Monday, 10 November 2014


This ended up being a cry from the heart - and one I didn't know was in there until it came out!!  I was just playing around with my Neocolour II crayons as you can see below.  I MADE myself pick up an assortment of colours, because usually once I pick up a blue for example, I reach for other blues, or greens in the same spectrum.  I'm trying to teach myself that more colour is even better, and if they clash that's good too!  The lady in the corner just got added for no good reason, which is why she looks a bit random down there.  She is!
And then I started drawing on the top with a fine black Posca paint pen - I've recently moved away from all other black pens to use this one practically all the time.  It gives a very intense and solid black and although its not possible to get a really fine one (I think this is 0.7) the effects I get with it more than make up for that. Best of all it writes over ANYTHING!
The pink circle in the top left corner is cut from a copy of a journal page, and so is the bottom left shape.  One these were glued down I began to doodle shapes and patterns on top, still with absolutely no idea where this was going - I just put stuff down because I liked it!  I do believe its possible to over-think art journalling and obsess about what to put down, and where, and why.  This is me just going with the flow, and it the result is a bit random that's OK because in the end the process is what I'm about as much as the finished page.

But then, out of my depths popped this heartfelt statement .... literally a cri de coeur, which absolutely NEEDED to be got down on paper.  Its something I've worried about and prayed over endlessly, and you might like to know how I've eventually resolved it?
I'm a great fan of Kaffe Fasset's patterns and tapestry, and in my spiritual journey have come to believe that the entire universe and everything in it makes a pattern of glorious colour and complexity.  Every stitch is exactly where its meant to be, and essential to the whole, but its easy to forget that in our little lives we only see a tiny part of the tapesty, so that often the pattern doesn't make sense because we can't see it all.  That doesn't mean that the pattern isn't there, or that we aren't part of it, or that it isn't beautiful, because it IS.

So in the end that's what I had to remember .... that although the pattern for my life isn't visible I'm a beautiful part of it, meant to be exactly where I am, and it all makes sense to the One who made it all. On the other hand, if she'd like to show me just a tiny bit more .... maybe it would make better sense? No?  OK, I get it - we aren't meant to know ..... sigh.

Sunday, 2 November 2014


Having lived in vicarages for the last 35 years (mainly old, cold and beyond our means to heat) we've never actually owned a house, and now that we're in our sixties its becoming a concern.  As you know I always work out my worries in my art journal, and that's why I made this page.  There's something about putting things down on paper and naming them that helps to sort them out!

I didn't actually know it was going to be a cri de coeur at the time, but I wanted to make a page in monochrome shades so I began as you see below with a simple coat of grey paint and a spot of gesso on some bubble wrap.  I like to use expensive art materials!
Then I made a border around the page using scraps of this and that, mainly culled from magazines. Again, very expensive collage stuff!  These are the sorts of techniques I go with when I'm not 100% sure what I'm doing with a page - just paint a background and put a border around it.  Sometimes it will stay like that for a while ... but I almost always come back to it eventually.
As you can see, at this stage it sort of needed something - so I chose to add some touches of red, and that really livened it up!  I had liked the orangey feather when I stuck it down, but it definitely looks better coloured red with a Promarker - I often use these to change the colours of collage elements.  If I want to blot something out (like a pattern or writing) then my wonderfully opaque posca paint pens are the best for this.
It was coming across the word "where" in my collage cuttings box that produced the cry from the heart "where are we going to live".  Now of course know that I should have faith and trust in God's provision, but sometimes (like most people) I have a bit of a wobble.  That's what happened here.
And then it was a matter of finishing off with the final details.  You might notice that I actually outlined the edge of the border to give it more definition, and I used small black dots as shading. This is actually quite a simple page, technically speaking, but its not always necessary to use ambitious techniques - the main thing for me is getting the thoughts and feelings down on paper.

I am now back to trusting Herself Upstairs for the future, but I have been mentioning lately that something with no stairs would be a great blessing ......

Saturday, 25 October 2014


This is me trying to illustrate for myself just how complicated my life gets when I have too much on!  Now its entirely possibly that someone else might find what was going on extremely easy to deal with, but as someone with limited energy I find I get overwhelmed easily .... and then nothing AT ALL gets done!

