Category Archives: Impressionist Landscapes



The same two pieces have been up on my design wall for many months – first because I did not have enough studio time, and second because when I got to the buildings I could not figure out how I wanted to stitch them.  (Buildings are outside my comfort zone of water and landscapes!)  Well, I have finally found studio time and then woke up one morning knowing what to do with the buildings.  So here is some nostalgia from a long-ago Venice vacation…







 Venetian Reflections I  (c)2012 Shelley Brucar




  Venetian Reflections II  (c)2012 Shelley Brucar

  This one is the island of Burano where colorful buildings abound!


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 Endangered Reef  (c)2011 Shelley Brucar

This piece is from my memory of snorkeling on St. Johns, VI, many years ago.  It shows the brilliant colors of the coral, but if you look close, you can also see the beginning of bleaching in spots.

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Southern Lights IX (c)2011 Shelley Brucar

Southern Lights IX has been juried into the “Half the Sky” exhibit at the Tall Grass Arts Association, 367 Artists Walk, Park Forest, IL.  I find the Chinese proverb that the show is based on quite appealing; it is “Women hold up half the sky.”  This exhibit celebrates women’s contributions to history, culture and society.  What could be more appropriate than fiber art?

In addition to utilitarian value, i.e., providing warmth, quilting and quilts have a long history that encompasses the telling of stories through patterns, providing a creative outlet for women and promoting friendship through quilting bees.  Quilts are believed to have been used to direct slaves to escape routes and assistance through use of specific patterns which signified routes and “safe houses”.  In spite of such a rich history, quilts and quilt-making have traditionally been women’s work and have long been devalued or ignored by the patriarchal world of art.

Women’s contribution to our culture through the art and beauty of quilts is evident in the intricate patterns and elegant workmanship seen even on quilts that were made for the sole purporse of keeping one’s family warm.  The transformation of quilting status has come about in part due to the feminism and craft movement of the 60’s and 70’s and perhaps mostly due to the proliferation of fiber artists and the advocacy of group like Studio Art Quilt Associates.  SAQA, with 2400 international members, almost entirely women, and similar organizations promote the art quilt through education, exhibitions, professional development and documentation while maintaining a clear relationship to the folk art quilt from which it descends.

“Half the Sky” can be viewed Friday, February 25 through Sunday, May 8 with Artist Reception February 25, 7:00pm.

Interesting Color for a Blackbird (c)2009 Shelley Brucar

Fiber Artists Coalition will exhibit “13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” and “Midwest Meditations” during the month of March at Simply Chicago Art, 1318 Oakton, Evanston, IL.  These exhibits can be viewed from Friday, March 4 through Sunday, March 27.  Opening reception is Friday, March 4, 5:00 to 9pm.  Regular gallery hours are:  Friday 5:00-9, Saturday noon to 6:00pm, Sunday 1:00-4pm and by appointment.

Fiber Artists Coalition is a group of fiber artists, all professional members of Studio Art Quilt Associates, living in the upper midwestern US.  FAC curates and secures venues for exhibiting members’ contemporary fiber art.

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“Southern Lights IX” (c)2010 Shelley Brucar – before stitching

This is my most recent experiment with paint and another piece in my “Southern Lights” series.  It is painted in many layers, almost all with transparent PROfab textile paint from  Transparent paint works much like fabric dye, especially if it is diluted with water or ProChem’s base extender.  If you apply transparent paint on a layer of dryed paint, some of the previous layer with show through.  The actual amount of transparency depends on the dilution of the top layer.  If you apply transparent paint on top of still-wet paint, the colors will blend.  On this piece, I used opaque white paint to cover parts I did not like, parts that did not flow well with the design.  After allowing the white opaque paint to dry just a little, you can use transparent paints again to redesign.  Paint takes to fabric best if you do not iron in between layers, so heat-set the paint when the design is finished.

I use a variety of methods to apply paint to fabric including paint brushes, foam brushes, thermofax screens, scrunched plastic bags, cotton “puffs”, moldable stamps and fingers.  Remember how much fun it is to finger-paint?  On this piece, as with several of the Southern Lights series, I have layered dyed cheesecloth in spots; cheesecloth – or other embellishments – will adhere to your fabric if you place them on wet paint, the paint acting as a glue.

Next, this piece may undergo a little more painting; then it will be beaded and stitched.


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Just finished!  Southern Lights Triptych.  (c)2010 Shelley Brucar

Here are some detail shots:


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The annual fiber show at the Chicago Botanic Garden is coming up the first weekend of November. The show includes a fiber art exhibit, fashion shows, lectures and demonstrations as well as a boutique filled with handcrafted items, fiber art and wearable art for sale. This year’s special exhibit by Women’s Journey in Fiber is called “Hats: Wise Women Speak.”

Fine Art of Fiber is presented by North Suburban NeedleArts Guild, Illinois Quilters, Inc., and Weavers Guild of the North Shore.

Dates and times for this year are:
Thursday 11/4, 6:30-9pm and
Friday through Sunday 11/5 – 11/7, 10am to 5pm.

For more information, please visit or call 847-835-6870.

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“Southern Lights IV”  (c)2010 Shelley Brucar

These are the current versions of “Southern Lights IV” (above) and “Southern Lights triptych” (below), both ready for stitching.  These two pieces are painted, using transparent and opaque fabric paints, ProFab and Setacolor.  They both have many layers of paint, incorporating various methods of application, screening and dyed cheesecloth.  The small dots you see are pins which, of course, will be removed after stitching.

“Southern Lights triptych”  (c)2010 Shelley Brucar

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Filed under Art Stuff, Fabric painting, Fiber Art, Impressionist Landscapes, thermofax screens