Snow, yarn and other such ramblings

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There’s been a spot of colourful hooky going on in these parts.

After a bit of pootling on Pinterest and various and delightful craft blogs, I discovered a newish craze for granny square blankets emerging.  Aha! I thought; I could do with one of those very things for my own sweet bed!  However, Christmas was upon us, and I had neither the time nor inclination to contemplate a new blanket project, so I filed the idea away for future reference…fast forward to January, and I eventually caved in and bought a new stash of Stylecraft Special DK wool to set about making a granny square blanket of my very own.  My heart had been well and truly taken the moment I cast my eyes upon this beautiful blanket here although there are many fine specimens to be found upon the interweb as I’m sure you will discover.

I cannot lie to you, I was so smitten with Sandra’s colourway that I ordered pretty much the same shades of wool that she had used for her blanket.  And it’s coming on a treat; its a fine way to pass a happy hour on a winters eve, curled up on the sofa watching Miranda, gigglesnorting like billy-o and knocking up a few squares in deliciously vintage coloured yarn.

I’m using the join-as-you-go method, fiddly as heck, but saving me a lot of sewing at the end which can be a tad time consuming to say the least.

During the day, I’ve been working my little socks off on some new pieces of art for my solo exhibition…would you like a peek?  You would?  Here you are then:

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The Coastguard Cottages

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Beside the Waves

I also have a plan to create some coastal inspired characters on some small box canvases, with an element of collage and stamped text about them.  I’m mighty excited by this sudden flurry of inspiration and I’m making sure I write down lots of notes about these ideas in my book, should they happen to dissolve and disappear from my busy little head forever.

After a colourful week, our world suddenly turned very grey and white.  The snow finally came to our little corner of the world and we decided that we would go out and enjoy ourselves enormously.

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There was sledging and snowman girl making, the obligatory snowball fights and wanderings down the back garden to see the river which had turned into a magical winter wonderland…

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I love the sculptural shapes of the branches and seed heads, and that glorious blue sky!

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As I work, I see my little feathered friends making more frequent visits to the feeder (which is hung a couple of feet away from my window).  I love to watch them, and wonder how something so small can survive such terribly cold nights…

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Another feathered soul paid us a visit too…can you spot him?  He’s a regular visitor, and can often be seen stooping in the shallows, waiting to catch a plump trout for his lunch.

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Back inside after our snowy meanderings, hot chocolate of the best kind, topped with the squirtiest of cream and tiniest of marshmallows is consumed and jammies are put on.  It’s only 3 o’clock in the afternoon, but it’s a snow day from school and there’s no need to be going out again; may as well just cosy up indoors and do a spot of painting with C…

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…and on a whim, I dug out some papier mache style hearts and painted a whimsical little Valentine’s scene.  These hearts are secretly magnets, but would look rather dandy in a nice box frame I think.

So my week is only just begun, but already it is filled with the simplest and nicest of things.  And if it needed icing on the cake, it came in the form of an email from my lovely agent, who wrote to tell me that three pieces of my artwork have been accepted for licensing by a client, and therefore shall become cards or suchlike.  I am delirious with delight, because this is another one of my dreams come true.

And dreams do come true you know, if you believe they will.

I’ll see you again soon, have a wonderful week and thank you for coming to see me today.

Love J x

Simple Lovely Things

It’s been a month of Simple Lovely Things.

From the first bite of a Russet apple, to warming ourselves around a glowing orange bonfire and watching jewel coloured fireworks bloom and glitter against a dark night sky.

I’ve loved seeing the leaves turn colour; the woods suddenly awash with a rainbow of colour, and in contrast, the sketch like silhouettes of seed heads against an afternoon sky soaked with the promise of a wind whipped squall.

Something else special happened this month.  I went to London to meet a group of women I had never met in person before (apart from one)…but let me start from the beginning and put you in the picture.

