Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Review of Renewal


Reflection - photo taken at Slimbridge before Christmas.

Taken outdoors with camera set to tungsten which gives it the very blue colour cast.

On Saturday the Guardian had a poster of dogs in it. Jim pointed out one in particular, the Spanish Water Dog - neither of us had heard of it before.

That evening I was reading R Is for Ricochet - the next in the series I've been reading featuring Kinsey Milhone the Californian private eye based in "Santa Theresa" (probably based on Santa Barbara) - which Jim had given me for Christmas so this was the first time I'd read this one - and I got to this passage:
I found myself noting the texture of Cheyney's hair, springy dark brown curls that looked as soft as a poodle's coat. I'm not a dog lover at heart. Doggies tend to bark their bad breath in my face, preparatory to jumping up and parking their cumbersome paws on my chest. Despite numerous sharp commands, most dogs behave any way they please. There's the occasional exception. The week before, in a rare moment of goodwill, I'd stopped to chat with a woman who was walking a breed I'd never seen before. She introduced me to Chandler, a Portuguese water dog who sat on command and gravely offered to shake hands, The dog was quiet and well mannered with a coat so curly and soft I could hardly keep my hands to myself. Why was I thinking about that now? ....
Good question... and no further mention has been made of any sort of water dog so far in the book...

So I then spend some time researching water dogs of the Spanish and Portuguese varieties... one of my dreams is to have a dog again... I've not had one since I left home and went out into the big wild world... one of my dreams is that when we move into the country we'll also get a dog.... not that there is any chance of moving for a while yet... maybe in a year or two...

R is for RicochetAnother synchronicity is that R is for Ricochet has a pink rose on the cover... and my pink rose is continuing its unseasonal bloom.

Oh and at one point in the book a false passport is found with my married surname!

I've no idea what this is about... maybe nothing... just the universe having fun...

If you know anything about either type of water dog please tell me about them!

Have you noticed any synchronicities with books you are reading?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Week - Renewal

Illustration Friday's topic is "Red" I was happily making a blue, yellow and black picture until the email came. So here is my picture with added red. Done in Painter IX playing especially with the Hurricane distortion brush.

I'm a bit late in posting my word for this week - Renewal. I like this and really hope its going to live up to its promise.

When logging in to blogger this morning I got the usual thing about moving over to the new version and as usual I said yes... and today was the day when to my surprise it worked! So there is one renewal.

The bed that we ordered a couple of weeks ago turned up today. Its one that they deliver and assemble for you - apparently this turned out to be cheaper than having to replace all the bits people broke when it was a DIY assembly. They were here before 8.30 am and done within 40 minutes. Very neat, efficient and polite. I haven't got a wide enough angle to take a decent photo of it. But you can see the style here - its the boxer bed from the boxer bed company.

What would you like renewal to mean in your life?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Review of Shrine

Garden Shrine

This is what is at the bottom of my garden. Its on a stone slab that I put there ages ago in a previous attempt at making a sacred space.

Near by is this rose:

Rose for my mother

I planted it after my mother's death. At the time it was meant to be white and single. I'm sure its got steadily pinker. I was most surprised to discover that it was flowering now!

This area is my outdoor shrine.

My indoor shrine currently consists of the two picture frames I bought last Wednesday - one for the Source card and one for the card of the day. I like having a place to put the card of the day - it keeps reminding me that its there!

I wrote tons yesterday so that's all the extra I want to add for this review.

Except to mention one more synchronicity...

A friend, cms, commented for the first time yesterday - if you visit his blog you'll find he got a Banjo for Christmas... today Radio 4 was doing a programme on the banjo!

Monday, January 22, 2007

What counts as a synchronicity?

Painting in Painter IX using reference photo for the wren and an oily cloned version of one of my photos for the background.

Wren - Connection to Spirit - card blog. Also in Caro's Cards are new postings on:

As I've just created a new suit for synchronicities I was planning a post here about them.

Does the fact that I was planning such a post on synchronicities today make the comments about synchronicities that came in earlier today more synchronous?

Probably not. There is some element of cause and effect apparent... I have a known soft spot for them...

