Archives for posts with tag: New start
Shed as was…

So today found me back in the shed, and boy has it been a long time. It’s become a bit of a dumping ground since I started the job so it needs a little bit of a sort…. do you think?!?

Such a phenomenal privilege to be able to have such a space. I forgot. Stupidly forgot. But being back in that space, even just sorting out the bags of school work and books and art work from the dead spiders really changed something in me, or moreover connected something back up within me, healed something I didn’t even know was broken. Excited about what the next few days and weeks will hold.

Work station for gauntlet piece
Work station for more flat pieces


Two things have happened over the last few weeks that has made me awaken. The fabulous and beautiful emporium gallery in Lichfield is closing down, and I had a phone call out of the blue. The first made me incredibly sad. Jannette and Amanda have become much more than excellent gallery curators – they have become friends and their advice to me over the years has been invaluable. They have always been welcoming, encouraging and positive about my work and I am so sad that their dream might be temporarily put on hold. I have absolutely no doubt that they will be back and stronger than before, but it has made me think – this was the only venue that supplied my work, now there is no other and that made me get of my backside and look around. I’ve no idea why I haven’t approached another gallery, probably because I was only producing enough to supply to one. But time to look around and see if there are opportunities I’ve not thought of.

The second was a conversation out of the blue with a complete stranger who had bought my work in the past. I think when you create you sometimes forget where pieces end up. These ended up in north London and it was such a thrill to talk to this woman and see the pieces again en situ, like being reunited with an old friend. Ironically I may have made a new one in the process and it has made me value myself and what I do again.

So, armed with ideas and an ounce of self belief I went to the shed! SO pleased with what I’ve done today. The start of three paintings that will eventually be coastal pieces. I’m so in love with Dartmouth, and it will be brilliant to create some work in which I can celebrate that.


Brought the pieces inside to give them half a chance to dry before I gesso them tonight. Excited again 🙂



One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is how hard it is to leave my art work in a gallery or in its new home, especially if the pieces represent a personal journey of sorts. I dropped off the five completed pieces at the Emporium, Lichfield on Thursday and it once again took me by surprise, to the point that I had to explain why I was just looking at them and not moving or talking. The five pieces that are currently at Emporium I’ve called ‘tolmàō’.

Greek: tolmáō (from tolma, “bold courage”) – properly, to show daring courage necessary for a valid risk (“putting it all on the line”); courageously venture forward by putting fear behind and embracing the fruit that lies ahead for taking a necessary risk.

IMG_5784I said this on Facebook – I love that there exists a Greek word that needs nineteen English words to explain it!! But it exactly sums up what’s I was trying to say. Have courage. Go for those dreams. Step out from that comfort zone. You are brave. You are enough.



and it makes no sense at all. I cannot visualise the artwork that is to come but i’m seriously excited. been reflecting a lot over the last few weeks and tomorrow is a day of action.

now, my hope is this – that tomorrow, when I drop the kids off and I grab a mug of tea and walk down the garden to my shed, I don’t get distracted by the dust gathering on shelves and the hoovering that needs doing and the dishwasher that will inevitably need unloading and the bulb that needs changing and the clothes that need sorting and the wall that needs painting and all those thousands of excuses and ‘but….’s, BUT that I stride past them all and keep walking to that incredible space that God has so generously provided for me and that I am obedient.



Three canvases….. work in progress

Such a painfully slow process but the stain paintings are getting there slowly. Layers and layers of paint are poured onto the canvas and left to dry of their own accord, allowing the paint to spread across or not as gravity and texture allow. They are currently outside, basking in the beautiful sun while I clean the bathroom!! Mmmmm. I’ve got it wrong somewhere! I’ve worked out what I was trying to say some in that I think I am being found again. Lost myself for a while there, which happens to me every now and then, but slowly realising that all is not ‘grim and dark’ as Small feels in Deb Gliori’s marvellous book ‘No matter what’.

The pieces are ironically about stepping out: stepping from that place of safety, of darkness even, of comfort and of complacency and into the nothingness of trust and faith. It’s like the sky…. so incredibly vast and big and more than I can comprehend and yet I feel like we are called, every now and then, to step into it, not quite knowing what is ahead and not quite knowing where it will lead. In between the darkness and the sky is some stitching which has the appearance of a ladder and I think this is where I currently reside, not so white knuckled as I think I was a few days ago but hesitantly sitting on the rung and maybe swinging my legs a little, contemplating my next potential step. I am not yet standing, nor am I letting go of the rungs, but as the work continues I usually find that the whole process is therapeutic and a means to my own courage and learning. Maybe this is why they have taken so long.


I think this is one of the biggest mistakes I often make with my work….. Working and working on a piece until I have lost the initial spontaneity it began with. I think I may have done this with the piece that sort of looks through the clouds. But hey ho. Will find out when it dries.

Got excited again this morning about another potential idea that frightens me a little bit. I’ve been looking at work by the artist Charlie Mackesy and although I could never create in the same way he does, his whole ethos of finding and expressing your true self has challenged me greatly. He talks about initially being fearful of making statements through his artwork in case they become diluted. ” to have the guts to be truly who you are and not to fake anything is a scary place to be…… to live truly who you are.”

