Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Wednesday gratitude

This week I am grateful for....

A little boy who is suddenly very firmly on his hands and knees..

Charcoal...forgotten how fun it is.....thanks Misty Mawn and Pauline Agnew

Incorporating my online art coursework with home ed mornings, so fun and beautiful to create together and have fun.

My weekly organic veg order, delivered to my door in boxes and bags, a cheap and convenient way to feed seven hungry people three (and more) times a day.  (I nearly missed the deadline this morning which is why I'm particularly grateful!1)

A path. My darling made this to replace the mud and carpet which have been excusing themselves as a path since we opened up a blocked door as our new entrance. We turned our old entrance into a bedroom for our German student.

Living in a dilapidated mansion where there are such things as blocked up doors and tudor dining halls and a myriad of old staircases, corridors, cellars and crumbling wonders.

The sun

My son's passion for photography which is his guiding light right now

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Wednesday Gratitude

I think the universe is challenging this new gratitude space of mine. My first Wednesday...and one of those days which is so eye poppingly full of tiny challenges, huge challenges and enormous  tests of patience.
In my regular way I could chronicle this quite entertaining catalogue of domestic tribulations (I must just mention cat vomit as the grand finale..)


I won't.

I sigh, and breathe out and thank, thank...myself first for remembering to use my skills of listening to divert and soothe a major melt down at a home education group

I am grateful....... for this space here which reminds me to practice being grateful.

                      ........... for the beautiful gardens around me, and the food they produce.

                      ...........for our chickens, the girls have started their spring egg laying with a great fervour, such a treat to hold warm eggs on a frosty morning

                       ...........for the chance to paint and create again, this time with Misty Mawn and her Full Circle online course,

                      ..........for getting to make a handmade art journal for my course with the kids, and its also home ed.

                       ..........For the new climbing club they attend tomorrow which they love and means I get to hang out and drink coffee with some cool mamas and discuss inspiring stuff while Finch naps.

                        .........For sugar free apricot and carob bars, a tasty new recipe which Tansy can eat.....and everyone likes.

                          .......for having a nursing baby which makes me sit down in the middle of the day.....a big exhale several times a day.

                           ....this music which I bought at our table top sale today at the home ed group, and which dramatically improved the atmosphere at our vomit notwithstanding

Well I already feel better would have been easy to slip into a moany evening.....

And I'm grateful for you reading this! Of course!

What are you grateful for?

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Blooming True


This is what I have been between . In the little moments. The tiny hours where a baby
might sleep for a moment, the hour where a child might play, a teen might be at school, when I am between jobs, between needs, slipping between the marching daily hours to feed myself...more nourishing than food...

Twenty five years ago, I  was told not to pursue art at school because, 'only thick kids do art'. Really. My dear physics teacher, thanks Mr. W, uttered these fateful words, backed up by....well everyone apart from my Art teacher and me actually. We were both pretty keen. But my keenness, my love, the light which sparked in my belly every time I stood in front of a row of pencils, pastels, paints in an art supply shop;  the way in which everything else faded away when I was immersed in drawing or creating, well it wasn't tough enough to fight. I wasn't tough.
 I let myself be pulled away 'don't waste your brains you could do anything...languages, sciences...that's what you need'
'Keep a little sketch book if you have to be really up there to do anything in art...'.

'Birds..' nearly finished!!

And so I was 'good' sailing (academically) through the rest of school with an ache every time I stood at the door of the Art room and saw my friends printing painting, sculpting and sketching...
Since then, I've drawn..a little bit, painted, a little bit...made birthday cards, and then......

Well I discovered, via the inspiring Lucy Pearce at Dreaming Aloud , someone who could help. Someone who could help release the good girl syndrome which held me back, stifled my creativity, made me think I couldn't, shouldn't, perhaps just wasn't meant to. Someone inspiring, joyful and life affirming and full of joyous colour and soulfu,l beautiful art.

I enrolled on a Bloom True course     with Flora Bowley.   A brave move for someone with a two month old baby...but a blessed move, an inspired move, the right move.

I hesitated before enrolling...should I spend the money, could I commit the time.....Flora posts six in depth posts every week for five weeks....
The answer was YES!!
"Light Trio"   48" x 60", acrylic on canvas
Flora Bowley 2011

For the first time in my life I felt free when I painted, free from self doubt, self criticism, free from 'shoulds' and free to paint from a place of intuition and playfulness.

Sneaking up to my bedroom with Finch every moment I could, to my makeshift studio by the window I layered glorious colour  upon colour, inspired by Flora's daily lessons which encouraged me to let go, be brave and let my intuition be my guide.

"Unfolding Light"   48" x 48", acrylic on canvas
                 Flora Bowley 2012                    

  More than just a painting course, Bloom True encourages the participants to find their own voice, their true, and authentic intuitive and courageous voice, in art and in life.

