The ABC of ME :-)

Hello friends

I hope all is good with you, me, I’m doing OK 🙂

I finally completed a whole project, it took a year but I’m chuffed with it. In July 2018 I was doing my regular trawl around all the local charity shops looking for a bargain when I found this book. I can’t tell you just how excited I was 🙂

It’s chunky book to help young children learn the alphabet, the pages are thick board covered in a plastic wipe clean surface.

First of all I carefully removed the cover and put it aside to reconstruct it later. Then I stripped all the plastic from the pages, it pealed off really easily and left me with a pristine blank book. To strip the pages gently start rubbing at one of the corners until the plastic begins to separate from the board page, then, if you are careful (and a bit lucky) you can usualy pull the whole plastic covering away from the backing.

Because blank pages are a bit scary I coloured every page with a random colour and then starting at A and finally finishing at Z I made my very own personalised ABC of Me. I used quotes and words that I find inspiring and to keep my spirits lifted. After I had removed the cover I was able to work on each spread flat, which made the job so much easier,

Once it was finished and because I still wanted to be able to open the book out flat I strengthened the spine with fabric and PVA glue, I also covered the front and back covers of the book with fabric and then stuck the first and last pages to the covers with more PVA glue. I made the titles for the front cover and the spine from an old piece of bandage which I coloured with ink and used alphabet rubber stamps for the lettering on the cover.

Here is the completed book, it took me a year to finish it: If you click on the Vimeo link you can watch it full screen, you will probably have to pause it if you want to read all the words. I have tried to attribute the quotes to the appropriate author, but didn’t manage with every one of them.

If you would like to create your own ABC book, the original My Big Alphabet Book is available from Amazon (and presumably other suppliers) at a reasonable price.

That’s all for now folks, take good care of yourselves and I’ll be back here sometime soonish I hope.

Big love AJ xxx

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2019 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Inspired by dinosaurs

Hello friends

I hope you are keeping well and happy. I didn’t realise I’d been away so long again, I am struggling to get back into regular blogging. Also very little time for making art, which is a shame because the more I make art the easier it becomes and when I don’t do it I find it difficult to get back into my flow. But sometimes there are more important things to do in life and that’s OK.

So I thought I would share the image above with you, it’s a project I finished over a year ago. The picture is about A3 size and I made it as a house warming present for some young friends who had just bought their first home.

The project started when I bought a children’s book about dinosaurs:

It’s a lovely book with great illustrations and and a wonderful colour pallette.

First I created a background.

Then I added a collage border and focal point using bits cut out from the dinosaur book.

Next I added shading using Inktense water colour pencils.

Then outlined everything with black ink.

Using paint pens I altered all the collaged elements. Although I use elements cut from books I use them as inspiration but I always want to make them my own with my own mark making.

Finally I added the beautiful Apache Blessing and some swirly bits and put it in a frame. I hope they like it, they said they did, but people are very polite and to be honest I wasn’t entirely sure about it. I do love the colours of this piece though and and the Apache blessing. “Walk gently through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life”.

It’s summer and the weather is hot, I LOVE it! The garden is thriving, it takes a lot of watering which is time consuming but worth the effort. Whenever I can I use water from the water butts and when they are emtpy the plants get a splash of tap water, just enough to keep them going until the next rain.

Our cats are as gorgeous as ever and I am happy to have them in my life.

Jack in his castle, it’s an ornate tomb in the cemetery, but he’s claimed it as his own.
Bill just wants his tummy tickled 🙂

I am TRYING to blog more regularly, but at the moment failing spectacularly, I’ll try harder!

I am trying to stay off politics because the situation in the UK (and the world) is driving me crazy. It really does feel like the lunatics have taken over the asylum. I could easily slip into full raging rant mode, but I won’t.

I’ll be back when I can and in the meantime take good care of yourselves.

Big love

AJ xxx

Art as Therapy

Time for something a bit different

Hello friends, I hope all is good with you.

I have had no time or inclination to make any of my own art recently. T has still been very unwell, it all got pretty bumpy on this roller-coaster ride. The highs have been very brief and the lows deep, dark and long-lasting. He seems to be a lot calmer just now and more stable, I’m holding my breath in case another massive wave of depression comes crashing in.

It’s all been very worrying and stressful but you just have to keep going don’t you? Fortunately I get a lot of support from my colleagues at work even though I know there are times when I am not functioning at full capacity. I am so grateful for the understanding and the leeway they give me during these difficult times.

So I gave myself a treat

Earlier this week I gave myself a much needed treat and some ‘me’ time. My favourite artist, David Shillinglaw, has a new art installation in London at Morgan, 1 Dallington Street, Clerkenwell. It opened on Tuesday 9th April with the private view party 6pm to 9pm. Because I live so far from London I couldn’t attend the party but David told me I could go earlier in the day.

