Where have I been?

Hello friends, it’s been a while again!  I hope your year is going well.  I am doing well health wise.  I’ve been working on two big projects this year and both are now nearing completion so maybe now I’ll be able to get back into blogging again.  We’ll see, my track record so far has not been too good has it?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

When I finished my cancer treatment back in 2015 I was given the mask I had to wear when I was having radiotherapy:

The face maskI wanted to do something creative with it, but I had lots of ideas  and I didn’t want to do just one thing, so in the end I used the mask as a form to create a series of papier mache ‘warrior masks’. Each one fixed onto a canvas.

All the time in my head I had the title ‘Radiant Warriors’.  I felt it complimented the journal of Warrior Women I made when I was having chemotherapy.

Definition of Radiant: adjective 1. happy, glowing, ecstatic, joyfulgay, delighted, beaming, joyous, blissful, rapturous

2. bright, brilliant, shining, glorious, beaming, glowing, sparkling, sunny, glittering, gleaming, luminous, resplendent, incandescent, lustrous, effulgent

The image at the top of the page is the first mask I made.  I can’t begin to tell you just how disappointed I was with how it turned out, which is nothing like I imagined it would.  I’ve made 11 masks so far and none of them have turned out how I planned.  It stressed me out a fair bit that I couldn’t reproduce the images I had  in my head, but in the end I realised the masks turn out exactly as they are meant to be – full of imperfections and faults, just like me.  To be a warrior means you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to keep trying.

As well as mask making I also wanted to see what my journal pages would look like if I reproduced them big.  Ideally I would like to see them massive like on a wall on the side of a building, but as I don’t have a wall A2 size paper was the biggest I could go:

This is the first page I did in my Warrior Women Journal when I was first diagnosed with cancer. It’s made of collage, painting and penwork, it measures 15″ by 9″.

All is Good

And here is the A2 size painting it measures 30″ by 22″:

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Now that I’ve finished the Radiant Warrior project I feel like I can move on from the Cancer thing. It’s such a relief.  Not everyone makes it though do they?  Earlier this month a very brave young woman who put up a couragous, positive and inspiring fight lost her battle with cancer.  It really hurts when this happens.

Rest in Peace beautiful Sam xxx

The other project I’ve been working on is the garden project I started back in November, to build some raised beds for T’s vegetable garden.  This is what it looked like before I started. Just look at all those weeds on the paths!!!

And here is a video of the finished raised beds.

 

In other news we had a holiday in Malaga city in Spain at the beginning of May, it’s a lovely place and we soaked up loads of art and culture.  I might blog about that later.

That’s all for now, I hope you are all doing well and are happy and I hope to see you again soon.

Big love

AJ xxx

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2017 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.

Merry Christmas!

sock-reindeer-greeting

Hello Friends!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

I’ve been caught up with preparations for the Festivities and (as usual) had little time for anything else!  But I made it and here we are on Christmas morning and everything is ready so let the fun begin!

T has just woken up so shortly we will be opening presents and then starting preparations for lunch.  Mum and Dad are coming here for lunch today so that will be fun!

The image above is a sock reindeer I made last week, it’s a strange looking creature but I just couldn’t resist it when I saw the kit in a shop.

Anyway I’m still trying (not very successfully) to get back into regular  blogging and will continue with that attempt in the New Year, we’ll just have to see how it goes 🙂

Have a lovely Christmas and I wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year.

BIG LOVE

AJ xxx

 

Mindfulness

MindfulnessHello friends

I hope all is good with you in these challenging times for all of us. Sometimes it feels to me like the whole world is going mad, there is a monumental shift taking place and I feel so out of synch with it all.

I can’t change the results of the referendum or the US election, or the way other people think, and I understand that our political systems have failed and disenfranchised so many, but this shift to isolationism and xenophobia is really worrying me.

So I keep reminding myself of that quote by Mahatma GhandiBe the change that you wish to see in the world.’  I know I have to be the very best version of myself that I can be.  I try every day to be a good, caring and thoughtful person.  I’ll be honest with you admit that most days I fail miserably, there is usually some point in the day when I get angry or upset about something or someone I don’t agree with, but every day I start again and try to improve.  I don’t know if I will ever be the person I truly want to be and I realise if I can’t even do that for myself how can I expect the rest of the world to be the caring, compasionate, inclusive world I want it to be.  Just got to keep trying…..

Practising mindfulness is helping and I am getting some clarity and calmness from it.

