#InMyStudio...

My creative process has felt different this year and while I was working on this piece and I was painting her mouth, I realised hey haven't painted an open mouth portrait this year.  I wasn't sure I was going to be able to.  I felt rusty but I'm happy to see that came out quite nicely without too much difficulty.  Phew.

I see I've also got a little locked into doing straight on faces and I need to practice variations more.  I know I have so much work ahead of me and so much to think about and not enough hours... gulp.  Otherwise I've loving the darker elements here.

 
 Palette - Venetian Rose, Olive Green, Warm Grey, Process Black, Titanium White.

Palette - Venetian Rose, Olive Green, Warm Grey, Process Black, Titanium White.

 

Finishing old pieces...

I started this piece in 2015 and never finished it.  It originally had two figures and it was part of my first year of 365Faces, 1faceaday journey.  The faces were lovely but the bodies were unfinished.  It has been waiting patiently for me all this time.  With many many layers and frustrations later, even scraping and sanding back... I started to find my way.

I love working this way.  I don't mind the messes and the fixes at all.  I almost can't get through any painting lately without what feels like has become this necessary step in my creative process.  I don't fully understand why exactly but I'm moving with it.  I think it might have to do with discovering new paints and how they work together with my old paints.  I'm intrigued.  Yes, I'm still very much in my green mode and I'm hoping to linger here a little longer, without feeling guilty about it.  I'm playing with the different shades of green and what happens when I add different blues to it, yellows and black and whites too.

So for now this is where I'm playing, repeating and playing some more.

Vegan butter... yummy

We had dinner the other night with friends and we really had such a ball.  My friend's hubby is vegan and it opened up many delightful conversations especially for Kitty and myself as we have been doing lots of research around vegetarianism and veganism.  We have been slowly making lifestyle changers not only in the way we eat but also in the way we buy food.  I'll share more about that soon.  Our friends kindly introduced us to their homemade vegan butter.  I was intrigued and it tasted like pure heaven.  They gladly shared the recipe with me, which I tested today.  I used a fairly strong olive oil, which has added a taste variance because he used avo oil.  I also used almond milk and not soya milk.  All in all, it's clean tasting and rather delicious.

Recipe

Ingredients 

 
  • 1.5 x cups of coconut oil
  • 0.5 x cups of almond or soy milk
  • 0.5 x cups of olive/avocado/sunflower oil
  • 4 x tablespoons soya lecithin granules
  • 2 x teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • Salt to taste
 
  1. Add almond milk and soya licithin granules into the blender and make sure the granules are covered by the milk.
  2. Add Apple cider vinegar and salt to the mixture.
  3. Add the olive/avo oil and coconut oil next.
  4. Blend together until thick and creamy.
  5. Place into your containers and refrigerate / freeze.
 Thickish and creamy in consistency

Thickish and creamy in consistency

 Smooth and buttery

Smooth and buttery

Notes:-

  1. Start your blender off on the slowest dial and move up to a faster speed.
  2. Blend for a fair bit of time.
  3. If mixture is runny and separates relatively soon after you have poured into your containers, then you have not blended enough.
  4. Mixture must be thickish and creamy in consistency.

I love butter, all kinds and I don't use synthetic alternatives at all.  When I'm very lucky, my mom shares goat's milk butter with me, which is a rare treat.  I am currently waiting for my vegan butter to set so I can tuck in and I'm going to be testing alternative recipes in the next few weeks.  For our next dinner date we are going to be having a vegan butter tasting to start off our evening.

I love this.

#ImperfectAugust...

My sweet friend, Anne (aka Annetoile on Instagram) started #ImperfectAugust

It about being fully present for August.  Not to produce perfectly finished pieces but just showing up even if it's just for 15 minutes a day or something lighthearted and simple.  Just being there...  To start something, finish something, sort something or prep something.  And I have to say it just got me so amped to be #inmystudio.  It has come around at the perfect time, the back end of finishing Chapter 4 for Gillian's mentorship class and I'm fully ignited and fully engaged and fully happy.  So I've been starting new pieces, making handmade journals, finishing old pieces and stitching too.  I have lots of ideas swirling around my head at the moment.

I'm exploring and playing and it feels good.

