When life feels overwhelming

Everything you need right there for blog

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:

Don't-be-fooled

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

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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

 

 

 

 

 

© 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.

 

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The Tiny Spark

You Got this for blog

Hello friends

I hope all is good with you and you are keeping well

I’ve been busy again so not posted recently.  So here’s an update:

On July 20 I went for what is hopefully my last visit to Southampton Hospital.  Almost 3 years since diagnosis from now on apart from annual blood tests, it’s down to me to keep monitoring myself and to let them know if I have any concerns.  I’ve been well and, apart from the tiredness which I think I just have to live with now, all is good.  🙂  My main priority now is to get on and enjoy my life as much as I can.

I’ve also been working hard to complete my garden project.  I’ve dug up another two big (HUGE) clumps of bamboo.  Who’s bright idea was it to plant bloody bamboo?!?!  One clump was along the edge of the pond and there was another, slightly smaller clump on the higher level of the garden in the flower border.  I don’t think I’ve managed to eliminate it all and I will just have to keep an eye on it and try and stop it every time is see new sprouts appearing.

Unfortunately it was also growing up through the gravel path so I had to take up all the gravel, dig out as much of the root as I could manage, lay cardboard on top, then two layers of weed proof membrane and finally put the gravel (and about 10 more bags of gravel) on top.  It was hard work but the garden looks so much better now.  As far as I can tell there is just one more (massive) clump of bamboo to get rid of, but I’ll leave that until the autumn as I need a break from the hard physical work for a few weeks.

I have a feeling I may also have to empty the pond remove some more bamboo that is growing through the pond liner, then reline the pond and refill it, but that might have to wait until next year.  Or possibly until I retire!

I’ve started a new art project which is about learning and hopefully growing, it’s early days yet and I’m not sure where it’s going so I’ll have to see later if I want to share any of it or not.

The image above, that measures 30″ by 22″, is another reproduction of a page from my Warrior Women art journal.  Here is the original:

You got this, Keep going

I was not too happy with this page so I changed it a bit when I painted it big. The original is mainly collage and penwork the reproduction is mainly acrylic paint and penwork.  I’m really happy with the painting, I think it’s a great improvement on the original.

Here is another Radiant Warrior mask:

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I painted the mask with gold metallic paint and used up loads of bits and bobs as embellishments, there is even a little male warrior standing on top of her head.  🙂

And finally here is a little video about an exhibition that is currently on in London until September 10, unfortunately I’m not able to get to see it, but I love the extraordinary and talented Grayson Perry so I thought I’d share it with you here. If you are in London before the end of the exhibition go along and have a look, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

That’s all for now folks.  Take good care of yourselves and I’ll see you soon(ish)

Big love

AJ xxxxxxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 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.

 

 

 

 

A Woman of Strength!

Woman of Strength for blog

Hello friends

It’s funny I’ve picked this image for today’s post because today I’m not feeling strong at all.  I’m so tired right now I could go to bed and not get up until tomorrow!

It is self inflicted though, yesterday we had the first LGTB Pride event ever in our county and it took place on the beach in the town where I live.  It was really fantastic.  We left home at about 10am and at 11:30 we got to see the parade after it had been through the town and was making it’s way along the Esplanade.

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After that we had to join a long queue to get into the main Pride area which included a village of food stalls and information booths, a small entertainment area and a fabulous tea tent where we could get teas served in a teapot and china cups and saucers.  There was some good entertainment in there too.  There was also an arena on the beach for the main entertainment.  The weather was good and everyone was happy it was such a lovely and friendly day.

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T was booked to DJ at the After Party that evening in a club on the sea front.  Near to the end of the day we spent a couple of hours at the venue while stuff was being set up and eventually he could have a sound check.  We managed to get home at about 8pm.  Just time to feed the cats, have a short rest and get a bite to eat and then we were back at the club by 10pm.

When we walked in it was a bit like a high school disco, the dance floor was full of young people and there was synchronised dancing going on to YMCA.

