Monday, 20 December 2010


OK the mince pies are made, the presents bought and wrapped, so I finally managed to spend time with my journal again. I started this page some time ago but never got any further than this ... and its the very last page in the book too!

So anyway, I added some green zig zags and this writing, and without having to think about it I was off again, just like I'd never been away ....
And as you can see it just sort of flowed from there. Its an internal conversation with myself, trying to remember AGAIN that I really shouldn't worry so much since Herself is in charge of it all. The trouble is that sometimes I forget, and think I have to sort everything out single handed, and then I end up feeling overwhelmed .... Daft really, but I never seem to learn!
But it turned into quite an interesting page really. I should probably have it framed and stick it on my wall less than 6 inches from my nose. Do you think then I would remember? Nah, neither do I .....

Thursday, 16 December 2010


... painting and altering that is! I've finished the clock (see previous post) but I'm not pleased with it so it will need further treatment before I'm ready to put it on display! If at first you don't succeed, and all that! However, my bargain buys from our American holiday have all come through much improved - the little candle holder was a sort of deep maroon colour, and I forget what it had written on the side. I gave it a couple of coats of emulsion and a rub-on before putting back the candle cups and one of the stars (which I'd temporarily removed), and then chalk inked the edges and corners before it finally got a coat of sealant. Now I have an item which matches my living room colours but only cost $2!
I was particularly pleased with this little basket, another $2 bargain - it was red, white and blue before and the lid had some 4th of July type picture on it. I painted the red and blue slats in the basket itself and likewise the blue lid, added some ribbon from my stash and a metal star I'd recycled from the candle holder, et voila! It's only tiny this basket - about to the top of the handle - but you know how expensive they can be. The star similarly got a coat of emulsion and another of sealant, and I'm delighted with my budget saving efforts!

Can you believe I haven't done any journalling at all .... life seems to be a long round of mince pies and other efforts towards Christmas, but I have promised myself to get my journal out as soon as I can make time. In fact I may even start work in the brand new one I've got ready .....

Wednesday, 8 December 2010


And I know its not an excuse for neglecting my blog, but I haven't been busy at the sort of stuff I could take pictures of if you see what I mean. Got a lot on my mind right now and haven't seemed able to settle to anything, but the other day I got out some stuff I'd been promising to alter for ever ... and well, this is the result! I buy bargain items while on holiday in the USA - their wooden blanks and baskets are just so brilliant - and since I'm working towards a interior look which is kind of country style/primitive (think Gisela Graham) all these items play their part. That basket in the foreground is one I must have had for a decade, and it was dark brown with green Christmas trees on it! I painted it cream, then gave it a coat of light woodstain, and it looks better already!

And below is a clock we've had for years - I've been threatening to paint it for a long long time, and now I have! It isn't finished (obviously) but I'm quite pleased with it so far.
So there you are - I may have been AWOL but not entirely unproductive, and I do have a pile of wrapped Christmas presents waiting and my cards are all made and posted! No! Don't hate me, please ...... !!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010


This is one of my painted background pages - I still find the chalky feel of them a bit difficult, but am gradually getting comfortable with this medium. Well its just too versatile to ignore isn't it? I love pink and green, so some of my offcuts of scrapbook paper came in handy to provide a border for this page. In case you were wondering, the artistically torn bits aren't actually deliberate - I glued some motifs to the page and then decided I didn't like them, so ripped them off! The effect this left behind was quite nice really!

I'd been listening to a piece on Radio 4 which was discussing wickedness and deadly sins and so on, which had got me thinking about telling lies. Sadly I concluded that I was a simply dreadful fibber because it wasn't possible to be anything else unless you were prepared to go around hurting people all the time. And I'm not!
I just LOVE the pink boots I found to illustrate the concept of "trampling" and managed to squeeze a pinky Artchix lady in the corner too. The printed words are more of my cuttings out from magazines - I love to do that, its amazing what comes out when you try and put cut out words like this together.
And I finished it all off with some stamped flowers and drawn foliage. For once I didn't feel the need to fill every available corner (although sometimes I do go back and write some more on a page ages after its 'finished'). There hasn't been nearly enough time for journalling lately - got things on my mind which have distracted me. That's a shame because really I should be using my journal to reflect on what's going on in my life .... well I would if only there was time!!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010