But there are more than usual... And one was the first comment from cms and his was a great synchronicity - he got Ulysses as his book and his birthday is the day Joyce is celebrated - Bloomsday... And then Jo commented that she got Ulysses too and like cms comes from Hastings...

Okay in that case I'll just take it as encouragement to continue this post about them.

Sometime ago Ian asked in a comment - What counts as a synchronicity?

And was it still one if goes unnoticed.

Jung is credited as having coined the word Synchronicity and wrote an essay entitled:
"Synchronicity, An Acausal Connecting Principle" (which I have not read). They grew out of his experience of meaningful coincidences - ones which did not have an obvious cause and effect. Some good examples are available on the web for instance the golden scarab story.

A synchronicity is only a synchronicity in the mind of the observer, so if it goes totally unnoticed then it is not one. However you can be reminded of them, like dreams they can be brought to your notice over the course of a day. Or indeed they can come up as you write a post to your blog...

When I first started to play with the principle of synchronicity I gave myself the following rationalisation:
Now that I'm looking for synchronicities I'm much more likely to see them because I've got a name for them and I'm looking for them.

Also because I've got the idea that they might have some sort of meaning for me, my not conscious self will direct my attention to those that are most likely to lead me to the messages that my not conscious self wants me to get.
Notice that none of this was about what might or might not cause them or how likely in probability terms coincidences are. And it turned out to be a good way to start.

Here is a web of synchronicity that occurred this weekend:

On Saturday Suzie Q posted "Shadows" in which she mentioned that a landrover which had been sitting motionless on her drive for 2 years had finally gone to a good home. I had just been reading in Q Is for Quarry (note the Q... I didn't notice that one until later.. and even later (after posting the first time) I realised that as the author is called Sue and is doing the whole alphabet, one could say this was Sue's Q...) about riding in a very beat up jeep for the protagonist's first view of the quarry... however in looking for this to quote I found this a few pages earlier:

"I was moving boxes last week.... Dolan's hiking boots were muddy."

These leap out at me now... because what I connected Suzie Q's landrover to was that on Friday the 12th Jan an old friend of mine had finally turned up to sort out some things she'd left with us around 9 years ago! On Friday the 19th a carrier arrived to take away the three boxes she wanted shipping to her. My old friend's name is Susie...

Then on Sunday I took a photograph inspired by Suzie Q's shadows picture after which I got my boots (and trousers) very muddy... (see my flickr set commemorating this adventure).

Back to Suzie's post. She mentioned that:
N was forced to do something about the toothache he’s been complaining about on & off since October (!) and went off to an emergency dentist to get some antibiotics for the infection that had become obvious by his swollen face on Friday morning.
To which I gaily retorted:
I’m amazed that anyone can ignore a toothache for 3 months! That’s impressive. Mind you the book in which the landrover has just come up also had a passage just around then about being phobic about dentists… I do hope that is not a synchronicity for me! Argh!
I was worrying that maybe I'd get toothache. But no, what came up was all that mud... as we picked and squelched our way through the muddy morass that was once a public footpath, an old phobia surfaced.

I used to have nightmares of being stuck, unable to walk or run over the gravel we had outside. I'd since read about sleep paralysis and rationalised it all away... and conveniently forgotten about another phobic experience over 10 years ago of being scared stiff trying to cross mud with someone who has really nasty about it... luckily Jim was not... and in the end we did only a minor variation on the originally planned 3.5 mile walk.

I don't know if there was anyway I could have seen this coming... but with hindsight all the clues were there...

Book quiz

You're A Prayer for Owen Meany!

by John Irving

Despite humble and perhaps literally small beginnings, you inspire faith in almost everyone you know. You are an agent of higher powers, and you manifest this fact in mysterious and loud ways. A sense of destiny pervades your every waking moment, and you prepare with great detail for destiny fulfilled. When you speak, IT SOUNDS LIKE THIS!
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Suzie Q had this book quiz on her blog. I wasn't going to post it but then I thought maybe I should as I've not posted anything for days (and because it made me laugh).

I am hoping to post something else later today...

Meanwhile, what book are you?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Week name - Shrine

This is a picture I did sometime in my teens using ink and watercolour.

