I too forget such simple things 

I have been planning and making for my mixed media workshop for months – now I have taught it – I didn’t have a project …… 

I found a poem that I liked- I was  drawn to the  the physical look. It’s long and thin and called’ I am Scotland’ by Micheal Pedersen its published in SoGo Magazine in the AU15 issue. 

They are in Facebook and Twitter but I can’t see a website

The illustration is by Timourous beasties 


I wanted to play with the words and the way cross hatching and redacting sections  can affect the visual embodiment of the form ,  not the sound or the feelings – just how it looks – 

I started blocking randomly , then systematically , Jon wants me to play with the words like in a found poem. I read out a couple , but it is all about how it looks when I attack it , for the moment. 

I am very drawn to the line ‘I, too, forget such simple things’ – Thinking about dementia , I watched a very moving film by Beatrice Alligranti called ‘I can’t find myself ‘ . In her research Alligranti used experiences with dementia , repetitive movements, conversations and more research to choreograph a dance / exploration of the condition. It is haunting me


There are family issues around the illness.  

Today I was tired and ill with my IBS and I couldn’t process stuff at work. It felt like parts of me were missing – I warmed up after a while but I remember sitting at my desk thinking, I know this , I don’t understand, I can’t find my way through  , then I realised that the ‘powers that be’ had been renaming files – in a seemingly random way . I wasn’t going daft – yet …. 

Blocking out the text of the poem – is a way of illustrating how I felt – interestingly this is observed in retrospect – the holes in my understanding , what I could and couldn’t read. I felt presented within something that kept shifting and changing so that I couldn’t comprehend the whole.

Another aspect that I have become aware of is that by coming at the poem this way – by only randomly picking words-  I am still getting the meaning  , but not in a linear way , words are locking them selves in my memory but not in the order they were presented – auburn , filigree ,shrieking seagulls.   The section when the father talks in a Scottish dialect in italics – it’s about the shape and form – breaking up the text. 

Some of the ways I attacked the poem 

Just leaving the first words of a line visible 

Picking out the 3rd or 4th words 

Using a felt pen to redact sections 

Random blocking 

Choosing words 

Trying to make a found poem 

I hand made a journal with 3 folios – this felt like an achievement towards making my own book – the format fits the length and width of the poem and there are 26 double spreads – the possiblity of 52 versions of the poem or 26 with notes …….. I like it when I find something that could occupy me for a while 






More mixed media journalling 

Since January 2015 have been working using an art journal as my method – it has been liberating going into the process and going with the flow

rather than planning and working through roughs and ideas to the nth degree. I found it liberating at the beginning of the year and it has continued as my method of choice 

I am drawing and developing my hand eye co -ordination everyday my confidence has improved . I don’t really have to think so much about the marks , proportions and the relationships of the marks on the page with each other. The process has become more embodied. 

I started working with letter journals with a friend, we produced pages that looked at feelings and emotions. I wanted to do more work this way so I started exploring situations and conditions that I have found myself in over the years e.g miscarriages , migraines and irritable bowel.

It was cathartic the immersing my self in the experiences around my symptoms and working through them felt very powerful.

In the past I have found that if I can step out of a situation and think about it and voice my feelings it had a similar effect on how I coped with each situation.

Last week a friend and I were working together on ideas around terrorism we were both feeling heavy and sad about the events in Paris and Beruit the previous week. 

I am going to explain the process that I worked through – it is not exactly what I was thinking at the time because I try not to think , in retrospect it is what I think I would have been thinking – in reality it is much more intuitive 

 I started with paint layering a purple acrylic over gesso through a stencil 

I scanned a couple of magazines whilst waiting for the paint to dry and ripped out anything that appealed to me without over thinking. I chose lots of blood red so I started ripping the sheets into strips of colour. When I layered the colour on top of the purple I hated it. I had to stop and breathe through the clashing colours and textures. The red was so emotive I felt waves of it coursing through me 

I talked about this with my friend , speaking out loud rather than engaging in conversation , we acknowledged the situation and moved on.

I found I had collected words like Burnt , hot stories , heartbreak , walk of shame. I added these over the top of the red and collected stop from my alphabet collection ( I keep cut letters in envelopes in a index file for this purpose) – I also added ‘can be hot and cold ‘ – I felt it fitted in well with the heartbreak and burnt 

The red was too fresh too vibrant I needed to knock it back – but keep some of the intensity 

So I added a layer of fluorescent yellow – this had the effect of making some of the red look like old blood. 

I wanted to add a feeling of destruction and explosion – a face is recognise able and can be split into many fine parts and still be recognise able so I ripped one into strips and added it at the bottom of the page 

My friend was working on her design and wanted to add blood dripping down the page , I liked the effect so much I used it too, I spritzed the paint making it thin and almost transparent in places.
I have been thinking about what it is liked to be absorbed in the work .I liked this description of – Flow- it describes what it feels like to be in the moment and to journal .

