Free Play ~ Abstract Art

innovative art challenges

Serious art is born from serious play ~~~ Julia Cameron


Greenways, Blueways and Estuary Bays

1st in Series

Natural Connections

Stranger Things In Green

1st in Series

Deep and Simple

I, Too, Am The Fragrance Of The Earth

2nd in Series

Deep and Simple

Scroll down page to view and read in detail about each work in this art quilt gallery

Abstract art ... is the emancipation of the mind.

It is an explosion into unknown areas ~~~ Arshile Gorky

Abstract Art

Abstract Art is a genre presenting Art primarily as an aesthetic experience. Abstract Art has many flavors. The Surrealism, Cubism, Orphism, Fauvism, Futurism, Expressionism, De Stijl, Color Field, Automatism and Suprematism movements all birthed various abstract styles.

Abstract Art mostly focuses on the visual elements of Art: the bold application of color, line, shape, texture and space AS FORM rather than as a means to create representational Art.

My Innovative Style

I use abstraction to distill the essence of language, emotions and images when relaying the theme of a series. THEME, for me, is the heart of each piece. FORM plays a major role in conveying each theme. My visual interpretations (at whatever level of abstraction) evolve from silence and contemplation. My inner reflection prompts challenges for each series.

One eye sees, the other feels --- Paul Klee

Free Play Series Concept = 3 art quilts per series

Working in a series stretches you creatively. You become an explorer of the mystery that is You, and at some point you will find your unique creative voice.

Don’t limit your challenges. Challenge your limits ~~~ Anonymous

The Inspiration: Free Play

The inspiration for doing Abstract Art quilts in a series was born the final day of a trip to Houston where 2 friends and I attended the 2017 International Quilt Festival. I had brought along the book FREE PLAY: IMPROVISATION IN LIFE AND ART by Stephen Nachmanovitch. Although I had read it many years earlier, I was now at a point in my life where I desired to expand myself toward creating Art quilts. In other words, I was ready and willing to move into a new direction.

I was reading FREE PLAY in the hotel lobby waiting for our ride to the airport when I realized that certain words or concepts I had read in the book brought forth several abstract images in varying degrees. I was so excited. While I was already planning on creating a website to showcase my work, I decided that morning to include a page entitled ABSTRACT ART. My desire: to explore abstract design. I flew home full of inspiration to try something new and different.

The Challenge: The Theme

I instinctively knew that each series would comprise 3 Art quilts, all abstract in design. I love to ponder words and concepts. To interpret them abstractly intrigues me. For me, 3 is a perfect number to explore a theme. My slower process of creating becomes doable when working in a short series. I can then move onto a different subject. Most importantly, limiting myself to 3 Art quilts enables me to produce a variety of work on diverse subjects making each a joy to create.

Working in a series is all about challenging myself to freely play with a theme and explore where I'd like to go with it. 3 Art quilts in a series = 3 ways. While Color or Design might be most important for others when working in a series, THEME is priority for me. All else follows it. The theme links all 3 quilts while each individual piece presents a different interpretation of that theme. I may use different designs, techniques, colorations, and abstractions in each piece but everything works to convey the overall theme.

As Stephen Nachmanovitch writes in FREE PLAY, limitations and structure produce greater intensity and spontaneity in creating Art than having complete freedom with no 'rules'. When restricted, we look at something from an alternative perspective, and creativity is the result. We engage our Muse and become the inventors of our own Art. By allowing our feelings to flow freely through form, Art becomes our voice box.

I am finding that playing freely opens my heart and frees my soul in a delightful, curious way. I am enthusiastic, have more energy and look forward to each step of the process. Creating is effortless. What was inside of me is now outside. Art becomes a way for me to align with my inner self. I am loving what I create, and I see it is an extension of myself. I and my work are One.

Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew

~~~ Cicely Tyson


3 ideas for this series came to mind using 4 vertical panels and an abstract mosaic effect for each. Heavier 12 wt. and 30 wt. cotton threads for echo quilting highlight each abstraction.


4 panels spaced 1" apart, hanging rods included

(yellow-greens, greens, blue-greens, blue and red-violet)

76.75" h x 38" w


will be traveling for 3 years through 2022

with SAQA's global exhibition entitled Connecting Our Natural Worlds






Greenways, Blueways and Estuary Bays

(enlarged view)

will be traveling for 3 years through 2022 with SAQA's global exhibition entitled Connecting Our Natural Worlds

(4 individual panels, each 8.75" wide. with yellow-green, green, blue-green, blue and red-violet appliques against a navy background, echo quilted with various heavy 12 wt. variegated cotton threads)

ARTIST STATEMENT: Greenways, Blueways and Estuary Bays

Florida is my own backyard. Ever increasing residential and commercial development endangers Florida's natural environments. The greatest threat to any animal or plant species is loss of their natural habitat. 70% of all terrestrial life uses riparian corridors to move from one land area to another. Riparian zones are areas of vegetation found wherever land and water meet and include riverbanks, streambeds, lakeshores and floodplains.

When we help to keep Florida's interior and coastal uplands, wetlands and waters wild, open and unpolluted, we allow for the movement, interaction and survival of aquatic and terrestrial wildlife which, in turn, ensures the quality of our own future. With keener awareness and through cooperative planning and exercising of greener methods of land management, we can, as homeowners, businesses and governments, maintain the vital land and water connections needed to preserve our natural eco-systems.

Let us keep Florida green together.

PRICELESS FLORIDA: NATURAL ECOSYSTEMS AND NATIVE SPECIES, by Ellie Whitney, D. Bruce Means and Anne Rudloe is a wonderful resource regarding the natural history of Florida. Its rich photography, illustrations and maps further inspired me in making this 'Greenways, Blueways and Estuary Bays' Art quilt.

Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out

~~~ James Bryant Conant

Free Play Series: DEEP AND SIMPLE

"Life is deep and simple..." wrote Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood fame.

With each theme, I wish to portray profound concepts using simple abstractions.

I hope to engage the viewer in experiencing the immense spiritual breadth as well as breath that form and color in Art generates within us.

The Process of Creation

The RULES for # 1

Using 3 colors, mirror 3 abstract shapes in 3 panels and all together mirror the 'as above, so below' concept

The Flow of Spirit into Matter

The RULES for # 2

Use the same 3 colorations in larger distinctive abstract shapes to create a greater dramatic field of focus

The Reconciliation of Opposites

The RULES for # 3

Use abstract shapes and the same 3 colorations but unify all into a singular wholistic abstract composition

# 1

Deep and Simple



3 connecting panels w/tabs

~~ curtain rod included ~~

(yellow-greens, reds, red- oranges and black)

48" h x 24" w


I see the heart of green as red. It is the alchemy of my soul.

Contrast sparks desire. The tango of opposites creates synergy.

Opportunity arises allowing raw potential to expand and evolve.

Life is a series of above and below connections propelling me forward to create.

Red, Green, Go.........

# 2

Deep and Simple



~~ hanging rod included ~~

(yellow-green, reds and black)

56" h x 40.5" w

$ 1600

Inspired by a passage in the Bhagavad-Gita, I feel that we are, in essence, the songs of creation, and we are to remember our divinity and sing it into being.

I see myself as an earthly vessel in time where spirit flows eternally through me.

Our divine purpose is to be as pure a fragrance on earth as humanly possible by being mindful of our every thought, word and action.


Deep and Simple




I, Too, Am The Fragrance of the Earth


I, Too, Am The Fragrance of the Earth

This piece is touring 3 years with SAQA's juried OPPOSITES ATTRACT exhibit.

I desired to create a modern minimalist piece for the OPPOSITES ATTRACT theme using simplistic shapes and 3 colors. Here, I asked myself 3 questions to illustrate opposing concepts:

~~~ How can I reconcile myself as a spiritual being inside a physical body?

~~~ How can I portray time and eternity together?

~~~ And how do I answer the big question of why I am here?

Visually, I used the complementary color scheme of red and green for dramatic effect with black presenting the void. Bold curves and echo quilting create flow and movement. My great love of the Georgian marshes provided the yellow-green color. The shape of an hourglass represents both the physical body and concept of time. Eternity and Spirit in red are portrayed as living rivers flowing from One source through a topless and bottomless hourglass/body.

A lovely passage in the Sanskrit scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, recounting one's true nature as "the fragrance of the earth" revealed to me our purpose here. I included 10 drops of heavenly elixir creating 10 perfect flowers as the earthly manifestation of a heavenly fragrance.

Art is a step in the known toward the unknown ~~~ Khalil Gibran

African Daisy photo by Jon Sullivan

To inquire about an Art Quilt, go to the Contact Me page

May Art connect us. Thank you for visiting


All text and art quilts, unless otherwise noted, are the copyright of Susanna Hotchkiss

Artist Member