Saturday, 29 August 2015


Sorry I was absent without leave last week - the page I made during that period speaks for itself.  In fact this is the only page I made during the past two weeks, when I generally average 3 or 4 in that time.

I'm not going to undertake an explanation of how it came together because the pictures pretty much speak for themselves, as do the words.

I'd probably be coping better if we weren't also trying to organise ourselves to move house in a couple of months, but we're getting there in little steps.  Its also strange to go from being a cared for person to trying to do the caring - basically we support each other, and some things we can't do even between us!!

But we're doing OK and next week go for the follow up appointment post surgery, at which we'll find out about the plans for chemo etc.  So far so good, but it helps so much to have my journal to explore and put down my feelings.  Cheaper than therapy too!

Saturday, 15 August 2015


I wrote last week about a close family member with a possible cancer diagnosis.  It was my husband, and earlier this week he had surgery to remove a tumour, and is now home recovering.  It all came completely out of nowhere (and it was very lucky that the problem was spotted),  just as we are planning to retire in the next few months.  The prognosis is good so (most of the time) I'm not scared about the future, but it has taught me that I must not take anything for granted and just treasure all the time we have together!

So in very serious and reflective mode this page began with a coat of cheering pink paint and some basic collage.  I always tell people that I don't really do fancy backgrounds - they aren't necessary if you're going to cover everything up the way I do.
I gradually laid down more bits of blue collage, and when that was done used a black Posca pen to provide a strong outline, and a white one for some doodling.
Having no idea where this was going, I then doodled some more  - the dangly "jewels" were inspired by a bead curtain I saw the other day.  The other doodled sections were added because I was trying to escape from my usual "border around a rectangle" style.
I've been wanting to improve my drawing of faces lately, so I painted a simple ivory face shape in the corner, added hair with a Posca paint marker, and took in from there in terms of adding colour and shading.
Since she probably represents a (younger) me, in the end I could only write what was going on in my head that day - which was and is a determination that from now on nothing will be taken for granted and I will joyfully celebrate every moment I can with the man who has walked beside me for more than 40 years .....
You truly never know what lies around the corner, and life comes with no guarantees.  That's one of those things you know but don't really BELIEVE until it comes to you.  Six weeks of chemo lie ahead to be got through, and shortly after that we'll be moving to our retirement flat.  I hope the days we spend there, however many we are given, will all be jewels ....

Sunday, 9 August 2015


Fortunately that was LAST week!  All sorts of difficulties raised their head, culminating in a possible cancer diagnosis for a close family member, so when I made this page I was feeling ever so slightly overwhelmed!  For me this is when keeping a journal really comes into its own - once whatever it is is safely down on paper you can let go of most of it ....

Anyway the page began with a background made with blue paint and white gesso, with a touch of dark blue Neocolour II crayon on the edges for emphasis.  On top of that I placed an assortment of reddish pieces of collage - I don't so much use pictures from magazines as bits of colour and pattern that appeal to me.  Sometimes I cut out sections of a good plain colour that I can stamp or draw on.
Then instead of a shadow I added a simple black outline and some scribbly lines and doodling using black and white Posca paint pens - the 0.7 fine nib ones.
You may know by now that for me there always has to be a face or something on my pages, so this slightly dodgy looking person represents me hiding out and saying "is it safe to come out yet"?  I just painted a pale face shape onto the background and then added black paint pen for the hair.
As you can see below, it didn't really look finished at that point and needed something?  Well I thought so at the time.  I do know I have a tendency to over decorate my pages but those big blank spaces were bugging me.
So a few more pieces of reddish collage and some black and white doodling and I was satisfied with the result.  It did me good to get it out of my system, and for once I even managed to use two colours instead of just one!
Family member is in surgery tomorrow and I hope and pray that all will be well - it will be an anxious day, and I will probably have to journal about that too!!

Sunday, 2 August 2015


This was one of those pages where something I didn't know was swirling around my subconscious suddenly popped out and made its presence felt!

You can see below how I set out to collage over a painted page - just done with ordinary craft acrylics, and then adding bits and pieces from my collection to make a border.  I hope it gives you an idea of what sort of things to look for and save when trawling through magazines for collage materials.  I'm looking for colours and patterns or words that appeal to me, and I don't want them to be identifiable so I only rarely use actual pictures, or if I do I alter them in some way.   I can't explain it but I don't like shiny images, so always look out for the kind printed on heavy matte paper - they're often free furnishing catalogues and the like.  I love it when my art materials are free!
Then below you can see that I added a little bit more and turned the lower striped section into a person - there's always got to be something human in my pages.  I guess to represent myself somehow?
Then because I try to alter faces and make them unique this stamped face got some doodly decoration - I'm not sure if its an improvement but at least she's mine rather than some generic image.  I was looking at her and thinking that she looks a bit of an oddball, and that sparked the thought I began to write down ...
I wasted so much of my early life desperately trying to fit in and wondering why I couldn't, and when the revelation came to me that I was MEANT to stand out it was like light shining in the darkness.  I became someone who could stand up in public and speak my truth, someone who was happy to lead if called on to do so, and best of all (finally) someone at ease in their own skin.  Maybe I just grew up.
If there was one thing I tried to teach my own daughters you can bet your life this was it.  Don't struggle to fit in if you can't seem to, rejoice in being your glorious unique self - its who you are meant to be.  Perhaps you can't do that so easily while you're still a young person?  It might be one of those things that comes to most of us only as we mature?  Either way, I'm just grateful for the insight which transformed my life.