I have been thinking a lot about family – my parents divorced when I was 5. It is not appropriate to go into more detail here- but I have been having fun working in my art journal and thinking about how to express the emotions that are swirling around.

I am finding it very liberating working in this way – a self portrait that I drew 30 yrs ago is having an airing in different forms.

And I love the mess- it doesn’t have to be beautiful or aesthetically pleasing it just can be – I have been angry and stirred so there is lots of clashing colour energy and a bit of Deleuze and Guattari




A concertina book about me

I am making a concertina book about me – I had a Freudian slip on the cover – I put Me , UK , born Blonde – white Middle class –
Am I still so shallow that I would accidentally put my hair colour first? I meant to leave a gap and put 1961 – to label my self in a temporal setting – I must have stopped thinking and my dyslexic brain added another b word – what about female- educated ? Western? Feminist? I am horrified and amused at my self at the same time – to be Blonde , tall and having a small dark haired sister was important in terms of competition and getting boy friends , when I was growing up ….. I am prematurely white now and revel in it – no more hair dye – it is a statement – and my sister is almost the same colour aging has levelled the playing field”>2015/01/img_6465.jpg




Working along the book
I used gesso and blue acrylic patterns with collaged paper as a background

I added as many words I could think of that described me at the moment

I commented again on the blonde issue and the fact that I am full of contradictions

Jon bought home an academic book and flipping through it reminded me of the vocabulary I used during my MA so I added that I am a post structuralist …….

At the end I added lots of pictures of me and my family – concentrating on the female representations of me – and relationships with mother / daughter – partly because I forgot to put female on the front of the book and also because of there importance

I also added a fiery, rainbow semi nude self portrait – that I found empowering to do a couple of years ago – it is very small and when I asked Jon if he could see a nude figure in the layout he said no – ( good luck finding it)

I am thinking of doing some journalling teaching so I will be working through Some techniques that I have learnt over the past couple of years in the next couple of posts

Many Paths- many Summits

The prompt many paths one summit seemed a bit flat after my attempts to represent quantum physics

I attended a Japanese wood carving course in the autumn of 2014 and was reminded of Hokusai’s work . I produced a series of images over the new year based on his famous wave image , using permanent markers and doodling



I realised that the smaller wave in the foreground of Hokusai’s wave was also simillar in shape to Mount Fuji

When I searched for Mount Fuji wood cut images as initial research for my journal page – I realised that the prompt might have been influenced by : Each and every master, regardless of the era or the place, heard the call and attained harmony with heaven and earth. There are many paths leading to the top of Mount Fuji, but there is only one summit – love

So it seemed apt to base my image on Fuji – the wave image had leant itself very well to my doodling style. I struggled to manipulate the mountain and combined paint and doodle . I still wasn’t pleased with the overall concept.


I was struck by the singularity of the prompt after ‘Everything can be our teacher’ prompt – my post materialistic leanings insisting that they would be as many summits as there were people to climb them – each summit would be different which ever path was climbed . No two experiences ever being perceived as exactly the same

Edinburgh is built on two old volcanoes – so a Hokusai/ doodle treatment of Arthur’s seat seemed in order
I still wasn’t happy with my design so I attacked it with stencils, gesso, acrylic paint , biros and water soluble colour pastels


I forgot to add my doodle representation of Arthur’s Seat



The documented life journal

Last year I used the prompts provided by I enjoyed working with an art prompt every week and I haven’t kept a chronological record of my art before. I am amazed at what a useful resource it is – it’s a nice object to pick up and flip through.


This year I have started again , the prompts this month are working through techniques to help working with a blank page . Here are my responses to the first 3 prompts of the year- 2015 Goals – Gesso – Colour Wheel




Quantum Physics/art journalling

My prompt was ‘Everything can be our teacher’ I was struggling with what imagery to use – the last few pages I have done just fell into place really easily.

I have been wanting to do something more , may be linked in with my MA work. This seemed a good opportunity .

In thinking about my journal page I was influenced by several disparate experiences and memories

I spent the afternoon teaching – it was a lovely experience- It was one to one, the interaction with the student and seeing her confidence grow was great – I enjoyed my self.

