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.

#365Captures...

We are already 6 weeks through the year and the visual beauty and daily sharing from each day continues to move me deeply. Together with journeying with more people this year and seeing beautiful glimpses into their worlds is such a beautiful way to share life. The difference between this years project vs last years is the daily talking about the highlights from each day. I didn’t do that last year. I took my tangible picture and once a month a shared a group image, I didn’t share in daily moments, thoughts and feelings of life.

I’m loving sharing that this year.

Little thumbnail images and private thoughts on each day and sharing small gratitudes is so precious in every way. I’m loving my new instagram page and space.

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Threaduary #4

I started this piece last year when I did my tiny stitching course in the city with my initial drawing of the Monstera leaf. Nothing else was on this rather large piece of fabric and it was completely overwhelming. In January I did my first sitting, stitching the leaf and again it sat untouched. I drew in my flowers and plants around the Monstera and I thought this piece would just be floral, which strangely enough left me avoiding it completely, again. While it was lying in my thread box I spotted a place where I could insert a face and her beautiful big body and just like that I was drawn in.

She took me a further full 5 sittings and two trips to the thread shop to finish what I had started. It was so much work but so worth it. I loved this piece and I did some final tweaking yesterday before it heads to the framers. I’ve decided to put this piece behind glass because I really want the reverse side to be exposed. Courteney gave me some display ideas.

I don’t know why I’m so in love with the abstractness of the reverse but they captivate me completely.

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Threaduary #1, #2 and #3

If you have been following me online you will have noticed I’ve been stitching like a crazy lady. I’ve decided to jump onboard and join other fibre artists on Instagram with #Threaduary… Stitching for February.

It was part of my plan this year to do around 50 new stitchings.… aiming for about one a week. But January came and went and I was in serious procrastination mode. I was getting overwhelmed about all I wanted to do and accomplish this year with my art and not sure where to start.

January also tends to be my month of fixing and decluttering so I knew I was already behind schedule with this little project. But then Threaduary came around and although I know I can’t do a new piece everyday, I know I can at least stitch everyday. And I will do my best to follow along. If nothing else I will have a few extra pieces than before I started February and I’m so thrilled by the concept.

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The aim of me producing around 50 new pieces is purely to improve my stitching skills and understanding of composition and threading color. After I started dabbling last year with thread, it felt like my work was a little naive and clumsy and I knew I had work to do. I am excited about learning more.

I’m considering holding a small local exhibition of these works later in the year.

I will keep you posted.

#InMyStudio...

I started this piece last weekend and I was inspired by this incredible image that I found in my National Geographic, it was an illustration piece. And I was instantly smitten with the concept. It got me thinking about about community, our community, our sub-cultures and our connectivity…. to one another.

And I knew I wanted to capture some of that.

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I had no idea this would end up being a little quirky. I’m not sure where that come from but wherever it is coming from, it feels enchanting, playful and it’s making me so happy. I have been waking up early to steal studio hours. I can’t remember when last I felt like that. But I feel ignited and I’m so excited about creating this year… whoever comes out.

Can’t wait to get back to this piece. It’s big.

I’m painting on wood with Acrylic and also playing with neocolors and conte.

Journal play

I’ve been playing in my little journal and I think it could become a regular Friday playdate... It is very tiny play too.  This is a tiny quad Moleskine Journal that I’ve had for about 2 years and never really got past the first 5 pages... yes I’m one of those people.  But I’m trying to change that.

I started doing some fixing and altering of those 5 pages and the next minute we were moving beautifully together and I can’t wait to head back here and do more.  It’s already filling my love tank and definitely something I want to pursue more this year.  The art of beautiful creative play and filling gorgeous pages... for no other reason than for me... for ideas, for growth and for play.

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First painting of the year...

At last.... 

I finally pulled out my paintbrushes and set up and started painting.  Deliciously slowly because I felt a little rusty and working slowly just felt so good.  I’m not in a rush to go anywhere.

I picked up an old canvas that I started last year with an unfinished piece on it.  As I’m looking at this piece right now, I’m wondering if you can recognise the old painting under the layers.  I know it’s just a start and we still have a ways to go together.  I’m not sure where we are going but for now... this just felt so nice.

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I started this piece with a sepia ink and white paint and I loved starting there, it felt less intimidating and starting slowly and easing in, felt beautiful.  That being said I am sooo ready to play with more paint.

365Grateful...

