Sorry for my long absence but this is literally the only page I've managed in the six weeks since our house move. In that time I've been thinking that I might choose to put my pages up on Pinterest rather than maintain this blog, which seems to me to have reached the end of the road.
I'll leave it here and see how it goes. If lots of people protest and say "no! keep the blog going" then I might ... but lets wait and see.
The move went great, we're thrilled with our new home. Its lovely to be in a village community again and our neighbours are wonderful. Couldn't ask for more.
You must be imagining me safely moved by now, but no not yet! It all happens next week, in 3 days time, but I was so ashamed to realise that its been 4 weeks since I posted that I wanted to try and share one of the very few pages I've made in this period. The title speaks for itself as we have lurched from "it will be complete by the end of the week", to "not for another 2 weeks". "We should have the safety certificates any day" ... but them not arriving for another 10 days. You get the idea. I've just had to let go of worrying about what was outside of my control, and steadily prepare without panicking, and trusting God that (eventually) all would be well. Which it is.
So very quickly - simple painted background and a bit of collage, plus a face I drew. There always has to be a face or something human on my pages - it sort of represents me even though it might not actually BE me.
Lovely fun with collage pieces then adding the outline and shadow edges. At this stage it just sort of stood still for a few days.
And then the words came out of my heart and onto the page, along with all the doodly details I so much enjoy adding.
Sorry this is more than a little sketchy, but its a post from the dark hinterland of about to move house. I'm writing this on Saturday night, then we're over to the new house tomorrow trying to do useful things like put up curtain rails and bathroom fittings. After that comes a meeting with the Occupational Therapist to decide how and where to add ramps, grab rails, and all the other things that make life possible and safe. Monday morning the removals company come to pack all our worldly goods, and Tuesday they get transported from Southport to Freckleton.
Heaven knows when my craft stuff will get unpacked but eventually it'll happen, and I WILL be back!
My apologies, I have been SO caught up with our impending house move that I genuinely didn't realise I had allowed almost a month to go by without posting. Where does the time go? I am still working in my art journal but a lot of other stuff is calling on my attention, so I'm not producing pages or finding time to reflect as much as I would like. Further apologies in advance but we hope to move in about 2 weeks time, so if I'm not here that will be why!!
This page arose out of the place we find ourselves - which is preparing to move on AGAIN. Just when we though we were settled here. It has made me look back over the journey of our life this far and how very unplanned it has mostly been, and yet how right each place has seemed at the time. I hope and trust that this move will be the same.
So I began with a painted background as usual, and then was thinking about pathways and branching off paths in unexpected directions which (I think) is how I ended up with what looks a bit like a road with roundabouts? OK just me then.
The page got stuck here for a good 10 days, and then one day I just wrote what was in my heart. I think I was feeling scared and unsure if we were really doing the right thing, but really I AM sure, I just needed to remind myself of that! Everyone has their wobbly days, and there have been quite a few around here.
Shortness of time meant that finishing the page with doodles and drawings didn't quite happen, but it feels complete anyway.
I will try to post again before we move but realistically I probably won't get around to it, so see you on the other side!! If our last move is anything to go by, other rooms will take priority in the unpacking process - you know, food, sleep, that kind of thing - so it may be a while before all my craft stuff gets unpacked and organised.
Your prayers would be appreciated - moving house is always stressful, and that makes pain and fatigue worse, so I am trusting in God that I'll get through this. Freckleton here we come!!
In the Church of England, ordinations take place at Petertide in the summer months, and I've attended some recent anniversaries of the ordinations of the very first women to be priests. It brings it all back, the struggle first to be ordained at all and then over many years to be accepted ... and then one Sunday in church recently this was the reading from Isaiah 6. This is always read at ordinations, and I was chosen to read it in Carlisle Cathedral at my own, so it has always had special resonance for me.
In the days before that Sunday I was working on this page, not knowing where it was going (as is so often the case). Over a painted background I was putting down collage, in the case of the pieces top left and right they were pieces colour copied from older journals. Its good to recycle!
I have been trying to get away from my default position of simply putting a frame around a page, so this was what resulted from those efforts. Then the page got "stuck", both through the intrusion of Real Life and just not knowing what it was meant to say.
