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.

Hello, how are you?

 

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

A page from my Secret Messages Journal

Hello friends

I’ve been away for half a year! I’m not really sure how that happened, but there has been lots going on.  Too much to go into really so here is a quick precis of the first half of this year from my point of view:

The main thing is that I am feeling good now and I am still in remission (got another check up in 2 days time but no cause to worry about that as far as I know);

T lost his job at the end of January due to having had too much sick leave and that was quite a stressful time, so as I was beginning to feel a lot better he was beginning to feel worse – we are muddling through OK;
In March I attended a 2 day course run by Penny Brohn UK which was all about living well with cancer, I loved the course and I gained a lot from it, in particular I learnt about Mindfulness Meditation and that has been a life changer for the better;
I am working full-time again now (although I have had a lot of leave in the past 6 months – due to the generosity of my employers) and things are gradually getting back to normal;
I started going to Hoopfit class in April run by my lovely friend Gina, I’m still not very good at it, but it is fun;
I became a voracious viewer of art (probably at the expense of creating much myself) but seeing beautiful things every day really lifts my spirits and I have discovered so many wonderful artists thanks to the internet :-);
I did some display/information sheets for a new exhibition Poo@theZoo it’s the brain child of a fantastic group of local artists called Eccleston George and it was a privilege to work with them on this project.  My contribution was to tell the story of what happens to human poo after the toilet is flushed;
In May I had a birthday, I was 61! we went out for a picnic at a lovely spot and then we went away (not very far) in the camper van for a weekend;
At the beginning of June we went away again to a very small world music festival Mondomix and that was good;
The following weekend we had another long weekend of camping in the van at a campsite that is within walking distance from home – the reason for staying so close to home is that we have to come back at least once a day to feed and check on the cats;
As a late birthday present T and I went to London on 22 June to see an exhibition by the artist Yayoi Kusama, it was fabulous;
On 23 June we had a referendum in the UK on whether or not we should stay in the European Union
On 24 June we got the shocking result that by a tiny majority of less than 4% (52% -48%) we voted to leave the EU and since then I’ve been in deep shock, both of our main political parties the Tories and Labour seem to be self destructing and the £ seems to have disappeared down the pan. There is so much uncertainty, these are worrying times.  I have spoken about this a lot on my facebook page so I don’t intend to say any more here.

So that’s one half of this year in my life, never a dull moment!

Earlier in the year it was bothering me that I wasn’t being as creative as I would have liked so I decided to finish off a journal I started years ago.  It’s called Secret Messages and is an altered sample book.  I gave up on it a long time ago because I wasn’t very happy with how the first pages turned out. When I went back to it I just experimented with whatever came into my head. I also wanted to use up some of my extensive hoard of ‘stuff’ collected over the years because it  ‘might come in useful someday’ Here is a short video of the book, it’s a bit of an oddity:

For my own records and just in case you might be interested in more detail.  The book was a sample book I purchased in a charity shop.  The samples were window or wall screens, I think.

Front Cover

Front Cover

The only thing I did to the front cover was rip off the label and add the letters to form the words Secret Messages. I intended the journal to have no words in it (I didn’t quite succeed).

Inside front cover

Inside Front Cover

Inside the front cover I just stuck the piece of paper with washi tape and added the small ornate envelope with a message inside.

PAGE 1

Front of Page 1

Front of Page 1

Page 1: This screen was made of 2 layers of fine silk with paper strips with symbols between. I cut some circles out of some paper in my stash and glued it over the screen to form 3 round windows the I added more scraps of paper coloured red with distress ink, added three gold strips, some ‘gems’ and a ribbon border.

Back of Page 1

Back of Page 1

On the back I cut three matching holes in more paper and stuck it on, added white pen work and a border of wire and pink fluffy balls.

PAGE 2

Front of Page 2

Front of Page 2

Page 2: Another screen of fine silk with paper strips between. I painted this one with gesso leaving the two leaf shaped windows. I added colour with acrylic paint, paint markers and glitter and added a stick-on flower jewel and three ribbon strips to the side

Back of Page 2

Back of Page 2

On the back I painted again with gesso leaving the two windows, added colour with acrylic paint and glued on bits of deconstructed jewellery for texture.

PAGE 3

Front of Page 3

Front of Page 3

Page 3: This screen was made of 2 layers of fine silk with bamboo slats between. I added a collage border and then glued on the leather bag clasp and the yellow heart was a prize in a Christmas cracker.

