contrast


Sometimes I take sideways look.

A change of perspective is refreshing and replenishing.

I’ve always surrounded myself in color, it lights me up and brings with it so many of my ideas.

And I love contrast.

I’m someone who thrives on change and novelty. I bounce along with the momentum. So alongside all the bright clashing colors I wrap every day in, I get a big zing from zebra stripes, dalmatian dots, and nothingy neutrals too.

So here I am.

After 3 months of prepping and planning and immersing myself in TWELVTY the year full of color, followed by a frantic fantastic cram-it-all-in-three-day-trip to the color-drenched delight that is Barcelona (more on that in a future post) my eyes and mind were full to bursting of full color.

I had to restore some balance before I could move forward.

Which is why, earlier this week, when I was up to my elbows in deadlines and adulting duties I had to spend time making this.

For so many reasons.

So, so many.

A slow learned life lesson for me has been fully grasping the importance of taking a few hours out of a really full day – counter-intuitive as it may seem – as this time will more than repay itself. Always.

It replaces the hours otherwise spent spinning aimlessly between tasks in the appearance of being really busy but not achieving anything. Apart from more confusion.

Cos while I work like that I only get bits of jobs dome, I don’t remember where I left off and have to do them again anyways. And it’s exhausting.

Y’know the old saying:
Too busy to find 10 minutes a day for mediation? Then you need to meditate an hour a day.
It’s how it works. 

So I made this.

The book I used is the art journal I’m working in throughout TWELVTY. Each month this year, which is dedicated to its own color, has a few pages for single colored doodles.  At the end of the year it will be a rainbow of mixed media, not unlike this.

I used a page toward the end, so in a few months time when its time arrives I’ll add some color to it. (Some time in the autumn, which will be in the Orangey-Red season – watch this space!)

Want to see this all coming into life? Here it is…

What’s your best way to keep swimming through the chaos every day life keeps throwing at you?

Have you got a creative practice that’s a sanctuary for your soul? I’d love to know.  


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

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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.

hello/goodbye


Yesterday I went to the funeral of the mother of an old friend. I don’t see him much these days, our lives distanced in different directions, but as a teenager I spent some time hanging out at his house and with his family, so I went along to say hello/goodbye.

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The last time we saw each other, a few years ago, was the funeral of another of the group who used to hang out. The brother of our lost friend was there as well. The previous grief rolled back in. As I walked home after my mind was flooded.

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The sanctuary of this book was waiting for me, glad of the space between it’s pages to drift and soothe and hush the thoughts. There are no rules in here. Nothing appropriate or other. Just release.

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Revisiting the crematorium, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been there, from my cousin when I was 15 through generations of friends and relations. With every attendance, every ceremony, each the same and each achingly unique, another layer of mourning.

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The logical mind tries to interpret grief intellectually as profound sadness associated with an inexplicable ending, but it isn’t, it’s much more confusing than that.

It’s all of the emotions, all of the feelings in accelerating succession, then as that rhythm starts to normalise, another avalanche. And repeating, and repeating. Inexplicable, inappropriate, quite strange. I remember  feeling indestructible after mum died.  In conversation yesterday someone was saying how he floated in an unexplained elation for months after a close loss. Troubling and comforting in balanced measure.

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I often think of how different our lives have become in just a few generations, since the media driven onslaught of communication. By partaking in modern society our circle of acquaintance is inflated to absurd proportions in unrestricted encounters.

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These encounters zip back and forth in time, meaning for the first time in humanity we can spend time in the company of someone – albeit a one-way version of them – at any point in their lives. Years aren’t played out in consecutive order and the resultant discombobulation unsettles us, I believe, more than we understand.

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Perhaps this is the shake up we need, rattling us out of the old paradigms.

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on story telling


My last post, the lovely comments it received, and the reaction to the project I described has got me thinking much more about a few things.

Y’know, little inconsequential things –  The nature of reality, the fabric of time….

I’m not even sure if I’m being facetious here (so ingrained in my character as that is, but also cos these things fall into part of the much bigger uncertainty). I mean to say – I’m content enough to use and benefit from so many things the mechanics of which are so beyond me as to be inconsequential –  just the reality/time thing particularly fascinate me.

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Cos it’s quite possible – quite popular – to progress through a life and not give such matters a moment’s thought.

Just daily survival can occupy so much energy, and when that isn’t so taxing we’re almost all blessed with more external distractions than we could possibly exhaust in just one lifetime. Failing that, there are usually other folks willing to make demands on our attention.

And then it’s time for sleep again.

All of which could suggest to spend time on such thinkings is a luxury, a silly trifling frippery, even a waste of ‘time’.

It’s a rare and peculiarly privileged spot in history and geography where I’ve appeared in this world, whereby simple survival has (so far, so good) been so simple, granting me enough resources for interest in any of these esoteric and abstruse mind wanderings.

I can mooch around the internet extensively, listen to opinion and mull over whether or not it makes sense to me; Twenty-first century living is an absolute breeze in comparison to just a few generations ago.

I’m living in utter luxury compared to many millions around the world right now, and I thank the universe for such blessings.