Hmmm I found it hard to start this project again this year.

Not because I didn’t want to do it or didn’t love it. You know I loved it but I wasn’t sure if I carry on with all the tangible images or do I just do it digitally. So I contemplated it for two long agonizing weeks. Hahaha, I know that sounds dramatic, I was driving myself nuts. I continued taking my images everyday, because I have been taking pictures everyday for almost 10 years now. It’s very natural for me to capture moments. I loved the actual images but doing the whole project on Instax cost me a fair amount the whole year long, not overwhelmingly so but still some. And all said and done they are just two precious to put in a box. To display them is a 1.8m long framed piece and if I did that every year (which I could do)… where would I put them all.

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So for now I’m doing this project digitally on Instagram under a different profile… called 365TinyCaptures and I am sooooo loving it and in many ways even more than last year. I’m loving sharing daily and sharing more of my thoughts around each moment / day.

What I will do is print off some very precious ones and do smaller displays of specialness instead of running off the whole year. As for 2018, my whole collection is being framed up as we speak and it’s a visual feast for our eyes. I’m so excited for that big piece to come home and to see it up and the beautiful story it will tell. Thank you friends who are journeying with Lucy and I again this year.

I can’t wait to see this years rhythms of love, life and everything else.

It's that time of year again...

As life goes… it appears every January, I find myself back to decluttering, reorganising and sorting out our lives just a little more, in the hope of making life more manageable and easier to cope with during the weeks of busyness and in the mayhem of life. To make life flow a little easier. You start to realise that you have just been living with things a certain way and when you fix them and you look back and you wonder why you waited 7 years to fix that. I know that sounds so bad… like how could you leave anything unattended for that long, right?

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Obviously the thing on the top of my list to finish was my garden project . Nothing would make my life a little more manageable than finishing this final phase. We went through winter and received beautiful rain and I wanted to reassess after that. I now know that my ground/soil in totally unable to yield any life form whatsoever. I’ve made my peace with this even though I found it heartbreaking. It forced me to fix a few things… I had to move my pavers closer in towards each other to minimise the dirt. I had to use pots instead of planting into the ground. And I had to cement the large final space of dirt. I used pretty pavers where I could to make attractive zones.

But the back section of the garden, really needed help and I needed help with this section. It was bigger than me. The back gully was jammed with rubble and leaves and sand and a collapsing wall and dates back from before we arrived here. And it’s been one of those little issues that I wanted fixed for 7 years.

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I am sooo happy to say, just like that… it’s fixed.

I found the perfect person to help me who saw my vision and did it better than expected. My heart is overflowing and now… all the excess dirt and rubble has been removed and the weight of that rubble lifted off my soul and it feels like I can breathe again. I didn’t realise until this week that there had been some things that have been pushing down on me and I didn’t know how much until they were lifted.

This incredible space is still drying but I can’t wait for that and I cant wait to start decorating and dressing this zone. It will be an added zone to our “stoep” or patio which is very tiny.

I can’t believe it’s done and can’t wait to share more with you.

Closing out the year...

22 years and still laughing…

With Christmas and birthdays and this crazy time of year… our anni usually comes and goes quietly and we are too exhausted to celebrate or spoil or anything else really. The past few years we have been trying to make more effort esp with the girls getting older. Last year we tried something different and celebrated early and that was amazing to take the pressure of this time of year. This year again, we were determined to keep it low key and it was soooo chilled too and we loved it. We had an uber quiet day at home… slept, read and played some poker. Later in the afternoon we popped out for a quiet celebration with Kitty. Being a hopeless romantic, she asked us to reminisce how we met and that time of our lives. We laughed a lot. This year I have known Digz for half his life and that seems so surreal to me.

One of things I’ve always loved so much about us and our family, is how much we laugh together. I know this is a gift from Digz, he’s a funny guy and he has always made me laugh from my belly. He has a brilliant way of helping us see the funny and joy in life and not take things too seriously. When things get intense, he manages to throw in something light and it sometimes just helps right when it needs to. It’s been a good balance for me and my more serious side has been a good balance for him.

#gratefuleveryday

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It’s a wrap… “Love, Life and Everything else”

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have finished this visually beautiful project. It was one of the highlights to my year and I’m utterly grateful for everything it gave and more. I think it has changed me a little from the inside out and I’m not sure how you go back to normal after something so profound.

I have titled this body of works…. "Love, Life and Everything else”.

