Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Some art therapy

Here's a picture of what I painted for my art therapy session I did a couple of weeks ago. It's lovely and bright, I call it a sunburst; I just kept seeing lots of them popping into my head whilst I was doing the visualization. It was just beautiful. It was also great because I got the opportunity to use some gorgeous, expensive brushes and they just made the paint flow so easily! Looking at the painting a few weeks later makes me feel happy, I remember on the day feeling that I'd got something out of my system that was threatening to burst out - it was very freeing! Like I said before, you don't have to be having emotional problems to benefit from art therapy, sometimes it's good to express yourself just for the sake of it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Back again ...

Feeble I know, but I finally succumbed properly to the 'bug', whatever it was and spent lots of time lying around feeling sorry for myself. And after making fun of my husband for being victim to 'man-germs'. That'll teach me!

Anyway, back to feeling fairly normal, and the creative buzz flowing again. Hooray! As we've been talking about mandalas I thought I'd share a work that didn't initially start out as one, but ended up as a mandala style and could be quite healing in the process I think. It's a very rough drawing from my art journal, you might not be able to read the notes scribbled in the corner, but they explain I just had to get the idea on paper - I want to turn it into a painting very soon. It's quite personal - I was challenged to look at myself as a little girl, and to imagine being with her now - what would I do and how would I react to this younger me? I've always been a bit disappointed in my younger self as I remember being painfully shy and awkward around people, but as I imagined that little girl being me I realized I didn't dislike her, I just wanted to befriend her and encourage her - and that's where the picture came from. When I've painted it I'll publish it here, then you can see the continuation of my idea;jottings;painting process. I just love it when an image comes together!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

More mandala stuff ...

Here is an exercise I did after looking at the book 'Mandala' by Judith Cornell, who is an authority on mandalas. Can't remember why we had to draw it now, but looking at it reminds me of energy moving. It actually looks better in this photo than the real thing, I think the light from the flash must be reflecting off the white! The white pencil didn't work as well as I hoped, might be better if I had used pastels. Quite pleased with how it looks here though.

Meant to mention that the mandala from yesterday was drawn and coloured with 'Inktense' coloured pencils. You use them the same way as normal watercolour/aquarelle pencils, but they give a much more intense result just as their name implies. They aren't cheap, but every artist must have their vices!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Not much doing today

Just a quick blog today - the house is full of germs and we are all feeling a wee bit poorly! So thought I would choose a mandala to show today, think I had been investigating Celtic art and nature religions to come up with this theme of being 'one with the earth'. It was the first mandala I'd ever drawn and I found it very relaxing, also I love round things (explains the dotty blog template) so I think I will probably produce some more in the future. Will post a couple more I've done recently and explain a bit more about mandalas another time. This virus turns the brain to mush and I just can't think straight! Apologies for short and uninspiring blogging!

Monday, October 20, 2008

It ain't half hot ...

I spend a lot of time thinking about but not doing things, because I don't know how to do them, instead of having a go anyway and seeing how it all turns out. That's another great thing about this blog, it's inspiring me to try new things like the felt egg I made a couple of weeks ago. I didn't have a clue, but I wanted to share the results anyway (good job it turned out well!).

It's really too hot to blog - 34.5 degrees today, just the start of things to come. Yuck! So I will finish with a quote:

"The best angle from which to approach any problem is the try-angle." Author unknown.

I just love it!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Every time I walk out to the washing line I pass this amazing display of nasturtium in a battered old dustbin, but it's one of the most beautiful things in the garden! We actually ripped up some of the plant because it grows like a weed in this area, and put it in the bin to dispose of it. However, it seems the plant had other ideas, and after dying back after the first few days, it keeps coming back as this lovely voluptuous plant. Isn't it just gorgeous, I adore the colours, fiery and passionate.

What got me thinking was the question of "what sustains you? what keeps you going season after season?" Then as my mind does, it started a rollercoaster of other ideas. What sustains me each day, what energizes me to keep going? Firstly, my family sustains me, though of course I also expend a lot of energy on it - it's a two way street! And my art sustains me, I think I would be totally lost if I couldn't create a little something each day, even the 'routine' portfolio I talked about the other day. So, what sustains you, energizes you, where does your passion lie?

This blog has been somewhat of a revelation for me, not just the techno side of having to get to grips with a PC, but also that it makes me think about issues, ideas, creative processes each and every day, which in turn energizes me - and keeps the brain ticking over! And all that from a dustbin filled with flowers ...

