the shape of a decade, part three


Over the last days of the decade I’ve been thinking back to where my creative journey has wandered. You can see parts one & two in my previous posts. Now let’s catch up to the moment before we dive into the 2020s.

2017:

TWELVTY – Etsy – The 100 Day Project – Postcards.

Inspired by my own 12 month / 12 color project from 2012, I created a year long online class – TWELVTY – a trip around the color wheel. It was so much fun, over half the folks who joined me came back for a second time the next year!

Each month we explored a different color together. As part of the class I shared the making of this 12 color art journal filled with my most fav mixed media techniques.

2017 was the first year I heard about the 100 day project through social media. I missed the official start date, but in 100 days I made 100 drawings inspired by the random photos in my phone. I learned a lot in the process.

The images and faces that showed up in this book inspired my first collection of mini-print postcards, and more ideas that would unfold over the next months.

2017 was the year I launched my Etsy store, and as the year moved on I filled it with the colorful things I made.

Meanwhile, in the background I had a sketchbook of ideas fermenting into future ideas…


2018:

TWELVTY – the 67-ish day project – the Sketchbook Project – the Tiny Book Collaboration.

This year I stepped up the TWELVTY game, instead of making an art journal with the experiments in 12 colors, I made two 3D mixed media color wheels.

The 100 day project called me to step up again too. This time I embarked on a series of big paintings on canvas.

I don’t often work this big, I’d not painted on canvas before, and I planned to make my 100 day project from 100 time lapse videos of progress on these.

Tbh I really bit off more than was possible this time, so when I got about two thirds through I stopped and set these paintings aside for a while. I’m beginning to get the itch to return to them soon (watch this space!)

Sometimes it’s more difficult to stop when the time is right, to wait it out, than it is to plough on regardless. I feel like that was the biggest lesson learned for me this time.

I’m much more at home working in a small scale – when I heard about the Sketchbook Project it sounded exactly my kinda thing.

In light of this trajectory, it’ll come as no surprise that when I head about the Tiny Book Collaboration I joined up without a second thought!

Of course, while this is all going on I’m feeding my muse with regular down-time in an art journal. This was a fun change of format and opened lots of panoramic new ways to play.


2019:

Ink Dyed Papers – 100 days in 100 days – The Sketchbook Project twice – and a ZINE!

I began this year in my studio with more experiments in paper dying. It really took over everything for a couple of months or so, and I’ve still so much to tell you about this – something for the new year!

This time around I began my 100 day project on the ‘official’ start date and managed to complete 100 days in just that. I set my own rules and made them manageable this time – adding to an art journal I’d been dabbling in for a while took a lot of pressure off – so each day I just added a bit more.

Days add up to weeks add up to completed pages added up to 3 and a bit months of daily practice. These pages inspired my latest set of mini-print postcards.

2019 was book-ended by the Sketchbook Project.

Earlier in the year I completed my 2019 book, and to my amazement I finished my 2020 book before December 2019 was out. Each one is more elaborate than its predecessor, I think that goes to show how much I love making these books!

The first book was home to the characters, the imaginary friends & curious creatures, who collaborated with me to make my first ZINE that I published in December.

So the year ended as it began, in a delighted frenzy of gluing and doodling, as I assembled the pages of my 2020 Sketchbook project into this. It’ll be flying off to Brooklyn after the holidays, and another decade of making will commence.

.

Thank you!

Thank you all so much for joining me in this journey – your support means more than I can tell you. I hope I can keep spreading inspiration around the blogosphere and color around my pages for many more decades, and I hope you’ll be here too.

Big love to you my friends,
I wish you a fabulous 2020 and beyond! X


If you’d like monthly updates on what I’m doing and making, sign up for my Studio Musings Newsletters. You’ll be first to see what I’m up to each month + you get 10% off everything in my Etsy store as a thank you for joining me ūüôā

Processing…
Success! You’re on the list.

2017 reflections 3 of 3


September

SUZANNE VEGA – ‘MR PINKLE’ – BRIGHTON

I love Brighton but not visited for a long time. So when I saw Suzanne Vega would be playing there in September I just had to book, and we had a break by the sea for a couple of days.