– the mental state of being completely present and fully immersed in a task- is a strong contributor to creativity. When in flow, the creator and the universe become one, outside distractions recede from consciousness, and one’s mind is fully open and attuned to the act of creating. 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/ 2010 June 11th 

Mixed media Scott Monument 

I am teaching a mixed media workshop next week and I have done a step by step to show the class how they could incorporate some of the techniques that I use for journalling into a composition 

I like to build up layers so I have started drawing a mandala type image first 

At the top of the page I have broken down the image into the small motifs that I use – I always start in the middle and draw by turning the page as much as possible so that I am always drawing at the same angle 

I like adding layers because it adds depth to the final image and the papers react in different ways to the different paints and finishes 

I used old book pages and added a couple of small sections to my page so that you can still see the mandala 

I covered the page in Gesso so that I can layer acrylic paint thinly on top of the image 

When I made my step by step  I forgot to stick the book pages on this sheet before I Gessoed the mandala and you can see the exit  process is not quite as effective on those areas 

I added a thin layer of turquoise acrylic craft paint with a baby wipe 

I placed my stencil on top of the wet paint and then rubbed off the exposed areas with a baby wipe leaving the pattern of the stencil white 

I added two or three layers to this piece

1) I ripped thin strips of paper and added them in stripes on top of the white sections of the stencil 

2) I printed with a commercial mandala stamp in blue ink 

3) I used a hand made stamp of mine that I cut from erasers to add trees in green pigment ink 

Final piece – shame I didn’t stick it onto the page straight !!!! 

1) I drew the Scott monument and the buildings to the left on the inside of a security envelope and added line details – I stuck them onto the background 

2) I used several smaller versions of the monument that I have cut into erasers to add tone to my Monument 

3) I drew into , added collage and paint to my shops on the left 

4) I added a thin layer of white gesso to the sky so that it is lighter near the horizon 

5) I added the ticket booth and drew  tree skeletons in pen 

6) I highlighed Scott in white gesso 

7) I added w layer of white gesso to the shops and finished in black pen to knock them into the background 

This page shows the stamps that I used the design 

I added the trees in pigment ink – which ran when I added gesso onto the final background 

I need to get a green permanent ink pad 

Practicing Scott Monument 

1700 followers on my IG feed 

I am celebrating 1700 followers on my Instagram Feed by making a small journal about the month of November 2015. The journal will be used as the prize in a random draw. It is a free giveaway that I do to celebrate every 100 followers 

This journal is hand stitched I used four pages of random papers and a heavier weight card cover. I usually make these as letter journals which are 8″x4″ so that they fit in a business letter envelope and are cheap to post abroad.
I decided to go with the format of the original pages – the finished book is European A5 size

( approx 8″x5.5″) 
When I journal in this format it is usually a record of a holiday or short break. I use an old book and repurpose it layering the pages with found papers , doodles and images. 

I add doodles from what ever theme /design I am doing at that moment. ( it changes constantly – I normally have some type of cartoon theme and mandalas on the go at anyone time) I use ticket stubs from public transport, the cinema, exhibitions etc. Then I cut up free leaflets – any type of woman and home magazines for text , lettering and individual words. 

The finished pages look a bit like how my feel a brain feels at any one moment , too many layers, ideas and colours. The finished book is not linear representation – however Jon was amused that I got something in about standup in this month.( he was doing a Bright Club comedy routine again ) 


A lot of the time I work in an intuitive way , randomly thinking about colour, shape and design rather that what is going on at that moment. It can feel quite haphazard during the process, but I surprise my self when I look back at how relevant words and phrases creep in. 

This month I visited London to stay with my brother , Skye with Jon, and we live in Edinburgh so there is a Scottish edge.

Motifs: I decided I wanted to learn to draw a ‘Tess’ style of face so I practicing on lots of white stickers that I use to cover up old addresses on envelopes. These feature through out.

I found a couple of interesting books and leaflets – one about how music has influenced your life – in terms of you writing lists of songs – for example – ‘what music would you have at your funeral?’ 

I also found The Benefit make up Christmas advertising freebie – which was full of colour, great text and vintage type ladies.
I don’t always add my photographs to my journals – but I printed out some of my ‘texture / close element photo grids’ that I make on the Pic-Stitch App. These give a flavour of place and mean that I can post 6 or 9 pictures at a time – I use them on my Instagram feed so that I don’t with out bore everybody with a constant stream of images – I post 4 or 5 times a day as it is . 

This grid format has become a feature on my IG feed.It is a short cut , a snap shot – a friend of mine -a graphic designer – commented the other day that she liked the grids, but didn’t use them because they would take to long to make on photoshop……I love my phone apps 

When I have built up some layers I doodle , hand write and then add more layers , sometimes to cover up or add a feature. I answered some of the questions in the list your songs book and then wanted to hide the answers- if I wasn’t giving the journal away I would probably have left the words legible 

The pages feel nice when you run your fingers over the layers. I use cheap PVA glue , this means that the pages don’t stick together too much and stuff doesn’t fall off.  
The giveaway journal has a layer of Modge Podge ( expensive American PVA) on the cover – I love the effect of the glue- it makes everything mesh together 
NB. It is a nightmare if you use it inside because the finished pages tend to stick together. A friend suggested waxing pages or using grease proof paper but that would make the finished journal very bulky 
I made the journal with the intention of giving it away- I found the one I was working in at the time didn’t want to leave me yet. It is an example of how I can work rather than an authentic representation of November 2015