Hello, how are you?

 

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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.

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Its Nice to be Nice!

It's Nice to be Nice

 

Hello friends!

I hope you are all keeping well and happy.

I am pleased to report that I have been feeling pretty good for the last week and have not had to collapse onto the couch and watch daytime tv for several days now.

Anyway first things first the page above is from one of my Teesha Moore inspired journals. I’ve been wanting to use the phrase ‘It’s Nice to be Nice’ in a piece of art for a while now.  I first saw this phrase on my first visit to Tobago in 1999.  On the very short drive from the airport to our hotel (it was short drive as the hotel was on the other side of the fence from the end of the runway!) I saw this:

It's Nice to be Nice Tobago

It was a lovely way to be welcomed to the beautiful Island and when we started to meet the local people they all very friendly, laid back, chatty – all things nice.  This is what I aspire to be although I don’t always succeed…

I have now started the de-clutter of the art room and so far I’ve chucked out a couple of big bin liners of rubbish and filled a big box with stuff to take to one of the local charity shops.  I have discovered that I now have 22 completed journals, 10 journals that are in progress and enough blank (not started) journals to last me several lifetimes!

I have made the declutter slightly difficult for myself as I am insisting that before I throw something out I have to try and use at least some of it in one of my ‘in progress’ journals.  I also found a big stack of plain, thick paper so I made some journals:

New JournalsI have been making up some packs of goodies, by that I mean stuff I have previously purchased and used as art supplies (mainly papers) but no longer have room for.

I am thinking of having a ‘Give Away’ to celebrate my final round of chemo-therapy at the end of the month.  I’ll include one of the smaller journals in each pack (there are three packs in total).  But more of this later…

 

I have to say at the moment the art room does not look any tidier and even when I’ve finished I think that most people would still say it’s too cluttered, but at least I will know it’s an improvement on the chaos I’ve been living with for the past few years.

I wanted to start documenting all my journals, I tend to share images from the journals but rarely show the whole thing.  So here is the very first journal/altered book I created when I had no idea what I was doing and very little art supplies.  It’s not very good, but it was just my first attempt and I was just playing, I don’t think I’ve ever shared any images from this book before:

Take good care of yourselves and I’ll see you soon

Big love from me

AJ 🙂

 

© 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.

 

 

 

Summer

Summer

Hello friends

I hope you are all well and happy, everything is good here 🙂

This is a page in my mixed media, altered book journal.  Ages ago we bought some garlic at the Garlic Farm and it came in this fantastic brown paper bag printed with a butterfly and lots of words relating to garlic, so I used that as one layer, then there was lots of paint, stamping and stencilling.  The words are just things I wrote down in my note book one lunchtime when I went and sat outside and soaked up the glorious weather.  Later I transferred them to my journal.

I can’t believe what a wonderful summer we are having, it seems like we’ve had weeks and weeks of summer, I LOVE it.

The only trouble is I am so busy I’ve not really had time to enjoy it as much as I’d like, but even when I’m stuck inside working it’s still good to look outside and see the sunshine so I’m not complaining.

Sorry it’s a short post tonight because I need to start ticking some more things off my ‘To Do’ list before it starts stressing me out.

Take care of yourselves and I’ll be back soon(ish)

Big love

AJ 🙂

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2014 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.

Can’t see the wood for the trees

Enchanted Trees 1

 

Hello friends!

I hope life is being good to you, here we are having glorious summer weather and I’m loving it.  It’s been warm and sunny for weeks now, sometimes actually too hot for some people but not for me.  Hot days just remind me of Sunny Tobago and that’s one of my favourite places, it’s hot there all the time, all year round and I think the secret is to not be rushing about.  “Just chill mon, ev’ry t’ing is cool” besides it’s nice to be able to spend time outside when I get up in the morning and in the evenings.

I collected my two paintings from the Open exhibition at the library at the weekend so I thought I’d share them with you.  I don’t know what, if anything, anyone thought of them as the only comments I got were from Mum and Dad and they are biased towards their daughter.  I think I probably went a bit (a bit!) overboard with the colours but I do LOVE neon.  They both measure 16″ by 20″.

So, up there is the first one and below is the second one.

Enchanted Trees 2

 

I hope you are having a good summer.

Big love

AJ 🙂

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2014 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.

Be a realist!

Be a Realist!

Hello friends!

I hope all is good with you.

So the reality is I’ve become a ‘not very good blogger’ but that’s just how it is at the moment and I’ve got to stop letting it worry me.

The Ryde Arts Festival is now well under way and got off to a spectacular start on Friday evening with the opening of the Landmark Trees project and a concert of a piece of music composed (by two young composers) especially for the event.  It was fantastic!

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAWhat was particularly good about it was that the hangings for the Landmark Trees were made by a local artist working with four different youth groups.  It took them about 3 months to paint them.

The concert ‘Seasons for a Soldier’ was played by the local Symphony Orchestra but also included an adult choir, a youth choir and the marching band of the local Sea Cadets.

The whole piece is about the seasons of 1914 – from optimistic Spring through to desolate Winter, reflecting on what it must have been like for all the young men who, in the autumn and winter of 1914 volunteered to fight for their country.  There are ribbons on all the trees outside with the names of the men from the town who lost their lives in WW1.

I’ve been volunteering over the weekend: on Friday and Saturday evening at events in the old church and this morning just sitting and welcoming the visitors who came in to see the installation and listen to a recording of the music.  (Actually I did a bit of art too while I was there) 🙂  Also yesterday afternoon I spent several hours updating the Ryde Arts Festival website.

You can’t see it in the picture (because people are sitting over it) but on the floor in big white lettering are the famous words from a Rupert Brooke poem “…That there’s some corner of a foreign field. That is for ever England”.  The chairs are just put out if there is a concert, but during the daytime people walk into a vast empty space with these wonderful tree hangings, the line of poetry on the floor and the music playing.  I think it’s really impressive and I’m proud to play a small part in the annual Arts Festival.

The spread above is in my Altered Book Journal.  I was a bit surprised in how it turned out, but that’s the way the pages wanted to be so who am I to argue?

I don’t know anything about Anwar Sadat other than he was the President of Egypt from 1970.  I’m guessing like most politicians he had good points and bad.  He took his country to war with Israel but he also entered into Peace Talks with Israel which culminated in a Peace Treaty being signed.  He and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. On 6 October 1981 President Sadat was assassinated during the annual victory parade held in Cairo.

Anyway I really like the quote and I needed something with an Egyptian flavour to compliment the images (which came from a picture I bought in a charity shop yesterday).

Until the next time, have fun

Big love

AJ 🙂

 

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2014 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.

Things that Count

Things that Count

 

Hello friends

I hope you are well, I am pleased to say I am feeling much better this week.  This weekend has just zipped by and I can’t believe that I have to go back to work again tomorrow already!  Still never mind…

T has started to remove the tiles from the wall in the kitchen, so this means we have now definitely started with the kitchen refurbishment, but don’t hold you breath as I anticipate it is going to take months to complete.  We are going to have to purchase new cupboards, sink, cooker (and probably fridge and freezer), worktops and tiles.  That pretty much is going to break our bank so we are going to have to do as much of the work as we can ourselves.  It’s going to be difficult and will take us much longer than it would to have someone come and do it for us professionally, but needs must.  Although T has made a start, we are planning to purchase the stuff in the January sales and then I hope we don’t actually start the work until the weather warms up a bit as I anticipate we could be without cooker and sink for a some time as we try and figure out how to do it.  I have two weeks worth of leave from work that I have to take before the end of May.  So April/May time would be good for me however T is probably not going to be that patient and, to be fair, he has waited 20 years to get the kitchen sorted out.

As the fuel bills are going up by a ridiculous amount, I decided that we needed to put up thick curtains on all the windows that didn’t have any, in an attempt to keep the heat in the house and this weekend I have dyed, sewn and put up two lots so that has given me a sense of achievement.

A couple of really good things happened today:  first we bought a really nice dining table, it’s kind of ‘shabby chic’, it’s old and has thick turned and painted legs, a solid pine top and a little drawer.  It’s in keeping with our house which is old (built in 1860) and has a rustic feel.  Buying a table probably doesn’t sound like a big deal, but we have never really had much money and previously any furniture we had was either bought cheap or handed on from someone else.  But this year we have purchased a lovely wooden dresser for the kitchen and now a table.  I am beginning to feel like a grown up at last, and for someone in their late 50’s that’s not bad.

The second, and best, thing was that when I went to visit Mum and Dad this afternoon my Dad presented me with a file containing 77 hand written pages about his life.  My Dad is over 90 and he is always telling me stories about his life.  Some time ago I asked him to try and write it all down for me.  I never thought he would actually do it, but today he gave it to me. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet and to be honest his handwriting is a bit difficult to read, but eventually I will type it all up and it will be distributed to my two brothers and their children.  Hopefully after that it will be passed on to their children too.  I am so lucky to have parents who may be a little frail physically these days but are both still mentally alert. I am pretty sure that my Mum has also written her story, but that’s not come my way yet.

The page above is a quick mixed-media page that I completed today in my altered book journal, it has layers of paint, papers, stencilling, some Zetiology stamps and a quote by one of my all time favourite people Albert Einstein.

Have a great week and I’ll see you soon.

Big love

AJ 🙂

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2013 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.

Enjoy the Journey

Enjoy the Journey

 

Hello friends!

I hope all is good with you, I’ve been poorly but I’m feeling better now.  Sickness probably accounts for the ‘Senior Moments’ on Wednesday, on Thursday I really struggled to stay motivated at work and when I came home I sat and watched television (I never do that!), I just really felt out of sorts.   Then on Friday I woke up with a humdinger of a headache and was really sick, all day long.  I stayed in bed but every time I moved threw up,  Obviously I didn’t make it to work, I’m supposed to phone in and let them know if I’m not going to be at work, but I just couldn’t manage the phone or even to tell my husband to phone for me.  So I’m probably going to be in trouble tomorrow…

I’ve had this problem before and, by a process of elimination, I think I am beginning to work out what the cause is.  I used to think it was a problem with my neck, but I now think that because I have a weakness in my neck that’s where the pain tends to go.  The bottom line is, I think I need to change my diet.  It’s got to be worth a try because being sick like that really knocks me for six!

I’ve been reading a lot recently, obviously Dr Amy Johnson‘s new and previous books and other similar works about how our thinking shapes our personal world and that our default setting is always well-being.  It was comforting to me, while I was feeling so unwell, to know that my body was just working through some issues and eventually I was going to be OK.

Yesterday I was still feeling washed out but I did manage to get out for a walk and I did some easy art (shown above) in my altered book journal.  I’m not that impressed with the result to be honest, but art is always good therapy so I’m sharing it anyway.

I started off with gesso’d pages, stuck old dictionary pages over them (these can no longer be seen), then I painted them turquoise – I didn’t mean to paint the whole spread that colour but the paint tube was blocked and when I managed to unblock it I got far more paint out than I really needed, then I used some foam stamps to stamp over the turquoise with orange acrylic and gesso, a Crafters Workshop stencil called paint lids to add the purple and a Tim Holtz reflections stamp to add some word texture.  The girl is cut from a magazine advert and then painted over (I am still really rubbish at faces and hair) and I put images of the universe into her glasses. On the left hand side of the page I did some image transfers, but they didn’t work out at all, so I gesso’d over them and then painted over with green acrylic.  I used joint tape as a stencil to add the hatching, printed out the quote (I don’t know who to attribute the quote to) sprayed it with blue and yellow spray inks, ripped out the words and stuck them down, I highlighted the wording with a white pen. Finally edged the page with black and orange Stazon ink.  That’s it.

Have a good week and I’ll see you soon.

Big love

AJ 🙂

 

 

 

© Janette Gregson and ajsartjournal, 2013 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.