Many moons ago, a few of us arty crafty sorts began chatting on Facebook; we had connected through our Pages and over the weeks and months that followed began to chat on a daily basis, each providing a bit of conversation in an often quiet and solitary lifestyle (as it is for the folks who work from home alone), help and suggestions for business related things, a space to have a moan and a groan, all interspersed with huge doses of laughter.  I have to confess, and I know it may sound strange, but these women have reduced me to tears of hysterical laughter many times as I sat at my laptop working.

It came to pass that we decided to meet up.  There would be seven of us altogether, travelling from all corners of  the UK to meet in London on that damp, rain drenched morning at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London, for the Country Living Christmas Fair.

Have you ever had the pleasure of meeting six kindred spirits?  Six people who all instantly connect with one another?  Have you ever had a day with six strangers, who in the space of a few hours become Very Special Friends?

from L ~ R: Sarah (Kate’s lovely sister), Kate from Kate Creates, Andrea from Polka, Helen from Kindred Rose (who features in the December edition of Country Living magazine), Me, Marna from Little A Designs and Roslyn from Roslyn Mitchell Designs.

From that morning, til we left in the fairy-light sprinkled night, we talked and laughed constantly, and then laughed some more.  Around each corner was another discovery to OOhhHH and AaahHHH at; Christmassy food and drink to be sampled, decorations to be bought, and gifts to be taken home.

Crafty Chums

The Christmas Table by Susie Watson Designs

The bustle of the Fair

Later that afternoon, we went for a meal at an Italian restaurant.  Resting our weary feet and sipping a welcoming glass of wine I mentioned that the famous wool shop, Loop, was in Islington somewhere, and wondered whether I’d have time to find it before my train left.  It didn’t take long to discover where it was; literally just across the road and down Camden Passage as it turned out!  There were murmers of excitement, and we all agreed to go.

We finished our meal and crossed the busy high street, crammed with big red buses, stores and restaurants and then disappeared down a quiet little lane.  We were suddenly in another world, quieter, and lit by twinkling fairy light stars that were strung up above between the quaint buildings.  Tiny shop windows beckoned, full of beautiful things which seemed suffused with a warm golden light.  There were candle lanterns on the pavement, the scent of delicious food and hot coffee, the air felt full of magic and glamours and suddenly nobody wanted to go home.

And then we found Loop.  I think it might be easy to walk past it if you weren’t looking for it.

A peek through the window of Loop

Loop, for those of you who don’t have a wool infatuation, is a treasure trove of a shop, full to bursting with delicious yarns from all around the globe; those hard to come by brands, those softer than a feather skeins, those rainbow infused balls that sat in plump stacks of colour co-ordinated lovely-ness.  There was a Sophie Digard scarf hanging up by the counter too, and I gazed in awe at the tiny stitches, the beautiful detail, the inspiring colours.

I confess to buying not a single thing, but I drank it all in and next time I go to London, I shall take myself there with some spending money and treat myself to something special.

All too soon it seemed, it was time to go and catch our various buses and trains.  At the tube station we said our goodbyes, all of us slightly teary eyed and sad to be leaving.  Many hugs later we were on our way, each of us a little bit richer from that day, with the wealth of  new friendships still warm in our pockets.

I feel very lucky to have the pleasure of having those six fabulous ladies in my life, and already we have plans to meet again.  I can’t wait 🙂

Meanwhile…

I’ve been busy making a new range of decorations…

And they’re proving rather popular – so much so, I haven’t had a chance to get them on my website yet as the ones Ive had, have sold!

After a week or so where I felt I had run out of steam, and felt utterly devoid of New Ideas, my friend Helen told me to take some time out away from work things.  As it happened, my sister was visiting and it was the school holidays so I made merry for a few days and forgot about everything.

And that’s when the magic happens, when you’ve forgotten about everything, left the stress behind and chosen to enjoy life for a bit.  The ideas creep in quietly and then suddenly, there you have it!

