Sunday, 28 June 2015


It just goes to show how various and random are the things which can inspire a journal page! I'd painted the page as you see it below - and once again I'd like to point out that backgrounds really don't need to be particularly fancy or clever, particularly when you're planning to cover them up the way I do!

Anyway, my next move was to rummage about in my collage folders, and I came across the word at the bottom of the page "paradise".  I think it might be from a Teesha Moore collage sheet but since it was already cut out I can't be 100% sure.  Anyway, this one word sparked a train of thought ....
So while I was musing on the idea of paradise, and what it might mean for me, I was adding bits of collage and a touch more paint.  I confess to being a bit set in my ways when it comes to colour - if I lay down a blue background I start looking for blue collage elements.  I can't help it, I just got made that way.  Sometimes I try really hard to use a whole mish mash of colour on one page, and it never feels right to me.  So, having painted the background pink and orange (a combination I just LOVE) I began looking for pink and orange collage .... Lately, recognising that I'm not going to change any time soon, I've begun organising my collage materials by colour.  It works for me.
So then I began to add in some black outlining (you can see below how much difference it makes) and those branches which in my mind were "making connections".  I had come to no definite conclusions about paradise in terms of an afterlife, except to acknowledge that if it only involved clouds and harps I'd be very disappointed.  Which turned my mind towards the idea of an earthly paradise.

On our recent holiday to the USA we'd been recommended to visit what turned out to be a really amazing art supplies shop (Sam Flax in downtown Orlando, Florida).  I mentally gave the store a veranda (which it doesn't have in real life) and set myself up with a table in the shade where I could play in my journal, able to pop into the store any time I needed something.
And then to extend my fantasy I thought what interesting characters were likely to pop in and out of an art supply shop, and how much I'd enjoy chatting to people as they came and went.  So there you are - my idea of paradise - a sunny day, a shady veranda, a place to play, limitless art supplies and congenial company!  You could add in the occasional glass of chilled white wine if you like, or perhaps a jug of Pimms is more your thing?  Drinks optional.
Then all that remained was to draw and doodle in the spaces left - and on this occasion I was remarkably restrained and didn't try and fill absolutely every inch, whilst still managing to get plenty of dots and other bits and pieces in.
So when I get to heaven (well, being honest, IF I get there) I hope its something like this.  If you see me there be sure to drop by my table for a chat .... I'll be wearing my pink rose hat. 

Sunday, 21 June 2015


A sudden shift is certainly something that happened while I was working on this page - which is literally hot off the press.  There I was happily playing in my journal when unexpected news came which rocked my foundations for a while.  So what's a person to do in that situation?  Get it down on paper of course!!  

I had begun with this turquoise paint background, just because I like the colour, and its nothing fancy as you can see.  I rarely bother to do "clever" backgrounds because I know I'm only going to cover them up.  I just brushed a slightly darker blue around the outer edges and added the flower.
Then I began to collage around the border - set in a bit from the actual edge of the page so that the two shades of blue could be seen, and I particularly wanted to show you the before and after stages which follow.  On the left is the page with the collage finished, and on the right after I'd added a grey shadow and some black outlining.  Makes all the difference in the world doesn't it, and helps the sections really stand out from the background.
And it was pretty much around this time that the nuclear bomb dropped on me ... so I got out my pen and wrote about it.  I was all over the place emotionally for a couple of days, but am gaining a sense of proper perspective now - helped by attending the utterly joyous wedding yesterday of two beautiful young people.
And then all that was left to do was fiddle about endlessly filling up any dangerous blank space that might be lurking there!  Don't ask me why - it just seems to be the way I'm made, and if I'm honest, after the collage part its my favourite bit of the whole process.  Its meditative somehow?
It is SO good and cathartic to let everything out on a page this way - its very healing for me.  The girl at bottom left was originally just there because I liked the colour of her eyeshadow.  In the end her serenity was what counted - and a message to my soul, do not let this event disturb your peace.

Sunday, 14 June 2015



Recently somebody said to me (something like) "it must be frustrating to be so tied down by your disability".  Thinking about it afterwards (and don't you always come up with a pithy response later) I came to the conclusion that she was completely and absolutely wrong!  Earthbound I may be, but in my spirit, through prayer and art, I have WINGS and can soar free.

Actually wings would be very useful if anybody up there is listening??  Then my ability to walk wouldn't matter!!  Anyway, below is how the page began.  I was trying to get away from my "usual" way of framing a page so I laid down orange acrylic and then used my Posca paint pen to create a pink border over it.  The strong black lines were added with my new, larger black Posca pen.  This is a 1.8 nib rather than my usual 0.7.
I had absolutely no idea where this was going but I was playing happily, so I added some bits of collage and some doodles. Then I put in some more pink inside the border, and a white line.  At that point I left the page for a while .... I do that a lot, just half make pages until the right words come to me.  Sometimes they never do so I just leave the page as is.
But when I came back to it all I managed to add were a few more doodles and bits of collage.  The page was then ignored until the conversation described above, at which point I decided I didn't like the element top centre, so I removed it and added something else which was quite plain.  That allowed me to write what was really going on in my head, which was "I may be earthbound ..."
Well then I was off like a rocket fuelled by my strong sense of the comment being WRONG and forgot to take any more pictures until I'd finished!  The wings are a stamp, and the rest is just doodles with Posca pens.
I am oddly satisfied by this page - the bold orange and pink please me, as does the concept of flying free from my (very) earthbound body.  All together now .... bursts into a chorus of "I am what I am" etc etc...

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Calm Water ....

As we approach (early) retirement I find myself torn between a longing for peace and tranquility, and wondering if I'll find it all a bit too unexciting?  Obviously all the things on my heart always find their way into my journal eventually, and so this niggling anxiety was bound to make its presence felt sooner or later ....

It started with the blue and yellow paint background, to which I added some simple bits of collage and those V shapes were a rubber stamp.  I always find images of the Buddha very serene and calming, so I think that's why he's there, and that deep teal blue colour just appealed strongly. Perhaps those are islands in my sea?  The ink blots are another rubber stamp.  The page stayed like this for some days until I came back and worked on it again.
At which point my thoughts about boats and calm water/safe harbour came out of my head and down onto the page.  These sputnik shapes are not my usual thing at all, but I like how the strong black jumps again the blue and yellow.  The black was done with a Posca paint marker which really does write over just about anything, with white paint marker on top.
And although the page might even look finished at this stage, I couldn't resist adding to it and fiddling about.  The spiky leaves are also a fine paint pen - I think they're reeds at the water's edge, or something like that?  They just seemed to want to be there.
I also made use of a dark grey paint marker for some of the bubbles (at least I think thats what they are, they don't always tell me) which I really like as a colour.

Somewhere in all this I think I've managed to capture my dilemma between a human desire for excitement and interest, and the wish for a safe harbour at the end of the day.  Don't know the answer to my own question yet until we actually take the plunge and go, but I suspect in the end all of us would like a large amount of peace and quiet punctuated by little oases of happiness and excitement??  I think that's what I probably want anyway.