a week of doodles

100 days: 36-42

Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing.  Making your unknown known is the important thing.”

~ Georgia O’Keeffe.

Since the beginning of June I’ve given myself a bit of drawing time. Usually it’s the first thing I do in the morning although some days it spills out into the evening, or some grabbed minutes while I’m waiting (something to boil, something to upload, something to dry or begin or finish… you know those waits, don’t you?).

This project has become part of the punctuation in my days. In my daze.



Here is week 6:

day 36

36 36a

I always find sanctuary amid trees.

Light filtered through leaves and birdsong can right a lot of wrongs. I’ve done this ever since I can remember. As I wander, my mind wanders, to all the other folks who’ve walked amongst these trees over the years, the centuries, all of time.

Then I think about the tree roots reaching out and touching under my feet, the myriad of patterns and connections, home to zillions of bugs and small beasties.

And squirrels. I love squirrels too.


day 37

I like capturing the minutiae of my world because that’s where the memories are stickiest.

I bought these brass bells in London when I was a teenager and they’re among the few things I have from that time. The beads came later, in my 20s I got into glass beadwork.

This bundled collection of things lives on my wall of inspiration. I can look at it through someone else’s eyes and see a cacophony of color and mayhem, but what I see is the  time line of oddities that brings me to now.


day 38

Today celebrates scribble. Something in the movement of a good scribble scratches the mental itches and unwinds the brain tangles. A big, full bodied scribble is the best exercise for body and soul, this little condensed few square inch scribble is the next best thing. Today’s photo is a Henry Moore sculpture in Kew Gardens, those swooping swerving curves are perfect to scribble around in.


day 39


Over in another ongoing project I’m immersed in purple this month, and look how one idea spills out into another: the ceiling at the Royal Albert Hall in all its gloriously sumptuous splendour. These domes are for acoustic effect, but they’re a delicious feast for the eyes as well like hundreds of satin jellyfish hovering over your head. Just magical.


day 40

Last summer I travelled through part of the US by train. One day I’ll edit together the video footage (it’s on the list!) meanwhile I look at the photos and I’m right back in my little sleeper carriage looking out, open mouthed, at the enormity of the scenery.

This is Utah.

Oh my days!


day 41

One of my most favourite things: street art. This face was smiling out from a metal shutter, watching the world go by, somewhere in Barcelona. I’m fascinated by his eyes.  


day 42


42: the answer to the great question of life, the universe, and everything. And the image from the same exhibition I began this book with, Pink Floyd at the V&A. When I was a young thing, their music was my 42.

So it inadvertently came back round full circle. As things seem to do.


If you missed the previous parts, you can find them here:

Week 1 ~ Week 2  ~ Week 3 ~ Week~ Week 5

If you want to follow along this project day by day I’m posting on Instagram (where you can also see more WIP & detail pix) & Facebook

All through this summer I’m offering a special discount in my Etsy Shop to all the folks on my mailing list – so clickety-hop aboard today if you want to snag a bargain!



(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)


Drawing on Metaphors continued…

100 days: 29-35

The urge to draw must be quite deep within us, because children love to do it.

– David Hockney.

I’ve made a nest of art supplies at the table where I play each morning – I can’t use the studio – too much to get distracted by. Instead it’s me, my coffee, my phone (photo album & podcast player) and an ever growing amount of art supplies.

I’m getting more into watercolor – I love the immediacy – quick coverage instead of painstaking doodles. I’m sure to flip between these two approaches as the 100 days winds by. Maybe? We’ll see…


Here is week 5:

day 29

Do you get as excited as me about tiny mosaic tiles? Gold coloured ones? Yep, I thought so. I needed something undemanding today, something fun. Like lots of different ways of making lots of different little squares in pencil and pen and paint. Some with edges and outlines and scribbled bits and some with none. Each one beautifully individual. And essentially the same. 


day 30


If there was room in my backpack, I would have bought this thing without hesitation. But that’s the case for too many things in this shop of treasures I stopped at travelling through Washington. Ah, but this thing, with it’s mirrors and circles and spaces in between, it is all I could ask from a beautifully pointless object. I love how the design is so simple yet tangled me up in drawing it, getting lost in the connections and the spaces.

