relaxation

New Class! Terrarium World - Making & Painting

Terrarium World - Bringing the outside in

I’m thrilled today to let you know about a brand new class called Terrarium World that I’ve created and that it’s open for registration with an early bird offer of £35/$50 for a limited time (regular price £45/$59). The class begins on 15th April 2019.

Science research shows us again and again, that nature is so restorative and helps bring a feeling of calm and wonder to our lives…

I’m fascinated with terrariums - these little tiny micro worlds and how they enable us to experience a little of the outdoors, indoors and with gales blowing outside, this class has been such a blessing to create.

I can’t wait to show you, from beginning to end, how to create both a ‘closed’ (with a lid) and ‘open’ (without a lid) terrarium. There’s a lot of information online on how to create a terrarium and it can get a little confusing but now that I’ve done all the research and created some for myself, I feel I have a really good understanding and would like to share the fun with you!

My soul can find no staircase to Heaven unless it be through Earth’s loveliness.
— Michelangelo

Being an artist, there just HAD to be an art element to this class, so you can look forward to exploring mixing greenscreating fern themed fridge magnetspainting a beautiful watercolour succulent and experience delight whilst creating a soft pastel painting featuring succulents and shells. Oh and I share how you could ‘customise’ any add ons with paint that you might want to add to your terrarium world.

What will I make?

There’s so much to learn and create in Terrarium World and below is a brief overview of the main projects:

* Lesson 1 - Closed terrarium

* Lesson 2 - Open terrarium

* Lesson 3 - Warm up - mixing greens

* Lesson 4 - Succulent study - watercolour

* Lesson 5 - Bowl of succulents and shells - soft pastel painting

* Bonus Lesson - Fern Fridge magnets x 5 - acrylic

What will I learn by taking this class?

* How to create an ‘open’ or ‘closed’ terrarium and then how to lovingly care for it

* Customise your terrarium ‘extras’ with paint

* Gain some technical expertise for mixing a green watercolour palette

* Create your very own fridge magnets (five of them) on slices of wood for gifts or for your home

* Building upon mixing greens and paint a succulent using watercolour (my reference photo included)

* Using soft pastel, create a pretty bowl full of succulents and shells to brighten your day no matter the weather outside (my reference photo included)

* Finding solace and inspiration from Psalm 23

My inspiration for this class was the following scripture:

Come away with me by yourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.
— Mark 6:31

My deeper desire to create this class came from listening to the weather storming away outside and feeling overwhelmed and busy on the inside. I really wanted to create a terrarium and have it remind me to take time to be with God. I wanted it to feel and look like a miniature garden that I could peek into and imagine myself sitting down at a pretty table with a pot of tea steaming away and give myself some time just to sit and rest.

From there, I wanted to inspire our youngest son (he’s 13 yrs old) to do the same and he excitedly picked out a miniature tree house and wanted to include that in his terrarium and you’ll get to see us both in that video lesson. It’s been such a joy and giggle to have him in this class and his enthusiasm is fantastic! (You can see Benjamin in the first pic in the gallery photos above).

I couldn’t stop there though, I wanted to try and capture the beauty of the plants that I was planting into the terrariums and with extra ones I had left over, I planted them into a precious bowl that my beloved Granny used to own many years ago that had been sitting on my windowsill waiting to come to life.

So, I hope you can see how this has been such a blessing for me to create and my prayer is that these gentle activities in Terrarium World help quiet your mind, embrace beauty and find rest in God too.

Much love,

Jane x

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Useful Tips For How To Have Fun AND Relax When Painting Outdoors

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Working outdoors or from life puts you in direct contact with the life force, not just the light and the landscape, but also the vitality of the world around you.
— George L. Carlson

I got a tip-off that some bluebells were flowering in the vicinity and so I decided to pursue them!  

I made my way to some woods nearby and it was all a bit of a last minute thing but I'm so glad I went.

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Painting en plein air (on-site outdoors) didn't become hugely popular with artists until the 19th century and thankfully today is still very popular even in the most challenging of weather conditions ie. the UK lol!  I'm a bit of a fair-weather outdoor painter, so this is my first venture out so far this year.

