When life feels overwhelming

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Hello friends

I hope you are all well and happy, I didn’t realise I’d been away so long again, over a month this time.  So what have I been doing?  To be honest I’m not really sure.

We had a short holiday in Devon at the beginning of September but it wasn’t really successful as we were in the camper van and tent and the weather was pretty awful, wet and windy!  We couldn’t use the roof tent in the van because of the wind and after the first day we had a river of mud running through the tent.  One night it was so windy it broke one of the tent poles so we had to pack up in the pouring rain and come home a day early.  All in all it was a bit bleak.  Such a shame as the camp site was really nice, and South Devon is lovely but hey-ho that’s camping in the English summer for you!

I didn’t get a very good education when I was young, I ‘failed’ the 11+ exam and was sent to a secondary modern school.  I really wanted to go to art school, but the art teacher didn’t encourage us to explore our own creativity, his idea of teaching art was to make us reproduce art just like his. He was not inspiring or encouraging and he was really stingey with the art materials.  I just had this feeling that given the chance I could be creative, unfortunately I never got the opportunity when I was at school.

When we got to about 15 and we had to seriously think about what we were going to do when we left school the ‘careers advisor’ came to talk to us.  I was told that my choices were shop or factory work, after all (I was told) I’d probably get married and have children soon so I didn’t need a career.  I was made to feel that my opinion on this really didn’t matter because I wasn’t going to get any further education.

To be fair though I had no idea what I wanted to do and I really lacked confidence so I thought those were my only options.  I sat my end of school exams, but I always worried myself sick about exams   always assuming I was going to fail. I actually left school half way though the Biology exam. I remember thinking to myself ‘what am I doing here?’ putting my pen down and walking out of the exam room and school without completing the paper. I never returned to school after that.  My qualifications when I left school were Art and English O level passes and CSEs (Certificate in Secondary Education) in Maths, Needlework and Religious Education.  That doesn’t look very impressive on a CV but I did manage to get a few more qualifications after leaving school.

My first job was working in a clothing factory making map pockets for the knees of RAF flying suits.  I had a lot of different jobs after that, in the 1970s it was possible to try one job for a while and if you didn’t like it you could leave and the next week get another job as long as you didn’t want high paid work there was plenty of employment.  If nothing else it gave us lots of experience and variety.

Anyway I’ve always been disappointed that I didn’t get a good art education, so now at the age of 62 I’m trying to in some ways rectify that.  I can’t afford (financially or time wise) to go to college now, but thanks to the internet I’m finding lots of free teaching material online and I’m trying to work through some ideas and projects on my own.  We’ll just have to see how that goes…

I am also trying not to be overwhelmed by the state of the world at the moment, and that’s a really challenge.  I have to keep reminding myself to go back to mindfulness – breath in, breath out, inside everything is calm and OK.

The image above is a big (30″ by 22″) reproduction of this page below in my Warrior Women journal:


Here is another Radiant Warrior mask (a bit scary this one – an earless, robotic, kali type figure).


And here is a video of artist Lily Mixe, she does really thoughtful and detailed art.  I LOVE paste ups 🙂


That’s all for now friends, I’ll be back soon.  In the meantime have fun and create some art.

Big love from me

AJ xxx






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