Movement medicine inspired artmaking 

Over the weekend I participated at a movement medicine workshop. It was called ‘This being human’ and was facilitated by Catherine Wright.

During a meditation about the tree of life I had this really clear image in my head of a human figure as a tree trunk with a black heart or hole where the heart should be. I have had a tight chest recently and palpitations as menopausal symptoms. I danced the feeling out. I am aware of being in touch with my head and my stomach – but there is a numbness where my heart is. 

During the workshop we worked with a poem by  Rumi called ‘ The Guest House’ 

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness, 

some momentary awareness comes 

as an unexpected visitor. 

Welcome and entertain them all! 

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, 

who violently sweep your house 

empty of its furniture, 

still, treat each guest honourably. 

He may be clearing you out 

for some new delight. 

The dark thought, the shame, the malice, 

meet them at the door laughing, 

and invite them in. 

Be grateful for whoever comes, 

because each has been sent 

as a guide from beyond.

We did an exercise on Saturday where we welcomed a ‘guest’  and worked with a partner – talking, witnessing and using dance. I chose the idea of ‘disappointment’.  As I danced I became aware that I was relieving ‘something’  but it wasn’t disappointment. So I chose to revisit my confusion on Sunday. 

I am still unable to verbalise what is exactly present but I realised with relief that the hole is not black or vacant but a conduit that is not to be frightened or scared of. 

I needed to revisit this experience today through art making. 

Sketches for  ‘a black heart’ – I wrote in my journal ‘ figure rooted but with a hole where the heart should be’ 

 As I was dancing , holding my heart or the feeling of my hands up to my chest was important – drawing hands that don’t look like claws or sausages is always a stretch of my ability – I also needed the tree/body to be a real rounded shaped woman  

Conduit / portal heart sketch – there was such a sense of relief at the realisation that what was going on felt like a portal. As I was at a dance session it was important that I tried to convey movement. 

Black heart – in my head the tree trunk / body was red – the background is newspaper that I used as  protection paper. It is advertising a film and it has amused me that my figure could also look a bit like an ‘Oscar’ there is no way I would offer to be the mouldy for any figurine 😂😂😂😂 

Conduit/portal heart 

My mandalas seem to need to be in everything I do at the moment. The conduit doesn’t feel draining and the energy feels like it is not restricted by time and space. 

During the dance workshop we did a session where working in groups of 3 we witnessed , danced and or meditated , wrote or drew. During my first role as ‘meditator’ I doodled , the portal was very strong in my head and I produced this 

Prisma, iPhone Apps

I am enjoying playing around with the Prisma app at the moment – I particularly like the Heisenberg filter.

I think the buttons below are a successful filtered image 

It tends it struggle with high contrast images loosing details in the shadows and it coping with really fine detail 


With the succulents below – I had to lighten the original image because the first time I filtered it the result was very dark 

I really like the ‘pencil/line’ effects – it does get a bit samey – I have really enjoyed pushing it – I think the succulent wall, my journal pages grid and the girl work particularly well. The buildings are a bit formulaic. 

However – I think it works very well when I mix it with other apps 

The succulent 

 layered with Imageblender 

Mast reflections 

Layered with  another image of water in image blender 

And then layered again with a window. 

Examples of different filters – original below 

A few more filter effects 

Wax resist and ink flowers 

Every so often I do a demonstration at an art group. I was asked to do pen and ink washes and layering. I used to do this technique a lot a few years ago – it is soooo messy I haven’t done any for a while .

I decided to do some passion fruit flowers- it’s the wrong season, but I always liked the shapes. I used photos and images from the internet as my source material. (  &

My first doodle attempts felt a bit clunky. I dreamt of big 3D close ups of the centres by kept putting it off. When I am nervous about something I tend to resist getting  started  until the last moment ,then I have fun and go a bit mad  

I wanted to play with different types of lines so I used pencils,a dip pen and my usual the liners – water proof and soluble 

The dip pen was very messy and I kept smudging the ink ….. I filled larger areas of ink with a brush 

I like wax resist because it adds texture. I added layers of diluted black ink and straight from the bottle. 


The green and pink/ purple are wax crayons. 

