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.

SRFY2635.JPG
IMG_8414.JPG
GWOL6089.JPG
BOGK1534.JPG

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.

IMG_6732.JPG
IMG_6045.JPG

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.

IMG_8439.JPG
IMG_E8521.JPG

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!

IMG_6058.JPG

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.

IMG_7911.jpg
THKT0231.jpg
IMG_7927.JPG
IMG_6304.JPG
IMG_7955.jpg
IMG_E7974.JPG

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.

IMG_8484.JPG
IMG_8238.JPG
IMG_8485.JPG
IMG_8237.JPG
IMG_8488.JPG
IMG_8239.JPG

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.

IMG_7628.JPG
IMG_7629.JPG

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.

IMG_7263.JPG

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.

IMG_7279.JPG

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...

surrender.jpg

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.

FullSizeRender.jpg
IMG_3573.JPG

Layering it out...

I have been researching much for what's going on inside of me, as well as ways I could move forward with my work creatively.  I have been doing lots of free writing about where I'm at in my creative process and where I'm heading with my Body of Works for Gillian's class.

It's taken me a while to establish my theme and now that I've establish my storyline I am searching what that would actually look like that is authentic, vulnerable and real to me.  I have known for sometime I wanted to take my art up a level in seriousness.  I know that sounds silly and I'm not even sure what I mean by that exactly but it's what I wake up searching for and go to bed longing for.  And I think for the first time, I'm starting to have an inkling.  These pieces are evoking something deep inside of me and I'm also enjoying the process.

IMG_E6804.JPG

Using pieces of my drawings and mapping down and layering out has been a beautiful playground for me and I know I want to go deeper here.  They are working well small and safe in my little journal and I'm looking for ways to go bigger without loosing my way.

What I do know... besides doing my TinyBagsofLove body of works, with a clear objective in mind, I have never intentionally worked towards putting a body of works together with a thought out theme of what's inside of me.  I'm finally settling into the concept.  I've been resisting this new process but I've been learning to surrender and move with it, instead of fight it.  I am excited to see what unfolds.

Counting down, Going, Going, Gone...

We have one week to go before this girl of mine heads to Europe for 6 weeks to ride her bike.  

She won a scholarship to ride in Europe to gain experience.  She will be living in a beautiful house with other young cyclists and they will be riding the beautiful roads of Europe together and be learning in abundance. Her University cycling team are financially supporting her too as she will be riding in her varsity colors.  My folks dairy is also helping fund her as she will be an ambassador for their Milk Gives you Go campaign when she gets back.  She is also being sponsored her hydration product while she rides.  I love that we started receiving calls of love and support for this incredible opportunity.

Thank you to all who have showed up for her and these incredible young riders.  Getting our kids out there is all on our own bat and having this incredible opportunity and the bits of support means more to us than you will ever know.

WhatsApp Image 2018-06-11 at 15.30.51.jpeg

Photo:  Ryan Lenferna

She's puts it all on the line every single time, not only on the bike but her whole life and we do believe it's why good things happen to her.  She's a gutsy girl.  We have always known that we would have to keep our grip lose and it's how we have tried to raise our girls, always ready to release them to go.  We are grateful she get's to have this incredible opportunity.  It has always been our dream to see them fly.  It doesn't come without trepidation and watching from the sidelines is by no means easy and sometimes we are deeply emotional at what she puts herself through.  Thanks beautiful girl for choosing life everyday at 110%.

WhatsApp Image 2018-06-11 at 14.50.58.jpeg
WhatsApp Image 2018-06-11 at 14.50.59.jpeg
gone.jpeg

Photos:  Theo Bruwer

Ongoing Creative Retreat lesson...

This is the piece that I created for my lesson in the Ongoing Creative Retreat, it totally kicked my butt.  You know, how you don't want it to go when you are teaching and filming, right.  Well I had to rescue all the way.  The problem was my canvas.  We eventually found our way but I had to let go of trying to control the outcome and allow her to lead me where she needed to go.

It ended up being a lesson on surrender.

IMG_E5818.JPG
IMG_E5820.JPG
IMG_E5819.JPG

Goodbye May, Hello June...

We retreated a little inwards for May.

The girls were in deep with exams and formal assessments and Digby had his 5th operation on his leg.  So far after every op, he regresses and this time was no exception.  He had to do a fix up on his December operation because it wouldn't heal and at the same time had the final two screws removed from his knee.  It meant lying low and time off the leg.  No riding, no walking but long hours in front of the fire.  In April, we celebrated one year since his hit and run accident (can you believe it) and if you told me that it would take well over a year for him to recover, I wouldn't have believed you.  It has made us weary.  There is a silent pressure on us when he regresses.

How can I say this... when he limped, we all limped.

We continue to walk alongside each other.  It has taught us much in patience and slowing down.  It has taught us appreciation for health and wellness like you can't believe, especially as we are moving closer to 50.  It has taught us kindness with our bodies and grace to move a little slower when we needed to.  

OWBNE6310.JPG

It took the whole of May to recover and I'm relieved to be through it...

Digby is doing much better and rode on the road this weekend for the first time again.  The girls are finished their exams and assessments and the marks are in and all are happy.  My shingles have cleared and we are feeling like we have turned a big corner, mentally and emotionally.

We are ready to embrace a quiet and gentle June.

"Look Closely... "

This piece has been keeping me busy the last few weeks, exploring and creatively playing.  Finding new ways of creating is wonderful and I really needed it this year.  Exploring texture, marks and patterns and mixing mediums.... inks, print media, papers, paint, conte, charcoal and neocolors.  With my studio being at home, I don't have a huge capacity to store charcoal work, so I tend not to work in this medium but I do see it's value and I do want to spend more time using it and this is a great way for me to take pieces further.

I loved that the most of all.

  Look Closely  - 23.5" x 16.5" - Mixed Media on WatercolorPaper

Look Closely - 23.5" x 16.5" - Mixed Media on WatercolorPaper

 
I see your face in blurry shades
And I reach out for your hand.
All your ways I can’t explain,
But I want to understand.
— SYML
 

Beautiful ephemera packs...

I would love to share about the beautiful Ephemera that I've been using in my collage work.  Janet Reid shared this beautiful tip with me and I'm so grateful.  Thank you my friend.

I've been getting beautiful pre-made up packs from KristaMcCurdyArt's Etsy shop.  Her packs are sold in 50gm or 100gms and they are gorgeously filled with handmade cyanotypes, lithographs, vintage ephemera, printed paper.

It was a week of clay...

I got to work on new pieces and old pieces this week.

On my new pieces, I wanted to work a little more serious than my usual pieces.  I didn't want to focus on creating emotion in the face but I wanted to capture emotion and movement with body gesturing and hand placements.  Working those hands take plenty hours.

I am loving the outcome and I can't wait to do more.

IMG_E6577.JPG
IMG_6579.jpg
XNUP0682_2.jpg

I have been working with this big girl for 18 Months.  But I keep changing her.  She's currently a journal book end #inmystudio.  She's perfect at this job.  I'm finally starting to enjoy her.  I came through this morning and she's full of cracks but we will start doing repair work tomorrow when she's more dry.  I can't wait to finish her.

IMG_6649.jpg
IMG_6659.jpg
IMG_6660.jpg

My beloved Jovi PaperClay has changed their recipe or something but my last two packets have not only been vastly different from each other but also different to what I'm used to and I'm having to work hard to find my way with it.  My studio is a fridge this time of year so my figures are taking longer to dry.

I'm trying to be patient - I'll keep you posted.