Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Fall Fearless and Fly - #3

Challenge #3:

Headline: Triumphs and defeats. What do you see as your greatest triumphs and defeats? What have they taught you? Which have you learned more from?
Colour: Black and white
Quote: Not in the clamour of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Hop on over to Artists in Blogland (see the Fall Fearless and Fly button in the bar) and see the fabulous challenge answers over there.

Wow! This one was a real toughie. As you can see, I couldn't stay completely black and white, but mixed a little cream in there, too, just to get some texture going. This is the second piece. The first one wasn't at all to my liking. From that 'defeat' I learned that I needed a little cream in there :)

So, I just about did the colour prompt, used the quote, but what about the headline? Well, this really made me think. I don't really see my life in terms of 'triumphs and defeats'. What usually happens is that I make plans and God laughs at them because He has something else in mind. And I have to admit that He knows best.

For example, I had my heart set on going to Durham University, but ended up in Sheffield instead. But that was where I met my husband (who also, by the way, wasn't planning to be in Sheffield). So was it a defeat? Absolutely not! It was just a different path. If I had wallowed, feeling defeated, I might have not gone to university at all and my life would have been very different.

Triumph and defeat, as Longfellow points out, aren't anything to do with how others see it. Sometimes what others see as success in our lives we feel very differently about. And vice versa.

Triumph and defeat come from whether the heart can see the light or not.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Busy-ness and artichokes

There are times when everything seems so busy! Times when a little peace and quiet seem hard to find. Yet those are the times when we need them even more. Look for and appreciate those lulls when they come. They are necessary times of refreshment.

One of my times for mulling things over is when I am in the garden. I'm not really much of a gardener. I plant the seeds and water them, but no other mollycoddling. If it doesn't grow, so be it. 
I like to plant things to eat rather than flowers, so to be able to grow a flower that you can eat was fun. Here are a couple of the artichokes we had for dinner last night, fresh from the garden.

Friday, 26 October 2012

mixed-media drawing class

Two hours of drawing this morning. So tiring! All that holding out of arms and measuring with a pencil and your thumb. Still, didn't turn out too badly. I am pleased with the results, which is all that matters.

Next week we are let loose with coloured pencils and fine-liners...

Thursday, 25 October 2012


So I've been playing with photoshop. I have to say that even though you can get some good effects, it's still not the same as getting your fingers dirty...

The page above really looks like this:

I will keep playing. Feeling like a child in reception class where everything is brand new and a bit scary. I'll probably feel the same way tomorrow when I go to a mixed media drawing class for the first time. Looking forward to it, though.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

home again!

I have just spent the last five days on Kangaroo Island. KI is a smallish island about 16km off the coast of South Australia. It is one of those places that still has a wilderness feel. There are very few tarmac roads and no traffic lights on the entire island.
Lovely as it was - blue skies, sunshine, seeing koalas and goannas in their natural habitat, beautiful beaches, clear sea - I am glad to be home. It is only when we go away that I realise how central to my prayer life my art room is. Of course, I took a journal with me. Well, two actually. But it just isn't the same. My art room is my sanctuary in so many ways. So I'm glad to be back!

This is the double-page spread in my diary-journal that I did while on KI. I prepped the page before we went away, just adding the words and the small daisy stamps to separate the entries.

This is the what I left on my desk to dry before we went:

The image of the door is a postcard of a painting by Kim Nelson

I started to think about doors both open and closed. 

If the door is closed, who closed it? Is it a lost opportunity? Or an end to something completed? Is it a challenge, daring you to open it? Should you pass it by or stop and grab hold of the handle?

If the door is open, you can peer through, catching a glimpse of what could be. Will you step through? Will you take the chance and start on a new path? Or is this a temptation you should resist?

What door stands before you at the moment?

Monday, 22 October 2012


A friend gave me some paper napkins/serviettes recently. I liked the colours - not the sort that I would usually use but I liked the combo of the sage green and mauve. The elements here are from a napkin designed by Kathryn White.

The flowers drew me in first so I stuck on a few of those. The birdcage is not my usual style, but I really felt I needed to place one on the page.

I started to think about what it would be like to be in a cage. The first thought is that the cage is a place of captivity. But is that really so? It could also be a safe place; a place where everything is known; a place we can withdraw to. A bit like our comfort zones, really.

So is a cage a place of safety or captivity? I think that all depends on whether the door is locked or not. If we can emerge from the cage at any time of our own choosing, then it is a place of safety. But if we are locked in, doesn't that eventually start to stifle and chafe? Doesn't the anchor become chains? Aren't we then held captive?

Do you hold the keys? Or is your comfort zone starting to choke you? Is it time to step out and stretch your wings a little?

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Fall Fearless and Fly - No. 2

So, the second challenge from Fall Fearless and Fly. Here are the prompts:

Headline: Taking a chance. When did you take a chance or a leap of faith? What did you learn?
Colour: The one you like least
Quote: Don't refuse to go on an occasional wild goose chase - that's what wild geese are for. Anonymous

Well, there aren't really any colours I don't like.  This isn't a combo I would usually use, though.