Sometimes it can feel a bit overwhelming to know what to take and then how to actually get started painting once you arrive, from a practical point of view.  Also, some people can feel ill at ease whilst painting outdoors ie. if people want to have a nosy - this too can take a bit of getting used to but don't let it put you off.

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Anyway, I want to encourage you from a practical and enjoyment point of view, so what follows are some handy tips and thoughts.  Remember, anyone can do this, you don't have to be an 'artist'. 

Here goes:

1. Make sure you'll be warm (or cool enough) - think layers ie. cardigan, jacket etc.  Wear comfy and practical shoes, after all, you never know where the muse might take you. 

2. Bring a bag that can sling over your shoulder, is not too heavy, is waterproof (preferably wipeable if mud or cow dung gets onto it (yep, it's happened) and has ample space.

3.  Of course, you need your journal/sketchbook and bulldog clips; they keep everything together.  Small travel watercolour kit (including a palette), travel brush with inbuilt reservoir, paper towel, pencil, eraser, mini water-spray, pencil sharpener.  Pop the smaller items into a make up bag or plastic sandwich bag (ziploc). 

4. Don't forget your camera, batteries and don't do what I did, which was to run out of battery - gggrrr!  Bring your 'regular' camera too.  Cameras are great, not just for the 'Instagram moment' but for inspiration and possible further experimentation and reference for when you're at home. 

5. A portable camping chair with it's own carry bag that can sling over your shoulder or, kneeling cushion (like you'd use for gardening) can be useful.  Of course, you might not need these items but for me something to sit on is vital because otherwise my back starts playing up and/or my knees - (yep, midlife thing).  

6. You need sustenance!  Bring a snack or packed lunch and a drink for afterwards. This outdoor creativity thing is thirsty and hungry work! You might also need to bring insect spray, sunglasses, tissues, a map and sun protection.  Oh, don't forget a paper bag for rubbish and/or bring it home with you -thinking leaving your environment as you found it. 

7. Perhaps bring your journal (or write in your sketchbook) if you want to jot down a little of your process (ie. colours used) or record any other thoughts that are going through your mind once you've finished.  

8. Tell someone where you'll be and a rough time you'll be back.  I didn't do this and ended up calling my husband later on because I'd stopped off to a friend's house for a chat and lunch without pre-planning!  He was 'getting concerned...', shall we say. ;) 

Home Truth

You might not be happy with your work the first few times but that's no problem - it's a process.  Make lots of thumbnail sketches and make a plan to visit again soon, so that you can 'firm up' your sketches and have another go.

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Location

Don't go somewhere too off the beaten path, that you might feel vulnerable or a bit scared and therefore not able to relax.  Find somewhere fairly comfortable, maybe near toilets and not so far away that you're shattered just getting there, before you even start painting.

Other People

Yes, it can feel a little embarrassing at first when someone goes by and wants to see what you're doing but more often than not, it's just their curiosity and a pleasant surprise for them to come across someone painting outdoors.  I find if I'm really concentrating and lost in the process, people will just walk by me and I haven't even noticed them approaching until they've walked by. 

Subject Matter

Don't try to capture a really complicated scene at first.  Try something small and beautiful.  There is so much to be said for close up and simple.  

It's also lovely to just capture a lot of smaller things that catch your eye, rather than one completed piece but go with what brings you joy. Fill up your page. 

Feel, Look Up, Listen  

Give yourself ample time to enjoy the process even if you're not happy with the end result.

If you're not sure what to capture with your brush or pencil, look up, down etc.  You might want to capture the colour of the sky, the sculptural aspects of a rock, a shell, an abstract pattern, lichen, or the rings on a tree that's fallen.  It really doesn't matter - just pick something that interests you.

When Finished

After I'd finished painting, I sat on a bench and listened to the birds, watched some ducklings swimming with their mum (14 of them!) and enjoyed the peace and tranquility of being outdoors, wash all over me.  I even closed my eyes and said a prayer of thanks for the richness and diversity of the flora and fauna around me. 

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I've said a lot here but really it's just about cobbling a few things together and making a pact with yourself to get out there and have a go.  

So, when are you ready to head out and try a little creating outdoors, you'll really love it - I guarantee!  Oh and let me know how you got on - I'd love to hear. 

Jane x

 

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