14 year old me sang her little heart out along to Marlene on the Wall & Left of Centre  amid all the architectural frills and froo-froo of Brighton Dome. Bliss!

Just before the trip I got a¬†little clip on fish-eye lens contraption for my phone. When I wasn’t taking pictures distorted into circles, I was finding round things to take photos of too (seems to be the way my mind works, it latches onto a theme and won’t let it go. Often it’s completely unconscious at the time, then I notice when I look back.)

Back home I made a new friend – a visiting cat I named ‘Pinkle’, because of her very pretty pink nose and ears. Some while later Pinkle’s other humans informed us she’s a he-cat, so he’s now known as ‘Mr Pinkle‘.

Listening to: Jon Ronson’s Butterfly Effect ~ Burning Man Essentials (2016)¬†~ Sleepdealer

October

LISTS OF LISTS – PLANNING PLANS – 100 DAY PROJECT

October saw the end to a few projects, releasing some brain-RAM to take stock of where I was and what was to come next.

This notebook is home to the lists of lists, the home to my brain dumps. It reminds me of the Hitch hiker’s guide to the galaxy.¬†The HHGTTG¬†has the simple instruction on the cover Don’t panic, the cover of the guide to my universe has¬†Begin at the beginning, Go on till you come to the end, then stop.

This was the month I completed my 100 day project  I started back in June. It taught me lots of indirect lessons, way more than just practising the motor skills of drawing. I began the under-doodles in my sketchbookprojectsketchbook

Listening to Wun Two ~ Alan Watts ~ Rob Bell: What is the Bible?

November

ROYAL ALBERT HALL – CHRISTMAS AT KEW – DIGITAL COLLAGE POSTCARDS

Teenage me had another giddy moment in November, Imelda May at the Royal Albert Hall. I didn’t know her music at all before, and it’s not quite my bag, but the gig ended with her being joined by her ‘special surprise guests’: Ronnie Wood & Bob Geldof!¬†Holy Moly!

I had the biggest crush on Bob Geldof when I was a young thing (and – relatively speaking – so was he), it’s strange to see him as a grey haired old man.¬† There’s a part of me that remains unconvinced the last 20-30 years have really gone by,¬†I see him circa 1980.

I spent some time revisiting art I’ve made over the years¬†and designed a set of postcards this month which was a lot of fun and I was so pleased with how they came out I designed and ordered another set straight away. There are still a few left in my Etsy shop if you’re interested

This month I finally got the set of Daniel Smith watercolors I’d been daydreaming over since I saw them reviewed online! Yes, they are pricey, yes they are totally worth it! I’ve had a word with Santa, and I believe I’ve some more headed my way very soon! Thesecolors are vibrant and lush, and I’m using them in my Sketchbookprojectsketchbook (more on that in the near future!)

Finally I got my antlers on & the holiday buzz began with a trip to see the Christmas lights at Kew Gardens.

Listening to Henry Wu ~  The Little Book of Ikagi by Ken Mogi ~ Confusing Boogie

 

December

TWELVTY ENDING/NEW BEGINNING – CHRIMBLE BEGINS – SNOW-DAYS!!

Of course as I type this to you, the month is just half way through, but already we’ve had some snow (this is England, land of the bland weather, we get very excitable when it snows!)

The holidays are just around the corner, the tree is up, the pressies are wrapped, everything is feeling sparkly.

I met up with a bunch of my family in London at the weekend (there are many of us – just 12 at this little gathering) – some I hadn’t seen in more years than I like to remember, and some were so young at the time they didn’t remember. It still feels weird being one of the grown ups at a gathering like this.

I’m almost at the end of my year full of color, TWELVTY. Although it wasn’t my intention when I set out, I’m really looking forward to taking another trip around the color wheel in 2018. As I finish this year I’m honing and polishing the content for next year. It’s gonna be so much fun – if you’d like to know more you can find out here!