I left home at 10am and travelled by train, ferry and train to London arriving at Waterloo Station at about 1pm. Then I started walking along the south bank of the River Thames. It was drizzly and damp but not too cold. I walked to London Bridge and then crossed over the Thames, I went through Pudding Lane where there is a monument to the Great Fire of London and then on into the East End.

I really like the East End of London, it’s very diverse, a bit shabby and ‘lived-in’, and I saw lots of street art, some of it good some of it not so good, but here is a selection

Most of these photos were taken around the Brick Lane area. From Brick Lane I walked to Old Street and at 4pm I had to stop for a coffee and a short rest as my legs were aching from 3 hours of walking. I got to Morgan at about 4:30pm. David hadn’t yet arrived, the place was busy with people making preparations for the opening party but they still let me in and even made me a cup of tea.

Morgan is a design furniture show room and every year they commission an artist to showcase their art along with the furniture. This is the second time David Shillinglaw has installed his art at the venue. Other artists featured have been Remi Rough, Expanded Eye and Mark McClure. You can find out more about Morgan here: https://www.morganfurniture.co.uk/blog/

While I was waiting for David to arrive I had plenty of time to admire the art, it’s very impressive. It’s called Alive in the Human Hive. The wall (which took three days to paint) is so colourful and fascinating it just lifts the spirits. It looks good in the photos, but really you should see it up close, the colours really zing! One of the things I love about this art is the repetative symbols, it all looks very simple but for me it’s deep and meaningful, a universal language that touches my heart. On the wall there are some new works on canvas too. I think the installation will be there for several months so if you are the Clerkenwell area pop in and have a look.

Lily Mixe and David Shillinglaw

David and Lily arrived at about 5:10pm and I had to leave at 5:30 but they spent the last 20 minutes chatting with me which was lovely. David is as sweet as I remember him from the first time I met him in 2015 and it was lovely to meet his partner Lily who is also a very talented artist. They are a lovely couple. In a way it’s good that I had to leave before the party started because I am such an introvert I would probably have felt out of place and awkward. But I’m sure it would have been a great success. As it was I got to see the artwork by myself for half and hour and then had a lovely chat with the artist.

You can find out more about Lily here: Lily Mixe and David here: David Shillinglaw Artist

Here is a video by Nick JS Thompson about David’s installation

After I left Morgan I got the tube back to Waterloo just in time for my train to Portsmouth and I got home just after 9pm. It was a really good day: I enjoyed my own company, walked more than I’ve done in a long time, enjoyed the street art and different views, then to finish it off I met David and Lily and soaked up the happy vibes coming from that amazing wall. Couldn’t ask for more. I was exhausted and I slept well that night.

One day normal service will be resumed in my art practice and on my blog, just not sure when that will be, please bear with me…

I hope all is good with you and life is treating you kindly.

Big love from me

AJ xxx

❤


© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2019 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Just for clarity David Shillinglaw owns the copyright on his art and Nick JS Thompson owns the copyright on is wonderful video.

Another Lost Weekend

Hello friends

I hope you are all well and happy?

So here is another page from my Landscapes Journal, might be a landscape of the microscopic, who knows? Certainly not me.

Not that happy with the end result of this page, but I enjoyed the process of making marks on the page and that’s what counts.

This is the original page before I did anything with it:

So this is another lost weekend in our house, it just seems relentless at the moment, the waves of the Bipolar sea just keep crashing in with little time for recovery before the next one comes. There is nothing I can do but try and be supportive and try not to take things personally (which is harder than you would imagine) and keep busy until he’s ready to come back from that deep, dark place.

Yesterday I found out where the leak is in my van so hopefully I can get it sorted out now. After that T (who seemed to be OK at the time) asked me if I could prune a shrub in the garden and bag up the waste. We didn’t have any empty bags so I took a car load of full bags to the tip and when I got home about an hour later I pruned the shrub while T went for a nap. He did get up briefly after that but I could tell the black cloud had descended upon him and he soon went back to bed where he has mostly remained. He gets up occassionally but he’s not looking good and doesn’t really want to converse so I guess it’s good that he is spending as much time as possible asleep.

Today I have done housework and washing, the sun is really bright today but it’s very windy and a bit cold, fortunately so far the garden fence panels are still in place but I hope the wind dies down soon. I really don’t want to have to replace them again!

In a while I will go and see Mum and Dad to see if they are OK, They are both still struggling since they returned from their respite care in the nursing home after their accidents. Mum no longer has to wear the neck brace, but her lower back gives her constant pain. She is managing to get out of the house a bit. Dad seems to have a constant chest infection and he is hardly leaving the house at all, he seems a bit depressed to me which isn’t really surprising as his world has shrunk considerably over the past year. Hopefully he will cheer up when I visit.

