Shame + 5/50 Collage - Postnatal Depression + Mothering


collage 5 shame headsup50project.jpg

I've been introduced recently (thanks Lisa) to a new podcast which I'm really enjoying called Goop.  It's headed up by Gwyneth Paltrow (yes, the actress) and some of her staff.  Goop is Gwyneth's wellness/lifestyle website.  

It turned out there was mega synchronicity at work because my latest collage (5/50) is about Post Natal Depression and that is the very topic that was being talked about on Goop. 

The guest is psychiatrist Catherine Birndorf and they discuss the difference between postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety which was interesting.  Looking back, I think I experienced PND and anxiety after all three of my boys.  I actually chat about my experiences in my video below along with finishing my collage (click on the video below or, use this direct link.)

Of course hindsight is a wonderful thing; my 'boys' are now 23, 12 and 14.  I only wish I could sit down and have a chat with my younger self and give reassurance that I was doing a good job, that motherhood takes time to adjust to and to not be afraid to ask for what I needed both in practical and spiritual terms.  

I'm learning a lot whilst creating these collages; it feels like peeling the layers of an onion.  Each layer has its own story, it's own wisdom, some sadness, some joy - it's all been necessary to bring me to this place today.  

If you're interested in looking at my other collages, please go here

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FREE Expressive Art Video Tutorial - Releasing Emotions

Lost and Found - mixed media art demo.

Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge.
— Audre Lorde

Today, I'm sharing with you a speeded up art video tutorial with voiceover.  The piece of artwork is called Lost and Found and really this video is my way of encouraging you if you have some emotions that you'd like to express on paper but perhaps this is a new idea for you and you've not tried this way of painting before.  

lost and found.jpg

Yes, I know that sometimes the last thing we want to do is to feel our pain but stay with me and give it a go.  This technique is great when you have emotions to express and release.  This is not about creating a 'pretty' piece of artwork necessarily but instead allowing your intuition to take over and make marks, scribble, move your body and reduce tension.

The other night, I was feeling a little sad with one thing and another and decided to do some expressive sketching using my Lyra pencil.  I hadn't set out thinking I would share this at all but I found the process, the supplies and method I used to be cathartic and thought it might help you.

Below are the supplies I used:

  • Lyra Pencil 6b
  • Daler & Rowney A3 220g Smooth Paper
  • Sennelier Cobalt Blue and Walnut Ink
  • Brown Stabillo
  • XL Charcoal stick in - beige
  • Conte pastel pencils
  • Paintbrush and water
  • Golden Fluid Acrylic - hot pink

Thanks for reading and watching...

Jane x


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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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5 Tips On How To You Let YOUR Art Come Through + Free Portrait Video

I'm sharing a little video with you today that is just 5 mins long.   

As I've been busy adding content to my upcoming ecourse Portraits In Time, I took some time out to play and explore and the video below is the end result.  It took about 20 minutes to complete but I've speeded the whole thing up to just 5 mins.  At the end of the video, I've also shared a complete supplies list should you be interested. 

If I create from the heart, nearly everything works: if from the head, almost nothing.
— Marc Chagall

I often get asked 'How do you let your art, your 'unique you' come through to the canvas/paper?'  

So five thoughts on this:

  • The boring bit is just to practice, play and be brave.  It's about putting in the time and commitment to learning how to draw/paint and with time, your 'unique' vision will come through. I always remember learning to drive and realising that we all have our own little ways of driving but overall, the core skill is the same.
  • Know that there will be 'off' days and 'off' pieces of art that frankly just need to be binned or painted over.  That's okay and totally normal.  Give yourself permission to make mistakes and try again (and again).
  • Listen to your inner voice and add a splash of bright pink there, a scribble over here and a bit of collage there.  Yes, the process involves risk but this is where the magic happens. 
  • Know that you're always evolving and so is your art and that's normal, so pay attention to what is real for you in this time and space.
  • Let go of perfection and say 'hello' to play and truth in the process.  

I do hope you enjoy this video and that you'll be inspired to have a go yourself.  If you'd like to create some art with me, please purchase my upcoming portrait class - the classroom opens on 11th September. 


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Portrait in Derwent Coloursoft Pencils

Happy Friday friends!  Our boys break up from school today, so there's a feeling of celebration here.  

Anyway, talking of celebrating, I've really enjoyed using Derwent Coloursoft Skintones pencils and also the Blender from Derwent's Blender and Burnisher set to create the portrait below.

coloursoft portrait

As the name suggests, the colour is velvety soft and seems to glide on the paper.  The Coloursoft pencils layer up nicely too - see the image below.  You can really build up dense colour and they blend well too.  The pencils are not water soluble just to note. 

half face

The multicultural skintone colours that are included are: Cream, Blush Pink, Pink, Ochre, Dark Terracotta and Brown Earth.  The set comes with a pencil sharpener and the metal tin, so everything tidy's away without a hassle.  

derwent colour soft pencils

The portrait is actually inspired by one of the reference photos that I've used in my Portraits In Time ecourse and as a reminder the early bird offer is still available for now at just £35 (it will revert to £49).  


I hope you have a wonderful weekend and if you have these pencils or any others that you'd recommend, please let us know. 

Jane x


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Start Where You Are + Some Sketches

I'm discovering new ways of being at the moment.  

Drawing is the changing point from the invisible powers to the visible thing...
— Joseph Beuys


Now that I've got my studio set up, I'm slowing finding new ways of working; with all my supplies at hand (which is such a joy) and enjoying the luxury of having a dedicated space to make art. 

It's funny, I've waited so long for this to happen, that I don't know quite where to start, so I'm paying attention to what is on my heart and trying to do more of that.  Don't get me wrong, I've got many ideas, probably too many, so I'm taking my own advice (hence the title of this blog post) and starting right where I am now and that means sketching.

So, here we are - quite a mixed bunch of sketches but I'm enjoying every minute. 

The first sketch is from a photo on Pinterest of an English Edwardian actress called Lily Elsie. Apparently, she was quite famous at the time and I was just struck with her beauty and poise - something about her expression that resonates - not sure in what way but drawing her, makes it clearer somehow and sheds a light on something of myself.  

Next is a sketch of Helen Mirren, one of my favourite English actresses taken from a magazine I'd been reading.  As an aside, I saw her in a film recently called Woman In Gold.  Below is a short extract from the film:

The next two girls are inspired from photos and done in pencil.

The last 3 images are the same girl and taken from a clothes catalogue from Gudren Sjoden - (great clothes, by the way).  This girl was rendered in charcoal and you can see her progress.  I couldn't resist adding the colourful flowers in her hair.

So, there we have it.  What have you been creating lately?  Sometimes, it's necessary to start and by starting, you'll know where you are, in time...  

Keep creating.


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