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.

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Eagle Crag Painting - Sam Martin, Artist.jpg

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Possessions Don't Make You Happy & The Art Of Contentment

It’s a lie we’ve been fed far too long!

The accumulation of possessions - ‘stuff’, will never satisfy our longings for meaning in our lives…

I was trying to find a particular book this morning and as I was browsing my overflowing bookshelf, I was surprised to see several books that I’d entirely forgotten about. The thing is, all my books were purchased with what seemed, a great need and want at the time.

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The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it
— Henry David Thoreau

Likewise, on Saturday, I’d been frantically rifling through my clothes; trying to choose an outfit for a special, large family gathering - you know the feeling. I came across a few scarves, blouses etc that I can’t even remember the last time they were worn.

Of course, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t buy things but I am saying that buying to fill a void inside of ourselves will only bring about a temporary feeling of happiness - it doesn’t last - this is coming from ‘the ex kitchen appliance queen’. All too soon, the ‘feel good’ factor wears off and once again we’re stuck with the reality of our lives and who we are in this moment.

Back to emptiness…

Back to those feelings of lack, disappointment and a thirst for something more…

You can find this art lesson and others,  here .

You can find this art lesson and others, here.

Whilst creating this intuitive piece of artwork above for my class, the Art Of Contentment, I was reminded of the multiple times (often daily), when my vision of God is clouded because I’m experiencing a feeling of ‘lack’. I think that’s why I instinctively covered one eye - we literally can’t ‘see’.

A journal entry I’d scribbled down, reminded me, that ONLY God can quench our thirst. Here are the words - a prayer of sorts, that I wrote upon my painting:

Help me to look to You and only You for contentment.

Remind me daily that happiness can never be found in possessions - only though You!

Through Your love, grace, mercy and forgiveness.

You quench my thirst as nothing else can.

Thank you Jesus!

Inside the Art Of Contentment classroom, I speak about my sense of sometimes feeling ‘empty’. How we can all fall into the trap of fooling ourselves into thinking there can be a replacement for spiritual food and water. All too often, we strive to control the outcome of our lives using our own limited resources. If we do without physical food and water, we soon would perish and it’s the same if we go without the living Word and Jesus to satisfy our spiritual hunger and thirst that our souls so desperately need.

Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him/her shall never thirst...
— John 4:13-14

Reflection Question:

In what ways do you typically quench your spiritual thirst and hunger? What would it look like for you to quench your thirst through God? How might you fill your well this month?

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The Benefits of Art In A Care Home For the Elderly

Art For Seniors

Yesterday, I visited a local care home for the elderly with a friend and helped teach an art lesson for senior ladies with varying levels of dementia. I’ve taught several workshops in person but have never done this in a care home setting. It was such a humbling and special experience that I wanted to share it with you here… Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take photos from the session but hopefully you’ll get a sense of my experience nonetheless.

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Creative art pursuits provide older adults with multiple benefits, not the least of which is enhanced cognitive function.
— Todays Geriatric Medicine

Before the ladies arrived, my friend and I set to work and began by squeezing out splodges of acrylic paint on saucers, filling containers with water for rinsing out dirty brushes and finally, setting out coloured and ordinary drawing pencils onto the large art table.

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Some of the ladies had to be ‘bribed’ with tea by the carers because they’d entirely forgotten their last painting session and needed some gentle encouragement. Soon wheelchairs and walking frames were wheeled in and ladies were helped to their place at the large table.

A few ladies continued working on a previously started piece (some had no recollection that the piece handed to them was actually theirs), whilst others were starting new artworks with the jolly theme of Spring. An ‘example’ was prepared and some suggestions made.

One lady never spoke unless she wanted her brush cleaning and new colour added. She painted regardless of the pencilled guidelines which of course, was no problem at all. She seemed unaware (?) of what she was painting but slowly she relaxed and smiled to herself at times. She was totally wrapped up and absorbed in her painting.

When she’d finished her ‘Spring’ piece, we gave her a blank piece of paper and she drew some shapes with pencil and then painted her shapes in with random colours and strokes. I stroked her softly on the shoulder and called her by her name and asked her if she’d enjoyed her painting session and she said that she had. My eyes filled with tears as our gaze connected and when she smiled at me it made me wonder who she’d been before the dementia set in and did she know who she was anymore and still how special she was?

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Another lady was probably in her late 80’s and a little impatient to begin with. She needed some encouragement and guidance as to the particulars of what to paint. I drew a tree for her and she went ahead and filled in the general foliage shape with green paint. I suggested she paint in some cherry blossom and she did this in her own unique way and then a yellow sun was added.

