expression

Prayer and Paint Workshop Afterglow

Photo slideshow from the workshop...

Below are some photos from the Prayer and Paint workshop that I held on Saturday at Summerbridge (take a look at the new website---->) church that we are a part of.  I was thrilled that so many came and in the end we had around 20 people approx.! 

The workshop's aim was to explore the idea of using the medium of paint with prayer and reflection.  This is really close to my heart and has been so for some time now.  I really care about this aspect of my personal creative/reflective time and so wanted to offer this personally as a 'way in' for people that wouldn't necessarily paint or consider themselves 'creative'.  

I began by encouraging everyone to write out in pencil, without censoring, their worries, fears, anxieties; however small and to let them just pour out (side note: I ran out of paper).  I absolutely love this process and find it cleansing and such a relief to 'get it all out'. 

We then covered over our writing with gesso (white primer) and let that dry.  The idea being that by covering over our 'junk', we can 'start again', refresh and re-boot with Jesus' help.  We continued with another layer; this time with willow charcoal sticks.  I like to sketch out imperfect faces and encouraged others to do that or, to find their own way.  Some examples of what came out of this stage were: flowers, portraits, buildings, pattern, a wall, shapes and lots of mark making.

My piece from the workshop - a bit psychedelic, I think...

My piece from the workshop - a bit psychedelic, I think...

I really enjoyed having people of all ages present.  We had a few men, younger children, teenagers, mid-life and older adults and it felt lovely to combine this experience with them all.

Next, we got out paint and began to add colour - it was akin to bringing light, warmth and 'nourishment' to our pieces.  Again, this idea of covering over the heartache/worries and lighting everything up with technicolour - so great.

Some people covered over their charcoal layer with something new, whilst others 'coloured-in' with the paint and added lots of vibrancy to the charcoal underdrawing.  All of it was just right.

I recognised that this could be challenging for people because putting the 'logical' side of the brain to one side is foreign to so many of us and can feel counterintuitive.  However, as the workshop went on, I sensed that more people were managing to do this and to appreciate the process rather than the end result.

We then finished the workshop by eating together and enjoying our shared buffet that everyone had contributed to.  A perfect way to spend a few hours on a Saturday. 

I think in a smaller setting it would have been lovely to have had a mutual time of prayer and reflection in a way that felt right for that individual.  I also think doing this at home would be fabulous with a few additions: lighting a candle, putting on some soft music, making a pot of tea and lastly, opening up your bible. 

Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening.
— Mahatma Gandhi

Lastly, I think this would be a beautiful practice to do as a family, with your children, your church, with a special friend, prayer partner or perhaps your spouse (maybe??? lol).  

Anyway, I hope this inspires you to give this a go and please let me know how you get on... 

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Collages Now Available + #MentalHealth Young People + My Progress

Updates and Some Mental Health Statistics

Yay, I'm excited to say that my first two #HeadsUp50 collages (see below) are available via my online shop and so far I'm finding the process of creating these collages really cathartic and stimulating both from an artistic point of view but also it feels really good to be able to 'give voice' to some of what is on my heart from a visual perspective. 

I've been feeling pretty good (see here for a background) and would say that so far, I'm coping well and not noticing any particular changes to my mood.  Since the topic of mental health is very much on my mind as I'm actively working on my #HeadsUp50Project I would say that there have been a couple of occasions where a memory has popped into my mind and it's floored me, making me think that under the surface there is quite a lot buried and probably needs to have the light of the day shine on it at some point.  

As I'm reading and researching more on the topic of depression and mental health, I came across the fact below (UK based research):

Suicide is the most common cause of death for boys aged between 5-19 years, and the second most common for girls of this age.
— www.youngminds.org.uk

This is a big wake up call I think for society and our young people.  This statistic shows just how much our children are struggling and that the problem is growing.  Unfortunately, the majority of young people don't seem to be able to access the support they need due to NHS cuts etc.  In addition, a new survey tells us that more than a third of young people have self-harmed and as we all know, cyberbullying seems out of control. 