Little wooden heart decorations, hand painted and signed, some stamped with a vintage style typewriter stamping set text, varnished and given a pretty cord ribbon to hang up with.  I couldn’t be more thrilled with the response these have had, and if you’re interested, I’m currently taking orders through my Facebook Page for them.  Just drop me a message if you’d like to get on my list (my order book is currently still open) 🙂

So, Id best be away and get back to work – I’ve got some Christmas music playing (I know, I know it’s only November but it really does help to get me in the mood when Im painting those cheery little robins!!) and there’s a big mug of hot tea waiting for me.  Thanks for dropping by to see me today – oh, and one more thing – if you haven’t signed up already to receive my Art Ezine which I send out each month, there’s still time to do so for this months issue…there’s a very special preview of another brand new Christmas product that Im launching, so get your hands on your copy here!  **Please do add me to your contacts list so you receive my mails please!**
Right, Im off.

Thanks for reading, I’ll see you again soon.

The business of being creative

Hello.

Have you been wondering where I’d got to? I have to say, the days have flown by in a whirl of late, I’ve had my sister and her boys visiting and my feet have hardly touched the ground…visiting parks, steam train rides, football and frisbee games, movie nights, shopping…apart from the rather cool and dreary weather we had a lovely few days together.

In the evenings, to sort of re-couperate from all this activity, and keep the creative side of my brain happy, I have been doing some Business Homework. Yes, that sounds very grand and very grown up and very formal. But no. Thanks to this amazing little book I found on Amazon, I am re-educating myself in an enormously fun and down to earth way, and actually LEARNING things as I go on (instead of yawning with boredom and shoving the book into the darkest corner of the bookshelf to gather dust).
It’s called The Handmade Marketplace, and I can highly recommend it to any of you out there who is even remotely involved with the Etsy/Folksy/Online selling caper. There are so many simple tips and helpful chunks of advice I’m actually beside myself with excitement…I like learning about business all of a sudden, it’s my new favourite thing to be doing!! Wheeeeeeeee!

So, I’m kind of plotting to be a bit more active with my little online emporiums. Once the Little Person has departed for her pre-school sessions, I know I am going to be needing something to fill my hours rather than just hoovering the carpets and staring bleakly at the walls ’til its time for her to come home. Being a home crafter/artist fits the bill perfectly, and all being well these empty mornings will soon be perfect opportunities to make and create lots of lovely stock for my sadly neglected little shops.

I have also solved a bit of a problem during my Business Study evenings too. And this is it:

What do you do when you enjoy lots of different creative pursuits, do you stick to one or do them all?

I’d welcome your thoughts on this, especially if you are like me and enjoy not just one creative pursuit, but several. For instance, my first loves are painting and crochet, I love them equally with a passion but did you know I also love printmaking and sewing things? I do, I just don’t get much chance to do them and because I’ve always thought I had to travel in one direction so to speak making painting my priority, I put them on the backburner. So, I was delighted to find a kind of permission slip in my new book that says its ok to have variety, to create different things to sell if you so wish! Hurrah!! For some reason, the fact it was in black and white in a real book, made it believable enough for me to allow it.

So my little shops may be stocked with all sorts of different things…the excitement is driving me demented, I cannot wait to begin and Im having to write my ideas down in my art journal before they evaporate forever. It would seem, for once, I am on a roll of inspiration.


Talking of rolls…

…here’s my Rainbow Ripple, all rolled up and nearly finished but for 14 rows…oh I cannot wait to complete it and snuggle up in it! I’m hoping to get it done in time for autumn, me thinks it would be a good blanket for early evenings in the garden sat by the firepit toasting marshmallows and drinking warm cider….

…but not wanting to talk about Autumn yet, it is of course just August, just look at these pretty little asters I found at my local shop the other morning!

I love their cheerful cherry red blooms in that jam jar! I do like brightening up my home with simple things like flowers and pretty pictures, which leads me to another thing to share with you all today.

For some time now, I’ve had several enquiries from several lovely people about a Certain Little Painting of mine and whether it will ever be a print or not. Now these lovely people have been so very patient with me, probably to the point where they were starting to wonder whether I had even listened to their request.

But I have. Of course I have, I always listen to what you have to say, it is mightily important!