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I am using this as a spring board to get me started on new pieces.  So maybe I will have a bunch of pieces started and I will have pieces to work on going forward.

HappyHeart, HappyAugust and HappyPlay

A body of works...

This come up in FB today, all my latest images grouped together, like this.  I was so pleasantly surprised.  I have been purposefully working and sticking to a theme of color, pattern, line and texture the past few months.  Being completely intuitive, I don't usually do anything on purpose but I've been understanding and learning more about that in Gillian's class. 

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It's really blown my mind a little and I'm really loving what I am discovering about this and my creative practice.  I don't have it all figured out at this stage but a lot of what I'm doing is simply playing, experimenting, total exploration and a lot of repetition.  I'm hoping out of it will come something that I can feel deeply connected to and something that I can be fully proud of. 

I am loving learning so much.

Neverending July...

July seemed to go on forever and when I look back over the month and see how much happened, it's hard to fathom it was only 1 month.

We had family over for the holidays, a lot of them.  It was challenging, wonderful and beautiful too.  We did beautiful things together in Cape Town that made me so happy - I love sharing my city with special people.  We didn't have internet for most of the month of July, which made it excruciatingly long and the loss of connectivity with the outside world seemed to paralyse me in new ways.  I am giggling when I'm saying that out loud because I do realise how insane that is on every level, right?

 The catch up was brutal.  But I'm so happy to share, we are back on track and our fibre was installed yesterday so I feel like our internet woes are behind us.

We live in hope.

July was visually big and beautiful even without internet.  We DID so much.  Corks got home, the girls went back to school after the winter holidays and life is returning to a semblance of normal.  If there is even such a thing.  7 to 8 months in and it finally feels like we have settled into this year, at last.   There seems to be a gentle joy between all of us and my heart is feeling a little restored.

#HappyHeart

Fixing little sacks of love...

Ahhhh it's been different to find myself back at this place, painting on teabags.  I had six teabags left from my 2016 journey and they needed some extra love and extra layers of paint. I wasn't happy to sell them the way they were.  These final six will be going into my auction in October.

And then it will truly be the end of this season for me.

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For old times sake, I made a little time lapse video of me painting this tiny sack.  I am a bit rusty for sure but I do still love painting small.

The girl is back...

I can't believe she's home already.

She 100% experienced life as a young adult in Europe and wow what an experience.  Not only getting to ride her bike in a riding city and cycling culture but she learnt so much about this style of racing.  Bunch riding, racing at full steam in a format so different from home.

We are so grateful and so proud of her time away.  As a team, they had to deal with illnesses, family loss and grief, travelling to get to races in other countries and navigating that in different languages all while cooking, cleaning and maintaining life.  They pretty much rode everyday and raced twice a week.  They raced late in the afternoons which meant getting home around midnight after races.  Sometimes commuting 50km's to a race, racing 100km's and commuting home late at night.  She got a few life "hidings" and other personal victories and I am trusting she has grown in abundance and expanded in ways that will leave her changed and matured for some time to come.  She loved touring too and I'm so grateful she got to see part of Europe and what better way to see it while riding your bike.

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Having her home and quality time has felt like Christmas.

Thank you to all who made this incredible opportunity and dream a reality, you will never know how much this means to us and to her.

#InMyStudio gently showing up...

Still working in this theme and hoping to go deeper still.  I know I'm just scratching the surface of whatever I'm doing and I am looking forward to really getting lost in time with where I'm currently at.  We have just finished Chapter 4 in Gillian's mentoring program.

And it's been brilliant and I'm learning so much and I'm beyond excited and I know I will share more once I'm on top of my life a bit more.  It's been quite a journey just to get me to this point and I know I will need to go back and dive deeper into the material, concepts and practice.  Like I do with any class I'm in.

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I am deeply motivated and excited for the next few months as we narrow our focus.

I also have my auction that I'm prepping for.  So much joy ahead of me.

Much love always, Jeanne-Marie

Playing with strings...

Oh I'm loving this space and I am learning so much and I can't wait to keep discovering.  I know my work is a bit clumsy but I'm okay with that for now, while I learn and experiment.  For now, it's such a happy space for me and the colors are pure and delicious.

