Week in Review 2023 – 05/25


The artist at work

I am a self-taught artist. There I’ve said it. First, it took me years, decades actually to refer to myself as an artist. However, that is irrelevant to this post. Instead I will focus on a few of ways I have found to teach myself.

The opportunities to learn through SAQA or infinite.

What I do

  1. I learn from hanging out with others who create art in my medium and outside of my medium. Over the years I have been a member of a quilt guild, SAQA, more than a handful of critique groups and Cohasset Open Studios. I learn from the other members by observing, asking questions and even having to answer questions. The latter helps me solidify my own understanding.
  2. I take classes. If something intrigues me or if I am stuck, I find a class. What a gift online classes are! I can take them at my convenience and at a speed that is comfortable. Many classes relate to fiber art, but an equal number focus on the business and technology required to share my art and I also take art in other media, such as drawing or mixed media.
  3. Experimentation is key. Just because I take classes doesn’t mean I follow them to the letter. In fact, I am just as likely to tweak a lesson in order to find out what happens when I stray. If my experimentation goes badly, well, I’ve learned something. If it goes well, I likely have a new tool in my artist box to use in the future.
  4. Then there is Nike’s motto, “Just do it.” The more art I make the more confident I become. Each week I choose an online drawing tutorial and do it. Recently, I caught myself tweaking the drawings. Talk about artistic license. 🙂
I devoted a year to doing a different mixed media lesson by Carla Sonheims each week.

Why Self Teaching

There are times when I am envious of artists who have formal training. However, being a self taught artist is better suited to my temperament. How about you? What do you do to grow in your vocation or avocation?

One of my weekly drawings/experiments/tutorials.

Rainbow Scrap Challenge

Orange is this month’s color.

I’ve caught up with How Does Your Garden Grow, my 2023 Rainbow Scrap Challenge. June’s color will be announced next week. Can’t wait?

I’m linking up to the following posts:

By Gwyned Trefethen

I am an artist who uses fabric, thread and miscellany to create designs gifted to me by my imagination.


  1. Congrats on finishing up your ORANGE block for the RSC!! I’m glad that there are a few days left to get mine done. Being away for 10 days in the middle of the month left me a bit out of sorts and I haven’t caught up since.

    1. The good news is the deadline for getting blocks completed is more of a guideline than a hard and fast rule. Life has a way of intruding. Knowing this I purposefully designed a quilt with only two or three blocks per color. Of course these blocks have 30+ unique pieces a few square units. 🙂 I think I will need the extra time to work on the June blocks. Just pulled the pattern. What insane person designed this one? Oh right, that was me.

  2. Having had one of “those’ aart teachers in high school. who said I had no talent. I prefer self learning and expression, too. fun flowers growing at your house

    1. I’m sorry you experienced one of those art teachers who dampens attempts instead of applauding the courage to try. They have a way of getting into your head. Good for you for forging ahead and doing your own creative thing. Imagine art if artists only did what sold or received praise or what others were doing. Sounds dull to me.

  3. Your flower designs are beautiful. I particularly enjoy joining and taking part in RSC as I’ve never really been a scrappy quilter, so that is branching out for me. Most of my RSC adventures end up being donation quilts, nice to try out different blocks for thst.

    1. The RSC is the perfect opportunity to explore different blocks and patterns. I agree about working with scraps, too. Getting them to play nicely together is fun a learning experience.

  4. Your flowers are beautiful. I can have ideas for something quilted, but to get the ideas into action and with fabric seems to be a big problem for me. I’m self-thought when it comes to quilting, and I know I should experience more, and ‘just do it’!

    1. The very fact that you are participating in challenges proves to me that you are already just doing it. 🙂 The first step of a large project, and making quilts is tackling a large project especially a self-designed one, is daunting. Whenever I am stuck I like to ask myself what can I do now. Practice plus being willing to fail helps. I also do a lot of circling around the next step. Walking away, pondering, returning…

  5. I like your curiosity for every form of arts, and your drawing is beautiful. Lovely orange flower!
    Thank you for sharing your experience and linking up!

    1. Each form of art informs the others. I have no interest in becoming a mixed media artist or portrait artist or watercolorist, etc. However, I do enjoy dabbling – it is freeing.

  6. Your garden is going to be so pretty with all the beautiful colors. I love how you’re making the flowers mixed with other garden delights. The cattail is especially sweet to me.

  7. Those are beautiful flowers.
    and I love that you are embracing self taught. I am as well, and I believe you should be proud of how to learn your art, and how you experiment !!

    1. Thank you, Alycia. That is very generous of you to say. I occasionally share topics, such as being a self-taught artist, since if I am thinking about such things, I expect others are too.

  8. These reflections are so compelling, Gwyned. I can relate to that “imposter syndrome” feeling that the “real artists” are the ones who have the credentials of formal training, but practicing art without a degree is hardly akin to practicing surgery without a medical license… There is more than one pathway for learning! One potential downside to formal training could be the way students are developing their art within the boundaries and assumptions of the school curriculum. And it could be frustrating to have to work on assigned projects, techniques, or with certain media that you don’t find inspiring. Self-taught artists have total freedom to follow inspiration down rabbit holes and learn what they want, when they want to learn it, and abandon what isn’t working to try something completely different.

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