Art as Therapy

Time for something a bit different

Hello friends, I hope all is good with you.

I have had no time or inclination to make any of my own art recently. T has still been very unwell, it all got pretty bumpy on this roller-coaster ride. The highs have been very brief and the lows deep, dark and long-lasting. He seems to be a lot calmer just now and more stable, I’m holding my breath in case another massive wave of depression comes crashing in.

It’s all been very worrying and stressful but you just have to keep going don’t you? Fortunately I get a lot of support from my colleagues at work even though I know there are times when I am not functioning at full capacity. I am so grateful for the understanding and the leeway they give me during these difficult times.

So I gave myself a treat

Earlier this week I gave myself a much needed treat and some ‘me’ time. My favourite artist, David Shillinglaw, has a new art installation in London at Morgan, 1 Dallington Street, Clerkenwell. It opened on Tuesday 9th April with the private view party 6pm to 9pm. Because I live so far from London I couldn’t attend the party but David told me I could go earlier in the day.

I left home at 10am and travelled by train, ferry and train to London arriving at Waterloo Station at about 1pm. Then I started walking along the south bank of the River Thames. It was drizzly and damp but not too cold. I walked to London Bridge and then crossed over the Thames, I went through Pudding Lane where there is a monument to the Great Fire of London and then on into the East End.

I really like the East End of London, it’s very diverse, a bit shabby and ‘lived-in’, and I saw lots of street art, some of it good some of it not so good, but here is a selection

Most of these photos were taken around the Brick Lane area. From Brick Lane I walked to Old Street and at 4pm I had to stop for a coffee and a short rest as my legs were aching from 3 hours of walking. I got to Morgan at about 4:30pm. David hadn’t yet arrived, the place was busy with people making preparations for the opening party but they still let me in and even made me a cup of tea.

Morgan is a design furniture show room and every year they commission an artist to showcase their art along with the furniture. This is the second time David Shillinglaw has installed his art at the venue. Other artists featured have been Remi Rough, Expanded Eye and Mark McClure. You can find out more about Morgan here: https://www.morganfurniture.co.uk/blog/

While I was waiting for David to arrive I had plenty of time to admire the art, it’s very impressive. It’s called Alive in the Human Hive. The wall (which took three days to paint) is so colourful and fascinating it just lifts the spirits. It looks good in the photos, but really you should see it up close, the colours really zing! One of the things I love about this art is the repetative symbols, it all looks very simple but for me it’s deep and meaningful, a universal language that touches my heart. On the wall there are some new works on canvas too. I think the installation will be there for several months so if you are the Clerkenwell area pop in and have a look.

Lily Mixe and David Shillinglaw

David and Lily arrived at about 5:10pm and I had to leave at 5:30 but they spent the last 20 minutes chatting with me which was lovely. David is as sweet as I remember him from the first time I met him in 2015 and it was lovely to meet his partner Lily who is also a very talented artist. They are a lovely couple. In a way it’s good that I had to leave before the party started because I am such an introvert I would probably have felt out of place and awkward. But I’m sure it would have been a great success. As it was I got to see the artwork by myself for half and hour and then had a lovely chat with the artist.

You can find out more about Lily here: Lily Mixe and David here: David Shillinglaw Artist

Here is a video by Nick JS Thompson about David’s installation

After I left Morgan I got the tube back to Waterloo just in time for my train to Portsmouth and I got home just after 9pm. It was a really good day: I enjoyed my own company, walked more than I’ve done in a long time, enjoyed the street art and different views, then to finish it off I met David and Lily and soaked up the happy vibes coming from that amazing wall. Couldn’t ask for more. I was exhausted and I slept well that night.

One day normal service will be resumed in my art practice and on my blog, just not sure when that will be, please bear with me…

I hope all is good with you and life is treating you kindly.

Big love from me

AJ xxx

❤


© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2019 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.

Just for clarity David Shillinglaw owns the copyright on his art and Nick JS Thompson owns the copyright on is wonderful video.

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Studio view and some WIP

Hello friends

Hope all is good with you.

I have no art to post this week as both T and I have been feeling unwell for a few days and there has been other stuff to do. So here is a photo of a corner of my messy studio with another page of my Landscapes Journal, in progress, on my table. This time it’s just a single page, not a spread, and to be honest I have no idea where it’s going, currently it’s just one almighty mess, but I’ll keep at it until something decides to show itself to me.

The stack of books on the right are some of the journals that are currently also in progress. Some of them were started years ago. Occasionally I pick them up and and if I get inspired I restart and do some more pages, but I think that some of them will never get completed. However in the back ground (if you look very carefully amongst the mess) you can see some of the journals I have completed. In total there are 26 that have been completed and another 12 or so that are in progress and many more that have not even been started. Then there are the little note/sketch books I carry around in my bag to doodle in whenever I get a spare few minutes.

I just love working in books, either books that I alter or books I make. What I like about them is they are very personal, private and easily transportable. They are also the one thing that has kept me practicing art. Throughout my life I have attempted all sorts of art, but I am so lacking in confidence I never progressed or really found my ‘thing’ until I discovered art journaling. The first two journals I created I didn’t show to anyone, not even T until they were finished. With journals the whole always seems to be than the sum of the parts, if you know what I mean 🙂

Next week I hope to have something new to show you

Take good care of yourselves

Big love AJ xxx

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2019 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.

Island Life

Hello friends

Here is another spread from my Landscapes journal. This is all about Island Life. I have always lived on the Isle of Wight, an island off the south coast of England.

The Isle of Wight is sort of diamond shape and is approx 23 miles from East to West and 13 miles North to South. It has a population of approx 140,000. There are several towns, many villages, lots of open countryside and miles and miles of beaches.

Although I have travelled extensively and I have worked off the Island for periods of time, it has always been my home and I love living here. By coincidence all of my favourite holidays have been on Islands. We loved the Island of Tobago so much we visited three times and we even got married there on our second visit.

Here are the original pages before I painted over them:

The quote: “There is something about the ocean that never fails to amaze me, the way she never fails to kiss the shores even though she is sent away. The way her waves can be both calm and terrifying and the way she never fails to soothe my soul” is by
Tilicia Haridat.

I messed up a bit with the writing on the second page where for some reason I decided to make it fit between the lines rather than just sitting on them

I have a need to be near the sea, and I am comforted by that edge of land and sea defining and enclosing the space where I live. I love walking on beaches, drawing in the sand, and collecting pebbles, shells, driftwood and bits of flotsum and jetsum that wash up on the shores. Where ever I am on this Island I am never more than half an hour away from a beach These days I always try to pick up and remove the bits of plastic I find washed up on the shores too. Sadly there is always some to pick up.

That’s all for now folks

Take good care of yourselves.

See you soon

Big love AJ

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2011-2019 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.

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.

 

 

 

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.