It began, as most of my pages do, with a painted background using my Neocolour II crayons. You'll appreciate that this basic page is nothing fancy, but you see it doesn't have to be, since I will cover much of it up anyway.  Some people new to art journalling can get in a bit of a panic over producing "arty" backgrounds, but they can be very simple because they're just a jumping off point!
The next stage for me is collaging - all sorts of bits going on here, as you can see.  The figure is made up from bits cut out of colour copies of previous journal pages,plus a scrap of patterned paper.  The round element top and bottom right has been done using a stamp (with a few bits added).  The rest is just me drawing bits and bobs and decorating with dots.
The twisty wormholes on the body got me thinking about feeling overwhelmed by a complicated tangle, so I chose to extend them some more and tangle up the figure.  As you can also see I've used my Posca paint pen (black) to add spiky extensions to some of the corner elements.  I use these pens for nearly everything now, and the black is particularly good compared to most pens because its a really deep dark black, so stands out against the background brilliantly.  My only complaint is that they don't make them fine enough, but I manage.  Also the full range of colours isn't available in the finest point, which is disappointing.  If ever I find the energy to do so I might write and tell them that.
And then I just fiddled around and doodled some more in the spaces, which for me is my favourite meditative stage of building a page.  You can also see on the lower right that I totally changed the element there - I just wasn't happy with it so used a paint pen to go over it and give me a plain background to work on instead.
Fortunately, in the 10 days or so since I made this page, a few things have been resolved and life became very much less frantic.  Except that now I have to get ready to shoot off south directly after church tomorrow to drive to the other end of the country to attend no.2 daughter's MA graduation, not to mention taking a car full of the baby stuff I've made/collected for the baby she's expecting in 4 weeks time.  Ooops, I think life just got a bit busy again, but at least I can snooze in the car while himself drives .... or then again maybe I'll knit and see if I can use the journey time to finish the baby cardigan I'm working on?

I do LIKE to keep reasonably active and occupied, just not quite THIS busy .......!!  Anyway, here's a challenge for you - make and share your pages on the complications of life and I'll put them up here.

Sunday, 19 October 2014


I keep coming back to this colour combination of blue and lime green - just love it, maybe almost as much as orange and pink?  These are just happy colours for me.

And you can see below how it started out - I am trying to make backgrounds of more than one colour, but I have this besetting sin of always working in tones of the same colour, and its something I must fight against!  This page must be a success on that front because I've actually used 3 different paint colours on it - just absolutely bog standard acrylic paint, nothing fancy.
Most of my pages begin with a painted background like this, and then I add collage as the fancy takes me.  The bits of black text you can see below are actually tissue paper - I love searching out printed tissue, and when you tear pieces off and put them on with matte medium they dry transparent.  I just LOVE the effect it gives.
So then I added some paint pen doodles - which have such great opacity you can even put yellow over blue - and used my circle punches to cut out shapes from colour copies of old journal pages, adding other page scraps as well.  Why pay for collage sheets when you can make your own, right? This was a tip from from Teesha Moore and its really brilliant - I use it all the time now.
The page stayed like this for a few days, before I came in again, sat down and got some stuff off my chest. Journalling is such a great stress buster, and even though nobody but me knows what this page is about that doesn't really matter.  Revisiting my journals in the future, perhaps I will remember what was happening, but then again I guess its not important if I don't?  The point is to get it down on paper at the time, and rob it of its negative power.  It works for me, which is mainly why I do it.  I don't just journal the negative emotions in my life though, the beauty of keeping a journal is that you can celebrate EVERYTHING, good, bad, average, whatever.
And that left just the final doodly details, which as you know I absolutely adore doing - there's something so restful about it as you drift off into the doodle zone ....  I actually listen to talk radio a lot of the time while I'm working, but that's just me, and I can stand a lot of silence and my own company.
Sorry these pictures are a little bit dark - I wish now I'd photoshopped them to lighten them up a touch, but I'm sure you get the idea ...

Thanks for stopping by!

Rosie X

Sunday, 5 October 2014


Yes I admit it, I made this at a time when I wasn't having one of my better days!  What the heck, for me journalling is about recording the highs and the lows, the positives and the negatives.  I'm sure you've been there - those times when you wonder why you even bother trying because you're never going to get anywhere?  Ah, I knew you'd understand ....