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I got to think about the truth in the comment “…it takes time to get to that point of being able to write your story – and our story always changes” this got me thinking as our story develops it can be reviewed, re-examined, reinterpreted – even re-written.

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Conventional wisdom previously led me to understand that as soon as something is done it becomes fixed; concreted in a newly formed part of ‘the past’. But we all know that recall is swayed by emotion, it’s fogged by time, influenced by perspective, mood, the passing of more ‘time’. Differently skewed versions of history abound, inaccuracy of memory twist and turn.

And when it comes to our own personal stories, we are our only witness – nobody else was living those days, in the company of so-and-so, in all those same places, seen from just that one point of view, encountering such-a-thing provoking that exact reaction, in that  exact same way.

We’re each a compilation of uniquely assorted traits, experiences and influences. Connected and divided by the overlaps, in search of the universal, pondering the unquantifiable.

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In the words of Bashar:

“…you create the past from the present, and not the other way around; the present is the only experiential time in which you ever exist. Any time you look at yourselves, it is always now; and it always will be now. It may be a different manifestation of now, but it will always be now. Therefore, you are creating from now any idea of the so-called past; you are creating from now any idea of the so-called future. It can be anything you desire it to be.

When you change the you you are now, you will then focus on the particular ideas of the past that will represent the you you are being now. Because the so-called idea of the past has many probable ways of manifesting, just as many as there are of the future. So whatever idea you are being now will determine the way you relate, and what it is you perceive to be real about your past-and about your future.” – Bashar

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So as I shared last time, I took the plunge recently and took a long cool look at the years that I’ve clocked up, their contents and the influence of some of the leading characters in ‘my story’.

12195803_1060476693986373_4742208192069350825_nThe reason I hadn’t done this before were multi-fold.

There was a good measure of ‘leave it behind you, it’s gone now’  with a sense that digging over ‘unchangeable truths’ could cause upset, upheaval, insoluble regret. Another voice in my head was busy preaching that such an exercise was just way too self-indulgent. So between the ‘nobody’s interested’ and the ‘hey don’t mess with it’, my story (to date) remained in a complicated tangle of misunderstood, mismanaged memory.

Turned out, the actual process of unraveling through writing was cathartic. The act of sharing was a bravery (although shared within a safe circle, it’s still raw soul offered up on a plate to be dissected by further opinion and judgment), and the results were met with warmth and kindness.

 

From other side of that metaphorical mountain my view has changed. I’ve dropped some degree of old habitual grouch. My light shines on.

oddments & day bits


If I could add up all these bit of days, these odd hours I find wanting for what to do.

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Many nights I find a fragment between 2 & 4 am.

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Then there’s bits of afternoons as well.
Bits of uncertain waiting.

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Placeless snips and snaps.
Trimmed minutes at the end of one thing, before the next begins.

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I’d like to make a collage or a patchwork of these moments.

Then I’d build me some new days.

the midweek weekend


I love and hate time.

I don’t believe in time per se, not as a strictly regulated measured thing. I think of it more as a malleable substance that (with practice) can be manipulated. And with just the tiniest amount of neglect, can run away (forever).

time-1030x614Some years ago I worked an office job Tuesday to Friday. It worked out well. I did my own thing on the weekends and took Mondays off. Sometimes I took a 3 day break. I enjoyed that choice of freedoms.

Then things changed: I switched to just Thursday-Friday in the office.

And time went totally out of control.

Suddenly I had a 5-day stretch of not exactly weekend, and before I knew it I was beginning another ‘week’.  The whole thing spiraled out of control and the weeks and months flew at a devastating rate. I didn’t enjoy this and only lasted it out less than a year (which felt like a lot less!)

Sure, I know many folks who wish their working weeks away, but that’s wishing away a lifetime bit by bit. If you hate your work, change it, don’t rush through in the hope that one day you’ll be on vacation, retired, dead, or whatever is lined up next.

Nowadays I work for myself. I have some regular routines, but they’re all flexible. I wake up early and have long days (thank you insomnia – some days are verrrry long!)

I think the key is to keep mixing it up.

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week 2 / page 2 of 2015

My newest routine is the page-a-week art journal. Today starts week 3, which as the year began on a Thursday, so now do my weeks (in a sense).

It’s helped lift the pressure of the Monday to Friday VS Saturday/Sunday rut that’s so ingrained. One week ends on a Wednesday, Another begins the next, another ends the next. Perhaps it’s like I’m squeezing 2 weeks into every 7 days, but it’s really slowed it down to a manageable pace!

time marches forward


I was away for a couple of days, but the page a day project ticks along!

Friday’s page is here….


Being fascinated by mechanics, numbers and time, clocks are a constant source of interest to me.

Over the years I’ve often incorporated clock faces in art, and I thought it was about time I had one in this series 😉

I like the regularly spaced hour long segments, contrasting the unequally balanced chunks of time into which we split our days

An hour spent waiting in traffic is so much longer than an hour spent in the company of ppl we love. An hour of sleep is not the same size of time as an hour at work…

……………I’ll catch you up with the others in a bit 🙂