Monday, December 22, 2008

I'm now blogging at wordpress - you can find me at

Saturday, November 29, 2008

This year's christmas cards.
I like to try and make my christmas cards each year, sometimes it works out sometimes it doesn't. I was searching the web for images of Poe, for an art journal of the poem The Raven that I want to create. I came across this card by time2cre8 on etsy and I was inspired to create my own.

Stamp credits: Raven - Green Pepper Press, hat - Lost Coast Designs, Merry Christmas - Stamp It.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

More Gesso Pages in my Poetry Journal

pages primed with gesso and then painted over
papers to dull the colour.
stamping with gesso - on the left stamped in gesso
and painted over with acrylic and on the right, gesso
stamped over acrylic
Maps from travel brouchures collaged, poem
by Lily Brett written over and then gesso
applied over the top to tone down gloss.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I've undertaken Michelle Ward's GPP Street Team Crusade this month. Crusade 25 is GESSO. Michelle is challenging everyone to play with gesso and share their results. I haven't journaled for a long time, so I thought I would start a new journal (its a moleskine cahier).

This is going to be a journal of favourite songs, poems and quotes, stemming from LK's challenge to share favourite poems and songs. I thought I would start with The Beatles Song - Blackbird.

I prepped the page using gesso and then stamped the song words (GPP), there was some remaining blue ink on the stamp from its last use and the gesso removed this ink. I then stamped the ravens and glued down the song lyrics.

I liked the look of the page, but it looked too clean and bright to me, so I thought I would darken it a bit. I added some black acrylic paint in patches and it looked a bit better, but I thought I would add some gesso over the top to tone it down. Patience is a virtue that I don't seem to be endowed with at the moment ... I muddied the whole thing. I'm not sure if it can be rectified, I might just have to live with this one, but I have learnt rule 1. let gesso and paint dry completely before adding another layer

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I posted the other day about LK's new challenge to share a favourite song. I will away on the day that we are sharing, so I'm posting this a little bit early. Well, I couldn't choose just one song to share, so I have picked four of my favourites. Enjoy!

The Beatles - Blackbird

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Black bird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
all your life
you were only waiting for this moment to be free

Blackbird fly, Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night.

Blackbird fly, Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise,oh
You were only waiting for this moment to arise, oh
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Angel - Sarah McLachlan

Spend all your time waiting
For that second chance
For a break that would make it okay
There's always some reason
To feel not good enough
And it's hard at the end of the day

I need some distraction
Oh beautiful release
Memories seep from my veins
Let me be empty
Oh and weightless and maybe
I'll find some peace tonight

In the arms of the angel
Fly away from here
From this dark cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear

You are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort here

So tired of the straight line
And everywhere you turn
There's vultures and thieves at your back
The storm keeps on twisting
Keep on building the lies
That you make up for all that you lack

It don't make no difference
Escaping one last time
It's easier to believe
In this sweet madness
Oh this glorious sadness
That brings me to my knees

In the arms of the angel
Fly away from here
From this dark cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear

You are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort here

You're in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort here

The Voyage - Christy Moore

I am a sailor, you're my first mate
We signed on together, we coupled our fate
Hauled up our anchor, determined not to fail
For the hearts treasure, together we set sail

With no maps to guide us we steered our own course
Rode out the storms when the winds were gale force
Sat out the doldrums in patience and hope
Working together we learned how to cope

Life is an ocean and love is a boat
In troubled water that keeps us afloat
When we started the voyage, there was just me and you
Now gathered round us, we have our own crew

Together we're in this relationship
We built it with care to last the whole trip
Our true destination's not marked on any charts
We're navigating to the shores of the heart

Angels - Robbie Williams

I sit and wait
Does an angel contemplate my fate
And do they know
The places where we go
When we're grey and old
'cos I have been told
That salvation lets their wings unfold
So when I'm lying in my bed
Thoughts running through my head
And I feel the love is dead
I'm loving angels instead

