Sunday, 13 December 2015

Reflections, gratitude and a Giveaway!

If you are a regular reader of my blog, welcome back after a bit of a hiatus. If you are a new reader, welcome. Gratitude is the main theme of my blog, I aim to be in a constant state of gratitude, to live each day with an underlying attitude of gratitude, grateful for every day and each experience. In previous blog posts, I have spoken at length about why I do this and my daily practices that help keep me in this mindset.

I always like to take a moment every day and reflect on what is in my present moment that I am grateful for. When life's challenges invariably come up, I always try to balance the negative with acknowledging those people, circumstances and experiences that I have to be grateful for. So, to this end, today marks a day of reflection and immense gratitude, as well as my contribution to paying it forward and expressing my gratitude to others.

Today I reflect on all of the experiences I have had over the past 12 months and longer, all the new people I have met and all of the interactions with my friends and family.

This year held so much with the most significant, a month long adventure with my beloved, to the UK and France, experiencing different cultures, visiting beautiful castles and chateaux, learning so much about their history and way of life. We basked in the warmth of the British and French people, always welcoming, only to happy to show us another part of their beautiful countries. We lived in a 6th floor Paris apartment, imbibed with the locals in Paris at sidewalk cafes and ate pizza while sipping on wine by the banks of the river Seine, wandered through the Louvre, took in a sunset over Paris from halfway up the Eiffel tower and generally soaked up the Parisian culture. We drove from the bottom tip of England to the north of Scotland, immersed ourselves in the history of Kings and Queens, took in the spectacular scenery of the Scottish highlands, visited all the stone Circles I could and followed the Outlander trail.

Art wise, this year was so very fulfilling, my continuing art journal classes with a fantastic group of ladies, my foray into the world of You Tubing, and a continuing daily practice of Lunchtime Art Time. Acceptance in my local councils, Emerging Artists exhibition was a highlight and just last month, being accepted to hold month long exhibition in the Council Chambers at the end of next year means a busy but exciting 2016.

Last night I celebrated with my family and closest friends, sharing stories, laughing over old photos, and reflecting on our time together. All in all I consider myself blessed, lucky to live in such a beautiful country, surrounded by people that have and still enrich my life in so many ways. I am lucky to have made connections with people all over this vast planet and, while some I may never meet face to face, still share a bond and friendships that I cherish.

Today I turn 50 and what better way is there to celebrate than to give presents.

So to that end I am having giveaway today as a thank you to everyone who has taken time to sit and read my ramblings, as a way to spread the love and share positive energy, as a prompt for everyone to sit and reflect on what is important.

All you have to do is tell me what you are grateful for today. Leave a comment and in a few days I will draw a winner and send them something arty

****Thanks to everyone who entered, the giveaway is now closed but if you would still like to tell me your grateful thoughts please feel free to comment.***

thank you for your presence



Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Nurturing a daily creative practice

It's been a while my friends, too long really, but while life feels like it is passing by sometimes, it is good to just stop and take a breath and be present.

While I may not have been posting on my blog, I have been arting, teaching my monthly art journal classes, travelling to teach at an annual weekend art convention, and exhibiting and selling my work at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. I have also signed up for Book Of Days, Lifebook and the 30 Day Journal Project this year. Add to that a major house renovation, that I was project manager for and you have a busy year. Thankfully, the renovations are finished (and look fabulous) so it is time to get back to 'normal', whatever normal is.

It is so easy to get bogged down in daily running around, feeding the family, working a day job, getting caught up in the day to day running of a household that, sadly our creative practice is sometimes last on our list.

Personally, I sometimes struggle with spending time in my studio playing with no end in mind, no "product" to produce, just arting for me, without feeling guilty, selfish even. But you know what I remind myself every time I get in this mindset, is that without this art practice I am not nurturing myself, not honouring myself.

It is essential that we find "me" time every day, whether that be 15 minutes of creative expression, 15 minutes of quiet time with a cuppa and a good book, or whether that be 15 minutes walking out in nature.

Late last year I was hearing from a lot of people, myself included, that there is not enough time in the day to art so to that end I decided to find a way of making my creative practice a part of every day. A challenge, if you will, to make art part of my everyday, even if I have just 15 minutes. It is not to 'produce' anything, it is just to exercise my right brain, to keep the creative juices flowing, to banish the excuses that there is no time for art.