The flowerpot was one that I loved to draw - when it got broken again I glued it back to be like this. My mother wanted to throw it out. She was offended by it somehow. And got fed up seeing pictures of it.

I still have the flowerpot.

So a new week has started and to my surprise the word that has insisted on being used is "Shrine". I don't have one.... yet. In stopping the AW early I had not got to the exercise of making my inner artist a shrine. I suppose it ought not to be a surprise to me when I'm calling my journey "Creative Path to Spirit" - shrines are commonly created by people enshrining what spirit means to them. Its just not something I've been doing.

Once the word had emerged and I was sure of it I realised that its also mentioned in the Soul Collage book. With the suggestion that you put your cards somewhere special leaving the Source card on display.

So today I went out and bought two picture frames. One for a copy of the Source card and another that its easy to change the picture in, for the "card of the day". I'm not sure where my "shrine" will be yet... it will mean clearing a space that doesn't just have things put down in it casually... probably a good exercise in itself for me...

I'm may not know what "shrine" means to me but I have realised that the broken flowerpot was a sacred object to me in my teens and deserves to go onto my shrine when I make one.

Do you have a shrine? Or something that might be considered one?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Review of Compassion

Unnamed One
Drawing / painting in Painter IX from collage of photographs

This week has been one of making cards and more cards. I am now up to 45 cards which is enough to begin to do readings with and from tomorrow I hope to be doing just that... if I've managed to back all my prints outs with card board between now and then!

The image above is one that I made by drawing and painting, in Painter IX, using one of the cards as inspiration. It was called unnamed1 until I realised that it should really be called "The Unnamed One"; because it is a picture of some sort of being that has yet to emerge and its not usual to name things until they are born.

The major element of compassion that we have shown ourselves is finally ordering a new bed! Yippee!

The other major occupation that I started this week was rereading my journals / morning pages / doodles. This is taking a lot of time and will have to been carried over into next week too.

The main thing I always gain from this is tremendous compassion for the person who wrote so innocently not realising what would happen next; hopes, dreams and fears.

For instance the innocent who thought that ringing an emergency builder would produce one the next day... hah!

Or who worried about what to wear for something that eventually she didn't get to go to. Etc.

With hindsight its so much easier to be kind to oneself and tell oneself not to worry - even the not so good things are never so bad after a week of good nights of sleep - and if you are waiting for an emergency builder you might as well sleep through it.

This is the last week named after a chapter in the Artist's Way. I wonder what will come up tomorrow as my word for the week?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Week 9 - Compassion

Comet McNaught posted to Flickr by mattisj

Tonight we saw Comet McNaught but not such a brilliant view as this and no photo to show for it. Hence the borrowed goods...

Yesterday, as I sat writing little cover notes for each of the pieces I was sending off for my give away, the doorbell rang. It was relatively late in the day but there was the postman with an Amazon parcel for me. I wasn't expecting anything... who could if be from? It was even gift wrapped... it was a present from someone I'd met at the IMDb's Christmas party, the wife of Jim's boss...

There was a competition at the party which she had won easily and for which she got some Amazon vouchers. I'd come third (no prize) and someone else on our table had come second (no prize either) but the beneficent winner obviously felt we deserved prizes too! What a wonderful surprise!

She picked Celebrate Your Creative Self: More Than 25 Exercises to Unleash the Artist Within which was a wonderful gift to be getting just when I was, finally, sending out pieces of my art to others!

I sent out my art to the four takers - as no-one else had asked for the fifth piece even without the blight of having to offer 5 pieces on one's own blog I've sent the fifth to Tinker who has been so consistently encouraging to me - thank you Tinker!

Do let me know when you get them, please - I don't trust the post!

This week is Compassion and is the last week I'll be doing in this revisit of the Artist's Way. At the very beginning I'd renamed the last three weeks and now I know I've already covered the same ground. What I do plan to do is carry on giving each week a name and having it begin on Wednesday and reviewed on the Tuesday after. I'm continuing to either doodle or write every morning and most of all I'm carrying on making things.

For the moment my focus is still SoulCollage(R) but I know that other things will come along too. Something that has come as a surprise is how much I enjoy making these cards for others.

