It’s finished! (Well almost)

Bedroom 1

Hello friends

I hope all is good with you and you are well and happy.  It’s taken 10 weeks but the bedroom decorating project is finally finished, well almost!  The new furniture arrived a couple of days ago and we’ve been moving piles of clothes and stuff back into the room this weekend as well as breaking up old furniture and taking it to the local landfill site.

There are still a few things to do, I need to put shelves up in the left hand alcove and that big space above the bed needs some artwork.  Fortunately I have a big piece of wood that will fit the space and providing I can paint a good enough painting it will go there. We also need to get some better bedside lighting.

The white patch in the centre of the bed and on the headboard are just sunlight shining through the window.

Here are a few more photos:

Bedroom 2

Bedroom 3

We had to move everything out of the bedroom, apart from the bed, while the work was being done, so we’ve been living in chaos for 10 weeks!

Here is a photo of the work in progress:

Before 1

This was taken early on in the project because we soon realised that moving all the furniture out would make life a bit easier.  Unfortunately T got the flu early  in January and was really poorly for a few weeks, then even when he recovered from the flu he had terrible back pains so wasn’t able to help much.  Fortunately before he became ill we had stripped the walls back to plaster and filled in all the holes, and sanded down and painted the woodwork.  After that I was pretty much on my own doing the decorating whenever I got a few minutes to spare.  I washed and then painted the ceiling, it took three coats of paint before it looked good, and doing stuff above my head really hurts my neck, but I was determined and so relieved when it was finally OK.  I also put lining paper on the walls first and then wall paper – red on two walls and cappucino coloured on the others.

The house was built around 1860 and the floorboards were uneven and had big gaps between then so I purchased hardboard and covered the whole floor with it to make it more even before the new carpet was laid.  That was a whole weekend wetting the hardboard and then attaching it to the floor by hammering nails at 4″ intervals across the whole floor.

The thing I am probably most proud of is the window sill I made.   I always thought it was strange there was no window sill in the bedroom.  I looked at putting a wooden sill in, but it would have cost of lot of money and I’m not sure I’d have done it properly.  Then one day I was down in the cellar and I found a sheet of PVC that was left over from when we had the soffits and fascia boards replaced at the back of the house a few years ago.  So I decided to use that as it was free.  I cut it to the right size and cut it into the wall, stuck and sealed it all in place.  It matches the new PVC window we had put in last year, and the window looks so much better with a proper sill.

Here’s the before and after pictures:

There has been so much stuff  crammed into my art room for the past 10 weeks I haven’t been able to do any art, even if I’d managed to find the time (which was impossible).  I’ve missed that kind of creative activity and I’m looking forward to getting my paints out again soon, although at the moment it is still far too chaotic to be condusive to creativity.

I am really pleased with the bedroom, it has a lovely calm feel about it even with the shocking red walls and red carpet.

The two cats have been quite disturbed about the whole decorating project, but I think they approve now it’s finished.  Bill Kat was so impressed he spent a little while investigating the new furniture, then he went out and a short time later came back wtih a lovely present – a live rat! which he delivered to me and let go under the new bed!  Fortunately T was able to capture said rat and liberate it outside.  I think Bill got it again though because yesterday I found a dead rat of a similar size on the path at the back of the house.  I know that the little ‘presents’ he brings in are to show how much he appreciates us, but honestly I wish he wouldn’t do it, it creeps me out!  Especially if I have to deal with live rodents on my own.

So I hope all is good in your part of the world and I’m hoping to get back to normal, whatever that is, soon.  At the very least to get back into some sort of regular art practice.

Look after yourselves and I’ll see you soon.

Big love

AJ xxx

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2018 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.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Happy New Year!

Welcome to Paradise spread with copyright

Hello friends

I hope you had a lovely Christmas and I wish you a very happy and healthy New Year.

I’ve been on leave from work since mid afternoon on December 22nd and I go back on Tuesday January 2nd 2018.  Christmas was a quiet time for us, we had lunch and spent most of the day at my parents house on Christmas Day, and on Boxing Day we had a friend visit us for lunch.