Three of the ladies had been primary school teachers and one in particular chatted a little to us about her teaching days and some of the children who’d been in her charge.

All the while, we had music on in the background and one lady hummed or sang throughout our session whilst simultaneously beaming! I was captivated.

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A little bit of surprise to me was how blunt and to the point the ladies were. They seemed to have no concept of social etiquette and it reminded me of how young children are - very much of the moment. I loved their genuine spirit, honesty and lack of social awareness or embarrassment - it was so, so refreshing!

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Another lady, told us about half a dozen times that she wasn’t the artistic one in her family, like her Dad but rather her mother (said in the present tense) was the artist. Her butterflies and sense of colour were beautiful.

For another, an owl was drawn and coloured in with such care and attention - she was a little surprised to see her creation when it was held up for her - upon seeing it in all it’s glory, her face lit up.

Daffodils, sheep and rolling hills were painted in by another lady and she too chatted from time to time and was engrossed for the whole session.

I’m not an art therapist or psychologist but I do know for that hour and a half, those ladies came to life! They smiled, laughed, hummed, sang and whatever their ‘end result’, they expressed themselves in a way that felt right for them. Their hand-eye coordination was well and truly exercised, along with cognitive abilities and the ability to concentrate. They made decisions about what colour to dip into, they engaged with each other and they decided where to apply their loaded brush onto the paper and seemed to relish in it. For women who are nearer the end of their life, art seems a perfect way for them to show their true personality and exercise their autonomy and decision making in spite of the dementia. One lady remarked that it had gone so quickly...

After experiencing this yesterday, it reaffirms my belief that we are all meant to embrace our creativity at any age and no matter what ‘so called’ ability we have. We are all here to create and for the seniors in our communities it’s no different than for you and I.

Much love,

Jane x

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Truths To Remember For Next Easter

If I could have, I’d have put Easter on hold this year and that feels hard to admit…

Our eldest son will be 16 this summer (oh my goodness!) and will be sitting his GCSE examinations (end of high school exams) in one month!

I’ve been helping him with his revision over the Easter holidays and it’s been challenging - juggling this task on top of an already busy schedule, felt at times, more than I could handle. Can you relate?

Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen...
— Matthew 28:5 ESV
Easter 2019 Jane Hinchliffe.jpg

Ordinarily, I’d have mailed out Easter cards to friends and relatives. An Easter celebratory meal would have been planned out way ahead of time and most importantly, I’d have been setting aside extended periods of time (rather than fleeting moments where I could) for preparing my heart throughout the Lenten period.

Easter table - Jane Hinchliffe.jpg

Instead, I was feeling guilty and pressured in the midst of pressing demands - until I went to church on Good Friday…


As soon as I entered our church, MY priorities fell away. As I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit, I was reminded of the sacrifice He made for us and that this reality is still true today for you and I. It put everything into perspective. In that moment, I realised that it really didn’t matter whether I had all the details planned out or not…

We went to church on Easter Sunday and had a fabulous time engaging with a wonderful variety of messy crafts. We ended with communion and a rousing final hymn. Back home, there was a cobbled together meal roasting in the oven, a table lovingly set, a dessert made with the help of my 13 year old, loved ones close and most importantly the reality of the risen Christ - finally, I knew that my heart was filled with the joy and the life-giving reality of Easter!

Over to you: Is there anything you would do differently in the time leading up to Easter next year? Please share any thoughts, bible verses or resources that have been helpful to you…

Happy Easter friends!

Truths To Remember For Next Easter - Jane Hinchliffe.jpg

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Instant Access: Breathe - A Mixed Media Art Lesson

A new offering - Breathe - mini mixed media art lesson

Breathe - mixed media art lesson Jane Hinchliffe.png

By popular request, I’m excited to share this sweet mixed media art lesson with you that I think you’re going to love. This lesson has instant and lifetime access with downloadable videos.

Let me show you how to create your own miniature portrait on an old book cover and enjoy adding meaningful layers to create a piece that would look beautiful in your home or perhaps given as a gift to a loved one.

Within this mixed media art lesson, learn how to bring your ‘lost treasures’ to life with forgotten jewellery, pieces of lace, broaches, buttons etc. and then combine them with a vintage feel hand painted portrait - reminiscent of miniature portraits from the Victorian period.

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Breathe - mixed media lesson with Jane Hinchliffe.jpg

Click on the video below to learn a little more about this fun lesson

I hope you’ll join me!

This lesson has originally been shared as part of my year-long class called The Art Of Contentment. If you’re interested in the full class, go here.


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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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