Healing...

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On the 11th March, I hurt my neck badly. I wish I could say I was doing something utterly spectacular while doing it but literally it happened in my sleep. I started off with physio and acupuncture believing it was muscular but what I should have done was start with Chiro manipulation because it was spine alignment that was required. My C2 and C4 were radically out of alignment and for a prolonged time, causing muscular and nerve damage. My left arm was lame and performing simple tasks like putting my car in gear was excruciating. Nevermind the dull, nagging pain across my shoulder and face, down my arm and my back. For the first time in 2 months and 1 week, I’m starting to feel relief from the pain. I gently continued with Vinyasa yoga practice through this time using alternative postures to help support healing through movement.

I seldom use pain meds because my stomach can’t handle it, so I was mainly relying on heat pads, massage and stretching. I am so grateful for the medical support I have been receiving and I will continue with maintenance work over the next while. I am also grateful to my yoga teacher’s gentle patience with me too. I am making progress and I am being careful. What I do know is how patient I’ve had to be with myself too. I have zero tolerance for being “down”. I wanted a quick fix but my body needed something else completely and I had to lovingly come along side myself and give myself time and permission to heal.

This is a massive shout out to all the people I know and don’t know who suffer with prolonged periods of pain. I know it’s not an easy road you walk. Sending you all so much love and grace.

6 Inch by 6 Inch joy...

This was an old canvas I painted over.

Last year I painted some realistic paint tubes and I love doing them and I have kept two of my fav tube paintings around my studio but the others I’ve been painting over… at first I left the painted words from the tube showing on her face but it was a little odd - I do love odd! But Kitty wasn’t loving it so I moved along.

I can’t wait to keep growing this little series… 6”x6” at a time and of course I continue to inspired by nature and plants around me and painting teeth. This theme has been appearing in all my paintings this year. I think for now I’m going to continue working with it and be delighted by these sweet characters that keep showing up.

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#InMyStitchingBox

I have been dying to do another little stitching piece because after Threaduary I kind of hid away from my threads and needles. I know that sounds funny but working that intensely can be overwhelming and my stitching in February was intense. That being said, I have been ready to be back here. She’s tiny and she’s on a little calico sack that Chrissie sent me in my beautiful parcel a while back. So far all my stitchings have been on strange little fabrics that I have had in my sewing box. I kind of like that idea very much. Some of my fav works in the past have been on scraps of paper, fabric or canvas.

There is a kind of no pressure vibe to it, that my artist self must find enjoyable and playful and therefore a lot less intimidating.

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I have been wanting to only stitch pieces that are inspired and based on some of my previous paintings. It’s just a concept I’ve been trying and playing with. She is inspired by my last 6”x6” piece. I know she probably looks nothing a like but she’s where I started from.

Speaking of Chrissie’s parcel… my special friend sent me what felt like a Christmas box of goodies a while back and I can’t even tell you what this beautiful gesture did for my heart. Soooo much goodness, so much thoughtfulness and so much love. Thank you beautiful friend, for your love and care in each delicately wrapped piece. Blown way by your kindness and unbelievable generosity.

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Look at those gorgeous silk threads on beautiful old wooden reels and my beautiful beautiful Chrissie eye. That beautiful piece of art is up #inmystudio on my desk and it makes me feel that little bit closer.

Love you sweet friend. Thank you for everything.

Everyday life...

If you are following me on Instagram, you might have noticed I’ve been sharing a variety of different images and not only art.  It’s part of me working hard to share more transparently about our everyday life this year, in a way that’s honest and vulnerable. I want to share about the small things that are adding beauty and joy to our life everyday.  I am a simple girl so on the most part it’s nothing earth shattering and just moments here and there about life.

I am so simply and easily pleased by little things around me... like our neighbourhood otter’s gorgeous hands, seeing my garden slowly start to come to life after years of struggling, sitting around the fire, rainy days in the city and beautiful books.

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The Way of the Warrior Spirit...

She’s BIG, she’s fierce and she’s been captivating me for months.

