Slowing down in Ireland


Well I had an amazing week in Ireland – it was quite a journey in both the physical and metaphorical sense.  Such a beautiful country, such warm people, so many seductive Irish voices I could listen to for the rest of my days …

The traveling was a bit grim and I arrived in a state of pain severe enough for a doctor to come to the hotel, administer a shot and give me sleeping pills.  Two days later I started my period a week early – ’nuff said.  That idea I talked about recently of getting out on the road to do workshops … well let’s just say I’m not sure how viable that is this side of menopause.  Tempting though it is to bypass my remaining few years of troublesome menstruation via drugs or surgery, I really don’t want to go down that road if I can avoid it.  I think I just need to give my body a chance to get over the months of long distance house hunting and the move itself, so I’ll just hibernate here in our little corner of Scotland for the rest of this year and put my energy into some online projects I’m cooking up.

The painting and journaling classes I took in Bantry were both incredible experiences in their own unique ways.  Orly Avineri‘s journaling class was a guided journey into an unknown world, beautifully prepared and thought out in great detail.  Her teaching is poetic and soulful and intensely personal.  I had to put aside impatience and resistance and learn to quieten down, really listen and be completely present in the moment.  To say much more could spoil it for anyone taking a similar class with Orly in the future and I want to respect the private space she created for us.  If you do ever get a chance to do a class with her, open your heart and embrace it with complete trust.


Flora Bowley‘s class was also transformational in a different way.  I got as much from Flora’s mental preparation for painting as I did from her intuitive approach to working with layers of colour and mark making.  As a child of the seventies, I grew up with some hang-ups about anything too “New Age” or “spiritual”, but Flora’s morning group sessions helped me to open up and embrace the wisdom of starting any kind of creative endeavour with a personal ritual, whether that is quiet introspection, setting an intention, writing an affirmation or letting go of something holding you back.



Right at the start, Flora encouraged us to let go of something and I chose to let go of living in the future (always planning) and commit to being present – something I identified as an issue for me in my journal recently.  None of my paintings are finished yet, but one of the other students got some photos of me on the last day with a couple of my works in progress (thanks Janet!).


This one began life as someone else’s painting – we all handed in one of our paintings on the second day and Flora re-distributed them around us all as a lesson in not being precious about the early stages of getting down layers.  As I worked on it and looked at my sketches that I had drawn walking around the gardens, I realised I was seeing circles everywhere – drawing the gravel on the path, the cobblestone drainage channels in the garden, the dotty foliage of the lacecap hydrangeas – my sketchbook was full of circles.  So I painted circles and the moon like face emerged almost by herself.



This one is definitely inspired by the hydrangea petals around Bantry House gardens and I now have a clearer vision of where I’d like to go with this one.  It could take a while to get there without destroying the parts that I love, but that’s the challenge of painting.

And that leads me neatly into the gap quotation by Ira Glass (an American author and radio presenter) which some of us discussed in the bar one evening.  If you haven’t come across this quote before, it may just help you to persevere, whatever creative path you’re on.  (Click the image to enlarge.)


I have more to share from this very special trip and more photos once my camera and computer have had a bit of marriage guidance therapy and are talking to each other again, so stay tuned for part two!


Self Compassion journal page

This week’s Monday Mojo email features the second part of the prima doll canvas, so for my 2014 contribution, I thought it fitting to show you a part two as well.  Last week I showed you a video of me creating the background to this page (click here to go to that post).



My video camera ran out of space before I finished, but I have edited what I can into another little video for you (just over 4 minutes).  It shows me creating the border from torn up gelli prints and the start of me painting the face.

Once again the music is by ODi who you can find at or check out their album, Maslow’s Songbook, on iTunes.  They very kindly agreed to let me use their music on my videos, so if they find there way here to check it out, then a big thanks guys!

The lady is painted onto standard photocopy paper (80gsm) with acrylic paints.  Her dress is a gelli print and after glueing down, I went round the edges with various pencils and added more colour with crayons and gelatos.  The tone has changed from the initial greens after warming things up a bit with some orange.  The words are stamped with a brand new (unreleased) alphabet stamp set which will be on the website in a couple of weeks.

This spread is in my ‘extreme self-care’ journal and the page is about self compassion.

This is typical of the sort of thing I will do in my journal – I start with a background, some collage and maybe some images or words from a magazine if I don’t want to paint something myself.  This stage is all about playing and is purely intuitive with no specific idea of what the page will be about.  Somewhere along the way, an image may spark an idea and I use that as a writing prompt.

Here’s the finished page with some snippets of wisdom from Desiderata.




Journal Page


I have a video to show you today.

This week’s Monday Mojo email features a canvas and this journal page uses the same techniques so this is my new contribution. There’s a lovely soundtrack, included with kind permission of a young Irish singer/songwriter duo called Odi. If you like what you hear, then please pay a visit to their website or check out their album, Maslow’s Songbook, on iTunes.

I’ve had fun and games with my computer this weekend and thought I wasn’t going to get any email out, let alone a video.  Next week I’ll be showing you how the page evolved with collage and stamping.

The colours I used on the page were greens and yellows – a very harmonious palette.  Here’s this week’s colour challenge.


As always, I’d love to see your artwork based on this week’s colours – you can share your creations on our Facebook Group or our private forum.



Addicted to Gelli


I am finding Gelli Plate printing to be quite addictive.  I love to print onto thin papers like newsprint, tissue, dictionary paper, parchment and the brown kraft paper that Amazon often stuff their parcels with. I love experimenting with mark making – not all of it turns out great, but when it’s ripped up and used in conjunction with paints and pens, it takes on a different life.

gelli print03 Having a stack of this thin stuff is just great for collage which I like to include in my journals.

gelli print02 This journal page is a mix of gelli printed papers and paint.


The thinner papers are great for paper piecing.

gelli print01 The paper above ended up becoming the tag below.


This tag features the print shown above and some dictionary paper for the skin.  The stamp is from the Julie Nutting range (Ruffle Dress) and I drew the face in using a Sakura Pigma Micron pen. I even used the plainer border of the print for the top and ruffle to give contrast and to show off the print part of the dress better.  (I added an extra ruffle along the way too in case  you were wondering.)  The tag itself is also a gelli print which has been overstamped with Fancy Flourishes and Abstract Fragments.  I added a touch of shading under her feet with a pencil.

So do you have a Gelli Plate yet?  If you have one, but haven’t got round to trying it out yet, take a look at Monday Mojo Magic issue 19 for a basic introduction.   Last week Debbie showed me how she uses the gelli plate with inks rather than paints and that’s opened up a whole new avenue of possibilities.

If you have been bitten by the Gelli bug, I’d love to know if you’re as addicted as I am!