I Wonder Where Summer Went?

She was here for a couple of days earlier in the month, Lady Summer, but seems to have given way to a resurgent and surly Winter who still has something to say.

I used to call the city where I live ‘The Riviera of Antarctica’.  I had good reason for doing so, low rainfall in the extremes of the year and high sunshine hours too.    Lately though it seems we have been upgraded and now reside as the Capital of Antarctica.

There were, I was told a couple of days ago, four cruise ships coming into harbour to dispel their thousands of well-heeled patrons into our fair city to enjoy a day or two of Southern Hospitality.  (Please bear in mind I don’t read the papers or listen to the radio so all my gossipy news is picked up at the dog park, where I loiter around with a mismatch of folk while our pets chase each other round in ever decreasing circles in an attempt to keep warm.  So I may get actual facts slightly wrong.)   Anyway, they picked the wrong day to arrive.  For a ‘Weather Bomb’ also chose this time to put in an appearance.

Apparently old man Winter was really p***ed off about something and he hurled a few icicles our way along with torrential rain and winds that drove the rain horizontally against the landscape.   I spent yesterday with the heating on, tucked in a blanket watching the one hundred videos saved to my ‘watch later’ tab on You Tube and pretending I lived in the far north of Canada where I was enjoying a really pleasantly mild winter.

I have no idea what happened to the hundreds of well-heeled tourists, but I imagine they retreated back to their cruise liners and waited patiently to be taken to a more salubrious part of the world.  I did hear that one of the ships, an especially large one which sometimes has trouble making port due to time and tides and its immense size, nearly keeled over in the wind, but that might just be an unfounded rumour.

Just bear all this in mind if you ever meet somebody who says they went to New Zealand one summer, had a cold and miserable time and the hurricane level winds almost caused their gigantic ship to capsize. They were probably on that particular liner.

Any way, with all this inclement summer weather I’ve spent a deal of time playing about in the art room and trying to find my painting mojo again.

I made cards.  I cleaned up and cleared out THE STASH….  We crafters never throw anything away because it  can be used on something, somewhere, one day.  I have stuff I’ve kept for ten years or more and, as I’ve cleared out everything else in my tiny house, it’s now time to clear out some of the ‘someday stuff’ that makes up a lot of THE STASH.  I figure that if I live to be 100 and make a card every day, I still won’t have used up all the stuff lurking about in that pile of ‘someday I might be just what you are looking for’  stuff.  So, I used a lot teeny bit of that stuff on the cards I made, which slowed me down no end and made me realise why I’d never actually used it up before.   I’d spend so much time sifting through piles of stuff I’d forget what I wanted it for by the time I found it.

To be honest, I was also prevaricating.  Delaying the actual moment when I would start work on an actual canvas…….  it’s always so terrifying for me – I wonder if it is so for every other person who paints.

Any -hoo, back to the cards, here’s a selection of cards ready for next Christmas  – made using the same embossing folder and different paper remnants, some worked, some didn’t……

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

The onto the stash scraps and bits and pieces.  Small note cards to start

Hisilicon K3

Large greeting cards, all made using my hand made papers and various ‘stash’ items

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

In between card making I spent some time acting as Chief Consultant and Shopping Assistant to my daughter, the Official Photographer who is doing up her new flat and who had decided she wanted a ‘pinkish’ bedroom.

We made the headboard and used that as the jumping off point for what ever came next.  While we were busily attending to the fiddly bits, young Sidd-Arthur was also busy making sure the bed was nice and comfortable for her…… that’s his rear end you are looking at


Furiously digging his way through duvet, sheets and pillows


Thoroughly rumpled and immensely satisfied


Sigh!  So funny!  Pure gorgeous furriness!

I managed some sketching.  The last two while I was keeping warm and indulging in that ‘Watch Later’ channel on You Tube I mentioned earlier

Hisilicon K3

Hisilicon K3

The birds got doodled in when I tired of sketching in wrinkles…..

And finally – I have to tell you – finally, I did some work on canvas…….. it’s not finished yet, but it’s a good start.  Oh the relief!!

Unfinished 'Believe'

Unfinished ‘Believe’

So, that’s January up to date.  How’s your January going?

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!






