still life

You Can't Be Your 'Best Self' If You Ignore Your Emotional, Physical + Spiritual Well-Being

Do you ever find yourself feeling ruled by your 'to do' list?  Do you feel as if you're being dragged through your day, struggling to keep up with so many obligations, other people to take care of, tasks and thoughts crowding your head, that somehow YOU never feel nurtured?  Lastly, do you sometimes get irritated with your nearest and dearest and then feel desperately sorry and guilty? Yes, I know - I've been there too...

The Joyful Encounter - click to purchase...

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Credit:  Becca Lee , Pinterest

Credit: Becca Lee, Pinterest

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I was listening to Sally Clarkson and Kristen Kill on their podcast yesterday and their discussion came around to this very topic and it reminded me of how I used to feel (and truth be told, sometimes I still do on a particularly challenging day...) before I paid attention to the needs, desires and whispers of my heart.

Sally went on to say, that you can't deny your 'emotional and physical' needs consistently as sooner or later, you'll  end up being in pieces.  She states: 'no-one can take care of your happiness, only you' - isn't that the truth?  Sally talks about 'building rhythms into our lives' for daily nurture time and that life is not about being 'dragged across the finish line' but rather to embrace life.  Sally shares that the '... best gift you can give your child [husband, parent, work colleague etc] is the gift of being a content and happy person'

Once upon a time, I used to suffer crippling depression and whilst the 'outside world' couldn't have guessed, my family certainly could.  As I started to feel better, I did a number of things but the thing I've come back to, is endeavouring to listen to what my heart needs as best as I can.  

Enter art!  Art fills me up and reminds me of who I am.  It helps still my mind from its incessant chatter, encourages me to 'see' beyond myself and teaches me that I'm abundantly loved by God.

So, it's your turn dearest...

  • What stirs your heart?  What are those whispers you are trying to ignore?
  • How can you practically tend that weary heart of yours?
  • Are you an introvert or extravert? Are you in desperate need of some space to 'be' or a favourite friend to enjoy a cup of tea and a chat with? 
  • If picking up brushes and dipping in paint does that for you, please do this for yourself.  If it's gardening, sewing, having a vintage tea party with friends - whatever it is, take this time and do it regularly.  
  • Journal what comes up for you and then take some small action towards a positive change.

If what I've shared resonates, you have some tips/suggestions or just want to share your heart, please leave a comment below.  

 

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9 Ways That Collage Can Be So Exciting and Life Affirming

Collage is SO much more than just gluing bits of paper to a substrate...

As I've been creating my latest online class, Fragments Of Joy, I've realised just how many possibilities there are with collage.  It's been really difficult to curate the projects I've wanted to include in the class.  

Below is Matisse with his 'cut outs'.  He was seriously ill after having had surgery and was diagnosed with cancer and I just love that the last years of his life were occupied by this joyful work. I'd have loved to have seen him at work - propped up against his pillows with the sound of scissors cutting paper.

Apparently, it was an extremely busy time and at least one of his assistants suffered from exhaustion.  He would ask his assistants to place the cut out on the plaster wall and secure it with a pin with Matisse directing the placement, all from his wheelchair.  All he used was white paper, gouache and scissors - not to mention his immense talent of course ;).

Matisse with one of his studio assistants.

Matisse with one of his studio assistants.

Matisse's Violet Leaf on Orange Background (1947). Photograph: © Succession Henri Matisse/DACS 2014

Matisse's Violet Leaf on Orange Background (1947). Photograph: © Succession Henri Matisse/DACS 2014

I love how his work seemed to hold no constraints and even though his wife had left him, he was incapacitated and dying and his daughter was going through horrendous suffering at the hands of the gestapo - still, his cut outs (his soul?) could rise above it all and fly.

So my vision was to make an online art class that was based upon collage, in an effort to show you, just how versatile (and joyful - hence the name of the class) can be.  

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Here are just some of the benefits of collage:

  • Collage is very freeing, spontaneous and inventive.  For instance, Matisse created cut outs that were huge and would cover part of the ceiling and wall at once.  Sometimes they were part tucked behind a radiator etc.
  • It's so versatile - you can use paper, fabric, found items etc and it works beautifully with other media too.
  • Collage is a great learning tool for composition mastery as you have to really think about placement of your shapes.
  • Create your own papers and watch how you use media in new and exciting ways.
  • You will learn so much along the way ie. ways to use texture, colour, line, form etc and of course all of this can be translated to new work.
  • If you're struggling with your 'regular' creative work you'll find that you can return to it with renewed passion, clarity and vision. 
  • You can use everything - nothing is off limits! 
  • The world around you becomes fresh and full of possibilities ie. the orange string bag that your satsumas contain, a piece of old jewellery, or a rubbing from a piece of rough bark that you came across whilst walking the dogs. 
  • There is great opportunity to work intuitively with images and ephemera as a way to exploring your inner life and what is either troubling you or conversely, making you feel alive.

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Want to explore collage more fully for yourself?  Fragments Of Joy just might be the ticket you need and I'd love to have you.  

Some of what you can expect:

  • Full projects PLUS one bonus (on the right is the 'floral still life' project).
  • Some ideas for creating your own papers.
  • Fun extra projects using magazine images.
  • Have fun with transparent layers.
  • Create a memory/story collage.
  • All levels - no art experience needed.

Use this discount code (case sensitive) below at checkout to get the Early Bird Price:

6OFFCOLLAGEJOY

Early Bird Price: £29 (approx. $39) - until 16th October 2017

Regular Price: £35 (approx. $46).

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