This is a post I wrote awhile back. I liked thinking about what guides my work. It seemed like it could continue to give me, and maybe you, things to think about if I gave it its own page.

Less is more. Really it is. I keep forgetting, I guess. So I am making myself a list of rules—no, I won't call them rules. They are "guiding principles." You can ignore them in your own work, or argue with them if you like, but I think defining my own principles is a good way to remember what I already really knew.

Composition is the first and most important element. Once you are well into a piece it is hard to change the composition. Spend the time at the beginning to work it out and save yourself some grief later. Composition, composition, composition.

Color is important, value is even more important. Exciting art has deep darks and sparkling lights. Too often we are bogged down in the middle tones and that is the way to boring work.

Be true to your materials. Fabric art should look like fabric. Paint should look like paint. Paper should look like paper, etc. etc.  Fabric cannot do all that paint can do. Paint cannot do what fabric does. Let the materials speak and listen.

Doing more is usually not the answer. Less is more. Simple is good. No amount of paint, glitz, buttons, beads, embroidery will fix a bad design. Embellishment should be part of a plan, not a band-aid.

Know your strengths and work with them. Just because other people love to make grand, immense work, doesn't mean I have to. Smaller and more focused is my place of greater strength. Large is not my best way of working.

Be authentic. Let your own style evolve by paying attention to what works best for you, what feels most honest and the feedback you get from trusted colleagues. Being inspired by the work of others helps you define yourself, but copying others just masks your own voice. Know the difference.

Filter what you hear from others. Advice is nice, but consider the source. Praise is lovely, but realize that most of your friends tell you what you want to hear. Questions are often more illuminating than answers.

Don't let the work become too precious. Always be willing to throw something away that isn't working. Or cut it up. Or give to the cat to sleep on. Some things are just practice. Not everything needs to see the light of day. But before you do any of these things analyze it and learn from it.
Base your analysis in sound practice. Go back to the elements and principles of design and ignore the theories of the proponents of "winging it."
Don't be lazy. "Good enough" is lazy if you can work a little harder and actually make it better. Do it right.


  1. Excellent food for thought!

  2. Anonymous4:11 AM

    I love that you know who you are and understand that everyone else's ideas, comments, criticism and even praise is all relative. I just stumbled on to your work for the first time through a PIN from my daughter and am very impressed. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thank you for such a thoughtful post and excellent advice. I'll add it to my regular go to articles when I need to get focused in the studio.