Friday, October 17, 2008


When I had time to think over yesterday, it wasn't such a bad day after all. I'd woken up and felt homesick, and wondering how I could occupy myself for the day. Funny when you're feeling down, some things happen to make you realize life isn't all that bad! I ended up going to the library for storytime with my youngest and met a mum from playgroup, and another friend I hadn't seen for ages turned up too, so we had a chat whilst the kiddies did their activities. On returning home I got a phone call and invited out for lunch next week. So what I thought would be a lonely old day, turned into one filled with friends!

Not a very arty post today, but I'd remembered a word my children used when they were little to describe how they were feeling, which was 'happysad' and I wanted to share it here. It kind of describes how yesterday turned out, and it's definitely more weighted on the happy side of things!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Not all smooth sailing ...

This is a picture of a tote bag I painted a while ago to promote my intention for creative living. I love the colours and the little lilac sequins - adds a bit of bling and you can never have too much of that!

Well, missed my blog day yesterday because the computer decided it needed a break and wouldn't let me connect with the internet! Probably a good job anyway as I was feeling rather frustrated creatively, I felt like I had a pile of things I wanted to make but no time to do it in because of 'chores', so to be honest I was a bit grumpy.

I did manage to create something useful though by making a portfolio of projects I undertook for a creativity course I ran with a friend earlier this year. As I want to encourage hoards of people to embrace their natural creativity, I thought it would be a good idea to produce a folio of work to show people and get them fired up! It's fun to be organized and prepared in this way, but I must admit I don't get such a buzz out of it as when I've produced a painting. Still, one must do the routine jobs as well as the more adventurous, it's all creativity in a way ...

Oh hum, will stop mumbling on - sometimes I'm really prepared for writing my post, sometimes I just start writing and the subject works itself out, and sometimes you just get me not being as bouncy as usual, but at least I'm being real! Perhaps I need to work out my feelings in a piece of art - good excuse for some creativity ...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Spring is sprung ...

What a beautiful day it was today - sunny and warm, 30 degrees, lovely and a sure sign spring has truly sprung and that summer is just around the corner. So, I put my sheets of paper outside to dry in the sun, and I am quite impressed by the final result. My daughter had a look and asked why I hadn't put the paper paste in the beetroot juice like I said I would, so it looks like I was being a bit optimistic expecting a dusky pink colour scheme. More like off white, but I'm still pleased with the result.

Talking about paper, (this is a very tenuous link!) I am terrible for leaving slips of paper around the house with messages from friends, drawings from the kids or just something I want to remember. Yesterday I spring cleaned my art corner and found a poem I'd jotted down ages ago, it's truly lovely. Just hope the spellings are right as I wrote it down in felt pen and some of the letters are a bit smudgy ...

"I had a jewel in my fingers -
And went to sleep -
The day was warm, and winds were prosy -
I said "Twill keep"

I woke and chid my honest fingers.
The Gem was gone -
And now, an Amethyst remembrance
Is all I own."

- by Emily Dickson

Isn't it beautiful? Poetry now added to my list of 'art in life'.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Beetroot coloured R&D

Have just finished making my first handmade paper. I decided to be clever and try and dye my paper pulp with beetroot juice, with the end result of dusky pink with scattered beetroot bits. Interesting! Anyway, it's a delightfully messy process, I will be finding small pieces of dried up paper paste all over my kitchen for the next 5 weeks, thanks to beating the soaked paper pieces with my high speed whisk. Pink coloured pieces mind. It took me until the third sheet to realize I had been using the deckle upside down. Needless to say the process became a little smoother after that, and the sheets were more rectangular shaped than bloblike. You also have to be careful when clearing up, because if you let any of the paper paste go down the plughole it can bung up the drain, and make your husband unhappy too I'll wager. Dodgy business this papermaking.

I haven't included any pictures of this marvellous undertaking, because let's face it, looking at pieces of dusky pink wet paper paste drying is as interesting as watching ... paper paste drying. When I get better at it, I'll post some pics of the process. Might be waiting a while.

Thoroughly enjoyed it though!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hearts and butterflies!

We went to a wedding yesterday which is why no Saturday blog, and why I'm writing on a no blogging day! The wedding was beautiful, bride and groom looked totally joyful all day. It was a real honour to be able to share in their special day. At the reception the tables were festooned with love hearts (chocolates - yum), and the symbol on the invites, stationery and place labels were butterflies - one of my favourite symbols for some time now. A symbol of transformation, which in this case is from one stage of life to the next, single to married life. Very fitting I thought and I've included my place label in one of my pictures.

