What a lovely town to live in….
I will be having my Thanksgiving Web Show In November….If you would like to be included, but do not receive my newsletters, please sign up! There is a Newsletter Sign-up Form above.
There will be many new limited designs along with some popular pieces offered - all available for immediate shipment. If you see a piece that you love, but missed out on purchasing it during the sale, I’m always happy to paint one for you!
If you are not familiar with "Two Blue Cats" - I would love to have you sign up for our newsletter featuring Annie's amazing rug hooking along with my game boards. We have been putting our heads together for years - you know when you meet that person where you just click? That's us!
T W O B L U E C A T S
We Want to Share Our Studios with You
We're two collaborating folk artists -- Diane Allison-Stroud and Annie Hayes -- who both live in the mountains -- Diane in the Blue Ridge Mountains and Annie in the Catskills (hence "blue" and "cats"). We love each other's work as well as the long, laugh-filled conversations we have as often as our schedules let us. This issue, as always, shows the way coincidence plays a part in this collaboration -- both of us have flower ideas going on in the work we're showing you here. We hope you love what you see here and on our websites -- it all comes from our hearts. Let us know what you think -- we'd love to hear from you.
D I A N E
19” x 19”
Limited Edition of 10
I have had this piece on my mind for so very long...every time I would go through my piles of notes of pieces that I hope to create at some point - it would always nudge me. Then summer comes, a time for slowing down in the mountains, a time to really focus on all the beauty that comes with summer....this is when I find myself painting new pieces that I adore, late into the night....
Most of my reproduction pieces date back to the 1800's. But I couldn't resist - this new piece is dated to 1900. The name itself "Eclipse" is what came to mind while painting....The moon and its many phases dancing with the sun...
pretty shades of blue, warm browns and a bit of terracotta sunshine...
Limited Edition of 10 and then it will be retired.
A N N I E
This has been the year of the bird, for me anyway. They just keep popping in my head and I find great joy in making each one different from the last, and full of its own special qualities. They're fun and sweet and mysterious. I love watching them and listening to their calls. Living in the northern Catskills provides a vibrant natural world and I appreciate that.
This one-of-a-kind rug, Caddie, is made of a lot of hand dyed wool. A blue and black buffalo plaid that I found a bunch of in Vermont creates iridescence on the wing. The border is wide and uses a method I've developed the past few years of making the corners darker, to emphasize that it's a frame. It follows the beautiful folk art tradition of isolating one tiny branch, having the bird perch on it, and finding ways to add blossoms.
11" high by 13.5" wide and backed with a black and white patterned bias binding. More views here on my site.
Find Available Rugs here on my site
Call me at 607 435 3468
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Included this year in Early American Life's Directory of Traditional Artisans
Some shots from my studio. I made the pincushion and seem to carry it around with me wherever I go. Other shots are rugs in progress. The photo of a rug being made with the scissors and Sharpie is Caddie, the rug featured in this issue. And the photo of work spread out on the table has, not too clearly, Maddie the dog (on the floor) and Bella the cat (on the chair). They are good company
Below are some shots from my game board studio and my typical Friday night in our small town. Friday night is spent listening to music at "The Jones House", a local community center in our downtown area. It's nice to listen and stroll through downtown meeting familiar faces and enjoying summer surrounded by art and music. My chalkboard is how I keep track of my work - not very sophisticated, I know, but I do LOVE my system! Also a picture of my painting table and my little office nook...and on each side of my computer stool you will find a dog bed, for they want to always be at my feet.
'Alice in Wonderland'
'Through the Looking Glass'
Funny how that happens....You choose a pattern and then as you are getting lost in the painting your mind begins to wander towards a certain direction, often leading to the naming of the piece. I have become part of the art, it absorbs a part of me, not only physically but my thoughts and I become smitten with the final piece.
The undeniable pull of your eyes towards the center where your imagination is awakened...the movement in each corner seems to almost dance...and if you take a step back you can appreciate how some of those curves also frame the center along with a square - adding to a quilt like pattern. There are patterns within patterns.
The colors that I chose to use are what I think as colors of nature....imagining the colorful world that Alice must have experienced, along with the colors that are written about Alice's dress and hair....
This piece is based on a design dated to the late 1800's. The geometric design is what drew me right in. I often wonder what inspired the original artist...was it colors of meaning like my Parcheesi "Before Me", which contained colors of the flowers blooming in my garden. And this design is so difficult - what moved them? Can you imagine what they would think when they heard it was recently auctioned for $10,455. Smiles from Heaven, no doubt.
This is a Limited Edition piece of 10 before becoming retired.
19" x 19"
(only 1 available before retiring)
I modified the original colors to a large extent falling into the thoughts of "Alice in Wonderland"
16 colors: shades of blue, shades of brown, shades of green, gold, soft rose, sand, ivory, terracotta, straw, latte
If you would like your game board display to be included on my website for others to enjoy - just drop me a picture, I would love to add it to "Client's Images". If you have sent them in the past and you don't see them displayed they were lost during my website changes. I'm sorry! Please send again!
This piece is based on a design dated to the late 1800's. The geometric design is what drew me right in. I often wonder what inspired the original artist...was it colors of meaning like my Parcheesi "Before Me", which contained colors of the flowers blooming in my garden. And this design is so difficult - but would it make more sense if we found that the artist was an architect? Perhaps... Can you imagine what they would think when they heard it was recently auctioned for $10,455. Smiles from Heaven, no doubt.
