Friday, 29 June 2012


Well I wish I could (stop worrying that is).  I am an expert in this field and could give lessons, having been practising for a lifetime.  This page began as so many do with just a blank page and NO ideas ... so I follow the helpful advice that I once read somewhere to just write a single word on the page.  Guess what mine was?  It does work, and is often true that by using this technique you find out what is really on your mind, and what you most need to work through - sometimes with surprising results!
It won't come as a shock that the pen which jumped into my hand was the deep pink Promarker, and then I outlined the word with black to make it pop off the page more.  Another pink pen provided a background - at which point it was clear that this negative subject needed to be suffused with my favourite colour - which also works!  I do love this Stampotique face - she looks absolutely FRANTIC doesn't she, a particularly good fit with the subject matter.
After more writing I began to fill in the background some more and the doodly process began.  Because the writing is done with a waterproof pen I could probably (possibly?) have gone over it with the colour too, but it can still smear.  Its more reliable if you wait until another day when the ink is truly dry, but I rather like the effect of the white background.
Then of course it was time for the fiddly (my favourite) bits - and of course generally I can't bear to leave too much empty space - somehow its part of the process of working through something for me, that I haven't quite "done" the subject unless I've filled every available inch.
It will however be obvious to those of you who've been with me some time that this is a counsel of perfection - a life-long worrier like me won't be stopping the practice without a struggle.  I am working on it however, because it IS a waste of my strength, so now when I catch myself doing it I am trying to ask "can I change this situation"  or "is there anything I can actively do to make things better here"?  Much of the time the answer is no, so at that point I am trying to put my worries into God's hands and let Her deal with them .... and work on trusting that somehow, in ways I can't yet understand or see, things will work out for the best exactly as they are meant to.  I can't say that I've achieved zen like calm yet, but She and I are working on it together!  Let go, let God, as the saying goes ...

Friday, 22 June 2012


Was having one of my deep, inner moments when I made this - I do sometimes, but probably not very often!  Himself would say that I don't sit still long enough, which may in fact be true.  Anyway, I had a pretty good idea what I wanted to do with this page, so could make the background to fit, so to speak, as you can see below.  It is of course done with my trusty and much beloved Caran d'ache crayons - still my favourite medium.
I'd worked out that I wanted to do a triptych using these Invoke Arts shrine stamps, so the centre was made the right size for these.  I added some random faces - well sort of representing the Goddess I suppose, although to my mind pretty much any serene female face would work.  Had some fun colouring the shrines too, and added a pair of gold wings, also done with stamps. Then I used my crayons again to add a sort of orange "glow" around the shrines.
Promarkers worked well to make a deeper blue panel for the words - this is real mixed media stuff so anything goes, and mediums like promarkers and white pen work great on the crayon background, providing the latter isn't laid on too thick. 
It almost seemed finished at this point, but perhaps ... well a little bit bare?  Inevitably I had to fiddle about with a bit, OK a lot, more doodling.  Did I mention that that's my favourite part?
I'm actually really pleased with this - in that I succeeded in putting down what was in my heart - which is not always the case.  This week I've torn out one page I was starting to dislike and gessoed over another, but you never get to see those!  I particularly like the way the yellow centre "glows" around the shrine shapes which works even better than I thought it would.

As for the sentiment - keep on remembering that you are a Goddess with a spark of the divine in you.  Easy to forget at times ... but still true. I should know, I'm one myself.