Excited for many reasons, the main one is that I know I hold back slightly from my art work, and this needs to change. I have no idea what will happen but suddenly feel released from something that I didn’t even know was holding me. No fear.


Bag of ideas, text and influences

Bag of ideas, text and influences

After what seems a lifetime I’m back in the shed today and not to clean it!!! The theme most prominent in my thinking at the moment is that of identity. I’ve been listening to the talks on the Birmingham Vineyard website and have found them to concur with ideas for work I’ve been mulling for a while. When completing and handing over the four canvases I felt a need to further explore one of the themes, that of doing life well and what that involves. And, I suppose that which stops us/me.

I wanted to get all my thoughts down I one place and usually I would turn to a sketchbook but some how that process wasn’t quick enough for me to gather everything in a format I could work on immediately. So, looking round for a massive piece of paper I could collage onto I saw this large paper bag and started on that. I think the whole bag will eventually be covered and layered and written over, and as I’ve been doing this, ideas and pictures have been starting to form.

It’s so so fabulous to be back in here and just have the space to sit in His presence and listen to His voice. I think I’ve been listening to my old nemesis fear recently: fear of failing. It just freezes me into inaction. So to sit and listen and to focus on the truth is so liberating.

Mid tidying my shed.

Mid tidying my shed.

It’s the strangest feeling in the world when the project you’ve been working on for months is no longer there.  Is it peculiar to suggest that you go through a kind of grieving? I tend not to tidy or clean the shed all that much during a project so at the end it needs a good sort and sweep. It’s so therapeutic to put items back where they belong, take the rags and wash them through, collect all the little bits of the last project and sweep them away. The room gets worse before it gets better and then all of a sudden it’s there…. a tidy space and everything has gone. I really should have taken a ‘before’ picture so you could truly appreciate how much was done!!!

But don’t you find that, especially with the kids going back to school. For the six weeks, whenever I’ve had the chance to put things away, literally seconds later I find that they’re back out again and appear magically somewhere else and you do a double take sometimes in the awe of how this is indeed possible! Last summer we had the character ‘Hans’ out of Frozen hanging from our kitchen cupboard ‘because he’d been bad’, and then, once he’d been disentangled, he suddenly ended up in the far corner in the lounge!

And then all of a sudden you put the items away…. and they stay away. And even though it’s so ridiculous, you grieve the tidiness because it means that the messy ones are no longer there.

Some of the canvases that need addressing.

Some of the canvases that need addressing.

I sing a lot when I’m tidying and I find it fixes my eyes on Him rather than myself so, as the room becomes more tidy, the grieving eases and it’s just me and Him chatting and hanging out. It was part way through that I decided to hang the canvases I’m currently not happy with on the wall to see if I could see how they could be rectified, and by the time the room was tidy, two of them were in the bin/recycled. The layers of paint were too specific to be painted over and used elsewhere. So I think I have seven left. What to do?

……. thinking ahead to the next potential pieces of work. It’s been an incredible lesson this commission and it’s taught me so much: that so often I short change God with the work I create. I consider an exhibition or a competition too late to give it enough time. I work towards something with intensity because I have to, because I leave it too late. This commission has been a real gift to me and the only one, with the exception of the Lichfield Cathedral exhibition I did an eon ago it seems, were I really had the time to seek God’s face and reflect, as exactly as I can, that He wants me to create.

So the next project will be a slow and considered one, one were the resulting work will not be complete for months rather than weeks. And one were I will listen, I will consider.

But this one isn’t quite there yet. The third canvas is still challenging me and I think that I may create something new based on this theme: mending brokenness, doing life well. Quite excited by this theme. Time to tidy the shed maybe, ready in anticipation of what is to come.

I’ve just had to take a break of seven days from the canvases to get up to date with other work from other jobs I do…. but now it’s back to it.

After the break from working on it, I can’t quite explain why, but I’m a little hesitant to begin. It feels like the beginning of the end because I feel the pieces will be resolved quite quickly and I’ve had such a wonderful time working on it. I suppose it’s my equivalent of watching a child grow in wonder and knowledge and courage and eventually leaving nursery and enter school. They’re ready to move on and take their place somewhere else. I know it’s ‘just a painting’….. but to me it’s so much more and I suppose there is a feeling akin to feeling slightly bereft.

Spent most of the morning listening to worship music and just sitting in His presence, which is such a luxury after a busy week, and the words below are from the Bethel song called ‘It Is Well’ by Kristene DiMarco.

“Through it all my eyes are on You and it is well. So let it go my soul and trust in Him, the waves and wind still know His name.”

Such a reassurance to know that our God, our Father, our Lord and Saviour, the One who commanded the waves and the wind to be still is the same Jesus whom I can come to with my fears and my dreams, my joys and my mountains and sit before Him, still in His presence, and know for certain that His hands hold me and the one I love.