And so, I’m happy to share that Daffodils & Bunting is now finally available to buy in my online gallery as a print. It comes titled and signed, presented in a nice mount and has free delivery to anybody living in the UK.

Want a peep?

There it is!

And here it is, blown up in size a bit, to give you a proper look:

And you can see it in my gallery here.

I feel very excited to be able to put new work out there for you lovely souls, and do get in touch with me if there is any other work you feel you would like to see in print, that isn’t already!
I know things might be slow to appear at times, but being a Mum is my No.1 job, and that is how it should be – I am just so very grateful that I get a chance to keep bobbing along gently with my creative work, and to hear that so many of you enjoy it – I know as my Little One grows older, I will be able to reclaim more time as my own again, but for now, I think I’m happy bobbing. Yes I am. Very.

Thank you so much for stopping by, for all your kind and supportive comments – you really do keep me going some days and make it all worthwhile.


Sending you each warm sunshine, blue skies and love.

Julia x


Having Your Cake and Eating It !

Aha! A sneaky little peek at what Ive been working on – this is a little teeny weeny part of a painting called ‘A Lovely Dream’ and its still not finished despite 5 hours painting today (ah bliss indeed!). I am sitting typing with acrylic paint all over my hands, for me, painting is the equivalent to several hours at a day spa – it removes me completely from my normal world, I have no concept of time and Im able to lose myself for hours, becoming wonderfully absent minded and forgetting to eat etc!

So, today was a gift of a painting day, and talking of art I would love to pop in a mention about a little sale my fellow artist and friend Niki Jackson is having at her Etsy shop… I hope she wont mind, but Ive borrowed a picture of her gorgeous art to show off here – Niki works with mixed media to create whimsical yet thought provoking art. If you are curious to see more, you can check her out here.

This is one of Niki’s art pieces – one of my favourites! 🙂

Anyway…yesterday saw a rather wet day descend upon our little house, and me and the tot were moved to do a spot of baking. Our first recipie being Cumberland Dream Cake which I had picked up on a postcard from Lucy’s of Ambleside
This shop, for those of you have never had the good fortune to have ever visited, is an aladdins cave of deli-licious goodies. It is also a bistro, it is a cooking school – Lucy’s is, in a word ‘heaven’…anyway, I digress – this little postcard had the recipie of a fabulous little tray bake we nibbled upon with relish during our stay in the lakes, and after 2 years of the said card languishing in the front of a Nigella book, it finally got a testing yesterday and both me and little C declared it very nice indeed (and if you are a fan of walnuts, coconut and sticky sugary goodness with a crispy top then you would too).

The baking frenzy did not stop there. No, we moved on to make a vanilla sponge cake, with vanilla buttercream and (going into Enid Blyton mode here) lashings of Bonne Maman apricot jam in the middle. The tot was in her element licking spoons of cake mixture and the bowl of left over buttercream as I made the decision to be a bit more creative with my icing sugar sprinkling for the top (a quick dusting normally does the trick) and I made a little template out of a bit of card and it turned out like this!

Oh, we could hardly wait to finish our tea before slicing big wedges for afters! I feel a slice coming on right now, with a big mug of hot tea – very necessary after a morning of painting I think!! 🙂

Well, it seems as if I never stop doesn’t it? Indeed I don’t – well not at the moment anyway. Yesterday afternoon, mid baking, I had an appointment with a lovely man called Pete who owns a little cafe and who wanted to have a look at my art print cards. We had a chat and he said he would be very happy to stock my cards for me! I was delighted!! The cafe is in a very scenic area, popular with walkers and cyclists and people coming off the Woodhead Pass (one of the main routes over the penines to Manchester) and its often incredibly busy. He also expressed an interest in having a few pictures too, so thats something else to be thinking about!

This is a long post isnt it?

A little while ago I looked out the kitchen window at the pouring rain, and guess what I saw? It made my day – Mamma Duck and Seven little Babies swimming furiously against the swell (river’s gone up quite a few inches and is boistrous and brown instead of shallow and calm). They looked like little brown pom-poms, all in a line – just delightful! 🙂

Im off to get that cuppa and cake, Ive rambled long enough!!

