Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Heart of England

A week here in the rolling Cotswolds, only an hour from home is very inspirational. Time to paint and inspiration to stitch.

A week in the country...a year of work ahead!

Monday, 21 April 2014

Dover's Hill

Rolling honey coloured countryside. 
Butterscotch buildings
The sound of new lambs
Little voices 
Carried by the breeze.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Less is more

A small cottage
A box of paints
Warmth and sustenance
All that are required

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Flights of Fancy

Flights of Fancy

acrylic on canvas 24" x 20"
my thoughts have lain with painting
significant imagery
strident colour
we had no monotone this winter
no snow
no ice
and now the colours are lively

Friday, 14 February 2014

Thoughts on flitting from task to task

Zen Habits message

Working on this 

I know I’m losing focus when I’m constantly jumping around from task to task.

This is a “red flag” for me — a sign that I’m doing something wrong. You’ve done it too: switching from one browser tab to another, opening various emails and other messages, checking on this and that. No focus, lots of stress, lots of mental exhaustion without really getting anything done.

It means that I’ve lost myself in a chain of endless distraction, and am not truly conscious of what I’m doing.

When this red flag shows itself, I have a few simple solutions:

  1. Assess what’s important. What should I really be working on right now? I know it’s not the million little things. It’s something big that I’m probably avoiding. Often this means taking a step back to re-examine my priorities.
  2. Simplify. Constant switching often means I’m overloaded. I’ve taken on too much. I need to let go of the idea that I’m going to get everything done, and just focus on what I can really get done today. That might mean emailing or calling people to tell them I can’t do something today (or this week). I let go of tasks or projects, decide they’re not important and cross them off my list or put them on a “later” list that I’ll look at next week. Simplifying helps me to find focus again.
  3. Clear everything. If I have a task to focus on, I like to clear all tabs or close the browser and anything else that I don’t need to be doing right now. And just have the one task in front of me. This makes a huge difference. When you limit your options, you really get good at sticking to what’s there.
  4. Stay with the moment. Often we get lost in rushing around between tasks. When I clear everything away, I try to stay with this task, and do my best to be mindful of my urges to go check on something or switch away to something more comfortable but less important. I am mindful of my thoughts, of my body responses to what I’m doing. This focus, then, becomes a mindfulness exercise.

The practice of simplifying, clearing things away and staying with what I’m doing is incredibly useful, and something I haven’t mastered yet.

In my experience, it’s a process of letting go, and accepting.

Letting go of all the little urges to be up-to-date, to be in-the-know, to do everything, to say yes to everything.

And accepting this present moment as it is, and staying with it.

This letting go and accepting, by the way, is the secret to happiness and peace. It’s worth practicing.

Here are some things I DID focus on recently:

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Taking a Stitch for a Walk

Whereas Picasso, Matisse, even Mondrian and Kandinsky concentrated on abstracting from perceived reality, Klee began with a point, extended it into a line and famously took it for a walk wherever it wished to go.

A day sent working with Yvonne Flavell was rather like the title of this post suggests. We worked with shading of thread in varying degrees from the bobbin. Liberating and a way I shall explore further in translation of the drawn mark to fabric.

Further exploration since Saturday:

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Working towards a house of Peace

The kind of life I'd like...

calm and happy

I am working to consider before any decision "will this action that I am considering get me closer to the kind of life I want to live or further from it?"

It's not always about the line of least resistance;
an easy trek in the wrong direction is ultimately harder than a steady uphill climb to the right destination.

Is peace merely the absence of war
or tranquility despite the conflict
contentment despite the imperfections?

Happiness is a choice
Acceptance of whatever arises
... and letting go

Thank you Timber Hawkeye for your input

Thank you to Smartie our cat for your example in "being".

Tuesday, 21 January 2014


Looking at what drives me.
At what it is all for.
What purpose?

Moving from productivity and end result
Into a place of productivity in process
Shifting the emphasis
Pleasure in learning the technique
and honing.

Honing being in the moment
In all the depth that it offers.
Into that infinite microcosm
that is the moment.

And the discovery that there is as much within as without.

Not what I do, but the intention with which I do it which is important
and the recognition of the significance
of my values
and nothingness lying within
and being OK with that.
Honing that.

... and thank you to Linda for your time and insight and Sally for your grace and insight. Thank you both for your strength. We are on a journey which is very significant. It requires no luggage.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Here and Now

So I've not blogged. Time has eluded me. Facebook seems quicker and more attractive when time is short but I resolve to check in here more as it seems more permanent than the transience of Facebook. 
Creating for sales before Christmas was fun and successful but ultimately now artistically creative and I needed to get back to that side of me after a well deserved break.
I've made some brooches this week for some orders, all of which have turned out very different and I have a lot more to come. I enjoyed using silk velvet in luscious colours and some hand dyed felt from Maryke Philips of "Batiks and Beads"

Also I have resolved to do more painting with an excursion into oil which will be a new venture. Some palette knives and extra paints arrived today in the post so I'm feeling itchy to get started.
In the mean time a little loosening up with some watercolour

And a bit of intuitive painting which I have never done before just to see what happened. This fell off my brush.
I was thinking of my friend; a meditating partner and it emerged. 
I often avoid painting as I usually work from life or landscape but use the wrong location or bad weather or this or that as an excuse. I enjoyed here just playing with paint and expressing so I will perhaps this will be a new modus operandum for the new year.

How a palette alone can make one drool!

A trip to the new birmingham library to see the stunning architecture was a real treat
And whilst I was there I had an urge for portraiture as I sat in an egg shaped chair observing people at study. This woman in her vivid head dress was so stunning
An inspirational trip to visit our friends in Cornwall is always a treat and seascapes will once again feature in my work this year

So happy new year to one and all. Keep peace in your hearts and compassion in your actions.

 I remind my self, with this post, to be mindful and wholly present wherever I can and to seek simplicity and integrity each day in what I do.