I didn’t know it at the time but when I look at them altogether like this, it’s all I can see… a body of love, of life and everything else in between. I have been so blown away by this project and how much it grounded me through the year. It gave me something tangible to hold onto especially when the weeks were tough and that even in those moments I could still find the beautiful. In each day, in the mundane, in the stress and chaos of life and in the quiet and private spaces too. It’s been one of the most visually beautiful projects I’ve ever done for myself. I know we know things and I know we miss other things. We skirt over the good things and focus on the silly things but seeing life's nuances in picture form helped me find so much love, goodness simplicity and humility… and it did something deep inside of me. I am so grateful.

.Thank you #365tinycaptures for helping me see, really see.

Thank you for journeying with me Lucy and Jackie who also personally took this journey in their own formats and thank you for coming along for the ride through the year - I loved sharing it with you.

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Birthday Girl

I’m not going to lie, being far away from Corks on her birthday was brutal, we all missed her terribly. Sharing her has been an adjustment. She turned 20 while she was out at sea, a perfect way to kiss her teenage years goodbye. We are so proud of the young adult she’s becoming and is. We iron out issues as they come up, which of course they still do but on the most part… she’s doing good, very good. The best part about her traveling to Mauritius with Ryan and spending this festive season with his family is that Ryan took her to see most of the island on their bikes. It was block training season for both of them and they trained intensely together. I love the places her bike is taking her. What a beautiful way to see the world... one country at a time on your own set of wheels. It was a year of firsts for all of us, not having her with us this time of year. She’s growing up and so are we… we are learning how to let go and how to do that with grace (we hope). How I help myself cope is I remind myself where I was when I was her age and it definitely helps me find perspective. Sometimes I forget how independent I was already.

Ryan is Mauritian and his family live there and they invited Corks for the holidays.

When she asked us if she could go to Mauritius with Ryan earlier in the year, we decided that if she wanted to travel that we would help a little bit with pocket money but she would have to buy her own ticket to the island. Which she agreed to. I know that sounded a bit harsh on our part but it was a very grown up thing to do and we wanted her to know that it came with responsibility that she would have to carry. She had most of the year to work towards it. Corks and Ryan did their first stage race together and won the mixed team category and the prize money paid for her ticket there. Of course, we loved that so much.

Very proud of them both.

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What a beautiful part of the world It’s around 2000 miles from Cape Town/5 hour flight.

Walking and walking…

The day before we left on holiday Digby broke his toe. Yes on the already injured side.

Digby’s mobility was returning beautifully, we weren’t having any set backs and the swelling had been at bay for a good few months already and he has been moving more freely and even faster. I actually couldn’t believe it. The swelling returned with a vengeance and the discomfort was back. After 20 months, we have another set back and I really just feel so badly for him. It’s the second December affected by this injury.

In April it will be 2 years since the hit and run and we continue to struggle. We spent as much time as we could in the water this holiday and walked on the beach sand too to help. Luckily this time he didn’t seem to have pain, just the swelling and discomfort. He will continue physio when we get back now and he might have to consider another op on his knee etc. in the new year. We will know more once the toe recovers.

I loved the beach walking and the beaches just seemed to go on forever and the water was warmish so I could wade and walk and I loved it. I can’t wait to come back asap.

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I love this picture of us… it feels so youthful. Thank you Kitty for taking such beautiful pics for us. It was a beautiful day walking to Gerickes Point.

What a special place.

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PYHAS 2019 - is a go…

Paint your Heart and Soul starts today.

There is such a brilliant lineup of artists sharing their love and passion and I can’t wait to join in and be part of this group this year. This will be the only group I’ll be in teaching in this year. If you haven’t signed up yet, it’s still not too late to do so.

Look forward to seeing you in the classroom.

Happy New Year!

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Christmas Creativity... just a little

I only bought a few art supplies with me these holidays.

Just for a little tinkering here and there. Our first week here came and went so fast. I still had some work to do to get everyone paid before Christmas and we still had so much running around to do once we got here. It didn’t leave any time for anything creative. So come Christmas day after lunch had been served, I was just desperate to do anything. So I grabbed my charcoal and my journal and got to scribble a bit.

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I really hope I get so squeeze in more scribbles and more creative moments in between the walks, naps, rest and recovery. Merry Christmas to you all. Sending love and gentleness to you and yours during this time.

Much love, always xoxo

Beautiful books...