Back of Page 3

Back of Page 3

On the back of the page I added a collage border, stuck a paper doily, coloured with galatos in the middle and added a centre piece from a deconstructed ear-ring.

PAGE 4

Front of Page 4

Front of Page 4

Page 4: This screen was also made of fine silk and bamboo slats but I removed all of the bamboo, then I added texture paste and acrylic paint and stuck on some old coins, tokens and pieces of deconstructed jewelry.

Back of Page 4

Back of Page 4

I covered the back of the page with pieces of old maps then added a border of soft feathers  to the top and side (for some strange reason when I am out walking if I see a feather I have to pick it up so I have quite a collection!), stuck on some gold stars and two old ferry tickets.

PAGE 5

Front of Page 5

Front of Page 5

Page 5: Another screen of silk and bamboo. I removed all but three of the slats of bamboo. cut some paper from my stash to make a border and then added lace around the edges, I put an old photo of T and M into an old brooch and stuck that onto the page with ribbons and fibres hanging from it. I put a strip of ribbon down the hinge side, added a wire work heart and added the letters to form the words You & Me.

Back of Page 5

Back of Page 5

On the back of this page I stuck some patterned paper, then decided I didn’t like it so I Mod Podged some printed tissue paper over the top of that, still didn’t like it so I used up my stock of gold letters on the page, still didn’t like it, added the green border with acrylic paint and stuck on some gold beads.  TBH I still don’t like it.

PAGE 6

Front of Page 6

Front of Page 6

Page 6: This screen was made of silk and raffia. I removed nearly all of the raffia, just leaving the strip in the middle. I wanted to use the piece of lace so I cut some paper to the same shape and stuck it on the page and I also Mod Podged on the piece of orange fabric. I enhanced the colours of the orange fabric with paint pens and painted the paper blue before Mod Podging on the piece of lace. I like the way it hangs over the edge of the page forming a frill.

Back of page 6

Back of Page 6

On the back I added more of the orange fabric which I enhanced with paint pens and I added course texture paste to the top of the page and rubbed in some gold colour to the corner.  Finally I threaded ribbons through the raffia.

PAGE 7

Front of Page 7

Front of Page 7

Page 7: This screen was made of sheer silk with lines of tiny black glass beads. I Mod Podged some white fabric to the back of it and then sprayed it with coloured inks and water, then I stuck on lots of sequins and gave it black border with duct tape.

Back of Page 7

Back of Page 7

On the back it looked a bit messy so I added a double layer of fine red, glittery mesh, still looked a mess so I added the strips of red fabric which made it look better, but the pink tasselled fibre and the eyes on two tags really improved it as did the black border.

PAGE 8

Front of Page 8

Front of Page 8

Page 8: This screen was made of viscous raffia and all I did was thread the coloured ribbon through it. The wooden thing that looks like a bird head is a brooch given to me for my birthday by a friend.

Back of Page 8

Back of Page 8

On the back I painted the black border.  The bark, sticks and seed pods were collected on a walk on our first camping trip.  The piece of wood with the heart was given to me at the Call of the Wild Soul Art Retreat in 2012.

PAGE 9

Front of Page 9

Front of Page 9

Page 9: This screen is made of raffia and silk. The feathers from the top are from our third camping trip, the white ones are goose feathers. The feather at the bottom I picked up when I took my parents to the local Alpaca farm, it is a lovely looking feather but it comes from a very ugly bird. I can’t remember what it is called but it looks a bit like an ostrich only uglier! I added a ripped paper border to the bottom of the page and a piece of ear-ring to attach that single feather. I added a purple border around the page with distress ink. The feathers at the top were glued and sewn down and I sewed an ornate belt buckle over them and attached a bead and tassel embellishment. I really like this page.

Back of Page 9

Back of Page 9

On the back I stuck down the artificial leaves and added a border of orange, ripped hand-made paper, I added a couple of butterflies to the leaves and the flower is from a hat I bought for some occasion (and never wore).  I added the letters to form the words Be Mindful because it is so important to me to keep practicing mindfulness.

PAGE 10

Front of Page 10

Front of Page 10

Page 10: This screen is made of polyester and fossilized leaves. The leaves are so beautiful I didn’t want to do much to it so I added the border it’s just brown paper coloured with distress inks. The little tag which has an imprint of a fern on it is a clothing tag. Down the side is a piece of a ‘hippy’ headband and at the bottom a piece of corrugated cardboard, two more feathers and a paper rose.

Back of Page 10

Back of Page 10

On the back I just used the same brown paper border and those are little wooden disks with numbers on (they might be from a Bingo game).

PAGE 11

Back of Page 11

Back of Page 11

Page 11: This screen was really strange it was made of very thin and fine stainless steel and it was like fabric but metallic silver.  I actually did the back of the page first, I used paint pens to draw on the metal background, I outlined everything in black and added a black border to the page.  Then I added a double layer of red glittery mesh and put the kitty tag between the 2 layers.  I fixed the mesh down with a gold ribbon border, sewed on the strange wooden figure that came from a necklace and added a row of bling to the bottom of the page.

Front of Page 11

Front of Page 11

On the front page to cover up the stitching  I stuck on some torn green tissue paper, I added some green paper lace over the top so that the metal could still be seen, added 3 paper roses and edged the page with red ink.

PAGE 12

Front of Page 12

Front of Page 12

Page 12: This screen was sheer but stiff silk, I didn’t want to do anything to alter the screen itself so I added the border of orange printed paper. On the day of the referendum result it was really hard to come to terms with it, even though I expected the vote to go that way, the reality of it shook me to the core, it’s hard to explain. I went for a long walk along a beach to clear my head. Whenever I go for walks I collect things that catch my eye and on beaches I am always attracted to colour so I collected all these bits of rope and cord and when I got home I stuck them onto the border of the page. The fish tag is from a Weird Fish T-shirt. This is the only page in my book that has a title, it’s called ‘Give them enough rope…’

Back of Page 12

Back of Page 12

One the back I wanted to give a feeling of being lost so I used a piece of a map and then gave that another border with map tape.  The heart tag is to remind me not to give up hope 🙂

INSIDE BACK COVER

Inside back cover

Inside back cover

I wanted to leave the information about the make up of the screen material but I ‘knocked it back’ with a thin covering of gesso, then I randomly added torn paper and the Number 3 card. I didn’t do anything to the back cover.

THE WHOLE JOURNAL

The whole journal

The whole journal

It’s a bit fatter than it was when I started and it’s been good to experiment and try things out even if a lot of them didn’t really work. The process is more important than the result so I’m happy anyway.

Sorry for the long, long, long post, I’ll try not to leave it 6 months before I post again 🙂

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.

Happy New Year!

Page 6 7 & 8 sHello!

I hope everyone is doing well.  I hope too that you all had a lovely Christmas and I wish you all the very best for 2016!

I knew I had been neglecting my blog but i didn’t realise it was four and half months since my last post!  I guess I just needed some space to get myself together after the cancer treatment.

The Bongo!

On the one year anniversary of my cancer diagnosis (mid-September) T and I did something exciting and possibly crazy, we spent a lot of money and bought ourselves a Bongo.  In case you don’t know what a Bongo is here’s a picture of ours:

Bongo! s

It’s an old vehicle but it’s in really good condition and it has everything we could possibly need for our planned adventures.  Inside it has been converted into a campervan and has a fridge, 2-ring gas stove, sink, loads of cupboard space and the seats convert into a bed. The roof also lifts up and there is a tent/bed up there too.  It also came with an awning/tent which can be attached to the vehicle, when it is parked up.  We think it will be perfect for us and it’s great to drive, so far we have only been out for day trips, but we are looking forward to going camping in it in 2016 once the warmer weather and longer days come back.

Making a space for another vehicle

Having got the Bongo I needed to create somewhere to park it.  There was space to park one vehicle on our land and I needed that for my car. While I am working I still need to keep my car. So T had to sacrifice a piece of the garden so I could create another parking space. It took me about a month to do that and it was REALLY hard physical work – digging out shrubs, removing about 4 car loads of soil and transporting them to the local landfill site, then building a low retaining wall from heavy blocks and filling the space with 1 tonne of gravel and more blocks.  T offered to help, but I was worried he would put too much strain on his heart so I did most of the work on my own.  Here’s the end result, unfortunately there was not enough room to make the new space for the van so my car is now parked here and the van is parked where the car used to go.

Here’s the space after the fence was removed and most of the soil taken out:

DSCF7602 s

And here is it finished 🙂

DSC00321 s 1

This is the old parking space where the Bongo has to be parked now, I also built that wall along the side of the path.  The garden used to slope down to the path, and by building the wall I was able to level out the garden with some of the soil I had to remove for the new parking bay, that saved me a couple of trips to the local landfill site, but boy oh boy those blocks were heavy to move about!

