Launch Event

I was invited to the launch event of an exhibition bring the book Lost Words by Jackie Morris and Robert MacFarlane to life at the Sill this week. I’d seen the book and have admired the images, but I hadn’t spent much time with the text.

The premise is that generations of children are growing up not knowing the names of things in nature, or being able to recognise them. That this knowledge has slipped out of existence and this book was created as a way of recapturing the magic, bringing these lost words back to life. Such words and natural living things as bramble, conker and fern.

I had the most enjoyable evening talking to fellow visitors as well as hearing some of the spells within the book being read aloud. It was inspiring so much so that I intended to link into the idea of lost words, and lost worlds as I return this weekend to the Sill to facilitate a storytelling session about the multicultural communities from ether past who lived and worked around Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland.

Fern

Fern’s first form is furled,
Each frond fast as a fiddle-head.
Reach, roll and unfold follows.
Fern flares.
Now fern is fully fanned.

Robert MacFarlane

January Reading

I didn’t set out into 2020 with a reading goal. I didn’t set any numbers but I did say I wanted to read more. Vague I know. And not the ‘proper’ way to set goals that you want to succeed at but at the time it was enough for me. And it’s been working.

January saw me curled up with actual books and the iPad sporting the kindle a lot more times than I felt I did at the back end of 2019. Could I say the whole of 2019? I’m not sure. Maybe my memory fails me here.

But the reading habit, the muscle memory of turning off all distractions and getting lost in a good book, fiction, non-fiction even poetry, seems weak in relation to the last couple of years to be honest.

Hopefully, with January now behind us, I can say that the drought is over as I hurtled through a number of books this month. I’m pretty proud of my numbers but also about how expanded I feel in terms of ideas and language and joy. The joy of reading has paid a long overdue visit and I want it to continue. So look forward to a monthly round up of books read each month. You might even find a book you’re interested in reading along the way.

I’ll list the books read and then give a review or details about just one of the books, as if I did it for all of them read this month, we’ll be here all day and come on, it’s the weekend.

Completed January books include:

1. Eat and Run- My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness – Scott Jurek ( started in December and completed at the beginning of January)

2. Turned Out Nice AgainOne Living with the Weather– Richard Mabey

3. Heavenfield – LJ Ross

4. Angel – LJ Ross

5. High Force – LJ Ross

6. Cragside – LJ Ross

7. Dark Skies – LJ Ross

8. Seven Bridges – LJ Ross

Ongoing January reading include;

1. The Last Wolf – Jim Crumley

2. Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert

3. Coastlines: The Story of Our Shore – Patrick Barkham

4. Blogging Basics For Authors – Nina Amir

Book review in the next post. Thanks.

Today’s Objective

Today’s objective was one thing and one thing only; to walk. I’ve been feeling as if I’m standing at the edge of a deep black hole and that my footing was slipping. I know I’ve been doing too much lately and have been feeling the burn. So I know where the feelings are coming from but that doesn’t make them any easier to deal with or hold at bay.

So I made a promise to myself today to put myself first. And walking was part of my self-care objective. Walking for miles is a good way to root me back into my body, back into my present and out of my head and worries and that black hole.

Over 10000, 10k and 1000 calories later, I also made the decision of taking another social media hiatus for February. I’ll continue with my #100daysofblogging here because I’ve made a commitment to myself. However, I need to spend some quality time alone with my own thoughts and dreams and as usual social media has become a distraction. I’m also feel as if I’m falling into that comparison trap again and when that starts to happen I know it’s time to depart.

So I’ve created a creative residency for the month of February at home. I’m dedicating the next month to following my creativity on whatever journey she wants to take me.

So the last day of January saw me listening within and paying attention and acting on what I felt. And I already feel so much better for it.

Of course this website is going to receive the benefit of a concentrated desire to share. Let’s see what await us!

Blogging Reflections: one

Over three weeks into my #100dayofblogging challenge; the aim to post something everyday for 100 days straight, and I’m looking for some space to reflect on the task so far.

I’ve not posted anything mind boggling, or life changing so far but I have been showing up. Maybe not showing up in my fullest capacity and maybe not showing up with much of a plan either but showing up I have. And I’m noticing a turn. A turn towards wanting to write more, especially poetry after a rather dry period there.

So that’s a good thing. I’m also thinking of the three quarters left to go of this challenge and what I want to see more of in the coming weeks.

First, I want to see more poetry( already mentioned that Sheree!) Maybe trying out different forms. Already been writing some haikus. I’ve got an itching to try haibuns again. Love them.

Next, I want to start a series. I started a series in relation to Black British Art and I want to continue with this with a focus on different Black British Artists who have influenced me or who I’m just finding out about. I’m excited about this as I’m feeding my creative pot in the process.