Listen, I don't have the answers to this scary reality but all I can offer is a little bit of hope from what I know:

  • The obvious but love your kids.  Accept them for who they are and don't dwell on how you would like them to be.
  • Talk to them openly about your challenges, difficulties and how you were when you were their age.
  • Help them to look after themselves and mirror to them how to do this.  If you struggle with this, learn some strategies yourself.  
  • Don't be afraid to say that you don't have all the answers but that you'll be there to help them discover their way through, bit by bit.  
  • Let them know that this isn't their fault - there is so much guilt and shame with mental health.  
  • If you are struggling to cope as a parent with a child who suffering, don't forget your own needs and seek professional help if you find yourself struggling.
  • Remove devices from their rooms whenever and wherever possible.  Encourage a healthy sleep routine.
  • Encourage your children to invite their friends over and try to get to know them.
  • Keep the line of communication with your spouse/partner open and talk often.
  • Know your family's boundaries and what is and isn't acceptable behaviour for your children.  
  • Sometimes you don't have to say or do anything, just be with them.  Watch a dvd together, go for a walk, make a meal together, go out for a drive or start a hobby together.
  • Remember, we all make mistakes, don't be afraid to admit that you don't always get it right but that you're trying and that you too are learning along the way.
  • Give your child the gift of self-expression.  If you can encourage your child to let out some of their feelings through art, journaling, poetry, writing or music etc. it will be a step in the right direction and give them a really worthwhile and safe way to 'let it out'. 

So, that's it from me and I do hope you have a wonderful weekend and Mother's Day if you live in the UK.

Much love and thank you for being here...

Jane x

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#HeadsUp50Project - Collages, Conversation and Depression

#HeadsUp50Project - An honest look into depression and mental health that concerns all of us...

I introduced my #HeadsUp50Project back in January and now I find that I'm typing this just one day before my project begins!  It's super scary and vulnerable but I'm also really ready to start examining my past history of depression and what that has meant in my life.  I'm feeling curious about who I might be without the medication (Prozac) but also and really most importantly, to have some honest chats with you and society as a whole on the broad topic of depression and mental health.    

From tomorrow, I will be following my doctor's protocol for reducing my medication and well, ultimately stopping completely, all being well. 

In the videos below, I chat a little about what's going on at the moment, how I'm feeling, supplies I'll be using for my 50 collages and how I'm treating this whole 'thing' as an 'experiment' and I'm finding that this helps take some of the pressure off me and removes the whole 'failure' thing and suits my personality of doing things in my own organic way.  This approach also fuels my curiosity and that I feel is a really good thing.

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
— St Francis of Assisi
headsup50project.jpg
Both a personal journey and an opportunity to look at depression and help to rid the stigma associated with mental health issues through shared conversation, authenticity, kindness and embracing who we are and celebrating that. I will be creating 50 (just turned 50) collages directly onto antidepressant medication boxes of various expressive faces, Yorkshire Tea teabags, personal writing and treasured finds.
I've taken my last Prozac tablet and I'm going to start with my doctor's protocol for reducing from tomorrow. I talk about materials I'm going to use for my collages, insights and how I'm feeling. www.janehinchliffe.com

I do hope the above videos give you some sense of what I'll be doing in the future and I'd really love for you to come along on this journey with me by using #headsup50project is you so desire and maybe starting up a conversation with me if you have any experience of depression whether personally or with someone close to you.  

Thanks for being here with me...

Jane x

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Sennelier Soft Pastel 'Loose' Portrait + Courage

There's a million ways to create a portrait.  

Yes, a million do's and don'ts but I'm saying today, forget that and create your portrait from who you are in this moment and from what needs to come out.  Trust me, it's cathartic but I can't lie it takes courage - it's like taking in a deep breath and then breathing out slowly... fully...

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.
— Erich Fromm

With this soft pastel portrait below, I started out tight, rigid and full of tension, I finished her with abandon - I'd got to the point where I didn't care whether she 'survived' or not.  I just had to get down the colour and line as I envisioned her.  Sometimes it's just like that...

soft pastel

She's not 'technically' great by any means but she's real and she's expression of me.  Of course, there's space for 'realistic and technical' (as in my class - Portraits In Time) but I also feel there's merit in 'getting it out' and not being scared of the consequences.

On the original, I had written some words that popped into my head that I needed to hear at that moment.  I could have and might do, some additional writing but in my journal.  You could do the same. 

Below shows the same image with a little bit of tinkering via my iPhone - again, a whim and a bit of fun but valid all the same.

soft pastel on iphone.jpg

How about you, do you give yourself permission to 'let it all hang out'?  Please do and let me know how it goes over on Instagram


 

 

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