Saturday, 28 February 2015



When I am short of inspiration I often make backgrounds in my journal, ready for writing on when the moment comes, and this was one of those.

As you can see below I painted the page with lime green (just ordinary craft acrylic paint) and then began to add bits of blue collage.  I really LOVE blue and green together, and lime green best of all. Sadly, my family do not share my love of vivid lime green.
So above you can see what I had when I sat down to work on this.  I used a Posca paint pen to add a grey shadow around the collage elements, but the grey was too dark so it didn't work very well.  I added the face because I liked her grumpy expression - its a sort of "don't mess with me face" isn't it?
Now that's obviously what I was feeling because very soon after I knew what I wanted to say ...  I added a drawn border along the collage edges which helped to disguise the unsuccessful grey outline, and used stamps to get a bit of background texture.
Then I wrote what I needed to say - it seems I REALLY needed to get this off my chest!  A calling such as mine obliges me to be nice, kind and reasonable pretty much all of the time, and try to see both sides etc etc.  Sometimes that's incredibly hard, especially when I have strong opinions in the other direction, or when someone is spreading nasty gossip I don't want to listen to.
But of course I continue to be as nice and reasonable as possible, then I come home and get it all off my chest.  Lots of dots and details as usual here, which as you know by now is almost my favourite part of the process.  I think my actual favourite is when I begin to lay down random bits of collage which then kind of come alive  under my hands.  Magic!

Saturday, 21 February 2015


I thought I'd like to show you that (although I don't usually publish them) I make messes and pages I absolutely hate ALL THE TIME.  Sometimes I even rip them out of the journal, but mostly I cover them up and reinvent them.  Gesso is brilliant for that because it covers nearly everything!

So below you can see how the page originally began - with a blue paint background, over which I was gradually building a face.  I'd just added some lines in the hair with a dark blue Promarker, when I decided I hated what I was doing and wanted to begin again.
So I got out the gesso and painted everything out - except I forgot that the one thing gesso won't cover is the ink in Promarkers, which kept coming through.
So - if you're stuck with something, find a way to live with it, right?  So I began to try and incorporate the blue lines into something much more random, and added some lime green paint and some bits of stencilling.  I still hated it.
So more gesso over all that, and a deeper shade of blue.  A bit dark but I could live with that, and then I found this image of a woman and stuck her in the corner.  
I wasn't keen on the dark background but I loved the red against it, so searched out all sorts of red in my collage fodder and laid that down.  Much better, now I was getting somewhere!
I love the attitude in this woman's face, she looks proud and utterly unapologetic about who and what she is.  So I wrote in the middle "I am myself", and then the rest just followed.  It took me a long time to be able to make this statement (I am the child of a critical mother) and to believe that that is enough, but having got to that place I felt transformed by it and strong.

Lots of dots and other marks then followed, all done with Posca paint pens, which are opaque even over pretty dark colours.  I keep thinking I will work in big bold shapes of colours without all the doodly detail, but every time ....
Anyway, the point of this page is that I AM (finally) myself, though it took a long time to dig through all the layers of expectations laid on me by others and myself.  I am everything I need to be, I am comfortable in my own skin, and I have a valued place in the world.  I only wish I'd got to this place earlier in my life, but now I have boy do I want to celebrate it!  Go Me! :)

Friday, 13 February 2015


If you follow my work at all you'll know that I often work with a limited colour palette - if I start off with blue paint, then I tend to pick out blue pieces of collage, and so on.  I just got made that way. However, on this occasion I was trying to break out beyond my usual boundaries .... so I made this background of strong bright/clashing colours.
Then I began to add bits of collage and some strong black lines to mark the page into sections - don't ask me why, I just wanted to!  Nothing was planned at this stage, it generally never is: I just go with my gut and make shapes and draw lines in whatever way feels right.
But, as always, when I began to write things that need to come out bubbled up from the depths - the first words I put down were "I feel confused", tucked away in the corner as if I was ashamed of feeling that way, and the rest seemed to flow from there.