I don’t know if you remember my post about working on her for the month of December, no matter where she took me. I couldn’t finish this project in December because I couldn’t fit her in my car on holiday. My canvas is around 30Inches wide. I continued with her in January instead when I got home. Sometimes on bigger pieces, the backgrounds can really freak me out and for some or other reason the background got so bright that it completely overwhelmed me. I kept moving towards her and away from her… but now the more muted background has me completely moving towards her and at last I am starting to find my way… and I’m starting to really love her.

30”x24”x1.5” Stretched Canvas - The Way of the Warrior Spirit

30”x24”x1.5” Stretched Canvas - The Way of the Warrior Spirit

I have called this piece The Way of the Warrior Spirit… which is what Budokon means, I love Japanese words so much. And I love how she appeared for me when Kitty and I were deeply intrenched in our Budokon practice together. And the practice of finding our warrior within. The notion profoundly affecting us both.

I love the synchronicity of that.

#InMyStudio

6 Inch by 6 Inch...

I’ve been working with this precious size and I’m kind of loving working in series.

My next three 6 inch by 6 inch block canvases are ready and waiting for me. For now these canvases are the size I’m working with for daily paintings. That’s my idea and plan to paint a new little one everyday but let’s be honest they don’t all work out that way… sometimes they captivate me for days because smaller doesn’t always mean easier.

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For now, super fun and the more I’m going the more expressive I’m getting, which is always my hope.

#happyheart

Untitled...

Boy did we journey together…

And she was really hard to photograph. Sorry if my image isn’t brilliant here. I did love the journey this mysterious one took me on. I knew I wanted her hair to be full of leaves. That’s all I knew. From the beginning her face alignment was all wrong and I ended up doing her eyes around 3 times, her nose about 4 time and her mouth… much the same. That being said, all in all I loved the process and this limited palette. My muted green is now finished and I can’t get anymore so in many ways I’m back to the drawing board with a fair amount of things. Firstly, in the paint department and secondly, I know this year I am hoping to do more figure work and not only produce faces.

All I do know is that I’m looking forward to continue practicing and going deeper.

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Painting everyday...

So around mid March I realised I hadn’t painted much since my auction last year October and my last lesson for Life Book around the same time. I had been stop start and a little inconsistent. Six months is a long time to be off my painting regime. I found that pretty hard. I had a busy film season (my day job) and as I shared in my last post, I needed a change. Moving my studio was a huge shift for me and it gave some much needed new life. Plus I’ve been writing again and reading creative books and so much more.

But mostly I committed April to working everyday #inmystudio. One of my old disciplines that have always worked for me… Keeping bank hours. And I’m loving it so much.

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I’ve been rusty for sure. And getting back into my regime has required grace and patience. I’m unfit. I know I have been dabbling with lots of mediums and I will obviously continue with that, but in case my mind forgot… I have been reminded just how much I love painting. Period.

It makes me so happy.

Looking forward to getting lost and more expressive the more I paint regularly.

#Encouraged

Vulnerability...

I’ve been deeply challenged about sharing on social media the last while and it’s something I’ve been struggling with for some time. I realised in February I didn’t share a single post on Instagram. I felt like a deer caught in the headlights. I want to share more deeply and more vulnerably leading to great authenticity but deeply challenged on how to do this all the while honoring privacy and sharing appropriately. Is it even possible? To me it’s a delicate balance and one I’m not sure I fully know how to do. It seemed easier when the girls were younger and Instagram was a different place.

I want to share more of my life together with my art but also honoring my families need for privacy and their own right to share their own stories especially now with the girls being older. I’ve been doing lots of research about it and listening to podcasts and I hope I’ll have it figured out at some point but right now I will continue to make every effort effort to share as best as I can.

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Corks did this piece at art school which just summed up my struggle. She used her Identity number, a very private piece of information and shared it publicly but in a way that’s still private.

I love this!

365TinyCaptures

I continue to be delighted again this year with the small findings in each day. Sometimes I am challenged in what to capture. This past week nothing special happened, it was just work and home and resting in between. But it made me seek deeper and find smaller moments, like the sun catching my Monstera leaves after my afternoon nap or two birds sitting outside my studio window. It’s small goodnesses that could so easily be missed.