My sweet artist friend, Baret Boisson, recently posted this picture on Instagram/Facebook. It was exactly at the same time that I had just finished designing and painting my new game board. While painting this piece I just kept thinking of all of the many times I watched the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. And then this.....Baret leaves us with a picture of the sunset over the Pacific Ocean from her view.
I mean really, what are the chances of this?
As you all know by now, I had the most amazing childhood being raised on the Gulf. It becomes part of you, part of your spirit. I named this piece...
I think Bountiful is one of the most beautiful words in our language...and I hope that all of your lives are bountiful. Sunrises - Sunsets, the beginning and the end.
This design is based on a piece from the late 1880's from Canada. I loved the colors on this piece; shades of blue, terracotta, sienna, yellow and gold. Many of the colors are layered so you will see other shades when sanded. The piece is toned down with waxes for warmth. I'm showing you two photos - one was taken outside on a sunny day and the other in my studio with a medium amount of light.
19" x 28"
Limited Edition of 10
If you would like to order this piece just use the order form link at the top of the page.
Honestly, I think this is my new favorite board....and I thought it was Lucy just the other day....
This is my favorite view from my favorite place in my home. My mom's crazy quilt....I've had it for years and I still see new pieces, new embroidery, every time I find myself looking at each block. She creates one new crazy quilt each year. But this is my favorite. Because it's about our family. She named it:
"The Women Before Me And After Me"
It is full of our history of women in our family....from before her and our family tree of girls...
The Women Before
The Women After
along with my mom's hand...
The spider along with the shamrock....
I am so fortunate to have my mom's art surrounding me....
My sweet artist friend, Baret Boisson, is someone that I admire deeply. Her folk art not only represents times of the past but current times. Her work always contains the thread of hope and strength...and she does as well. Baret's work will be long remembered in future times. I know, deep down, she will be one of the most important artists of our time. Mark my words.
Do go visit her site....she's pretty darn amazing. A recent exhibit:
INSPIRING GREATNESS: WORDS AND DEEDS IN THE ART OF BARET BOISSON
PRESENTED BY THE NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM
JUNE 11 TO SEPTEMBER 6, 2016
I hope you all have a beautiful week...Spring is finally beginning and I love my daffodils....
Painting of Edgar Allan Poe by Charlie Frye, Lenoir NC
Quick Website Note:
Well if it wasn't for Carla in Las Vegas nobody would've ever figured out how to order a game board! I found that 98% of the order buttons went to an error. Thanks Carla!!!
Also, if you would like to send me pictures of your game boards, please do, I would be thrilled to add them to my website!
Gee's Bend inspired
Parcheesi Quilt Board
#10 in Series
So many of you have been asking me to paint a new Gee's Bend Quilt Board....
Finally....here she is, "Lucy".
Gee's Bend Quilt boards are so special to me. The desire to do the original quilt artist justice while getting lost in the study of not only their quilt but the history and stories of their lives, it's a wonderful place to go in your mind while you are creating. I often feel that I am meshing our lives together in some way.
I do believe that this new game board was not only the most fun but also the most difficult piece in the Gee's Bend Series for me to attempt to create. With more than 15 colors and my deep desire to create a design that mirrors the shirt fabrics that Lucy used in her quilt, I think this is my favorite. I love quilts with plaids and I will admit that I have made 1 or 2 or 3 myself and often used plaids on the backing.
I have now finished the "Gee's Bend" area on my website Home Page. I hope you enjoy looking at the page. It contains the story of Gee's Bend along with a video of the quilters singing. Each Gee's Bend game board is shown along with the 'namesake' photos, their quilts and their stories. I enjoyed hearing them sing while I was writing.
You can read about "Lucy" and check the availability of this piece. It is a Limited Edition of 10. I realize in the past that the Gee's Bend Series was available 1-20 and 1-15, but I felt 10 was all I could do with this complicated design for it takes days upon days to paint.
Gee's Bend Inspired Game Board Series
Limited Edition of 10
(4 available at this time)
19" x 19"
And while we are talking about Quilts...
Over the many years, nearly 25 now I have enjoyed seeing pictures of the beautiful quilts that you are creating. Of course, my mom, heading closer to her mid 80's, (sorry mom) is a phenomenal quilter. Every year she is working on a Crazy Quilt, which takes several years to complete and during this time she is also creating other quilts.
I have witnessed that a woman's hands are never idle; whether we are quilting, knitting, crocheting, beading, cooking or gardening, it seems that our 'downtime' is full of creating beauty. You may notice on my website this quote:
“I’m going to make everything around me beautiful - that will be my life.”
— Elsie de Wolfe
I loved finding this. Elsie de Wolfe was the first known interior decorator. Back in the early 1900's. Isn't it a beautiful thought, to create beauty around you as your spirit and soul request you to do? I do know that when I'm long gone I will be remembered for always having flowers in my home. No matter the weather, no matter anything, there are always flowers in the family room, kitchen table, hallway and bedroom. In the Summer the Studio is filled with Hydrangeas from my garden. How can one function without flowers I've wondered.
And as for me and my Studio:
Over the last couple of years my studio turned itself into a workshop. I have spent endless hours cleaning out, reorganizing and decorating. It is finally beginning to look like a girl works here again. I might be surrounded by 'boys', but I will always have pink, flowers and pretty.
Snow is surely on it's way again this week so I'm heading out to the garden to pick the Daffodils and the Irish Rose before they are covered. I hope your week is beautiful and amazing.