I know from last time that the main target for Compassion was oneself.

How could you treat yourself with more compassion?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Review of Strength

Strange Reflections

Strange Reflections - SoulCollage® card - Painter IX
See my card blog for more on this as a card which is an equivalent of the Hanged Woman or more traditionally the Hanged Man.

This week I've done almost nothing but make cards, or so it seems. And what a joy that has been!

Most of them are ones in which I feel that the "found" elements are still too strongly present as themselves to allow me to post them here. I don't want to infringe copyrights by publishing what is not mine. I may do drawings or paintings from them to make them more "mine" later.

Here I've drawn faces from pictures that others had taken which I hope is okay!

As a week of Strength I'm happy to report that my physical energy levels have increased enormously. I only needed naps to gestate ideas and pictures which is quite different from needing to sleep because of exhaustion, and much more fun. I also seem to be in the process of becoming more able to function at night. This is new. It may just be a phase but its interesting to be able to keep my eyes open beyond 10 pm!

There have been two synchronicities that have been haunting me this week. In fact throughout most of this time through the Artist's Way.

The first is the number of times I've heard the phrase "Good Angel, Bad Angel". I've done a card of the "bad angel" part and it seems to mostly be the impetuous little girl in me who doesn't realise that what she is doing might lead to danger; like jumping in puddles without realising there might be a rusty nail able to go through her wellington... and in looking up the posting I did when I mentioned that before I see the main illustration was of a strange reflection... hmm...

The second has been about cross-dressing. Men dressed as women and women dressed as men. This seems to be an extension of the theme of Mask as well which has haunted me just as much. These days and in the society in which I live its quite hard for a woman to be obviously "cross-dressed" as so many of us wear trousers. But when I was having my make-over (see my review of the 2006), last August - one of the things that I was criticised for was wearing men's clothes... though in fact it was just one favourite blue shirt I'd bought for Jim and then borrowed back because I liked the colour. And one of the things that the image consultant wanted to do was to make me look more feminine.

So to resolve this issue in a proper bloggy way I've taken a test:

You Are 53% Feminine, 47% Masculine

You are in touch with both your feminine and masculine sides.
You're sensitive at the right times, but you don't let your emotions overwhelm you.
You're not a eunuch, just the best of both genders.

So that's okay isn't it!

How masculine or feminine are you?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Hubble Bubble boil and trouble

Hubble's Sharpest View of the Orion Nebula

This is an image taken with the Hubble telescope and made freely available for use on the HubbleSite - Gallery.

Is it me or does this one look like something a fantasy games designer could have done?

I can see a wizard sending magical beams at some strange one-eyed smiling beastie!

What do you see?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Give away

Collage in Painter IX. Printed out onto 5x7 glossy photo paper.

In December I replied to a posting by Andrea where she offered 5 pieces of art to the first five people who replied and were willing to also offer 5 pieces on their blogs.

I got two responses to my first posting and two to my second. (Though I've yet to get addresses to which to send them from two of these people.) Joy Eliz negotiated a swap with me instead of offering five. And so far none of the others have offered five on their blogs yet...(have you?) so I thought it would be worth doing a rule change and saying straight out that its up to you whether or not you keep the tag going, no pressure from me at all.

I knew I needed to. I've been blocked with respect to actually making art for people. At the time I thought I'd get around this by making 5 things before offering. However then I got into this Soul Collaging and things have changed. I don't want to send out just any old bit of work to anyone. I do want to make them especially. And although they aren't sent yet I've done four SoulCollage® cards for the four takers. Just in case you don't know who you are, you are: Tinker, JohnnyNorms, Joy Eliz, Leah. Thank you to all four of you for your support - it really was and is appreciated!

The picture above is the one that is left. The fifth piece. And its for whoever tells me they want it AND sends me their address - whether or not they plan to offer 5 pieces of art on their blogs.