I was watching Brene Brown on Netflix last week and she said this beautiful quote and maybe I’ve heard it before but it just felt so perfect for this project…

 
Joy comes to us in ordinary moments.
We risk missing out when we get too busy
chasing down the extraordinary.
— Brene Brown
 
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Burnt offerings...

When I can’t get to pull out my paints, I’ve been playing with my beautiful compressed woodless charcoal. They are a local brand which comes in soft, medium and hard and they are a delight to work with.

I hope I get to play more in this beautiful simple way.

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I’ve been restocking my shop

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I spent a bit of time this weekend restocking my shop on Etsy. Sorry it’s taken me so long and I know some of you have been asking about my slingbags.... thank you.

I've chosen 10 designs for now but I hope you find one that best suits you. I use my bag for yoga, for the beach, for art and writing days out.

Well I guess for anything really.

Thank you <3

My incredible folks...

We worked out this weekend that we have been going to the yearly Cheese Awards for and with my folks for between 13-15 years. Mainly because the awards are held in Cape Town and sometimes they couldn’t make it down or we just got to lovingly walk beside them through each ceremony. They have been mostly consistent through the years but the past 4 or 5 years they have been totally exceptional. Proving to me over and over that hard work pays off. Honestly, I’ve never seen them work harder. I know their product is special, of course I’m totally bias. I quietly hope each year that this will be their year for “Product of the Year”.

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This year I could stop hoping. Something happened this year when they made the announcement where I had told myself, this wasn’t their year. And for a brief moment my focus moved away from the announcement. I think perhaps all of ours did. When they announced “St Francis…” we were all kind of shocked.

It’s hard for me to explain what happened in room after that - it was like the energy surged up and the joy and love for my parents was so tangible. It completely overwhelmed me. They were bewildered when they went up to collect their trophy and when they returned to the table, people descended on them with hugs and kisses and so much joy. It was hard to contain. To see my folks so loved, moved me deeply. I think partly because we all think our parents are brilliant and I have to say I still do. But when others also see them in this light - wow, it’s humbling. I am so grateful I got to witness this moment in their lives.

To my Mom and Dad - thank you for all you do and share in your journey to becoming truly outstanding craftsman in your trade. Thank you for defying age constantly and your work ethic is mighty. Thank you that you belong to us and I feel so privileged to share you with the world.

We love you!

Morning pages...

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I have this weird thing I do when I write my morning pages. I often start off with a confession of when I last wrote. I know that’s silly. Maybe that just deals with my own sense of guilt about not showing up to do it. I have been writing on and off for around 10 years.

I do love this time of year though, when the seasons start to change with the cooler and darker mornings and the sacred act of free writing… restarting them this time of year always feels right.

I put my morning pages on hold last year when I was in Gillian’s class because there was already so much free writing. That being said, I am so ready to get back into this beautiful ritual and the fruits that come from it.

How sweet is my new writing and reading zone - I love it.

Ponderings... looking back and looking ahead...

The other day I was listening to an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert and she was saying how when she finishes a book, she literally has to move house. It’s like she’s absorbed all the creativity in that space and poured it into the pages and then once the book is finished, it was time to move on.

And I was kind of like “oh, yes… okay that’s what this is”.

When I started #100Faces and did #365faces two years running, teaching online and my exhibition and auctions, I poured every ounce of myself into everything I was doing. In 2017 when I got back from America and Italy, finished my auction and my Held Captive class, I knew I had come to the end of something. Well, actually the end of a lot things but I didn’t know what that meant to me exactly. I couldn’t very well up and move house like Elizabeth did, but I did struggle #inmystudio space all through 2018.

A sweet vision board zone

A sweet vision board zone

Special love pieces

Special love pieces

I can see green

I can see green

Now when I look back at 2018 I can totally see how my joy wasn’t in there. I think I was kind of grieving… the grief that comes at the end of something so good and so beautiful, among some other things I felt I had lost at the end of 2017. Even though it was time to move on. It was a new season and letting go takes a moment, right?. In many ways, I had lost connection with my sacred space. I found myself often creating out of my studio and all over the house. I didn’t understand then what was going on with me. I only realised in January when my joy started making a reappearance and I was like “ohhh hello… where have you been?”.