Sunday, 17 June 2012


The background for this page represents a bold step for me - I not only started a double spread but I actually got out the ink sprays that I never use, and squirted them around liberally!  It did make a pretty awful MESS of my desk, and a lot more stuff ended up green than I really wanted, but I was quite pleased by the result.  If I can figure out how not to spread the ink around quite as generously I might even do it again - I did cover up the central spine with masking tape, and that part worked well.
Anyway, it was one of those times when I was just playing with no particular idea of where the pages might be going, so I got my collage sheets out and stuck a few images down with no great design to them except that I liked how they looked.  Ah but then ... I got the email from my friend announcing the launch of her new book.  Dear Reader, do not continue unless you can face the revelation that I am (alas) not such a good person as I'd like to be.
Turns out that I have a MEAN streak and that my primary emotion (even though I emailed back immediately to say how marvellous etc) was to feel ... well, just a teensy weensy bit jealous.  OK I admit it, green with envy would be nearer the mark.  So I confessed all to my journal, which actually made me feel a bit better!
Through this confessional process I got my inner child shoved back in her box and finished off the pages with wiggly lines in fine black, white, and silver pens.  Doodling away is when I'm happiest, just decorating with no particular direction in mind ... its soothing really, a bit like colouring when you're little?

Anyway, I did eventually manage to be genuinely glad that my clever friend writes books that get published even though mine don't.  I have a lot of other things to be thankful for, its just that its hard to remember that ALL of the time.

Yours regretfully

Tuesday, 12 June 2012


This is a slightly unusual journal entry for me - I was working on the reverse of a page where inks had bled through, so I used an offcut of Basic Grey paper.  I must have been in scrapbook mode because I added these bits and pieces somewhat in that style.  Its good to explore different ways of working isn't it, and I do have to confess to loving brownish grungey vintagey work ... which was where this was headed.

I'd put the numbers because my original idea was for a page to do with counting the days of my life and making them all count, but somehow it didn't turn out like that!  Ever had that happen?  It does to me, a LOT, or maybe I'm just an easily distracted airhead?  Perfectly possible ...

Anyway, as you can see I ended up writing "do what you can" on this page.  I didn't mean to but this is what popped out, and I always go with that feeling.  If something wants to come out its better to let it, right?  Go with the flow as they say.
And in the end it turned into a relatively simple page - I hardly doodled on it at all (not like me) but it didn't seem to need it.

Of course the woman in the window represents me - always looking out for the next thing (and worrying about it), and forgetting to live fully in the present.  That's the message to myself - you don't have to wait for circumstances to be exactly right; just have a go, dive in anyway!!
Haven't quite worked out what the numbers represent - maybe waiting (wasted) time when I could have been getting on with it?

Friday, 8 June 2012


This page began as one of the swirly layered backgrounds I make with my Caran d'Ache crayons, and the colour combination came about because of a fabric which caught my eye.  Funny where inspiration comes from isn't it?  I originally envisaged this as portrait (most of my pages are) but when I came to work on the page it just told me I had to use it sideways.  Well you know what I mean!  It began with this simple statement.

I make no bones about this being a "cri de coeur" because I can only journal about what's on my heart and mind, and right now there's only one thing filling all the space in my life - and that is whether we continue with my MIL living with us or take the next step into residential care. If I can't express my feelings honestly, however raw, in my journal then I'm doing it wrong!  I choose to publish much of it in the hope that my struggles might just illuminate someone else's path.

This whole issue is a minefield and a very steep learning curve - did you know that most care homes require top-up fees because the government will not pay enough to cover the true costs of care?   I know this decision is hard for everyone who goes through it, but right now I feel besieged and bewildered ... so obviously I journalled about it.  Having said that, there have been whole weeks lately when I haven't touched my journal at all ... and believe me that's VERY unusual, and a measure of my distress.
Then I added more writing (using a Purple Promarker and an extra fine nib) and some refinement of the colour layers using more Promarkers.  What I've written feels very defensive now I read it again, but I think thats an accurate reflection of where I'm at - our children aren't taking this well and as a result DH and I feel seriously unsupported.  Luckily we have friends who are with us in this journey.
Now you will recognise that this page is relatively simple and bare (for me that is) but that's because having spoken my truth there is no more to say.  Enough in fact.  Ah, but then comes my favourite part, which is adding all the doodly bits.  As ever the trusty white pen and more Promarkers feature heavily.

I'm pleased with this - it says everything I wanted to express, and reading it again reminds me that these are the important issues, almost everything else is relatively unimportant (as in what our children think about it all).  We are the ones at the coalface, so we are the ones who get to decide.  Sorry, don't mean to preach.  Good job God's still listening ..... she's good like that!