Projects

Painting Prompts For Summer When You Have 10 Minutes!

Painting Topic Ideas...

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I hope you're enjoying this new month; in fact, at this exact moment, I'm actually typing this in our garden - yay!  Today I started my 30 days of prompts for my gentle art challenge and thought perhaps you'd also enjoy some flexible painting prompts that will only take 10 minutes (or longer if you wish) to complete.  

I'm all for creating whenever I can and sometimes 10 mins is all I've got and so it's helpful to have what I'm going to paint already taken care of - hint, look below for the prompts.  

The Anglo-Saxons called June “sera monath” (dry month).
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You may have school aged children who are home for the school holidays already (hello, US friends) or perhaps little ones who like to paint with Mum regularly.  I know when our boys were a little younger, I really enjoyed looking at the Artful Parent and the wonderful resources there.  

I find painting quickly and without too much expectation helps shake my 'real' artwork up and helps me keep nimble; on my toes.  

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So whether you're joining in with the challenge (please use #createjoyfuljune2018 so we can find each other), or not, I hope you might try some of the Joyful June prompts and see where they take you and please consider popping by Instagram where you can see how the prompts are unfolding for me and I can for you... :)

Until next time...

Jane xo

 


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{Video} 'Hope' Collage and The 'Why' Behind Stopping Taking Antidepressants

New Collage - Hope

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Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops - at all...
— Emily Dickinson

 

I'm sharing my latest video and collage entitled 'Hope' from my Heads Up project.   As I was creating the collage and thinking about the words of (click link for poem reading) Emily Dickinson's beautiful poem, it got me thinking more deeply about the word 'Hope' both in my life and generally.  

It occurred to me that hope is not necessarily about believing everything is going to turn out okay but rather trusting that whatever the outcome, it will be the right one...  I'm doing my best to live this out but it's not always easy.

In other news, our boys have finished school today and have a week's holiday.  I'm looking forward to spending extra time with them next week.  

Have an amazing weekend and I'd love to know what 'Hope' means to you...

Jane xo

ps. if you're interested in taking part in a 'gentle' art challenge in June, click here.


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[Video] Collages Feel, Fear and Nourish With Updates #headsup50project

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HeadsUp50Project Update With Video Over Tea!

Come to me, all of you who are weary and loaded down with burdens, and I will give you rest.
— Matthew 11:28 ISV

It's Mental Health Awareness Week until the 20th and the focus has been on stress.  Stress is a normal phenomenon of modern day living but it's when it spirals out of control that it can lead to a mental health problem.  

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Of course, some stress can actually be good for us because it enables us to push ourselves beyond our day to day limits ie. a presentation that we need to deliver at work.  It's when you are experiencing stress for prolonged periods of time that there can be a problem.  

I heard that 75% of adults (in the UK) have experienced periods of stress in the last year where they have regularly felt not able to manage and 80% of young people feel the same.

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This is a reminder for possibly ourselves and/or our loved ones to identify stress triggers, find and then practice relaxation techniques and know that situations often have a limited point in life and that they often will pass.  

These statistics remind me that I can always work, exercise, clean, cook and just be MORE in every which way but that doesn't serve me or the people I love.  I can choose what I fill my brain with and that I must make better choices wherever possible...

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Here are three more collages that I've finished this week and I've recorded another video that goes alongside them.  I share three books that I think are helpful, some personal thoughts, more detail on the collages and a cup of tea!  I do hope you'll watch https://youtu.be/HXDT1Lwg2SQ or, click the video below.  

Have a wonderful weekend - I'll be watching the Royal Wedding of Meghan and Harry on tv tomorrow!

Take care,

Jane xo

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Tender Art Videos and Talk on the Struggles of Mental Health

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Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.
— Etty Hillesum (1914-1943 Dutch-born Jewish Diarist)

#HeadsUp50Project - Art Collages + Process

I've been busy, busy behind the scenes (think swan swimming serenely, whilst in actual fact, legs are flapping madly under the water - that's me ;)). 

Today, I wanted to share three videos that I've created this week as part of my ongoing #HeadsUp50Project. This project explores the topic of mental health and the idea of trying to find that place of quiet, inner contentment whilst living in a busy world that wants our attention at every turn. It's a challenge for everyone and especially if you are feeling tender.

Click each video to watch (or click the links below and watch directly in YouTube).

https://youtu.be/TuLmsBRVjjghttps://youtu.be/hsTZ8fkhj6Ahttps://youtu.be/97Y86qJDIFw

This work is both a personal project exploring my journey off antidepressants that I've taken for the past 10 years and at the same time, my way of bringing this conversation out in the open and hopefully nudging that little bit further towards removing the stigma that is still prevalent in society.