I do think focusing on Budokon last year and being deep within in Gillian’s class, helped me focus on other things and in many ways helped me transition this process. Focusing on something else, helped me find more balance and helped my joy reappear because I fell in love with my early morning practice. I found it so deeply beautiful and restorative.

In January, I started playing with the idea of shutting down my Studio but my family almost had a meltdown. I didn’t realise how much my studio had meant to them too. In many ways them seeing me in there was something they loved as much as I did. But the more my thoughts started going down that road, I knew I had to and I couldn’t wait a moment longer. I didn’t want to move home, I actually love our quirky little house. I don’t think a house has ever suited us as much as this little one has and we have been here 8 years this year. Luckily our home has lots of rooms and funny little nooks and crannies and I knew with some shiftings I could find a new creative space for myself. And I did. I now have some beautiful natural light and window for me to gaze out of and some new energy flowing in my space. Nothing like change to breathe new life.

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A few things this year were forcing me to consider change. Some things out of my control and other things physically, like my neck and the way I stand and create. I have also been locked into my filming square for a good few years and I have been feeling for a while I need to break out of that box. I need a new perspective and a new way of doing things and I’ve been in deep thinking and planning the past 3 months. Although these moments are always challenging, I am always encouraged by them because it’s in these places that innovative ideas come from. And my head has been in overdrive. I’ve also started doing my morning pages again, something else that had been missing for the past while. I’m loving having it back in my mornings.

The beautiful thing about moving… is clearing out and decluttering and so far, I’ve thrown out 3 black bags of stuff, I still have a bit of a way to go. I’ve also decided not to buy anymore paint or substrates until I’ve finished my current stash and I’m also using old frames to make my own canvases, with the help of Courteney. I am narrowing my focus and supplies because I have more than enough to keep me going for the next while.

But for now it’s back to the drawing board, literally.

I have work to do.

A real pain in the neck...

Last Monday I woke up with a real creek in my neck and I usually bounce back quite quickly but I’m a week and a half in and I haven’t recovered yet. Like at all. Of course, I know it’s not all in my neck but my shoulder and back too. I’ve managed to get three physio and acupuncture sessions in and they are definitely helping. I felt my left shoulder twinging a bit in class the other day but I ignored it and now I’m dealing with the consequences of not responding. I’ve been suffering terribly. I think it’s a combination of injury and tension. I really don’t know what I did but it’s even affected my eyes and I even have a slight bruising under my eyes.

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So now I’m listening.

I know I have been holding on tight and holding things in the past hectic few months and I tend to hold things inside my head, my heart and of course, my body. Always my body. I know last year I worked so hard on the practice of letting go and surrendering but I think that this might be something I may have to work on myself ongoing. Maybe I will never really arrive at the place of fully surrendered, right? I think on some level I am okay with that because it kind of always brings me back to a place of intention.

We are going away for a few days and I know it’s going to be good for me to get out of the city for a bit. For now I’m going slowly and and gently noticing the tiny things around me and appreciate this space of healing.

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And She's Home...

The framing of this piece took a while but I’m so happy to say she’s home.

Now to find a space for her. This piece as a whole is so deeply breathtaking and I am still blown away by the beauty and magnitude of this amazing piece. I am so glad I did it and did it this way.

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The best part was hearing my framers words and thoughts about the piece and how deeply moved she was by this project. She fell in love with my dogs and was so touched by the books I had read through the year, some of which she had too. She loved the art and the family shots.

I got a bit teary in the shop. For me one of the highlights of this project was how many times I managed to get pictures of Digz and myself together something we just didn’t do often. We did so much together last year and I love what each image represents to me and us.

So deeply moved - thank you #365TinyCaptures for changing my perspective, so deeply.

My Secret Garden...

When the builders came to help me in my garden, I had to leave the building literally because the mess was so much, I couldn’t deal with it. They had to go down and deep in order to build up well. The dirt and dust for that time was terrible, a fine black powder that got into everything. When they finished I spent a week or two fixing up and cleaning up… allowing the concrete to settle. I’m now in love with my space and I can’t wait to start dressing this zone. Which will of course, also take time, like all things.

