Wanderlust 3 Flourish

Flourish finishedHeal and Flourish.

This is my tribute and prayer for the Australian flora and fauna following the recent devastating bushfires. I followed the main steps of the Wanderlust 2020 online course, week 3 but ended up putting my own spin on it.

We were encouraged to draw our own profile to start…I gave myself a bit of a face and neck lift (cheaper and less painful than the real thing!!) The next step was to add some neutral coloured undercollage. I put a light layer of gesso over it.

Flourish 1

Next I added some colour. I really appreciated my transparent yellow iron Oxide paint because it’s TRANSPARENT so it didn’t cover the undercollage too much. Flourish 2

Next I had to paint the face…this was a bit nerve racking, especially trying to put shadows in the right place. afterwards it looked a bit less like me, but that’s OK. The next step in the class was to add inks to the hair in blobs and then draw some hair like strands with the ink. I only had one ink, in a sepia colour, so i used watery paint as well in the redder brown colour. Flourish 3I had decided by now that i wanted to use some Australian animals and plants for my collage elements on the hair. It was actually supposed to be about our relationship with self, and what we wanted to bring into our lives this year. I think. But I am upset by the plight of our native animals so that’s what I wanted to do…a prayer for them, for healing, and for Mother earth.

I printed and cut out some animals and birds, but when i tried placing them over the hair they became a bit lost in the busy background. As you can see here: Flourish 4For me this is the downfall of this particular lesson..I would never usually choose to place my collage elements on such a busy/messy background. What to do? A trick I’ve used before: sponging! I sponged a darker area and a lighter area as well, to place the collage on. Flourish 5

Flourish 6

As you can see, this improved things somewhat. The animals and birds stand out more, and you can still see the background peeping through a little bit. For finishing touches I added a stencil along the bottom, some penwork in black and white around the collage, a few white dots and some writing. Sending my love to all the creatures of Australia, heal and flourish, heal and flourish. Flourish finished


Wanderlust experiments

I’ve signed up for wanderlust 2020, an online art journaling course, because I want to be pushed to try some new things in my art. So far we’ve had 2 weekly classes and I have actually completed an art journal page for both of them, so I’m quite pleased with myself. For week 2 we we encouraged to paint a portrait of an ancestor, either real or imagined, copying from a photo or internet image. I didn’t have any good photos of grandmothers so I decided to paint my daughter as an imaginary Scottish ancestor. I have Scots ancestors on my father’s side, but my daughter has them on both sides, (the Mackays from the island of Raasay on her father’s side, and the Frasers and MacDonalds  from Skye on my side)….plus, she’s beautiful!

Scots Ancestor

I imagined her as a kind of Celtic warrior queen. I draped her in the Mackay tartan and added a wolf as a power animal companion (there were wolves in Scotland until the 17th century) because she is a strong person and a sheep or rabbit just didn’t feel appropriate!I googled Scottish flowers and painted those orange Gazanias as a contrast to the blue/green background.

In this class we had to do a tonal underpainting first in black and white, then put colour over it. It was all quite challenging, I haven’t ever tried to paint a portrait in acrylics before. I was going to trace the main outline with carbon paper but decided to just print a desaturated photo, glue it down and paint it with clear gesso and then paint over it. At least then I’d have the proportions correct. My tonal underpainting I did with brown and white: Katy for portrait B&WPhoto of my daughter, desaturated. Ancestor 1Tonal Underpainting, Van Dyke brown, white and Paynes grey. Neck is far too dark!!

Ancestor 3Next I painted over it with colour, skin tones (this was very challenging!), plus I  added some appropriate ephemera undercollage on the left page and gessoed over it with a mix of clear and white gesso.

Ancestor 4I painted the background with some blues and greens (all mixed with a bit of Paynes grey and Raw Umber, I didn’t want bright colours) and added some stencilling (a beloved Stencil girl gnarly tree stencil) Ancestor 5Next I added the wolf, the tartan and jewellery embellishments and I painted the celtic shield at the top with gold. To finish I painted the flowers, then did some writing.

