Daily Inspiration in my studio

My studio is a haven. Today I thought I would take you along on my journey, exploring my Aladdin's cave.

A little thing that I find helps to make my studio an inspiring place to work is to have work around me that reminds me of something I want to aim at. I noticed this week that currently I have several little postcards dotted around as well as books laid out on my table, that all serve to remind me of something.

Sue Dove makes some beautiful work with collage, textiles and mixed media. Looking at her work I am reminded that I need to stay playful


Moving along the windowsill I come to the work of Kenneth Spooner


 I look at this when I am starting to get too neat and tidy in my work so that I can encourage myself to get a bit of 'grittiness' into it. 

Just lately a favourite book has sat on my desk. It displays the work of Mary Fedden. I love the way her shapes are simplified, and as I look at her work I tell myself not to get too complicated and fussy.



As I sit at my desk I am also met by a very sunny little card, the reproduction of a work  by Emma Dunbar. 


In Emma's work I can see that accurately painted figurative elements can sit quite comfortably next to other parts that are painted more abstractly. 

The paintings of Paul Murray always wow me. I look at them to take in the inventive use of mark making laid over and mingled into painted colour areas. 


Just recently I have also been inspired by a couple of little library catalogues - the work of Daphne McClure


There is so much to learn from Daphne's work about finely balanced design and balance of light and dark areas.


The work of Mary Mabbutt serves as a little prompt to look carefully at the way I am using placements and saturations of colour.

I also always keep a postcard or two around of paintings by Masako Whitehouse.


The large areas of quiet in Masako's paintings encourage me to think of the balance between quiet and busy areas in my own.

So this is my current little treasure trove. Inspiring reminders that bring delight to my day and prompts to my thoughts. 

Setting Priorities

Have you ever begun a week with great intentions to achieve the world, live creatively and stay inspired, and then, well, life just gets in the way. The week just gone would normally have been one of those weeks. After writing my last blog I was fuelled with fresh vigour, lots of determination, and then, as so often happens, life happened. Usually at this point, when  things come and sabotage my finely tuned work schedule (or not so finely tuned as the case may be) I resign myself to being too busy this week with a promise to myself that next week I will be the true creative that I want to be.

The change this week came from a talk (mentioned in the last post)  by Patricia from the design trust.

The little gem that was imparted in this talk went like this: 

A lecturer stood in front of his class with a jar full of big stones. He asked, ‘Is the jar full?’ Yes came the reply. Then he took some very small stones and poured them into the jar. ‘Is the jar full now?’ He asked. The students weren’t so sure about saying yes this time. Then he poured sand in the jar, and just as the students were thinking that the answer must be yes now, he poured in water. Then he asked the students what the point of this exercise was. Someone replied that it must be to make your days fuller, but he said, ‘No, not at all. The point is, to put your big stones in first.’ 

Pretty obvious right! But in a week where appointments abounded and the pressure was on, I was able to take all the little snippets of time that normally I don’t see and put ‘my big stones in place’ as I kept up a continuum of time in my studio. As a little reminder of this life lesson, I made a painting that borrows lots of the imagery from someone who I think is a master of painting pots and jars, Mary Fedden, putting my stones in the jar.

Enjoy a creative week. 



The journey of a creative person. Sharing the ups and downs, bumps and curves of life as a creative being.

I love the programmes, ‘A day in the life of....’ but often we see a glamorous view. I decided to challenge myself  to share instead, the difficulties as well as the breakthroughs of a life determined to not wander about aimlessly, or punch as if beating the air, but to make the most of the ability we are all given to be a creative person daily because that is who we are, and share it here. My hope is that this will encourage you to also live out your life in a way that makes goals of creativity and follows this path, long after the mood has worn off and the need for commitment to the goal seems shaky, just taking one step at a time.

I had better start by saying why this challenge to myself. Two night ago I went to a business talk where we had to talk about our dreams. I realised from voicing this that the goal between my dreams and what I am doing in my daily life that maybe would work towards this, are miles apart. 

So here I am with a dream. My dream is mainly focused around my life as an artist. Yours may be something completely different. Fill in the blank. It could be anything but do it creatively!  What will be my baby steps to walk in this; sustainable steps.

Today what I have to offer is a yummy breakfast. I didn’t think that I would be sharing a recipe for my first day of sharing a creative lifestyle, but maybe this is the lesson. There needs to be no compartmentalisation to creativity, and today this is how I choose to be creative.



When I was a child I used to love tapioca pudding.This pudding tastes like those little balls of tapioca that my Grandma made in her cosy, warming milk puddings, but without the milk and pretty healthy.

ingredients. I usually double the amounts stated below to have enough for 2-3 people.

Half tin of coconut milk

3 tblsp chia seeds

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tblsp porridge oats

1 tblsp linseeds

pinch of salt

Mix together in a pan and boil for a couple minutes until thickened and bubbly. Top with fruit and seeds. I usually use berries, but today used prunes and a satsuma. Also some seeds of pumpkin and sunflower. Great start to the day! 


Reflective Practice

Recently, I was extremely pleased to have one of my images included into a book. The Encyclopedia of Oil Techniques, by Jeremy Galton

P1050646 (2).JPG

When I was a nurse, reflecting on our practice, - what went well and what could have been improved upon was a constant requirement. Now I am finding that the same is helpful in art practice. It seems easy to soldier on in the hope that improvement is being made and forgetting some of the building blocks.

The painting included in the book is not a recent piece and yet it is still one that I am quite fond of. With its inclusion I have come to review it, as well as thinking about the whole idea of how to use my past work to inform my new. What is in this picture that causes me to still like it more than some others painted at the same time? What ideas or techniques could I take from it to include into my current work? What do I see as my strengths that have been taken through all my work from then until now, and what weaknesses are there that could do with me working on?

As we step into a New Year my little self examination seems appropriate, helping to form pointers for the way ahead. I hope this could be a helpful tool for you to use too. Happy New Year.