art is everywhere…


…but you knew that, right?

I’ve been looking at some of my old sketchbooks. Back in 2011 I did a textile art workshop. The topic for our designs was grids.

The week before I’d been to the Kniting & Stitching Show at Ally Pally – I came home with bags of new goodies to play with, and a camera full of ideas.

I was really struck by these images of the frondy leaves against the metal framework of the glass roof. Grids!! These were the grids I focussed on at the workshop…

…which quickly evolved into these…

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You can see the real frondiness of the cut out pages come to life here…

The magic of this sketchbook, even 5 years on, I still get new ideas rush at me as I flick through the pages.

Do you look back through old art journals and sketchbooks? Do they keep sparking new ideas even years later? Next time you’ve got a few minutes spare and they’re ready to hand, open one up somewhere in the middle and see if it stirs some long forgotten inspiration. Seeds of thoughts you planted way-back-when. They might yet grow into something beautiful!

 


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Playing 


“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

~ George Bernard Shaw

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don’t stop  😉

New Season – New Art Journal


Maybe it’s a throw back to school days, for me September has never lost that New-Beginning-y feel.

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This bit of year where the edges of summer and fall meet up, crossover a little, shimmy back and forth for a week or two before chillier times set in for proper.

I love all the seasons, but I most enjoy the beginning part of each one.

All the first-in-a-long-whiles  — the little things, the details — I revel in these. Now is the season of crunchy leaves, soup, socks, dark evenings with candlelight and blankets, all of it has novelty value for the first few weeks.

As the season turned I came to the end of my art journal that I played in through the summer, so last week – to coincide with the Equinox – I began this new book.

I also began I new way of documenting – by time lapse photo.  I reckon by the end of this book I’ll have perfected the recording and editing, it’s a learning curve, which I’ll share with you here.

Here’s the makings of this first page: “Wandering Doodles”

Enjoy! 🙂

Squirrelling, Busying & some Re-jig.


Hi folks, I hope you’re enjoying your summer (or winter to those who reside on the other side of this little blue ball).

What’s new with you? I’ve been busy squirrelling away on so many things and I haven’t been over here in wordpress world to share them with you.

 

I’ve been preparing my class I’m teaching in the 21 Secrets online program that’s out for pre-sale now, releasing in September. That kept me reeeeally busy for a while! I’ll show you some little snips of it here and there pre-launch – like this…………..

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Ooooh! All those colors!!

AND busy busily busying art journalling as usual, but not in my usual fashion. <GASP!>

I believe it’s good to shake stuff up, re-jig, re-orient and sometimes reinvent ourselves. The world and its contents keep evolving and the only alternative is stagnation. And that’s no fun at all. Uck!

Art-journal-wise I’ve shaken things up this time. No nice new sketchbook, no repurposed new book, this was a tatty old ledger I found in among my dad’s old papers and desk whatnots, boxed away for years in storage. From the pencilled pre-decimal price inside the back cover I would date it around 1950-something. About a third of the pages had been torn out, the remainder were a little yellowed, but blank. Fresh for painting and collaging and doodling and whatevering all over.

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My usual strategy is to progress page by page as one finishes I flip the page and start again.

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This time I’ve been opening the book randomly and splashing, doodling, writing and out-pouring with no regard to any sense of the linear.

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If you’re in a rut, this is a great shake up. As a process it ripples out into life as little shifts make dramatic differences.

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In the case of an art journal, it meant for a few weeks there was nothing aesthetically worth sharing, all oddments of scribble, stark paint scrapings, lonely fragments.

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Then all of a sudden faces started to emerge

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The pages are filling up and feeling closer to completed. Coherency emerges.

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This is the third journal I’ve been working in this year and they appear to be following the seasons, this one fully in the season of summer.

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A few weeks time I’ll be ready to begin my book of autumn, I’m already looking forward to that.

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in all seriousness


no , not really, I mean…really!

But in series

A work in progress, featuring more dictionary bits, watercolor, fountain pen doodles. Something of an underwatery feel going on this time.

Working title: Syllabub Four – after the first word I spotted in the collage 🙂

mental noise


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Amid the hubbub of chatter inside my head I’m sometimes aware of one group of voices much more clearly than all the others.

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it’s louder, more forceful than the rest of them.
More strident, it’s shoutier…  y’know?

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In order to distance my own thinking from theirs,

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I’ve named them the ‘chorus of cynics’.

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Some days they’re so vocal, they’re so convincing,  their opinions stretch the full spectrum of topics. They’ve got a snide sideways aspect on every last subject, if I couldn’t disconnect from their scorn and derision it would still bite like it used to.

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I’ve heard our immediate reaction to a situation reflects our early programming. Let that pass and listen for our next thought, that comes from our true self. So I’m learning to let that knee-jerk of harsh sarcasm wash past; a more empathetic aspect will be close on its tail.

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That reflex derision does no good to anyone. The insight of affinity is warming to the soul.

The chorus of cynics will laugh and mock this as mimsy.

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Now I let them. 

 

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I don’t want their fights.

 

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Charles Bukowski

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There’s a department in my mind that holds onto criticism and scorns, these memories, filed under P for Potential to Spiral Out Of Proportion, is kept closely guarded these days.