Google translate once again came in handy….Tha Sinn Comhla Ruit means “We are with you” in Scots Gaelic. I wanted to convey the idea that she (and perhaps, I ) have received gifts of strength, canniness (love that word!) and resilience from our Scots ancestors, and also that somehow they are watching over us, protecting and assisting us.

For the first weeks lesson we focused on creating an art journal page about our 3 major relationships, using scraped on paint, ephemera and patterned papers and choosing images to symbolise those relationships. Here is my finished page: In my heartI used an image of Artemis to represent my daughter, planet Jupiter for my son (he’s a Sagittarius) a tiger for my husband (Year of the Tiger) and a fish for my Piscean sister. Tying it all together was a bit of a challenge. Here’s how it looked a bit earlier: In my heart 1We were directed to use a stencil in the centre in a dark colour.

I pretty much followed Kasia’s instructions for most of it, and added a few ideas of my own. For example I did a bit of sponging in a dark colour before I glued down the Tiger and Jupiter (so they would stand out better) and then painted some floaty clouds to tie it all together. I used the words of the poet e.e.cummings to convey my feelings.

I like the page, It’s a bit different to what I usually do, and that is why I signed up for the course, to try a few different things.





Out of the Ruins

Ruins finishedInspired by the old ruins I had seen in Europe I decided to run an art journaling class called ‘Out of the Ruins”

I asked “What have been the ruins in your life” and “What are the flowers that have grown out of the ruins?” Speaking metaphorically of course, not literally. I used photos I had taken at Tintern Abbey in Wales Here are some process shots to show how the page developed.

  1. Image of ruins, Undercollage of medieval script, patterns, tissue paper for texture.
  2. Ruins firstI painted greys, browns and soft green around and over the collage. Ruins second









3. Then I added another image of the ruins and the rather depressed and distraught looking woman (from a 19th century painting of Sappho)

Finally i added some cling wrap paint textures (trying out a new idea) a red poppy flower and some brown hessian braid on the left for more texture.  Ruins SapphoRuins finishedThen I quoted some of this poem. here is the whole poem: The Unbroken by Rashani

“There is a brokenness out of which comes the unbroken.
There is a shatteredness out of which blooms the unshatterable.
There is a sorrow beyond all grief, which leads to joy.
And a fragility out of whose depths emerges strength.
There is a hollow space too vast for words through which we pass with each loss, out of whose darkness we are sanctioned into being.”


Artist study Journal p4

Italy Whiteley 1 Italy whiteleyI’ve finished another page in my “Inspired by Brett Whiteley” art journal. For this page I used a section of one of his paintings of Tuscany, and I also copied some trees (on the bottom left and right of my page) from his Tuscan paintings. I love itlay and tuscany so it was delicious to make this page. I love the stencil I used in the centre too! The woman is from a 19th century painting. I imagine she is reading a book about Tuscany!

Travel journal video

I’ve made a video of all my art journal pages in my recently finished travel journal. This covers all the pages I made while traveling in Europe in 2018 and in 2019. I took with me some small tubes of acrylic paint, some images I printed before hand that i thought I may want to use and a few stencils. I made the decision NOT to print off any photos along the way as I wanted to avoid a scrapbook style of journal. Not that there is anything wrong with that but I have already made a couple of  travel journals like that.

So on these last 2 trips I searched for images along the way, in found magazines, airline magazines, museum and castle brochures, maps etc I made pages about whatever thoughts and emotions I had at the time, mostly (but not exclusively) in response to the places I visited. This was very satisfying and deeply enriched my travel experience. Hope you enjoy my little video!

Art Journal Cover

Heroines Journal coverMy Heroine’s Journey art journal is finally  finished! I wanted a fittingly gorgeous cover for it (I always wait until a journal is completely finished before I do the cover) and I came across this idea of using aluminium duct tape. I watched a couple of Youtube videos to see what to do.

Heroines Journal back coverThis is the front cover and the back cover, finished.