Then after I'd heard that Sunday reading I came home and wrote these words on the page - something responded to so many years ago ... and yet also particularly relevant right now when a new sense of calling prompts us to be moving on when we'd imagined ourselves settled here to the end of our days!
So it was important to be reminded that, retired or not, in sickness and in health, and at (nearly) 65, God's unexpected beckoning finger can still call you into change and new experiences. We're ready to go once we have a completion date for the new property, and in the meantime very busy organising the 90th birthday celebrations for my darling mum in law, and helping a very dear friend make the difficult transition from independent living into a care home.
Lots to keep me busy and make me extra tired, so forgive me if in the coming weeks I am more absent than present here. By the Autumn we hope to be well settled in our new home and life, and back to blogging more than occasionally!
Having to stay home and rest doesn't necessarily mean I'm not doing anything (as many people seem to imagine). My interior life is a lot more lively than my social life, and just as well because without it I would definitely be stir crazy.
A painted background using 3 shades of acrylic paint in yellow/orange, getting some texture with baby wipes and scrubbing with an old paint brush. I love these burnt orange tones - as you might have noticed if you follow my work regularly!
So the Modigliani lady in the orange sweater really just belonged on this page, and then I found some tissue paper with script on it which I absolutely loved, so pasted that down too. Originally it didn't show very well against the background so I put a thin black line around it.
The torn edges of the tissue made nice shapes on the page so I added collage using the same wavy forms, just having fun finding colours and textures that seemed to belong there. This was another occasion when I had no idea what I wanted to say at this stage ... which is wonderfully freeing because you can just "go with the flow".
The words came because I looked at this lady and wondered if she was just staring into space or thinking. I decided that, like me, her thoughts were far away but purposeful - perhaps reflecting on something or someone, praying for some need, whatever - the point is that she isn't just sitting there any more than I am on a rest day! That is what I tell myself, so please don't argue!
This is a relatively simple page but it says what I needed to say and the colours bring me joy. That's kind of the whole point of art journalling isn't it?
As I've previously mentioned, we are in an in-between stage of our lives, getting ready to leave the home we'd retired to and thought was "forever". Ahead of us lies a new life and calling, in which many things are as yet unclear.
I needed to write and journal about this strange limbo, so laid down some blue paint and then buffed it off with a wet wipe, before beginning to add collage.
Then more collage, grey shadows and a black outline began to bring the disparate elements together. Here I was trying to avoid straight lines and keep the outline curvy and soft.
At this point I decided the page was just TOO blue and needed something more, so I used my Neocolour II crayons to introduce lime green, and added even more via collage. I ended up with this framed page and only a vague idea what I wanted to write on it, so I set it aside until inspiration struck.
And then one day, I just wrote this ... because when things aren't in your hands trusting God for the future is all you can do.
Since then a house has been found for us and the purchase of it is in train. All we have to do is declutter our present home and get ready to move on when the purchase is all complete. Its exciting. It WILL be a challenge for a wheelchair user with limited energy ... but there will be a way.
It was a great pleasure recently to find one of my pages saved in someone's Pinterest folder of art journal inspiration. It also served to remind me of a technique I haven't used in a while - that of drawing wavy lines across the page in which to write.
But first a simple background of lime green paint in two shades, blotted off with a wet wipe to give some interest and texture.
Then came the lines drawn across and the beginnings of some collage elements. I once took colour copies of an old journal in order to re-use some elements in new pages ... and promptly forgot about them. However, this pennant saying "there are times when I wonder" was one of those pieces, and it was enough to get me thinking ... and wondering.
We are at a time in our lives when we're poised between an unexpected calling which will take us on into pastures new, and trying to decide what to keep of the old life we've made here. I know what I ought to do is just stay calm and let things like where we might be going to live unfold, but I'm not made that way. This means I spend far too much time speculating about the shape of the future, and looking back at other times and places to learn what I can from them.
So that's what I found myself doing as I continued into the doodly phase of the process - which actually lends itself very well to the reflective process.
I know I need to learn how to spend more time in the present, just appreciating what is here and now ... and maybe this time of relative uncertainty is a gift in which to do just that?
A perennial problem for me is always wanting to do/be more than my body or mind actually has energy to achieve - so my life is a constant compromise and an exercise in the art of the possible.