As I don't know who will get it, its not a soul collage card. So I based it on medicine animals and symbols. It contains:
  • An eagle for far seeing - yet also able to discern useful detail
  • A butterfly for transformation - a totem that eases one through life's necessary changes
  • A medicine bear for healing
  • An igloo lit by Chinese lanterns against Northern lights as a pathfinding guide
  • There is also a version of one of my SoulCollage® cards that is as yet unnamed but might be a version of The Fool (as in standard Tarot)
As I've already got both Andrea's piece and Joy's swap piece its time I sent mine off!

Does anyone want this one?

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Masked? - Painter IX

Ever since IF did a theme of Mask they've been on my mind. And whilst I was beginning to work on this earlier today Tammy sent me an email with lots of quotes about masks. This was the quote that seemed most appropriate to my theme:
Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell the truth.

Oscar Wilde
I was also thinking about ice cream scoops melting and mountain tops!

Steve tagged me yesterday. So here goes:

First, grab the nearest book, post the book's name and author's name on your blog:

"The Battersea Park Road to Enlightenment" by Isabel Losada

Next, turn to page 123, go to the fifth sentence on that page, now post the following three sentences to your blog:
The clouds are made of candyfloss; the moon is made of cheese.

Fifty-four lines later, I had stopped playing around and was beginning to look for the deeper level. I wrote:

57) I am now willing to be with a man I want who wants me.
Last, tag three others:

Suzie Q, Tinker, Andrea (no pressure of course!)

And anyone else who'd like to play too of course!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Review of 2006 & Week 8 - Strength


Moth created in Painter IX

As those of you who've been following my progress will know I'm now on the 8th week of my revisit of the Artist Way, and therefore on Strength. Like last week and next week I'm getting inspiration from other sources for these weeks. I'm still doing morning pages and noting synchronicities.

As its the new year and lots of people are writing reviews of 2006 I thought I'd do a little reviewing too from the perspective of my art and creativity. And include a few thumbnails of favourite pictures too - most of these are linked to flickr so you can see them larger if you click on them.


Last January I was really beginning to get into doing collages that I assembled and altered in Corel's Painter IX - incidentally I recommend this as much more interesting to artists than Photoshop - Painter started out with brushes whilst Photoshop seems to have only recently discovered them. I can't say it never crashes but it is wonderful to use!

Sea Collage Illustratation Friday

Then Melba started up Mixed Media Memoirs that ran throughout 2006.

MMM: This is Me

I felt I'd really found my feet with respect to digital art making!

I also encouraged Johnny Norms to start up the Camel Exchange

Camel - a collaborative doodle

where we sporadically have fun collaborating on silly bits of art. This was my colouring in of a Camel that he'd first put on his blog - Elbowroom

It was a full month!


February is for Valentines and I joined in with my only ATC swap to date:

My Treasured Valentine - ATCs
I got back ones which were so different in flavour that I felt I'd gone wrong somewhere along the line. I'd found the format too small for comfort too. So no more ATCs.

I got interviewed by Reluctant Nomad which I really enjoyed but I didn't manage to actually do any of the interviews that other people asked for, though I did do a lot of the reading... maybe because this blog is where I introspect... sorry to those who've been hoping for interviews I think you can take it that they won't be happening.

February was also the month when I did a batch of potential tarot cards - I mentioned them recently so won't repeat them here.

This was my favourite of the MMM's I did in 2006:

MMM: If I was a colour, I'd be....



I'd been occasionally posting Mandalas. This one prompted me to start a blog dedicated to them - unfortunately it didn't get anywhere. Although I like Mandalas I clearly didn't want to have to make them!

Illustration Friday - Monster

I posted this ink blot and got all sorts of suggestions from people about what it might be!


Magnolia is a favourite plant of mine - I planted this one to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary in 2001. And I really like the way this image came out using cloning brushes and an erasing rake (that's non-standard but easy to make in Painter).

I did a book tag and consequently later in the year I read two of the books on the list that I'd not previously:
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - enjoyed it but wouldn't want to read another one like it!
  • The Time Traveler's Wife - I loved this.

Wood Sprite

I love seeing faces and this one, found in a park in Wales, needed just a little highlighting to make clearer.