I really like making pages with (what I think of as) layers like this ... I just draw the wavy shapes with my water-soluble crayons and work on these until I'm happy with the colours and how it looks. That's a very restful process in which my thoughts can just drift off ...
Then I start to put in some definition - darker lines to demarcate the layers (dark blue paint in this case) and the beginnings of some pattern. I actually got the page this far on just one day, and then left it alone for quite a few weeks until I happened to feel like writing on it. When I did, this is what I wrote ...
Then a couple of days later I added some more as my ideas about what I wanted to say developed. The page came out of some difficult feelings that I was able to work through and resolve ... I love how I can do that through my journal.
It was about another week before I finally finished the writing, after which it was easy to just fill in any spaces. It always seems right to me to fill the page - not sure I can explain why, it just DOES!!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010


I got this lettering from an advert in the colour supplements - some kind of spirit is being advertised but it was the lovely white letters on the red background I noticed and cut out!! There are several versions of the ad and the wording is different on each, so eventually I laid everything out on the desk and started to see what I could make out of it. This is the result!

I painted my page black and then set to work, like someone composing a ransom note out of the newspaper! I'm amazed at what came out of this exercise - but then again I shouldn't be really, its clear that something here was meant to be ...

Wednesday, 10 November 2010


Even though I dread the cold weather, I do love the colours at this time of year .... I even like the wild blowy days as long as I don't have to go out in them! Watching the leaves blow outside my bay window is quite enough thank you. This leaf is done with one of my favourite stamps and for once I decided to use my ordinary handwriting rather than the style I usually use for journalling.
I was in the mood for a little bit of reflective colouring, so this page is quite simple and straightforward, but it catches how I was feeling.
It kind of reminded me that I could waste some perfectly lovely Autumn days in dreading the cold ones to come, instead of appreciating what IS, right now .... do I sound like Pollyanna? Hope not. Bah Humbug!!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010


This title was one of those journal prompts which I got from my trawling through magazines, and I think it touched a chord because I occasionally have days when I feel so overwhelmed by life, the universe and everything, that its almost as if I can't breathe, or hear what's being said except distantly. My beloved describes it as like wearing a goldfish bowl, but I prefer my way of looking at it. Anyway, that's what was on my mind when I began this page with a distress ink background and a rough border done with water soluble crayons. Acrylic paint takes really well on the top.

Almost immediately I stopped liking the heart I'd stuck on, so I took it off again, which resulted in a rather interesting effect up there in the corner! Did some more work on the self portrait, but I ended up looking grumpy rather than the solemn and slightly confused effect I was after ... well let's face it, breathing underwater would make your face look a bit funny wouldn't it??
What you probably can't see from the finished page (which is less busy than those I usually make isn't it?) is that I've given some of the bubbles a coat of glossy accents which gives a rather good effect - well I was pleased with it anyway.
PS there's a reason why the word breathe is a bit different - it originally was the same as the others until I discovered that I'd actually written "breahe" duh. Not sure I have any talent for drawing fish either, but who cares?? I'm away for a few days now - off to a convention in London for a bit of FUN! May be a hospital case afterwards ...

Monday, 1 November 2010


For this journal page I was responding to a challenge from somewhere to block out big splodges of colour as a background. At the time I can't say I enjoyed it as a way to get a page started, but once I got going it did turn into something I was quite pleased with. Not sure I would necessarily use this method again though. Above you can see the colour blocked page, and the first statement that I am "one of the big girls now". It was obvious that there had to be a picture of me to go with that ...
Then in my usual fashion I started adding bits and pieces - and I couldn't leave the photo alone could I, which is why I sprouted pink lipstick and a hat!
And this is the result when I'd finished adding curly doodles, more words, and generally filling up every inch of space! Its not clear to me why I do that (am I scared of too much empty space?) but I always feel more satisfied if the result is nice and busy ... make of that what you will! Maybe its to do with my determination to make every day count - with this illness it would be so easy to just sit about achieving very little? Or perhaps its simpler than that, and it simply doesn't look finished until I've filled all the space? Who can say?

Friday, 29 October 2010


Somebody reminded me that I needed to show the finished versions of a couple of pages I'd blogged as works in progress, so here they are. Several people commented on the above when it was on my workdesk to say that they admired the background, so this is where I admit the truth that it is actually a piece of scrapbook paper rather than brilliantly original work ... sorry, but there it is. Wish I had made it actually, but I didn't - what I did do is (according to my ecological principles) recycle part of my vast stash of paper offcuts.