The quote didn't really speak to me. For me a wild goose chase is something that doesn't profit you because it is a waste of time. Taking a chance is not a waste of time because there is always something to learn. So I substituted another:
...there are times you need the courage to take a great leap; you can't cross a chasm in two small jumps.     David Lloyd George
As for taking a leap of faith, I have done that several times. One was when my husband went forward for  ordination and he had to give notice at his job and we put our house on the market before we knew he definitely had a place at theological college. (This was four weeks before term was due to start.)

The latest would be coming to Australia and leaving everything behind. I came not having been here before at all, not knowing what our housing would be like or anything.

What did I learn? Well, I learned that God is faithful and trustworthy. That is why there is a hand in the gap, ready to catch me if I falter.

(Also linking with Art Journal Every Day )

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

More stamps

More fun carving stamps for borders and over-all patterns. Picked up the erasers at Cheap as Chips. Bargain!

Friday, 12 October 2012


Recently I led a retreat at our church where one of the options was to walk a labyrinth. I made some notes after I had walked it myself and came across them again a couple of days ago.

A labyrinth is not a maze, but a single path that leads to the centre. If you follow the path you cannot get lost. You will eventually get to the centre if you persist along the path, but there are lots of changes of direction along the way, and sometimes you seem to be heading directly away from where you want to go.

After walking the labyrinth I noted that there are stretches of straight road that we travel for a while. At other times the road twists and turns and it feels difficult to keep up with all the changes in direction and to keep our balance. Sometimes the change seems to come more quickly than we can cope with.

What changes are you facing at the moment?

Whether they are large or small, they can still make you feel off-balance. Hang on in there - you'll get there in the end.

I shall be linking this with art journal every day. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Life is messy

I like to use the scrap pages that collect edges of paint and trial colours as background sometimes. This page started out that way. A layer of turquoise ink brought everything together but all the bits of gesso and acrylic paint still stand out a bit. It gives a background that's a little messy.

But then, life is messy. 

No matter how well we plan things, they usually go adrift within the first five minutes as the unforeseen happens and knocks us off track. I'm sure God sits in heaven and chuckles at us sometimes as we plan exactly how we want things to pan out. Because His plans for us are better and higher than anything we can imagine. And even when He tells us His plans, they don't usually come to fruition in the ways we expect. He likes to throw in a few surprises along the way.

Life is messy and we just have to live with it. But if we put it in God's hands, He can make something beautiful and meaningful out of what looks like chaos.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Curled up

There are times when a migraine sets in - the sort that makes you feel constantly nauseated - and all you want to do is curl up in bed and ignore the world. Why is it that those usually happen just as you face a particularly busy week?

What makes you want to curl up in a ball?

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Fall fearless and fly - no. 1

Well, Carolyn and Jessica really threw us in at the deep end for the first challenge in this season. The three parts of the challenge were:

1 Headline - Inventing the Future: where do you want to be 5, 10, 15 years from now? What's holding you back/propelling you forward? What do you need to do/stop doing to create that future?

2 Colour - warm palette

3 Quote - "The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time." Abraham Lincoln

Well, the colours were no problem. I started with those and then was stumped. The page sat for a while as I thought about it. Then I spotted a darker arrow shape in middle of the page. I enhanced the colour with some ink. Now I was starting to get somewhere.

Then I thought about time moving on so the numbers came next across the top of the page.

I knew I wanted 'now' on one side of the arrow and 'then' on the other but it took a while for the image to come to me - a flower in bud and then open. I have been on a journey recently where I feel like a bud that has just started to open. I am looking forward to the time when I am fully blooming. For that to happen I need to 'let go and let God'. Thankfully, as Abraham Lincoln noted, the future comes one day at a time so the journey of change to become all that I can be doesn't have to happen overnight. The quote went in around the arrow.

(Apologies for the photo - I took half a dozen, but the colours are quite subtle and the details don't show up so well)

Now I'm off to see what everyone else has been up to. Looking forward to the next one :)

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

A few projects

As I write the floor in my art room is scintillating.  As is the ironing board, my clothes, and even parts of my face. Here is the reason:

This is the fabric my 13yr old daughter has chosen for a long flared skirt. The cobwebs are in gold glitter. Which gets everywhere. 

Continuing in the black theme, my husband bought a black sketchbook for me. Here is my first doodle in it:

And I came to yet another page I had prepped in black in my current journal (what was I thinking?!)
So I lightened it with some black and white patterned paper I picked up recently. Then it was crying out for some red, so I added a heart. Then I needed some words so, rifling through my book of miscellaneous useful stuff I found a quote by Henry Vaughan:
Sickness and death you are but sluggish things and cannot catch a heart that hath got wings.
 Of course, now wings needed to be added to the heart.

It set me thinking about what makes a heart fly even in the face of difficult circumstances. 
For me, it would be hope and joy. In the words of the old hymn, I 'have a hope that is steadfast and certain' in my faith, and a joy that is deeper and more long-lasting than simple fleeting happiness. These things I have irrespective of my circumstances.

What makes your heart fly?