Art

A Giveaway, Classroom Peek and Guest: Jennifer Cockcroft

A Giveaway, Classroom Peek and my lovely guest Jennifer Cockcroft

It’s my birthday today (yay!) and I wanted to extend a gift to you also!

Firstly, click here for a peek into The Art Of Contentment classroom and enjoy my Q+A Interview with Jennifer.

Secondly, click here for a Giveaway (until Thursday midnight GMT) over on Jennifer’s site, together with a discount code (limited time) for my class.

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Jennifer created the wonderful Moments Journal and you might well have heard and seen of her successful Kickstarter campaign that she recently completed. Jennifer has lots more projects in mind regarding her Journal, which she shares in my interview with her.

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To give you a flavour for our interview, here’s a couple questions I asked her:

None of us like adversity, or trying circumstances but I’m curious about any strategies you call upon during these inevitable stages of life? Is it even possible to feel gratitude for these hard moments, if so, how?

I notice from your website, that you obviously love colour and beauty. How do you welcome ‘beauty’ into your every day? 

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So, as I enjoy some birthday cake (!!!), please head over to the classroom for a peek at Jennifer’s answers to my questions and don’t forget to enter the giveaway and/or use the discount code.

Jane x


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Christmas Gift Ideas for Creatives

Today, I’ve got some fabulous Christmas gift ideas for the creative person in your life who is either looking for something new to inspire her or, would like to welcome more creativity in their life.

* Visual Storytelling 2 - Photography and editing essentials with Cristina Colli, artist, photographer, writer and teacher (and guest on my upcoming class The Art Of Contentment). Learn from Cristina on how to create ‘beautiful still life photographs that evoke emotions and tell a story’. It’s a comprehensive 6-week class and by the end of it you’ll know the various technical aspects of your camera, how to use Lightroom, information on flat-lays, backdrop, lighting and so much more. The class is open for registration with a limited time discount. Price: £125 (will increase to £150).

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* Your Journaling Journey with Sarah Raad (who is also a guest for my upcoming class, The Art Of Contentment) of Simple Happy Life has created a beautiful course which will open on 7th January 2019. It’s a ‘two week e-course with e-guide to help you to start using journaling as a creative, self discovery practice to bring more joy, understanding and meaning to your life’. You’ll have the chance to explore different types of journalling with Sarah, a beautiful downloadable journaling guide and a Simple Happy Life notebook with pencil sent through the post! Price: £29.

* Sennelier - Soft Pastels - half stick set of 30 - plein air landscape - I love Sennelier products and have used them in all of my online classes. The quality is second to none and I also love their oil pastels. Jackson’s Art has a really good selection of their products (as well as many other fine art supplies).

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* The Wild Remedy - book by Emma Mitchell of Silverpebble. A beautiful book that comes on on 27th December - I know that is just past Christmas but it looks so inspiring that it’s on my list. Emma shares her ‘characteristic wit and frankness, and filled with her beautiful drawings, paintings and photography, this is a truly unique book for anyone who has ever felt drawn to nature and wondered about its influence over us’.

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* Conscious Creativity; look, connect create book by the amazingly talented Phillipa Stanton. ‘Philippa Stanton is a professional artist and photographer with more than 20 years’ experience of creating and teaching art. She holds popular workshops and teaches courses online, while the inspirational qualities of her imagery have attracted more than 400,000 followers for her @5ftinf account on Instagram’.

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* Tate Modern’s online shop is ideal for any budding creative - they stock prints, bags, stocking fillers, books, homeware, tickets for exhibitions and other goodies. I particularly like the Frida travel mug below.

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* Oh and last but not least ;), I have a shop which contains prints, original art, online classes as well as gift cards in case you’re just not sure what that certain person would like…

I hope this has helped take the pressure off you in you are looking for that ideal creative gift for someone or for yourself - go on, give someone a big hint of what you’d really like! :)

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Receive my 'Heart Letters' & + enjoy optional extras: Free access to the 'Inspiration Library', 20% off online classes, Free prints, art videos + more...

Invited Guests - The Art Of Contentment Online Class

The Art Of Contentment - Meet My Invited Guests

Today, I’m thrilled to share my guest list for my upcoming class entitled The Art Of Contentment that goes live on 1st January 2019. I have 12 amazing women who will be sharing on the topic of ‘contentment’ as creative women living in a busy world. Hear/read/see their insights for living a slower life and finding contentment from within.

You’ll be hearing from successful photographers, artists, coaches, designers and authors - how do they find contentment? I think you’re going to love this - art and soul combined!

