Sunday, 30 April 2017


Thought I would show you something else of my process this time - a lot of you have been kind enough to let me know that you really appreciate seeing the pages develop step by step.  It begins as always with a simple background - the turquoise blue acrylic paint and the yellow mingle together quite well, but they needed something more so I added white on top.
Then I got out my collage materials (and coffee, always coffee).  As you can see below I sort these broadly by colour.  I have a set of shallow 12 x 12 drawers which I have labelled blue, green, orange, pink/red and neutrals etc.  Into these go anything which takes my fancy, although I do prefer the pieces to not be shiny so rarely use glossies - fortunately lots of magazines and catalogues are printed on matte finish paper these days.  Use what you have, save wrapping paper, scrounge from friends, etc etc.

I snip them from anywhere and everywhere - I've even been known to chop up children's books from the charity shop.  A favourite source is plain coloured envelopes that birthday or other cards come in.  These provide a block of solid colour I can draw or stamp on.  I pick much of my collage stuff up for free, and my Other Half is trained to bring home anything which looks interesting.

Then as you can see below I begin pulling out bits and pieces, shapes and colours, sometimes I punch or cut out shapes, just trying them in place.  Some stay and get stuck down and some don't.
I like to keep it fairly simple - you can always add more if you feel the need later.  This strange face began to appear at the top, but I didn't like it - there's an untrustworthy look in those eyes.  That made me think of the weaselly demons which come out to torment you, and it kind of went from there ...
The wormhole doodling represents the knots we tangle ourselves up in, and I could practically hear this demon whispering "you aren't good enough".  My mother's voice was in there too, but I told her to shut up because she's dead.  And in fighting her off I came up with the bit at the bottom, to remind myself that these whispers, often from the past, are lies we shouldn't believe.
My recent pages seem to have become a little bit simpler - its as if I'm finally giving myself permission to have empty spaces?  Or maybe I'm just lazy.  It may well be both!

We're flying the Atlantic tomorrow for some much needed sunshine in Florida.  In the warmth and sun I am always more well and in less pain, so this is my annual treat.  Plus the ice cream is flippin gorgeous.  See you in a couple of weeks 😎

Tuesday, 18 April 2017


Now and again I make a page on a black background - which allows you to do all kinds of different things.  I even look at journals with black pages occasionally, but have concluded I don't want to work that way all the time!

I'd put a coat of gesso over a page which didn't seem to be going anywhere, so I figured I'd just black it out!  At the stage below you can just see some of the old page showing through.
The Posca paint pens I like so much are wonderfully opaque, so you can get a good strong white against a dark background.  And yes I have been looking at Aboriginal art again - I can see the influence very strongly here.  Those perfect red circles aren't paint, I punched them out of a lovely thick red envelope which had contained a greetings card!
I'd been at an art class the day before, and during the afternoon something had happened to make me appreciate more than ever just how much of someone you meet casually might be hidden.  In this case it was something a person was scared to show other people, and a confidence I felt honoured by.  I was still thinking about this when I got home, so inevitably it found a way into my journal. Hence the "look beyond" - which is as much a message to myself as anyone else.
At this point I used a different black paint on the main area because the original wasn't a flat enough colour.  It was also a later time of day so as you can see the whites have photographed very differently.
Reflecting on how much we don't see, hear or perhaps understand, led to the words here - I suppose I was reminding myself to expect to be surprised, to choose to look at something or someone with new eyes, or listen to what is NOT said .....
And unusually for me I was quite happy to leave empty open areas and not fill them with dots and doodles.  I'm also moving towards using less collage and other people's images, preferring to create my own.  It is a journey, and I'm astonished now when I look back at journal no.1 just how very far I've come in my travels to this, the 13th.

Sunday, 9 April 2017


This page arose out of sheer frustration!  Considering we have disability access legislation (via the European Union) it can be horribly difficult to get into many places.  In fact I'd say that about 50% of the time I can't get into buildings unless someone goes off and fetches a ramp, assuming I can get their attention to ask for it.

Then there's the problem of uneven pavements, potholes, lack of dropped kerbs, etc etc.  My favourite Italian restaurant in the nearby village centre has a ramp up to the door, but then a wooden lip that my wheelchair can't mount.  Oh yes and the toilet is upstairs, but because its a historic building they don't have to do alterations for one downstairs.  I could go on but had better not - I would definitely sound like a crabby old cow.

Anyway I got out my Neocolour II crayons to make this background - still trying to make myself use multiple shades, and wanting to create circles and shapes within it.
Next I began to outline the shapes with black (Posca paint) pen, and although I didn't invite her this woman then appeared, followed by the words that obviously really needed to come out.
So having been surprised by their appearance I had to figure out and explain what I meant!  When the practical difficulties seem insurmountable and just a trip to the post box can be more trouble that its worth, you end up hiding inside and not going out.  And that simply Won't Do.
It was time to remind myself (again) that I am NOT prepared to settle for half a life, mostly spent at home, but choose to live as fully as I can within my limitations.  I just wish someone would really understand the barriers to integration and participation when you're on wheels.  My beloved says all council officials should be obliged to spend a day in a wheelchair at least once a year .... and then they might Get It.
So having got my grumpy inner woman sorted out I settled down to enjoy lots of doodling and dots.  Sorry if my fit of frustration makes me sound grumpy (which I was) but sometimes you just have to let it all out. And of course I do that in my journal.  Job done.

Saturday, 1 April 2017


This page arose out of my regular habit of cruising art journals on Pinterest in search of challenge and inspiration - its funny what will start me off, sometimes just a colour as in the last post, or a corner of something.  This time it was a page made with vertical rather than horizontal lines - which made me recognise that I have tendency to work across the page rather than down.

So this was me drawing vertical lines and starting to paint the resulting spaces.  At this point I was reaching for more shades of blue, but realised that I also have a tendency to play safe and stay with the same colour, so I boldly plumped for the red and promised myself I would use a wide range of shades.
Well then there was no stopping me and I added orange too, not to mention red dots in the corner!
I had no other plan for this page - I like working intuitively and just seeing what happens.  I didn't know what I was going to write but the sections had begun to look like roads or paths to me, which set off the reflections about being a traveller and a pilgrim.

You can possibly see that I hadn't stuck the eye down at this point because I was still deciding whether or not it belonged there ... I do that often.  It works to just try random pieces of collage in different positions.
When I did stick the eye down I used paint around the edges to blend it into the piece, and then did some more doodling - heavily influenced by Australian aboriginal art, which is really lighting my fire at the moment!  The white horizontal dashes came from that source.
It was quite a journey in itself completing this page, which I worked on over several days.  The tree branches were a surprise to me, as were the orange lines on the yellow which made me think of layers in rock.  The wormhole doodling is a favourite technique which I haven't used for a while.
I'm still excited by working downwards rather than across, and its funny how much difference such a simple thing produced.  I really had FUN making this and genuinely like the result.  Look out for more work which travels down the pages .....