DSCF7597 s

All the while I was doing this work the weather was great, in fact perfect camping weather but I had to get on and finish the project and by the time it was done (mid October) the weather was much cooler and the nights were drawing in. So still no camping for us.

Taking a break from the local history group

In mid October I stood down from my role of Chairman and committee member of the local history group, Ryde Social Heritage Group I am still a member of the group but I felt that I needed a break from the total involvement I’ve had with the group since we formed it in 2002 and I’ve been Chairman since 2007.  I started the group with two friends in 2002 and have seen it develop and grow into an award winning group.  It’s something I’m really proud of, but after 13 years of it being a high priority for me I realised that I had left much of ‘normal life’ for T to sort out. It just wasn’t fair to expect him to carry on doing the lion’s share of the house and garden work. It felt like we needed to be spending more time together.  But I am confident that the people remaining on the Committee are as committed to the success of the group as I was, so I know it’s in safe hands and will continue the good work started all those years ago.  I have quite a bit more space in my room now that all the history stuff has been handed over, but I must admit it’s still untidy and chaotic in my room and there is still far too much ‘stuff’ in here!  That’s something I shall be addressing in the New Year (she said).

Decorating

After a short rest following the building work I decided to start another project and we redecorated our living room together: we stripped the walls, repainted the ceiling and woodwork, then repapered the walls.  We finished that job just before Christmas. Actually there are still some shelves to put up but we finished it enough to be able to use the room again over the Xmas holidays and at least it is looking fresher and cleaner now.

In Remission 🙂

I had another meeting with my oncologist earlier in December, it was a good meeting and I was told the usual ‘Everything looks OK, come back in three months’. It had been bugging me a bit that other people I know who have been treated for cancer have been told that they are in remission but no-one had ever said that to me.  So I decided to ask the doctor if ‘Everything looks OK’ means that I’m in remission and she said ‘Yes it does, I’m sorry but I can’t promise you that you will never get cancer again but at the moment there are no signs that you have it, so yes you are in remission’. So I left the hospital feeling considerably lighter and happier.

T’s health is still not 100% he has been off work for another two months and we are not sure he will be able to return to work, but most of the time we are both doing OK and mood-wise at the moment we are fine.

The strange Christmas Tree

I decided not to have a Christmas tree this year as I had seen this really cool idea on Pinterest so on the weekend before Christmas I went out in to the Cemetery (my house is just inside the cemetery gates) and collected a load of holly, ivy, yew and spruce cuttings and then spent a day decorating my dress form.  So for Christmas we had this headless and armless ‘festive’ lady standing in the corner of the room.  The cats were not sure what to make of her, but then Billy Kat discovered he could get underneath her skirt and there was a magical cat cave inside 🙂

Christmas 2015 1 s

Unfortunately I didn’t realise quite how heavy all the greenery would be and by the time Christmas was over the skirt had dropped a bit, but apart from that it did look quite effective.  If I do it again next year I’ll make sure I fix the rabbit wire skirt more securely to the torso so it will stay in place.

Art

The building and decorating projects, health issues and my return to full time working have meant that I have had very little time for art in the past 4 months, but I consoled myself that I was nevertheless still being creative even if I wasn’t making ‘my art’.  The project with my radiotherapy mask is still ongoing but it was stalled for a long while and is not complete enough to share at the moment.

The image at the top of the page is from my small journal (6″ x 9″) and was completed in April 2015 when I was having radiotherapy.  Because I had to travel to the mainland for the treatment, it meant there was a lot of hanging around waiting for ferries, buses and treatment so it was good to have a small journal and some pens with me.

Here is what the 3 page spread looked like before I played about with the pens:

Page 6 7 & 8 collage only s

So that’s all my news, in a long an boring post!  Don’t suppose anyone has managed to get through all that text (I wouldn’t have) but that’s OK because this blog is for me more than anyone else.  So that in a few years time I’ll be able to look back and say “Oh that’s what happened in 2015”  as I will probably have forgotten.

Hope all is good with you in your part of the Universe.

Big love AJ 🙂

xxxxx

 

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2015 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.

Lost!

Thoughts are not facts

Hello friends

I hope you are all keeping healthy and happy.

I haven’t posted on my blog again for ages, I’m not sure why but it just hasn’t felt right for me to do so.