And through it all she
offers me protection
A lot of love and affection
Whether I'm right or wrong
And down the waterfall
Wherever it may take me
I know that life won't break me
When I come to call she won't forsake me
I'm loving angels instead

When I'm feeling weak
And my pain walks down a one way street
I look above
And I know I'll always be
blessed with love
And as the feeling grows
She breathes flesh to my bones
And when love is dead
I'm loving angels instead

And through it all she
offers me protection
A lot of love and affection
Whether I'm right or wrong
And down the waterfall
Wherever it may take me
I know that life won't break me
When I come to call she won't forsake me
I'm loving angels instead

And through it all she
offers me protection
A lot of love and affection
Whether I'm right or wrong
And down the waterfall
Wherever it may take me
I know that life won't break me
When I come to call she won't forsake me
I'm loving angels instead

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Little More Sharing

I went to every blog on the Day of Sharing Words blog list - I found some beautiful poems, quotes, images and people. I left messages for some that truly moved me, but the list was so extensive, I settled for just reading most. So if you are reading this thank you for sharing your favourite words. LK has issued another challenge this time it is:

Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought. E.Y. Harburg

The idea: Songs can move us to places we haven't been in a long time, places we long for every day, or places we some day hope to be. The combination of music and poetry can transport us across distances, and through the years. While we listen, perhaps we grin wildly, or are moved to tears. We all have songs that are "ours" in our very hearts. We have songs that touch us, move into our hearts and resonate, creating a feeling, taking us some place- past, present, future- perhaps some place we have never been and may never go, but for whatever reasons, the song sings for us.

Meeting new music, musicians, composers, poets, new ways for my soul to sing, is an intruiging concept. Want to go on this adventure with me? It will be easy to travel along.
Many of us already do this sharing; this idea is just to help us find each other and hear the words we have to share.

The Date: Wednesday, December 3.

The Plan: on your blog, post a song that moves inside you, touches you, reaches you. You can do any or all of the folowing:
link to a youtube video (done as you would normally post a link)
link to itunes or amazon for a sample of the song
embed the youtube clip (instructions here)
post just song lyrics
post multiple songs, if you can't choose just one.

Then: Include the composer and/or musician and source (book, album). Perhaps also include the amazon or itunes link if there is one. no explanation required, no other revelation necessary.

One last thing- Perhaps add an image. a photo. a video. a painting. a collage., if you would.
Come here to this post.
Add a comment with your link.

I'll create a typepad page with the links, so others can hear the song, see the image and share in the experience.

The Request:
If you are intrigued enough, post on your blog about this Day of Sharing Song. Link to this post.

Send an email to encourage your friends to post.

Pass along this info to any groups in which you participate.

Who couldn't use a few new songs in their hearts?



Saturday, November 22, 2008

I was surfing around the blogs when I happened upon the blog - The Poetic Eye - by LK Ludwig. It's been a while since I have visited LK's blog, but I will be bookmarking it to visit more regularly. She challenged her readers to post to their blog a poem, a quote or a song that spoke to them, along with an image; and then share that post on the comments at her blog. Below is my contribution. To see other contributions click here.

Hope is the thing...

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

- Emily Dickinson

Friday, October 31, 2008

Flower Mandalas

These mandalas were created in Pattern Pie using photos of roses,
flowers and plants from my garden.

This image is one of my favourites, it reminds me of a celtic cross.

More Mandalas

These mandalas were created with Pattern Pie using the following photos of our car damage /repair.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mandala Play

I've been a member of the yahoo group The Art of the Mandala for quite a while, I read all the emails that I get, and admire the photos that are in the group files, but I have yet to post my introduction. Someone posted that they had used the Pattern Pie Program, so I went and downloaded the demo had a play and I was hooked, so I had to buy the program. Here are some of my experiments from today.

Friday, April 25, 2008

A mandala for Steph

Thursday, April 24, 2008

65 Roses

Michelle Ward has asked visitors to her blog today to leave good wishes for her sister Shannon who is in hospital having treatment for Cystic Fibrosis. (To send your thoughts to Shannon check out Michelle's blog) I have been having so much fun with the mandalas that I decided to create one for Michelle and Shannon.