Grow Where You Are Planted

This past week I have been painting every day, layer after layer on the same painting.  It is week six of the Life Book 2015 course and the second Main Lesson with Tamara Laporte, whom I love having the chance to learn from!  I painted and painted, I lost track after the tenth time I found myself applying more layers of colour and bringing up the lines again …. and doodles.  Doodles for Africa my friends.  I am a person who should not be encouraged to doodle.  I don’t have a ‘stop’ button and now I’m rather afraid the painting looks like it has a sudden attack of measles – or a very bad rash!!

This is such a different style for me, though I didn’t stay so much in the abstract side of the venture but wandered into the whimsical as is my wont.  I enjoyed the slow build up of colour, the challenge to place the right amount of dark and light shading and to blend just so……  I don’t think it’s a brilliant balance of colours, [not enough white and neutral spaces] but for a first go it’s okay.  I loved being able to add in and add in and add in – the miniscule details all add up so that wherever the eye wanders there is something to look at, something to notice.  For some of you it may be too much – it is for me – but the exercise was a great one for layering, building up blocks of colour and then somehow uniting them and for playing around with doodles [and for finding out I don’t know when to stop].

Here’s the whole caboodle for your viewing pleasure:


And here a some detail corners – highly magnified so you can see some of the layers and all the mistakes.

Bottom Right

AG Detail2

Top right

AG Detail3

Left side

AG Detail4

I think there are certain little corners of the painting that I quite like.  The colours blend well, the doodles are well balanced – something happened and it came together – but overall I find it a bit too much, what do you REALLY think?

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

Happily Painting …….

Here I am again – already!  It’s only been a few days since my last post – whatever is happening I hear you cry?  It’s cooler today – which is good.  We can actually move and not wilt!  Siddy has more energy to play and even Orlando has woken up for brief periods.  And I am painting

Beacon2 WiP

…… until I am asked to play a game of ‘Fetch’

How can you resist this?


We play ‘Fetch’ for a few minutes – then Siddy retires to cool off and I continue work.

In the previous post I showed you my second version of the ‘Beacon of Light’  that was the first main exercise in Life Book 2015 and she was looking like this


She’s under-gone a number of changes and now I think she is finished.  This is just a photo shot, not a scan – I am just so excited to share her with you


This is MY Beacon of Light – she rises from the sea – a metaphor for when I am lost at sea, or ‘all at sea’.  You know that feeling, I’m not standing on firm ground ……. her message is you don’t have to feel like that, you are not alone.  Trust, surrender, relax.

I’m happy!  But what do you think?

She is painted on 300gsm A3 watercolour paper and I think is destined for a frame and my art room wall!  But I’ll probably put a couple of prints into the Etsy shop as well 🙂  I’ll show you another shot when she is scanned – then you will get to see all the colour and details.

Thanks for coming by today, you know that I love that you did!

It’s January & It’s Summer!

It’s January, it’s hot, it’s Summer!  We didn’t have one last year.  She must have unilaterally decided to give my part of the country a miss, I believe it wasn’t personal, she just had other places she would rather be.  So there has been unbounded joy in this little corner of the world – long hot days followed by long warm dusks.  It is just now getting dark about 9.30 pm, light by 5.30 am.  And my word, you should see my garden!  It’s a jungle out there folks, no room to sit and sizzle in the hot sun, it’s been taken over by tomatoes and salady stuff and petunias and lobelia and sweet-peas – let’s not forget the sweet-peas!


I was getting worried about the lack of fruit on the tomatoes when voila, up these popped overnight.  If you can’t see them, biggify the photo – they are there I promise.  So proud!  🙂


Siddy and I water every evening, well I water and Siddy bustles and bumbles about through the undergrowth, rather reminiscent of a rare black and white wombat –  eventually popping up all muddy and wet and happy and puppy-ish again.  [This one’s especially for Jill.]



This is his ‘Whaddya want mumma?’ face, because I whistled him and he stopped what he was busily bumbling about with and rushed up to me.

As a complete aside, a few days ago we celebrated Siddy’s ninth month birthday.  He has stopped visibly growing, thank heavens.  He is much calmer now, he loves his mumma very much, adores Orlando and his aunty YD is his most favourite person in the whole world – but should he meet you, you would immediately become his next favourite person in the whole world.  Siddy’s joy and enthusiasm for life and people remains unabated.  It is just tempered with slightly better manners these days.