Other than that we have been decorating.  On Christmas Eve I started ripping wallpaper off the bedroom walls.  I’ve been meaning to make a start on this for some time and I figured that once I had made a start we would have to finish.  We have lived in this house since 1996, the bed was given to us, the furniture was either ‘hand me downs’ or the cheapest we could get (as that was all we could afford) and the carpet had previously been in the living room of the flat we lived in before moving here.  We have repainted the walls a couple of times, but still the room was looking very tired and neglected.   So this work was well overdue.

I am planning on retiring some time in the next 3 years and before I do that I want to get the house up together as much as I can, so the bedroom is now going to get a complete makeover – new bed and furniture, new carpet and new wallpaper, I’m excited about this :-).

It’s going to be a massive job and because of the cost of the new furniture we can’t afford to get someone in to do the work so we are having to do most of the physical work ourselves.  Unfortunately we don’t have another room we can sleep in so we have to move furniture and keep tidying up in order to sleep in there at night, even so it’s still really dusty and unpleasant.  I think it will take us several weeks to get this work done.  Painting the ceiling is going to be the hardest thing, we both struggle now doing things above our heads (I’m  pretty sure that’s an age thing)! When we were younger we did things faster, but the older we get the slower we get too.  Still it will be worth it in the end (I hope).

The cats are not happy about all this disruption either they are quite disturbed and grizzley with each other and need lots of reassurance from us!

So that will be the start to our New Year, however you spend yours I hope you have a lovely time.

The image above is from my ‘Bringing down the Moon Journal’ and it’s a another spread I did at the Call of the Wild Soul Art Retreat in an workshop run by Orly Aveneri, you can see the first page I did in her workshop here.  The first page was a collaboration with another artist but this page was supposed to be more personal, my page was actually about my wedding in Tobago in 2007, but unfortunately when I got home after the retreat the pages were stuck together and the spread was spoilt.  The only things remaining from that original page are the ‘Welcome to Paradise’ sign in the top left hand corner and the statue on the right hand page.  Ever since then I have occassionally tried to add things and improve it, it’s never been a great success but it is what it is.

I shall probably be missing again for a while now until we get the house back in some kind of order but please know that I wish you all the very best.

At the close of the year I just want to share this with you by the fantastic artist Ephemeral Gecko aka Mixy Gecko aka Penn Gregory:

 

I love this artist she has a You Tube channel  here a blog/website here.  If you are a colour addict like me you will LOVE her art.

That’s all for now folks see you sometime in the New Year and in the meantime stay happy and healthy.

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.

 

 

 

A Challenge/Commission :-)

Framed picture for conference room at work for blog

Hello friends,

This framed image, which is A1 size, is hanging on the wall in the conference room at work.  My manager recently challenged me to produce some art which included this quote from the World Health Organisation.  We work in the water industry so the quote is appropriate to me and my colleagues.

The blue background is my attempt to portray clean water, the leaves in the corners are because some vaccines are derived from plants and in the black border are my interpretation of what some of the killer diseases look like under the microscope.

All of these diseases can be mitigated or controlled by the vaccine programme and one, smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980, the last known case was in Somalia in 1977.

I find it fascinating that that some of the most deadly cells can look so beautiful.  Starting in the top left hand corner and working clockwise I’ve depicted Polio, Influenza, Mumps, Smallpox, Cholera, Chickenpox, Typhoid, Dengue Fever, Tetanus and Diphtheria.

It was a good challenge, I enjoyed making this piece of art.  It’s also the first time I’ve seen any of my art framed.

On November 11 I went up to London to see the Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition Boom for Real a the Barbican and also to meet up with some friends.  I only found out the day before that it was also the day of the Lord Mayor’s Show, a big carnival type of affair, and most of the roads in central London were closed to traffic.  It’s was so strange walking around London with no traffic, there were lots of people on bicycles and also lots of policemen making sure cars did not enter the closed roads.  Unfortunately I got a bit lost and didn’t arrive at the Barbican on time to meet my friends.  I assumed that they had already gone into the exhibition and hoped to meet up with them inside, which is exactly what happened.

I’ve been to the Barbican once before to see a concert but this time I realised just how much I dislike the place, for me it’s just too big and noisey and confusing.