Kitty asked for some books for Christmas so we sat together and ordered some books for all of us… for holiday reading. I had been eyeing these books in my yoga studio library and I decided to get my own copies.

I’m so glad I did. I love the little book of quiet. Just a perfect little companion for me.

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I’m particularly thrilled with Meditations from the Mat. It’s actually a daily readings book so although I selected this book for holiday reading, it will take me through the next 365 days. The readings are short and manageable. And when I shared it on my Instagram story I got very positive feedback about it from friends.

I am a week in and I’m already learning lots and loving it’s profound simplicity and wisdom.

Choosing a simpler way...

After hearing Annie Hamman’s health testimony earlier this year, I was so blown away and really started researching. We had long telephone convos about it and I looked at the books she suggested. Various other things happened this year especially with Kitty and her health and well-being, we started talking about it more. With both of us doing yoga as much as we have been, we decided to start eating in a more simpler way. Choosing fruit and veggies over meats and choosing raw over cooked where we can. I’m not making any statements that we are now…. vegan or vegetarian or anything but more consciously choosing a different way daily and totally loving it. What I do know is that it’s been a long transition and small daily changes, going slowly.

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It turned our meal prep on it’s head. Having two very different eating groups in our home was proving challenging. Our meals are now quick and easy to prepare and there was a big divide in our sharing meals. And we were all feeling it. Eating together is something we have always done as a family. We always stop what we are doing and commune together no matter what. A big part of our togetherness is around food.

We had to regroup and think how we were going to do this. And we did and we have come together beautifully. I’m so grateful to Corks who instigated this and got so on board with us and what we were doing and we have in returned met each other in our different spaces and worked together.

I’m so grateful my family loves healthy food and good food and with us getting all creative in the kitchen again has brought new life back into our kitchen and meal making.

#sograteful

31Days of... on hold

I had to put my 31Days of… project on hold because once our car was packed for our trip there was no room left for my big canvas and no matter how we tried, she was just too big.

I guess I didn’t realize how big she was. I got half way through the month and I’m loving the challenge of working on her everyday. But I am looking forward to going home to work on her some more in January.

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What I’m loving most of all about this piece is of course her size but also moving slowly and the layering is rather wonderful.  Also not expecting an outcome has freed me up quite a bit.

Feels rather delicious.

Summer is finally here...

Every year everyone always seems a little shocked when summer finally arrives.

As someone who feels the cold the way I do, I know exactly when the warm finally arrives and it’s never in September when everyone expects. For the past 20 years… it has only ever arrived in December. And it when it arrives it does so with a vengeance. South African summers are hot and long but Cape Town is the exception. Our summers aren’t long and being coastal with our oceans being Atlantic, there is always this cold wind off the ocean. You always need a jersey especially in the evenings. The days can be brutally hot and the evenings with that icy wind, cold and to me it’s bitterly cold :-)

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We had so much beautiful rain in November which is a bit unusual but the dry long summer months are terrifying me a little after the drought and water shortages the past while. The November and December rains have been glorious and the water in the forest, off the mountain has been flowing - I haven’t seen water flowing like this for years.

And of course my favorite part of summer are the beautiful flowering trees that flood our streets and gardens with brilliant colors and scents. Which make evening walks heavenly.

#happydays

31Daysof... Day 1

So I have been out of my studio pretty much since my auction. I have had one session there for my final Life Book lesson. But on the most part, I haven’t been able to get back in there until I got some things out of my way….

 
  • My final assignment for Gillian’s class and my final mentoring call.

  • Final lesson for LifeBook… done.

  • Main lesson for Paint Your Heart and Soul… almost finished.

  • Shipping woes/issues from my auction… almost there.

  • Catching up with admin and work work… much better.

Day 1 of 31 - 30”x24” Stretched Canvas working with Charcoal and Derwent Graphite block.

Day 1 of 31 - 30”x24” Stretched Canvas working with Charcoal and Derwent Graphite block.

Process vs endProduct…

As a way to get me back into my space, I’ve decided to close out my year with a little project…

I’m going to work on this piece every day for the next 31 days, doing something even if it’s just small. I’m going to do my best to share this journey and be vulnerable as I can with you. My idea is to explore regardless of the end product, focusing on process and total exploration. I know some days will be good and others will be bad but I just want to move with it even if it’s a complete disaster. But I’ll be in my studio and it will be a good month regardless of the outcome.

#excited