Sending love to you each, for a smashing weekend.

See you soon
J x

Delicious Art Day

A cold May morning dawns, yes, the heating is on and there is a steady drizzle from the opaque white sky above but I am not bothered, as today (after a rather long absence) I have a date with my paints and all things arty, and it feels rather marvellous, like Ive been given an extra birthday.

As soon as the little one was on her way to Nannie Mum’s house, I eagerly got everything ready and soon it was a hive of activity as I basked in the luxury of an entire day reaching before me, filled with all things colourful and creative. My main goal today was to complete ‘Can We Come Too?’ ~ a mixed media piece which has been sat on my sideboard top for several weeks now desperately awaiting my attention, and to begin a new one which already has been entitled ‘A Lovely Dream’ – or at least it has for now 🙂

the original sketch for ‘Can We Come Too?’
Some of you may recall a little snap shot of ‘Can We Come Too?’ several weeks back when it was only just half way done. Since then I haven’t been near it, except to glance at it in passing and several different ways of continuing with it have run through my mind after coming to a stand still and not knowing where to go with it. This happens to me sometimes, and Ive discovered that time is very good at sending you just the right idea when its ready. So today, I got stuck in, acrylic paints and buttery oil pastels, blending, scraping, drawing into…oh it was bliss!

So, after a couple of very absorbing hours, it was finished – ta-daaaaaaa!! Here it is!

‘Can We Come Too?’

Oh Im so very pleased with it – I love the rush of euphoria that comes with completing a painting – and right after finishing this one I was to be found hugging a big mug of tea and my sketch journal working on the next piece, ‘A Lovely Dream’ which I have big plans for – Im going to be entering it into an Illustration competition and it needs to be ready by the end of the month.

I will share more details as I progress with it – suffice to say its going well so far and its nice to have a goal to work to as far as painting goes as just lately I feel that Ive given the majority of my time over to my crochet and baking goodies 🙂 Sometimes my art work is sadly neglected in favour of wool and cake.

(a little close up of Bo the dog and Little Red walking by the lavender fields)

However…I don’t think I can neglect my crochet work completely in favour of my painting – its my one big chance to fully chill out and I love squeezing a bit into my day, its like a meditation and there are no expectations with it other than to eventually make something nice for the house. So, imagine my delight when the postie stopped off at my little house this morning and delivered this:


Happy squeals of delight as I flick through the pages – oh theres going to be no stopping me now, everything will be adorned with poppies and pansies just wait and see 🙂
This book is even more significant in a tiny way, as when I was browsing flowery crochet books and was reading up about them, I was very taken with the fact that this particular author, although American spent 7 years living in Sheffield (which is my city folks) and was heartily inspired by all the different coloured flowers she saw during her time here, which formed the basis of her inspiration for this book! Hurrah!!
Thats about all from me today, Im off to do some much needed website work now – my little one isnt due back til after tea so Im making the most of the quiet to get on with things. Its been good to reconnect with my painting today, kind of wondering why I left it so long actually…but as you know, life gets in the way and time flies!
Til next time, pink sunsets and mango frappes to you 🙂
Love J xxx

Just the tonic!

Hello!

Long time no see! I hope you’re all well 🙂

So, Im finally back from my trip to Suffolk…it was delighful! While I was away, we went to some lovely places. On the weekend we drove to Old Felixstowe where the sun shone and despite a cool spring wind we came home from our walk (which ended at a lovely old pub slurping on shandy’s) with pink cheeks and noses! The children played on the sand and I stood at the water’s edge inhaling the delicious salty air (which is very good for the soul).

We also went to Southwold which is one of my favourite places on the east coast – a lovely stretch of beach to picnic on and play games, and up in the town, a cluster of delicious and inviting shops and galleries, all overlooked by the old white lighthouse!

We also visited farms and lakes, had shopping expeditions and time just lazing in the warm spring sunshine in my sisters lovely garden – it all added up to the perfect little holiday.