I do love projects, so I’m not complaining and just enjoying the journey.

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Every couple of months I plant new trees and shrubs into pots and so far they are growing beautifully. My garden has a fully zen feel and as sad as I have been to release the idea of ever having beautiful green grass in this space, I have made a kind of peace about it. Like all things that become challenges, finding new ways forward leads to new and innovative ideas.

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I’m all for that.

I had to change my thinking again and the whole process has taken years of work, I sat and worked it out over the weekend and wow, it’s been a crazy journey. Most of which I did with my own hands and with some help. I guess I can be stubborn about a few things… We planted grass 3 times, all which failed. I removed tons of debris, old trees and excavated zones. The building rubble we found under the ground was ridiculous. All of which kept me coming back to the drawing board until we found a way.

We still have a ways to go to settle some issues but I feel for the first time in 7 years (since we have been in this house) we have gained ground, literally. I am seeing the bigger picture and I am loving what I’m seeing. I am at last, loving coming into this space, which has ended up much bigger than I ever realised. I can’t wait to be fully finished.

#FeelingEncouraged

February in a nutshell...

Sooooo much happened this month…

 
  • Kitty and I both celebrated our birthdays, Miss Kit Kat turned 18 and me 46.

  • My computer crashed and the timing was spectacular - Digby helped me find a way forward. I’m so grateful because I couldn’t do it alone.

  • Tax filing season - personal and for work… it has been huge.

  • Corks went back to varsity and did some serious racing this month.

  • We took a trip down the garden route, both Corks and Digz were racing.

  • Kitty and I went back to Budokon Yoga morning practice - so happy.

  • My Momma popped in for a visit - it was such a treat.

  • We only managed one hike up the mountain this month.

 
Hiking with this one

Hiking with this one

On top of the world

On top of the world

Birthday Beach walk

Birthday Beach walk

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  • Threaduary was a beautiful and I’m so chuffed that I managed to stitch around 20 days of the 28. Still not sure how that was possible.

  • Celebrated a fully vegan lunch and day with some special friends, Kitty and I did all the cooking and we learnt so much.

  • I managed to squeeze in some journal play.

 
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  • Listened to the most incredible podcast series from Sleeping at Last.

  • Did some hectic research and deep thinking around Enneagrams.

  • Listened to an Enneagram book - brilliant.

  • Kitty, Corks and myself all got sick with a virus. Sandy’s growth is back and Riley had some issues too. It’s been fun and games.

  • I’ve been managing to show up for my photo a day. Going well.

  • Wrapped up some serious filming work and production season is tapping off which means some quieter working weeks ahead. The last 5 months have been full on. I’m so grateful for the work but the quieter months means more studio time… can’t wait.

 
Adore these two

Adore these two

When mom visits with spoils

When mom visits with spoils

Stealing moments to rest

Stealing moments to rest

Sandy’s growth is back :-(

Sandy’s growth is back :-(

Big love for this subject

Big love for this subject

A much needed walk

A much needed walk

Our days are so full and crazy at the moment but we are holding on tight.

I’ve taken next week off to regroup and catch my breath a little and I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to that. It feels like such a spoil.

But for now…. here is hoping for a much quieter and gentler March.

Love Jeanne-Marie

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Threaduary #5

When I shared the draw up and beginning stitches of this piece on facebook, the topic arose whether I was stitching a man for the first time. I agree my draw up felt strong and slightly androgynous and it immediately created so much chatter at home. I loved that. The way we all saw something so different.

And of course, it immediately made me excited to see who would appear.

For the record, I only ever saw a lady because I was using one of my charcoal drawings for a reference.

The pretty roses and collar were an intuitive add on.

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This time, I was focused so much on the front that I didn’t once look at the back. When I flipped it over at the end, the reverse took my breath away. I’m so emotionally moved by it. The story happening at the back in contrast to the neatness of the front… personally there is so much symbolism there and perhaps sort of a reflection of my own story.