Getting a scenic shot in my small garden is impossible – so here is a little montage


This tiny garden, organic and companion planted, growing mostly in buckets and tubs is in good looking condition – but something has been eating my peas!


I’m picking them this evening, ready or not!


My ‘rhythm of life’ – that thing some of you refer to as routine – has suddenly disengaged.  It erupted!  I knew it would.  I signed on for a year long art course last October.  I’d been waiting since mid-May for the signing date to arrive because I knew I needed and wanted to focus on developing myself as an artist.  I don’t usually refer to myself as ‘an artist’ – I say I ‘muck abart with mixed media’ or ‘I paint’.  Some folks have thought that means I’m a house painter – [which makes me smile because I spent years decorating my homes with paint, now I do it with mostly fabric] and start to ask me which paint is best for this or that problem – or even offer me a job!

Anyway – having taken that little meander off subject, let us return …… the art course has started.  It started for me on January 2nd, with a bang I might add.  Immediately I fell behind as I had, coincidentally, been asked to act as an honorary ‘colour advisory consultant person’  and I was a bit caught up in that process.

But I got my act together and set about creating this

Beacon of Light - Pauline King

Beacon of Light – Pauline King

If you follow my progress with mixed media you will see a huge improvement in the way the paint has been applied especially to the face – I learned so much in just the first lesson!

In case I have piqued your interest, the course is called Life Book 2015 and clicking on that will take you there.  You’re welcome!  🙂

I was so pleased with the result of this first exercise that I set myself the task of doing an older more Contented Crafter version – here she is underway, but with a LOT of work still to be done.  What do you think?


 and the eyes, with which I am particularly pleased



If you have noticed me missing from your blog, or missing with my usual long and opinionated ramblings in your comment section all the above is the reason why. Suddenly there is not enough hours in the day.  I wasn’t so busy when I was still a working girl!  [Ooow, did that sound wrong?]  I’m still doing my best to read everyone’s posts – I always feel that if you took the time to write and proof-read and insert photos and anything else you do on each of your wonderful posts, the least I can do is participate fully!   I just can’t fit it all in at the moment –  But, like Arnie, I will be back!

And I nearly forgot – there’s also these, that sometime get a look in during the long warm evenings – but progress is slow




Life is warm, it is busy, it is very happy.  Life is good!  I hope you are enjoying all your busy moments too.

This is my 150th post and I just recently went past 350 followers.  Most don’t read, but to those who do, who come by regularly and leave your endearing messages of support and cheer, thank you, thank you, thank you.  You warm my heart, encourage me in all kinds of crazy directions and inspire me daily.

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!




A Painting for Alys

October was a make it or break it month for me creatively.  I was way behind with so many projects – even my garden remained semi planted as I spent time doing things other than what I really wanted to do.

I started a painting way back in April.  At the time it was to be the first in a series of ‘Soul Portraits’, gifts for friends featuring my take on the preciousness of them, their lives, their gifts, their creativity.  Of course, I bit off more than I could chew and my first feeble attempts were unsatisfactory and I happily left the work sitting for days – then weeks – while I prevari wondered about what to do next…….

What happened next pretty much brought life as I knew it to a complete standstill – if you read my blog regularly you know what it was.  Next I adopted a puppy!

Puppy put a stop to all serious creative play for four months.  When he got big enough and well mannered enough for me to set to work again I didn’t know where to start.  All through September I tried to start.  I never really got any where – I saw 2014 passing before my creative eyes with nothing more than some crochet throws and knitted bunnies and a few less than perfect bookmarks to show for it.  I felt like I had forgotten how to paint.

I’d ‘work’ on the painting on my desk.  Put a bit of colour on it, collage some papers, write some words and paint over them again.  I sketched out the layout, started the face and stopped again.  I wasn’t sure how to do what I wanted to do and I was thinking about it too much.  I walked the dog.  I went out and about.  I read.  I gardened a bit more.  I avoided the art room.