Listening to Tomppabeats ~ Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death and Jazz Chickens РEddie Izzard ~ Lux

 

What a year it’s been! I hope your 2017 has brought good things to your life, and you’re able to find some time in the coming weeks to reflect and plan ahead for what’s to come next.¬†


In the last 12 days of the year (beginning tomorrow) I’ll be sharing the 12 months of color that have made up TWELVTY. Meanwhile…

 

If you’d like regular monthly updates on my latest colorful antics, delivered right to your inbox (all the good stuff I don’t share here on the blog + special discounts on my classes and Etsy things) Hop on my mail-list right here:

and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color

YearFullOfColorbyPennGregoryR2017_Page_01

Your email is utterly safe to me. It will be wrapped up snug and nestled with a hot water bottle until the spring arrives.  


Registration for TWELVTY 2018 is open now!
Find out more & join here

penngregoryTwelvty1200x574

2017 reflections 2 of 3


May

PINK FLOYD – GIACOMMETTI – KEW GARDENS

More outings – Kew Gardens to see the Rhododendrons (so much love for these flowers!) and the Tate modern to see Giacometti with friends from art school. These are sculptures I’d only seen in photographs – I get a star-struck giddiness when I see art I ‘know’ from pictures in real life. They were oddly both smaller and larger than I’d imagined.

 

This was also the month I went to the Pink Floyd retrospective at the V&A. This band played the soundtrack to my teenage years and on through my 20s, they still hold a special place in my heart.

Listening to: Judge John HodgmanTangentially SpeakingMounika

 

June

FAMILY TREE – 100 DAY PROJECT – DAILY DRAWINGS

Some few years ago I began looking into my family tree. An uncle began researching years before the internet which makes it so easy, and in June we began comparing our findings.

In searching out my mum’s side of the family I found out my great grandfather was a jockey, and by the power of Google and then ebay I acquired this newspaper page from the 1880s with a photo of him.

Stranger yet, both mum and dad had family who lived within a couple of streets of each other in Bethnal Green in the 1800s. Both families moved to other parts of London long before my parents were born, I can’t help wondering if they knew each other.

This little sketchbook was my companion all through the summer.

This is the month I began my 100 day project of daily drawings and doodles inspired by the photos in my phone. I take pictures wherever I go – not just of people and places and things, but of patterns and textures and colors too. I have a lot of photos in my phone. I started out with a photo from the Pink Floyd exhibition.

Listening to  РThe UnruffledBrene BrownThe Robcast

July

PURPLE-VIOLET  РWISHES РSKETCHBOOK PROJECT

My year full of color¬†is still¬†progressing at the pace of a color a month, July moved into purple/violet. At the start of the year I’d planned to create a body of working each color/month. Sometimes my plans are bigger than I can fulfil, and by July I decided to merge two month/colors together. The blue-violet-purple project was a series of little hanging 3d textile pieces I call “Wishes”.

This is the month I took possession of my Sketchbook Project book. That’s another work in progress, which I’ll update you on soon.

Listening to Chillhop РAudio Dharma

August

PAW-PRINT PYJAMAS – YOUTUBE – DIANA PHOTO APP

August’s plans were turned upside down when my appendix exploded, leaving me in hospital for half the month.

I have immense gratitude for the NHS and for free Wifi that kept me sane through sleepless nights and boring days. I wasn’t able to do a lot, but I could distract myself with youtube and get my daily creativity hit by playing with the Diana photo app that randomly picks photos from your phone and does double exposure magic with them.

Watching: Ali BrownMinnie SmallGTD РBatikwalla РFrannerd

 

I’ll be back with the next instalment of reflections tomorrowish. Meanwhile………

 

If you’d like regular monthly updates on my latest colorful antics, delivered right to your inbox (all the good stuff I don’t share here on the blog + special discounts on my classes and Etsy things) Hop on my mail-list right here:

and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color

YearFullOfColorbyPennGregoryR2017_Page_01

Your email is utterly safe to me. It will be wrapped up snug and nestled with a hot water bottle until the spring arrives.  


