A Video of my recent pages

Just threw this together with a piece of music I love (Seal Lullaby by Eric Whitacre). It’s all the art journal pages I have done since January last year, except for the ones I did in my travel journal when I was in Europe, which I have already made into a separate video..

Actually I don’t think I have posted that video here, so I may as well add it here too. These are all art journal pages I did while traveling in Europe, over 2 trips, 2018 and 2019.

Collage backgrounds

In the last couple of weeks I’ve made 3 art journal pages using a similar technique (inspired by a Wanderlust class with MaryBeth Shaw) in which I created a background almost entirely covered with collaged ephemera and patterned papers.

Some of these papers were scrapbooking papers I already had, some of them were black and white print outs which I then painted over in the colour scheme i had chosen, and some were just watercolours I painted wet on wet.

The challenging part came after I had glued down all the papers to make a nice patchwork like mosaic background. How to tie it all together somehow and make it cohesive and not just an assortment of patterned rectangles??

Here you can see one of the pages at this initial stage. What I chose to do on each of these 3 pages was to add some acrylic paint in a light colour to some areas, especially over the edges of the pieces of collage trying to tie them together a bit more and also to provide a less busy area where I could place a focal image.

The next thing was to add some stenciling, which also made the page a bit more cohesive. All 3 of these pages turned out to be about coping with the Pandemic situation we are now in, and calling on the angels for some help.

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


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!

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

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.

Evolution of a spread: Holy grail

Holy grail 01Just finished a new art journal spread and this time I remembered to take some photos along the way.

Step one: gesso and  collage elements




Holy G 1Step 2: Paint : cobalt blue mixed with raw umber, paynes grey, yellow ochre and of course all mixed with some white.




Holy grail 2Step 3: Stencilling with 3 different colours, 2 stencils, I’m loving that medieval look as usual. I love the colours too. Still don’t have a clue what to make this page about.



Holy Grail 3Step 4: More collage. I happened to have an image of a grail like cup or chalice lying on my desk. I also added a pentacle and some italian patterned paper. As I was gluing down these images the words “What is your Holy grail?” popped into my head. Good question, I thought. If I was searching for a Holy grail in my life, what would that be??

Holy grail 4Step 5: Finishing touches. Stamped the words “holy grail”, and did some writing . I think my Holy grail would be learning to live with joy and gratitude IN EACH PRESENT MOMENT. I wish I could do that more often!

What about you? What is your Holy Grail?

Busy Times

Busy timesMy life and my mind have been very busy lately with arranging songs for choirs and organising several upcoming Heroine’s Journey classes. I didn’t realise that’s what this page would turn out to be about when I started it. I wanted to experiment a bit more with painting over magazine images, so i started with this image of the woman with hat…it was a black and white image and her coat appeared to be all black. First I swirled some yellow and purple together on the background, adding white to blend the colours together.  Next I stuck down the woman and painted over her with clear gesso. I was wondering what colour to use for her clothes and was contemplating taking the purple and veering either towards blue or pink. I went with the pink/purple. I also had a few new stencils that I’d never used and wanted to try out. Once I’d used the stencils it started to become apparent that the page was about my business with all the creative projects I have going lately. Mostly I enjoy to have lots of creative things going, but occasionally it becomes a bit much, especially when I have deadlines (like with the choir arrangements) and a lot of organisation, as with the heroine’s journey classes, ordering art materials etc. The parrot joined the page and told me to stop squawking and complaining because I asked for a colourful life (I have a SoulCollage card called “Colourful life”)

It is fun painting over magazine images but its also easy to stuff up the face, so I’m always very careful there. Sometimes I just leave the face and don’t do much to it at all, but in this case since she was black and white, I wanted to colour her face, so I had to totally paint it. I’m quite pleased with how it tuned out, but I needed a REALLy fine brush!

I’m still wondering whether to write some larger words on the page, I’ve nearly always done that. But I notice increasingly people  (on Facebook groups like “A Stand for Art Journaling”) don’t seem to be writing much on their pages, especially large words/headings. What do you think?