December 2012 Artist Interview: Patt Blair

This month, I would like to introduce you to Patt Blair. Patt is a very accomplished painter and art quilter.

This month, I would like to introduce you to Patt Blair. Patt is a very accomplished painter and art quilter. She has shown her work extensively and is an award winning artist. Enjoy this interview with Patt!

Please share your Artistic Journey and how you started.
My painting background began in 1964 when in my high school art class I became the painter / brush letter artist for school posters. Back then there were NO copy machines, just silkscreens and hand painted pieces. It was all good! I’ve always painting. I started with oil painting until the mid 70s when watercolors beckoned and I had the good fortune to study with the incomparable watercolorist named Robert E. Wood. I arrived at that first of many classes with Bob Wood with a tackle box of new paints and brushes. To my terror and surprise, I was the only nonprofessional artist. EEK! The class was Color, Composition, and Design. We painted nothing recognizable for 2 solid weeks. It was all about variety, movement, color, value, size and placements of shapes. NOTHING could have been better for my painting and ultimate experience with free motion art quilting.  The message of line is powerful at both conscious and subconscious levels. Beyond the hand, eye, machine coordination of free motion, the rest is application of basic principles of design. I get excited creating quilting plans.

How do you describe yourself as an artist?
Until recently, I described myself as a painter that quilts. After many years of challenging myself in the art of quilting, I’m starting to consider myself a quilter that also paints. It’s sort of like having dual personalities. I can now honestly say that my painting and quilting art share equal passion.

Like many, I like to create that which touches me in hope it touches others. Was it legendary sportscaster Howard Cosell that once did segments on his interviewed subjects titled “Up Close and Personal.” He liked to get beneath the public persona. In a similar way, I try to go deeper than the obvious surface. If I am painting a portrait, I want to show something unique about that person I’m painting. It may be an expressed feeling like joy, fear, or the like but hopefully more than a representation of their looks. Much the same is true about painting wildlife. I ponder what life is like for animals and sometimes humanize them a bit.

How do you describe your work?
In general, I would offer that most of my known art quilt work is fairly representational. I tend to be a ‘busy’ painter and constantly work on simplifying images/messages. I repeatedly say that our greatest strengths in life are often also our weaknesses. I see details in life, I like details, but sometimes too much detail can work against the artist trying to communicate a simple truth. 

What inspires you?
Pretty simple really, GREAT ART WORK of any type by anyone. It might be as straightforward as a successful composition or color, value study. Even effective advertisements get my juices flowing. I’m sometimes asked why I don’t have more of my own work hanging in my studio. My joy in my own work is in the journey of creation. With others work, I get joy in visually journeying through their work. I have some exceptional work by others hanging all over the place including quilt artists, sketch artists, painters, and sculptors.

What do you want to communicate with your art?
Truly a great question! Answering is easy but challenging to accomplish.  CONNECTION is the simple answer. Connection hopefully with the viewer, but equally with emotion, reasons for being, nature, contained power that might include a powerful animal at rest or a brilliant human being in thought. 

What kinds of workshops do you teach?
I teach a number of painting classes. Students use one of my drawings or bring their own, and I help them achieve what they want to depict. I never limit the subject whether it be portraits of animals or people, nature, abstracts, you name it. It’s my job in class to help others achieve their goals.

I also teach an Art of Quilting Class. It is usually a one-day class on the message of line (ex: horizontal lines calm, vertical lines draw a viewer to attention, etc.) where we look at an unquilted fabric top and figure out what kind of quilt or stitching line will support the things the owner likes, or maybe play down things they aren’t as excited about.

My overall favorite class is titled Painted Quilt Art which can range from 2 to 5 days where longer sessions allow planning and execution of a quilting (stitching) plan for a recently painted piece. The longest session is usually taught at Asilomar, Monterey, Calif. or the like but I orchestrate my own economic four-day class each spring in Temecula, Calif.

For more information please visit Patt’s website and blog at:


presented by deborah stanley: http://deborahstanleyinspirations.blogspot.com/

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