The mandala was created in photoshop using a photo of a rose from Mum's rose garden. Here's the original photo.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New Mandalas

I have been having playing with Photoshop and manipulating some personal images to create these mandalas. I hope you enjoy loooking at them as much as I enjoyed creating them.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Carving Capers!

In my enthusiasm to make a start on this crusade, I turned the studio upside down looking for my lino cutting tools - we've still got boxes that we're unpacking (nearly 5 months after moving in - you can't rush these things!)I didn't find the tools but I found some scraps of lino and decided to make a shadow stamp for my anatomy stamp - a la Michelle - I stamped the image onto the lino and cut it out using a scalpel. I inked it up, it looked ok, so I stamped it. Then I inked the head and stamped over the 'shadow', something just didn't look right. I sat and looked at the stamps and the stamped image. It took a little while for me to figure it out the 'shadow' is a mirror image of the stamp, so it has created a reverse image rather than a shadow. So while I'm back to square one, I do have a silhoutte of a head stamp!

I went into town this morning to try and buy a carving block, with no joy - This is the bit that I am finding difficult living in a small country town, 8 hours from the city - I guess I'm just going to have to order what I need online. Stay tuned for future progress.

Monday, March 03, 2008

It's crusade time again - you know how much I love Michelle Ward's GPP Street Team Crusades - This month's crusade is Cut It Out - Make a tool of your own. Michelle is challenging us to create our own tools either carving our own rubber stamps or creating a custom stencil. Now I haven't created a stencil before, so I'm looking forward to Michelle's hints and tips

I have tried creating my own stamps and lino prints before, here are some pics:


Triskele or Celtic Spiral

Phoenix rising from the flames.

Thanks to Michelle for the great ideas, I'm inspired to hunt out my tools and carve some stamps.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Here are some more Journal Pages that I have created with my journal kit. Thanks to Michelle for the great idea - I haven't had a chance to travel with it yet, but I have to travel for work in the next few weeks so it will be coming with me!

The photo didn't quite work out for this page, the frame and words came from a magazine and I used a piece of foil to create the mirror.

Don't forget to check out the blogs of other GPP Street Team members for some great journal kit and journaling ideas.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


My first journal page completed with my new journaling kit. A lot of it is text, but I was brainstorming ideas for this project.

This month Michelle Ward's crusade is to create a journaling kit, so that you can journal on the go. This is a great idea for me, especially when I have to travel for work. To have a kit that I can just grab and it has everything that I need in it.

I'm using a scrapbooking tote, that I don't use for scrapbooking 'cause I have too much stuff. It's just the right size to hold my pencils, and my journal fits in it too if I need to, but it's a bit of a squeeze.

What's in the kit - a glue stick, sharpies, prismacolors, journaling words, scissors, stamp pad and stamps. I'm also checking out all the other street teamers kits for ideas of things to add to the kit.
p.s. thanks to the street teamer who explained how to use the hyperlink on blogger - it has made life so much easier!

I made a start on my altered book today - I made the front cover - it doesn't have a front door yet, Ineed a hinge to attach it. I'm happy with the progress so far.
Yes, I found the stamps that I couldn't find yesterday, in a box that I'm sure I checked about three times yesterday.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Little Houses and Altered Book

I've joined an altered book round robin with Colette and a group of other Australian artists titled Sense of Place, the idea was based on Angela Cartwright and Sarah Fishburn's book In This House. So far I have constructed my book.

I'm not sure how I'm going to bind it yet, or for that matter how I am going to alter it. I think I am going to use the Raven/crow/black bird theme, if only I could find my raven stamps that I bought from Michelle Ward. You would think after 4 months in a new house you might be unpacked - not in this house!

Since I was playing around with the house theme - I created a row of little houses. Decorated using vintage ruler paper. It was just a bit of fun but I'm happy with how they have turned out.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

An Interview with Eric Maisel author of The Van Gogh Blues - The Creative Person's Path through Depression

M: Eric, can you tell us what The Van Gogh Blues is about?

