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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All Is Calm - Art Video and De-stressing At Christmas

Would you like to de-stress a little this Christmas?  

I can't wave a magic wand but I CAN share some tips/ideas that help me to manage my stress levels at this crazy time of year and of course, art always slows us down.  The girl is holding some 'fairy lights' - you can never have too many fairy lights, right?! ;)

all is calm.jpg

Art Video

I'm also showing you the full process (starting at about 8 mins) for creating the portrait above entitled All Is Calm.  I've sped the recording up, so you'll see the whole project in just over 20 minutes. 

I used willow charcoal, warm white soft pastel, charcoal pencils and compressed charcoal on toned paper.  Here is the link to the reference photo I used. 

all is calm.jpg

I hope you enjoy this video and please share with your friends. 


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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...

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being your best self.jpg
Credit:  Becca Lee , Pinterest

Credit: Becca Lee, Pinterest

being your best self.jpg
being your best self and art.jpg

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.  



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Our Unique Voice


Sometimes we can fall into the trap of comparison and forget our own unique voice.

Finding (and then retaining) our unique voice as a solo creative entrepreneur (and well, just as a human being), is very challenging.


I was walking Mia (our little dog) this morning and had a heavy heart.  You know that sinking feeling?  That feeling where you get a little scared and wonder if you're good enough, talented enough, clever enough, everything enough?  Well, that was me this morning until...

...I heard bird song.

I literally stood for a few minutes in the middle of the footpath (with Mia staring up at me) and just listened.

I paused and listened to what God might want to tell me.

And you know what, looking up I realised each bird had a unique voice.

Their unique song and it got me thinking...

Firstly, this realisation was a gift from my heavenly Father and I slowly let it drip down into my waiting, aching heart.

unique voice alder catkins

We all have our unique song and no one else can sing it for us.  Yours will look and sound different to mine and that's okay.  We can all be heard - just as I listened to the very different voices of the crazy geese, the tiny wren and the beautiful blue tit.  It was a beautiful moment of realisation.  It's okay.  It's okay to be different - in fact, we're made to be.

unique voice

So my message to you dearest is this...

It's okay to have a quiet voice.  A voice that doesn't make too much noise over everyone else because there's still Someone (and someone) who's always listening.

unique voice

You don't have to have it all planned out.  You don't have to rehearse because your voice is just that - YOUR voice.  Your unique creativity will pour out of you come what may, also long as you let it.

Be kind to yourself.

Be gentle.

Be loving.

Hold your unique voice carefully to your heart and let it sing.

unique song

Your creativity/soul is just like that tiny little wren - making exquisite music and singing it's little heart out and once I tuned in, there was no mistaking it.

Embrace your unique voice and don't give in to the cacophony, all around you.

Stay open.

Stay true and remember to listen to Him.






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How do you 'become whole'?

Become whole - I created this colourful mixed media piece in my journal the other day.  Starting off just involved putting paint on paper.  No plan, no agenda - I just applied the paint spreading it with my fingers - I SO love doing this!  Later the words just popped up during the process and just felt right - so I went with it. become whole art journal

become whole

'Become whole' - it sounds so trendy, appealing and easy to achieve doesn't it?

'Becoming whole' can mean lots of things to lots of people but for me it's about accepting who I am (yes, it's a life long process) and remembering that everything I need to be 'me' is already present, right inside of me.

It's also about knowing that I don't have to stay the same, that God wants infinitely more for me.  I've struggled over the years (as we all do) with various insecurities but through faith and prayer feel that a lot of those have disappeared (or at least lessened) for good.

For me, 'becoming whole' means that I...

* try to remember and believe, that I am good enough in the present moment

* know in my heart that I am loved by God (no matter what)

* can accept my flaws and forgive myself when I mess up (which happens a lot)

* can love others without needing to stifle or control those I love

* try to remember to witness the beauty of another human being

* can choose how I react to a particular situation

* am far from perfect... I will always be a 'work in progress'

* can't control the actions of others but can myself

* know that some days are better than others - (the better days are because I've remembered the above)

* need very little.  Most of the things 'I want', I actually don't need.

If you're anything like me, you may struggle with this same topic yourself?  I think we all do if we're honest.  We know that the negative voice in our head won't disappear but if we can just learn to acknowledge and then hopefully move beyond these damaging inner thoughts, it really is possible to 'become whole'.  After all, it's all God ever wants for us...

Now something to reflect upon in your journal, with paint, through prayer or over a big cup of tea?  Is there anything that is stopping you from 'becoming whole'?  What is it and how might you go about changing the situation.  Then hand the issue over (big or small) and then expect changes (in a good way).

Take care.

Jane x

PS.  I've just finished this post but just had to send you the link to a poem from the wonderful and much missed, Maya Angelou - Phenomenal Woman.  See what I'm talking about!? x

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Do you believe in miracles?

Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.― C.S. Lewis

the miracle of a rose

When I was young, I believed in miracles...

I thought that life treated you as you treated it - you know, if I was 'good', then good things would happen for me.  This was true in-part until my oldest son was diagnosed with leukemia, my marriage broke-down and I was eventually diagnosed with depression after having suffered for years amidst guilt, sadness and despair.

As if things couldn't get worse, my son Brandon (who was nearly 3 at the time) returned to the USA to complete his treatment for leukemia and due to a legal technicality, I wasn't allowed to re-enter the States.  Looking back, I don't know how I managed to let him go but I think the only thing that kept me going was that his life-expectancy potentially went from 60% to 70% with him completing his treatment over there.  That was 17 years ago and Brandon did recover after his two-years of treatment, thank God.

For years, I stopped believing in miracles and I went around with a gaping open-wound that was continually raw and festering.  It seemed, there was never enough healing to make any difference.  Life. hurt. big. time.  I thought this would be the way my life would be going forward and came to the awful conclusion that life was certainly not sweet.  It was only bitter-sweet and that there were no miracles, at least not for me.

I hurt deeply.

If there was such a thing as a broken heart, then mine certainly broke.

I couldn't imagine a way forward that didn't mean pain.

A way to live my life again without heartache seemed impossible.

However, through grace, I eventually did believe in miracles once again.  Whilst I couldn't have my little boy back, I received many other miracles.

One of those miracles is doing work that I love from the bottom of my heart.  It's not to say it's come easily but as I find myself in Grassfield Hall working on a commissioned painting, I know hand on heart that miracles do come true.

miracles do come true

It's not just the 'A-list' miracles that touch my heart though, it's also the 'small letters' (referring to the quote above) that are overwhelming beautiful.  Here is a great example from ZenHabits.  We live in an abundant world and as much as Society wishes to tell us different, it's not true - miracles do exist and they're happening right now!

So, take a deep breath my Friend and close your eyes.  Call forth God (or use a different word if you prefer) and allow yourself to be 'shown' the miracles that are showing up in your life in this moment, right here, right now...

What do you feel?

What do you see?

What do you hear?

If you can answer any of the above questions, capture the answer in your journal.  Remember to give thanks, even if nothing revealed itself - something may occur to you later...

Take care.





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