Registration for TWELVTY 2018 is open now!
Find out more & join here

penngregoryTwelvty1200x574

 

2017 reflections 1 of 3


January:

TWELVTY – YELLOWNESS – ETSY

Beginning in January and running all through 2017 I’ve been travelling around the color wheel with a group of fabulously inspiring artists and creatives. 2017 is the first time I’ve shared this journey, although it’s by no means my first Year full of Color.¬†

January was the month of Yellow, and the month I opened the doors to my Etsy shop. 

Listening to: Birocratic ~ Invisible Office Hours ~ Serial Podcast (Season 2) 

February:

BIRTHDAY – GAUDI – MINSGAME

February is my birthday month and this year I took a trip to the Tate Modern and then had a few days in Barcelona. Sunshine, paella, and the Gaudi buildings I’ve wanted to go and see for the longest time. I was giddy with excitement all trip. There just aren’t enough superlatives!

This was the month I began in earnest, my quest to declutter my space. Spurred on my podcasts and youtubery, I began shifting bags and boxes of stuff out of my life. It’s a process, I’m uncovering layers of past (not just mine, I’ve the bequeathed hoardings of others amid this mess.) It’s gonna take some time.

Listening to: Moranthology ~ The Slow Home Podcast ~ Joe Dispenza

March:

TIMELAPSE – TREE OF LIFE – SPRING GREENS

This month I revisited a design I came up with ten (no – wait – is it?…. yup, ten) years ago – the Tree of Life¬†– and I recreated a new version to celebrate. This design started out as a watercolour painting that I developed in Photoshop – which is how I still see it in my mind – so it’s kinda cool to see it reinvented again as a design on leggings and phone cases and all these things!¬†¬†

(I’ve got Santa on board this year and he’s ordered me a set of the zippy bags in “Tree of life Blues” for Chrimble. I’ve heard good things about these bags – I’ll let you know when they arrive)

March was also the month I really began exploring time-lapse as a way to share my art. I love sharing what I do and make, but even more  I love to show you the process, the stages it goes through Рthe lost layers Рthe ephemeral bits. 

That’s what this blog was all about to begin with (that’s how it got it’s name) this month was the fifth anniversary of my very first post here.

watch a painting come to life, and see the hidden layers that are out of sight forever now!

Listening to: Mark Nepo¬†~ Duncan Trussell’s Family Hour¬†~ Dyalla

 

April:

TURQUOISE – BLUEBELLS – PAPER DYING

After a long hibernation, finally springtime … trips out to London to the V&A and museums, walks in the woods with the bluebells. TWELVTY was all about blue-green in April and this teal-turquoise range is my happy place in the color wheel (well… maybe one of them)

I began playing with paper dying again – messy fun – a technique I shared with my Twelvty group and it’s inspired me to create a mini ecourse in paper dying for the new year (watch this space)

Listening to:  Limes ~ Two Keto Dudes ~ Kelly Howell

I’ll be back with the next instalment of reflections tomorrowish. Meanwhile………

 

 

If you’d like regular monthly updates on my latest colorful antics, delivered right to your inbox (all the good stuff I don’t share here on the blog + special discounts on my classes and Etsy things) Hop on my mail-list right here:

and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color

YearFullOfColorbyPennGregoryR2017_Page_01

Your email is utterly safe to me. It will be wrapped up snug and nestled with a hot water bottle until the spring arrives.  


Registration for TWELVTY 2018 is open now!
Find out more & join here

penngregoryTwelvty1200x574

SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

A life of its own…


colorwheelspiralY‚Äônow I’ve been immersed in color for the last few months. ¬†Not my usual multi-colored chaos (although there‚Äôs no escaping that) ‚Äď but a very specific niche of color ‚Äď as I explore and examine the color wheel.

It’s a project I played with a few years ago keeps returning to in one way or another.
It keeps coming back.
It’s a compulsion.

But this time is a little different: this time I’m joined by other artists and creatives, and we‚Äôre on this adventure together. And I’m¬†totally loving it!

 

We began the year in shades of sunshine & lemon with YELLOW, and now in the second month we’ve stepped round to the luscious lime and sumptuous olive tones that fall into YELLOW-GREEN. Next month we explore GREEN‚Ķ so on, cycling around the color wheel, a month at a time.