So anyway, I'd started off with a light blue painted page, with the colour at the edges deepened with some Neocolour II crayon.  Just collaged a few bits from magazines, a blue star from a sheet of wrapping paper, and a bit of washi tape.  I honestly didn't know where it was going at this point and part of me wasn't sure I cared.
So then I got some stuff off my chest by writing it down, before painting over it.  I know its there but nobody else needs to read my darker musings, right?  So when I found the word blue in my collage box that pretty much led to the whole theme, and I added a bit more stuff.
And this is what it led to in the end - and actually I journalled myself out of the worst of my mood, just by admitting that I felt bad and there wasn't much I could do about it!  All the dotty doodling and drawing seemed to have cheered me up.
Anyway, hope I haven't made you feel all blue and gloomy, and by way of contrast I thought you might like to see my (messy) desk in the lovely cheerful room I work in?  On my table is the junk journal I've just finished making (my first ever, but not my last!) and that I'm now working in on and off.  The room is basically white with rather a lot of pink - its my cheerful, happy colour for blue days like the above!
At the back of the desk is where I keep all my pens and markers, and you can just see the nice view of our garage.  Fortunately that doesn't bother me because my head is usually bent over whatever I'm doing.  The "create wonder, share joy" sign was begged from our local Starbucks, where I spend way too much time catching up with friends and putting the world to rights.  That's when I'm not nagging that the company pays its taxes!!

Sunday, 28 September 2014


I don't always blog my spiritual pages - some of them are simply too personal - but this one isn't in
that category!  It came out of a line in one of our Sunday hymns where the phrase "the mind of God" was used, and I remember thinking that I wouldn't dare to presume to know what God was thinking!

So anyway, that was what was rolling around my brain when I was working on this page.  I just made a painted background as usual, and as usual I stuck to one colour.  I keep telling myself to use two or three but I'm not very good at it.
So then when I put some collage on I made myself use a good strong contrast colour - very often I'll end up choosing pieces which are from the same palette, I get sort of stuck in the tone on tone way of working, and lots of shades of blue looks GOOD doesn't it.  Anyway, I climbed out of my rut on this occasion.  Not quite sure what I was thinking when I made the figure - she reminds me of an African woman with big necklaces, can't remember the name of the tribe who dress that way.  Reflecting on the fact that she looks a bit "other" and "different" connected back to my thoughts about the mind of God, and that it doesn't work in the same ways as ours.
So then of course I had my page subject, although I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to say yet, so focused on doing a bit of doodling, and you know how much I enjoy that!
On this occasion I didn't even feel the need to cover every single inch of the page with doodling, although most of it got treated to some dots - I do like adding them, they seem to work like shading.
And of course I was able to work through my ideas about the mind of God, and to conclude that the problem in thinking was mine and not Hers!  When you try to see the world from God's point of view a lot of things change ....

This is one of my favourites among my recent pages - its partly the colours, but somehow it seems quite "free", something I work towards in my art but don't often achieve!!

Saturday, 20 September 2014


While I was in Virginia back in May I bought myself a gelli printing plate, but have only recently managed to find time to play with it.  This page is the product of one of my early efforts - and I'm pleased to say that I managed to print directly onto a page in my (wire bound) journal, without needing to either extract all the pages or paste one in!  Success.

My first few experiments were on separate sheets, but eventually I had a go in the journal and was thrilled with the results I got on the lovely quality paper - I didn't risk best quality paper on the the first ones!  So anyway, below you can see what I got - I understood why I'd got the white patches (uneven pressure on the plate) but didn't care too much.  In fact what I did was use some yellow paint to sort of "fill in" the gaps.
But what I really LOVE is the pattern it gives on the paper (you do need to use plenty of paint). Don't know how to describe it really, but the close-up picture below gives you a better idea - very organic-looking somehow?
So then I had a gorgeous page in my journal that I couldn't WAIT to work on.  Black seemed like an obvious foil for the pink, orange and yellow and I started with a bit of collage in the top right corner and a picture of my heroine Frida Kahlo in the other.  Then I started doodling a black line around areas that seemed to be shapes in their own right ... and it sort of went from there!
In fact I go SO absorbed in what I was doing that I forgot to take any more pictures until I'd finished it, but at some stage I made the connection between the organic shapes I was working with and Frida and me .... so it kind of became about the little cells and bugs than are the unseen enemy (pain) and how you can find against it.
Because of course, that's why Frida is my heroine, because she did and she made art anyway even when she had to lie in bed and work on an easel which rolled towards where her hand was, because she could hardly move.  Now that's heroism!  Am not heroic but try to be brave in my own small way .... at least on my better days anyway!