However, the page below is entirely my own and I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. I really like making the writing lie in layers across the page like this, as it always makes me think about the layers and strata of the people we are. From the face we show to the world to the deepest most hidden parts of ourselves. The sentiments here are something of a counsel of perfection, but that's no reason not to try to fulfil them is it??

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


OK, I admit it - I forgot to take a picture of my desk, and now I'm rushing out of the door with no time to take one. However, I would have to say that it looks almost exactly like all the other pics I've posted, so instead I'm putting up a picture of the journal page I was finishing and would have photographed on the desk IYSWIM .... If you want to see other desk, get on over to Julia's.

And yes - it's Fat Wednesday again! Many of you seemed enchanted by the concept, and keen to borrow the idea. Feel free, I didn't think of it either, but got it from a fellow WW dieter. So it's the day off again, and we are going out shortly for some 'us' time. Didn't manage an all day breakfast last week, instead we had spicy lamb wraps and a HUGE slice of cake!! This week who knows?? Might have to try the chocolate brownies I looked at last week but didn't have room for! Must nip into Primark for some nice warm PJs too, it's getting a bit cold around these here parts ...

Saturday, 23 October 2010


Sorry this is a bit faint, but I wanted to show the initial sketch I put down on the page for this. I had the expression "the wings of my spirit" in mind, and wanted to show a figure just taking flight ...
Anyway, then I began to add colour and movement to her hair and wings - this is done with my Promarkers, which I am slowly learning to love, although I'm not sure they'll ever replace my beloved watercolours.
Then I drew some layers of colour below, more of those striations which represent seams and layers of life and soul, some of which are so very deep. I've got the first statement down in writing but now need some time to reflect on where it goes from here. I'll probably come back to this in a few days, and in the meantime I'm working on other pages. That's one of the things I love about art journalling, that I can just go here and there as the fancy takes me, and that whatever comes is the gift I'm given ....

Oh yes, and I've been chopping up magazines again, so how about these for journal prompts? ...

Well good
The Smart Way
Go see friends
Wake Up
You have somewhere
Song of the Goat
Random acts of literature
Star Quality
Ask Why
Around Sundown
Nothing Compares

Wednesday, 20 October 2010


Not doing very good joined up thinking yesterday, so forgot to take a picture. This is the result - a genuine, Wednesday morning, no holds barred, unashamedly the real thing ... picture of my workdesk. Now this looks messy to me, which means I'm not too happy about it. Be fair, I could have tidied it up before I photographed it, but I didn't, pursant to my policy of being fearlessly honest in my art.
And here is the art in question - very much a work in progress, nay hardly started you might say. It's more of those layers which make me think of seams of minerals hidden in the earth, quite appropriate for what I'm trying to write about. Needs more work, but I like to jump about between pages as inspiration strikes ... which it doesn't always!

Off out now to indulge in some "Fat Wednesday" hi-jinks with my old man - this is his day off so it's the day when we ditch the healthy eating etc and go out for something luscious like an all-day breakfast! The rest of the time we try to be good. It works for us. Back later to admire all those lovely desks .... and if you don't know what this means, get on over to Julia's place and join in.

Sunday, 17 October 2010


On my earlier post about my "peaceful" page somebody commented that I was taking a lot on, trying to draw pictures of God! This made me think of that joke about a little girl doing a drawing whose mother told her that nobody knew what God looked like. Her answer was that they would when she'd finished her picture!!

So lest you think that I'm creating graven images and whathave you ... I was actually thinking here about a modern psalm which is one of my favourites, and it begins "I will praise God my beloved for she is altogether lovely". What I was trying to encapsulate was the "altogether lovely" part, I suppose. As you can see above I started with some simple pencil lines, and then below got to work with my promarkers. I'm not very good at the fancy shading with these, but do enjoy using them.
Kept adding more colour, but somehow it wasn't quite right.
So I left it to come back to another time, at which point I coloured the background navy blue, and that's when this page really took off! Unfortunately I was so absorbed in the process that I forgot to take stage pictures, so this is the final result. The photos don't show it very well, but I used lots of gold and silver on this, and in fact all the writing (lines from the psalm) is in gold, and she had threads of both colours woven through her hair.

