Contentment Can Feel Elusive and Art Of Contentment Class Update - Month of May

The Art Of Contentment - swallows, bluebells and noticing the void

Do you find yourself swinging between contentment one minute and dis-content in the next?

This month within the Art of Contentment classroom, I share what I’m noticing about the subtleties of light and dark that show themselves within any given day. In fact, that’s what my art lesson is focusing on too (notice the covered eye ie. the ‘darkness’ clouding your vision from finding contentment).

In my audio reflection for this month, I vulnerably share how my sense of inner contentment can be hazy at times and how this can lead to me to wanting to fill the void that demands attention. This can show itself in all manner of ways including food, shopping, aimlessly scrolling through social media or watching programmes on tv that don’t nourish me. Can you relate? This behaviour signals to me that it would serve me well to pay attention to what my body and soul is needing. In the audio, I also share some journaling suggestions to explore this further.

The month of May is the pleasant time; its face is beautiful; the blackbird sings his full song, the living wood is his holding, the cuckoos are singing and ever singing; there is a welcome before the brightness of the summer.
— Lady Gregory
mixed media portrait May, Jane Hinchliffe.jpg

May is a beautiful month and comes with expectancy as the nightingales and swallows return and cow parsley blooms once more. I wonder what’s inspiring you where you live? You might be experiencing autumn…

I share some images of bluebells from my personal collection - gosh, how I love them! Have you noticed the smell of wild garlic too? I love that smell and the bright green leaves and pretty white flowers.

Forever Bluebells - original mixed media (you can purchase this  here  - does not come with the frame)

Forever Bluebells - original mixed media (you can purchase this here - does not come with the frame)

I share the flower of the month which is the Lily of the Valley and some of my favourite famous paintings with the theme of Mother’s Day (shout out to USA Mom’s out there).

Notable dates for this month are May Day, Rogation Sunday and the Chelsea Flower Show and I give a little background to these which is such a fun way to learn about celebrations that we know and love, together with some that are maybe a thing of the past but which are fascinating all the same.

May Day has a special place in my heart and within the classroom, I share some photos from previous May Day traditional celebrations.

Lastly, my guest this month is Sam Martin, who is a flourishing local artist here in the Yorkshire Dales. Sam shares how her walks in the Lake District, inspire her paintings. She also shares photos taken from her walks and how these translate into her highly recognisable finished pieces of art.

Sam Martin guest The Art Of Contentment.jpg
Eagle Crag Painting - Sam Martin, Artist.jpg

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Spring Into Your Creativity Tips + Daffodils


Spring Into Your Creativity

So are you ready to answer the call and spring into your creativity - I certainly am.  I'm always so happy to come out the other side of winter.

Don't you just relish the realisation that Spring has finally 'sprung'?  It always brings me such joy and renewed love for nature and all things new and bright.

It feels fantastic to be able to dust off the old cobwebs and get out into the fresh air and feel that warm embrace of a little bit of sunshine on my back, well, in between the rain and some fleeting sleet/snow. I adore seeing colour sprouting up here, there and everywhere.

It's like the daffodils, crocuses and soon to be tulips, flower each year but it always feels like the first time - don't you find that too?

Spring into your creativity
Spring into your creativity

We had a little snow this week but that's not stopping me from being inspired by the bright yellow, purples and oranges of the crocuses, not to forget the spring lambs of course.  How about you, what do you love best about Spring (or Autumn if you're on the other side of the world?).

daffodils - spring into your creativity
daffodils - spring into your creativity

For me, it's almost like there's a different light even and whilst I might be noticing cobwebs and dust more, I'm soaking up the new season with all I've got.

Fairy Cakes and Daffodils - Spring into your creativity
Fairy Cakes and Daffodils - Spring into your creativity

I've been snipping daffodils that have succumbed to the wind and rain and gazing at them whilst I wash dirty pans at the kitchen sink.  I have them sitting in a pretty pink vase and the pleasure I get from just having them there is such a blessing.  What could you do that brings you joy this Spring?

