Tuesday, 31 January 2017


This page was mainly worked on in the middle of the night - insomniacs R us.  A few days earlier, faced with a blank journal page, I'd challenged myself NOT to paint the background a single colour and to lay down blocks of random mixed up shades.  Below is the result.

I liked it but it sure as heck didn't feel like me.  Anyway, a challenge is a challenge so then I added some strong marks against the background.  Still wasn't sure where it was going .... but I enjoy the journey anyway.
Then, unable to sleep, I got up and did this (that's why the colours look different under the electric light).  The words had been swirling around my head and I'd got up only intending to write them down, but decided I might as well write them on the page.
The other challenge was to use my own handwriting for a change, which would have worked better if I hadn't been writing with a Posca paint pen, which was a bit thick.

However, the result was THIS!  More related to my usual style of working and yet without the coherence that I usually aim for.  But that became the whole point of the piece - sometimes all you can see in your life is light and shade, random colours, some darkness. Yet, if you look for them there are patterns and brightness, so that you can feel part of a greater whole and purpose, even if you can't quite see it.
So out of sleeplessness and night thoughts, comes a wisdom I need to hold onto when life feels random and chaotic, and in particular the Grace at the heart of all things...

Tuesday, 17 January 2017


Sorry about the darkness of this picture of the finished page ... the weather was grey and grim at the time!

You can see below the simple background, done with Neocolour II watercolour crayons.  I love these, and how they react when touched with water.  You can still see where I've rubbed different shades on the page, like the slightly turquoise rivulet going from top to bottom ...
Its fun to work WITH that sometimes, so my next step was to outline that shape with black Posca paint pen, and enhance that sense of movement.  You could use other black pens, but I find this gives me the deepest black of all, and I love the contrast it gives. You need the finest point Posca pen for this, which is 0.7mm.
Then as you can see I added some collage in circular shapes, which felt right with the sinuous lines.  I was thinking about a journey here, so these kind of became potential blockages or threats?  My memory problems are such that I don't always remember what I was thinking afterwards, but that doesn't seem to matter.
Then it became more cellular and almost medical looking, with little clusters and connections, and pink almost dangerous cells in places.  This page sprang from my beloved's failure to understand (or remember) exactly how the illness I have affects me. These words are something of a cry from my heart ....
Himself gets a bit frustrated with me sometimes, like when I ask him to make a phone call for me because I can't do it.  There are days when the cognitive symptoms I experience are overwhelming, and the thought of having to ring someone and explain something is more than my brain can deal with.  However, because I CAN do it much of the time, he clearly didn't want to do something for me that I can usually do for myself.

This made me incredibly sad, as yet another example of how my being ill both comes between us and yet makes me dependent.  The page and its words could also mean a lot of other things, and maybe it says something different for you that speaks into your life?  If that's true then I hope it helps, as getting this down on paper helps me.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017


We've had a very quiet Christmas and New Year, which gave me time to make this page in my brand new journal ... its not often that I begin a new one (this is number 13) right as the year turns.  It feels sort of auspicious somehow?  OK just me then.

I had a very broad idea of what I wanted to do - a central figure, a statement about new year, and some general observations on how I feel about it ... given the general climate of gloom etc etc.  I painted the simple outline of a figure first, then added the red background around it.
Then the "opening statement" and some work on the figure followed.  Apologies for the fact that some of these pictures were taken in daylight and some in artificial lighting - which makes the red look pinker.
I wanted to do something like New Year fireworks on the page, with the figure outlined against them.  This began by using a curly stamp on yellow paper, which I then cut out and stuck down.  I also added some reflections on the aforesaid atmosphere of gloom ... feeling that this is being somewhat overstated by the world's media. At least I hope so.
So more curly bits and pieces and more writing - I don't do resolutions exactly, so this is more of a statement of hopeful intent. I plan to remain optimistic and hopeful about the essential goodness of the human race, even if not about those currently in charge of running many countries.
And then the final stage was to add the dots that turn the curly squiggles into fireworks - at least I see them that way!  I'd always intended to do zentangle type patterns on the body of the figure, but left that to the last minute in case I thought it would look too busy.
Our seasonal celebrations were small and very quiet, and of course I missed seeing my children, but I spent some high quality time with my Beloved and that can only be a Good Thing.  Happy 2017 to you all ...