The image above is the back page of my 6″ by 9″ journal and it is to remind me to be mindful.

Back cover before and after

When I was 18 years old in 1973 T and I set off to travel overland to India, our first stop was Amsterdam where we spent a few days waiting for the Magic Bus  to leave.  The bus was actually going all the way to India but we only took it as far as Istanbul, and travelled the rest of the way on public transport.

While we were in Amsterdam, killing time, we were wandering about the city one evening and we came across the Stedelijk Museum of contemporary and modern art.  It was a cold and miserable October evening and it was dry and warm in the museum so we went inside.  There was hardly anyone else there and we had a great time looking at the amazing art.  There was an exhibition of machines made by the artist Jean Tinguely.  These machines were fantastic and playful, I had never seen anything like it before in my life.

The Stedelijk Museum currently (until 5 March 2017) has another exhibition by Jean Tinguely called Machine Spectacle.  If you happen to be in Amsterdam before 5 March I recommend you visit, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed:

Take care of yourselves and I’ll see you soon.

Big LOVE

AJ xxx

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2016 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.

Life as Play

Life as Play

Hello friends

It’s been pouring with rain most of the day today so I’ve been in my room painting, I’m very close to being half way through my big personal project. (So still several months to go before completion)!

Last weekend the weather was much better and I spent it out in the garden on a different kind of creative project.  I built this raised bed in an attempt to make growing vegetables a bit easier for T, as he’s struggling at the moment.  I’ve got two more to build.  Now that I know how to do it the next ones should be easier.

Veg plot before KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m also trying to eliminate the weeds from the paths by killing them then covering the area with cardboard, membrane and gravel. I bought some preserver to paint the wood too, but ran out of time last weekend and the weather is not good enough this weekend.

The image at the top is another page from my small 6″ x 9″ journal, I finished this page off on Monday when I had to go for my check up at Southampton hospital.  It’s a good job I took something to do as they were running an hour late by mid-day when I was supposed to see the doctor and I’d already been there for a couple of hours as I have to have a blood test at least an hour before my appointment.  Anyway I saw a nice young doctor and all is good and I’m still in remission 19 months after treatment finished.  🙂

To celebrate here is a lovely video by Thomas Blanchard I found on the internet this week, it’s mesmerising and I could watch it over and over.  In fact I have watched it over and over again.  If you enjoy it as much as I do perhaps you could leave a comment for Thomas? :-).

 

 

When I posted this I could see the video, but now I can’t? Just in case you can’t see it either just click on the link for Thomas Blanchard and the video is called Kingdom of Colours.

I hope all is good with you, I’ll see you soon.

Big love

AJ xxx

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2016 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.

A new approach

page-14-after-penwork

Hello friends

I have been trying to figure out why I’ve been so reticent to blog this year and I’ve decided to try a different approach and see if that gets me restarted and remotivated.

From now on there will be much less personal stuff and I’ll concentrate on my favourite subject – visual art.  Afterall that’s what it was supposed to be about in the beginning.  Mainly to document my art and see if I ever made any progress (the jury’s still out on that one).

I’ll be posting my own art and some of my photographs and I’ll be sharing some of the amazing art I see online, but that’s it folks.

So if you are not interested in art and only visit my blog to see what goes on in my personal life (I really can’t imagine why anyone would find that interesting) you’ll be disappointed.  But hey that’s life 🙂

This image is from my small journal and was completed in June this year. I like it because it’s bright and cheerful and has a good message.

And here is a video of one of my favourite artists:

I met David in May 2015 at a workshop he did at Morgan in Clerkenwell (Link) shortly after that he flew out to Turkey and painted this beautiful mural. Film by Babylon TV

 

I hope you are keeping well and making lots of lovely art.

See ya soon (maybe)

Big love

AJ

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2016 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.

 

Dance with your Heart

page-12-small

Hello friends

Hope things are good with you, I am absolutely fine.  I still can’t find enough time to do all the things I want to do, but I’m not stressing about it.  If things don’t get done it’s not the end of the world.

I have been quite creative recently and that’s always a good sign.  I am slowly working on my ‘secret big project’, I reckon at this rate it’s going to take another 18 months to 2 years to complete.  That’s as long as I keep at it, but to be honest I do have a history of starting things and never finishing them so we’ll just have to wait and see if I can keep at this one.  It doesn’t really matter though because I learn as I go along so all is good.  At some point in the future I might have to share it with you just to check if it’s worth continuing with.