 

 

The thing is, since I decided to share this color journey, it’s taken on a momentum and is developing a character of its own. (As big projects so often do).

 

As I plan forward into the upcoming months of colors I see this adventure develop into one big ongoing story, rather than the 12 little self-contained, single-color tales I first envisaged. I anticipated TWELVTY being the kind of course folks to hop on board any time through the year, with instant access to all the material to date.

‚Ķ..But 6 or so weeks in, TWELVTY has become something much bigger than I realised it would be, and that simply¬†isn’t the way it’s decided¬†to grow.

So I’ve made a decision.¬†

Which I’ll tell you about on Friday.(Because Friday is special)¬†

Want to find out more about what’s in TWELVTY – it’s all ¬†over here¬†. I also did a big ole Q&A post over here. Or ask me in the comments – I’m massively excited about this – ask me anything! (anything about TWELVTY…I don’t have answers to much else!)

 


Hop on my mailing list here to get irregular updates on my colorful makings & doings direct to your inbox.

(and as a welcome, you get this little ebook all about color when you join)

yearfullofcolorbypenngregory_page_01

 

Dawn


This morning I launched my newest¬†project – a year full of color¬†– “TWELVTY”¬†All¬†as scheduled, 9am my time, so the early wee hours for the cross-pond recipients.

Each month¬†this year has it’s own color: January is yellow, and it’s flooding my thoughts.

It’s the sunrise of a new project.¬†

01yellow-33-copy
each month I’ll be making art in just one color for TWELVTY: yellows gathered in readiness!

The idea came to me just a couple of¬†months ago when I was on holiday. Bumbling about taking photos… as one does.

I notice color everywhere.

I had a moment of profound realisation when I found myself taking photos of a group¬†of tourists emerging from¬†their (red & blue) coach, just because almost all of them seemed to be dressed to match in some¬†shades of red & blue….

I had one of those moments: Do other people see this too? 

Like the fish who doesn’t know it’s swimming in water, my ideas have only swum in my mind, I’ve got no comparison unless I step away and try to look in from outside.

I mentioned the tourists & matching coach to someone a few days later Рwith gushing enthusiasm Рbut was met with blank nothingness. Not even the edge of a WTF? response I sometimes get when I share arty revelations like this, just a totally empty, disinterested blankness.

That was the moment I knew: I need to connect up with others who see & appreciate what I see & appreciate. My tribe. We need each other.

We need each other in a world of unknown areas of empty, disinterested blankness, a world with WTF? reactions to gushing arty revelations.

We need to reflect back to each other the magic of seeing some crazy spontaneous colour synchronicity, of seeing some beautifully matched chance happening, some little something somewhere that gets overlooked by most but makes our hearts sing just because of its orangeness, or blueness, or purpleypink, or whateverness.

I love how the idea is resonating among the folks who’ve joined already, the excitement bubbling up, and most of all the anticipation of what will emerge from this group as the year unfolds.

12in12in12

It’s going to be bright and glorious and I love it!


Want to make your 2017 brighter and more colorful?

Sign up below for more news on my doings & makings through the year, and get a lovingly hand crafted ebook all about color 

…oh, and you can join TWELVTY too !

yearfullofcolorbypenngregory_page_01

Be well, my friends, Much love to you all X

**********************************

(Your email is absolutely safe with me, I’ll just pop by and check up on it time to time, feed it biscuits, plump up its cushions, that sort of thing.)

Let’s Light up 2017


Things have been weighing heavily around here lately, you noticed that too? ¬†Even when you do your best not to get dragged down there’s still an underlying sense of being, at best,¬†completely¬†unsettled.¬†

As I’ve shared here before, if it weren’t for my art practice I think I would have sunk many times.

A¬†few days ago I found myself re-watching this TED-X talk by artist Callie Curry, aka Swoon. She’s a real inspiration to me. I love her style, but I most especially love her – her persona – her magic.

