Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Be glad

You can't miss something you've never experienced. Be thankful to have experienced that thing you're missing.

As we go through our last four months here is South Australia, we are savouring those things that we are going to miss. There is a bittersweet feeling to moving back to the UK. It's home, but Australia has been our home for the last eight years.

Of course, there are people I'll miss, but we can keep in touch, just as we have done with our friends in the UK.

I'll miss the big sky and the quality of light and the space.

I'll miss being able to put the washing out in the summer and bring it in, bone dry, fifteen minutes later.

I'll miss the beaches and the birds and the wonderful animals.

But I must also be glad to have experienced them in order to miss them.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Sharing the news

So. Sharing the news.

If you have been visiting this blog over the last couple of months, you will have seen a lot of cryptic pages. There have been things I wasn't able to talk directly about but needed to journal. There have been lots of pages with black areas. I don't usually use a lot of black on my pages, but I like the drama it has given to recent pages. I know it turned up on the page because of the unknown parts of what was going on at the time. You will see that this page is back to bright colour with black accents.

Because now I can share the news.

We will be leaving Australia in February after  8½ years here and returning to the UK to be closer to family. The last 6 months or so have been a time of considering and searching and praying. Lots of praying.

There's a lot to be done in the next 4 months and a lot of things that are still unknown, but we have peace about the situation. There's a lot to look forward to and a lot to be sad about, but we wouldn't be feeling the sadness if we hadn't made the adventurous leap and come here in the first place. I expect many art journal pages in the next few months reflecting on what I have learned and what I will miss.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Leaves and flowers

Flowers are showy but the leaves do all the work of feeding the plant.

Flowers are necessary for there to be fruit, but there need to be a lot more leaves than flowers to provide the food for that fruit to grow.

Behind the scenes work, day after day slog, hard yakka as they say here is Australia - it's what gets things done. Leaves have to work hard for there to be growth and a harvest.

There are times when it feels that the leaf work is all that we're doing and there doesn't seem to be much to show for it. But the season for flowers and fruit comes along eventually. For some plants the flowering season only comes along every few years, not every summer.

So hang on in there.

The harvest will eventually come.

And I'm getting my act together enough to join in with Paint Party Friday this week. Hop on over there to see what people have been creating this week.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Obscured View

An obscured view is better than nothing.

This circle looked like a porthole to me, but you can't see a whole lot through it. The view is obscured, but that doesn't mean that you can't see anything at all.

Sometimes we have to go into situations that are like this 'porthole'. We don't always know everything, but there is usually something that is known.

And that has to be enough for us to take a risk, a leap.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Under her hat

There's a lot happening on this double page spread. What's it all about?

Well, for the moment, she's keeping it all under her hat.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Beautiful things in humble places

Blessed are those who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.
Camille Pissarro.

I finished the right hand side of this spread first, and that's the side with the quote, but when I finished the other page:

I realised it didn't need any words as it embodied the quote for me.

Let me explain.

This second page made me think of a beach (even though it has a flower on it!) Have you ever looked at sand under a microscope? It is a wonder, a thing of beauty. En masse it just looks like a lot of brown granules, but magnified, it is a heap of glittering jewels. Each grain looks like a precious gem, and there are many colours and shapes.

And flowers - have you ever looked closely? All those different shapes and colours and scents. Beautiful!

And don't get me started on beetles 😊 (For more on insects, see this Ted Talk and go to As a family we often stop when we're out walking to look at a caterpillar that is wandering across our path, or some particularly beautiful bark that we just have to touch.

The world is full of wondrous, beautiful things. What are you going to stop and look at today and be blessed by?

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

leap and fly

Sometimes you have to leap to make your wings unfurl.

Sometimes you have to take the risk,

have faith,

and trust that you will fly

before you're sure that your wings will work.

Where in your life do you need to make a leap?

Monday, 2 October 2017

A vase of flowers

I'm a little late in posting today. It's Labour Day here is South Australia and my daughter and I went for a walk in the Botanic Gardens as the spring weather is lovely. So here's a vase of flowers for you.

These are done with Neocolor IIs on a gelli-print background. The Neocolors were activated with a waterbrush. I generally work in the abstract but at the moment I'm pushing myself to expand my range. I've been doing some leaf and flower studies and I'm happy with the results in this one.

Friday, 29 September 2017

From eye to heart

There is a road from the eye to the heart that does not go through the intellect. G. K. Chesterton.

Parents know this when they first set eyes on their newborn. Anyone who has stood in front of a moving piece of art knows this.

It works with your ears as well.

There is some music that just moves us. It goes into your ears and grabs straight for your heart. There's no explaining it, it just is. And there are times when someone says something that is just what we need to hear. Tears spring to our eyes because it went straight to the heart.

Of course, that can work in a negative way as well. I know I'm not the only one who has had someone say something that has hurt. The emotional reaction is immediate. It is only with a little time that I can step back from what has been said and ask myself whether it is warranted or not; whether there are circumstances in that person's life that might have caused them to say what they did. I have to deliberately apply my intellect because the first reaction is a visceral one in my heart (and sometimes my stomach).

Have you had a time where something went straight from your eye to your heart?

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Map faces

A friend gave me an old school atlas and I decided to use it for practicing faces. The one above doesn't have a map behind it as it is in the inside cover. I've been posting them on Instagram, and decided to share them here as well.

Some of the faces are 5 minute sketches. All are done directly in paint or ink, not pencil. Some are done with pens and some with brushes. I like the way they each have a different look depending on the materials used. Some I really like and others are a bit 'meh'. But that's how it goes. Each face I draw helps me to become better, even if I don't like the result.