Anyway, now Im home and Im ready to get busy again.
First thing I need to do is spend some time in the garden, things are growing very fast here in the seed trays on our window sill and I still have many things to sow and re-pot. Yesterday evening I took a turn around our little garden and spied lots of magical happenings, new shoots appearing and masses of succulent leaves the colour of fresh limes where only a week ago were bare brown twigs.

I was also delighted to come home to find our little cherry tree in full bloom…

Whilst on my holiday, I worked on my summer garden blanket, but I couldn’t resist popping into Wibbling Wools in Bury St Edmunds to stock up on supplies for my next project, which is going to be a cushion cover. Inspired by the coast, I picked sea blues and greens, and a delicious french lavender shade and all I need to do now is get my cushion pad and i’ll be off! Hurrah!

On the painting front…yes, getting round to that topic eventually – I am glad to have had the break from being in the same room as my work, and now Im back, Im looking at my pictures with fresh eyes…I feel more connected with where I want to take my work now so Im going to be making some time to finish them by the end of the month and get them framed up ready for the selection day in May.

Plenty of time…right? (chuckle 🙂

Another thing thats on the cards is a summer fair with the Craft Candy group. This is one Id love to take part in and as its in July and I think Ive got enough time to build up my stock levels by then.

Phew…all these lovely things to be getting on with – never mind the ironing pile eh?! Life is for living and enjoying and right now Im going to do a spot of gardening with the little one, and never mind the crumpled clothes!

Sending scoops of time, for all your favourite things today.

With love

J x

Sometimes…

…I wonder if I’ll ever get fixed on creating in just one theme.
…I wonder if i’ll always be an artist who paints and creates in diverse ways, with many different types of materials.
…I wonder if it matters – because it doesn’t really I suppose, yet its something that has bothered me at times, about being known for a certain style, a certain theme of painting.

Maybe its not in my bones to be one of those artists who sticks to one medium and paints the same thing over and over, although I do admire people who do this as their work is instantly recognisable and they get a trusted following.

Maybe its in my nature to be random, to follow the calling to create what feels right at the time…be it illustrative, scenic or whatever – like right now, Im enjoying making little ACEO’s in watercolour and ink, but at the same time Im itching to get back to my oil pastels, and play with the buttery goodness, blending it into the canvas board with my fingers, such a tactile and lovely way to make art.

Maybe I think too much and should just give up and go with the flow?

Off to get some chocolate biscuits and a nice mug of tea.

J x

Works in progress

This is a corner of my submission painting which Im putting forward for the Art Show, its called ~ ‘Can we come too?’

I had an Art Day yesterday, a whole 5 hours of painting. When it got to around 3 o’clock, I came away from it for a while, I like to do this to get a sense of its direction, its so easy to lose yourself in your work and then lose track of where it was you were hoping to take it so I make a point of leaving it alone and sit it somewhere I can see it as I pass in and out of the room, this way I can see what needs changing etc.

Im going to have to try very hard this week to paint in the evenings – I have my sister and her family visiting and they are staying with my parents in a nearby village so the next week will be mostly spent with them. At the same time I cant ignore the itchy need to create and complete this painting so I resolve to dig out the daylight lamp and get busy in the evenings – lets hope I can find the energy eh?!! 🙂

The other big thing Im working on is a summer blanket, I was inspired to follow the pattern on Attic24’s blog and Im up to 14 squares. Im loving the colours, Im loving the wool – I dont know how long it will take me to finish it, Im just enjoying the journey of creating something that will be large, colourful..taken on picnics, to the beach…to wrap ourselves up in when we watch a movie…or to just fall asleep under on a rainy sunday afternoon.


A little heirloom blanket, for my little family.

If you like the look of the pattern, you can see how to do it here.

See you soon, have a scrumptious weekend!

Beginning and Ending

a small corner of ‘Well & Joy’ ~ new work in the making

Beginning a new piece of work is like starting out on a long journey. A mixture of emotions descend as I finally start putting my idea onto paper or canvas including excitement, impatience and a small sprinkling of apprehension because this is the image my mind has been working on for days, if not weeks, before it makes its inevitable pilgrimage out into the real world.