I missed sending away the completed painting in June, which had been my first deadline, in July, my second deadline.  I missed sending it to celebrate my birthday, and then I missed Alys’ birthday too.  The painting was moving from room to room, being placed where I could see it and figure out where to go next.  It lived in my bedroom for a few weeks, the last thing I saw before sleep and the first thing I saw on waking.  Still nothing.

Alys sent me some stamps.  These were special stamps.  They had belonged to her late father, an avid collector and Alys had decided to share them with those of her blogging community who would like some.  They were precious to her, she was sending a little of her beloved father out into the world.  I had said, send me some and I shall incorporate them into a painting for you.

I knew what I wanted to do with them, but starting was also scary.  There were only so many stamps, if I mucked up there was no going back.  I sorted the stamps into colours and pasted them onto the brittle with age album paper they had come on.  I took a deep breath and embossed the pages.  I cut out shapes using three different punches and left it all sitting in a pile on the desk while I prevaricated some more.

October arrived and so did the dear girls, El and M, over at Fat Bottomed Fifties with their October Goalfest Challenge.  They wrote a blog post which pretty much said ‘Come on Pauline, quit mucking around and get on with it.  You’ve got til the end of the month.’

I signed on and immediately came up with more reasons why I couldn’t ‘get on with it’.  Then El said ‘Let’s help each other out here’  Well thank god for my pal El is all I can say.  Now there can be no more mucking about. I have a job now, I have to support her while she gets her bike roadworthy and then gets herself on it and cycling twenty miles without ruining her  butt bones if possible.  I looked it up because I knew I had the wrong words in my head.  ‘Saddle soreness’ is a much nicer way of saying it than my chosen phrase and the ‘ischial tuberosities’ are apparently the bones that suffer 🙂  Who knew!!    …..  Any how I felt that El’s goal was a way bigger challenge than me just mucking about with a paintbrush, paints and papers and gel mediums and various glues for heavens sake!

There’s nothing like giving me some responsibility.  I suddenly become very competent and capable and ‘can-do!’  Nothing is a problem that cannot be overcome.  Prevaricate?  Me?  Good heavens no!  I’m Ms In-charge-and-on-to-it.  Here, let me show you how it’s done.  I’ll cheer you on and get on with my little project too – Let’s get there together, follow me!.  Ready?  Here we go – charge!!

Geez.  El works full time in a high stress career and writes two blogs.  She’s going to bike twenty miles.  I’m retired and have to finish a painting.  There’s a bit of pride involved here – if she cannot complete her challenge El has a very good reason why.  I do not.

Once committed I started work.  I had ideas, I saw shapes and colours – I knew who and what I was trying to represent in this fairy tale painting.  But it was slow.  I collaged a fairy.  I painted a face.  I made flowers out of the stamps.  I stuck everything down and painted over it all.  I worked and reworked.  It began to come together.  I left it for a couple of days and then came back and reworked some more.  I loaded colour on and took it off again.  I changed and altered and worked around and up and down…….

Paintings always go through an ugly stage – well mine do any way.  The trick is to keep working at it.  Nurse it through, make that one small sweep of colour that will lift it, right the wrong, pull it together.  I kept waiting for that to happen.

While I worked I thought a lot about my friend Alys and her big heart.  I thought of all she is and who she is and how she is and her big heart and her hurts and her losses and her big heart.  I thought of her cats and her garden and her boys and her husband and her home and her sister and her work and her library and how her heart encompasses it all and spreads out through her whole community.  Through her friends and family, through her professional life, through her blog and out into the world.

I thought and then I stopped thinking and finally – finally, I made this with my hands and my heart, for Alys The Wonderland of Alys

It’s an original mixed media work on 300gsm art paper, A4 size.  It is heavily textured and contains the stamps Alys sent me from her fathers collection as well as some of the paper they were mounted on.  It requires framing and is titled ‘The Wonderland of Alys’.

I hope you like it.  It is winging it’s way to California as you read this.

I also hope you my dear friends and readers and lovely new followers will wander over to visit with the most delightful El and M on their great blog and let’s see a big surge in goal-fest readiness for November!  I’ll be in, come join us.

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

Experience Is What Happens To Us …….

Hi there my bloggie friends,  just a quick post to round off my weeks work – I set to and finished my mixed media girl.