I was begining to feel braver so the fuschia pink came out, I also added details in pen and more layers of wax to get stronger contrasting colours


The above pic was an experiment – not sure if I like it – but it was fun playing – it needs to be larger really – the drawings are on A5 sample papers or A4 water colour   
As prep for my class I did some more pen drawings 

And couldn’t resist starting  one as a doodle 


Doodles, text and acrylic layers 

I have been doodling and trying to work neatly since I moved up to Edinburgh. I am very messy naturally and my hand eye co- ordination was dreadful until I did my graphic design course. 

 During the 30 day journal project organised by  Lisa Sonora I have been pushing boundaries with my techniques. I have enjoyed finger painting with acrlyics but I would like to devise a technique that uses the doodling and ‘kidnappers ‘ text that I love too. 

I had a go today , building up layers sanding and using all three techniques. However I forgot to do stages photos and I wasn’t sure I could replicate it.  This is about 5 layers. And is Day 20 – “Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”― A. A. Milne

 I started again , I wanted to do something about living in Edinburgh – I struggle emotionally being here and I wanted to explore some of that 

 I have started doing a crossword everyday to keep connected with Jon and Deb ( we share answering clues ) I cut up articles and pictures from  newspapers and added blue patterned bits  that came off the first design when I sanded and ripped the pages. My doodle reminds me of the big wheel that goes up in Princes Gardens during the Fringe and Christmas Market. I glued and gessoed a print of my doodle to seal it.

 I added a thin layer of turquoise acrylic and another layer of gesso. I wanted to make sure the doodles were well protected.

I wanted to build up the layers slowly , I finger painted  4 different blue based paints onto the edges of the image and wiped of some of it with a damp cloth. 

I started added text using words that I associate with Edinburgh like rain, Fringe, home etc. 

This is normally where I would leave a spread. I want to add depth and more interest with shape and tone so I layerd more paint around the edges. This has the effect of levelling the design elements 

I felt that I had added too much paint so I used another technique – removing paint with a damp cloth through a stencil – this works because of the layers of gesso protecting the images. 


The work was very flat and Matt so I painted a layer of self levelling gel – this means that’s he surface is prepared for me to draw over the  top. I let it dry over night so that all the layers dried out. 

I sanded the surface lightly and then drew out a shilouette of the Edinburgh Castle. I wasn’t sure if I wanted it a dark colour or not – it looms over Princes St quite grey and gloomy but I fancied teal … 


I wanted the castle to stand out a bit more so I added a thin veil of white to the background as if it was sky . 


30day journal – taking a risk 

The last 2 days I haven’t felt very brave when I journaled. I prepare lots of pages in advance with spare paint and scraps of paper. This feels safe – I enjoy tearing up my old flyers, the colours are ones I love ,so I feel very comfortable using them. 
Day 8 , I made patterns and kept layering adding found words and an awkward looking model, dressed in clashing colours and textures – she suited how I feel regularly – gauche – though I wouldn’t wear clashing fabric . So I am projecting on to her. 
Day 9, I tore my flyers into finer strips and layerd over some prints and hand drawn mandalas. I could have finished there but the page wasn’t talking to me – I did enjoy the colours and textures though 


I added loads of found text and images of girls – different sizes and different coloured skin – it was very messy .The background didn’t pull everything together like it had in day 8. I decided to leave it. I had added the quotes without really engaging with them . 

I awoke at 4.30am – I have been trying to stick to a very simple diet but had succumbed to a polenta cake. I was wide awake and hot and bothered.I decided to take a risk and add some more layers to day 9. It didn’t really work and was too busy – the white didn’t knock the background back as I had hoped.

 I added my favourite teal as a varnish. Then I decided to attack it with a scritty( an abrasive kitchen sponge). This has had its precedents- when I work with wax resist and watercolour – I regularly bleach and scrub work in the shower. However there is always a risk that you will loose everything ….. 

When I worked intuitively with My friend Deb we painted over the top of very busy pieces with white – I fancy drawing some large letters and blanking out the background. I can’t decide on ‘is it worth it’ , ‘brave’ , ‘courage’ , or just ‘take a risk …. ‘