I also want to share a vlog or two regarding my working practice, especially regarding visual journalling as I think everyone should be doing this! Amazing results in terms of how you respond and treat yourself.

Other posts I’ve been thinking about have been lists, personal facts and fictions, ‘how to’ posts as well as sharing my daily routines, morning and evening and what a productive day looks like for me as a freelancer etc.

I hope you stick around for the ride as I’ve been enjoying it so far. Yes there are days when I can’t be bothered to show up here but when I do show up, I’m pushing on through the doubts and fears and tiredness and bringing something into existence that didn’t exist before. I think that’s cool and it’s a good enough reason to keep on showing up here too.

#onwards

Not making any promises but …

It’s nearly 5 years since I adopted a visual journalling practice for everything. My life and troubles. My dreams and creativity. My sanity. And the practice of using text and images and collages and paints and washi tape and anything really I can get my hands on has been life changing and empowering. Visual journalling brought me back from the brink. It’s been my safety blanket, my confidant, my cheerleader, my vision. Visual journaling has taken me to Iceland and retreats, national creative projects and inaugural residencies. I can’t promise this is what happens to you when you try it. I can’t promise the results you’ll feel and see when you sign up for the current offering from @olwen.wilson which is safe and guided visual journalling. The only thing I can say is that this practice will change your life and how you centre yourself within it. Check out @olwen.wilson and see what she’s offering. You will not be disappointed. #visualjournalling #visualjpurnal #creativepractice #iamdreaming #patience #compassion #selfcare #selflove #selfempowerment #emopweringwomen #creativeretreaticeland #icelandcreativeretreat #power #claimingmypower

Remembering the Fun

In December, I gave myself the task of painting practice. I started off with lines. It started well but I soon lost interest when I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted. My pieces didn’t look as good as the examples I had seen been created by certain artists. I felt demoralised falling into that comparison trap. I gave up, telling myself I was no good and a fraud. I was being the party pooper.

This is a habit I’ve fallen into quite a lot over the years. Forgetting that it took the master painters years before they reached the point of being any good or gaining recognition. And some, for example like Vincent van Gogh, didn’t gain recognition until after their death. Right up to that point, Van Gogh still kept practicing and painting never giving up on his vision, his craft. And only through Jo van Gogh-Bonger, his sister-in-law, loaning and selling his paintings and publishing van Gogh’s letters to his brother Theo, her husband, did he gain his rightful place in art history.

For this to happen, after his death which he had no way of knowing, he had to do the work. He still had to show up and paint and make mistakes. Face disappointments and worries and doubts. He still had to believe in himself.

When things are difficult and not turning out the way you envisioned while creating, it can be a Herculean feat to keep believing in yourself and what you are trying to do. It is easy to give up, as I did in December. The pressure I was putting on myself to be good just wasn’t warranted. It took all the fun out of it. I’d forgotten I was only supposed to be playing and having fun not creating masterpieces.

This year, I’m up for some fun. I’m taking the pressure off myself and taking more risks just for the hell of it. For the thrill. I’m excited to see where this leads in my practice. I’m keeping my eyes on my page and seeking all the delights it can bring.

Practicing Lines

Spending my time creating colour combinations to smooth across just a small journal, A5 in fact. Not a lot of space to cover, not a lot of room to freak me out. And it’s working. This week I’m practicing lines.

That long narrow mark or band which is so simple but so effective. It can be used is so many different ways and I’m enjoying the exploration.

Hanging out in my artist journal is a luxury but such a necessity. It’s here that confidence is built, experiments made and boundaries pushed.

Hope to share some of this weeks creations later on. Until then follow this line _________

December

I’m happy to see this month come around even though I can’t believe that we’re hurtling towards Christmas and the New Year . Where has this year gone?

I’m glad to see the back of November after far too many visits and hours spent in hospitals and doctor’s surgeries.

We might be moving toward the shortest day of the year, but I’m feeling the light in more ways than one.

New moon on Tuesday and my intentions are already set. To shift my energy, my outlook, my state of mind through going deeper into my practice.

I’ve been in my retreat cave for a few months now, withdrawn from IG and Facebook for months. But it’s only now as we turn towards the dark further, do I feel more unhinged and released from the public realm and demands.

I mixed colours today; went through a 40+ box of acrylic paints, mixing them with white gesso to create new, more muted tones. And I’ll not lie, I was singing to the little paint pots I created. This simple act fed my soul. I was so grateful for colour. I could have stayed there all day just mixing and enjoying the colours that came to fruition.

I can’t wait to make some swatches of them as well as start painting with them. Using them each day this month is my plan as a means of deepening into my practice and retreating further into my cave.

Have you set any intentions for the coming circle of the moon? For the last few days of 2019? Please share if you have.