I was really moved by Basquiat’s art, there were over 100 pieces which is amazing as they were produced in just a few years, between 1981 and 1988 when he tragically died of a drug overdose.  The paintings look like they were done with a great sense of urgency, fast and furious, like he had important information to impart to us through his art.  There is no sense of perfection, things are crossed out and rewritten, there is lots of repetition and symbolism and a fantastic use of colour.  I just loved being in the presence of such great art.  It’s such a shame we were not allowed to take any photos as I would have liked to have at least one photo of his work.  There was also some really interesting reference material but I didn’t even have a note book or smart phone to record notes.  However it did mean I just had to be in the moment with each piece of art and that’s not a bad thing. In fact it’s probably better than having photos.  I think I could live with any one of those pieces of art, because in each piece there is so much to see and learn.  In reality though I couldn’t afford it.

Normally it’s always colour that draws me into a picture, but in Boom for Real there is one piece called Tuxedo. It’s just white screen printing on a black canvas, it’s big – 151.8 x 260.8 cm you can see it here.  I went back to it several times to soak it up.  As I stood in front of this piece I had the feeling that it probably contained answers to … something? … but I’d have to spend a lifetime trying to decode it. I love art that reveals something new to you everytime you look at it and I got that sense from much of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s art.  There is a depth to is that you can’t get from just one look.

I couldn’t afford the hard back book that was produced for the exhibition, it was about £40! but I bought a smaller soft back one which I’m half way through reading.    What a fascinating man he was and what he shame he died so young.

It was so lovely to meet up with Lisa, Kelly and Cairrai who I first met at the Call of the Wild Soul Art Retreat and also meeting Michelle for the first time.  We had a great day. I was shattered by the time I got home 13 hours after leaving 🙂

And you can take a 360 tour of Boom for Real at the Barbican here:

You still have time to see it 🙂

That’s all for now

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.

 

From a sacred place

Leaf from the Bhodi tree 1

Hello friends

I hope all is good with you we are doing well.

The other day I got home from work and I saw this leaf in a nice wooden frame, I couldn’t remember seeing it before so I asked T where it came from.  He told me that it’s a leaf from the Bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya in India and it has been pressed between the pages of a small buddhist book we bought when we were there in spring of 1976 over 41 years ago!

You probably know that Bodh Gaya is a very sacred place.  Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment meditating beneath the Bodhi tree and became Buddha in the 4th century BC. Of course the tree that this leaf came from is not that original tree but one planted on the same spot in 1881.

There are many buddhist temples in Bodh Gaya the main one which marks the spot where Buddha gained enlightenment under the tree is the Mahabodhi Temple.  There was a big religious festival while we were there.   T told me the festival was to celebrate the solar eclipse which took place on 29th April.  I don’t remember that bit but I do remember the masses of Tibetan monks assembled at the temple, the thousands of butter lamps, the music and the chanting.  It was a spectacular and moving event, we even recorded some of it on a cassette which I’m sure we still have somewhere, but we have no way of playing it now.

Anyway I am so pleased this beautiful leaf decided to show itself again after all these years and bring back some magical memories.

I’ve been wondering what new art I could share with you now that I’ve completed the Radiant Warrior Women project.  This page is from an altered book I started back in 2012 and still haven’t finished.  The book was a children’s book called Bringing Down the Moon, but it won’t be recognisable when I’ve finished altering it.

Spread 1a with copyright

This page isn’t actually new but I haven’t shared it before.  It’s the first page in the book and it was created when I attended the Call of the Wild Soul Art Retreat run by Erin Faith Allen at a place called Croydon Hall in Somerset in September 2012.  The workshop was run by Orli Aveneri.  The page was a collaboration between myself and (I’m not sure about this but I think it was) Pat Beaumont from Liverpool we both worked on each others pages under Orli’s guidance. I really like how my page turned out.

Attending the Call of the Wild Soul Art Retreat was a huge, scary adventure for me.  As an introvert I was out of my comfort zone and incredibly nervous (actually “freaked out” would be a more apt description of my state of mind), but it was a fantastic experience.

The other workshops I attended on the retreat were run by Teesha Moore, wife of my friend Tracey Moore who I had met in 2007, and they have both had a massive and positive impact on my life and my art. I love them both.

The truly wonderful Flora Bowley also ran a workshop and she got us dancing and painting intuitively.

I met some fantastic people at Croydon Hall and many of them have remained friends. (I met up with some of them recently when I went to London to see the Basquiat exhibition at the Barbican called Boom for Real, I’ll tell you about that in another post). The whole Art Retreat event was good for my soul and my creativity.

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

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.

