Art journal pages that came easily

It’s getting towards the end of January, I have a brand new art journal ( I bought the bound Strathmore one) and I have quite a few pages from my finished journal that I still haven’t posted about…so here they are! I’ll spread them over 2 posts. This is one I started in Zom’s class.We were meant to use a photocopy of some part of our body but I’ve recently fallen in love with some scrapbook papers so I decided to cut my hand out of one of those. I wrote about being left handed, whether or not that makes me “artistic” and I added some pics of some famous left handed artists. I love this page, esp the silhouettes of my hand in the background, created with gesso resist.

This next page was mostly done in class also. People had brought in tarot and other divination cards and we chose 2 of them for our writing prompt. “Knowledge” was one of the cards I pulled and  I ended up writing about what I would like to read over the next few months. I had a bunch of images that I carry to class, including this beautiful painting of the reading woman. She seemed to want to be on the page with the ancient writing and statues so I just tied them all together with some burnt umber and yellow ochre paint. The whole page came together really fast and was very meaningful to me…I love it when that happens! I added the bird when I got home and then the sentence “through the doorway of knowledge flies the bird of wisdom” just popped into my head and became the title of the page.

Here is a page about our coming trip to Europe and how excited I am about it. I had lots of fun experimenting with writing in many different fonts..I’m a bit of a font lover, I think it dates back to my childhood days. When I was 10 I was sent to the opportunity school in Summer Hill and we had to buy the Speedball book of writing. We were expected to copy fancy fonts for heading on all our work and I loved it, especially the “old english” font. It’s much easier now to find interesting fonts, I’m always downloading them from free font sites on the net.

Love and light to all of you!

A Box of Darkness

“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to realise that this too was a gift.”  Mary Oliver

This is one of my favourite pages from my art journal so far. I started with the black background and the picture of Saturn. I’ve always been drawn to images of Saturn.  I am a Capricorn, so Saturn is my ruling planet although I don’t think that is why I love the way it looks. It always seems so majestic, hanging there with those gorgeous rings around it. I had the idea a while ago to make a negative of a photo of myself and write about how I sometimes just feel negative. But I’m a bit tired of photos of myself, so I used this Goddess statue instead. I am always attracted to classical statues whenever I see them on journal pages or mixed media artworks. So, I LOVE the Saturn and I LOVE the statue and I LOVE all the bits and pieces I used to make the border. These include: an antique zodiac, antique pics of sun and moon, some text about what it means to have moon conjunct Saturn (which I do), and a chant that I wrote  for a ritual once about going into the darkness and giving birth to yourself. The entire border was black and white until I had the idea to paint it with Nickel Azo Gold which gives everything a yellowed antiquey look. LOVE!

So anyway, perhaps it is because I am a Capricorn (I’m actually an agnostic about astrology!) or not, but I do get negative and depressed sometimes. I wish I didn’t of course, but I also know that depression has it’s gifts. For one thing, if we were happy all the time we wouldn’t even know we were happy because we would have nothing with which to compare it. The “box of darkness” refers to the Mary Oliver quote above and I’ve also used it as a way of acknowledging the gifts that depression can bring.

Travel Journal continues into Switzerland

It’s summer holidays here, and I’ve been spending some time working in my travel journal. So far, since my last post about this journal here I’ve finished the pages covering our journey to Saverne and Strasbourg in France and on into Switzerland.


Some pamphlets we picked up are stored in a pocket made from a postcard from the Bosch museum.

I employed the Azza technique again here on the right page, cutting up 3 photos to make a gothic window shape I used a bit of walnut ink around the edges of the page to give an aged effect. Love that walnut ink!!

We were lucky enough to catch this wonderful English choir in an old church near Saverne. They were certainly the best choir we heard on the whole trip…the English really know how to do choirs!


We drove from Saverne in France to Romanshorn on Lake Constance in Switzerland in one day. On the way we diverted up a mountain to see the Chateau of Haut-Koenigsbourg.I made this background using a new stencil by Michelle Ward that my darling husband gave me fro Christmas. First I painted 2 pages with yellow ochre blending into cobalt blue, then used blue, green and yellow spray inks through the stencil. Then I ripped some fleur de lis scrapbook paper to make a border. I loved the effect of the ripped patterned border so much I used it again on a few more pages. On the left page I used a photo I took to make a pocket to hold a pamphlet from the castle. This is my favourite page so far from this journal, I LOVE everything about it.

A double page devoted to Strasbourg, where we explored the cathedral and took a boat tour. As you can see I used another fleur de lis scrapbook paper here. I visited a few scrapbook stores in my area and bought every medieval/baroque style paper I could find.


I painted the next 2 pages with yellow ochre and red oxide, and printed out a map from google maps of our itinerary from Saverne to Romanshorn. There’s a pic of the city of Konstanz in the centre which flips over separately.