That’s all for now folks, take good care of yourselves and I’ll see you soon.

Big Love

AJ xxx ❤

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2019 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


It’s a Zine

Hello friends

Sorry I went AWOL again last week. T was really unwell and I wasn’t in the mood to be sociable, did a lot of cleaning and though, so it wasn’t all bad 🙂

I made a zine, I’ve always loved zines and I’ve collected a few over the years but I never made one myself until now. It is just 4 sheets of A4 paper folded in half which gives 16 pages in total including the cover.

The contents of the zine are just some of my doodling so don’t be expecting any great artwork 🙂

Actually I made it sometime last year, but I couldn’t think of a title for it and also I lost confidence in it so it never got printed then last week I found it again, thought it looked OK and decided to call it Cosmic Chaos. I have given it the number 1 as I may produce more in the future. As you can see I printed a few copies so if you think you might like one please let me know and I’ll post it to you. You will have to give me your name and address and the best way to do that is to send me an email to subagua(at)gmail(dot)com, but you will have to leave me a message either on here on on facebook to let me know as I rarely use that gmail account, it’s the one I use when people insist on me giving them an email address (like when I purchase something online or sign a petition) and then continue to bombard me with messages I really don’t want. So it’s normally just a dumping ground for unwanted emails. I have a different email address for my normal emails but I don’t want to post that address on the internet.

I am still working on that page in my landscapes journal that was on my work desk when I last posted, but progress is slow. I think that might be because I’m not really ‘feeling’ it but I will persevere.

Here is a young British artist I discovered today, I like Bolaji’s art and I love his philosophy of playing and having fun – let’s go with the flow and see what happens 🙂 Very impressed with the studio too!

That’s all for today folks, I hope you are keeping well and happy and I’ll see you again soon.

Big love

AJ xxx

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2019 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Studio view and some WIP

Hello friends

Hope all is good with you.

I have no art to post this week as both T and I have been feeling unwell for a few days and there has been other stuff to do. So here is a photo of a corner of my messy studio with another page of my Landscapes Journal, in progress, on my table. This time it’s just a single page, not a spread, and to be honest I have no idea where it’s going, currently it’s just one almighty mess, but I’ll keep at it until something decides to show itself to me.

The stack of books on the right are some of the journals that are currently also in progress. Some of them were started years ago. Occasionally I pick them up and and if I get inspired I restart and do some more pages, but I think that some of them will never get completed. However in the back ground (if you look very carefully amongst the mess) you can see some of the journals I have completed. In total there are 26 that have been completed and another 12 or so that are in progress and many more that have not even been started. Then there are the little note/sketch books I carry around in my bag to doodle in whenever I get a spare few minutes.

I just love working in books, either books that I alter or books I make. What I like about them is they are very personal, private and easily transportable. They are also the one thing that has kept me practicing art. Throughout my life I have attempted all sorts of art, but I am so lacking in confidence I never progressed or really found my ‘thing’ until I discovered art journaling. The first two journals I created I didn’t show to anyone, not even T until they were finished. With journals the whole always seems to be than the sum of the parts, if you know what I mean 🙂

Next week I hope to have something new to show you

Take good care of yourselves

Big love AJ xxx

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2019 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Island Life

Hello friends

Here is another spread from my Landscapes journal. This is all about Island Life. I have always lived on the Isle of Wight, an island off the south coast of England.

The Isle of Wight is sort of diamond shape and is approx 23 miles from East to West and 13 miles North to South. It has a population of approx 140,000. There are several towns, many villages, lots of open countryside and miles and miles of beaches.

Although I have travelled extensively and I have worked off the Island for periods of time, it has always been my home and I love living here. By coincidence all of my favourite holidays have been on Islands. We loved the Island of Tobago so much we visited three times and we even got married there on our second visit.

Here are the original pages before I painted over them:

The quote: “There is something about the ocean that never fails to amaze me, the way she never fails to kiss the shores even though she is sent away. The way her waves can be both calm and terrifying and the way she never fails to soothe my soul” is by
Tilicia Haridat.

I messed up a bit with the writing on the second page where for some reason I decided to make it fit between the lines rather than just sitting on them

I have a need to be near the sea, and I am comforted by that edge of land and sea defining and enclosing the space where I live. I love walking on beaches, drawing in the sand, and collecting pebbles, shells, driftwood and bits of flotsum and jetsum that wash up on the shores. Where ever I am on this Island I am never more than half an hour away from a beach These days I always try to pick up and remove the bits of plastic I find washed up on the shores too. Sadly there is always some to pick up.

That’s all for now folks

Take good care of yourselves.

See you soon

Big love AJ

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2019 unless otherwise stated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.