First I chose some stencils and applied Light Molding Paste (Golden brand) through the stencils. I let it dry overnight before applying the duct tape. Be careful what sort of duct tape you buy. I wasted $16 on a roll from Bunnings which turned out to be no use, it would not mold itself. You need the one with a paper backing that you peel off. I found it at FDBs. (Fair Dinkum Bargains) for only $5. As I had seen on Youtube, I cut the tape into pieces about 8cms to 10cms long and applied them overlapping, over the molding paste patterns. tapeCover 1

back cover 1toolsI embossed the tape onto the patterns, first I used a white coloured pencil and a blending stub which worked ok. Then I borrowed some embossing tools from a friend and that worked even better.

When I had covered and embossed both back and front covers (time consuming!! but meditative) I painted over it all with black paint, then rubbed most of it off again while it was still wet. Some black paint still hangs around especially in the creases which gives it an aged pewter look. I love it.

Here you can see the stencilled molding paste, before I applied the silver duct tape.

Chakra pages

Earlier this year I taught a series of art journaling classes on the 7 chakras. We focused on one chakra per class, exploring the colours and themes of each chakra on a journal spread.  I created some art journal pages on the chakras myself before each class, to provide some ideas and inspiration. Here are some of my chakra pages.

1st Chakra sm     Ancestral wounds sm1st Chakra pages: colour red

2nd chakra sm Creative is the new Sexy sm










2nd Chakra: colour orange








3rd Chakra


Third chakra: Yellow






Power chakra sm



Anahata sm Inner Child 4th Chakra



4th chakra: heart

Colours green and pink








5th Chakra finished 5th Chakra Listen sm


5th Chakra: Blue

Artist Study Journal 2

Run with WovesAnother page in my” Inspired by Brett Whiteley” journal for the online course with Kelly Kilmer. For this page I started with Whiteley’s painting of Patrick White sitting in his office or studio.  My idea was to cut out Patrick White, replace him with the woman and stick him on the right hand side of the page separately. He looked a bit grumpy though so in the end I didn’t use him. I had some images from a Womankind magazine article about Women who run with the Wolves, one of my favourite books, and one I draw on quite a lot for stories and quotes in my Heroine’s journey course. After I stuck  down the image with the wolves the meaning of the page started to become apparent, ie am I a bit of a fraud quoting from this book when I am not particularly “wild” and spend a lot of time in my studio, not out on the wild!?

I extended the image of the painting of the studio with ultramarine paint mixed with white and on the other page I mixed Ultramarine with yellow,  yellow ochre and a smidgen of burnt sienna to get various shades of browns and greens, soft foresty colours like the ones in the lovely woman with wolves painting (which was painted by Catrin Welz-Stein). Then I used a new stencil from Stencil Girl, (that i was dying to use) of the branches. The right page was looking very mystic forest but the left page was too blue and stark white so i washed over the studio and the woman’s outfit with transparent yellow ochre paint to tie it in with the right hand page. A wolf and a bird found their way on to the page and they both had something to say to me! I added a Whiteley style swirl (in Olive green posca pen) and some writing and the page was finished pretty fast. You can probably read the writing if you click on the images to enlarge them. Thank you for visiting my blog.

Run with 1Run with 2






I will also include here the Whiteley portrait of Patrick White. You can see I used the background.

Patrick White

Artist study journal

Last month I enrolled in an online art journaling course with Kelly Kilmer, in which we choose an artist for inspiration and use some aspects of their work in our journal. This could be by collaging some pieces of their paintings, copying some of their shapes or design elements, using their colour palettes….or all of these methods. Kelly inspired us by showing how she had made beautiful art journals inspired by Georgia O’Keefe and Frida Kahlo.

I chose Brett Whiteley as my artist because 1. He is Australian 2. I love his paintings of Sydney harbour which are special to me as Sydney was my home town until I was 26. 3. I think he was an incredible artist.

We were supposed to make an art journal from scratch using stitching  and bookmaking techniques but I knew that would be time consuming and difficult so basically I decided I couldn’t be bothered. Instead I cut some 300gsm hot pressed (ie smooth) watercolour paper into 2 strips and make a concertina (accordion) journal…easy peasy! I coated the whole thing with gesso both sides, then decided it needed 2 stiff ends, so my dear husband offered to cut and sand 2 pieces of wood for me which i glued on either end. It looked and felt fantastic and I couldn’t wait to get started in it.