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Too vague, too woolly, too dull and simpery soft-bellied.
You’ve got no definition, no essence, no core.
Too proud, narcissistic, all haughty and vain
Idealistic, unrealistic, unaware of your privilege:
That girl – Go Home!

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Twisting out from some comeback,
Flips extremes to befuddle, bemuse and condemn.

Try harder, work harder, do more in less time.
Be valid, be worthy, be helpful, have value, be more than you are.

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Of course, the older I get, the less I care.

What I make, what I think, what I care about and focus my life around, these are my choices. I’m gratefully blessed to be alive in a part of history and geography where I’m free to express these without fear.

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But the older I get, the more experience adds volume to the chorus too.

My nativity gets dinked and dented as I discover there are more people more capable of more hatred, more inconsistently judgemental, more out and out mad. And their voices accumulate.

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Their  comments can bubble up from time to time in the clamour of the committee and I can choose whether or not to listen. 

derailed logic


You know me well enough by now – you know not to expect a simple train of logic, don’t you?

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When I found this anonymous model, the leopardskin, that sultry seductive look, and all the glamour of the 1940’s ‘do — and I don’t remember the exact connecting train of thought that same next –– I just straight away thought mermaid.

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Of course, right? <welcome to my world!>

spinning into spring


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A few days past the Equinox – whichever hemisphere you’re reading this from  – we’ve all just tipped a balance of seasons.

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I’m typing to you from the north, so my days are now eversoslightly longer then my nights.

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Which makes me glad.

It suits my intermittent insomniac tendencies – if it isn’t cold and dark when I wake up my days are more likely to begin earlier – and in turn rebalance my days and nights into natural circadian rhythms. (Until next time…)

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Last week my sleep was completely unsettled.

Beginning with the night I had all the nightmares that children get where beasties and monsters are chewing my feet. And my tired mind forgets it’s just a dream and refuses to go back there just in case.

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Popular science de jour supports the belief that missed sleeps can’t exactly be repaid at a later date, and rather than try to catch up, it’s better to enforce a bed time and wake time, forcing the body to comply. Good sleep hygiene. All that stuff.

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I’ve tried that.

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The obstinate donkey that runs my brain doesn’t like that game, so won’t play.

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We (me & donkeybrain) have to lay there all restless and thinky for a long time when we try this. Unmedicated early nights are effective only when preceded by some fairly appalling regard to rest for a good few days by way of a build up. Even the donkey doesn’t think that’s wise.

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If I do get to sleep by my ideal of 11pm I fall into what feels like a deliciously deep, eight hour, dream fuelled, well rested  slumber. Mmmmmm…

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But in reality turns out to have lasted just 90 minutes or so.

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And is followed by any combination of thinky/over-thinky/wide-awake/best-ideas-ever-just-not-quite-awake-enough-to-write-down-or-record-somehow/what-the-crazies-was-that-dream-meant-to-be-about?…………….

I mean – it’s rarely worrisome thoughts – I’m not that ball of anxiety (had that in previous chapters, thankfully free of that now). So it could be worse.

I say to myself: Shush, it will be morning soon, you just need to shush back to sleep for a little while til then… continually for 5-6 hours before another 90 min nap.

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Last week I had two consecutive nights on just scraps of rest and a few really busy days with a lot of fresh air and walking. So that should be an effective reset, right?

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Then the weekend was almost totally filled up with sleep.

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Like the rest of my life, I think I’m probably quite well balanced on average – but looking at individual episodes I’m mostly to be found on the outer edges of everything.

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There we are. 

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This isn’t me, but she can be my representative in this tale of chaos. Standing there in her mismatched legs, holding onto her head (keeping the donkey in – he has his uses) and leaning – all casual like –  against the one edge of this so called reality. Just for now.

 

 

circus of uncertainty


It’s a continuing theme…

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We are back in the book again. Come in, have a stroll round…

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It’s a bit wordy underfoot so mind your step.

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There’s a regularity to the irregular once you get used to it here.

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There’s a quiet comfort in the uncertainty.

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And as in the parallel world outside, no-one’s really sure what’s going on.

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“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart.
…live in the question.”

Rainer Maria Rilke

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Welcome to my circus of uncertainty

 

 

 

merging emerging


Last night I couldn’t sleep. So I painted. And I pondered.

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The magic of metallic paint on cushiony soft paper, that biro marks indent and cast tiny shadow outlines.

Life is as quick as a flash, a sprint through some generations and it’s done.

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And life is a slow evolution, spiralling up through understanding new layers of the game.

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It’s both.

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Everything & Nothing. Empty & Full.

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Contrast & Confusion. Zigs & Zags.

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Deep & Shallow.

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Some folk like to scramble the edge, following the truths they’ve chosen to absorb, busying away their days in occupation and activity, punctuated with ritual and escapism.

IMG_7349.jpgFearful of treading over the lines, getting their toes wet, or worse.

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Some folk run at it fast, not leaving anything to chance, escaping the dangers by out-running and out-witting. No way is right, no way is wrong. We’re all just making it up one bit at a time.

~~~~~

I’ve been listening to Pete Holmes’ podcasts: You Made It WeirdHe kept me company through the night, kept me laughing and thinking. So far I’ve really love love loved his interactions with Liz Gilbert & Deepak Chopra and been curiously riled by Noel Gallagher &  Tim Minchin.