I was going to share another black & white page from my Tikis and Totems journal today, but I just couldn’t have two b&w posts in a row, so the above page is another from my small (6″ by 9″) journal and the page was completed several months ago.

I am really curious to know why colour is so important to me, most creative people I know are really into music I think most people who are creative listen to music when they create.  While I don’t dislike music, (afterall you need music to be able to dance), left to my own devices I would never think to listen to music.  To be honest if I never heard any music I don’t think I would be too bothered.  But colour, now that’s a different story – if I can’t feast my eyes on beautiful colourful images every day, then things get a bit weird and I suffer from withdrawal symptoms.

I did wonder recently how I would cope if I ever lost my sight.  Initially it seemed that would be the worst thing that could  happen to me, but then I realised that the eyes are just the windows that let the light in and I have an amazing imagination so even if my eyes didn’t work I am pretty sure my brain would adjust and I would just ‘see’ things in a differnt way.  Don’t worry there isn’t anything wrong with my sight, other than I now need glasses for reading.  It was just one of those random thoughts that come out of nowhere, but I was reassured by the ‘solution’ my brain came up with.

Here is the before and after image:

page-12-before-and-after

When I was younger I loved dancing but I’m a bit rusty now and I have nowhere near the energy I had even 10 years ago.  Still Hoopfit class starts up again next week, that’s fun and good exercise so I’m looking forward to it.  Got to admit I’m not much good at hooping though, I spend a lot of time bending down to pick the hoop up! But the teacher is lovely, it’s definitely a giggle and it’s always easier to exercise when it’s fun.

Hope life is treating you well, take good care of yourselves and I’ll see you soon.

Big love

AJ xxx

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2016 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.

 

 

 

What is Life?

Page 3 What is Life collage and penwork small

Hello friends

I hope everything is good for you and you are keeping well and happy.

I am back!  We went away for a couple of weeks and I had a total digital detox – we had no phones, no internet, no blog, no Facebook and no television (although the tv bit is not so unusual for me) for 2 whole weeks – it was great.

We went away in the Bongo (campervan), it was a bit touch and go right up until the last few days whether or not we could go in the Bongo as it was in the garage waiting to be repaired until the Friday before we left and the garage were not sure they could get the part to fix it.  I had a ‘Plan B’ if the Bongo was not fixed and that was to go in the car and take the ordinary tent.  The weekend before we went I put the tent up in the garden just to check everything was still there and I knew how to do it.  Camping for 2 weeks in that tent would have been difficult as despite being big enough for 4 people neither of us can stand up in it so we would have come home with bad backs from two weeks of stooping.  But fortunately the lovely people at the garage were able to fix the campervan in time for us to take it away, and we had no problems during the two weeks.

We went to WOMAD (World of Music, Art and Dance) festival at Charlton Park in Wiltshire for the first long weekend, then to another small festival in Hampshire for the next weekend. In between we stayed at a campsite near to Bath and had a visit from one of our oldest friends while we were there.  That was lovely.  T and S were best friends when I met them when I was 15 years old and 46 years later, even though we hardly ever see S these days we are still good friends and always enjoy seeing each other.  Being away for 2 weeks and doing 2 festivals was pretty tiring and T’s health was not very good while we were away so at times it was a real struggle, but I really like the outside living, even when it rained I thought it was OK (although I’m not sure T would agree).  I broke my camera on the first day so was not able to take any photos, but in a way that was good too and it felt like part of the digital detox.

I finished the page above while we were away, it’s a page from my Tikis and Totems journal – all the collage and most of the penwork was already done so I just added the quote. I’m not sure the quote really goes with the image but the colours reminded me of a sunset so I used it anyway.

Here’s a comparison between the page with just collage and the finished page.  All the collage elements came from a children’s book I meant to make a note of the title and the illustrator, but unfortunately I forgot!

Page 3 what is life before and after

While we were away we put ‘The Furry Boys’ into the local RSPCA boarding cattery.  We felt awful about doing that but at least that way we knew they would be safe.  We could have just left them at home and got a friend to come in and feed them, but because they don’t like each other and sometimes fight we were worried that either one of them would get injured or that one of them would decide to move out and go and live with one of the neighbours rather then be in the house alone with his brother! We both thought about them every day while we were away and worried about them in those small pens at the cattery.  So as soon as we got home we rushed to collect them.  We thought they might be angry with us for abandoning them for two whole weeks but they were so pleased and excited to see us and it was great to all be back home together.  They have been very affectionate and while I’ve been at work they have both brought T presents every day – either a mouse or slow worm (often dead).