E: For more than 25 years I’ve been looking at the realities of the creative life and the make-up of the creative person in books like Fearless Creating, Creativity for Life, Coaching the Artist Within, and lots of others. A certain theme or idea began to emerge: that creative people are people who stand in relation to life in a certain way—they see themselves as active meaning-makers rather than as passive folks with no stake in the world and no inner potential to realize. This orientation makes meaning a certain kind of problem for them—if, in their own estimation, they aren’t making sufficient meaning, they get down. I began to see that this “simple” dynamic helped explain why so many creative people—I would say all of us at one time or another time—get the blues.

To say this more crisply, it seemed to me that the depression that we see in creative people was best conceptualized as existential depression, rather than as biological, psychological, or social depression. This meant that the treatment had to be existential in nature. You could medicate a depressed artist but you probably weren’t really getting at what was bothering him, namely that the meaning had leaked out of his life and that, as a result, he was just going through the motions, paralyzed by his meaning crisis.

M: Are you saying that whenever a creative person is depressed, we are looking at existential depression? Or might that person be depressed in “some other way”?

E: When you’re depressed, especially if you are severely depressed, if the depression won’t go away, or if it comes back regularly, you owe it to yourself to get a medical work-up, because the cause might be biological and antidepressants might prove valuable. You also owe it to yourself to do some psychological work (hopefully with a sensible, talented, and effective therapist), as there may be psychological issues at play. But you ALSO owe it to yourself to explore whether the depression might be existential in nature and to see if your “treatment plan” should revolve around some key existential actions like reaffirming that your efforts matter and reinvesting meaning in your art and your life.

M: So you’re saying that a person who decides, for whatever reason, that she is going to be a “meaning maker,” is more likely to get depressed by virtue of that very decision. In addition to telling herself that she matters and that her creative work matters, what else should she do to “keep meaning afloat” in her life? What else helps?

E: I think it is a great help just to have a “vocabulary of meaning” and to have language to use so that you know what is going on in your life. If you can’t accurately name a thing, it is very hard to think about that thing. That’s why I present a whole vocabulary of meaning in The Van Gogh Blues and introduce ideas and phrases like “meaning effort,” “meaning drain,” “meaning container,” and many others. When we get a rejection letter, we want to be able to say, “Oh, this is a meaning threat to my life as a novelist” and instantly reinvest meaning in our decision to write novels, because if we don’t think that way and speak that way, it is terribly easy to let that rejection letter precipitate a meaning crisis and get us seriously blue. By reminding ourselves that is our job not only to make meaning but also to maintain meaning when it is threatened, we get in the habit of remembering that we and we alone are in charge of keeping meaning afloat—no one else will do that for us. Having a vocabulary of meaning available to talk about these matters is a crucial part of the process.

M: Could you explain more about the importance of creating a life plan sentence/statement?

E: If you agree to commit to active meaning-making, you need to know where to make your meaning investments, both in the short-term sense of knowing what to do with the next hour and in the long-term sense of knowing which novel you are writing or which career you’re pursuing. Having a life purpose statement or life plan statement in place serves as an ongoing reminder of the sorts of meaning investments that you intend to make, both short-term and long-term, and helps you make the right “meaning decision” about where to spend your capital and how to realize your potential.

M: You list a number of core questions relating to creativity and making meaning in our lives. Do you feel that over time we will alternate between which question applies to us? Or is finding one question that applies to an artist is permanent, not changing over time?

E: There is no one question, just as there is no one meaning. The meaning-making process is a process of constant re-evaluation and ongoing analysis as we not only provide answers to our own questions but also provide ourselves with the right questions. For one period of time the questions may center on productivity, creativity, career, and the like, and during another period of time they may center on relationships, service, and the interpersonal sphere. Even on a single day, we might switch from asking ourselves one sort of question (about what project to tackle) to asking ourselves another sort of question (about how to help our addicted child or what to do about a community problem). Meaning shifts; and so do the questions that we pose to ourselves about how to make and maintain meaning.