Here she is to remind you:


I painted the background viridian green and when it was dry over painted it with cerulean blue which I then wiped back getting a lovely aqua colour.  I stamped randomly using a brown ink to give the pristine background the worn look of experience, collaged a flower into her hair and gave it a glittery centre for a touch of bling, ran white chalk around the outer edge of the paper ……….  And finally gave her a mantra that I have learned in my life to be so true:

‘Experience is what happens to us,

Freedom is what we do with what happens to us.’

She’s gorgeously bright with her purple hair and red dress and blue-green background and will look fabulous in a frame!


I think she will make nice cards and postcards too, do you?

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!  🙂

A Mostly Pictorial Walk Through My Week

It sure has been a busy week!  I thought I’d share a few of my little adventures with you all …..

First up, I’ve been taking a class with Claudia Rossi.  [Don’t, whatever you do, Google her – you will get a million listings for a porn star of the same name!]  If you know of the mixed media Claudia Rossi, you will be familiar with her ‘pretty girls’ and her art journals. I’ve been watching her on You Tube for at least a year on and off, she is verbose and funny and real and I enjoy her random prattling and gorgeous artwork.  Claudia’s girls are kind of opposite to mine – I draw big eyes – she draws big mouths……. I decided to take her class, not because I want to draw a ‘Claudia Rossi’ pretty girl – though I have – but because I think that learning is important and the more skills you pick up and add into your kete [a woven bag] the better, it all helps define your own style.  Besides I got a discount coupon offer and so couldn’t resist!

It’s been slow going for me as I have so many other things I am busy doing.  But when I can I work in the evenings and use my TV as a giant computer screen while I watch her and then work on my own version.  I still have to finish my girl – but here is what I’ve done so far.  This is the pencil sketch, following a quite complex grid pattern:


Here she is with her shadowing in place – you may notice I made the mouth smaller as I made it much too big in the first place:


And here she is with the skin-tone glazing done, the eyes and lips and hair too: for once underway I could not stop:


You can bigify it by clicking twice if you want to see all the minute detail – shes not too bad for a first attempt.

I think Claudia is a good teacher and I enjoyed taking this class – if you happen to be thinking of it – or just want to learn how she does her faces – I do recommend her class!


Next I got some more happy mail this week too – only this time it was something I had bought for myself.  I splurged big time and bought myself a present that I had lusted after for a long, long time but never thought would be available to me – then ‘Fishpond’ one of our on-line book-and-everything-else-you-could-ever-possibly-want-or-need stores came up with an Ikea Raskog.  An IKEA RASKOG people!!  It was one of those moments when while the voice of reason was saying ‘Oh dear, what a shame you can’t afford it’ the impetuous bohemian artist had already stuck her fingers in her ears and was singing “La-la-la-la-la!” at the top of her lungs whilst hitting ‘Buy Now’………..

So, many, many weeks later and after a lot of restrictive belt tightening, on a wet and gloomy day this arrived:


I’d already ripped into it with a knife before remembering to a) take some photos and b) practise ‘anticipation’ – but blow that – too late, sorry Linne 🙂

His Little King-ship had already retreated to a safer place


And there he stayed until ….


the clanging of metal on metal became too much for his sensitive sensibilities and he is about to do his Elvis impersonation and ‘leave the building’…..  I am about to put something together with just a pictorial diagram:


And I did – thirty minutes later:


And off we go to the Create Joy room and fill her up – here she proudly poses alongside my other indispensable – my pretty bucket of paints


Everything I use on a daily basis sits in the top within easy reach


Middle shelf holds containers of coloured pencils, pens, glazes, mediums, tapes and watercolours


Bottom shelf holds a selection of my favourite and regularly used stamps, stamping paraphernalia and masks and templates:


And of course the Day Card commemorated the event:


It’s fabulous, I not only have everything to hand beside my work bench – and more free space on my work bench –  but when I want to play around in the evening and watch a You Tube video, or a movie, I can wheel it in to the lounge.  Well worth going without a few meals for 🙂

And His Little King-ship also gets a wee treat:



If you are a relative of mine and go by the blog pseudonym of ED stop reading and go away now please.  [Yes Joanna, it’s you!}

Some of you may remember my ‘Box to Book’ project which is now into its second year – the beginning of the story can be found here and here and, sigh, here.  It was put aside when I went back into mixed media painting, not altogether forgotten though – I had made the decision to keep it for a birthday gift rather than the Christmas it was originally planned for.  I’ve been working a bit on it whenever I can find a decent block of time:

Final1 Final2 Final3 Final4

Still got heaps to do – must keep at it, must keep at it, must keep at it ……….