Sunday, 14 September 2014


Another page from my latest journal - my new square (the pages are approx 10 x 10") journal.  Still finding this a joy to work in, especially because of the quality of the paper, but hoping to move on from this eventually into hand-made journals.  I like the idea of a journal which is literally my own work - from sheets of paper to finished, bound result.

Anyway, I was messing about with backgrounds and trying to incorporate shapes and colours which I could work with and around, not to mention making sure that I used a variety of colours and not just shades of the same one!  This one was produced with my trusty Neocolour II crayons.
I hadn't any idea when I began work what the page would be about, so below you can see my tentative steps into creating a "frame" for the page using pattern and doodling, and a bit of collage. For those who are new to my work, the wormhole doodling is done with a Pitt artist pen which is waterproof and writes well over paint and other substrates.  The doodles involve Posca paint pens, my second favourite art material after the crayons!
There was a hiatus of a few days before I worked on this page again, adding the collage figure, a bird and a section cut from a coloured copy of a much earlier journal page.  I learned that tip from Teesha Moore and its a really valuable one.
It was contemplating the weirdness of the figure I'd produced that led eventually to what I wrote here - I almost never use quotes, but only journal my own words and feelings.

Where I live we have a large population of migrants from the Indian sub-continent and women wearing Islamic dress, up to and including the full burkha are a common sight on our streets.  I struggle to see a fully veiled figure because all my instincts tell me that what I'm seeing is a repressed, subjugated woman, and as a lifelong feminist that really troubles me. I'd found myself giving glowering looks at such figures and realised that I had an attitude problem I needed to address. I'm still working on that.
But what I wanted to express was the way we, the way I was treating people who looked "different" and making judgements about them.  I was guilty of assuming that the women I saw were downtrodden victims; now some of them may indeed be, but by no means all, or even most.  This perception of difference does not give me the right to glower disapprovingly, any more than any other difference of dress, race or whatever.  Just because my intentions were good doesn't make it any less discriminatory.

I do feel passionately that we are all just human beings, often with enormous cultural differences, but we mustn't let these things divide us but try to find ways to bridge the chasms of misunderstanding and ignorance that separate us.  As always journalling about the things which trouble me help me find a way to understanding and acceptance - and I've now embarked upon a mission to smile warmly at every burkha clad woman I meet.  You never know, it might just make a little bit of difference .....

Sunday, 7 September 2014


I made this page just over a week ago, one of those times when I'm recording life around me rather than wrestling with stuff I find difficult.  I do both.  Historically I've always dreaded the approach of Autumn - it comes from decades of living in old, cold houses with not enough money to heat them properly.  Every year I have to remind myself that I now live in a modestly sized house which has cavity wall insulation and double glazing, and that I won't have to huddle in 3 sweaters and fingerless gloves if I want to make art!

Anyway, this was one of those pre-prepared backgrounds I regularly make - in this case blue paint with Neocolour II crayons in fuschia pink around the edge, plus some ink blot/rings stamped in purple and burgundy.  I've got lots of ink pad colours because I like to use them as you might watercolours.
Then when I decided I'd make a page about the early Autumn, this didn't seem quite the right sort of colour palette, I mean shouldn't it be golds and browns?  Then I thought, it can be any colour I like, so why not blue and burgundy?  I had some new leaf stencils I wanted to play with so tried these out with gesso, added a wormhole or two and some bits of collage.  As you can see the white didn't really work too well for the leaves.
So I went back and outlined the leaves with a fine point pen, added a Modigliani lady who looks a bit cold if you think about it, and doodled some dots.  I still wasn't that thrilled with the leaves, but didn't hate them enough to trash the page.
My solution in the end was to introduce some some colour into the leaves, and that seemed to work out OK, although now I wish I'd left them black and white.  Never mind.  Anyway, I do rather like the finished page, particularly the colour scheme.  The burgundy dots were done with my Posca paint pens, as were the light pink doodles on the collage - this is where their opacity really comes into its own.
But best of all, where I am right now we're having a bit of an Indian summer, so long may it continue!  It won't of course, but I don't need to dread winters any more - maybe I'll do a journal page about looking forward to snuggling up by the fire in my favourite blanket and warm PJs, watching feel-good films on the TV as I wait for it to be Christmas ....

