Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Face practice

With my limited materials - a few pens, coloured pencils, neocolor IIs - I've been doing some face practice. Although I don't often draw on my art journal pages, I like to sketch in a separate sketchbook as it helps me to really look at things. Since doing the 29faces challenge first in 2014 and then again in 2016, I can see a heap of improvement. The practice really helps. I still have some problems with perspective, but overall, I'm pleased with my progress.

The drawing above is copied from a highly lit magazine photo. The contours of the face disappear with the harsh light, leaving just the features. I've tried to capture the face with just a few lines/patches of colour.

The drawing above and the two below are done with coloured pencils. One of the things that practicing has helped me with is going straight in with a medium that can't be rubbed out. It has made me more sure of my lines, more confident of putting marks on the page and not worrying about whether they are just right. Practicing drawing with my non-dominant hand has helped with this as well.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Starting to dream

We've been in Liverpool a couple of weeks now and I'm starting to dream.

What can I do here?

How can I equip people to engage creatively with their faith?

What can I provide in terms of support?

I dream of facilitating quiet days, leading workshops, encouraging people.

My dreams are small, but I'm learning to dream bigger.

What do you dream of?

Friday, 16 March 2018

A new garden

A new place to live means a new garden - in more ways than one.

There is a new physical garden where I will be growing vegetables and planting fruit. But there is also the new personal 'garden', the place where I'll be growing relationships.

Both require me to look at the soil and work out what will grow well and where.

Over the last few days we've had a lot of rain and I've seen where the water gathers and waterlogs the lawn. That won't be a good place to dig up a veggie patch. It seems that raised beds will be a better way to go for the most part.

It will take a little longer to work out the personal garden, though. Meeting new people, seeing who I click with, who can be trusted, who is looking to grow and what I can do to equip them.

Some things grow quickly and produce a crop within weeks. Others take time to mature, but that's OK because I'm in this for the long haul.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018


It's funny how things pop out at you when you walk away from a page and then come back to it. When I came back to this one I wondered how I'd missed the doorway before. It seems so obvious now.

Of course, it isn't at all surprising that a doorway should turn up on my page - we're passing through one right now as we transition back to life in the UK. This doorway is full of light and promise and the blue lines seem to be ushering me through.

Doorways are opening and I have a project in the works that I can't talk about just yet, and some workshops I want to run in the coming months that I need to finish writing.

What doorways are opening up for you?

Sunday, 11 March 2018

New patterns

Life is full of new patterns at the moment. Moving always entails new patterns - the shape of your day, new people, new paths to walk. Everything is new and it can be exhausting to process all that information.

But I know that, as the days go on, we will establish new patterns and things will stop feeling so chaotic.

Friday, 9 March 2018

New connections

New connections just waiting to be made.

Though it is hard to leave people behind, I hope that a lot of those connections will continue. We are also able to pick up those connections that were stretched - but kept up - when we moved to Australia. And of course, new connections will be made as we meet a heap of new people. It will take a while to work out which connections will produce fruit, which will develop into more than an acquaintance, but that's all part of the fun of being somewhere new.


On the arty front, I'm chafing a little over my interim journal. It's half the size of my usual pages and the only things I have to use at the moment are a few bits of collage paper, a glue stick, some coloured pencils, neocolor IIs, and 4 Stuart Semple pigment paints. However, I have no paintbrush at the moment so things are a bit limited. Thankfully I did a little bit of adding to pages before we left so there are some bits of gelli-printing and stencilling on some of the pages.

However, limited supplies push you to work in a different way, and getting out of your comfort zone is a good thing, even when it just means that I'll really appreciate it when all my stuff arrives :)

Wednesday, 7 March 2018


As I'm sure you can imagine, we had a lot of 'goodbye' events at the end of February. It took a while to process all the things that were said. Many people spoke of ways in which we had helped them, been an encouragement, or done something that seemed insignificant to us but was obviously of great value to them.

It set me to thinking:

You may not know the impact you have on someone's life until you leave.

But why do we wait until someone is leaving before we tell them what they mean to us? Do it today! Let those ripples that someone has set in motion in your life be known. It is a real encouragement (and sometimes downright embarrassing for them!) when we praise a person who has made a difference to us. It can make their day, so why hold back?

(If you've visited before and wonder why my pages are quite different from the usual, it is because I have moved from Australia to the UK - hence all the goodbyes - and have an extremely limited set of materials at the moment. Well, it's one way to stretch yourself I suppose...)

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

I'm back!

It's nice when it stops!

After 21 hours on 2 aeroplanes with a 2 hour stop at Doha, we landed at Birmingham International Airport on Tuesday last week. A few days at my parents' house and then on to Liverpool to our new home. We arrived yesterday lunchtime.

For this little introvert it has been a fraught couple of weeks - removal men in the house for three days; a blessed weekend at a beach house; flights!; snowed in at my parents' house. And all with a very limited set of art materials and no quiet space to retreat to.

Now we are in our new house and we each retreat to our own rooms for space. My new studio is about half the size of the last one, but I'm already planning where everything will fit. Thankfully we got rid of lots of stuff before it was all packed into the shipping container.

But for now we are in that liminal space where we are living with kindly donated furniture etc. It feels like being a student again. We will certainly appreciate all our stuff when it arrives.

Sunday, 25 February 2018


Today I am on an aeroplane heading back to the UK. I'll miss a few posts until my internet connection is up and running.

Look forward to sharing my new studio space with you soon.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Mind shift

Mind shift - preparing for the reverse culture shock.

Although many people might think that Britain and Australia have similar cultures and speak the same language, they would be wrong. Many times I've been having a conversation that suddenly comes to a halt as a word is used in a way I'm not used to. Or vice versa where I watch someone's face go blank halfway through my sentence.

I've become used to using 'capsicum' when I'm speaking of peppers, or 'zucchini' for courgettes, but it's still a deliberate thing for me. No doubt now my speech will be sprinkled with 'Australianisms' that I'll need to unlearn. Mostly those words that end in 'o' - arvo, rego - but also I'll need to speak of rotas not rosters.

And then there's the number of people and the height of the buildings and the quality of light. I like the space and the light here, but I won't miss having to put sunscreen on anytime I want to leave the house because the sun is trying to kill me.

Being aware that this culture shock is coming should help. I've read that it can take a year to get over it, so I'm preparing myself and giving myself time.