Monday, 11 August 2014


Well hi there again I'm glad to say I'm back - lots of exciting things have been going on in the background and lots of exciting news to share - the biggest being that I've finally taken a big step towards a major reshuffle as far as my work life goes - I've resigned from my job and am hoping to spend lots more time on my creative business in the very near future, I've been thinking about it for a while but something was holding me back, and I think it was fear of the unknown, and the fear of giving up my financial security. My husband has been very supportive of my decision, work have been fantastic and very understanding and I'm starting to feel the stirrings of excitement and possibility rather than the sheer panic I felt when I first decided what I was going to do. It was very 'un-me' thing to do as I normally think decisions like this through to the nth degree but this time i just went with my gut feeling and did it!!!

Secondly I have lots planned for the rest of the year. Whilst I haven't planned any Christmas selling events I will be launching my new website and shop in September, celebrating with a weekly giveaway each week during that month. Then I'm holding a big Facebook sale in October (watch out for some amazing bargains) and an Open Studio in November. So I think that the rest of the year is going to be busy but I'm feeling in a place now where I have recovered my enthusiasm and drive so sky's the limit now, who knows what is around the corner. Someone said to me this week 'leap and the net will appear' and that has already been proved to me in this last week. 

I think now I just need to pace myself, and having said goodbye to some of my daily stresses I think I will be much more equipped to approach my creative work with a more balanced and consistent state of mind. Hurray, let good time roll!!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Just 'being'....

I just wanted to drop by and say hello and I'm still here, just taking a bit of time out enjoying the summer, lots of time away in my caravan, exploring the great British countryside, out walking with husband and dog, reading Jane Austen books, working through my ecourse, and just generally enjoying 'being' rather than the constant 'doing' of the past couple of years. The break is great, the pressure is off and I'm just enjoying life, but that's not to say I'm disappearing.... I will be back later on this year when I launch my brand new website celebrating with a great big studio sale... Watch this space everyone - it'll be worth the wait!!

See you soon x

Thursday, 8 May 2014

New habits

Have you ever got so caught up with your creative direction that you become blinkered to change or to doing things differently? You know what works for you so you stick to your tried and tested success recipe? It's so easy to slip into a comfortable and familiar way of working, it feels good and it works for you, and you do it so often it becomes second nature. This can be great, the work flows and everything seems rosy. I feel this has been me for the last few years, I got into a groove and went with it, I've had a fab time, and have achieved lots more than I ever thought I would. But what happens when you start feeling stale, unfulfilled or just plain bored with what you are doing? You lose one of your magic ingredient, and the recipe you have been working with no longer works for you....

Well, you know the expression 'a change is as good as a rest'? I think it just might be true. The course I'm currently taking (Unearth, Gather, Create) has un-blinkered me - the prompts and tasks I have done so far are stretching me to work and think in ways I haven't before and I'm loving it. Writing, for example, has never really been part of my creative process, unless of course you count the endless lists I used to compile for myself on a weekly basis. This was writing but in its most practical sense!! 

Unearth, Gather, Create is encouraging me to incorporate creative writing and journaling into my practice, something I initially really struggled with. Remember that beautiful leather bound journal I mentioned a while ago? I've been using that to write in, but seem to have been going round in circles with the things I was saying and it seemed pointless. Something in this process seemed to be jarring and not quite coming naturally and it was niggling away at me. Then one of the lesson prompts seems to just make it click into place. 

My practical side was battling with the creative side - I wasn't writing the things I thought I 'should' be, but I couldn't work out what it was I 'should' be writing. When the penny finally dropped, I realised that there isn't really a prescribed formula to this writing lark, everyone is unique, and you just have to try to find the formula that works for you, so I decided to just start making notes from the tutorials, and plans and ideas soon came tumbling out onto the paper... Then the lightbulb went on and I realised I was doing it, just writing.... creatively.... No disjointed unsatisfactory feelings of inadequacy, just writing.
So, my point is, after my rather long winded explanation, I've now formed a new habit of writing as part of my creative process and I think it is helping, with the thought provoking prompts from Gillian, to help me for the jigsaw pieces of my own creativity back together in a new and exciting way. I can't way to see what it will look like when it's completed....

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Why I enrolled on an ecourse...


Have you ever thought that ….
  • you don’t have any ideas to develop work from
  • you have difficulty knowing where or how to begin in developing your own style.
  • you want to expand your own personal language in mark-making and expression.
  • you want to go beyond being inspired by other artists but think everything has been done before.
  • you want to develop your own unique style and create art that you are deeply connected with.
  • you have the skills to create art, but it no longer excites you.

