Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Who you are

Here's the latest spread in my 'From Brain to Veins' journal - a journal for exploring those things that we know in our minds, but that don't always penetrate to our hearts.

As a stay-at-home mum and homeschooler, I find it difficult when people ask me what I do. How to answer? I'm a wife, a mother, a teacher, an artist, I write, knit, make jewellery, give a day a week to working for the church my husband is pastor to, love to cook and share skills.

What do I do?

They don't really want a list of what I achieve every day. What they mean is, what is my career? What is my job and function? And then I can sometimes feel a bit embarrassed. I shouldn't, and most of the time I don't, but occasionally I do, especially when I'm in a room with high achievers. But God is so much more interested in who I am; how I'm growing and becoming more like Him. I could be the best lawyer/doctor/whatever, but if I'm not growing as a person into someone who is loving, kind, compassionate, then what does it matter?

Wouldn't it be so much better if we asked each other who we are? What are our dreams? What are our hopes? None of us have a single 'function' in life. We are all made up of different facets and they all add in to who we are.

I think that is much more exciting.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

The lady with grey hair

I've never really got on well with coloured pencils. Couldn't get the hang of them. Then I discovered artist quality pencils. The light shone! The quality is sooo much better than cheap packs that I've used before. Our local art shop - just a five minute walk from our house :) - had a sale on Derwent artist pencils, so I picked up a handful and had a play. As I'm still practicing faces at the moment, it seemed natural to try one with the pencils. I also pulled out some nice watercolour paper to give it my best shot.

The first thing that struck me was the creaminess of the pencils. It was so easy to lay down different amounts of colour, starting with light layers and adding more colour to give depth. They blended well, too.

The hair was a wash of ink and turned out grey, which was a happy accident. I like it. I also enjoyed taking photos from different angles. I love the way it distorts the features. Gives me ideas for different styles of face in the future.

Which medium do you need to give another try?

Thursday, 26 May 2016


A cup of coffee can't spill tea. 
In the same way, I can't spill out love if I'm filled with hatred. 
I can't encourage others if I'm filled with negativity. 
You can only give out what you're filled with. 

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

There's nothing wrong with slow

Ironically, this page about 'slow' was a quick one to do. The background is made using gelli-printed labels which quickly cover the page in an altered book.

It seems that a lot of the time we are in a hurry to get things done. Fast food, quick fixes, instant communication, hurry, hurry, hurry.

But I think 'slow' has been underrated.

I know that I am very blessed to be able to live a slow life. I make things by hand from scratch. I take time to stop and look at things that I find interesting when I'm out for a walk, because I am rarely in a hurry.

One of the best things about taking things slowly is that there is time to listen. Really listen to what is being said - and not said. When people feel that they have been heard, they feel valued. My time is one of the best things I can give to someone, as long as it isn't rushed.

Slow down. Be generous with your time, and see the benefits you reap.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Waiting for the greater glory


How patiently do you do it?

Waiting is hard, but worth it.

Hang on in there for the greater glory.

Thursday, 19 May 2016


Working out of the journal again. This piece is on a piece of A4 mounting card that was lying around. I filmed the process with my trusty Brinno time-lapse camera because sometimes it's fun to see your own process when you don't always remember to take photos as you go along.

This face is done with Jane Davenport's method using gesso to blend water-soluble pastels, found in her book Drawing and Painting Beautiful Faces. I used Neocolor IIs.

I added the journalling afterwards, once everything was properly dry. It reads: Believe… that you are enough just as you are. It has obviously been playing on my mind, as it was the last spread in my 'From brain to veins' journal as well. (in my last post).

I'm sharing this at Paint Party Friday where all the lovely creatives are so encouraging. Thanks guys! I'll visit as many of you as I can even if I don't manage to comment everywhere.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

I am enough

The latest spread in my 'From brain to veins' journal - the journal where I'm looking at those things that we know with our minds, but take a long time to reach our hearts and be lived. 

I am enough.

Even when other people might tell me that I'm not young enough, thin enough, rich enough, pretty enough, clever enough, whatever enough, I need to remember that I am enough. 

Just as I am.

I am loved enough.

I am rich enough.

I am sufficient for what I need to be and do because I am loved and I am equipped.

And so are you.

Sunday, 15 May 2016


How often do you listen to opinions that don't really matter?

How often do you take on things that other people - people who shouldn't hold any sway with you - say about you?

Why do you care about what the woman at the school gates whispers to her friend before they both look at you and smother a laugh?

We shouldn't, but we do.

In my latest spread in the 'From brain to veins' journal, I remind myself that there are very few opinions that should really matter to me. In reality, the only opinions of me that matter are those of God, my husband, and my daughter. The opinions of others don't affect me unless I let them.

Why should I care if so-and-so doesn't like me? If I can stand with a clear conscience before God, my husband, and my daughter, that is enough.

But I need to be reminded of that when my skin becomes a little thin.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

More adventures out of the journal

Continuing on my adventures out of the journal and on to canvas. This is the largest canvas I've worked on so far. It is 76 x 61 cm (that's 30 x 24in for my American friends). I approached it in exactly the same way as I would a journal page. There is under collage, stencilling, gelli-printing, removing paint with baby-wipes, applications of paint with fingers and shaping tools. The only thing it doesn't have is journalling.

I've been adding to it for several weeks. I think it might be finished now :)

I'm sharing this with the creatives over at Paint Party Friday. Check out the wonderful work everyone has done this week.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Continue to reach out

I'm sure some of you have been there. You put yourself out there, invite some people round, and no-one shows up. It's somehow embarrassing, but I know I'm not alone in this. In these busy days people's schedules fill up, things slip through the gaps. It's nothing personal.

But still.

That sort of thing stirs up old feelings of inadequacy, remembrance of bullying, and just a general feeling of being left out.

And so I pray.

And I'm reminded that those feelings have been dealt with. It really isn't personal. My word for the year - continue - is something I need to employ. Continue to reach out, because eventually you'll make a connection.

It's not easy.

It can be disheartening.

But we have to persevere to make face-to-face connections in this virtual-driven world.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Step by tiny step

Continue… to put one foot in front of the other. Step follows step until the journey is done.

Looking back over some of my recent pages I can see a theme emerging - continue to move forward, even when those steps feel small and insignificant. It's amazing when you look back over those many small steps to see how far they can carry you.

I shall be sharing this with Art Journal Journey, which has the theme of journey this month.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

I am loved

This is the first spread in my 'Brain to Veins' journal (see the last post).

I am loved.

A simple declarative sentence. Yet we often find it hard to believe.

How often do you find yourself thinking, 'They wouldn't love me if they knew…'

It is only with length and depth of relationship that the truth of 'I am loved' moves from the brain to our veins. Only with repeated instances of being shown that we are loved, no matter what, do we begin to believe it.

Linking with Paint Party Friday and Express your Creativity

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

From brain to veins

It's one thing to know something with head knowledge, but quite another to know it in your heart.

A while ago my husband found a great book for me to alter - Atlas of Female Anatomy. It's interesting for a couple reasons. The shape is fun as it is tall and narrow. Inside there is a slim book on the left hand side and a three-way fold-out atlas of the body with some movable pieces on the right.

It has been sitting in my studio while I decided what I wanted to do with it. I didn't want to cover all of the anatomical illustrations and I wanted there to be a theme. A few days ago it came to me: exploring those things that can sometimes take a while to travel from our brains to our veins; those things that we don't always find it easy to believe deep in our hearts even when our heads say it is true.

So here's the first page of the book side; the title page, if you will.