To this end I have been adopting a daily art practice, which I coined, Lunchtime Art Time.It started with a daily challenge between a friend and I. Each day we would take it in turns to post a prompt and by the end of the day we had to express that prompt on a page in any way we chose. For me I decided to challenge myself to make my creative practice portable and so packed up a little art box and started taking it to work.

Each lunch time I sit down with my travel art box and my handmade journal and loose myself in my art for half an hour. Most times, I end up with 15-20 minutes, most pages are very simple but they take me out of the daily grind and bring me peace, ground me and centre my mind into the present.

So, what do you think. What are your favourite supplies to go in your travel art kit? I would love to hear the essentials that you cannot live without and what you take when you travel.

  I would love for you to join me and make art a part of your daily life, so connect with me on Instagram and lets make some art. Click on the icon below to go to my Instagram page.
Follow me on Instagram

Until next time


Monday, 12 May 2014

Virtual Blog tour

My friend Louise Gale has asked me to participate in a virtual blog tour this week, something different from my usual posts, so pull up a chair and come in to my world for just a little bit on your way around this blogger-sphere.

1. What am I working on? 
Well right now this week, I am working on getting ready for my next art journal class which is a beginners guide to simple mandalas. I love doodling, it is portable, easy to leave and come back to, and easy to do.

I also love mandalas - for their meditative benefits, for the way I can loose myself in them, for the way they can get me out of a creative blank spot, so I incorporate the two and will be showing my students how to doodle their own and how to use them to ground and centre themselves, how to use them as a moving meditation to enhance their creativity and their inner peace.

Long term I am building up my body of work for next years Melbourne International Flower and Garden show which runs in March-April each year. Our art society True Blue Decorative Artists, have a section in the art sales exhibition and it is our one big opportunity to sell our artwork. 

I am pleased to say that I sold a few of my paintings this year so I'm in the planning stages of designing paintings for next year.   Here is part of a triptych that I have started.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

I think my art and teaching practices are unique because I combine different art forms and make them work for me. I take all my life's experiences and lessons learned to help me share my art with others. I combine doodling, art journaling, larger scale paintings, abstract and mixed media and my spiritual practices, my practice of gratitude and re-framing, to create a portrayal of who I am and where I am an any given moment; a snapshot of my inner world. I am drawn to bright strong colours and this is evident in my artwork.

In my teaching I believe that I allow others to express themselves in their own way. With my guidance and encouragement they are free to create something that is a representation of where they are on their journey. I encourage them to really step into their piece, whether it be an art journal spread  or a canvas. By being true to myself, I endeavour to create a safe environment where my students can be true to themselves.

3. Why do I write/create what I do? 

Without creating my art, I would be lost. Art and creativity are an integral part of my being and serve many positive purposes in my daily life. Art and creativity ground me, they help me express myself where words are not immediately forthcoming, they bring me immense joy, wonderful friendships and have given me a platform to share with others my love of art and the benefits of expressing yourself with paint. Basically I paint to feel fulfilled, to feel alive.

4. How does your writing/creating process work? 

I find that I often have ideas come to me in the car on the way to work, or at other times when I am not in the position to write them down. I am inspired by patterns in objects around me, whether man made or nature. I am inspired by colour combinations like the sunrise or sunset, like a pretty scarf or  the left over paint on my palette. I am a very visual person so I have a notebook that I write ideas down but sometimes this is not practical, so I am finding more and more that I use my phone to capture photos of what has inspired me and then save it as an Evernote note and jot bullet points as to what exactly made me take the photo. I can then look at it when I have time and expand on the notes later on. 
When I come to starting a new canvas I usually have photos that appeal to me at the time and either pick the subject or the colour combinations to start the painting. Sometimes it is totally random and I breathe in and out for a couple of minutes and then just intuitively grab the bottles of paint that I am drawn to.
When I art journal I often choose my colours based on my current mood. At other times I am inspired by a quote and sit and pick the colours on the feelings that the quote gives me and what colours I think represent that feeling.
I love taking progress shots and it helps a lot of the time to look at the photo when you have been staring at your canvas for a long time not knowing where to take it next. Also then you have all these delicious photos along the way to use later on. 

Next week the blog tour moves to the lovely Shelley Rydellie

On any given night you can find Michelle creating in her studio with her two cats – Willie and Johnny by her side. She loves art journaling, and always has numerous journals going at one time. Michelle loves to experiment, and believes that the best art comes from letting go and just playing. She finds inspiration in bright colors, animals, music and – well – everything!
Michelle lives in Minnesota, USA, with her husband Michael who keeps her laughing, and the aforementioned feline companions who keep them both entertained!

