Thursday, 30 June 2016

ATCs and working small

A little while ago I agreed to do an ATC swap with Win. This week I received a lovely parcel of goodies from Canada:

And I was left feeling a bit guilty about my tardiness in sending out my own end of the swap. Normally I make things for swaps straight away as the post always takes a long time from here. This time, however, I was procrastinating. Why? Because I am used to working at least A4 size (that's approx 12 x 8.5in for my American friends). These ATCs are only 3.5 x 2.5 in!

So I decided to start out in my comfort zone and prepared an A3 page background on watercolour paper, just as I would with a journal page:

I then cut this down into 16 ATC cards. I marked the size on the back so I wasn't influenced by parts of the paper that I liked best:

I picked out 6 of the cards to work on, and added small details to the ready-made backgrounds. I even managed to do a small face - although it wasn't quite small enough to fit the whole of it on the card :) On Monday a selection of these will be in the post to Canada. And next time I need to work small, I shan't feel quite so out of my depth.

I shall be sharing this with the lovely people at Paint Party Friday. And I have plenty of ATCs left if anyone would like one.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Be the grown-up

In those explosive situations, arguments, disagreements - whatever the level of clash - always aim to be the grown-up.

Be the one who lets it go when it isn't important.

Be the one who forgives.

Be the one who apologises, even when it feels that their reaction was over the top.

Be the one who makes peace.

Ask yourself whether it is worth fighting for, and then move forward with maturity.

Be the grown-up.

Sunday, 26 June 2016


I'm reading a book of essays at the moment - Refractions: a journey of faith, art, and culture by Makoto Fujimura. He uses some great phrases and imagery. Lots of things to make me think.

This week I was inspired to contemplate people being prisms. The pure and perfect light of God shines through us, but we are imperfect, and do not reflect this light perfectly. Instead, we refract it. The light is bent, and in the bending, the different colours can be split out, like with a prism. Although we don't reflect the fullness, the completeness of the light that shines into us, we show some of the parts that make it up: love, mercy, grace, kindness, gentleness, etc.

So my questions for myself this week are: When the light of Christ shines through me, how do I refract the light? What colours do I show?

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Waiting… still

When my word for the year turned out to be 'continue' I didn't realise that most of what I would 'continue' to be doing was waiting.

But the way we wait is important.

It is important not to get bitter in the waiting; not to try to take things into your own hands; to wait patiently and thankfully, recognising that growth takes time.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016


Almost filled up my 'From Brain to Veins' journal. Only a couple of spreads left to fill. This one is 'Contentment is greater than monetary riches'.

Blessed is the person who is content with what they have. Thankfulness and contentment go together. When we learn to be thankful for what we have, we become content with what we have. The practice of thankfulness teaches us to appreciate even the smallest of things and to realise how rich we really are.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Staying focussed

I wanted to practice doing a smaller face. I find that if I do a face, it tends to almost fill the page, so this was an exercise in containment for me, ahead of doing an ATC to swap with Win. Such a tiny canvas to work with! I'm working myself down to it in stages :)

When I had finished the face I thought about the head-on gaze and the wind-blown hair. What was she saying to me? Of course: whichever the way wind blows, stay focussed. Don't be tossed this way and that by whatever is trying to distract you, by what others are doing, or by whatever is on trend at the moment. Stay on track with your calling.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

More than your body

Another layout in my 'From Brain to Veins' journal where I'm exploring those things that we know in our minds but don't always reach our hearts so that we live them. This time - You Are More Than Your Body.

Say it with me: I am more than my body.

I found this image in a magazine. The headline for the article was De-Age Your Body. Seriously?! This woman can't be out of her 20s. With all the advertising, magazines, movies, etc. telling women - whether blatantly or in more insidious ways - that they have to be 'beach ready', stay young, be thinner, it's time to speak out.

When we put so much emphasis on what people look like, the size of their waist, the lack of wrinkles on their face, how fit they are, as soon as they become ill, grow older, don't 'measure up' in some way, they are seen as valueless. So what about the wisdom of those who have lived long, fulfilled lives? What about the perseverance, bravery, and strength we see in those who endure prolonged illness? How can we dismiss the beauty of faces that have been lived in, bodies that have brought forth life?

The tape under the figure reads: giving, smart, playful, silly, splendid, fantastic, awesome, funny, sweet, epic, amazing. None of these requires a particular body type.

I'm sharing this with all the lovely people at Paint Party Friday. Go and visit to see all the awesome art they've produced this week.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

See with more than your eyes

This page started out with the messy scrap paper I use to catch drips etc. when doing pages. I like the patterns that collect on those papers. They have patterns that you can't seem to make deliberately.

Once the scraps were collaged, a layer of gesso pulled it together and fun with the triangle stencil started. I used it as a straight stencil with paint, drew through it with a waterproof pen, and used it with a baby wipe to remove paint.

Then came the mark-making, just doodling, really, with pens, paint, and a straw. I was having fun. Then the circle just called out for an eye. I wasn't sure, so I left it to the next day, but I still wanted to put in that eye. So I did. After all, it's just my journal and I can play however I like in it.

Of course, the eye led me to think about seeing. How we can see more than just the light that is reflected from things and hits the eye. When we perceive with our heart and ears as well, we can really see.

Sunday, 12 June 2016


The winter is coming on strong - wet and cold. I'm bunged up with a cold and sore throat, so hibernation until the spring is looking really good at the moment :)