M: What I hear you saying is that when creative people in particular maintain a connection to their mission or purpose (you call it a Life Purpose Statement in VGB), a connection to the value of their work, and their own value as creative people in the culture, they will be stronger in their work and in their lives. Is that a fair way to put it?

E: Yes. Even before you can make meaning, you must nominate yourself as the meaning-maker in your own life and fashion a central connection with yourself, one that it more aware, active, and purposeful than the connection most people fashion with themselves. Having some ideas about purpose is not the same as standing in relationship to yourself in such a way that you turn your ideas about purpose into concrete actions. Self-connection—understanding that you are your own advocate, taskmaster, coach, best friend, and sole arbiter of meaning and that no one else can or will serve those functions for you—is crucial.

M: You mention that intimacy and personal relationships are as important to alleviating depression as are individual accomplishments. What is the link between the two and are they forged in similar ways?

E: It is important that we create and it is also important that we relate. Many artists have discovered that even though their creating feels supremely meaningful to them, creating alone does not alleviate depression. If it did, we would predict that productive and prolific creators would be spared depression, but we know that they have not been spared. More than creating is needed to fend off depression, because we have other meaning needs as well as the need to actualize our potential via creating. We also have the meaning need for human warmth, love, and intimacy: we find loving meaningful. Therefore we work on treating our existential depression in at least these two ways: by reminding ourselves that our creating matters and that therefore we must actively create; and by reminding ourselves that our relationships also matters, and that therefore we must actively relate.

M: Do you find any difference between creative media in how the process of losing meaning can happen? Do painters and writers or musicians and actors have a substantially different experience, or is the core of the experience the same?

E: There are many angles to this question, but let me focus on just two. Visual artists often produce one-of-a-kind products and have a hard time finding it meaningful that just one person will own that product, whereas writers can reach multiple “customers” with their creations. So the visual artist has to make personal sense of this issue and figure out how to let it “still be meaningful” that her painting may end up on the wall of a doctor’s waiting room or as one among many paintings in a collector’s back room. On an entirely different note, re-creative artists like actors and musicians often have to deal with the feeling that they are “only” serving the meaning needs of others—the composer, the screenwriter, the director—and often decide that they must also create as well as re-create: put on a one-woman show, put out an album of their own music, etc. These are just a few of the differences that arise among the different genres and disciplines.

M: In VGB you mention some of the difficulties that can occur in creative communities when creators attempt to come together and connect with one another. You also refer to "marvels of relating," a phrase I love. What are some steps we can take to improve our chances of giving and receiving these "marvels of relating" within creative community?

E: The most important internal movement is toward the belief that other people exist and that other people count. It is very easy to drift from taking sole responsibility for your meaning-making efforts, which is good thing, to a grandiose, arrogant, selfish, and narcissistic place where “only you count.” On the other side of the coin, if you grew up in an environment where the messages you received were about being seen and not heard, about blending in and not standing up for yourself, and so on, then you need to find the courage to stand up for yourself, to maintain healthy boundaries, and to exert your power as the meaning-maker of your own life. One artist may have as his central task treating others better; another artist may have as her central task standing up taller.

M: I found the chapter Braving Anxiety to be very compelling. In particular procrastination and its relation to anxiety. Can you explain how anxiety and procrastination can be debilitating to a creative person?

E: Because creating tends to make us anxious—and it does, by virtue of the fact that it is more anxiety-provoking to go into the unknown than to stay in the known and more anxiety-provoking to demand excellence from ourselves than to do things which are more ordinary—we react as people react when they get anxious: they avoid the anxiety-inducing situation. If you fear flying, you stay far away from the airport; if painting makes you anxious, you stay away from the studio. You may not know that this is why you haven’t gotten to the studio for three months—but it likely is. The anxiety produces the avoidance and we fail to get our work done. The answer is to recognize the place of anxiety in the process and not let a little anxiety keep us from working. We bravely work anyway; and we use our anxiety management tools, like a little deep breathing, to help us dispel any anxiety that wants to well up.

