life challenges

Let's Celebrate Love - The Art Of Contentment

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is a wonderful chance to show people how much we care about them…

This month for my class, The Art Of Contentment and my theme of love, I thought it would be fun to create a mixed media portrait for a loved one. Once I’d completed the piece, I gave it to my Mum.

There is only one happiness in life: to love and be loved.
— George Sand, Author
candle theme of love.jpg

My Mum is often bed bound these days with extreme pain due to osteoporosis and I know things are really tough for her and my Dad and have been for some time. I haven’t given anything to my Mum before on Valentine’s Day but thought this year, it just felt right.

All the time whilst creating the piece and recording the lesson, I was thinking of my Mum and of other women taking my class and what they might feel called to create in the ‘name of love’. I was imagining someone painting their precious child, a grandmother, a special friend or a loving sister. The more I continued to paint and create, the more the class and my project felt infused with love.

The Art Of Contentment - February mixed media portrait.jpg

That’s the brilliant thing about painting and creating, you switch off from the busy, busy of the everyday and instead connect within to what’s at your core and what I would call my soul (you might say divine presence, spirit etc).

Throughout the process, my heart was filled with various memories, snippets of conversation and events. Life isn’t always rosy but there’s something really special about gifting a piece of art that you’ve created to someone else.

Reverse side of the project I made for my Mum

Reverse side of the project I made for my Mum

My hubby and I exchanged cards today. He also gave me a single red rose and some tulips - I was impressed! Our little celebration will be a few days late this year - on Saturday we’re going to see a live band and enjoy some nice food in a restaurant a little way from here - I’m looking forward to it.

Valentine's Day flowers in studio.jpg

Valentine’s Day can be a lonely day for some people but I do hope that wherever you are and however you’re feeling today, I hope you feel loved for the truly special person you are…


Note: My class, The Art Of Contentment is open and available to purchase. Each month more content is added. There’s art, special guests, audio recordings from me, notable dates for each given month, books to recommend, favourite paintings from the past and throughout, ways to finding contentment in the busy of the everyday… You can see the full description here.

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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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Technical Blip Alert - Flower Crown Girls - Cancelled!

Sadly, I'm forced to cancel my most recent ecourse - Flower Crown Girls.  
 

I guess it just wasn't meant to be - unfortunately, around 5+ hours of my video content has developed a fluke fault and the footage will just not play!  This has never happened before, so I'm pretty much floored - so much prepartion, time and care had been put in to creating this class...  

Anyway, onwards and upwards, as they say...

For those of you who have already purchased this class, I am busy refunding you and as a little token of my appreciation for your patience and understanding, the one project that did save (see below), I will offer to ALL subscribers for FREE, just as soon as I can get it edited and uploaded etc. 

Take care everyone and if you'd like the FREE project, please fill in the form below and look out for the FREE project in a week's time approximately.

woman in green dress.jpg



Much love,

Jane x

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The Darkness, The Light and Charcoal

It can seem that there is darkness everywhere...

So many events happening in our world (and personal lives) are just heartbreaking.  There's pain, tragedy, evil and brokenness all around.  Take for instance, war torn Syria, starving Yemen, North Korea, the Middle East and closer to home, here in the UK, so much unrest due to the Brexit negotiations.  

Do you ever feel like you could be swallowed up by the pain and devastation that seems evident everywhere you turn?

Yes, me too.  When I feel saddened with global news, family difficulties, friends who are struggling; I turn to drawing, creativity and there I meet The One.

Below is a charcoal portrait that I actually finished in the dark (almost) because I hadn't realised the time.  I can't tell you how much I needed to just lose myself and find myself again.

charcoal portrait.jpg
If you’re feeling a heavy burden, I want you to know that yes, the darkness can threaten to engulf you but remember it’s when the night sky is at it’s darkest, that a simple candle flame can have the biggest impact... 
— Jane Hinchliffe

So, Sweet One, take a little time out from the hustle and bustle of Christmas organising and prepations and grab those knitting needles, that favourite baking pan along with the edible glitter you've had stashed at the back of your cupboard, that new art supply you've been aching to use, your art journal, or simply take that bath you've been meaning to, along with adding a few drops of lavender oil, some soothing music and then ENJOY this simple act, FULLY... 

Then give thanks because there's always something to be grateful for...  

Remember, you're not alone... 

and...

You never will be...  

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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

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