At the beginning of the month Jon and I went to a beautiful beach with a friend and photographed wave patterns on the sand – I remembered Karen Barad and her particle Physics in ‘Meeting the Universe half way ‘

I felt that my teaching and the idea of my interaction with the student felt like we were a Deluzian Assemblage – some how we intermingled during the lesson – I learnt about her and she became more confident in the skills I was imparting – it feels similar when I learn.

I found an example of wave patterns and an explanation of quantum wave/ particle theory

The image that the waves mades on the beach looked a lot like this


This is what I wrote on my Instagram post
‘I was trying to create a quantum
physics wave / particle pattern ( lol) the idea was we are fluid- interacting all the time and becoming something different by learning stuff ‘

Here are the journal pages I came up with – the first 2 are the image manipulated in my Iphone Apps




I played with the ideas a bit more in a series of doodles



Letting Go

I have been wondering about why I have been usineg circles so much in my journal pages- I looked up circle meanings in Google and was overwhelmed by the all encompaassing response- ranging from the sun – religious motifs – etc etc etc ……..


The circle is a universal symbol with extensive meaning. It represents the notions of totality, wholeness, original perfection, the Self, the infinite, eternity, timelessness, all cyclic movement, God. As the sun, it is masculine power; as the soul and as encircling waters, it is the feminine maternal principle. “It implies an idea of movement, and symbolizes the cycle of time, the per petual motion of everything that moves, the planets’ journey around the sun (the circle of the zodiac), the great rhythm of the universe. The circle is also zero in our system of numbering, and symbolizes potential, or the embryo. It has a magical value as a protective agent, … and indicates the end of the process of individuation, of striving towards a psychic wholeness and self-realization” (Julien, 71).

In Jung, the antithesis of the square (lowest state of man who has not achieved inner perfection), standing for the ultimate state of Oneness, with octagon in between. Circle of Necessity: birth, growth, decline, death. Defense against chaos, formlessness.

I had been feeling trapped by emotion. My stomach has been playing up and I have been sticking religiously to my stupid exclusion diet (lol) ( Gluten and dairy free plus about another 40 things that I am not supposed to eat ……) so I couldn’t really blame chocolate or cashew nuts for how I was feeling

lots of people make simple circles -painted/ pen/ – as cut outs and use them as embellishments for collaging- I have boxes of flowers, feathers, shells and butterflies – (so I thought why not make circles? you are using them everywhere-)

I like big circles that use my whole arm and wrist – I think I made about 10 small ones and gave up- they felt stilted and heavy . I started drawing hearts instead. Pages of them , pink , maroon, red, black, thin lines, thick – big splodges pens and fine microns – my new white sharpie pen . Then I sat and cut them out

My fried Debs posted her latest journal pages one of which was ‘letting go’ . I have Disney’s ‘Let it go’ on a loop in my head and what with making all those hearts I woke up at 5.45am with a spread idea and had to make it. I started drawing.

Then it got all complicated in my head – I was writing and not feeling or letting go. Hubby counselling session ensued ( poor boy he was only just awake).

Long and short of it I let go of a load of crap. Jon asked if I could draw circles today? tedaah!






Over the past year I have been revisiting my childhood love of doodling. I looked at Zen Tangling and loved the designs and some people’s interpretations are gobsmacking – however I wanted to be more free in my interpretation.

I have developed my style looking at pattern from different cultures/ fabric designs and pottery

Below is a series of images from J an 2014- to Jan 2015







Starting to art journal

I have been making art with Debbie Howard for a few years now – we have tried doing lots of different techniques and ways of working. We have supported each other through a BA and an MA and had a lot of fun on the way. since moving to Edinburgh we have been Skyping and doing art sparodically . I spent 4 days recently journalling – it was such fun Debs introduced me to Lisa Sonora and Orly Avineri – and I had a go at making some pages .







I forgot how much I like making a Mess -gluing and sticking and learning new techniques.

I have had a go at a couple more pages since I got home. I have a thing about circles – energy – whirling going on that I need to be reflexive about – and I seem to have become even more messy – the thinking taking over from my sense of design and the discipline of my doodling – lol!



There is also something happening about – layering meaning as well as image – so I am writing about ideas and thoughts exposed by the title or prompt and then hiding these – either by writing or painting over the top so that the meaning is obscured- the texture and the sense of words on a page still show through but they are semi illegible or obliterated