Here it is again with the central photo flipped over. Now you can see the old door (from 1322!) and the library of St Gallen, which has many beautiful OLD manuscripts and books.




We drove over and through the Alps to the Italian part of Switzerland and stayed in Bellinzona which was gorgeous. I had forgotten to print out any photos from this part of the trip, so I put together a montage of 3 photos on the left page, the 2 in the background I made pale.  I used a pale green damask patterned paper for the background on the right and tore a border with it on the left. That walnut ink came in handy again around the edges.

Over and through the Alps again to Grindelwald, a beautiful valley surrounded by snow capped peaks. The left page is a map I picked up in Grindelwald  and the right page another Azza style of cut photos. I had yet another fleur de lis patterned paper that I used to make a border and tie the 2 pages together. There is some of Gerrit’s writing (in Dutch) about Grindelwald on the left page.  I have not really written a great deal in this travel journal, just a few lines here and there. Partly because it all happened over a year ago now and partly because I have so many photos I want to use. When I travel again this year I expect to write a lot more, as I intend to be making the journal as I am traveling.

I still have all of our 4 week trip through France to go in this journal! I don’t know whether I’ll get it all done or any case I quite like what I’ve done here so far. Thanks for listening, blessings to you all in blogland.


My year in Pictures: December

My year in Pictures: DECEMBER

The first official day of summer! December 1st is the anniversary of our engagement so we usually celebrate it. This year it was a Saturday so we did our usual lighthouse walk and enjoyed brunch at Succulent cafe.


Our book club Christmas party. We all brought food, and instead of discussing a book we played a game. The first sentence of a novel was read out loud, and then we all had to write an imaginary second sentence. Then we tried to guess which was the real second sentence. Anyway, we had fun.

My beautiful Wed night women’s choir Mystica. We were only a small group this term but we sounded great. We performed at both the choir concerts I organised in December, here we are at the Bangalow concert on 8th.


The Songbirds performed at the Bangalow Choir concert along with 5 other choirs. We have a new bird, Fiona who replaced Jessica, and she did really well at this, her first performance with us.



This is where I was at 12:12pm on 12/12/12…at art journaling class! it was the last class of the year. That’s our teacher Zom right at the back.



The art shop/gallery where our art journaling class meets is called Still@Thecentre and they put on a Christmas party and exhibition of the work from some of the classes they have there. I worked hard to get my first art journal totally finished for the exhibition, and here it is!


The Songbirds were asked to sing a few numbers at this art exhibition/Christmas party.



Our Christmas gathering. I had neither of my offspring with me this Christmas, since they are both in Europe, so we had a quiet day with just the two of us, until the evening when we ended up having some friends over for a potluck dinner. Carols were sung, and we played a hilarious game of Truth or lie.

2012 was a good year for me and I believe 2013 will be even better as we will be travelling in Europe for nearly 4 months of it! New Year blessings to you all,may you all have a wonderful year ahead.

My year in pictures October and November

My year in Pictures continued: OCTOBER

Sanctuary is a beautiful group that meets every Sunday morning in Bangalow to sing, meditate and be inspired by readings and poems from many different mystics, poets and spiritual teachers. It’s our own Byron Bay version of church, but not so much Christian; it’s based more on universal spiritual principles and virtues. This particular Sunday we stayed for a picnic lunch in the park to celebrate Sunny’s birthday.

There was more fundraising for the Songbirds with this house concert and dinner we put on at Carmelle and Kieran’s place.



A birthday lunch for Grace at The Balcony restaurant in Byron…pictured here with Grace, Taly and Rachel.




I had a couple of weddings up at the Crystal Castle in October and this is one of them, a lovely family from England




I was involved (as a back up singer) in a fabulous show, written and performed by Louise from the Songbirds. It was called “Conversations with Goddesses” and it was both funny and moving. Here I am waiting backstage with Dylan, the musical director.





Gerrit became an Australian citizen in a ceremony at the Byron Council Chambers.



We had a few friends over that night to celebrate Gerrit becoming an Aussie. Here are our friends Maureen and Georgie resplendent with Australian flags.

My year in Pictures July to September

My year in pictures continued: JULY

My walking companion on many an afternoon this autumn/winter and spring has been Astaria, who as you can see likes to dress unconventionally on our walks. We usually walk about 4 or 4.30pm in the wintertime, taking in some of the taxing hills of Ocean Shores and working up an appetitie for dinner!

A winter wedding at The Fig Tree in Byron Bay. The bride is the lovely daughter of a friend who sang in one of my choirs.



African LEAF is a charity that supports some orphans in Kenya. We had a trivia night as a fundraiser (and made 2 and a half thousand!)and I made up all the questions for the night. I also was a marker, along with my besties Rachel and Jana. It takes me about a month to make up all the questions and I get obsessed and don’t think about much else during that time!There’s quite an art to making up questions that are interesting and fun.