I started this page in positive mode by painting it my favourite pinks and blotting it off in places with a wet wipe.
Then it was out with the pink collage scraps tray to begin the creative process. I was trying to avoid the all too predictable route of simply generating a border around the page - with the risk of too many straight lines.
I'd drawn these birds on a master collage sheet, which I then copied so that I could cut out and colour the shapes. Choosing to add the birds also gave my page its theme - expressing my feelings about wanting to fly but being earthbound. You can see once again my favourite technique of outlining shapes in black and adding a grey shadow to give depth.
I ended up with with large gap in the centre of the page, and I just doodled and coloured into that space until it looked "right". I've recently got some water colour markers, and I love the subtle shading they've given me here. I also outlined and added to some of the collage patterns I'd used, to make them more "mine".
It took me a long time to figure out the answer encapsulated here ... that my spirit IS free as a bird, and there are virtually no barriers (beyond tiredness and brain fog) to where it goes. I can still pray, meditate, reflect, learn and grow, albeit slowly ... and I can do all that while my body takes the time out it needs to rest.
Following on from last week's post, and the change that is coming, I've been forced (again) to acknowledge that I'm not a patient person! So much in this process is beyond our control, so for now at least I can't take refuge in the plotting and planning that I'm really pretty good at. What I'm NOT good at is waiting for other people to get organised and make something happen. This page arose out of trying to manage my impatience ...
I painted the blue background and wiped some of it off with a baby wipe, which gives interesting texture, and then started laying down grey collage pieces.
I just kept adding a bit more, including a lady with a slightly frustrated look on her face (my own face was probably MUCH worse).
Black outlines and grey shadows as ever make all the difference to how the page elements string together, not to mention getting the words out of my brain and onto the page ... helping me to feel lighter.
And here's the finished product - not too much doodly detail for once - but it says what I needed to get off my chest. Basically it was/still is "grant me patience, Lord, but hurry!".
Hopefully I will manage not to chew my knuckles off while other people decide where we will be relocating to, and what kind of house we'll be living in. Then yet more patience will be required while disabled adapations take place. We might get there by Christmas, but then again ....
These photos show just how different images can look in daylight and artificial light. When I started work on this page it was in natural light on a slightly cloudy day ... when the yellow as you can see below looks more primrose than anything else!
The real colour is much nearer to the main picture, and I began by adding pieces of collage in shades of grey. This is one of my favourite parts - just sitting with a drawer full of paper scraps feeling my way towards something which will make sense.
And below you can see the collage process complete, finished off with black outlines and grey shadows. The figure is my own drawing to represent me ... inevitably somewhat thinner and younger looking than the reality, but reflecting how I feel inside!!
With the journalling part complete I added the doodling and drawing, and took the final picture in electric light, which makes the yellow look much more vivid.
We had thought we were settled and looking ahead to a peaceful retirement, but it seems we were wrong ... and we've been invited to consider an alternative future. It was a shock at first, but gradually I've become convinced that this is a calling from God, and the right thing for us to do.
Being a normal human being as well as a woman of faith, its in the wee small hours that the doubts creep in, and I wonder if I've completely lost the plot ... Once again we're preparing to put ourselves out there on a new road, not entirely sure where it leads, but believing (most of the time) that it is meant to be.
After last week's offering about pain I needed to talk myself into a better frame of mind - looking back at recent pages I got the distinct impression that I might be "wallowing". I tell myself that I'm doing all I can to stay positive about the future, but sometimes (without noticing it) I do get a bit bogged down!!
So I painted this page a bright yellow with touches of orange - you can see from the pictures how differently the colours photograph at various times of day - and added a piece of bright red collage.
Then I set to work on a collage border and added the figure with wings and a crown just for their cheering effects! I often use this rubber stamp for a face to represent myself, and I have a big pair of silver wings on my studio wall to help me remember that I can still fly ...
And then, because I am inclined to worry at things, over-analyse and generally fret ... this became a page about remembering who is really in control, and affirming again that I can trust that all will be well and turn out to my/our greatest good. Its easy to forget that ...
So here's the finished article with the usual doodly decorations - and I am there in the middle of all this glorious technicolour wearing my crown and smiling.
I hope I will look back at this page sometimes to remember what I learned in this process. Let go, let God.