I'm making plenty of mistakes and there has been unpicking.  Don't doubt, it's hard work.  It's heavy on the eyes and hands and although I'm working mostly at night by the fire, I can't see the colors at night or the eye of the needle, if I'm being honest.  I have to shine a torch on the threads to see or I realise in the morning it was the wrong color and I have to unpick.

All in all, I'm loving this year of experimenting and this has been a delightful addition to my work.

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I think my biggest challenge is knowing when to stop or knowing when I've gone to far.  I am working intuitively still and allowing the piece to lead me all the way, together with the colors. Sometimes it's purely about what colors I have available.  I am not over planning anything and I don't have my colors mapped out first.

I had my first critique from Gillian in class and I can't wait to try some of the very constructive things she suggested.  I'm so excited to be diving deeper.

#200 is my number today...

Wow, I'm so thrilled to have reached #200 in my #365tinycaptures project.

If you have been following me for a while then you will know I love projects and this is one I have been trying to do for 3 years now.  I am so happy to tell you that this is the furthest I've managed to get with this little project.

It's a visual feast for my eyes and it makes me so ridiculously happy!

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The more shocking thing to me is realising how fast this year is going but taking stock everyday is making me so aware how the days are merging into each other at such a rapid pace.  I'm not going to lie, it frightens me a little.  I'm grateful to be taking a moment to see, capture and hold close these moments.  Some aren't momentous but some are precious and others are enough.  Some are perfect and others are hard.

But whatever they are, they are life this year. my life. our life... up close and exposing and vulnerable and that's truly beautiful to me.

And for the first time, I think I want to share them.

A stitch in time...

One stitch at a time.

I'm loving the slowness of stitching.  Like photography, it slows me right down to breath in and out quietly...  To think... To dwell... To quieten down.

It's meditative.  And I love that.

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All I know is that I need more of that in my life and how beautiful to do that while my hands are gently moving one stitch at a time.

Winter in Cape Town...

We have been having beautiful rain and I'm happy to report that our dams are around 50-60% full.  It's not perfect but it's a way better than day zero.  We have this beautiful thing in Cape Town in the middle of winter called Indian Summers.  Yes, they can last 2 to 3 weeks at a time where the days are so beautifully mild, warm but not hot.  Not a breath of wind and it is utterly pristine.  As close to perfect as one can get.

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This is when I love touring and getting around my City from one end to the other.  Indian Summers are a beautiful reprieve from the cold days and visually, it's brilliant.  It feels a lot like hope and love and a lot of kindness and it seems to come along just when one needs it the most.  As life had it, we actually found ourselves in the City centre quite a bit, there is a tangible energy in the City that is quite something and as a family, we are mad about it.

We usually hibernate during the winter holidays and don't leave the fire place and sure, we have had those days.  But this winter, Corks was away and we got to have Kitty one on one to ourselves.  And we did lots of beautiful things together.  We also had lots of family over and did the tourist thing.  It was busy but really special.

xoxoxox

6 Months Done and Dusted...

Wow I have to say I'm so chuffed with my little project so far.  In many ways it's felt a little private and a little delicate and kind of just going on in the background of my life.  There has been so many other things going on that it hasn't taken the lime light and I love that.

I have been using this project as a way of capturing tender moments, how much I'm creating weekly or monthly and just small intimate moments of the inside parts of our life.

And when I look back at June, it was intentional and visually beautiful.  Thank you, I needed a month like that.  I hope that this is a big ramp up for me to see the rest of the year through.

As I lay these images out on my studio desk, I was struck with the realisation that I have finished 6 months of this project and I now have 181 tiny, milky images showing beautiful, crazy and oddly mundane moments of this year.  Which started me visualising 365 of them lying together like this and I've started imagining how I could display them all said and done.

I feel like I may want to display them.

To stitch or not to stitch...

I have been wanting to try this for some time.  I am by no means a stitcher or have any experience in stitching.  I vaguely remember doing some child-stitching in school as a little girl and I remember this because while I was stitching, my mom and gran's words kept playing over and over in my head:  "it's not successful if the back is a birds nest and that the back must look as good as the front."  I kept flicking my piece over to make sure it was neat.  How interesting that was so deeply engrained in my memory?

