Sunday, 29 November 2015


There are seasons when I feel the need to purge. Spring is one of them. So I'm looking through the drawers in my studio and throwing out or passing on the things that I don't use, don't need, haven't looked at in a long time. Trying out lots of things is good. It pushes you to be creative. But there are just some media that you find you don't gel with. There are things you reach for all the time, and things that you just have no affinity with. So the latter are getting the boot.

And there are times when I need to purge the thoughts that run the hamster wheel in my head. Art journal pages are great for that. The journalling, when it's messy and running together, adds its own texture to the page, thus having two uses. When the words are on the page somehow it stops them from running in my head. It pins them down and I can deal with them better. 

Do you use your journal to purge?

Thursday, 26 November 2015

You're not the boss of me!

It's one of those things that comes out of the mouths of irate toddlers who don't want to do as they're told. And sometimes - let's be honest here - it can be what we think, accompanied by that mental foot stomp. 

Yes, it may be childish. 

Sometimes it's the right reaction.

A lot of the time we acquiesce to requests to keep the peace. And that is what they are - requests. But if we're not careful, we can let ourselves be manipulated, especially when those requests insidiously turn into orders and the person involved expects you to jump to their command. It is too easy to abdicate responsibility where we should stand up to the person involved. There comes a point where we have to say, 'Enough!' 

Sometimes we allow people to have power and authority in our lives that is not theirs to have. 

Make sure you know whose orders you're willing to follow. 

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Advent quilling

Over the last five or six weeks I have been working on some artwork for the season of Advent. During Advent - the season of waiting - many churches light candles in an Advent wreath each week up to Christmas and look at some of the people involved in the Christmas story.

This year we will be looking at Elizabeth, John the Baptist, Mary, and Joseph. In keeping with that, I have quilled representations of those people to go in the panels of the communion table, along with a depiction of the Light of the World for Christmas Day.

Although time-consuming, I found the rolling of the strips of paper to be quite contemplative. I may do some more in the future. And if you want to see some expert quilling, go and look at this. Amazing.

I'm linking up with Carolyn Dube's Play Date. Hop on over to see all the play that's happening.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Do you prefer swings or roller-coasters?

Personally, I get motion sickness, so swings are OK but a roller-coaster is a no-go. I don't even like watching them. But life can be roller-coaster-like. The ups and downs I can cope with. It's when they come with twists and turns at the same time. Then I just have to hold on and hope I don't vomit.

Thursday, 19 November 2015


There are some things that are quintessentially summery. A tomato is one of them. We have beautiful Roma tomatoes in the shops at the moment - those are fresh plum tomatoes. In a few weeks there will be tomatoes of many shapes and colours available. Tomato salad will become an exciting and colourful meal. 

I'm working in an old cookbook at the moment - a cheap one from the library. I couldn't bring myself to cover up the tomato when I did the background, and when it sat there on the page, the only thing I wanted to add was the word 'summer'. So I did. After all, it's my art journal and anything goes :)

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Enjoying the breeze

A couple of days ago I was enjoying the cool breeze. Now we're in the middle of a mini heatwave and I'm nostalgic for that cool breeze...

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Fun with drawing

This month I've been receiving interviews with artists in my inbox through Heidi Easley's Creating From Your Soul free online event. Each artist shares about their work, gives a tip, and often a giveaway  as well. 

One of the artists was Tamara LaPorte. Her tip was about making eyes look more life-like. Of course, I wanted to try this out, especially as she pointed out various things that I hadn't thought about but wanted to apply. So above is an eye I drew with reference to a photo in Drawing Lab for  Mixed-Media Artists by Carla Sonheim, and below is a face using what I learned. There are a lot of things I can see that could be better, but over-all, I'm pleased with the progress I have made with faces. 

Here is a face I did a couple of years ago, for contrast:

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Shel's journal

Shel's journal finally arrived with me this week. It's the last one for me to work in for the circle journal. It's both sad and satisfying to come to the end of a project. 

Shel's journal is titled Nature Spirit. As with all the journals, each artist gets to interpret the theme in their own way. For me, it made me think of trees. Lots of blogs are talking about autumn and its colours. As it is spring here, and the weather is getting hotter, I get nostalgic for a British autumn where I can shuffle through crispy leaves while there is a crispness in the air - what I am used to for November. 

For inspiration I used a poem I wrote after visiting a botanic park during autumn. There were pools of brightly coloured leaves gathered at the base of the trees that looked like reflections of the canopies above them. 

As there were some empty pages in the journal, I did a second page - hope you don't mind, Shel! - a sketch this time, of a Banksia seed pod. They look as if they're covered with little mouths. 

As the autumn colours also fulfil the challenge at Art Journal Journey, I will be posting this there as well. 

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Leaf on the wind

A bit of a mixed metaphor, this page :) When I looked at the image, a line from the film Serenity went through my mind: I am a leaf on the wind.

This leaf actually looks like it's on the water, but the same sort of thoughts apply: whether floating on the water or on the breeze, you can put up some sort of sail - whether it is a cloth one on a mast or a 'chute like a skydiver has - and harness the wind.

Will you be at the whim of the wind, or will you use it's power to get to where you want to go?

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Stamping and doodling

A little bit of stamping and doodling fun. I cut the new rubber stamp on the left, then remembered the smaller one I had made previously. The two work well together, I think. I coloured the insides with Neocolor IIs and then used the same colours on other areas of the page.

A lot of the background is made from bits of gelli-printed greaseproof paper so you get transparency and mixing of layers. You can see on the left, under the bigger arrow stamp, some that I doodled on as well, before tearing and sticking. I'm thinking that I might use the doodle pattern to make a stamp.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Decade of Mission project

I worked on a project in July/August that I can now share with you. The Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia recently held a Decade of Mission conference. They put out a call for artists to create a piece of art inspired by the Lectionary readings for one of the days in Advent.

Although the other artists were from New Zealand and Polynesia, there was a day left over and I was given the chance to participate. The date left was December 11th. One of the readings for the day was Psalm 1, which was the one I used to base my art on, especially verse 3: "He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does he prospers."

I had to keep reminding myself as I worked that my art was just as valid as anyone else's. Yes, I'm the one who is always telling everyone else to embrace their style and not compare, and here I was, talking down the nagging voice in my head :) Anyway, I gagged the voice and got on with my art.

Each of the art pieces was photographed and turned into a postcard. These were available to purchase as a set at the conference. On the reverse of each card was a thought or a question for contemplation during Advent. As one of the artists, I received a set of cards. It was wonderful to see the range of art styles and media - photography, collage, printing, drawing, painting, lettering - that were used by the wide range of artists involved.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

The flowers still grow

As a clergy wife there are a lot of emotional things that you have to hold loosely because they are not your stories, but the emotion involved still affects you. I find journalling helps me with this. This last week has been a hard one, including some personal stuff and some congregational stuff.

I find myself thinking about events - surgery for cancer with unexpected anaesthetic side effects; a father suddenly rushed into hospital with an infection; unplanned car repairs; a sudden death away from home and the planning of the funeral; an expected death and another funeral to be planned; waiting to hear about a job; visitors staying for a month; creative preparations for Christmas; a couple of people coping with spouses with Alzheimer's; a couple of birthdays.

And the over-riding thought?

Life goes on.

Amidst the unexpected, the loss, the grief, the worry, birthdays still happen, and the flowers still grow.

Sunday, 1 November 2015


Recognising the problem is only the first step, though a significant one.

Working out the 'how' may take a little longer.