These words spoke to me!! This was the opening statement for the Ecourse I enrolled on earlier this year. The timing was perfect, I'd decided to have a few months away from the work I had been doing, and I thought this was the ideal tool to help me achieve some perspective during 2014. I will admit, yes I was sceptical, having never participated in such a course before, I didn't know how it would all work and whether I could even achieve any of the above within the allotted time, but I thought I'd take a chance and treat myself anyway.

Having gathered my materials, nervously anticipated the first week of lessons and started to work my way through the tasks and exercises I can say it has already got me to think about my art and creativity in ways I never have before. It has been like going back to school. Gillian's style of teaching makes it so easy to connect with what she has set out to achieve with this course, and I'm finding myself listening to the tutorial ideas, making notes and setting out my goals and ideas for the course.

Last week, after I got back from Wales is decided to go right back to the beginning and started to explore the mark making lesson. It was great to get my hands dirty and rediscover the contents of my cupboard. It felt like Christmas had come again as I started to unearth my stash of art supplies, most of which had been long forgotten as my obsession with black ink and white paper had grown over the past couple of years. There has been no space for dirty finger marks and dust and smudges in my studio with the work I had been making recently so it felt a bit strange to break out the charcoal and blending sticks, pastels and erasers and just make some marks onto paper. But the more I did, the more I realised what I have been missing and it felt amazing to start to see that there is more to my creative direction than intricate ink, pristine and precise line. So already you can see what a difference this course could potentially make to me.... I'll be blogging about it as I go.... Feel free to join me!!

Sunday, 27 April 2014


So I've been away a while, it's getting to that time of year when the draw of the caravan and the time 
we can spend away from home exploring new places becomes irresistible and I find myself thinking about where we are off to next in the lovely country in which we are lucky enough to live. Last week was Wales, (although it doesn't seem long since we were just back from Devon) and we had a lovely relaxing week, filling our days with walking, taking in the views of the glorious Welsh coastline, taking time to read books, sketch, play Scrabble.... It is over far too quickly and I now find myself heading back to work tomorrow... But next weekend is Bank holiday.... Hurray!!

I also feel I haven't had a lot to share recently, I've turned inward, puzzled with how I have been feeling,  and have been mulling things over a lot, thinking about my direction, reasons why I've chosen my creative path, and why I've been feeling a distinct lack of enthusiasm and motivation, and I have wanted to spare you the boredom of reading about it all!!

But... Eureka Moment... Enrolling on a fabulous e-course Unearth Gather Create by my good friend Gillian Lee Smith earlier this year..... I must admit I was slightly concerned about what it would all entail, and how I would fit it in around work and life, but having been feeling the way I have for a few uninspired months I think it was the right thing to do. 

Lessons started at the beginning of April and I couldn't wait to see what they contained. Needless to say I haven't been able to keep up with them, as the content has been so full of depth and scope, very thought provoking and just what I need at the moment. I'm going to blog more about what I've done so far, what I have unearthed and discovered. I've incorporated writing into my creative practice at Gillian's suggestion and have already come up with a few of the answers which had so far eluded me. 

If you are feeling curious about this ecourse and what it entails let me direct you to the website where you can find out more.

there is another intake in June if you are tempted to register....

Friday, 4 April 2014

Back from Devon and a new e-course

A few Devon delights from our recent holiday in Riverside Cottage near Sidmouth. What a beautiful part of the country. I've come home feeling inspired by the beautiful countryside and scenery, as well as the wealth of creativity I found in some of the most lovely galleries.

This week I'm starting my first ever e-course Unearth, Gather, Create which I'm really excited about. the first class is next week, so I hope you'll be following me and what I get up to. I'm looking forward to the journey.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

collecting imagery

I've been out and about today photographing some of the beautiful Derbyshire scenery. I've always wanted to just hit the road and go wherever I feel and stop where I want to. With the dog walked, and tea already made before 10am this morning, I was well-prepared, armed with my camera, sketchbook, tank full of fuel and a hint of sunshine in the air.

These are some of the snaps I took - they are all going to be developed and put into the image bank, and I'll be adding to them next week when I'm in Devon.

I'll be back in April, see you all then

Monday, 17 March 2014

Rewriting the rules

I've been a bit quiet lately - a lot of thinking has been going on and I haven't really had much to say that you haven't heard already. The conflicting feelings I mentioned in my last post have faded a little as I've been doing a lot of thinking and soul searching about 'creativity' and all it entails. After much deliberation, wondering what I was even trying to achieve, and why it wasn't working, I realised I was just going about it all the wrong way. 