Each video explores a different aspect to the overall topic of mental health and as I chat, you'll see me piecing together and adhering the fragments of each collage to the canvas. The different elements of the collage, for me, kind of signify the fragments of our lives.

I came across this really interesting and inspiring post entitled Tchaikovsky's Surprising Wisdom For Artists With Depression. Tchaikovsky experienced deep depression many times but I love how in spite of his suffering, he was able to find beauty and good things in his life.  

I assert that life is beautiful in spite of everything!
— Tchaikovsky

Lastly, it's certainly not always easy but if we are to find some solace; a sense of contentment, the quote below is a great lesson for all of us.  'It is our tremendous resilience as people that carries us through difficult times. There are thorns, yes. But there are roses, too' - thank you Lori Chandler for those words.

Thanks for being here...

Jane xo

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Identity; Loss Off + Collage 8/50

Looking Back...

Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.
— Unknown
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I still find it astounding to think, that one day I was ‘me’ and literally the second my first baby was born, I was never the same again (or, after my second and third babies).  My 28 year-old-self would’ve been very skeptical if someone had told me this - ‘I’m only having a baby, how much can I change?’  Well, a lot, yes?   

The same can be said for all big changes in life, right?  A bereavement, marital breakup, job change or, serious illness, even a house move.  Truly though, when I became a mother, that was by far the biggest shift for me and continues to shape me day by day.  I've accepted this gift now but the loss of 'myself' was quite profound for some years - it felt like I was mourning my 'previous life' for the longest time.

I chatted about this topic here and now again today because it’s showed up in my latest collage - called (you guessed it) Identity. It features the female form holding an infant baby.  The figure is of a darker colour than the newborn because she’s holding a brand new, pristine life in her arms ie. the baby that she’s carried in her body for nine months but she’s also lived a life herself prior to baby.  She’s weary for now; she’s been changed - she’s ‘older’ somehow.

Identity - 8/50 #HeadsUp50Project

Around her are flowers - they’re part of her everyday and their beauty refreshes her and reminds her that life is the same, it’s just her experience of it that has changed.  Everything is as it should be - the sun rises and sets and the stars are held above us, as always.  She’ll never be the same but she’s also softer, more malleable and kinder somehow.  She’s felt and seen things that have made her mark both physically and spiritually and she can't and wouldn't want to go back. 

In time, she forgives herself for not being perfect - (actually, it's an ongoing process, I find).  She does the best she can and slowly a new woman emerges.  She's wiser and not as quick to think she knows what life's all about...  

 The one and only, Brene Brown writes about 'Motherhood Shame' here in a brilliant pdf relating to her book, 'I Thought It Was Just Me'.  While I'm sharing, here are some other truly inspiring and noteworthy downloads that are free via Brene's site. 

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The Collages

As with all my previous headsup50project collages, this work is focusing on depression, my journey and the bigger 'picture' of mental health awareness and stigma.  You'll see in these collages that there is glorious imperfection, no neat edges with an accompanying deep love, appreciation and an inner knowing that I am many facets, not only a mother, a wife and daughter - I hope you feel this too when you look at this series of collages.  

Finally, this piece is available here (with 10% of the proceeds going to the charity, Mind) and others collages are on their way… Yay - 10 of 50 now completed, another 40 to go ;) 

Jane xo

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In A Rut - HeadsUp50 6/50 Collage - Expecting Change But It's Not Happening?

Change won't happen until there's a shift...

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.
— Henry Ford

Yep, the quote above is so true isn't it?  Agh!  I first heard this quote in the mid-90's when I was seeing my doctor for post natal depression with my first child. Those words really clicked with me and it was like I'd never really considered how my thoughts could inform the present and future - this was a time before self-help genre became a 'thing'. 

I think we all can experience this reality in life - doing what we've always done but somehow expecting a different end result.  I know, it seems so silly to expect a change but somehow we do and when it doesn't come we can end up feeling sad, angry, confused, frustrated and if we're already feeling depressed, it can just make you feel worse.  It's like you're banging your head against a brick wall and there seems no way to break the cycle.   

For me, I have various triggers and some are more bothersome than others. Overwhelm, timekeeping, getting distracted and not having enough quiet time, are all potential situations that can trigger unwanted reactions and behaviours for me.  

My latest collage is called 'In A Rut' and in the video below, I chat about what helps me and my 'behaviours' whilst piecing together and finishing off my latest collage 6/50 from my #HeadsUp50Project.

 Please note, 10% of the proceeds will go to the  Mind  charity.

Please note, 10% of the proceeds will go to the Mind charity.

I hope the video and my collage are helpful for you and if this resonates with you, it might be time to get your journal out and have a little ponder and reflection on this over ten minutes or so with a lovely cup of tea. Take things slow and remember to be easy on yourself... 

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