Another day, another metaphor for life.


day 31

Something about lizards and geckos really fascinates me. (Don’t get me started on axolotls). I saw this little guy in Barcelona. Now he’s scuttling forever through my scribbled thoughts of the day.



day 32


Things I’m realising in this #100dayproject : the photos I think will be easy to draw often aren’t, and vice versa. It’s getting easier to let go of expectations and just draw, but I have to re-remember this almost every time.

In Betty Edward’s book on drawing she recommended when copying from a photo to draw upside down. This was in the back of my mind today. Only, of course, a photo like this doesn’t have an upside down. My brain, instead, chose to try and mirror image what it was seeing. … Poor little brain, sometimes this game is more of a stretch that it wants before the coffee has fully soaked in. 


day 33

Who could resist this ferocious toothy beast? I can’t remember where he came from. But he’s here now.  I wish I could credit the original artist, but somehow all memory of the origin of this has escaped me.



day 34

What a difference a color makes, this flint wall has turned into opal. Have I discovered my own alchemy here folks?

Why revery? It’s just a word I heard, it travelled from my ear straight down my arm, out through the pen onto the page. That’s all. Defined as a ‘state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing’ – I think the word knew it belonged on this page and didn’t need to consult me.



day 35

“You can get the monkeys off your back, but the circus never leaves town.” ~ Anne Lamott 

Of course these aren’t monkeys, these are zombie kangaroos. But I heard this quote while I was drawing and it would be long forgotten if I didn’t write it down.
Today is another window view, this one from Seattle. I like the blended worlds of reflections and the other side. Inside/outside mish-mashed into a form of ephemeral art of its own. 

This is a place I’d like to explore more. (The ephemeral-reflection-art-idea-place. And Seattle too)


If you missed the previous parts, you can find them here:

Week 1 ~ Week 2  ~ Week 3 ~ Week 4

If you want to follow along this project day by day I’m posting on Instagram (where you can also see more WIP & detail pix) & Facebook


All through this summer I’m offering a special discount in my Etsy Shop to all the folks on my mailing list – so clickety-hop aboard today if you want to snag a bargain!



(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)


Drawing on Metaphors

100 days: 22-28

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

~ Thomas Merton. 

Received wisdom states it take anything from a couple of weeks to almost a year to form a new habit to the point whereby it feels automatic. Of course some folk are more habitually inclined, and for anyone a habit that’s enjoyable is easier to fit into an exiting routine.

Existing routine – did you hear that? Like I understand the meaning of this phrase!

However, this daily drawing habit is a month old for me now, and I’m really enjoying it. Each day I’m learning more about myself in ways I never though would be possible through such a simple activity. After all, I probably draw something most days anyway. But this is different. This has got rules: use a phone photo. Even when you don’t want to. That’s the basis of all these drawings, even if it’s a scribbled outline with free-form-jazz-doodles going on inside and all around. And I post the drawing daily. Even when I don’t want to. So what you see here isn’t curated highlights, it’s the day-to-day ordinary.

Here is week 4:


day 22

   22 22a

It’s just about a year since I had an enormous revelation that I still can’t express in words. So I look for symbols instead, in the hope that by collecting them I’ll be able to turn the understanding into words I can share. It’s about connection and communication, it speaks of time and fragility. Impermanence, and the whole essence of what we’re here for. I can see it in this image and I can’t explain how. This week I had another revelation: I don’t have to have the words. I can just be with this as it is for now.

day 23

23 23a

I saw this in the V&A, I was entranced by the colours, the shape, the sheeny-shiny glaze, all those edges and faces. I want to make one of these!

day 24

24 24a

This guy was hanging around outside Barcelona Zoo- it’s ok, he wasn’t alone – there were a few of them.

day 25

25 25a

I’m back in the  Barcelona photos … cos it’s such a photogenic place! In a three day trip earlier this year I must have taken hundreds of photos. Already bewitched by the art of Antoni Gaudi, I was in bits when I found myself actually walking around inside of  it. 

day 26

26 26a

“What thinks?” Are thoughts generated somewhere inside this head? or is it a receiver for energy that’s outside of us? Today It feels like floating in a soup of information, drenched in world noise, trying not to drown.