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So, without further ado, I’m sharing my guests names and ‘job titles’ in month order, starting with January, so here we go (starting top left):

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Michelle GD - Writer and Photographer

Cristina Colli - Artist, Photographer, Writer and Teacher

Michelle Turbide - Artist and Teacher

Sam Martin - UK Artist

Kerstin Martin - Squarespace Educator

Sheila Atchley - Artist, Author and Preacher’s Wife

Sarah Raad - Coach + Business Owner of Simple Happy Life

Lisa York - SuperMum Podcast Host

Renee Mueller - Artist & Online Teacher

Michelle Fletcher of Camels & Couscous - Artist, Explorer, Curator - all things art and travel 

Gabrielle Heckenbucker - Artist

Christianne Squires - Book Coach

Here’s what to expect from the class:

Let’s enjoy 2019 together as we paint through the year with soulful portraits and enjoy contributions from guests (and myself) on their insights for living a slower life and finding contentment from within.

Art helps us to switch off from the pressures of a busy world and enables us to reconnect with ourselves, refocus our priorities and slow down.

How It Will Work:

* Each month, I'll share with you a new and extensive soulful portraiture lesson. We'll be dabbling with various supplies and styles and creating paintings using acrylic, ink, watercolour, pastels, charcoal, collage, gold leaf, perhaps some clay and of course, using basic supplies such as graphite etc.

Along side the art, look forward to being inspired by other creative women and how they find contentment in a busy world. We’ll be hearing from talented artists, photographers, designers, writers and coaches - all with busy lives but with useful tips and heartfelt reflections to help you slow down. (See my amazing guest line up below)!

Make 2019 the year that you reconnect with who you are and what's important. Give yourself this monthly gift and watch how your year blossoms as you immerse yourself in portrait painting, slowing down, finding rest and discovering an inner contentment.

Please note: If you’d like to register, please click the button below (ps. early bird offer will end on 5th December - sale price currently £95 for the entire year)

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Receive my 'Heart Letters' & + enjoy optional extras: Free access to the 'Inspiration Library', 20% off online classes, Free prints, art videos + more...

What Does Contentment Mean For You?

Contentment

I’ve been contemplating the idea of ‘contentment’ a lot these days as I’m putting together my online class called The Art Of Contentment.

As Joshua Becker writes in his book The More Of Less, learning to feel content is a lifelong process and it doesn’t come naturally but it’s well worth trying.

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I am content; that is a blessing greater than riches; and he to whom that is given need ask no more.
— Henry Fielding
 The Butterfly Effect - acrylic on paper

The Butterfly Effect - acrylic on paper

Definition of Contentment:

According to the Urban Dictionary ‘contentment’ means:

Resting in who you are, who you have, and what you have.

To have contentment is to be comfortable with the world.




Thinking of the definition of contentment above, isn’t that what we all want? To feel comfortable with the world? I say yes!

One of the ways I get to feel ‘comfortable with the world’ is to paint, as well as having a foundation built upon my faith and gratitude. From a creative point of view, I particularly like painting portraits because I find various stresses and strains of my life seem to ebb away and I’m left in this delicious place of creativity, self expression and well, contentment; unless the painting is going badly wrong. ;)

There are so many ways to create a portrait and depending upon my mood I may create a soulful portrait, an expressive portrait or a portrait with a lot of attention to detail. It varies… For when I’m feeling super overwhelmed, you can’t beat some dark and smoky charcoal to melt away your worries.

 Classic Beauty - acrylic on paper

Classic Beauty - acrylic on paper

If I feel less muddled, I might want to get a little more detailed and pencil works well with this.

If I’m feeling upset (or happy), collage works. There’s something so freeing about the gathering of juicy supplies, some journal writing and a lot of items to adhere to my substrate that clear my head, heart and mind (see below).

 Gently - mixed media collage

Gently - mixed media collage

Mark making (see the background of the painting below) also helps with feelings of stress and overwhelm. There’s something about making small identical marks and many of them, that feels very cathartic and relaxing; meditative in fact.

 Beauty and Fortitude - acrylic on paper

Beauty and Fortitude - acrylic on paper

So, I hope I’ve given you some ways to bring a little contentment into your life. Painting really does help your soul to breathe in the midst of chaos. There’s something about painting that enables your conscious brain to ‘wait in the wings’ leaving your subconscious permission to flow and then in that timeframe a shift occurs. Try it and let me know in the comments below how you got on and your thoughts on finding contentment in a busy world.

Take care and here’s to ‘contentment’ and The Art Of Contentment.

Jane x


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PS. if you are interested in my new class, the early bird offer of £95 will only last until 5th December 2018 and then the price will increase to £150. Class available throughout 2019 and beyond. All videos will be downloadable.

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Art Journaling Idea - Step By Step Guide

Today I have an art journaling idea that you just might like to have a go at yourself…

What’s brilliant about art journaling is that it’s so flexible - anything goes as Amy from the Mindful Art Studio shows in her post How To Start An Art Journal.

Please use the supplies you have to hand, a sketchbook is great but equally a piece of paper with some gesso brushed over is fine also. You don’t need a firm idea in your head what the piece has to look like either…

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Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.
— M. Scott Peck

Supplies I used:

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Sketchbook

Pen for writing out my uncensored thoughts

Grey Gesso

Pencil HB

Golden Fluid Acrylic Paint - greens, brown, yellow, red, white

Winsor & Newton Tear off palette

Black Stabilo pencil (for mark making)

Peel and Sketch charcoal pencil

Collage papers

Brushes/water/paper towel

Adhesive/glue - I use Liquitex matt medium but equally, craft glue would be fine for your sketchbook


Ready for some art journaling? Here we go:

  1. Write out all your stresses, worries and generally anything that’s taking up head space right now - just get it all down and if you run out of space, simply write over what’s already there. Scribbling and scrawly hand-writing with spelling mistakes are all totally fine and - please put perfection to one side!