She talks about how she¬†created the Heliotrope Foundation. After the¬†2010 earthquake she was compelled to find a way to help the people of Haiti. But how? in her words, ‘I’m just an artist’. If you watch the talk you’ll see how she brings hope and light and practical support¬†in a way that only the ingenuity of an artist could have thought up. And she continues to spread this magic around the world.

 

“I’m just an artist”

 

Me too. I’m just an artist too… and one who really wants to bring the light into other folks lives in the way that creativity has done for me. But how?

 

13466445_10208296799036047_7297045495634302838_n.jpg

 

How can I shine light in these turbulent times?

I¬†think about what has helped me in the past,¬†where I’ve turned when I felt like I might just crumple, and that’s what I can share.

My sanctuary has always been in my art. Not¬†just the act of creating – I don’t always have the time, the motivation, the space or the will. But I can always see it. I can see the patterns and the colors and the wonder. It’s a skill I’ve honed over the years and as each year passes I get more from it – it works better – it’s more reliably everywhere I look.

This is what I want to share, and this is my intention with the program I’m starting in the new year. I want to show the way I see, to share the sanctuary I carved out n my imagination and is with me everywhere I go.

I’m gathering a tribe who will all be contributing, in art, in ideas, in insights, and between us we’re going to make magic happen.

Want to join us?

It doesn’t matter if you think yourself ‘arty’ or not – in fact the more diverse the tribe is, the more we all benefit, everyone brings their own magic to add to the mix.

Don’t feel like you have magic to bring? Let me prove you wrong!

If you want to find out more, read more here. Any questions – comment below or send a message on my site. I’d love to have you join us.

Let’s light up the world together in 2017.

New Color Fuelled Excitements!


I’ve got big plans brewing¬†and I want to tell you all about them!

Beginning with (drum roll and accompanying cooing noises, if you will)

“TWELVTY”

ok, that’s a working title… I’ll tell you a little more about it and perhaps you’ll have some better ideas on a name!

So here’s the thing: 5 years ago I did this personal project called 12 in 12¬†and it looked like this:

edit20121217_0595
GASP! I know! it was so much fun to make!

It’s an art journal of mixed media, painting and doodles, collage, stitching and things that I worked on all through the year. Each month had a 2 or 3 pages, but just one colour. Beginning in January with Red-Purply-Magenta, I cycled around the colour wheel landing back to¬†Red in December. 12 colours in 12 months.

I loved it for so many reasons. While I continued to play¬†with all the colors¬†in my other art, I kept focussed on the month’s ONE¬†COLOR¬†in this book. All month long.

It was a discipline. And it made me reach for the other colors more mindfully in the rest of my work.

Even now, years on, I look back through it and those pages flood my mind with ideas and inspiration.

It also tuned my eyes into color in my surrounding much more keenly. Look around you now: how many blue things can you see? Look again. Are they brighter now you’re actively noticing them? It’s so simple, so effective.The more we look, the more we see.¬†

color_penngregory_01
Take Nine: 21 Secrets Color, Color, Color !

I revisited this idea recently¬†in my 21 Secrets class Take¬†Nine. And it’s awoken something in me that’s just overflowing with ideas.

At least a yearful of them.

So, here we go:

I’m going to re-imagine this project in 2017¬†and I’d love you to join me. ¬†

This time it’s going to extend beyond one art journal.¬†It’s going to include all the aspects of art making I use and incorporate everything new I pick up in the year, off the top of my head I already know it will have:

  • painting &¬†drawing
  • photography &¬†video
  • textiles, stitching, beadwork
  • sculpture & 3D makings
  • …. oooh! we’ll have to wait and see what else!

Each month I’ll record what I’m making and share these videos with you, AND at the end of the month I’ll be selling the pieces I make in my (soon to be opened) Etsy Store.¬†

AND There will be giveaways and prize draws through the year too. I’m formulating the details and honing the plans all the while:¬†there will be much more on all of this soon!

Sign up here for updates by email if you want to keep in the loop with all things TWELVTY

Edit:: It’s here!! Find out more HERE & SIGN UP if you want to join the adventure!!¬†

I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Meanwhile, I wish¬†you all a fabulous, bright and colorful week!

Much love X