Feeling Blessed 48 Hour SALE!

Hello Lovely Readers,

I hope you're all having a wonderful week and for those of you in the States - Happy Thanksgiving! 

I'm thrilled to announce a 'Feeling Blessed' 48 hour sale! Head over here to receive 25% off BOTH ecourses - Portraits In Time and Fragments Of Joy.  

Please enter: FEELINGBLESSED at checkout to receive your discount on either art class.

Here's to happy creating this winter season!

Note: For both classes, enjoy instant access with lifetime duration.  Enjoy some time 'just for you' this winter season - a time of year that brings with it so much joy but also busyness, which can soon take it's toll without some nurturing and creative 'time out'.

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You Can't Be Your 'Best Self' If You Ignore Your Emotional, Physical + Spiritual Well-Being

Do you ever find yourself feeling ruled by your 'to do' list?  Do you feel as if you're being dragged through your day, struggling to keep up with so many obligations, other people to take care of, tasks and thoughts crowding your head, that somehow YOU never feel nurtured?  Lastly, do you sometimes get irritated with your nearest and dearest and then feel desperately sorry and guilty? Yes, I know - I've been there too...

The Joyful Encounter - click to purchase...

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Credit: Becca Lee, Pinterest

Credit: Becca Lee, Pinterest

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I was listening to Sally Clarkson and Kristen Kill on their podcast yesterday and their discussion came around to this very topic and it reminded me of how I used to feel (and truth be told, sometimes I still do on a particularly challenging day...) before I paid attention to the needs, desires and whispers of my heart.

Sally went on to say, that you can't deny your 'emotional and physical' needs consistently as sooner or later, you'll  end up being in pieces.  She states: 'no-one can take care of your happiness, only you' - isn't that the truth?  Sally talks about 'building rhythms into our lives' for daily nurture time and that life is not about being 'dragged across the finish line' but rather to embrace life.  Sally shares that the '... best gift you can give your child [husband, parent, work colleague etc] is the gift of being a content and happy person'

Once upon a time, I used to suffer crippling depression and whilst the 'outside world' couldn't have guessed, my family certainly could.  As I started to feel better, I did a number of things but the thing I've come back to, is endeavouring to listen to what my heart needs as best as I can.  

Enter art!  Art fills me up and reminds me of who I am.  It helps still my mind from its incessant chatter, encourages me to 'see' beyond myself and teaches me that I'm abundantly loved by God.

So, it's your turn dearest...

  • What stirs your heart?  What are those whispers you are trying to ignore?
  • How can you practically tend that weary heart of yours?
  • Are you an introvert or extravert? Are you in desperate need of some space to 'be' or a favourite friend to enjoy a cup of tea and a chat with? 
  • If picking up brushes and dipping in paint does that for you, please do this for yourself.  If it's gardening, sewing, having a vintage tea party with friends - whatever it is, take this time and do it regularly.  
  • Journal what comes up for you and then take some small action towards a positive change.

If what I've shared resonates, you have some tips/suggestions or just want to share your heart, please leave a comment below.  

 

Inspiring Artist and Creativity Websites

Whether you are an artist or just beginning your creative pursuits, it's always nice to have some inspiration along the way and today I thought I'd share my top 10 sites (in no particular order):

Sometimes we can get into a rut or just need some time out from our own creative work in order to fill ourselves up so that when we return to our art table, we can feel refreshed once again...

So here's my list below:

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1. Jane Davenport - artist and popular online teacher. 

2. Jamie Ridler Studios - mentor and encourager.

3. Alisa Burke - artist + workshop and online teacher

4. Cloth Paper Scissors - magazine

5. Women In Art History - art and culture

6. Collage Art of Laura Lein-Svencner - art

7. JaneVille - creativity galore

8. sfgirlbybay - design, art and culture

9. The Jealous Curator - art, interviews, inspiration

10. Posie Gets Cosy - craft, art and just a beautiful blog

I do hope this list of sites has inspired you and hopefully jump starts your creative juices or, you just enjoy a well-earned break from your own creative work. 

A favour: please share in the comments section below if you have any favourite creative sites that you regularly enjoy.  Thanks.

Jane x

Autumn Leaves - Soft Pastel Tutorial Video + SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

Do you dread the dark nights, cold days and grey skies of late autumn and winter?  

Do you have a tendency toward Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?  If this is you, I've a beautiful book to share, some info. on SAD and an art video I've made...

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I've just purchased this inspiring book (see left) that's just recently been published called Making Winter - A Creative Guide for Surviving The Winter Months by British designer/maker, illustrator and naturalist Emma Mitchell for a dear friend - I instantly fell in love with the projects and nurturing words and wanted to share it with you.  

Also, this really got me thinking about the topic of SAD.  For sufferers, symptoms can start anywhere from September to November and last until Spring!  Occasionally, symptoms are reversed and can commence in Spring.  SAD is more prevalent in countries where there is dramatically reduced light and big changes to seasons and weather. 

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What follows are just some of the numerous symptoms people endure every year - for example, lack of concentration, sleep problems, panic attacks, lethargy, anxiety, overeating, relationship difficulties etc.  Approx. 8% of us can experience a 'transient depression, known as SAD' (Seasonal Affective Disorder) as per Emma's book in her introduction.

According to MIND 'SAD can also worsen symptoms of existing depression that you experience throughout the year'.

Treatment options include lightboxes (light therapy) as well as various other treatments like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), medication, specialist SAD services etc.  However, I believe creativity can also play a helping role and this is what my video below is all about.  

