Sunday, 29 September 2013



This is one of my simpler pages, but one I enjoyed making.  It began when I was looking at a book about Picasso, and I remember being amazed by his early work - and thinking, my goodness this bloke could REALLY draw!  I think he forgot that later on ....

The pensive lady in the bottom corner is from his blue period, and I think she's just lovely.  I was a bit down at the time so I think her generally fed up expression resonated with me.
So that was how this page got started  - with a Neocolour background in greens and blue, Picasso's miserable lady, and some dribbly shapes drawn at the top.  Don't ask me why they're there - at this stage I didn't have a clue what the page was going to be about, and it stayed like this for a few days.  Then somewhere I came across this quote and that was the point at which everything came together. 

And then of course, I had to fiddle about with it a bit - I couldn't just leave it obviously!  I coloured the icicles  at the top (well thats what they look like to me) with Promarkers - they work really well over Neocolours as long as the latter  aren't put on too thickly.   Most of the white doodling is my white Posca paint pen.
Still having a little bit of trouble living joyfully, but at least I'm succeeding some of the time.  Try it, it does work ... and its still a beautiful world out there, even when things get sticky in our own particular corner of it!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013


When asked the (routine) question "how are you" most of us say "fine" without thinking about it.  However, its long been a soapbox of mine that we shouldn't do that, so now when somebody claims to be "fine" I stop them and ask, "how are you really"?  This makes it plain that I'm really asking, not just mouthing polite pleasantries, and genuinely willing to listen to the truthful answer.  Try it and see, its a very powerful thing to do.

But of course, when it comes to myself ... its more difficult!  Let's face it, which of my friends and family really wants to know about my daily struggles with chronic pain and variable symptoms?  Its all a bit much to take on really, so I rarely give a completely truthful answer, preferring something non-specific like "good in parts", which covers all eventualities!  I SO don't want to become a moaning minnie type, always complaining ... so if you see me doing so you have my permission to tell me off very firmly indeed.

This page began with my trusty Neocolour crayons, some lettering out of my clippings box and a picture of Greta Garbo looking thoroughly fed  up!
Then as you can see below I set out my stall in terms of what I wanted to write about.  I really like squishing up the letters to fit the space, as I did in the word "question".
Didn't do nearly as much doodling and fiddling about with this as usual - it didn't seem to require it really, although I did have a go at poor Greta who looked altogether too beautiful and healthy.  Not sure why she ended up with a moutache though ....
I do like putting in arrows to lead the eye through the text, not to mention filling up big spaces, and the rest is just some white doodling and a rubber stamp.

So go on then, ask me how I am?  "Oh well, you know, good in parts" I may well reply, which is true.  Don't hang about after that though or I may regale you with the details of this flippin bad back I can't seem to shake off, although I am treating it with tried and tested home remedies such as chocolate cookies and Jack Daniels whiskey....

Friday, 6 September 2013


.... but I guess you can figure that out from the main word?  The thing that is hard to explain about pain is that it makes you kind of crouch around it, as if you could protect yourself from it by curling up - which in turn can end up with you clenching your teeth,bunching your hands and hunching your shoulders etc., thereby actually making things a whole lot worse.  Don't imagine me rolling about in agony, because I'm not and (thank God) the painkillers do mop up most of it.  But sometimes they don't quite get enough of it, and then it takes an extraordinary amount of energy to deal with it, and can be very VERY tiring.

I forgot to take the very first picture which would have been the page below minus the writing - I'd done a prepared painted background (my favourite activity when there's nothing I feel moved to say, but the arty urge is upon me) so the purple and the arty pictures were already there.  Then one day I just wrote the word pain in big letters, and it went from there. 
For some reason I felt the need to compartmentalise the page into areas - maybe I was trying to get the pain safely into a box where I could contain it?  Perhaps its that pain days draw big black lines through what I can and can't do with my day?  Possibly all of these and more, the subconscious being a funny old thing. Like the houses at the bottom which came to represent how I end up stuck inside and unable to go out.  Or the eye which I think is the all-seeing thing, where even though I'm hiding away wrapped around and inside my pain, someone sees and cares ...
It doesn't take a genius to figure out why the decorative bits are somewhat jagged - and if you're interested the white is done with my rather nifty Posca paint pen.  I didn't think this was much good until I tried it on a painted background, whereupon it worked brilliantly and much better that it does on neocolour backgrounds!  Lesson learned, and I promptly bought some more colours.
And here it is finished - it doesn't SAY a lot, but it says enough, and something I needed to get down on paper.  There aren't too many days like this, for which I'm profoundly grateful, but I wanted to record for myself what it feels like when those days come.  I guess it isn't too self-indulgent, and genuinely belongs in my journal with all my other experiences, reflections and recordings, as part of my life.  Even if I do wish it would Go Away.