Thursday, 29 June 2017

Reflections on the heart #2

In the second of my #50reflectionsontheheart I thought it would be fun to do love at first sight. The background for this was a piece of watercolour paper that I repurposed into this journal, so a lot of the background was already there. I added the face and a few marks.

I'm not sure there is 'love' at first sight. Attraction, maybe, but love? That's a whole lot more complex. We are all called to love our neighbour, but 'love at first sight' is about romantic love. That sort of love requires us to know someone. Love at first sight is more about attraction and a fantasy.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

New stuff in my Redbubble shop

New designs in my Redbubble shop today! Find them here. Get them on a mug, phone case, T-shirt, bag, journal - so many things to choose from. 

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Faces progress

I don't often do faces in my journal, but I just love this one. I can see the progress I have made over the years, and I can see the difference in the faces I draw with a reference photo and those I just do on the fly. This one is the former.

Below are a couple of close-ups and then some of my earlier faces to show the progression. As I am in the process of sorting out which pages should be displayed in my upcoming SALA exhibition at Adelaide City Library, I am looking through a lot of old artwork and seeing improvement. In some ways it will be hard to display some of my earlier pages as I want to show my best work, but the idea is to show a journey.

This spread is from 2010, the earliest one that I will show. At that point I didn't have enough courage to draw in my journal. I used photos and magazine images instead. A lot of the writing is done using stamps as I was hesitant to use my own handwriting, as well.

Skip forward a bit, and this one is done using hand-carved stamps for the eyes. The features are basic, but at least I'm drawing at this point.

Another year goes by and now I can do this. This profile is actually done with my left hand. I found that by using my non-dominant hand I could silence the critic in my head. As I wasn't using my usual hand, there was no expectation of producing anything that looked recognisable. It was all a bonus :)

Skipping ahead again, now I'm confident enough to go straight in there with a brush. There is less control with a brush and no room to make 'mistakes' because once a line is there, there's no rubbing it out. There's still not much shading going on, but I'm bolder with my lines now.

And up to earlier this year. This is more than just a face - more progress. I'm also happier using my own handwriting now and rarely use stamps for lettering anymore. 

Looking at other pages, not just those with faces on them, I can see a complexity that has built up. There are definitely more layers. I'm finding my own style and gaining confidence. I just hope that the exhibition might encourage others to have a go, too. 

Thursday, 22 June 2017

New project

I've been enjoying watching Jake Parker's videos on Youtube recently. I did the Inktober challenge last year and enjoyed and was stretched by that, so delved into some more inspiration. One of the videos was about drawing 100 of something, just to push yourself. As I am not sketching, and as I had a journal of the right size, I decided I would do 50 art journal reflections on the heart. I shall be posting them every Friday both here on the blog and on my instagram feed. (You'll be able to find them under #50reflectionsontheheart)

This is the first page based on the sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Weeds or seedlings?

You can't always tell if a seedling is a weed at first.

When a seed first germinates, it either produces one leaf or two, depending on the type of plant. Those first leaves look very similar on lots of plants, making it difficult to know whether a seedling is a weed or not.

By the time a seedling produces its next lot of leaves, they look like the ones on the mature plant and it's much easier to tell whether the seed is one you planted or if it is an interloper.

When something new germinates in your life, you can't always tell whether it is going to be useful or not. Is it a weed that will need pulling, or is it a plant that will produce fruit?

Sometimes you have to give it a little time.

Sunday, 18 June 2017


The green and white marks on this page - made with a stencil - made me think of alligator skin. I feel that if I run my fingers over them, they will be rough. Where those marks go over the heart, it made me think about how not to let your heart become rough like that. How do you keep your heart soft and tender?

Widen your heart. Be expansive. Be open. Be accepting. Be loving.

Be loved.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Cutting back

This background went through stages where I loved it, then added more and had 'ruined' it. Once the tape went on, I just had to extend those nice neat leaves. So I pulled out my winkpen (a refillable fountain pen with a glass nib) and loosely drew in some more leaves.

Now I loved the page again. Those little straggly leaves just reminded me of the way plants get 'leggy' in the summer. A bit of sunshine and they take off. But not all of that growth is useful. To increase fruitfulness, some of those straggly ends need pruning back to benefit the whole plant.

Sometimes we end up with too much on our plate. Some things need to be cut back to make room for others to blossom and bear fruit.

What are you cutting back this season?

Tuesday, 13 June 2017


If it's not knitting up correctly, you have to unravel it and start again. 

Just as with knitting, so there are some things in life that you have to backtrack on. It's annoying to have to unpick the work you've just done, to discard the effort you've put in and start again. But in the end, you do a better job by going back to the beginning and doing it right. 

The effort is not wasted. You have learned how not to do something, which is just as important. 

Sunday, 11 June 2017


Branch out - make sure you have many strings to your bow.

There have been times where I wished I was incredibly good in one area of creativity. I know some really talented people, at the top of their fields. I'm not in their league. Instead, I'm a Jack (or Jill) of all trades - art journalling is my main love, but I do bookbinding, knitting, crochet, jewellery-making, patchwork, batik, dressmaking, and anything else I feel like turning my hand to. Making shoes is on my bucket list 😊

I started out doing oil paintings on roof slates. We lived in a place where most of the roofs were made of slate and there were often slates lying in the street after windy nights. Here's one of those slates that hangs in my studio. It's called Passion and is from the early 1990s:

Anyway, one day I heard God telling me to stop painting.


I questioned whether I had heard correctly - I had - and then, with a heavy heart, did as I was told.

Fast forward 20 years and I can see that my obedience has been blessed. When I stopped painting, I branched out into other areas of creativity and now have many more strings to my bow. I tried lots of different things and eventually most of them came together in art journalling as a daily means of prayer, Bible study, and contemplation. Over the years painting has been restored to me and my skill has increased. This August will see me exhibit at SALA - the South Australian Living Artists Festival.  (Still can't quite believe it!)

When I did this journal page I saw the branching, a bunch of strings, and a plant. It reminded me of how far I have come and how it wouldn't have happened without my obedience all those years ago. It didn't make sense to me at the time, and it was really hard to do, but God is good, and He knows what He's doing. He returned what I gave up in spades.

Thursday, 8 June 2017


You have to know what you're aiming at if you want to hit the target. If you're aiming at nothing, you'll definitely hit it!

Being in a liminal phase means you can stop, take stock, and set new targets. Once you know where you want to be, you can head in the right direction.

Sharing with Art Journal Journey as their theme this month is 'circles'. How could I resist? 😊