Spring into your creativity
Spring into your creativity
daffodils - Spring into your creativity
daffodils - Spring into your creativity
Spring into your creativity
Spring into your creativity

I've been looking at some other daffodil themed art that I adore too - I'm always interested in art history. Some of you might have seen some of these pieces of artwork already but hopefully they will bring a touch of beauty to your day.

Berth Morisot. Spring into your creativity
Berth Morisot. Spring into your creativity
Spring into your creativity.
Spring into your creativity.
Daffodils, William Henry Margetson. Spring into your creativity
Daffodils, William Henry Margetson. Spring into your creativity
Spring into your creativity
Spring into your creativity

So, if you're wanting to shrug off the winter blues, here are some suggestions, starting off points for 'springing' into your creativity:

    1. Nature - like I've been saying, there's so much blooming at the moment, why not start by picking a daffodil and sketch it.
    2. Take a walk and stop and listen to the birds singing, a stream flowing or notice fast moving clouds skimming over your head - perhaps this could inspire you to write a poem, write in your journal or create an abstract art piece.
    3. Put on a piece of music and paint your response to it using only your intuition.
    4. Take your pencil 'for a walk' and draw something that inspires you.  Draw without lifting your pencil/pen off the paper - this is called continuous line drawing (see the video below).

5. Look out of a window and paint what the sky looks like and then pick various points in the day to paint the differences - you'll be surprised as to just how much your view does change.

6. Use colour to describe how you're feeling.

7. Paint with a child and just. let. go.

8. Make a Spring inspired collage using some photos or magazine images.

9. Prepare a meal that consists of lots of colour and relish the health benefits for your body.

10. Wake up early and watch the sunrise.

11. Take a bike ride, fly a kite or grab a blanket, lie down and watch the stars.

Oh and in case the above suggestions aren't doing it for you, here is a blog post by the highly talented and likeable, Emily P Freeman entitled, 8 Things Whole-Hearted Creative Women Do Differently.

However you choose to spring into your creativity, may it enable you to be your wonderful, true self.  I do hope this season finds you feeling invigorated, inspired and rejuvenated.

Lastly, this weekend it's Mothers Day in the UK, so for all you mothers, have a beautiful day.

Much love,

PS. I have a couple spots left on my upcoming Spring painting workshop of 6th April - please click for more info. or to book a place.  We'll get to shake off the cobwebs of winter together and welcome in Spring.


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Capture Summer : journal page


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







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Watercolour, words + glimpses into nature

Love my 'wellibobs' - boots in other words MiaEvery morning I walk Mia (see above) after having dropped our boys off at school.  I know it's obvious but I find it amazing how much more we see of the world when we walk. Various This watercolour (below) I've just finished includes some leaves that had dropped from an oak tree I often walk past (above).  (By the way, I read the other day, that oak trees can live for more than 1000 years!)

Underfoot are hundreds of acorns that are in varying stages of decay.  You can't help but walk on them and hear the crunch underneath - I love the sound.

Watercolour - oak leaf + quote

Quote + Oak Leaf

Start of painting

This Autumn I'm finding myself with a surge of energy to de-clutter, reassess my wardrobe, re-arrange things, paint rooms (done two), I've deep cleaned a carpet in our dining room and a need to finalise jobs that have been put aside.

I think it's a sign that I'm getting ready to hunker down if you know what I mean?  You know when you see squirrels rushing about collecting their nuts before hibernating?  Well, I've a yearning to get ready for the Winter season and a desire to get things cosy, nurturing and tranquil - not the nut collecting aspect though.


A quick note:

I'm slowly getting to grips with it technically and will be adding items to my new website shop as time goes on.

I still have my Etsy shop.

I have a number of items for sale at the moment if you fancy taking a look.

Please stop by my Facebook page and connect with me.   I'd love to hear from you!




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