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:

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.


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:


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


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.