T’s set of classic House music started at 10:30 and immediately the dance floor emptied of all the young people, they seemed confused because he wasn’t playing tunes they could sing along to or recognise!  But it soon filled up again with slightly older and more serious clubbers.  I danced all through his set and at 11:30 the next DJ took over and he also played really good House music and we both danced through most of his set.  It was hot in the club and by the end my legs were cramping up.  At 12:30 T said he was tired and we decided to leave.  It was difficult because the DJ just kept playing tunes that I really wanted to dance to, but I had to admit defeat in the end.

The whole Pride event was super fantastic and we are really pleased that we were able to participate in it.

Today we have been taking things easy and tonight I’ll be having an early night!

The image above is a 30″ by 22″ painting reproducing this page from my Warrior Woman art journal:

I-am-a-woman-of-strength

I don’t feel that the big painting is a good representation of the page in the book this time, but hey, you can’t win ’em all 🙂

And here is another Radiant Warrior mask:

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

Glorious Mess

Glorious mess for blog

Hello friends

Summer time and the living is …. a bit busy to be honest 🙂  I am working on another big project in the garden that is going to take up a fair bit of time, but hopefully in the long run will make life a bit easier.

The image above is a painting 30″ by 22″ based on a page from my Warrior Women art journal.  Here is the original page  that is 15″ by 9″:

Glorious Mess

And here is another Radiant Warrior mask made on my radiotherapy mask:

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Finally here is a video of an local artist Sue Paraskeva who throws beautiful porcelain pots and then smashes them. I met Sue at an event last week where she did a performance but because I was volunteering at the event was not able to see her part of the show.  Although our meeting was brief there was something about her that I really liked so afterwards I looked her up and found this video portrait.  It’s about 8 minutes long but it’s worth watching because it is so beautifully filmed and gives a much better idea of why after taking the time and care to produce a perfect pot the next logical thing to do is to smash it.  Have a look and see what you think.

SUE PARASKEVA: ARTIST PROFILE a film by Jamie Isbell

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 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.

 

 

She laughs without fear of the future.

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Hello friends

I’ve been missing again for a couple of weeks because the first weekend we had no internet and last weekend we were away from home, but I’m back again now.

The image at the top of the page is another big painting reproducing a page from my Warrior Women art journal.  The painting measures approx 30″ by 22″ and here is the original page from the journal that measures 15″ by 9″:

Strength-and-Dignity

And here is another of the Radiant Warrior masks:

Radiant Warrior Mask

After my previous post T and I went to London to see The Howard Hodgkin exhibition Absent Friends at the National Portrait Gallery.  It was amazing and I really enjoyed it. Here is one of the portraits we saw in the exhibition it’s a portrait of his friend Patrick Caulfield and was painted 1991-93.  It’s called Patrick in Italy measures about 26″ by 29″ and is oil on wood.

Patric in Italy

Now, you may think this is just an abstract painting, but Mr Hodgkin (if he were still alive) would tell you he never painted anything abstract in his life and this is a true portrait of his friend Patrick.  Although it may not look like him the painting accurately captures the feeling and memory of that time.  Personally I love it and it was a privilege to see so many (I think there were 52) portraits in the exhibition.

Last weekend we had a proper heat wave in the UK and we were lucky to be invited to go and stay with T’s brother and family in Gloucestershire.  On Saturday we went to a small festival in the village where they live, it was organised to raise funds for the local school. It was a great day with some good bands and a lovely atmosphere, the headline act were called Mr Tea and the Minions  from Bristol.  They play ‘Cheeky gypsy party music’ that’s a cross between – Balkan/Ska/Swing/Dub/Funk – happy smiley people who got us on our feet and jiggling about 🙂

On Monday before we came home we drove into Bristol to see an exhibition by one of my favourite artists – David Shillinglaw – the show is entitled Tales of Ordinary Madness –  at That Art Gallery I was very lucky because the gallery is normally closed on Mondays but they opened it especially so I could see the exhibition before I came home.

Here is a little video the gallery made to promote the show.

I bought a unique colourful print made up of faces like these.

 

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, 2011-2017 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.