The doll is another spirit doll, which I called the 'Love-ly' doll, I've also sewn a couple of tiny rose quartz beads into it for extra romance and as you can see from the back of the doll I painted some hearts on it too. I wasn't too happy with the face of this doll, but by the time I had finished I was pleased with the overall look. I usually pick a theme I might have been thinking about for a while, and choose symbols and colours that I feel bring the theme to life. So of course with the theme being love, I imagined pinks and lilacs, hearts and wanted the extra touch of the rose quartz which is believed to be a symbol of love (self-love too which is important so that you can reach out and love others).

Unfortunately, the second picture is not the way up I wanted it to be - somehow it has rotated itself whilst I was uploading it, and I haven't a clue how to rotate it to the right way up! Still, you get the idea of what I was trying to achieve! I could spend several hours trying to work it out, but I'm not going to!

Friday, October 10, 2008

A little bit of R&R

The end of the week already, time seems to be flying by! The weekend hopefully means for most people a time of rest and renewal - hence the picture today. I drew this a couple of months ago when I was thinking about the theme of autumn, and used all the earthy colours and images. Although of course, orange is a beautiful fiery colour, reminiscent of summer which is only round the corner for us here in the Southern Hemisphere. I have a few seedlings beginning to grow from the plantings over the last couple of weeks, so I guess it's a time of renewal too. The drawing is in water soluble oil pastels, which I had never used before, but they have lovely rich colours which you can mix and blend into others just by smudging with water.

Yesterday I happened upon two fantastic art books in the library just by chance. They do say that when you need to learn something, the teacher appears! One is about felt-making and the other is about papermaking, which is probably going to be my next R&D project. There's so much to learn in the arts and craft field, but I think that's why I love it so much. If I do try any of the projects, you can be sure I'll post the results here, however they turn out!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Grrr ...

Well, had even more fun with the post last night. I previewed it before publishing properly, then decided to edit, tried to delete some spaces I didn't like and managed to delete my hard won image, and had to go through the whole rigmarole again. Blah .... So tonight it's just words as I don't want to spend 2 hours attached to the PC again.

One of my children managed to get me onto the X-box tonight. I wouldn't have a clue what the game was called, but the console thingy was passed to me and I was told to 'beat' the other person. It was some kind of karate game, and I didn't have a clue what I was doing, but as I got more used to it and defeated 3 manga looking characters in a row it became a bit of thrill to knock out these opponents. So I stopped! I reckon it's all too easy to get addicted to these games and you'll find yourself spending 5 hours in front of it instead of 5 minutes. All good creating time. And is it art? I suppose it is, the characters are well drawn, even if the proportions, especially those of the females, are slightly incorrect, and it certainly attracts your attention. I suppose the argument is open about that one.

Anyway, I don't hate computers THAT much, they are very useful -I'm going to produce a 'portfolio/brochure', just to be able to show people what I do and what I'm about on my arty quest - and I will use the PC to do that. Could be interesting ...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Research and Development ...

Just as I write I'm having some technical problems with the computer and not being able to upload today's image. Aaargh!! And I was so proud of it. So I will give up in despair ... until tomorrow that is. I'd tried a quick project as part of my on-going R&D, and as it was quite successful thought I would brag about it here, but alas, to no avail. And now I'm too tired, and too grumpy with the computer to want to try anymore tonight, so you will have to wait until tomorrow for my lovely picture.

Oh, there it is -just magically appeared! Don't hate computers quite as much now. Don't you just love the 'live' nature of today's post ...

Anyway, this is my first try at felting with wool fibres, and I managed to felt an egg!! Weird but true. I'd seen some in a friend's office and finally had the courage to pick the eggs up and see what made them so egg-like. And it was just that - the felt had been made round the egg. So after a quick crash course in felting (read 2 items on the net) I decided to have a go. I wrapped my little egg (with all contents blown out through 2 tiny holes!) lovingly with wool fibres, included some silk sari fibres for the colour then washed it in hand hot water and soft soap. You kind of have to squidge the wool around the egg until it all begins to mat together. Just pretend to be washing your favourite woolie as you've been taught not to - treat it mean! Keep going until it feels 'right'. I think it worked so well because it was natural Corriedale wool, I have heard if wool is coloured it can take a bit longer. I was probably washing and squidging for no more than 10 minutes. Needless to say, I am incredibly proud of my felted egg and will show it to anyone who stands still for more than 5 seconds. I'm hoping to do an artwork with it and a couple more eggs and some homemade felt. Will let you see the results when I've finished.

Gradually been getting used to taking photos on the old digital camera and thought I had understood how to get my photos from the camera to the PC, but NOOOOO, got that wrong. Got in a bit of a muddle and had to get help. So now that's two of us who are feeling a bit touchy! Still, it's all in the name of art.

