journal

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

______

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

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


 

 

______

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

October 2016 - Monthly Dreams and Goals

IMG_2475.jpg

October 2016 - Monthly Dreams and Goals

Hello October 2016.  Autumn feels well and truly here in my corner of the world... What about you? Don't you love the slow change of colours?  Saying that, I know some of you will be experiencing Spring right now - enjoy it.

Today I'm sharing my October 2016 dreams and goals.

Have you got around to doing yours yet this month?

You don't need many supplies: magazine images, pens, scrap paper and anything else that you'd like to include to pretty things up a little.

October 2016 dreams goals

I've enjoyed using the vellum paper decoration with the bird on this month.  Try and mix things up a little and have fun.

October 2016 dreams goals

This October 2016 I'm going to be focusing on more experimentation with my artwork, various home projects and as always, time for prayer, exercising, creating new recipes for my family and some 'down time' to journal etc.

October 2016 dreams goals

What would you like to focus on this month?  Is there something that you would like to bring to a conclusion?  Or, do you have a new project or focus in mind?  It might be a craft project, fitness or business goal or a new tradition you'd like to begin for your family.  Whatever it is, write it down, pen your thoughts and grab an image that resonates with you.  Lastly, print it off and pop it on your fridge to remind you of your chosen focus for the month.

Take care.

 

______

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

Time to pray - an idea to help keep focused

IMG_09391.jpg

I take time out each morning to pray.   Lately there's been a number of challenging things happening to quite a few of our very close friends and family members and if I'm honest it's felt a little overwhelming. Love is Always the Answer...

I've also noticed that I easily lose track of some of the situations I've prayed for and often don't remember that the prayer has even been answered!  Take the other day - my son Joseph has had some problems with settling down to sleep at night like many children do with autism.  It was getting quite bad and I was really worrying to know what the best way forward for him was.  So, eventually the 'penny dropped' and I prayed about it (duh - when will I learn!).  The upshot was that I got some help really quickly for Joseph and it's now really turned things around for him.

Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (NIV)

time to pray cards

So to keep my thoughts and prayers really focused, I'm now combining my 'normal' journal with prayer cards (index cards).  To start with, I wrote out a card for each of my three children and my husband.  Then cards for other family members and a few specific people to pray for.  From there, I wrote cards for short-term and long-term requests.  Then one for answered prayers.  Finally, the last three cards are for my business, self-improvement and 'arrow' prayers (for any immediate need).

I've found it's really helped me to organise my thoughts and monthly dreams to not get too over-burdened with stuff flying around in my head all the time - which is no help!  Each day, I just move the cards to the next day in my journal and I'm all set.  I no longer have to look back in my journal or leave someone out of my prayers simply because I can't keep it all in my head.

Meanwhile, in my journal, I still write down general day-to-day stuff and also any inspiring quotes, poetry or something I've read that's really resonated with me.   I also like to write down my three favourite moments of the day (when possible).

prayer journal

This time of prayer and reflection is so worthwhile and I sincerely encourage you to try it for yourself if you don't already.  For me, it's my way of acknowledging my faith and to feel His presence within me.  This makes all the difference to my day and how I interact with others.

prayer time

Some of you may already have your own prayer practice, meditation, mindfulness, reiki, visualisation etc.  Please reply in the comments below if you have a thought you would like to share.

prayer time - heart in foliage

Jane xo

______

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

Roses - journal peek

IMG_0585.jpg

My Mum bought me some gorgeous roses the other day and I just couldn't resist sketching them out and then applying watercolour to my art journal. In my last post, you can watch a little video showing how I was inspired by roses from my garden a few days ago!

Art Journal Time - Roses

roses

roses

roses

roses

As I was working in my journal, the flowers were reminding me of precious Summers from my childhood and memories of helping my Granny prune her treasured roses - I can still see her in my mind's eye.

The other vivid memory I have of roses, is that I absolutely adored making rose perfume - well my version anyway.  I would be about six or seven and I would put rose petals in a little warm water and then leave them overnight and dab the 'perfume' behind my ears.  I totally believed I 'major' smelled of roses... [happy memories].

A few years down the road and I'm reminded of the red roses that my hubby bought me when he proposed to me.  I still have them after all these years - dried of course.

Do you have any special memories of roses from your childhood or adulthood even?

I particularly like David Austin roses.  My mother-in-law purchased some of his roses when we moved into our current house and she lovingly planted them all the way down the driveway...  (thank you B).  By the way, I've just noticed David Austin Roses won a gold in the Chelsea flower show this year with their Rose Garden Exhibit.   A particular stunningly beautiful specimen is the Olivia Rose.

You might have noticed that one of the roses is particularly yellow, yet there are no yellow roses in the vase?  Yep, you would be right - I just felt like using some yellow as it matched my mood - ie happy!

I do hope this has inspired you to grab a flower or two (or even a weed) and do a little sketching/watercolour in your journal.  If it has, please let me know - it would make my day...

Jane xo

*********

embrace ecourse

 

If you would like to see more on watercolour painting along with other ways to enjoy/embrace nature and life itself - take a little look here.

 

______

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

Capture Summer : journal page

IMG_0483.jpg

It's the third day of the school Summer holidays and if you're anything like me, you'll already feel like you're creating some really special memories that you want to capture in your journal.  If you live in the States, then you'll definitely have lots of juicy memories since your holidays begin in June. Anyway, yesterday the boys and I met up with a friend and her son in this glorious weather at Newby Hall & Gardens in Ripon.  What a lovely place with inspiration oozing everywhere.  From Newby Hall itself, to the flowers, miniature railway, fantastic sculpture, the gardens etc.

I ended up taking several photos of flowers (lots of sighing from the boys), the boys (of course) and things of general interest and went ahead and printed out my favourites.  Then I did three quick watercolour sketches and adhered them to the prepared journal page.  See the last photo for the end result.

IMG_0469 IMG_0470 IMG_0451 IMG_0432 IMG_0447 IMG_0429 Summer flowers journalIMG_0479

IMG_0480Summer memories

Anyway, I'm happy with the result and the main benefit is that I have some of my fave photos of the day printed out and not stuck in my hard-drive!   It's amazing how many photos we accrue isn't it and I find so much of those memories are forgotten.

And yes, that IS the boys doing some stone sculpting.  They had a sculpture exhibition at Newby along with the opportunity for children (and adults) to have a go with a chisel (and goggles, thank goodnesss).

I'll be sharing the whole process of the above journal spread in the Delight ecourse this Autumn.

Jane xo

 

 

 

 

 

______

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