I love the bright colours and bold shapes I've put down here, but also the way there's no structure here, it all seems a bit random - which strongly reflected how I was feeling at a time when nothing was really making sense.
Its always satisfying to get something out of your head and down on paper, and it was particularly so on this occasion.  Things are no clearer than they were but I feel more comfortable with letting it be like that, especially when there's nothing I can do except wait for things to be different.

As you know I always have fun adding all the dots and doodles at the end, though on this occasion I'm wondering if I might have gone a bit over the top?  Whatever, it is what is is, a glorious muddle of confusion and bright spots - a bit like my life really!

Sunday, 8 February 2015



This is one of my "talk myself out of a low mood" pages!  I try really hard not to be a Moaning Minnie, always on about my pain or problems.  We all know how it can feel to be on the receiving end of someone who only ever wants to talk about themselves, their health, their latest operation etc so when this journey of chronic illness began I made a private vow that I wouldn't turn into one of those. OK I will also admit that we have one in the family as a horrid example ... which made me all the more determined to work at being half full rather than half empty!

But it was a bit of a blue day so I made this background of blue circles, and you can see the first words I wrote down below.  I often do this - make a background and then just write something, anything down.  It frequently surprises me what pops out that I didn't know was there but which needed to be said and acknowledged in order to deal with it.
So of course, having done that the next question had to be "what isn't"?  What's not easy that you need to give voice to?  Then the rest came naturally.  I began to add yellow to reflect a wish for positive energy rather than the negative blue, and the wings just seemed right: the idea in my head being something to do with wings lifting you up and out of yourself.  I know what I mean!  They're done with a rubber stamp which I printed onto a separate piece of paper and then stuck here.
The face is there representing the face that I, and presumably each of us, presents to the world - which doesn't always reveal what's really going on inside us.  The yellow is a Posca paint pen and, as you can see, these write really well, even over a blue Neocolour II background, although as here certain colours may need more than one application.
Then I got to the fun part - the doodling and the dotting etc, which I find kind of meditative and takes me away somewhere else.  At this point it actually began to remind me of a map of the heavens or something like that?  Like some kind of planet glowing in the firmament?  I also added a bit more yellow collage while I was about it because it seemed to need a frame of some kind.
So I guess this page was about being sunny and yellow, rather than blue, while at the same time admitting to myself that its sometimes a struggle to be that way, and to stay cheerful, and that I literally dare not give in. That way lies madness .... if it were not for God and all that she means in my life.

Monday, 2 February 2015



I was a bit fed up when I made this ... you might just possibly be able to tell!?  Life the universe and everything was rather getting to me and I used my journal to deal with it.

So this was me making a blue/green background, because that was the mood I was in - Neocolour II crayons and a strip of collage map. When the background was dry I dripped water onto it and I really like the result that gives.
Then I went hunting through my collage box for greeny/blue colours and cut out a series of scallop shapes.  The blue stars are from some salvaged wrapping paper, and the blue lady is by Picasso when he was still painting real people!  She looks as fed up as I felt.
So then I got out my pens to alter the scallops a bit - I like to change them so that they become "mine" so to speak.  While using a blue paint pen on the top left scallop and it went a bit dry, so I did that thing where you shake the pen and press the nib up and down.  Surprise surprise, the result was a blob of blue paint above the big star.  After cursing horribly for a moment (yes, and me a woman of the cloth) I got out a straw and while it was still wet blew it into a prettier pattern, so's I could pretend it was there on purpose.  Then I just got down on paper my very strong urge to hide from all the people who wanted to talk to me ....
And then I just doodled a bit in the spaces until it felt "done".  I'd seen the black "leaves" somewhere and liked them, so tried them out here; the yellow dots are posca paint pen, which writes brilliantly over just about anything.  All the black work is done with a paint pen too, including the lettering.
Art journalling is SO therapeutic - by the time I'd finished I'd pretty much got over my frustration. Well .... almost!