Emma (and I) has personally found (and research often backs up), that by including creativity into our daily lives whether it be using yarn, collecting treasures from nature on walks, colouring in, baking or painting etc. can bring numerous benefits to mood, stress and anxiety levels etc.

It’s as if my mood turns grey at the same time as the sky.
— MIND
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Supplies Needed:

Autumn leaves - real or found images

Sennelier soft pastel - bright, vibrant autumnal colours 

Caran Dache pastel pencils

Ingres pastel paper Daler Downey

Blenders or a tissue (not paper kitchen roll)

Wet wipe

15 mins and a willingness to try this out

 

Benefits For You...

- bring vibrant colour to life right in front of your eyes even though it might be grey outside

- get lost in the creative act whilst leaving room for self-expression

- leave other thoughts to one side

- enjoy a new medium and creative technique - this can help improve self confidence and fill you with a sense of achievement

- decrease feelings of anxiety

- potentially increasing serotonin (the feel-good hormones in the brain) 

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I really hope you find the above resources helpful and that you give soft pastel a little go.

If you have a favourite creative activity that you turn to in the winter months, please share - I'd really love to hear. 

Note: If you are having difficulty with any of the above symptoms, please consult your doctor. 

9 Ways That Collage Can Be So Exciting and Life Affirming

Collage is SO much more than just gluing bits of paper to a substrate...

As I've been creating my latest online class, Fragments Of Joy, I've realised just how many possibilities there are with collage.  It's been really difficult to curate the projects I've wanted to include in the class.  

Below is Matisse with his 'cut outs'.  He was seriously ill after having had surgery and was diagnosed with cancer and I just love that the last years of his life were occupied by this joyful work. I'd have loved to have seen him at work - propped up against his pillows with the sound of scissors cutting paper.

Apparently, it was an extremely busy time and at least one of his assistants suffered from exhaustion.  He would ask his assistants to place the cut out on the plaster wall and secure it with a pin with Matisse directing the placement, all from his wheelchair.  All he used was white paper, gouache and scissors - not to mention his immense talent of course ;).

Matisse with one of his studio assistants.

Matisse with one of his studio assistants.

Matisse's Violet Leaf on Orange Background (1947). Photograph: © Succession Henri Matisse/DACS 2014

Matisse's Violet Leaf on Orange Background (1947). Photograph: © Succession Henri Matisse/DACS 2014

I love how his work seemed to hold no constraints and even though his wife had left him, he was incapacitated and dying and his daughter was going through horrendous suffering at the hands of the gestapo - still, his cut outs (his soul?) could rise above it all and fly.

So my vision was to make an online art class that was based upon collage, in an effort to show you, just how versatile (and joyful - hence the name of the class) can be.  

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Here are just some of the benefits of collage:

  • Collage is very freeing, spontaneous and inventive.  For instance, Matisse created cut outs that were huge and would cover part of the ceiling and wall at once.  Sometimes they were part tucked behind a radiator etc.
  • It's so versatile - you can use paper, fabric, found items etc and it works beautifully with other media too.
  • Collage is a great learning tool for composition mastery as you have to really think about placement of your shapes.
  • Create your own papers and watch how you use media in new and exciting ways.
  • You will learn so much along the way ie. ways to use texture, colour, line, form etc and of course all of this can be translated to new work.
  • If you're struggling with your 'regular' creative work you'll find that you can return to it with renewed passion, clarity and vision. 
  • You can use everything - nothing is off limits! 
  • The world around you becomes fresh and full of possibilities ie. the orange string bag that your satsumas contain, a piece of old jewellery, or a rubbing from a piece of rough bark that you came across whilst walking the dogs. 
  • There is great opportunity to work intuitively with images and ephemera as a way to exploring your inner life and what is either troubling you or conversely, making you feel alive.

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Want to explore collage more fully for yourself?  Fragments Of Joy just might be the ticket you need and I'd love to have you.  

Some of what you can expect:

  • Full projects PLUS one bonus (on the right is the 'floral still life' project).
  • Some ideas for creating your own papers.
  • Fun extra projects using magazine images.
  • Have fun with transparent layers.
  • Create a memory/story collage.
  • All levels - no art experience needed.

Use this discount code (case sensitive) below at checkout to get the Early Bird Price:

6OFFCOLLAGEJOY

Early Bird Price: £29 (approx. $39) - until 16th October 2017

Regular Price: £35 (approx. $46).

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New Online Art Class - Fragments Of Joy

Happy Friday to you!

Fragments Of Joy - Play and Possibilities With Collage

I'm here to let you know about an exciting second online art class I've created (self-paced and unlimited access) - it's called Fragments Of Joy.  I've been busy, busy in the background creating Fragments Of Joy and it's such a delight to be able to add this to my offerings.    

Take a look at the intro. video below...

What is Fragments Of Joy is all about?

'This class is all about letting go using collage.  Enjoy the feeling of spontaneity as you create collages using 'fragments of joy' ie. scraps of paper, fabric, lace etc.  Make a 'memory or story' photo collage in a re-purposed book and then be filled with delight as you piece together a floral still life.  Watch your artwork transform with the addition of atmospheric transparent layers.  Embrace play - make art that doesn't have to 'make sense' but instead makes you feel joyful!' 

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The classroom is open for registration now (classroom opens on 25th October 2017) and if you enter 6OFFCOLLAGEJOY at the checkout, you'll receive the Early Bird Discount.  

Fragments Of Joy is suitable for all - no experience needed.

For more info. go here