  2. Next, slap on some gesso - it’s like an undercoat for your work - preparing you for the next stage of painting over with delicious colour. You can use white, grey (this is what I used) or black gesso or, why not mix some acrylic paint into whatever colour you have.

  3. Give a blast with a hairdryer - move it around the piece so it dries evenly.

  4. Grab yourself a photo, magazine image or whatever inspires/touches you - it doesn’t have to be a portrait.

  5. Find some collage items - paper, stamps, fabric, old envelopes, wrapping paper - whatever you like and whatever you have to hand. Place and position them and then adhere them to your substrate with craft glue, glue sticks or matt medium.

  6. Lightly sketch out your main element - mine is obviously a portrait but you could feature a pretty flower, an animal, pattern, or an object that you love etc. Take your time…

  7. Dilute some acrylic paint and start adding darker values signifying shadows.

  8. Add white or lighter values for areas of highlight.

  9. I added a red scarf and decided I didn’t like the shape I’d constructed and so altered it a little.

  10. Start adding some other hues - I added various greens, red and hints of yellow.

  11. Details - I painted in a snazzy earring, a little bird, some foliage and a cute little house. Getting personal with your touches is a beautiful thing - go to town with this.

  12. Mark making - I created some loose marks on the collaged papers which kind of looked like rain and funnily enough I realised when I was finished that it had been raining.

  13. Lastly, I added some more words and this time my words had transformed from being full of angst to feeling playful, relaxed and all with a feeling of gratitude.

 Here’s the finished piece. Art journaling is a wonderful way to bare your soul, get messy + then feel so good after…

Here’s the finished piece. Art journaling is a wonderful way to bare your soul, get messy + then feel so good after…

So, I do hope you’ve enjoyed this art journaling inspiration today. My hope is that this will give you a creative and gentle way to vent some of your worries and make ‘all things new’ by painting over with a different message, one of hope and gratitude.

Lastly, remember, I love hearing from you, so please let me know how you get on in the comments below.

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Receive my 'Heart Letters' & + enjoy optional extras: Free access to the 'Inspiration Library', 20% off online classes, Free prints, art videos + more...

Online Art Courses - How They Can Help With Stress

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Being busy is the norm for so many of us these days. This in itself isn’t necessarily a problem but when it becomes a way of life and you find yourself unable to relax and de-stress after a full day, things can unravel very quickly - I know, I’ve been there many times. Sometimes, all it takes to break the cycle of perpetual busyness is a little time for ourselves to do something that feels nurturing, relaxing and well, fun!

I know, play seems a potentially shocking word for us adults but I bet the idea of play seems enticing.
— Jane
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Online art courses are a brilliant way to unwind, express yourself and play. I know, play seems a potentially shocking word for us adults but I bet the idea of play seems enticing.

Virtual courses, ecourses, online classes - they all mean the same thing and they can include pre-recorded video (which is what my art courses are primarily made up of). They can also include writing - like a blog post, photos, slideshows, audio and sometimes the facility to leave comments or even start a group discussion (live or not). Sometimes the videos are downloadable (mine often are) so that you can keep them right on your computer too.

My courses are ‘self-paced’ which means that once you purchased the course, you get to create when it’s convenient for you and in my experience, both for myself and my students, that seems to be ideal.

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The other great thing, is that wherever you are in the world, you can purchase and gain access to one of my courses with only a computer and access to a fast broadband connection and you’re good to go.

So how can online art courses help with stress?

Well my students tell me (and I know from personal experience) that there’s something about tapping into our creative side that helps us put to one side the stresses and strains of our busy lives. Creativity can help us connect with our inner lives and reduce stress. I’m a firm believer that we are all creative and that we don’t tend to the creative part of our lives nearly enough. After all, if we take care of our own needs, we are better able to be present with our loved ones - you can’t fill someone else’s well if you feel empty. I also believe that our ‘creative muscle’ gets stronger, the more we engage with it. This article from The American Public Health Association shares clearly how beneficial creativity can be in all our lives.

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Recently I listened to the brilliant SuperMum podcast hosted by Lisa York (Mum of four). Her guest was Dr Pragya Agarwal of The Art Tiffin and they discussed How Can We Support Our Mental Health With Creativity - a must listen!

Finally, I hope this has inspired you to think about pulling those paintbrushes and paints out of the cupboard and perhaps taking one of my online art courses so that you can start tapping into your creative self and park that stress!







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Receive my 'Heart Letters' & + enjoy optional extras: Free access to the 'Inspiration Library', 20% off online classes, Free prints, art videos + more...