And the week has concluded extremely happily with the unexpectedly early arrival of more ‘Happy Mail’ of the real variety.  From the lovely Fran and the even lovelier Steve at Serendipity Farm comes this bit of gorgeousness photographed on my table in the early morning sun:


Can you see that heart shaped point on the handle end of the bowl?  It is just exquisite and makes my heart sing!  It is like the point of a heart so I will think ‘Love’ every time I go to use it and all my cooking will be done with an extra added ingredient and we will all grow lovely, just like Roald Dahl said we would!!


Look at the bowl of the spoon – it is exquisite craftsmanship!


It feels smooth and satiny, it looks beautiful and it smells good too – how can I possibly use this to stir my pot of rice or my cheese and oat cakes?

Here it is sitting in the broken plastic jug that serves as my utensil holder beside the newly made weeks supply of cheese and oat cakes, which I had just finished making when the mail arrived [and which is my bread substitute, just in case you are interested].


So now I’m in the market for an uber posh utensil holder to match this gorgeous spoon!

Thank you to Fran and Steve at Serendipity – what a great swap!!  I feel like I got the better end of the swapping deal yet again!

I think that covers the highlights of my creative and blogging life for the past week what a great time I’m having!!

Big hugs to you all, thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

Choose Joy

Today was a trying day for me.  My brother is very ill and in the final stages of cancer and for the past couple of days as I go about my daily doings, my thoughts are mostly with him.  For those of you who read the first installment of my memoir and know some of my history, he is the one I call the memory keeper and I hold him sacred in my heart.

And, more mundanely, despite the fact that the whole world and his dog believes we are in the middle of summer, it was cold and it had rained overnight.  The wind was howling and roaring over head in wild gusts.   I didn’t sleep well and got up at 4 am to finish the latest painting.

Five hours later the last flower was in place, the last leaf embellished and the mantra written.

I’m in love with this painting!  There is something quite magical about it and I am excited to share it.

So off I went to the photocopy shop with it.  I get my mixed media paintings scanned and prints can then be made for my Etsy Shop.  But today I was told “No!”

Whaddaya mean “No!” ??

Turns out that I have missed a vital piece of information and my painting is too big and too inflexible to be put through any of the copy machines.  If it is bigger than an A3, it has to be on paper to go through the flat bed scanner…. Don’t ask, I don’t know why, or how they work.  That appears to be the truth of the matter – I got the same answer in two different places so that is that.

No cards, no prints, no post-cards, no options, just the original.

Battling the cold howling wind and with no sleep to sustain me, I got a little tetchy with the world!

I came home and took some photographs, I propped her up in the corner and there she sits dancing happily urging me to ‘Choose Joy’.

Bah, Humbug! I said to her in my best Ebeneezer Scrooge voice.

I opened my email and ran my eye down the list, there was a post from the lovely Alys over at Gardening Nirvana.

I thought, that will be a nice wee visit to help cheer me up, and opened the link.  Imagine my surprise to see one of my paintings looking back at me – and then I read her words ….. You can follow the link to see what I read.

All my grouchiness vanished in the twinkling of an eye. Wouldn’t yours?  Who would elect to remain grouchy when it is so much more pleasant to feel that actually everything is just fine – it will all work out one way or another – it always does!

Thank you Alys for that beautiful testimonial – in one of those wonderful serendipitous moments that we both love so much, you turned the sun in my direction at the very time I needed it most .  That does indeed make you a true friend!

So here is the latest whimsy girl.  She is mixed media on a rigid canvas board measuring 35 x 46 cm. You can double click for an enlarged view.

DSCF1668 (2)

And here she is again propped up in  corner of the bookshelf


The wind has died down the sky is clearing and we just might get our fifth fine day for January tomorrow 🙂

There are more options, tomorrow I shall call some printing places and see if they can help me out – there will be a solution!

Thanks for coming by today, you know that I love that you did!  🙂