Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Last Crazy Quilt Birdhouse

It seems that all good things must come to an end. I have finished the third and last "Crazy Quilt Birdhouse Series" and found that it was far more fun than I ever imagined. In fact, so much fun and challenging that I may expand these designs onto platters, trays and such.

However, after entering the first Crazy Quilt birdhouse on the DecoArt Summer Americana contest, I was both surprised AND pleased to find that I was one of three finalists! In fact, the voting continues on their web site through July 2nd. If you wish, you can click this link and you can vote for one of three finalists. I am the birdhouse on the right!

The winner doesn't win a great amount of money, but it would be a source of pride for the winner. Now don't get me wrong, I AM honored to be chosen at all. It is an honor to be in the company of people far more experienced and talented than me. However, I would appreciate your vote!

When I began this series, I didn't realize the potential for design. The idea of putting fabrics together is just as arduous as picking out paints. And to make matters worse, I had to paint the fabrics and make sure that the same pattern was used wherever the background color was used. However, it was great fun if tedious at times.

Things that can be used and still show the whimsical design became important. Anyone that is a quilter or admires the quilting art should enjoy such an item. And trust me, it is NOT easy to paint a fabric design on a birdhouse!

I think it is the constant challenge of finding something new to paint...quilting ideas, Rosemaling, Tudor, Pennsylvania Dutch, all ideas that seem to be out of the box. It becomes rather boring and even trite and repetitive (ala Thomas Kincade the "painter of light") to not try something new and different. I suppose though, and anyone who has seen Kincade's earlier works knows how talented he was, it is easier to find a niche and remain there. It takes a Van Gogh, Cezanne or Braque to constantly experiment and try something new or different.

I can't wait to try and use these designs on a flat surface. They will be fun yet challenging.
If you like them, you can check them out on my stores. Check out KrugsStudio on both and

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Thinking Outside of the Box

I don't know about you, but I am now constantly looking at "things" getting ideas for the next project. I have had a love of quilt designs and have attempted to utilize with them over the years. Quilt designs are in many ways derived from old world designs that have been dubbed Pennsylvania Dutch though in fact they came from all over Europe, brought by the early immigrants to what became the United States.

Many don't realize that quilting is one of maybe two art forms that are unique to the United States. While it has spread around the world, it originated here. I would guess it was a way to utilize the few resources settlers had. And depending on what they had, add a little color to what must have been pretty drab surroundings.

It was those crazy quilts, quilts that used every bit of leftover fabrics, the scraps, that inspired my newest series. And in fact, it has been both a challenge and great fun trying to "wrap" those plain on birdhouses with fabrics, even if they were painted on. I never know what will and will not inspire a person to purchase one of these creations. If we don't try, we will never know.

What non-crafters don't realize is that the creation of one of these "crafts" can take as much if not more time that a regular painting. And as much as I love painting a landscape, it seems that I have more leeway here. I allow myself a degree of freedom with my crafts that I have not allowed myself in painting. However, I have come to realize that they feed on each other and what I learn in one has a benefit to the other.

There is one more birdhouse primed and ready in this series. It is a deep turquoise so I think I will try to use purple and blues and see what develops. 

Never be afraid to try something out of the box. Even if no one else likes it, it opens your mind to other possibilities; helps take one out of a stylistic rut. To me, to be an artist means to continually grow in vision and feelings. Yes, there will be missteps along the way, but even then, its a learning experience that has benefits down the road.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Left Brain, Right Brain

I had an interesting discussion on Father's Day with my family over an article I had read in the paper. You know, the printed kind. My son then responded that he had seen the same thing on the Internet and noted that you didn't have to have a printed paper to do that. I stopped and tried to explain what I had said when my wife chimed in as well. They are both right handed. Totally confused by now and surprised at the tone of their comments I fell silent.

His girlfriend then spoke saying that she understood exactly what I had said and then went on to explain it even better. She understood what I was trying to say and that seemed to mollify everyone.

Later after a wonderful dinner and then beer at a local tavern, I began to reflect on what had happened that evening. It made me begin to question how we think, how we hear and what we hear. How did it happen that two right brained and two left brained people had such a positive or negative reaction to a simple statement? The girlfriend and I are left handed, VERY left handed, the son and wife are right handed.

Is it something this simple that causes so many of the conflicts we face in life? The causes of wars, religious divides, even movements in art? Do we see or hear things differently? Does the brain of one type process events differently? It certainly gives me pause.

I would be interested in hearing what you think. Do you feel that being right brained, or left brained truly makes a difference in the way you perceive things? Does it alter the way you see the world?

Monday, June 4, 2012

To See

An artist, of any stripe, wants to create. Not only do they want to create but to create something that has meaning. While an audience may not always agree with the artists meaning, or vision, to the artist and maybe to the future, that meaning will become apparent. The artist Vincent Van Gogh comes to mind. To read his letters is to experience the emotions anyone who creates something knows: the doubt, the ache of expression, the feeling that what you are doing probably has no purpose but to entertain, get you to see.
Crafters, often a dirty word become the "something" they create isn't considered "real" art, DO create something because it is much closer to the heart. And after all, isn't ART in the eye of the beholder? Anyone who watches THE ANTIQUES ROAD SHOW has learned that lesson a long time ago.

We may not be able to purchase a great masterpiece and have to settle for a print. The purpose of the purchase? To give your home, a room, a place in that room a bit color, a focal point, something that brings comfort and peace to you. 

I love color. Every piece that I create has me agonizing over what colors to use, what combination looks wonderful together. Many times I will find that a color I thought I wanted just didn't work and will grab another. Often I will find that the piece is far to garish and at a point of giving up will run an antiquing wash over it only to find that somehow, I can never explain why, it all works. It is exactly what I had in mind.

I feel that every room in your house should have a focal point. Some place that your eyes will "see" and enjoy. In my house, we have things from around the world that we have picked up. Our mantle is littered with Oaxacan monsters whose garish colors scream yet somehow form a harmonious whole. There are many pieces to look at, to remember, and for the visitor entertain.

Never be afraid of buying something that attracts your eye. Place it proudly for all to see...for YOU to see, reflect and remember. After all, aren't those the best kind of memories?