You can visit Michelle at her blog: Inspiration Everywhere

Please go and show her some love and check out her inspirational work and blog post next Monday

thanks for visiting my blog



Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Friendships and doodles

Just a quick post today to share the link for my latest post over at Your Heart Makes A Difference and some photos of my latest journaling and travels.

My latest post on Your Heart Makes a Difference went live today so if you would like to read my musings about friendships pay a visit to this heart-centred blog.

For the last 2 weeks I was camping near the beach,

a beautiful relaxing time to regroup, to gather my thoughts about the year ahead and reconnect with one of my greatest loves, the ocean.

I took a small kit of art supplies and a couple of journals with me. I found a great little plastic box with a handle and it perfectly housed my pots of twinkling h20's, small bottles of gesso and white paint, paint pens, pencils and black pens and an old store card.

This was the perfect place for me to get back to my doodling, an activity that you can pick up and put down at any time. You can spend minutes on each piece or play and doodle for hours.

With my limited art supplies I was also able to keep up with my Book of Days

as well as catching up with the Big Dreams, Small wonders ecourse that I am doing with Louise Gale.

How are you going with the courses and classes that you have signed up for this year?

As I listen to the rain falling heavily on my roof, I am reminded of the craziness of the weather at the moment and am so grateful that we are all safe and sound and hope you are as well.


Sunday, 26 January 2014


Firstly, I have my January post going live today on Your Heart Makes a Difference where I am talking about New Years Resolutions vs New Beginnings. I will have the link at the end of this post if you would like to head over and see what my thoughts are about that.

Each year I like to choose a word of the year, a word that is a quality or feeling I would like to cultivate, nurture and a word that I would like to live long after this year has ended.
This year my word is
This year my word came to me in a meditation, a quiet time of reflection that let me sit and really feel what my soul wanted me to learn this year. This year is a year to trust in myself, a year to trust in the universe, a year to trust that whatever journey I am on it is exactly where I am supposed to be. Sometimes it is hard to trust when you are faced with challenges but that is exactly the time to sit, reflect, meditate and listen to your intuition. It never lies. It is how you interpret it and, whether or not you listen to it, that really makes the difference.

After my meditation I sat down in my studio to create my first page in my Book of Days. 

 It is a great way to set the tone for the year when you actually do something to creatively express your word instead of just talking about it.

So, no on to the path I took to create this page.
I am using my favourite paints of the moment, Atelier Free Flow

I painted the entire spread with a watery layer of Cobalt Blue hue. Then I ripped up an old dictionary into strips and stuck them down with Atelier Gel Medium

I then glazed the entire spread with Pthalo Blue. While still wet, I sprayed lightly with a mist of water, let sit for a minute and then blotted off with paper towel

 I am really in love with the Quinacridone Magenta at the moment and so I glazed that all over the page too and made some marks with various tools using Cobalt Turquoise Light and Pthalo Blue

 How scrumptious does that look?

After this I got carried away with what I was doing and forgot to take photos but you can see I painted the face in glazes, wrote my words with a white Glaze pen and added dots of Titanium white.

So, what about you? Do you pick a word of the year and what do you do to record that?

I hope you'll go and visit me over at Your Heart Makes A Difference

Until next time


Sunday, 12 January 2014

2014 - A New Year, a Fresh Start

Happy New Year everyone. Are you looking forward to 2014?

After a very hectic, up and down 2013 I am looking forward to 2014, a fresh start, a year filled with love and laughter, a year of new beginnings........ and to that end I thought I would share some of the projects I have in my diary this year.

Firstly I am so excited and thrilled to share some exciting news. Last year I guest posted on the blog "Your Heart Makes a Difference" hosted by the lovely Louise Gale, which you can re-visit here. Well Louise has asked me to be a regular contributor to this wonderful uplifting blog on a monthly basis. I am delighted to be included in this group of awesome people and can't wait to post my first offering. In the meantime head on over to Louise's blog to read my intro and to find out more about the beautiful heart-centred musings that make up Your Heart Makes a Difference. My first post goes live on 26 January.

