Hollyhocks by Allison Wilbur 2015 based on Virginia Avery's watercolor, Hollyhocks

Paint Every Day

My mother’s recent passing has had me thinking a great deal of all the beautiful gifts she passed on to her three daughters and to the many students she taught watercolor.  I think one of the most valuable lessons I learned was “Paint every day.” For most of her life, my mother did something connected to her art every day, whether it was painting in her studio, teaching at her local art associations, going to museums, photographing local landscapes at the perfect time of day to capture the light just right, reading art books, or sketching the cat on the windowsill. Her immersion in art meant she was always moving forward, exposed to new ideas, trying new techniques, meeting new friends and stretching herself artistically.  With an abandon my husband perhaps finds appalling at times, I try and do the same with my quilting (my interest in housework diminishes every year!). There are so many ways to stretch oneself in the quilting world – quilt guild meetings and shows, magazines and books, online sources like blogs, pinterest and you tube, quilting bees, quilt shops and classes, making gifts, entering challenges – the list goes on and on. You can focus on continuous line quilting designs, try a new piecing technique or a new thread, read about a fabric designer, go to an exhibit at the quilt museum.  There is no better cure for “quilter’s block” (our version of writer’s block) where you just don’t feel the creative juices flowing than doing a little something every day. It is like a brook that gets damned by a beaver, once you stop, it is hard to get moving again. To keep my creative juices flowing, I learned early on to set up a permanent space with good light for my sewing. And eventually I learned to call this space my quilt studio and not my sewing room.  You mend jeans in a sewing room. You create in a studio. So in honor of my mother, I hope you will go spend some time in your studio and create today and every day.  It is good for your soul!

Here is a link to my mother’s obituary. We will be holding a Celebration of Life for her in the spring at the South Shore Art Center in Cohasset, MA and someday we hope to create a website and perhaps write a book about her life and art.

Virginia Holmes Avery

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