Friday, 29 September 2017

From eye to heart

There is a road from the eye to the heart that does not go through the intellect. G. K. Chesterton.

Parents know this when they first set eyes on their newborn. Anyone who has stood in front of a moving piece of art knows this.

It works with your ears as well.

There is some music that just moves us. It goes into your ears and grabs straight for your heart. There's no explaining it, it just is. And there are times when someone says something that is just what we need to hear. Tears spring to our eyes because it went straight to the heart.

Of course, that can work in a negative way as well. I know I'm not the only one who has had someone say something that has hurt. The emotional reaction is immediate. It is only with a little time that I can step back from what has been said and ask myself whether it is warranted or not; whether there are circumstances in that person's life that might have caused them to say what they did. I have to deliberately apply my intellect because the first reaction is a visceral one in my heart (and sometimes my stomach).

Have you had a time where something went straight from your eye to your heart?

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Map faces

A friend gave me an old school atlas and I decided to use it for practicing faces. The one above doesn't have a map behind it as it is in the inside cover. I've been posting them on Instagram, and decided to share them here as well.

Some of the faces are 5 minute sketches. All are done directly in paint or ink, not pencil. Some are done with pens and some with brushes. I like the way they each have a different look depending on the materials used. Some I really like and others are a bit 'meh'. But that's how it goes. Each face I draw helps me to become better, even if I don't like the result.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Into the unknown

Into the unknown.

The black on the right hand side of this page represented the unknown for me. The other side is bright colours and patterns, but the right side is dark and mysterious.

However, look at how some of the patterns spill over. The dark isn't completely dark, without relief.

When we go into something new or unknown, we take something known with us - ourselves. If you know yourself, you know something of what the unknown is going to hold, because it's you that's going in to it!

You don't leave everything behind when you enter a new phase.

You take all that you've learned.

Friday, 22 September 2017


Blossoming doesn't always look like you think it will.

This loosely drawn flower certainly didn't end up looking like much of a flower. It wasn't what I pictured when I started at all. But then, when we blossom, it doesn't always work out the way we imagined. When the bud is tight, you can't see how it will turn out. Sometimes you can't even see any of the colour for a while.

One of the fun things about living in a different country is watching all the seasons and seeing the different flowers and fruits arriving. Australia has some weird and wonderful flora (and fauna) and the blossom certainly doesn't always look the way you expect.

But it's still blossoming.

So let go of expectations and just face into the sun and let yourself bloom.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

One step at a time

This page made me think of stepping stones disappearing into the fog. We can only see so far ahead, but if we take one step at a time, before we know it we are in that fog, and it doesn't seem foggy any more.

As an introvert, I like to know what I'm going into, especially in new situations, meeting new people etc. I'm the sort of person who, if invited for dinner, likes to know how many people there will be and do I know any of them. How much uncertainty and new stuff I can cope with depends on what is going on in my life at the time.

When I can't see where the path is leading, I have to remind myself that if I can see the next step, then that is enough for the moment. I have to put my foot forward in faith that the next step will be revealed.

And it usually is.

This is my 1000th blog post and I've reached this milestone by taking one step (post) at a time.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Next steps

On certain paths it is obvious what the next step needs to be. But sometimes we reach the end of one path and the next is not always clear. What are the next steps?

For me, my steps were more or less laid out for a number of years when we decided to homeschool our daughter. It was a great time and I learned a lot. But that ended in December last year and I've spent this year trying to work out what I'm supposed to do next.

I've put out a number of lines, but there's nothing definitive just yet. Each day brings its own set of requirements, but there is nothing long term for me at the moment.

Not knowing the next steps means I have to come to terms with being enough just as I am. You know how it is - the world often judges us on how much we accomplish, how busy we are. One of the first questions we ask of people when we first meet is: what do you do? Hard enough when you're a stay-at-home mum who is homeschooling, but when you're in a liminal place? I can say I'm an artist - which I am - but I'm not earning a living at it. I can say I'm a clergy wife - which I am - but the role is not necessarily understood. When people ask 'what do you do' they're usually asking what you get paid to do. I make a contribution to my household, to my community. My next steps may involve being paid to do something.

