Monday, 22 December 2014

Sorry I have been AWOL for a couple of weeks - just overtaken by the usual Christmas busyness of course, as I expect most of you are.  Am pleased to report that all is now organised, and if it isn't that's just too bad, because I'm not losing sight of the real reason for our celebrations ... a great mystery of love unfolding before us if we can tear ourselves away from excessive consumerism, snowmen and robins for a minute.  Sermon over.

Anyway, this started in the simplest possible way when I just painted the page red using standard acrylics.  Sometimes it doesn't have to be more complicated that this, and I chose the colour because it was a dark wet day .... adding an eye from my collection of collage images, a new honeycomb stamp (which I'm not altogether thrilled with) , a section of black and white border from my own home made collage sheet, and a scrap of tissue paper laid down with matte medium.
The circle pattern is another new stamp, part of a set I really like.  I've been so into black and white line drawings lately, its obviously my latest "phase" but its such a simple concept that you can do so much with!  The words just came ... so presumably were the ones I most needed to get off my chest at the time.
The pointy finger is another stamp, an old favourite, and then I just started doodling with my white paint pen, because I knew that what I'd written was enough, and there was no more to say.
So you know how it goes, I doodled away to my heart's content - its almost meditative doing this and possibly the part I love the best, or maybe second-best anyway!
There's no answer to give to this because it isn't a question, just the statement of how things ARE, but at least admitting it here is the first step to making the changes that will bring those Better Times to fruition?  With the coming of a New Year shortly its probably a good time to do this kind of thinking ...?

I hope your Christmas is Holy and Blessed, and I look forward to your company as the journey continues into 2015 ...

Tuesday, 9 December 2014


This is quite a simple page for me - in its basic construction anyway.  The leaves took ages, but as you know I LIKE doodling.

Still not feeling 100% after a really nasty cold which had me in bed for a couple of days - I NEVER do that, not least because it would mean staying out of the studio.  Husband completely understood  that my having done so meant that I really felt awful.

So simple is good, when you're finally back in the studio but convalescent?  I had a vague idea that I would be painting branches etc across this when I started out, so the background was deliberately kept to one colour.  In later pages I toned down the colour in the face (broadly representing me) because the real me was (and still is) distinctly pale and wan ....
Then I began to sketch out the tree and its branches, trying to go across the figure without obscuring it too much.  I was still feeling wobbly and not quite "with it" at this point, and when I looked at my inboxm the ironing, and all the other things which hadn't got done because I'd been ill, I felt utterly overwhelmed and incapable of starting.  It actually took 4 or 5 more days before I did!
The paint is just ordinary acrylics, built up in layers, hoping for a bark sort of effect.  Its in there somewhere I hope!
Then I went on to outline the branches using my posca paint pen and began to draw in the leaves.  I painted them first (also Posca pen) and when the paint was dry went back with a fine black liner.  The words came last of all .... even though I'd sort of known from the beginning what they would be about.
I must admit to some artistic licence here - I DO have short naturally black/brown hair, but after that any resemblance to the genuine person fades!  My eyes are green - but that would have been too much green, and they are not large and luminous as depicted here, I just wish they were.  I am this thin in my imagination if not in reality, and considerably younger, so am constantly surprised by the tubby grandmother in the mirror!

Still this flight of fantasy achieved its aim of getting stuff down on paper and making me feel calmer. Heck, I thought, it can all wait until I feel better.  And it has.

Saturday, 29 November 2014



I haven't blogged one of my spiritual pages for some time, but as we are just about to come into the season of Advent it seemed an appropriate time.  This is a variation on Psalm 91 but with a feminine pronoun ... I guess you all know by now that I relate to a female God at times, which is perfectly legitimate since God is beyond gender. This has been a very helpful part of my inner life and one I have used for almost 30 years.

I don't usually draw things out in pencil first, but on this occasion wanted to work out the wings and feather placement by looking at images of real wings.
Then I went in with paint, and it was at this point I lost the centrality of the face above the wings, but what the heck.  This is just standard acrylic hobby paint over gesso, and then I outlined the features with a Posca paint pen and added some shading to the eyes with a marker.
And then I added the detail to the wings with the same Black Posca paint pen, and it got a tiny bit zentangly but I loved doing it.  I'd been waiting  all along and get out the gold pen and add elements such as the halo.  Somehow there always has to be gold in my spiritual pages, because I work and live with the idea that God is the seam of gold in all the mundane things of life.
The lettering was done with a white Posca pen, and then I just went to town with the gold and filled all the remaining space.  I'm slightly niggled that her face now seems offset, but not enough to go back and change it.
Advent Sunday tomorrow and the beginning of our celebration of the coming of the Light, always with the words "Give us Grace to cast away the works of darkness ...." lovely stuff.

PS Sorry this is brief - I have a cold in the head and am not doing joined up thinking ....


Saturday, 22 November 2014


These colours are just so JOYFUL aren't they - just splodging about with them made me smile and cheered me up, so I was working on this page and giggling to myself whilst doing it.  If I keep this up there may be doubts about my sanity!

Anyway, below you can see how it all began, acrylic paint in wide curving bands across the page, with a few shapes cut out from my collection of collage bits and pieces. Some of it is sections cut from colour copies taken from previous journals, and the rest is bits of magazines and other publications.  What I liked most about the page at this stage was the touches of red which really added something ....
So I added a few more reds - you might notice that the piece in the top left is redder than before.  I coloured it using my Promarkers, which is a great way to change cuttings to suit your purpose!  I was having fun with this, and had no particular theme or message in mind, and in the end I just wrote about how happy the colours made me.  The red spots were added with my Posca paint pen, which is wonderfully opaque and writes over anything.
And then the red spots sort of took over!  I admit there are rather a lot of them, but what the heck I was enjoying myself.
Sorry this is a rather brief post - we have had a new grandson this week and I have been somewhat distracted by this joyful news.

I also wanted to add these pictures which should have been included with last week's post, which shows the difference adding water makes to Caran d'Ache Neocolour crayons.
On the left is what the page looks like when you've scribbled with the crayons, and on the right you can see what happens when you add water!!  Perhaps this demonstrates just why I love them so much - alchemic magic!!

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!!