Let me explain.... The reason I decided to pursue a creative direction in the first place was because I wanted to be in the driving seat, master of my own destiny and all that!! I wanted to call the shots myself, rather than feeling I had to dance to someone else's tune. The whole point being that I don't have to follow anyone else's rules, I can follow my own, I just think the ones I had made up for myself a few months ago were wrong, which led to the conflict and worry, lack of enjoyment and motivation. 

When I decided to have a creative break after the busy last months of 2013 I thought I should set myself a deadline of six months so come up with the goods for my next body of work, therefore subconsciously putting myself under pressure to perform and losing the enjoyment and spontaneity in the process. I've come to realise that wasnt working (and why) so I've rewritten the rules. I've now decided to take as much time as I need, rather than just six months, and to think of it as a BIG investment in creative-me, to do the things I enjoy and to not think about the end results. 

So that's it, I've given myself a good talking to, had a rethink, rewritten my rules and I feel a load better.

Watch this space, I'm looking forward to starting my first ecourse in about three weeks time, so I'm sure I will have lots onto share. 

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Am I overthinking it??

Well dear blog readers I cannot believe we are nearing the end of February and I'm already a third of the way through the six months of my 'sabbatical' - my 2014 period of exploration and experimentation. I have something to admit though, I am having mixed feelings about it and I'm not sure about how it is going. I'm not sure I'm actually achieving anything at all..... And I'm not sure I'm enjoying it as much as I thought I would.

As I have said before I'm very task and goal driven, I love nothing more than a list of things to work through so I can visualise my achievements at any given time. I think achieving keeps me going. I think that this is what motivates me, having tasks to do, places to be, lists to write and tasks to tick of when completed. I think the current lack of this may be why I am struggling with the whole sabbatical thing at the moment.

Im not even sure what the problem is, which makes it even more frustrating, as I don't know how to put it right. I think most creative people would be over the moon to have this time to explore their work. I can't work out why I'm not enjoying the process more than I am? 

I think my studio days, which used to be a whirlwind of activity are now quiet and peaceful studio days, no real concrete aims and tasks, just doing what I feel like, but, crazily, this is making me feel unsettled and unfulfilled. Am I expecting too much of my free and easy days, am I expecting too much of myself, and am I putting myself under pressure to create. I seem to be having trouble just enjoying the fact that I have time on my hands to fill as I choose. The thoughts of free time seems to be paralysing me when I enter the studio, I end up creating nothing I like, and then leave hours later with a feeling of disappointment.... What's wrong with me??

Luckily I've enrolled on Unearth, Gather, Create - an ecourse by the talented Gillian Lee Smith, which starts in April. I've gathered my materials from the list, and have invested in a selection of paper, ink, brushes and paint, have started writing in a journal as part of my creative process, so I'm just hoping that things start to flow soon. 

Please someone tell me it's not just me feeling like this!! It is just the vestiges of winter affecting my brain, am I lacking sunlight and vitamin D.... I'm hoping so, bring on the spring!!!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Monoprint and paint

One of my favourite media when I was at college was mono printing, I loved the line quality it produced. In my quest for a new direction I thought I would dig out my old printing inks and have a go with some basic landscape images. My aim was to simplify the landscapes and break them down into very simple shapes, using line, and then to try to fill in the colours later.... This is what happened...

It was really interesting to see how the ink and paint merged and mixed and how the line developed when water was added. I've always been very interested in the use of line in my work, which can be seen from way back even in my old school sketchbooks. I've been experimenting with my new brush pen and the new paintbrushes I've recently bought and looking at the different kinds of line I can produce using different pens, pencils, brushes and papers.

 I recently heard a review of the new Hockney Exhitbion in Dulwich so I'm treating myself in a few weeks time to go and visit and explore how his use of line informs his work.... I also need to work on some composition as I'm drawing the same landscapes from photos and the windows of my house and am just getting a bit bored with them, so I'm off for a long weekend to Yorkshire, one of my favourite stomping grounds to gain some inspiration from the beautifully wild landscapes up there. 

I'm also very excited to have enrolled onto Unearth, gather, create - an ecourse by the talented Gillian Lee Smith. That starts in April so I'm hoping it will give me an injection of enthusiasm, which I seem to be lacking at the moment. This grey rainy weather is getting me down, I can't wait for spring to arrive!!

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