I like to listen to podcasts as I draw. As an on/off meditator and long time student of Buddhist practice, I really enjoy the podcasts produced by the Insight Meditation Center, Audio Dharma. They get me thinking about thinking… 

day 27

27 27a

Who, what is this? He’s inspired by a series of fabulous creatures by Jane Alexander at the Tate Modern. Everyday I’m learning so much, about drawing, and on a deeper level through the drawing practice. My observation is getting sharper, but more importantly I’m getting better at course correcting when I don’t get it first time. And I’m kinder to the part of me that’s learning , practicing, not expecting a perfect representation (I’ve already got a photo- this is something else) I’m developing the art of allowing.

day 28

28 28a

When I’m not hung up on accuracy I can forget the details and just go for the essence. I can float back in time a few months and return to the awe that floated me around these magical dreamlike Gaudi buildings. I can’t pretend this is easy, but I’m learning. I am, and it is, all a work in progress. It’s such a trip.

If you missed the previous parts, you can find them here:

Week 1 ~ Week 2  ~ Week 3

If you want to follow along this project day by day I’m posting on Instagram (where you can also see more WIP & detail pix) & Facebook



All through this summer I’m offering a special discount in my Etsy Shop to all the folks on my mailing list – so clickety-hop aboard today if you want to snag a bargain!



(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)



Exploring through drawing

100 days: 14-21

“The way we do anything is the way we do everything.”

~ Martha Beck

Do you have patterns you keep falling back to?  

I’m three weeks into this 100 day project, and I’m noticing more patterns – not only the literal doodled patterns and shapes I return to in my drawings, but the patterns of thought in my behaviour and habits.

It’s the spirals and swirls, AND it’s the haphazardness and self talk that accompanies every process. The consistency of my inconsistency, how I dart between the extremes of all & nothing, the wonkiness of the line and skewed perspective, the mid range despair before conceding: this is my way. I gotta learn to like it, keep practicing, don’t stop and dwell here. Keep moving, keep learning, trust the process. 


Here is week 3:


day 14

14 IMG_8424

The 100 day project is teaching me so much already: about commitment for instance. I did not want to post this one. I could easily have drawn something else, or skipped on to the next day, and no-one but I would have known. But there’s the key: I would have known.

I’m doing this for all sorts of reasons, and getting better at drawing ‘real’ things is one of them. And showing up to myself is another thing. So here I am literally doing this! Morning panda eyes, this is me. (Oh, and how I see my hair: full of doodles.)


day 15

15 IMG_6591

The word that stood out in the whatever-I-was-listening-to today was Dissolve. I’m enjoying the connection between this, the meaning of ‘forming a solution’, merging to become a part of, and my unending seeking of answers. And to let all that dissolve too. Let it all go.

The photo I used is a fabulous light I saw in Barcelona. It’s like the sun ☀️ . .


day 16

16 Untitled-1

Somewhere between keeping it simple – 1 color, black pen & pencil – and totally over complicating with all the doodles and patterns. Both. Everything. All of it. .
One thing I’m working on in this project is the notion of leaving white space. Breathing space. Moments of quiet.

So by making quiet space a part of my drawings I’m training myself to let this into other parts of life too.


day 17

17 IMG_5998

I went to the Tate modern gallery on my birthday, and walking up from the station I was captivated by this image. So many lines and angles, triangles and patterns.

I just noticed the synchronicity of the numbers: Day 17, and my birthday is the 17th. I like when you his happens. I take it as a clue I’m on track with what I’m doing.


day 18

18 IMG_4559

‘Do What You Love’ it said, and round the corner ‘Love What You Do’.

That’s it. Right here. That’s what I’m doing.


day 19

19 19hat

Today is made of wonky lines of words and scribbles. Some days have more words than others, and this was one of them. Been thinking a lot about dreaming, last night was a series of distinct dreams within dreams, like Russian dolls, fractal layers.