Bill and Jack

Bill and Jack – the Furry Boys

From now on I will be back at work full time and just have my normal quota of holiday so hopefully at long last I will start to get back into the swing of full time working.  I have had so much time off work in the last couple of years – 8 months sick leave then a phased return to work then almost double the amount of normal holiday in the last year – it has been difficult to get myself settled back into the routine.  I think I needed all that time off though because even after I finished the treatment for cancer and have been in remission for over a year now, to be honest the bit after treatment has been, in many ways, more challenging than undergoing the agressive treatment itself.  Finally, I think I am getting my head around it and can move on with my life 🙂

Just recently I have been getting more creative too and that’s always a good sign and good for my soul.

It’s a beautiful sunny day here so I’m off out to enjoy what will inevitably be the brief but pleasant British Summer so I’ll post this later when I get back.

Take good care of yourselves and I’ll be back soon.

Big love

AJ xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2016 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.

 

 

 

Dare to be different

Dare to be differentHello friends

Week four of my return to blogland and I need to tell you that I am going offline completely again for at least a couple of weeks.  I just need to get away from all the noise on the internet.

The past month has been quite challenging on a national and global scale: there was the UK referendum, I was devastated by the result.  I know that I was in the minority and accept that we will be leaving the EU, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I know that everyone voted for the best of reasons so all I can do is hope that I’m wrong and things won’t get as bad as I feel they will.

After the referendum it got even crazier with David Cameron, our PM, resigning and other crazy things going on.  So now we have a new PM, Theresa May, I have to say I hate her politics, but I do have a grudging admiration for her, she’s a strong woman and, let’s face it, slightly better than any of the alternatives – Andrea Leadsom, a woman I’d never heard of before but came across as a right-wing loon – Boris Johnson, professional buffoon and lier – Michael Gove, who went against his word and stabbed his friend in the back in order to further his own political career (fortunately it backfired on him).  I’m really not sure why Thersa May has put Boris Johnson in as Foreign Secretary and made us a laughing stock of the world though!  It might have something to do with the fact that she didn’t want us to leave the EU and he lied to persaude people to vote Brexit, so he can deal with the consequences, I don’t know.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party, the main party of opposition in the UK is pulling itself apart because the vast majority of the membership elected Jeremy Corbyn, a progressive socialist, as leader last year.  Most of the Labour MPs don’t like him or his policies, and rather than accepting that they should be representing the views of the membership have tried their hardest to get him to resign or oust him by other means.  This means there will be another leadership election in September.  There have been all sorts of shenanigans going on in their attempt to rig the election.  I am really hoping they fail because Corbyn is the first politician in many years who has made me think that change for the better might actually be possible.  I joined the Labour Party in July to support Corbyn, but a few days later the National Executive Committee changed the rules saying that only people who had already been members for 6 months could vote unless people registered and paid £25 in order to be able to vote in the election.  After thinking long and hard about this I paid the £25 and it’s just been confirmed that I can now vote.

Of course between now and the election ‘they’ are going to try and discredit Corbyn by any means, but he is such a dignified, calm and reasoned man, he refuses to get involved in personal mud-slinging and just states his case quietly and calmly – that it’s about people.  ‘They’ keep saying he is not electable and he’s too left wing but maybe that’s what we need right now?  For the past 20 years or so it has been difficult to vote in general elections for me because I couldn’t see much difference between the two main parties, but I think Corbyn could provide me with the choice I’ve been looking for.  We’ll see.

There is other madness going on in the world too – Trump being nominated as the Republican candidate for the US president against Hilary Clinton for the Democrats!  And all sorts of attacks on ordinary people going on in Nice, Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, etc. etc.  It’s all getting a bit too much to bear, so I just need to get away from the noise and calm myself down for a while.  I’m going to be off-line for another couple of weeks or so, but I will be back.

In the meantime I’m sharing another page from my small 6″ by 9″ journal.  This page was finished between April and June last year.

And here is a comparison between the ‘just collage’ stage with the completed page:

Page 11 before and after

That’s all for now folks, enjoy your summer and I’ll see you in a few weeks time.  In the meantime take good care of yourselves.

Big love

AJ xxx

 

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2016 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.

Stingray

SringrayHello friends

Well here we are week three of my return to blogland and already I’m slipping with the posting!

I meant to post something yesterday but it was sunny (actual real summer sunny) and I was busy doing other stuff.