You know that I like to keep busy, trying out new ideas, participating in group art projects and learning and sharing as much as I can so here are the other projects that I have signed up for so far. Click on each title to be taken to the appropriate websites:-

Book of Days 2014 Session 1- hosted by Effy Wild

Well before the last BOD session of 2013 finished I signed up for the first session of 2014. I love Effy's processes and the whole Book of Days community are a welcoming, generous and loving group. My Book of Days has become my constant, my way to look back on my year/s and reflect on where I have been and how far I have come. With weekly videos and connection with the group you can't go wrong with this one.

Life Book 2014 - hosted by Tamara LaPorte

This is my first year in Life Book and to say I am excited is an understatement. I have heard so much about it that I can't wait to jump right in. With so many lessons from so many different teachers I know I will learn so much this year.

Big Dreams, Small Wonders - hosted by Louise Gale

This course is all about finding out what your hopes and dreams and ultimately your goals are for the year or years ahead. It runs for 6 weeks and is a lovely process of letting go of the past year and moving forward with love and grace.

  Your Heart Makes a Difference - hosted by Louise Gale

As I mentioned at the start of this post, This is the website where you can be inspired by Louise and the other contributors to live a heart-centred, creative life.

The Documented Life Project

This is another new project I have signed up for. It is free and it is a planner but so much more, with weekly prompts and a lot of inspiration for keeping a diary/planner/ art journal all in one.

Creative Jumpstart - hosted by Natalie Kalbach

A month long course which is full of videos and prompts to start your creative year off with a bang.
  • 23 videos from 21 artists, or over 3 1/2 hours of videos
  • A chance to win giveaways from the CJS sponsors
  • Participation in a lively community via the CJS forum
  • Access to all videos and CJS forum until November 2014

I am so excited and looking forward to everything that presents itself in 2014. Let's get going....

Monday, 11 November 2013

Day 1 - 10 Thirty Days of Gratitude and a Handmade cereal box journal

So a couple of days ago i showed you a little Gratitude journal that I had made out of a box and some cardstock. Today, as part of Louise Gale's 30 days of Gratitude and Effy's Sunday Swoon blog hop, I would love to show you the larger journal I made using a cereal box as a cover. I just love this ready made peep hole in the front cover. This journal was once again inspired by one that Jennibellie made. The link to the you tube video is here.

 First I carefully opened the box at the seams to lay it flat. I kept the flaps on the box until the end so I could use them as little pockets if I wanted to, but also as reinforcement for the outer edges of the cover. I cleaned up the edges where it was stuck together and gave it a good coat of gesso.
After this was dry I painted the background with Jo Sonja paints in Pthalo Blue and Aqua. Don't you just love these two colours together?

I then stenciled Pthalo Blue all over the cover with this lovely new stencil I just bought from Crafters Workshop.

then I laid the stencil in a different direction on the cover and stenciled again with Aqua and white

added a layer of stamping with Black Archival ink and then stenciled on some feathers with Rich Gold paint.
I glued a piece of scrapbook paper on the inside of the cover to reinforce it and the spine,

gathered my papers and made signatures out of them

punched some holes in the signatures and spine, bound with some linen thread coated in beeswax...

and there you have it, a journal made with a cereal box. I doodled around the letters with a Gold Signo pen and a Gelly Roll Clear Star pen as well as outlined the feathers in black Aqualip pen. I just have to add some beads to the dangling thread and I'm ready to use it.

I used various leftover scrapbook papers and various other types of papers that I had in my stash for the inside pages. This is a great way to use up those leftover scraps of paper or patterned paper that you bought ages ago but don't know what to do with now.
 They feel so good in my hand and I can't wait to use them, They are infused with so much positive energy that I know they will be a special keepsake for my thoughts.

So my Sunday Swoon is the feeling I had when I finished these lovely little journals.

I still have to finish some of the pages in my gratitude journal for the 30 days of gratitude so will share those at the end of the month. I'm off on a 10 hike across New Zealand next week so not sure if I can fit my journal in my backpack but I will try my best.

My gratitudes this week are
  • firstly for the host of wonderful artists that share so generously on you tube (thanks Jennibellie)
  • for my students that have come to all my classes this year. We had our last class for the year on Saturday and it was great. I have some great recipes to share in a future post.
  • for the time I am able to spend in my studio with my creative muse
  • for my family who unconditionally support my creative endeavours
  • for this beautiful place on earth that I live in
  • for my friends who I love to bits
  • today is Remembrance Day so a huge gratitude for our service men and women, past, present and future. 

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