This morning I found a podcast series about lucid dreaming, so that was my ‘morning drawing listening’ for today. .


day 20

20 IMG_0799

I take so many photos like this, I can’t resist the textures and patterns in stone walls 😊
The words ‘safe understanding’ meant something at the time I wrote them, but I either got distracted or overestimated what me-in-the-future would remember about the context. Nonetheless they’re good solid words to be on a wall.

There was a time when photos would exist only on paper, and once developed would get muddled and out of synch. I would not have kept the memory of seeing this wall in the chronological organisation that digital images have, so would have soon forgotten that today’s image was within minutes of the following (much more memorable) one. Things like this counter balance all that’s infuriating about digital life.


day 21

21 IMG_0823 (1)

I invited this girl I found while I was exploring Sacramento.  Last year I tripped across the states by train from Seattle to Chicago. I had just a few hours here between trains, it was early morning before the day had really woken up so I strolled around looking for art. And I found it!

If you missed the previous parts, you can find them here: Week 1 & Week 2

If you want to follow along this project day by day I’m posting on Instagram (where you can also see more WIP & detail pix) & Facebook



All through this summer I’m offering a special discount in my Etsy Shop to all the folks on my mailing list – so clickety-hop aboard today if you want to snag a bargain!


(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)


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…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!


Would you like to get sporadic updates on my thinkings and doings delivered right to your inbox? Hop onto my email list right here.

(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)

Your email is utterly safe to me. It will be wrapped up snug in a fluffy blanket & nestled with a puppy until the spring arrives. I will bring it tea and a bun if it wakes up.


just lurking

Hello lovely friends of the internet, I’ve missed you, where have you been?

IMG_7875 IMG_7873 IMG_7885

I haven’t posted in a little while due to an absence of images.

IMG_7910 IMG_7904 IMG_7914

This is the coming together of a doodly thing I did a few weeks back

IMG_7902 IMG_7908

Watercolour and fountain pen,  intricate and involved but in a stilted inhibited style, so I left it there

IMG_7937 IMG_7916

My creative mojo has dropped off temporarily, the tide’s gone out, so I’m patiently waiting it out.

Meanwhile, I wish you all a beautiful Solstice, whatever that means to you. Be well, lovely souls X

mental noise


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


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


In order to distance my own thinking from theirs,


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


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.


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.


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.


Now I let them. 



I don’t want their fights.


Charles Bukowski


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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

hidden in plain sight

Sometimes I’ll notice a thing, it’s been there all along, just hiding from my awareness.

Case in point:  I ran a year long project a few years ago, where each month was dedicated to a colour.

Conveniently there are 12 months and if you use the Primary, Secondary, Tertiary groups there are 12 colours. I called it ‘12 in 12‘, beginning January with Red-Purple cycling through Purple, Blue-Purple, Blue…etc. finishing up in Red.

For the whole month I filled a few pages in this book. I feasted on the colour and resisted straying into another month’s territory (not easy for a colour glutton). I was strict and disciplined and it meant all the other colours exploded into my art outside this book with a new found gusto.

The year produced a lush rich rainbow of mixed media and collage.


 I’d thought of doing this many times before, but for some reason I hadn’t gotten around to starting it. It wasn’t until around 3 colour/months in when it dawned on me… the year was 2012…so this was 12 in 12 in 12!

I bring this up now – not just as I love a bit of subconscious synchronicity – and this one still makes me smile years later – but because this project has inspired new ideas too.

I’ll be reviving this idea later in the year, and this time you can join in too! Watch this space, I’ll tell you more about it in the summer.


circus of uncertainty

It’s a continuing theme…


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


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


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


There’s a quiet comfort in the uncertainty.


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


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

Rainer Maria Rilke


Welcome to my circus of uncertainty




merging emerging

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

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.


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


It’s both.


Everything & Nothing. Empty & Full.


Contrast & Confusion. Zigs & Zags.


Deep & Shallow.


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.



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.