I haven’t got much to say at the moment so here is a page from my small 9″ by 6″ journal, this page was completed in April 2015 just as I was coming to the end of my cancer treatment.  It’s a strange page about a stingray.  Ever since Steve Irwin was killed by a stingray people have been scared of them, but they are really beautiful and gentle creatures and if you are lucky enough to go swimming in an area where a stingray lives, it is going to come and check you out.  It won’t attack you (unless you surprise or hurt it) but it will swim all around you and come up close to see what you are up to.  It’s a truly incredible thing to experience and I’m lucky that it has happened to me on more than one occasion.

Anyway here is the page with just the collage and then with the penwork:

Before and afterLook after yourselves and I’ll see you soon.

Big love

AJ xxx

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2016 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.

Going Bigger

Mondomix

Hello Friends

I hope all is good with you.

I am trying to get back into regular blogging again so the image above is a project I worked on earlier in the year and completed in May.

For some time I have been wanting to work on bigger pieces and not solely in journals, but I wasn’t sure how things would work out so I didn’t want to waste money purchasing big canvases and expensive paints.  Where I work we often get large and heavy items of equipment delivered in rough made crates, usually made of plywood.  The crates just sit around in the yard and deteriorate until someone eventually decides to dispose of them.  Often the equipment is not used for a while so it all sits outside and crate deteriorates in the rain and weather.  Late last year I found an empty crate still in good condition with a lid that measured about 2′ by 3′.  The lid had a rough frame of wood on the back that stopped the ply from warping, so I asked if I could take it.

I bought some sample pots of Valspar paint from B&Q in Turkish Blue, Party Pattie (pink), Bonjour (yellow), Neon Apple (green), Bengal Tiger (orange), Beet Beet (purple) , Hot Shot (darker orange), Cleopatra Sunrise (bright blue), Spring Fever (light and bright green) and High Voltage (bright red).  It cost about £20 for 10 pots of 236ml paint.

I painted the lid with flat white paint and then did this:

Work Map

It’s finished off by adding detail with paint pens.  I have hung it on my office wall at work.

Then I found a bigger piece of plywood measuring 3′ by 4′.  This one didn’t have a frame on the back so I made one with rough wood I found in our cellar at home and I painted this:

Mondomix

The photo is not very good because I had to use a mobile phone and it didn’t really capture the detail too well.

The second piece I donated to the Mondomix festival in return for a free ticket to the event.  They put it up in the Yurt behind where the DJs played.  Here are a couple of photos taken by other people at the Festival:

Mondomix 1 by David Cramp DJ Lucia Decermic

DJ Lucia Decermic photo taken by David Cramp (copyright David Cramp 2016)

Mondomix 2 by Kathy Lockwood DJ Dabba Ranx

DJ Dabba Ranx photo taken by Kathy Lockwood (copyright Kathy Lockwood 2016)

I learnt some things from painting bigger:

  1. If I am going to continue with the bigger theme I need a bigger studio and more time!
  2. I’m used to working on the horizontal plane – most of my art is in books/journals so I work on them flat on the desk.  These two pieces were also worked on flat,  but I think I need to try to start working vertical, after all a wall (which is my ultimate aim) is vertical.
  3. I probably need to simplify things, not sure how to do that yet though (need to experiment more).
  4. It takes a lot of energy to complete a bigger piece, so I am full of admiration for people who paint huge walls, they must be super fit (and a lot younger than me)!

 

So what does it all mean?

I had a conversation with a good friend yesterday about how other people (experts) explain art and how if you are an artist you (apparently) should be able to explain what your art means.  Well I don’t have a clue what my art means.  I know that I am creative because it is an imperative within me and it makes me feel good – I love colours, repetition and symbols, they ‘speak’ to me at a deep level, but there is no way I could put that into words and explain it to you or even to myself.

It’s the same for me when I go to a gallery or view someone else’s art.  A lot of art really moves me and makes me feel joyous, usually it involves bright colours, repetition and symbols (so there is a correlation between the art I like and the art I make) but I have no need to try to explain what deep philosophical process the artist might have been trying to explain.  Maybe they just want to make beautiful pictures and that’s all there is to it?  What do I know?

Here are just a few of the many artist’s whose work I really admire, if you have time you might like to check them out 🙂

David Shillinglaw, Yayoi Kusama, Nikki de Saint Phalle, Keith HaringOs Gemeos,

I do often wonder what it’s all about but I as yet I still don’t know.

Until the next time, take good care of yourselves

Big love

AJ xxx

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2016 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.