Wood journal 3The first decision I made was that I would mostly stick to the colours that Brett Whiteley used in his paintings. I read that he LOVED ultramarine blue so I started with a double page spread that was a homage to his Sydney harbour paintings. The second decision was that I would include a focal image of a woman cut from a magazine like Kelly Kilmer does on most of her pages. This figure would represent me, or some aspect of me perhaps. The 3rd decision was that I would make the page, then ask it what it had to tell me, or what it was about as I got near to finishing it, much like i do with making SoulCollage cards. That would help me to decide what to write on the page.

Wood journalI thought I might use stencils on some pages, but not all and that I would sometimes  try to actually paint some things myself rather than just rely on collage.

Brett 1ABW 2BW 1 fullBW concertinaI started with a good coat of ultramarine paint and copied the balcony of wrought iron from Whiteley’s painting called “the Balcony” with a white Posca pen. I used his self portrait in the mirror but replaced his face with a photo of my face. We both have curly blond hair so actually it doesn’t look very different!! Then I wanted to have a go at actually painting something in his style so I copied a yellow palm tree from one of his paintings and I was pretty proud of how it turned out. I also copied the way he drew/painted the Sydney harbour bridge in one corner.

The seagull is cut from one of his paintings and so is the opera house which i turned into a hat for the woman. She is thinking about what she loves about Sydney harbour, and the writing I ended up doing is about my relationship to Sydney and what i loved about it. I finished off the page with some Whiteley-esque flying birds, some little white boats and the sort of swirl shape he uses a lot.  I forgot to mention that I used a Stencil girl stencil called “Rock Pools” on either side in shades of turquoise and gold. Sydney has lots of fabulous rock pools that I loved as a child. All in all I’m quite pleased with my first page.

Here are the Whiteley paintings I was inspired by: Sydney harbour to the Spirit of Bill W Balcony DesignL27-SMH

BW Self Portrait in the studioBW cover

Next I painted the wooden cover with 2 coats of gesso, then some yellow and yellow ochre tones. I used a woman with curly Whiteley ish hair and she is holding a section of one of my favourite of his ocean paintings, “Thebes Revenge”. Then i bravely painted a reversed version of his painting called “Study for kingfisher” down the right hand side. here is the original:

BW Study for KingfisherI can see the value of copying paintings by master painters, I already feel that I have learnt quite a lot copying Brett’s work.

Now I am on holidays in New Zealand and spent some time yesterday doing some art journaling with my sister. we have a wonderful view from our house exchange place in Alexandra. I have been working on another Brett Whiteley spread. IMG_3972This is also inspired by his ocean paintings. I collaged his wave and seagull painting on the top left of my double page and then extrapolated from there across the page in blue and green paint. I collaged some of “Thebes revenge” painting over the dress of the woman, and also gave her a hat from it, she looks like a kind of ocean goddess emerging. She actually turned out a bit wrinkled when i glued her down, but I decided that was Ok, I’m turning out a bit wrinkly too as the years go on!! The other figure sitting on the bottom of the sea with her arms raised told me she is making waves. Wave Maker finished

I had the sunflower and the 3 fishes images in my stash and they made their way onto the page too. The Yellow in the sunflower needed balancing so I added some yellow to the fishes gills. I copied the wave forms from this painting of Whiteley’s called “Stanner’s dream”:

BW Stanners dreamThis is what i wrote on the page “I am one who stirs the waters, who makes waves in your life. I am the unrest. I am the wind that pushes you forward when you are becalmed in the stale and the too familiar. I am the WAVE MAKER”

And the fish also wanted to speak. They said “Go forward, there is more! Oh keep squeezing drops of the sun” (they were quoting Hafiz here of course).

thebe-s-revenge-1982“Thebes Revenge” by Brett Whiteley

This has been a long post, thank you for visiting my blog.