At the very end I still felt it needed something, so I masked off her face before spraying the whole page with a glimmery gold dust effect. Unfortunately this doesn't photograph very well, but in real life it seems to give the inner glow effect I was after. This is one of my favourite pages so far - actually deceptively simple, but speaking of something which goes deep for me .... I hope you agree that she is altogether lovely!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

WOYWW once again ....

Hi to all you What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday people - and if that baffles you, get on over to Julia's to discover what it's all about! I'm only offering this close-up of my desktop today because the rest of it was/is embarrassingly tidy, which is how I like it. Sorry, but I can't help it, its a birth defect. Anyway, this is what was occupying my pink mat yesterday afternoon, which is (of course, what else) another journal page in progress. I've been following prompts from an online course, which encouraged you to try zetti doodling, which I love, so this is the result.

And there is a relationship in my life which is and always has been very tangled and complicated, so this style really fitted well with my attempts to understand and explain it (I can't). There's a liberation in that at least - admitting that it doesn't make sense and being OK with that.
So I just thought about my mum and doodled madly away and it sort of grew and grew ... This is amazingly relaxing to do, I can really lose myself in funny little spirals and dots, its all a bit obsessive/compulsive really. My tools for this are a variety of black letraset pens from a very fine 0.3 point upwards, and a black sharpie for thicker lines.

And in the end I couldn't resist adding a teeny bit of colour ... not sure now whether I regret doing that or not, but anyway its done. I promise to try and mess up the desk again before next time!!

Saturday, 9 October 2010


This is one of my spiritual pages, in which I was thinking about God as woman/mother (just as legit as Father or male) and I imagined a sort of ageless woman, neither young nor old, whose eyes would be very deep and whose wisdom would show in her face. That's what I was trying to draw here, although I'm not totally satisfied with the result, but you get the general idea. Never mind, I know what I mean!! There's lots and lots of writing here, which starts by going all around the page, mainly quotations from modern psalms which I love. The title is, of course, from Blake's poem ...

Hope this isn't too heavy to share - I wanted to be honest about the things that go on inside me, and not to feel there were aspects of my inner life that I was afraid to reveal ....

Wednesday, 6 October 2010


Good morning WOYWW'ers and to the weekly reveal of the workdesk (if you've no idea what I'm on about all is explained here). Held an Open House at the weekend so the Studio got tidied to an unusually high standard, and I'm loving how uncluttered the desk is - I work better like this! Have gone for the wide view today, so that you can appreciate just how lovely my window is with its view of the garden. As you can see, I keep stamp pads and other basic essentials to hand in the hutch/shelf (which is an Ikea CD shelf upside down IFSWIM). On the top my pink binders house collage sheets and the catalogue of my stamps - nothing fancy, I just stamp an image whenever I get a new one, and note whether its wood or unmounted, and maybe a clue about where to find it ....! It would work better if I went through them all and re-did the catalogue with themes, ie words together, flowers in one section, but I've got so many stamps I come over all faint at the very thought!

If you've had a good look at the desk you may have spotted a just begun journal page and a finished one. These are the work in progress pictures of the finished page ...
I'm pretty sure they don't need any explanation, but they do show the starting point and how I build up from there. Apart from that first question, I didn't really know where this was going.
But as you can see, I got there in the end! Not sure what it is with me feeling a need to fill every available inch? Maybe its not that so much as generally having more to say than I can actually fit on the page, so I squeeze in as much as possible!
Happy Wednesday one and all, the sun is shining (for now at least) so we're off for a spot of retail therapy and lunch, and once returned I'll have a happy time noseying about your desk ...

Monday, 4 October 2010

At last - time to journal again

I've been having withdrawal symptoms this weekend because I've been too busy to work on my journal, but I managed this page last week. I've admired some comic strip style work in other journals, and this is my attempt to follow suit - not sure I've got it quite right, but am working on it! It was fun to do anyway ....

Friday, 1 October 2010


This is one of my latest journal pages, reflecting the feeling that I'm clearly meant to go somewhere but I'm just not sure where! The background is a sheet of scrapbook paper which has writing on, but it worked really well for drawing over, and I painted the edges too. The colouring has been done with a mixture of markers and soluble crayons ... anything to hand really!

This page began with the signpost and just grew from there - on this occasion I didn't remember to take pictures of each stage in its development. As you can see, I've been true to the promise I made myself that I would do more drawing, and I'm loving it!