I went on the first day of a Hypnosis course. I like going into trance but I did not appreciate the instructor hurting my hand whilst I was in a state when I wasn't feeling pain. Since this course I've really got into self-hypnosis and recommend this book:

The Secrets of Self-Hypnosis: Harnessing the Power of Your Unconscious Mind by Adam Eason

It is very good at providing a safe framework and good suggestions. As you end up writing your own scripts you know what you are programming yourself to do!



In June I joined Wardrobe Refashioning for 2 months. The idea was not to buy new things but to make, refashion and generally alter clothes. I didn't do very well. I threw out lots of horrible things - at least as far as the "to be altered" pile and some right out. But this was the only garment that I did much to and it didn't fit me and wasn't to Jim's taste - though he gamely modeled it!

At least I didn't go buying new things during June and July.

But mostly that was because I went on retreat for a couple of weeks at the end of June and then in the heat of the ridiculously hot summer here did nothing in July!

This was a MMM I did before going on retreat:

MMM: What changes do I Witness?


This was my 12th and last MMM.

MMM: What worked for me


In August, although I was still not blogging, I was alive and kicking!

I won a makeover and spent a day as a model:


The downside of this is that I've never been able to look so good since, which has been rather disheartening.



Still didn't blog so I missed my first year blogiversary.

During my time off I was doing a great deal of energy work - all very weird and unusual so not really bloggable. I was following my own intuition and worked in ways I'd not done before. The goal was to get me really well. I did lots and lots towards this. I finished the work just before we went on holiday in October. Since then my energy has increased enormously. I've had more clearing pains than I like to recall and I'm not entirely clear of them yet. For those of you that "don't believe" in energy work just think of this as a great big placebo that I needed to give myself and it worked.


When we got back from a week in Cornwall / Devon I started to blog again.

The highlight of the holiday had been the Eden project and I loved this painting done by a shamanic artist is residence there:

Eden mural 2



I started doing some exercises from a great book - Art Escapes.

And then, to my own surprise, I decided to revisit the Artist's Way.

My sidebar currently has small images for the reviews of each week so I won't repeat any of them here.

The highlight of the month was the North Bristol Arts Trail and finally meeting a near neighbour who sculpts




Illustration Friday had a theme of Masks which seems to have been echoed over and over around me. Even today I've seen more masks.

Tarot seems to have taken over to a large extent too. And many of my images were drawn directly from others cards.

Hanged Woman 1

The year has finished with the first card inspired by SoulCollage

Abundant Mother

And a blog dedicated to Tarot and Soul Collage.

Wow - this must be one of the longest posts ever - thank you for reading it!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Review of Connection

Glorify Patterns

A SoulCollage® card - Glorify Patterns - digital collage using images found in magazines

This week has been a busy one. On Wednesday we had Jim's brother and family here. My mother-in-law stayed on for several days. We also had two parties to go to - the second I wasn't able to go to as I'd overdone the dancing at the first! I'd hoped to see my sister at the weekend but hadn't recovered sufficiently; I'm a victim of my greatly improved energy but, as yet, unfit body. Then the book SoulCollage® turned up and it has helped me get back to where I wanted to be - making cards!

I hadn't given myself many exercises to do this week but I kept up my morning pages and my appreciation of synchronicities. (For me the main route to knowing I am connected is through synchronicity.) I also did some creative things with my mother-in-law who used to teach art - that was fun! I forgot to photograph the wedding anniversary cards that we made and they've been given already but imagine copper dragonflies on a green pond and you'll be most of the way there.

Joy Eliz's version of the Hanged Woman turned up at the start of the week too - thank you Joy! Well-timed and very beautiful.

As many of you will be aware I do love synchronicities so making an image to embody this was an early one on my list. (And no I don't really have a list... that was just a figure of speech, I tend to wing these things... maybe I need an image of a Winger...) I felt that I needed to show this by using patterns so I started with lots of images with patterns in but most didn't make it to the final cut. I like the simplicity of this image as it is now. Also I love the way faces appeared when I reflected slices of the picture to fill up the space.

I've already blogged this card today on my Card blog and another, Hurt Body. I like having the cards in a separate blog but I can see there will be a fair degree of repetition of images between blogs.

Here are some fairies my mother-in-law and I made; hers is the one with the crown of beads - mine are the attendants: