Creative Joyful Thing No.4

*Find a photo, and send it to the other person*

When you receive your photograph, stick it onto a bigger piece of paper and extend the boundaries of the image using your imagination, until it fills the page.



SO here is what we did:

I sent Rach three photos and she chose one I took of some mud under the bottom of a gate. This is what she did with it!


This is me, my partner and our dog – brilliant!

Here is what I did with her photo:


I loved this one – it was fun ūüôā


After my friend sent me a series of postcards¬†with themes¬†to complete (see previous posts for my efforts), we have agreed to move onto a new collaboration of Creative Joyful Things (I thought “Art Challenges” sounded a bit too much like hard work!).

As is it September, I thought we could pretend to be on a very, very part-time art course over the course of the year and perhaps meet up next summer to share portfolios!

The plan is that I will make up and send her a Creative Joyful Thing to undertake in her own time, and I shall do it too, then when we have both finished we will send each other pictures of what we have done! This way we will both be independently working on a similar thing and not influencing each other, so we will see different takes on an idea/project. Once we are both done, we will move on to the next one. Here is our starting point:

Creative Joyful Thing No.1

*Shoot a roll of film/series of digital photos on a theme*


  • Texture or pattern
  • A colour of your choice
  • Wabi¬†Sabi (not sure yet what this is exactly
    but it seems like the in-thing!)
  • Noise ‚Äď can you make me hear things when I
    look at your pictures?
  • Silhouettes
  • Your choice – Something else that you want to


We have both chosen a different theme Рnot telling YOU what they are yet though! Will post my work up here, and maybe hers too if she agrees.

If anyone wants to play along with us Рplease do! I am planning on making each thing very different from the last, so hold onto your hats!

I have recently won, not once but twice (!) in giveaways from Michael Nobbs of Sustainably Creative.

Firstly he had a giveaway for new subscribers and I won a copy of his illustrated journal The Beany (I got number 3). I already have a digital copy of the fourth book, but I am loving the feel of the real and paper-based copy in my hand this time. I can’t wait to find some free time and a cosy place to indulge in that.

Then he held a birthday giveaway (on his birthday) and I won a book called The Artist In The Office by Summer Pierre and even though I do not have a day job in the traditional sense, I certainly do have a day (and night!) job in managing my illness so I hope I can adapt some of the advice to my situation.

So, Saturday was a very good post day!

I am really enjoying being a member and getting (amongst other things) a daily micro podcast to listen to what Michael is doing/thinking about and also to help me focus my mind on what I want to achieve creatively and to remind me that doing just a small thing can move my work forwards.

Thank You Michael!

As part of the postcard project my friend has involved me in, this is the second one I have made. The theme is “Ha Ha”. She sent me one with a gross newpaper clipping so I returned mine¬†in kind. Mine may be slightly worse than hers was!

High time I wrote an update on my creative endeavours… at first glance it seems I have been doing nothing. Yes, I know, my last post was in May… shameful. I have not actually produced (or at least finished) much in the way of art since then, but I have been ticking over. I have been working on a painting for my Mum, which has taken over my productive time much more than I anticipated, but I hope will come good and feel worth it in the end. I will blog about it and show you when it is done!

One thing I have been doing, and I do not know why I did not think to blog about it sooner, is pretending I am on a part-time art course at home! I am unable to go to workshops or courses, even those that are half-day, so I have been “creative” in my thinking and simply working on what I can at home.

I have read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, and also listened to a recording of an interview with her, which talks about ideas from the book. Here is my feedback to the friend who lent the book to me:

I have really enjoyed reading it and have made quite¬†a few notes of inspirational parts and bits that “apply” to me. It has been quite interesting to note that some areas are not a problem due to my current situation –¬†I hardly care about giving up financial security to be an artist etc, and have worked through quite a few of the issues she suggests just by being ill for so long. On the flip side, I cannot take part in many of the exercises suggested and found it a bit exclusionary (such as “Go for a walk every day”), though she can hardly be blamed for that as people who are too ill to work as artists (or even go to an evening class/write morning¬†pages)¬†are hardly her target audience! I am at least blessed with much time alone which many people find hard to get.
It has been an interesting part of my “journey” to realise that creativity is so important to me and my sense of self and meaning to life, it is something that has been left with me after much else is stripped away. I am not able to do much at all currently but I feel¬†I am not blocked particularly, which was nice to explore –¬†I am often buzzing with ideas and do write them down. I lack the physical ability to develop skills to realise the ideas to a satisfactory¬†standard, but maybe one day¬†I will be an art student (ahh¬†to dream). In the meantime¬†I am reading art books, watching arty programmes and immersing myself in it when possible. My friend says that some artists just do the ideas bit and others do the actual art-making, but¬†I feel the interaction with the medium is kind of important! hmm. Been watching artists at work on dvd and it is all so physical! I can’t even draw for more than a few mins. Am I the world’s least productive artist? I still think there is a benefit to “being” an artist, seeing the world in that way even if not “doing”, as such.

I have joined the mobile library and have been borrowing art books to read. So far I have read a book about Louise Bourgeois, some books on drawing and printmaking, as well as Enclosure by Andy Goldsworthy. I was also given Wood by Goldsworthy, a book I remember seeing when it was first published about 15 years ago. I was a student and it cost several times my weekly food budget at the time. I have yet to read much of it, I am saving it for looking at in times when I need some special comfort and distraction. I have read a few pages so far and am being strict with myself, making sure I read the text on each page rather than skipping ahead and just looking at the pictures. This way the book will last much longer and I will get more from it. I also bought his DVD Rivers and Tides, which is just beautiful; both rich and inspiring as well as gentle and restful Рwhat more could someone ill yet creative want?

A good friend also sent me some programmes from the TV series Imagine to watch. One was about Anish Kapoor, one about David Hockney and one about Anthony Gormley (which I had seen before). I really loved watching the first two and found them fascinating. As I said above, it did hammer home how physical being an artist usually is Рwatching David Hockney (not a young man) stand at the side of the road all day, day after day, painting giant canvases really made him seem super-human to me.

Another friend has been sending me books to borrow. Most recently Paper Tear Fold Rip Crease Cut by Paul Sloman and a book by Rob Ryan (You Can Still Do A Lot With A Small Brain), both very interesting.

I am hoping that these activities will feed me creatively and accumulate somewhere in my brain for later use. When I am unwell, it is easier to read a little or watch a tv programme than it is to do creative activities, so I am just doing what I can for now.

I recently have taken part in a project for people with ME/CFS. For details look at This site has information¬†on the original project and also if you click on the link to the blog the details of the new project are there, called: Creative for a second… or TWO! If you want to join in i think there is still time.

The project is a journal-based project, and there are 5 journals circling the globe! Each has a list of participants and each person has two weeks to do something in their journal, then they send it on to the next person. Simple!

Here is what i did:

I was so happy to be part of the project and it gave me a huge sense of satisfaction that i was able to do this art work. The week the journal arrived i was not feeling too bad and i managed to work on it for a couple of days, maybe an hour or two each day, then i was not able to do more for a couple more days, then i finished it later in the week. The week after i felt really much more unwell and i was so grateful that the timing was right and i created two pages i was happy with. It really made my hands and arms ache from tracing the tree (i had to practice how i was going to paint in as i did it directly into the journal, so i had to do a few copies) and just sitting at the desk had a negative affect on my back pain, but i could not take the smile from my face while i was planning it and working on it. It is the first work-like thing i have done for years (not really like work, but something with a deadline and being part of a project is kind of like work Рcertainly work i would like to do!) and it felt like a big achievement. The pages will be exhibited at the end of the project for ME Awareness Day in 2011 in Australia, so i wanted to do my best!

The other way that is was good timing it that i¬†was able to work on the journal in my “Creative Room”. There is a small room in our house where i¬†have kept all my creative/office stuff and it had never been properly decorated since we moved in many years ago. There was nasty woodchip¬†wallpaper that was literally hanging off the walls. When the paper was removed we realised it needed replastering¬†and the whole process has taken a long time and a lot of effort, but it was finished just before the journal arrived. The room is transformed and i¬†have managed to organise the storage much better so it feels bigger despite having a lot of stuff in there with me. I love it so much and hope that this is just the start of many more hours in there where i¬†am able to be creative. It means to much¬†to me and gives me such pleasure but it is hard to find the time/energy and last year was particularly unproductive. I think the Creative for a Second project has shown me that i¬†can make space for art/creativity if i¬†organise myself, prioritize¬†it more and seize the opportunities when i¬†am feeling well enough. I hope i can make things happen in this lovely room.

I am so lucky to have this space, away from other distractions where i¬†can shut myself off and concentrate. I hope to find ways in my life/routines to use it more. I am so lucky that i¬†am constantly having ideas and being inspired by things but i rarely actually DO anything or develop those ideas. I need to work on that. Apparently (according to Virginia Woolf)¬†all a girl needs is “A Room of¬†One’s Own”, so no excuse now is there?!


I have completed the first “page” of my birdy book.

It is a “murmeration” (the proper name for a group of them)¬†of starlings flying above another who is looking up at them.


The starling is a cut out of a drawing i did, painted with watercolour and stuck on. The mumeration is a home made “rubber stamp” which after much experimentation with chopping at a wine cork, cutting card etc was made by cutting up a wide rubber band and sticking the little birds to the cardboard sleeve of my new putty rubber (with rubber still¬†inside for stability)!


I really enjoyed the process and trying to work out how to do it. It is so good to be absorbed in a task and I found it surprisingly relaxing and not too draining.

The starling looking up reminds me of the people in the concentration camp being “envious of birds” (see previous post) and¬†looking up at them, and also of myself looking up. The connection between those on the ground and those “in flight”, and perhaps a sense of longing to join in.