AUGUST  Our wedding anniversary is August 1st so we always go out to dinner. This time we went to Muoi’s Feast in Byron.



We had another non-simultaneous house swap with some people from Ireland for a week. We are going to stay in their holiday house in Dingle next July. So we had to clear out of our house and headed North to Rainbow Beach, north of Noosa for a few nights. There are beautiful cliffs of coloured sands there and it was noticeably warmer. We even had a swim.

Meeting some more BFF’s for lunch at The Yum Yum Tree cafe in New Brighton, in this case, Ruth and my sister Kathryn. Yum!



The Songbirds put on a clothes Swishing party (to swap clothes) to raise some money towards our CD. We had a really fun time, although not many people came so we didn’t make any money!



I decided to go along to a Mixed Media class with Turiya Bruce (pictured here) who is an excellent teacher with lots of great ideas. I still feel insecure about doing art work on a canvas but I started a few pieces with her. She won’t be teaching in this area for a while now, but I hope I finish the pieces I’ve started.

We bought a 2 seater kayak a while ago but haven’t used it much. This particular Sunday we agreed to go out on the Brunswick river with our friends Susan and John (instead of going to Sanctuary) and we had a glorious couple of hours rowing up the river.


Another couple I married down at Broken Head. I had known the bride for years, taught her and her sister at school and they both babysat my children, so it was really special to do her wedding.

2012 in photos Part Two

A continuation of my year in pictures: MAY
Breakfast with Jana at her place after a walk…..a treasured friend!






May is the best month for gorgeous sunsets, like this one just down the road at New Brighton beach.



Carmelle’s fairy themed birthday party. There was a performance of fairy poetry with harp and flute. We 3 Songbirds sang a parody of one of our songs to Carmelle as a surprise.






In May we had a visit from Gerrit’s youngest son who now lives in Melbourne, so we took him on our favourite lighthouse walk.


My lovely book club at our June meeting… I think we were discussing “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” and pretending to be French.



Louise and I on the “Slutwalk” in Byron Bay, walking against violence to women.




Walking the lighthouse track on a Saturday morning followed by brunch at a Byron Cafe has become a regular thing for us. You can see here the weather is still warm even though it is June.



I organised a choir concert on the last weekend in June. Here is my choir Choral Sea assembled before we went on stage.


2012 in photos…Part one, January to April

Happy new year everyone. I thought I would just summarise my year in photos. I narrowed it down to 3 or 4 for each month.

This is sunrise on Jan 1st 2012 up at Australia’s most easterly point (Cape Byron)


January 1st again, lunch with Eirinn and Rowena on their last day in Byron Bay before they headed back to Holland. It’s now been a whole year since I saw them! Wah!



My birthday party, we played pictionary in 2 teams and had a wonderful time.




Towards the end of January we visited New Zealand. Here we are on the boat to the South Island, where we spent a couple of days walking the Queen Charlotte track, as well as visiting Golden Bay and Kaikoura.

The Queen Charlotte track is a glorious 5 day walk along the QC Sound. We only did 2 days of it, staying in a bed and breakfast overnight.




Wharariki beach is a remote beach at the very top of the west coast of the South Island, and it’s absolutely stunning.




In Kaikoura on the east coast we met up with my friend Belinda and had a  long walk around the headland and some  close encounters with a seal colony! This is not to be recommended.



Valentine’s day saw us back on the North Island in Wellington.




My vocal group The Songbirds performed at International Women’s day and we were very well received. As usual…those girls can really sing! Plus they’re all shining spirits and I think that comes through when they sing.


My lovely daughter Katy came over to visit from London (with her cousin Hannah) for only 3 weeks. Here we are having a coffee break on the Byron lighthouse walk.



The two sisters and our two daughters…a happy lunch at the Conscious Cafe in Byron. They were admiring my art journal.




Another Songbirds performance at the Sphinx Rock cafe, WAY out in the country, on a wet Sunday afternoon. We had lots of family and friends there supporting us.



We drove to Sydney for a couple of weeks because we had a non Simultaneous house exchange happening with a couple from Cornwall. We visited my friend Domenic at Dangar Island on the way down.

We headed straight up to the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, for some quality time with my old friend, movie buff extraordinaire, Noel. We had a strenuous bush walk with coffee and cakes at the end!

Also stayed a couple of nights with my brother Chris and his family.

While staying a few nights at my sister Noela’s place we had a family reunion with some of my siblings.




Here we are being tourists in Sydney, my home town! We are on the ferry to Manly, just going past the Opera House as you can see. At Manly one has to buy fish and chips to eat down at the beach front promenade while fighting off the seagulls.