Fire Within Me

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Hello friends

I hope all is good with you.  Last night we had another terrorist attack in London and my thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this terrible event. Three attackers killed seven people and injured 48 others.  The attackers who were wearing fake suicide belts were shot and killed by eight police officers who fired 50 shots.  The whole event from the first call about people being run down on London Bridge to the last attacker being shot at Borough Market took eight minutes.  Congratulations and thanks to those first responders who risked their lives and took decisive action to protect others.

There are no words really, how do you try to understand and explain or comprehend these acts of terror?  I’m sorry but I have no idea.

What I do know is that I personally will not give in to them, they will not have my hate and I will not live in fear.

T and I had already planned to visit London tomorrow to see the Howard Hodgkin exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery and we are still going to do that.  I don’t want to sit at home being scared, I want to live my life and I know that I have to see Howard Hodgkin’s paintings I’m looking forward to it.

The image above is a big painting 22″ x 30″ reproducing the cover of my Warrior Women art journal and here is the original cover which measures 7″ x 9″.

Sky-above-me

And here is another Radiant Warrior from my mask project:

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My post is short and sweet this week as I’ve other things I need to be doing right now.

Look after yourselves and I’ll see you 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.

 

 

 

 

Art from Malaga and me

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Hello Friends

Continuing with the theme of Radiant Warriors here is another ‘mask’ I made using the radiotherapy mask I had to wear during treatment.

This week I had my 62nd Birthday and although it’s not a very attractive number it was still a cause to celebrate being alive and well.  It was a glorious sunny day and I had taken the day off work so we went out for a drive.  We stopped off at a couple of beaches for walks, lunch and ice-cream.  In the evening T took me out for a meal at a local restaurant.  It was a good day 🙂

We thought about going camping for the rest of the weekend but the weather changed, got cooler and rained, and I’m only a fairweather camper, so we stayed at home.

I’ve really been missing all that art and culture we saw when we were on holiday in Malaga at the beginning of May.

One day we went to the Centre for Contemporary Art, Malaga It’s an amazing space.  The temporary exhibitions we saw there were:

Jia Aili A Chinese artist who paints huge, futuristic and somewhat desolate paintings.  T really appreciated this art but for me, although I could appreciate the skill involved, they were too depressing and bleak.

Image source https://www.chinesenewart.com/chinese-artists11/jiaaili.htm

There was an exhibition of Studio Film Club posters byScottish artist Peter Doig, which I absolutely loved, so bright and colourful and fun.  And it seems that Peter has very similar taste in films as T and me.

Image source https://biblioklept.org/2013/08/11/peter-doigs-studio-film-club-posters/ where you can see more of the posters.

You can find out more about Peter here : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Doig

There was a moving exhibition by the American artist Travis Somerville

You can find out more about Travis Someville’s art here: http://www.travissomerville.com/

As well as the temporary exhibitions there is a lot of excellent art in the permanent collection.  We had a great time inside this fantastic building.

Here is the bendy man sculpture at the entrance to CAC Malaga.  I took this photograph, I didn’t realise it was OK to take photos inside the Centre so the those images are not mine (I have mentioned the sources where I was not the photographer):

014 Bendy man sculpture outside the Centre for Contempoary Art

The area of Malaga where the Centre for Contemporary Art is located is called Soho, it’s an up and coming area and there is just load and loads of fantastic street art there.

Here is another of my large paintings (30″ x 22″) reproducing pages from my Warrior Women art journal:

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And here is the original page it measures 15″ by 9″:

Healing-takes-courage-1

I don’t normally like listening to ‘experts’ explaining about art, mainly because I rarely understand what they are talking about it all sounds like gobbledegook to me, but I saw this video yesterday about an exhibition by Howard Hodgkin at the National Portrait Gallery in London.  Howard Hodgkin died in March of this year. I first discovered him when I bought a book of his paintings in a local charity shop and a bit later I saw one of his original paintings at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester.  I love his use of colour, but now I’ve found out a little bit more about him I realise what a fascinating and talented man he was.  I love the way that Paul Moorhouse takes us through this exhibition of portraits and I understand completely what he talks about.  We are planning on visiting this exhibition before it closes on 18 June:

That’s all for now folks, see you 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.

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?

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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 30″ x 22″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 large 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.