But they may not.

And I have to remember that I am enough just as I am, whatever form the next steps take for me.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

In and out of the heart

Continuing with my reflections on the heart series: What goes in to your heart gets pumped all round the body. Our feelings affect us even if we try to deny it.

If your heart is filled with joy, that's what spills out of you. If bitterness fills it, well, we've all met those people, too. When we feel hurt, those feelings come out in our words and actions.

So what is your heart full of? What's pumping through your veins?

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

It doesn't take much

It doesn't always take much to pull you down.

Take Persephone, for instance. Why Persephone? you ask. Well, those pink and orange marks at the top of the page just shouted 'pomegranate seeds' to me. Persephone eats a few of those after holding out for a while, and then she has to stay in the underworld and the earth goes in to winter - so the story goes.

A few seeds and into the underworld. Sometimes it doesn't take much to pull you down.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Big and small

When the big stuff feels out of control, it's more important to have order in the small stuff.

Well, that's how I feel, anyway. There are times when the big picture is murky, chaotic, or just plain confusing. At those times I need to make sure I keep up with the routine stuff in my life. Just because the bigger picture isn't clear doesn't mean that I have to let it affect the whole of my life. You just have to keep on keeping on.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Live in the light

Live in the present. Live in the light.

Occasionally I make a page that I love. For some reason, this is one of those. I like the colours, the circles (of course), the blue scribbles that add energy, and the way the plant runs off the page in both directions so you feel that there is more and that this is a snapshot.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

SALA exhibition

A few weeks ago I posted about having an exhibition for the South Australian Living Artists Festival which happens here in Adelaide every August. There has been some interest in 'seeing' the exhibition on the blog for those who don't live near enough to visit - i.e. most of you :) So here is what ended up going in to the City Library for the month of August, and the blurb that went with it. 

Consider the Flowers is my journey in art journalling. These pages aren't necessarily the ones I like best, but I hope they show a progression in skill and style. My passion is to encourage people to embrace creativity. An art journal is a safe and worry-free place to do that: it is purely for your own use and there is no pressure to produce a masterpiece on every page. 

January 2012
Near the beginning of my art journal journey you can see that I wasn't working with many layers. My drawing skills were very basic and I wasn't happy using my own handwriting. 

November 2013
Nearly two years on, my backgrounds are becoming more complex. I've discovered stencils and stamps. I'm still working on the writing but stencils and stamps are helping with that. 

October 2014
Around this time I discovered the Gelli-plate ® (a plate for mono-printing) which meant I could make my own decorative papers for use as collage elements. Collage meant that I could add more layers to my pages, making them more interesting to look at, giving the eye more to take in.

April 2015
I was starting to be more adventurous with my drawing. Before this time I used magazine images or photographs if I wanted something more than pattern on my page, Here I've drawn a face. The eyes are done with a rubber stamp that I carved myself, so I wasn't feeling that confident, but it was a step in the right direction. 

September 2016
This page has so many more layers and I'm happier with my own handwriting. 

December 2016
This is one of my favourite face drawings. Suddenly, with continual practice, the eyes have more life to them, the face looks more 3D. By this time, 5 years on from the first page displayed here, I'm beginning to find my own style and embrace it. 

These pages are from this year showing what sort of things I put in my art journal. One shows some contemplation and the other just depicts what it was like in my head at the time. For me, art journalling is about process rather than the finished product, and that's why it's fun. 

I also displayed these canvases to show how I am now moving out of my art journal and on to canvas as I gain more confidence.

Because my journals were displayed in cabinets, the original canvas that I wanted to display - the one called Consider the Flowers - was too large, so I made the one above to fit in the space, although I prefer the original which is shown below.

Some of my art journal images are available through my Redbubble shop (find me under sojournertracy). If there are any particular images you like, I can upload them.