Tuesday, 31 October 2017


This page arose out of somebody telling me that I inspired them.  I was incredulous at first, I feel like I do so very little, but later began to feel awed and grateful.  As a full-time priest it was almost never given to me to know when or if I'd made a difference, but we often justify ourselves through our busy-ness.  In my present limited life where I can DO very little, I often feel more like a taker than a giver. 

I do try to do what I can, however little that is, and I began to see that that is enough, and not to feel guilty because I cannot do more.  The realities of my life mean that it will have to be enough, but nonetheless it helped me remember that what I can give - which is time and a listening ear - is of real value.

The background is yellow but looks greeny in some lights ... and as you can see below the light was very different when I began work to when I was finishing the page.  The grey collage I laid on top of the paint looks blue below, but that was in artificial light.
The following morning (in full daylight) I added some more collage pieces - the word Inspire was the prompt for the whole page.  As you can see I've just added random text and textures, and  I've also added a grey shadow around each piece, using a marker.
The picture of Frieda Kahlo found its place because she is one of my heroines - she lived in terrible pain from spinal injuries sustained in a car accident, and yet managed to be an icon for many women through her painting.

The words below are simply making a record of what I'd learned through this particular encounter - that doing what you can is actually enough.  Very often I forget that.
Its astonishing how much peace this has brought me - I suppose I've felt guilty for a long time that I couldn't do more, forgetting that sometimes presence and quietness can be a contribution in itself.
Rosie X

PS Lest I sound pious and self-satisfied ... you only have to look at my other pages to know how often I kick against my limitations, and hate the days when pain makes me cranky and horrible.  Peace is hard to come by and all the more valuable because of that.

Sunday, 22 October 2017


On a drawing page somewhere (probably Pinterest, I can waste hours on there) I came across the idea of these little critters with chubby bodies and a kind of oval cut out for a face.  When I tried to draw one he started out smiling and benign, but turned out to be a grumpy demon in the end!

Below the background I made with Neocolour II crayons in yellows and blues, onto which I've begun to collage various shapes.  This is my go-to technique when I don't have any brighter ideas.
For some reason I decided to give the collage elements a black spiky edge, suggesting to me that they weren't "friendly".  Its just the way my mind works, sorry.  I drew the little creature in the middle and made him look worried - well you would with these spiky amoeba things coming to get you!
More spiky edges followed - I love how the Posca paint pen gives an opaque finish over almost all surfaces, even the very slightly waxy finish of these crayons.  I was keeping to the edge because I knew I'd want to write on the other areas - something to look out for because you can get so carried away creating that you forget to leave space!
Then it turned out that the creature wasn't me at all, and wasn't friendly either - he was actually another demon (I have lots of those), setting out as usual to torment me in my low moments.  You may be familiar with the kind that tell you you're selfish and lazy, that you're no use to anybody (particularly difficult area for us disabled types), that you are in fact a waste of space.  And that's before the historical ones/sins of the past come out to get you ...
But that's the genius of journalling - because I drew the demons and made them look silly, and not scary at all.  Anyway by drawing and working on the page I sort of hid until it was safe to come out.

Trying out a new diet at the moment - well a complete change of my eating habits really - in the hopes that it might bring some improvement.  There seems to be strong (proper medical) evidence that it can, so I can only hope it works for me.  Nothing lost by trying ... except that, as predicted, you feel rotten for the first week or two.  Yep.  It must be working!!
Rosie X

Sunday, 8 October 2017


As you know I don't generally use quotes in my journals, but here's another one I came across which just happened to speak into where I am right now. 
This is another very simply made page - a painted background to which I began to add a border of collage bits and pieces.
 And here it is with the border finished ... at which point those flowers from last week showed up again ... which can only be a good thing, right?
One of my Modigliani ladies also made her way onto this page, complete with a crown from my (much too large) rubber stamp collection.  I was bowled over when I came across this Jung quote - I suppose its to do with a change of attitude from victim with no power or choices, to something much more positive and powerful, even though you are basically in the same place?  This is something I remember from CBT, that you can't change what has happened, but you can choose how you react to it.  Lately events have had me down in the darkness, but (with God's help) I am clawing my way back out of that dark hole ....
So here I am, broken and wonky, but with a (mostly) undefeated spirit, ready willing and able to make what difference I can in the world.  I know that inevitably I'll visit that dark place again before I'm done, because I'm only human, and anyway sometimes you have to shed the tears before you are ready to rise again.  I think the word "undefeated" might have come from the Invictus Games, which were on at the time.  And for now, I am!
Nearly finished this purple journal I've been working in since last December, so have been preparing the next (number 14!) and will be starting out fresh in a few days.  Hope that's another metaphor for my down but undefeated state?

Tuesday, 3 October 2017


A message to myself, as you have no doubt guessed!  I was trying to break out of a low mood so I began by painting the page pink - a positive step from where I'm sitting!

Having looked in my collage file of faces etc I couldn't find anything which felt right, so decided to draw my own.  I used white, black and pink Posca paint pens, which as you can see are very opaque even over the acrylic background (though the white needed two coats).
I wanted her to look like somebody who was doing her best to be positive, so I gave her some flowers and colours to look at.
After which the flowers sort of proliferated madly ... and once I got the rose in her hair I knew where I was going - where I needed to go.  I suppose its about remembering that there is always beauty of some kind if you look for it.  All these flowers etc came from my stash of bits and pieces culled from magazines etc - I look out for the non shiny papers because they work best.
And so, talking to myself as usual, the words became obvious. This page makes me smile whenever I look at it, so pink and flower-filled its hard not to feel cheered by it. 
Then my Beloved appeared with a bunch of pink roses - how did he know?  That meant I could smell the real thing, and they were/are lovely (even though they've "gone over" a little bit now). 

Sometimes I worry that everything I make will come across as very self-absorbed, and I wish it wasn't, but pain makes you selfish and doesn't allow much mental space for anything else ... except maybe roses?