Monday, October 6, 2008

100 Art Dolls Challenge - No.1 Doll!

It's my 10th day of blogging! Bit of a milestone for me - only 90 days to go and a good day to start a new topic ...
Today I thought I would announce my intention to join the '100 Art Dolls Challenge' which was started by two artists called Stacey Apeitos and Arrigo Dorissa. They call it a 'blogging adventure' in their intro whereby they take a year to make 100 art dolls and use the blog to reflect on the making of the doll, and its meaning to them. I do enjoy making dolls, but have always felt I needed to give the dolls away, or make them as gifts for someone, i.e. I needed a reason to make them rather than make them for the sake of it. Now I have a perfect reason to make 100 dolls! Yay! I'm not really into deadlines (because I usually miss them!) but it would be cool if I could do it before my 40th birthday, but I won't say when that is!
My first doll is a spirit doll I made from a pattern by Violette, although all the paintwork was splashed on randomly not following a pattern at all! I've called it 'Creativity', because I made it when I first decided to embark on this artistic journey that I'm now blogging about. I love it because it's so bright, it reminds me of the creative impulse on those dull rainy days when I'd rather stay in bed!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday evening ponderings ...

Ah - today was just as a Sunday should be - pottering about in the garden, planting my remaining seedlings before they die in their mini pots, and drinking tea outside admiring my handiwork afterwards.

Also watched my most favourite TV programme - 'Who do you think you are' with the lovely Julian Clary this week. I just love the way researching ancestry seems to make you feel more connected even when you have never met the person. One day I will trace my family tree, really ...

Well, this is just a short post, I've decided that I probably won't post anything on a Sunday unless it's really, really interesting as Sundays are so manic - all my chores like ironing for the week ahead have to be completed, not very inspiring for blog posts!
Enjoy the photo of our lovely wisteria - the metal lionfish you can see on the lefthand side was made by my husband, who swears he is not at all arty - when he obviously is! Tut, some people!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Power of Gratitude & Art from the Heart!

Well, it's been an emotionally tiring couple of days and my head needed to recover which is why I haven't been posting anything. Feeling brighter today after spending a bit of time in the spring sunshine and visiting an art therapist which I will tell you about shortly!

Many people say to keep yourself grounded and to return to a good place it's a good idea to remind yourself of what you're grateful for in your life. So, I had a good think yesterday and came up with: the sun shining in between the spring showers, my radishes poking their new shoots through the soil (yay!), my kids shouting from the end of the house 'I love you mum' just because they want to ... the list could go on. All small things, but they bring a smile to the face. I love this time of year in the garden when blossom appears on our peach tree, and I can put out my pots of colour in the garden - hence the picture today. Notice the small possum hanging on the pot - some outside 'art' I bought at the garden centre the other day. See, art is everywhere!

Anyway, I went to visit a local art therapist today for an introductory art therapy session. Linda at Creative Seeds is an awesome woman, who went through the basics of art therapy with me and I produced a painting in 5 minutes which I am very proud of actually, but which came to mind naturally after Linda led me through a short visualization. She doesn't actually interpret the painting for you or offer any judgements, rather she leads you gently through your own thought processes, to come to your own conclusions. As Linda states herself, she helps you to find "the true self beyond the personality". Here is probably not the appropriate place to tell what I discovered about myself, but it was a very powerful experience for me. If you've ever considered investigating art therapy I would highly recommend it. No art experience is necessary and it's not just for people who are depressed or anxious (for which it is very helpful), but also for those who want to gain a wider understanding of themselves, by expressing themselves through art. Linda provides a safe space for people to do just that. Sometimes words are just not enough. To get some more insight into this, just go to the Creative seeds website at You will truly experience art from the heart!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Art is everywhere ...

Hello! Here is a picture of me trying my best to look like an artist - it was a promo shot for the Artopia exhibition I had last year. It's the one year anniversary this week, and it was a really big thing for me to exhibit my paintings to the public. The title of this post was the catchphrase for the whole art festival, and it really resonates with me.

For example we went for a rare treat to the cinema today and saw WALL-E, which has several moral messages, but amongst it all there is a building of a relationship between two robots. There's basically no speech between them, but you can tell how they feel about each other and the connection that grows between them just from the expressions and the 'gobbledygook' they do speak. How is it the animators can make us feel so much? For me that is what art is all about - making the observer FEEL, to experience emotion. So film-making and animation will be going on my list of artistic/creative activities. The film was really enjoyable by the way, amusing and putting across the serious (and rather worrying) message that we really should be looking after our planet or we're going to end up in a real big mess!

The next thing I need to learn is how to put links in my posts! I'd really love to include a link for the Artopia Festival which is held every 2 years here in WA. So as soon as I know how - I will! The next one is not until September 2009 so I have a bit of time ...