 

Finding Strength

It is in herself for blog

Hello friends

I hope all is good with you.

This is the last post in the Radiant Warrior series and the last of my big paintings reproduced from my Warrior Women journal.

Immediately after I posted my previous post I went to bed, I had had a really difficult day at work, not for any particular reason, but I was so sensitive to the noises my colleagues were making just having normal conversations, they were driving me crazy, or at least that’s what I thought.  But the next day I woke up feeling very unwell with a migraine, which in retrospect accounts for me being so irritable the day before.  I spent the whole day in bed trying not to move because every time I did move I was violently sick and that just made my headache worse.

At 9pm that night T phoned the ‘out of hours’ medical advice line to see if any thing could be done to help me, but apparently I wasn’t so ill I needed urgent medical attention.  But I did get some advice that was helpful.  Applying a warm hot water bottle to the back of my neck did ease things a little and I was finally able to take and keep down some pain killers.  I spent a total of 3 days in bed and the next two days feeling a bit ‘washed out’.

On Monday I was feeling a bit better and as it was a pleasant day I went for a walk along the beach, as I had had no exercise at all while I was feeling so sick.  On Tuesday I went back to work.  I’ve been taking things easy and slowly been getting back to normal.

Fortunately T has been a lot better so he’s been looking after me.

Seems like these days we take it in turns to look after each other!

The image above is 30″ by 22″ and is a reproduction in paint of this page in my journal  made up of paint, collage and penwork and measuring  15″ by 9″

In Herself

I think it is the most successful of the big paintings I’ve done which is why I saved it till the last.

Similarly this Radiant Warrior mask is my favourite too:

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

This mask and the previous one were inspired by the images of the people of the Omo Valley in Ethiopia in the video below.   I would have liked to have made more masks, but I’ve run out of space to store them, so the series has come to an end for now.

So here is the inspirational video of the beautiful people of the Omo Valley photographed by Hans Silvester.  Every time I see these images the beauty of the people touches me deeply.  I hope you enjoy watching this as much as I do 🙂

 

Next Saturday I’m off to London to meet up with some of the lovely women I met at the Call of The Wild Soul Art Retreat in September 2012 and to see the Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition ‘Boom for Real’ at the Barbican.  It’s going to be a great day 🙂

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

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.

Everything will be OK

In the End for blog

Hello friends

Hope all is good with you, it’s been hectic around here recently.  Life on the roller-coaster has been intense.  It goes like that sometimes.  We sometimes can have weeks or months of relative calm and then this tsunami wave hits us and knocks us completely off kilter –  either up in the air in all directions at the same time or down into the deep dark depths.  It’s hard to watch someone you love going through so much turmoil and distress and not be able to help.  Imagine how much harder it is for the person in the middle of a bipolar storm inside their head.  After years of dealing with this I’ve finally learnt that I can’t fix it I just need to be here to give support where I can and be here as a witness.  Only time and medication can calm the storm and even then not completely just for a while, sometimes for a long while other times just for a short breathing space.  It can be bloody exhausting for both of us.

At least now you might understand why I’m so erratic in keeping my blog, why I’m so unrealiable at working with other people on projects or even keeping in contact with blog friends.  But that’s life and I truly believe what it says in the image above ‘in the end everything will be OK’.

The painting above is a big reproduction of the back page of my Warrior Women journal, it measures 22″ by 30″, and here is the original which is collage, paint and pen work and measures 7″ by 9″.  In this instance I prefer the original.

Everything will be OK

In the midst of the chaos that’s been going on I managed to do two things for myself recently, first I went to an Open Studio in Southsea to see the artist My Dog Sighs:

015

The Welcome Sign

001s

A book

002s

003s

008s 009s

010s

014s

The artist My Dog Sighs talking to another artist.

I took the photos but copyright for the art belongs to My Dog Sighs.

My Dog Sighs is the creator of Free Art Friday and here’s a video about him and that subject:

What a Star! 🙂

Also last week I went out for a meal with my lovely friend Gina to a restaurant called Karma in Newport.  We had a great meal and a lovely chat, it did me good to be out with a friend for a short while doing normal stuff 🙂

This is the penultimate Radiant Warrior, and I must admit I like this one even though she has a wonky nose.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

That’s all for now, hope you are keeping well, happy and creative.

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.

 

 

 

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).

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

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.