PS: Still loving this new square journal!

Sunday, 31 August 2014


By golly its all excitement around here!  I have a new journal and I'm LOVING working it in - its another spiral bound book and approx 10 x 10" square.  I've filled 8 A5 ones so far, and it was a big step to branch out from those, so forgive me if this seems like a small thing to get excited about, but I am!  The extra space of the square format allows so much more possibility.

For those who like to know such things its a Pink Pig journal and the paper is a really nice quality - although I am still sticking two pages together as I like them to be nice and strong for anything I may throw at them, and don't want any bleed through.

You can see below what nice effects I got on this new paper (gessoed first) with my Neocolour II crayons - I never got subtle watercolour type results like this before.
I was so delighted that it took me a while to decide I could bear to do any work on top, but eventually I went for outlining some of the "layers" and doodling in the spaces.  This was done using Pitt Artist pens which write pretty well over the crayon - except if its laid on too thick when it gets a bit waxy.  However I now have a secret weapon to combat this problem in the form of a black Posca paint pen, which writes superbly over absolutely anything!  Its not as fine a nib as some others you can get, but its great for doodling and drawing.  The white and greeny blue are also Posca colours - I have a selection of these in medium and in the finer 0.7.  The colour range is sadly much better in the bigger chunky nibs (why?) but I have fun even with the limited choice of 10-12 colours, and particularly like their opacity.  If I want see through colours I go with my Promarkers.
The page was then left like this for over a week because I was so delighted with it that I didn't want to ruin it, but in the end a journal page isn't one (for me anyway) unless it has words on it, and these are what popped out of the far recesses of my brain.
So as you can see, I'm not at all troubled by the fact that I shall be 60 next week - my fifties have been absolutely fabulous (painful illness notwithstanding) and I hope my next decade will see me grow as an artist as much or more than I have in this one.  We shall see!!

Saturday, 23 August 2014


This is me doing self-therapy again!  Because its difficult for me as a disabled person to get out of the house unless I have help (ie somebody takes me) I do spend rather a lot of time at home ... albeit mostly contentedly occupied in my studio making stuff.  But while I can stand a lot of my own company (especially when I've got Radio 4 on) I'm also a social sort of person and if it weren't for online groups and art communities I might have gone quietly bonkers by now, and its got to be said that I do get lonely at times for "real" people and conversations.  However, I  sincerely thank heaven for the internet, because without it my limited life would be a whole lot more  impoverished!

But there are times when I think ... what can I do to get out there, or find artsy people who like me have their days free, so that I can go out and meet them, or invite them here for mutually satisfying artistic encounters and exchanges of skills etc etc.  So that's what was on my mind during the making of this page: the background below is my usual Neocolour II crayons, but laid down before I discovered just how much more intense the colours become on a gesso base.  The glasses thingy (it must have a name but I'm blowed if I know what it is) is a stamp I've had for some time and never managed to use before!
So there I was, talking to myself and God bothering all at the same time, when it came to me that it was up to ME to do something about it.  By the way, the light bulb is another stamp, a hand carved one bought from Etsy, and telling myself "its not Facebook friends you need (nice as they are) but a few more real ones". Anyway, having written all that down, out came the collage sheets to beautify it - lots of Teesha Moore images here.
And then I drew the doodly seams and strata - for me they kind of represent the complex layers that go to make up a life, any life not just mine.  I like drawing and decorating these, especially because they start with wobbly lines, and in all the doubt and self questioning I was doing wobbly felt about right!!
So did I get out there and change my life into a giddy social whirl?  Nope, but I thought about it a lot and the conclusion I've finally come to is that, although I love the art journalling groups on Facebook, if I want to attend a real life one I'll probably have to start it!  So how about it - are any of you nice kind followers based in the north of England within reach of Preston?  It really only needs a handful of us to make it work - I've got the table if you want to come and sit around it!!  OK I'll settle for one or two ... just make yourselves known and I'll put the kettle on .....