Through professionally shot videos we were led through the progression of two large paintings from start to finish, interspersed with studio exercises, instagram prompts, and  daily encouragement and tips on painting and life.

For me the course was worth every penny....the magic happened on the canvas as I built up layer upon layer of paint, not planning, or thinking too much just doing what felt right in the moment and trusting that was right.


There is a Facebook group to share work and thoughts, and now, months after the course has finished, many of us are still posting and supporting each other in the group. It has become a very special forum for sharing artwork and advice about not only painting but how our lives have been affected by this adventure in colour.

We all have our journeys...our damaged, joyous, painful and beautiful lives. A vibrant, loving and graceful spirit sings and paints among us; and healing and magic is happening even now as we continue to paint and create and share in our group. Art helps me heal. It helps me grow in confidence when people actually talk of buying my work.

When I started the course, one of the first exercises was to do some journaling and set intentions for the five week program. My first instinctive thought was to create something of what Lily has left me. Her love and joy and the feeling that I must not waste my life. It seems wrong to shy away from my longings, it seems wrong to be fearful of trying things which I burn to do...not wrong but somehow a waste. We are all designed to shine, we were not created to hide and apologise.


 Lily's seven short beautiful years mean so much, and I have learnt so much since her death that I realise that I must start shining, with her light and with mine.

Being brave was the theme for the fourth week of painting with Flora and probably the hardest for me. Always the 'good' girl, doing what I think is felt so liberating to do what I wanted and to find ways to know what it is I want.

Flora Bowley's e course has changed the way I paint and helped me take a giant step forward on my path in life,  and I wholeheartedly recommend Bloom True course, the next one starts on Feb 10th....sign up you won't regret it!

This post contains affiliate links as I support Flora's work and want to share it with you.....

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Life Loss and Gratitude

I don't quite know why I've abandoned this space for so long. Its grey windswept corridors blown about with tumbleweed and debris . Life comes and life goes, blown by the wind, warmed by the sun watered by the (near continual )rain. People are born, people die, days are passed and tempers are lost. Love is found and divided out in slices, the Christmas tree is  down. Its the end its the beginning. I have no time.
I have little shards of time, tiny splinters which glitter like hard won jewels dug from a deep mine far away on a lost continent. I have to be as creative, flexible and bending with my time as a serpent. So flexible. So creative

A week ago an enormous church in our town was filled with people: remembering the life of a creative, generous, gentle man who spread singing across the world, a member of the community I live in. A ceremony of singing, sighing laughing, remembering. Sometimes, I barely managed to coordinate the keeping -everyone- occupied activities of finger knitting, French knitting and nursing nursing a teething, wildly possetting baby, child fights and demands, ...all in a whisper; sometimes I was  engulfed in a wave of tears with the vast singing community of people who will miss him;

The songs we learned. Dance between the practicalities of caring for children in a reverent space, and moments of immersion when they disappeared to play upstairs.When someone dies it is as if everyone who has died is present too, a shimmering haze, amongst us and beyond us. Joyful and sorrowful, entwined, woven into the same cloth. There were certainly angels there.

And life on either side is full, a blurred juggle of endless food preparation..(We have gained another teenager for twelve weeks, taking the head count to seven, a German exchange student) converting our entrance hall into his bedroom; Christmas quilts hurriedly finished, New Year clear outs and purging. My bedroom especially, a growling lair of unsorted papers, half finished weaving, sewing and knitting projects, bags and bags of children's clothes which need rationalizing reducing cleaning...throwing out.

Did I mention the rain?

You see I can be a moaner, a grumbling whinging oh its not fair kind of gal....ask my partner if you don't believe me....he gets the worst of it....

So my intention is to be simply grateful.  Hmm its becoming a bit of a trend isn't it? Gratitude Fridays, Thankful Thursdays........ no blog complete without one.

Well maybe it works.

Finding just one teeny tiny thing each day to be grateful for, in between all the challenges, demands and whines of life can become a habit, and even grow. Stopping to notice the watery sun appearing outside as I complete the fifth round of washing up today, or the delicate tracery of Jack Frost's fern magic on the windows as I shiver to the bathroom. Pausing to watch just how Finch can now pursue a favourite rattle with his eye, and make attempts to retrieve it, and how Tansy appeared unasked with a full basket of clean laundry hauled up from the cellar wash room 'because I knew you needed it Mum, and were busy.'

 Little things.
Important things.
Things that make me smile relax and BREATHE.
Slow down.
Feel a moment of love, a moment of Connection...With the sun. With Jack Frost. With Finch. With Tansy. It spreads...its contagious....before I know it I've noticed something else, someone else. A hug a look a smile, ahh it all seems better for a moment.

Gratitude. The only question remains...which day will I post? Today!!
So, every Wednesday, its gratitude day, and I will post my daily gratitudes from the week

What are you grateful for? Do feel  post a link to your blog if you feel moved to join in