong with the theme at all. It’s a fantastic theme. For my life right now –  it’s just a timing thing. I’ve been struggling to even want to try to create something with the theme.

done: photo by Lyric Kinard
It’s only sketching it right now that’s holding me up. I want to sketch the poinsettia sitting on my desk now, not the dead stuff outside.

linked: photo by Lyric Kinard

On the other hand, put a camera in my hand and what you’ll find on the card is tons of pictures of rust, cracked masonry, withered flowers.

withered: photo by Lyric kinard

Decaying things always have the most interesting textures, patterns, and colors to my eye. I love nothing more than peeling paint and fungi growing out of rotting wood. 

antique: photo by Lyric Kinard

For Your Inspiration: Asheville, NC

For Your Inspiration: Duke Gardens

This is one reason I love living in North Carolina. Blossoms at the end of February.

I’m also having fun playing with my new Camera Bag app for the iphone.
 I took a few minutes after lunch to sketch this scene albeit from a slightly different angle.

I’m sending warm wishes and the smell of cherry blossoms your way.

For Your Inspiration: San Xavier del Bac, Tucson Arizona

Tucson, Arizona
Ceiling detail, crossing
lower walls – nave

For Your Inspiration: Wickedly Wild Flora at the Sonoran Desert Museum

I love this desert.
I can’t help but thinking that perhaps Dr. Seuss might have loved it too.

Still. I think I’m glad not to live where every green thing wants to bite you. Ouch.

For Your Inspiration: Rust

Beautiful photography by Tina Negis
september sunset —
crabs explore the skeleton
of a humpback whale

 – collin barber
 he holds back
on the oars 
not enough moon
              –  Francine Banwarth

 summer grasses

all that remain 

of the warrior’s dreams

               – basho

 in the foxhole

a pair of soldier’s boots

yearns to come home

                   – lanie shanzyra p. rebancos

if only the birds
could feed us pieces of sky
in return for bread.
– brian vandervliet  

For Your Inspiration: The Farmers Market

I’ve been wanting to go to the NC State Farmers market
with camera and without children for years and years now.
I finally made it. What a lovely morning!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...