I took a picture of my reverse side and although it's not perfect, I do kind of love how expressive it is.  I know this might be strange to say, but I might even like it a little more.

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In many ways, the act of stitching and choosing colors felt so much like painting but also different.  I had to think in basic terms how to create values.  I loved the journey though.  I didn't have a massive selection of color threads to choose from but I definitely got the feel for it.

I worked from beginning to end on this small piece, around 4.5" x 4.5" and it took me around 6 hours.  It felt slow, intentional, gentle and therapeutic and I got to sit with my family by the fire.  A perfect way to see a cold winter evening in.  Doing something so creatively different for me, felt so good.

So for me it will definitely be... "to stitch".

And I can't wait to start my next piece, which by the way, is all ready in it's ring, calling my name.

Finishing pieces...

I am so thrilled to have finished this piece.

When I included the leaves a while back, I had a feeling we weren't done yet although I knew I was a little closer.  I packed these gals away after the leaves because I was so busy doing other stuff and I tend to work in phases.  This past week  I had been pulling out pieces to see where I’m standing for my auction that’s coming up later in the year.  I have a fair amount of work lying around and a fair amount of work ahead of me.  I'm getting quite excited.

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It’s hard to explain but they are so much more emotive in person. I keep finding myself standing in front of them, so deeply moved.  They are rich in color and so deeply connected to each other.  I wasn't sure how I was going to fill this canvas or where this piece was going to take me but I couldn't have been happier where we ended together.

For now I will let them rest.  I've put them up so I can study them for a while.

#HappyHeart

***Ongoing Creative Retreat - Giveaway...

About 2 weeks to go before the Free Online Creative Retreat Weekend.

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Did you know that there is also an Ongoing Retreat Package as well as the free weekend?  With 18 amazing teachers, with 36 lessons available for a year to expand your creative journey.   The Good News is that I have one FREE SPOT to give away for the Ongoing Creative Retreat valued at $147.

To enter the giveaway, all you have to do are these two things:-

1.  Comment on this post below; and

2.  Share this post to your facebook page

Or you can comment and share my facebook post - visit my page here

I will be doing my draw using the Random Number Generator on the 28th June 2018.

And to sign up for the free Online Creative Weekend follow my button...

Surrender...

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In yoga the other day, my instructor mentioned the word "surrender" around 15 times.  Every time she said it, I knew the message was for me.  It keeps coming up for me.  I didn't choose my one word for this year.  I didn't have one and I didn't want to force something for the sake of it.  But I think this has inadvertently become my word and I'm finding it such a beautiful word too.  Kitty came past me the other day and I was internally struggling with much and she just whispered softly... "Just stop fighting".  I was stunned because of course, she knows these things, right.

Funny enough, I seem to find {letting go} in my "creative" life a little easier than in my "normal" life.  Being a more intuitive artist has helped me continuously push myself to let go of the good girl in my art.   When did I get so controlled in my "normal" life, I'm trying to go back and really think about it.  Was it a coping mechanism that became my truth.  A way of surviving something.  This year it has been like my creative self (messy and chaotic) wouldn't let me move forward until my two lives got in line with each other.  I'm not sure exactly how they became two separate places for me.  Maybe it is about letting go with the paint that has been helping me find my authentic self in life.  I'm not sure what it is really.

I'm consciously choosing to surrender daily.  The incredible thing is that the more I surrender, the more I am finding there really isn't much I have control over at all and probably never did.   I'm learning not to hold on so tight.   I am settling into the notion that surrendering is more about yielding and moving with than a moving against and there is something kind of beautifully nurturing about that.

If I gently move together with the currents and the tides of my life, I might just be okay.

Quirky play..

I’m still cutting up my mini graphite block drawings and working creatively with them.  I wanted to experiment on canvas board instead of my journals and I also wanted to try enlarging this work, to see if it was possible without losing my way.  So I went a little bigger than my journals and I absolutely loved working on the canvas boards.   I’m loving these quirky pieces so much.  I could go a little more quirky and weird.  I want to test it and see where that takes me.

I still want to do more layers so these two pieces are currently still #wip.

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