M: In the chapter Sounding Silence you discuss Negative Self-Talk and it's role in meaning crises, do you think as creatives we sabotage ourselves and our abilities?

E: Yes, all the time. We are continually saying things to ourselves (though often just out of earshot) like “It’s too late for me” or “There’s too much competition” or “I don’t really have what it takes.” These negative thoughts need to be heard and disputed, and then more affirmative thoughts need to be substituted. More insidiously, as we are tricky creatures and because we don’t want to know to what extent we are disappointing ourselves by not creating, we couch our negativity in language that sounds true but that really isn’t. Today, the two most common phrases of this sort are “I’m too busy” and “I’m too tired.” We say these things because we know that they have enough grains of truth in them that we can believe them without examining them too closely. If we want to change this dynamic, we need to begin to say things to ourselves like “I’m very busy, but not too busy to spend twenty minutes on my novel.” In this way we honor the truth of our situation while at the same time not avoiding our existential responsibilities.

M: You write about the difference between busyness and action. Could you give my readers a sample of the self-talk an artist needs to being thinking when she steps boldly into action?

E: The first step is to completely stop—not to slow down but to completely stop. Learning how to do this (and it isn’t easy, especially in our culture that promotes speed, fracture, and a short attention span) makes all the difference in a creative person’s life, as internal busyness is completely eliminated if in fact you actually stop, quiet your mind, and allow yourself to calmly grow present. The self-talk is exactly “I am completely stopping,” followed by the idea that you intend to calmly create without worrying about outcomes—that you are just intending to be present and to do your work. If a doubt or a worry intrudes, you dispute it by saying “I’m not interested in that doubt” or “I reject that worry,” return yourself to deep silence, and continue “just working.”

M: When she feels the blues descending, what questions could an artist ask herself to locate the source of her discontent?

E: A medical work-up is a good idea, especially if her depressions in the past have been severe or long-lasting, as the coming depression might possibly be avoided with antidepressants (if it the “right” sort of depression). She can also engage in some simple “home remedies”: exercise is a depression-fighter, as is getting out in the sun. From an existential point of view, what she wants to ask herself is if her current creative work matters to her—if at some level it doesn’t, she will need to reinvest meaning in it by telling herself that she and it do matter; or, if she can’t imbue it with meaning, she will need to turn to other, more meaningful work.

M: What might a person interested in these issues do to keep abreast of your work?

E: They might subscribe to my two podcast shows, The Joy of Living Creatively and Your Purpose-Centered Life, both on the Personal Life Media Network. You can find a show list for The Joy of Living Creatively here and one for Your Purpose-Centered Life here. They might also follow this tour, since each host on the tour will be asking his or her own special questions. Here is the complete tour schedule. If they are writers, they might be interested in my new book, A Writer’s Space, which appears this spring and in which I look at many existential issues in the lives of writers. They might also want to subscribe to my free newsletter, in which I preview a lot of the material that ends up in my books (and also keep folks abreast of my workshops and trainings). But of the course the most important thing is that they get their hands on The Van Gogh Blues!—since it is really likely to help them.

Journal your Blog

Here are a couple more of my pages from my GPP Street Team Journal.
This journal spread - Crusade number 15 - Where in the world - is for this blog post.

This journal spread - Crusade number 12 - Crush on You - from this blog post.

It's Crusade Time Again!

For this month's crusade, Michelle is encouraging us to journal our blog. Taking one (or more) of our blog posts and journaling about them - creating evidence. (I don't know where she keeps coming up with these ideas - amazing!) Belinda Schneider showed her journal spread in her GPP Crusade Journal - Now there was an idea that I could use.

So here we are, I've created a GPP Street Team Crusade Journal - All Crusade blog posts are to be recorded HERE.

I'm starting now but I'll go back and journal all of the crusades that I've participated in.

Thanks for the great ideas guys!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ok I admit that I am a lazy blogger, I haven't posted in nearly a month. To see what we have been up to check out our family blog
Next week I am hosting Eric Maisel as part of his blog tour for the re-release of his book The Van Gogh Blues.