When an artist starts a piece of work, its like suddenley divulging the deepest fathoms of their soul, their most cherished secrets, their most intimate imaginings. All of a sudden, people are going to be able to see your ideas. For some this can be a huge step to take, alot of us, me included have at some time or another become a victim to the power of the ‘blank canvas syndrome’.
We question whether we have the ability, we can often stop ourselves before we have even begun by picturing the finished piece hanging in a gallery on a pristine white wall in a beautiful frame, and the sheer enormity of this responsibility sends us scurrying away to clean out all the kitchen cupboards, because thats much more necessary and important than making a huge imagined mess on a canvas. (and all this before we’ve even took out a pencil). It all comes down to being afraid of failure, but if we dont set ourselves up with high expectations at the start, then how can we possibly fail?

Its so important to feel loose about creating, about starting a painting or piece of art. The more work I do, the more I realise that it has to be about truth and meaning, its definately not about where it ends up or whether its going to be a masterpiece – its more importantly about releasing an idea that has been nurtured by your soul, has been tossed about on a sea in your dreams until there is no other place for it but out in the open. As an artist you may be familiar with this feeling, it becomes an urge and at that moment you have to make a promise to yourself to begin this piece, and you have to promise not to attach any outcome to it other than the journeying through the creation of it, from start to finish.

So thats a bit about starting your art work.

Knowing when to finish is another thing altogether 🙂

the now completed ‘Love Sits Waiting’

For me, I get a feeling that the picture Im working on is nearing completion and I have a process I go through to make sure I feel it really is finished.

A painting suddenley starts to reach a point where its coming together, you are no longer working on adding big patches of colour but blending together finer details and adding bits of mixed media etc. Its from this point that a clear awareness descends, I am taking strong notice of where the picture is going and the marks I am making are done more conciously than in the beginning. Its very important to pay attention now because its easy to overwork a painting. I tend to come away from a piece as soon as I feel tired, or if I notice that Im adding colour thoughtlessly, its better to leave it and go back to it a bit later.
In some cases, I have left a painting several days as something has not felt quite right, and in one instance I turned a picture towards the wall as I couldn’t bear to look at it I felt so much annimosity towards it! But time can give you the space and clarity you need to decide where to take the painting. From these steps I make my way towards the end and it really is as simple a thing as suddenley thinking and feeling..

Thats It.

Angels and Children

‘Catch a Falling Star’ available at my Etsy shop

I was watching my daughter yesterday, she had her fingerpaints out and big sheets of sugar paper and she was on her knees in her little waterproof smock and Ive never seen so much joy emanate from such a tiny little being – her whole body was enraptured with the feeling of plunging her chubby little hands into the bright paint (shes only 15 months old and doesn’t quite grasp the concept of ‘finger painting’ which is great, its her definition of how she feels she wants to use something!) and dropping it onto the paper before splurging it around making swirls and shapes.

It got me thinking.

Why dont we paint like that.

Why dont we open ourselves up to just playing, feeling the stuff we’re working with – smelling the paint, touching it, loading up a brush and daubing it and mixing it just to see what happens?

I was inspired by her enthusiasm, for the colour and the baby art she was making – I couldnt help feeling a touch envious of how easily she did it, nobody to impress, nobody to prove anything to – she was just making pictures and that was enough.

Can we ever grasp that as adults? Can we let go enough to just enjoy it?

I was trying this concept out today – it being art thursday- and played about with some sketch ideas I had a while back for a fairy angel series. I used lots of different media, got acrylics, crayons and shimmer glazes, scribbled into the painting, sanded bits out, re-worked parts, and then smudged pastels into it with my fingers. After a while I felt lost in what I was doing…the Amelie soundtrack was playing and I worked along to the rhythmn of the music – time flew by, I had an absolute ball!

The finished piece is above, ‘Catch a Falling Star’ – I love it, it sings with something…I cant define it, I just know I felt joy as I created it.

Search inside for your child spirit – ask them to come out and play.