The truth is that I am still feeling somewhat out of kilter and discombobulated (isn’t that a fabulous word)?  Physically I feel pretty good and,  as people keep telling me, I look ‘really well’ but the truth is my head is in a mess.  Maybe I haven’t  posted because I don’t want to sound miserable and I don’t want or need sympathy, it’s just the way things are at the moment.  It’s no great shakes just something I need to work through.

I really thought that once I had finished all the treatment and started to feel better physically everything would be just hunky dory and ‘back to normal’ in no time at all, but that’s not how things are. Right now I feel like I don’t know where I am and half the time I’m not even sure who I am.  Sounds crazy doesn’t it?  But that’s the nearest I can get to describing this feeling of being lost.

I am pretty emotional too and I can’t seem to keep myself on an even keel.  Sometimes I am sinking into depression for no reason that I can think of.  I don’t mean the crippling “can’t even get out of bed” type of depression, but the just the sensation of everything being flat and uninteresting.  I know it will pass and it does, but when it happens I don’t really want to have to interact with other people, and that’s tricky when I have to go to work and help to sort out other people’s problems.

I remember when I was first diagnosed with cancer the nurse told me that it was going to change me.  I had no idea what she was talking about and I think I just dismissed it. BUT now I completely understand what she meant, it’s just that I can’t really explain it to you.

I think partly it is down to confidence (or lack of it), having 8 months of treatment has certainly bashed my self esteem a bit, and I don’t feel that confident in my ability to do things as well as I used to.  There is also the uncertainty as to whether the cancer will come back or not. I always try not to worry about bad things that ‘might’ happen, because in my experience they usually don’t and worrying about them is just a waste of time, besides if they do happen you just have to deal with them anyway.  I try not to worry, but I don’t always succeed.  I think probably the longer it goes with things being OK the more assured I will feel.

I am still being creative but for some reason at the moment I don’t feel like sharing what I’m working on, and I don’t know why that is either.  I’m working on my radiotherapy mask project, which is turning into something of fairly epic proportions!  It’s still not anything like I’ve imagined or planned it to be but I think I just have to go along with it.  Rather than me trying to shape the project I just need to let it guide me where it wants to go because it’s going to go that way anyway…

I am also working on another project with a bit more ‘depth’ to it and I probably won’t share that or much of it until it’s finished either (this one could take years). What I want to do is work through something, I’ve picked a theme and I’m just seeing what ideas come to me around that theme.  Then I am going to look at some other artists who I really like and see if and how I can use their work to influence my own art.  I’m hoping that this will help me progress and grow. It think it might also be my route for re-finding myself – the ‘where’ and ‘who’ I am. Wish me luck!

I’m back at work full time now, but because it’s such a struggle I am using up all my leave from last year so I can take breaks when it gets too much.  Like for example today I couldn’t face going in because I’ve had a really crappy weekend, with a very low mood, so I contacted my manager this morning and told him I needed to take emergency leave.  Fortunately for me he is an incredibly understanding and sympathetic person so that seemed to be OK.

T is still off work and having major problems with the cardio medication, but fortunately he finally got to see a GP who understood and between them they are working things out, it’s just taking a bl**dy long time!

I did eventually get around to writing to the local hospital to explain why I insisted on staying under the care of Southampton hospital when the radiotherapy treatment finished.  The feedback I gave included the good as well as the bad things I had experienced at the local hospital.  Last week I went in to meet up with the Specialist Nurse and her manager to discuss my rather long letter of feedback.  They seemed to take it all very seriously and were very apologetic, hopefully they will use it to make improvements to the service that people receive there.  I hope so anyway.

Two good things came out of it for me one is that I am now enrolled on a Surviving Cancer Information Programme (SKIP) which starts at the end of October and I think that will help me to cope better, and in the meantime I have been referred to a psychologist for support prior to the programme starting. So hopefully things will start to improve for me soon.  I think I could probably work things out by myself over time, but I am worried that I am messing things up at work and letting people down so I think I need a bit of support to get me through this tricky bit of fully getting back into the swing of things.

The page above (completed in May of this year) is from my small journal (6″ x 9″)  and below are the before and after penwork images.

Thoughts before and after penwork

Take good care of yourselves my lovelies

Big love from me

AJ xxx

PS if you see adverts on my page and you don’t like them I highly recommend you start to use AdBlock.  I never see any adds on here or on FB 🙂

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2015 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.