Entries in art journaling (17)


create art - create happiness 

Create art...create happiness it's my tagline right?

But I haven't ever written about why it's my tagline. So here's the story, morning glory...

The words popped up from Source on one of my very first journal pages over two years ago back in 2011.

I started art journalling when the whispers from my creative self became shouts that were just too loud to ignore. I had shut her away for so long... it's almost painful to remember that now. I originally trained in Fine Art back in the 70's; I graduated in 1980! I left uni just wanting to paint, paint, paint. For a few years I did just that; I supported myself with part time jobs waitressing and typing. But the black crow of my depression descended just before my 30th birthday and my muse left me. I felt dried up and with nothing left to paint.

Instead my creativity went into my family; a complicated tale and maybe one day I will be able to tell the full story but for now it's enough to know that I had two beautiful sons. I re-trained as a holistic therapist and lots of major life events occurred - but still no painting.

It was always at the back of my mind to be creating but I told myself I didn't have time, or that I had no space to do it in and all those other kinds of things we tell ourselves.......

Then about three years ago, something happened inside, not just one thing - it wasn't a bolt out of the blue mind blowing 'do it now' experience. Just over the days and weeks the whispers got louder and I had to listen. I read the Artist's Way by Julia Cameron and started writing morning pages and giving myself art dates. At her suggestion, I gave myself £5 and took my muse to buy kiddy art supplies. I cut up magazines and made collages from inspiring words and images. I started an art journal.

I don't even know how I found out about art journalling!! I do know that I looked on YouTube at videos and thought 'I can do that'. I was inspired by the dual role it played - accessing my creativity and self discovery. And, very mportantly at that time, I could do it in a way that was just for me. My art journal is for me and no one else need see it unless I choose to show them. I was amazed about what was actually inside of me that wanted to come out - I don't know why I was amazed - my creative self had been locked away for over 20 years!! I blogged about the joy that emerged here.

And I discovered that art journalling also had another role for me - manifestation. Right from the start, I used positive words and affirmations, creating my world for myself through the pages. My first ever page was this:

The words are a quote from Kelly Rae Robert's book 'Flying Lessons'; they made such sense to me. It was a truth and if I made a page about it, then I would be able to fly. I made pages about 'making time for making art', 'letting the sunshine in', 'being good to myself' and 'my true state of being'. (I've loaded a few to the gallery.) By putting these pages and words out there, I was letting the Universe know what I needed.

So, when I came to set up my website and blog, one year ago, and was searching around for a tag line - there it was - under my nose all the time 'Create Art - Create Happiness'

This is what art has done for me - making time for creativity and my creative self has brought such happiness back into my life. And this is what I want my art to do for others; my workshops aim to put people back in touch with their own creative selves and I hope that my work brings some happiness into the lives of those people it touches.

Which brings me neatly to the Blog Birthday Prize draw!! I hope that these little pieces of artwork will bring some light into the lucky winners, who are:

Giveaway 1 (Blue Goddess painting): Kate Cowin

Giveaway 2 (Here Come the Girls print): Margaret Abraham

Giveaway 3 (set of Earth Tribes greetings cards): Anna Tapp

Congratulations ladies!! I will get those off to you in the next couple of days.

Also a big, big, HUGE mega thank you to all those who shared on Facebook, Twitter etc and welcome to you new newsletter readers!!

See you soon

From my oh so grateful heart to yours

Love and light

Rachel xox


Marvellous mandalas

There's something in the air at the moment - everyone is making mandalas! 

Louise Gale is making them on the beach in Spain, Julie Gibbons has just opened her 'Great Round of Mandala' ecourse and over on Instagram Emily Lagore creates the most fabulous mandalas in her journals.

And I am planning my own Mandala workshop for the end of March/beginning of April (sign up for my newsletter to get the updates on this).

The word Mandala comes from a Sanskrit word meaning ‘wheel’. It is a symbol for the circle of life and for the great Creator (or Goddess). Mandalas are easy to create and a wonderful method of using art as meditation. When I was reconnecting with my creative self, I painted or drew them nearly every day.  I still use them as a way of quietening my mind and tuning in to my self, especially if I feel stuck or low.  And sometimes I make them just for fun!

Sometimes I paint them on canvas...

Sometimes, they are in my art journal...

And sometimes they're tiny...

I started this teeny little journal using words and mandalas in January.  I really did feel low then and this was an easy way for me to connect with my creativity.  The words I use are uplifting or life affirming quotes and the act of writing them helps to lift my mood.  Creating a mandala around them acts as a meditation to ease my soul.

The process of making mandalas has helped me over the past two years as a form of creative meditation.  I would highly recommend it and it's another of the exercises in my Goddess Inspirations Yearbook

I've added a few of my painted mandalas to the Gallery.

If you want to join the lovely Julie, registration closes in a few days, so be quick.

Do you make mandalas?  Have you thought about making them?  Would you like to start?  If you live in the north east of England (or even if you don't!) I will be running a workshop based on my own mandala practice very soon so make sure you sign up for my newsletter to get all the latest details. (Just go to the top right hand corner of the page and fill in your email.)

I'd love to hear your thoughts on mandalas, so leave me a note!

From my meditative heart to yours

Rachel xox


Visions, adventure and magic

This week I finally got round to vison boarding and creating my picture of 2013.

I love this process, opening up and seeing what the Universe has in store for me!

I always go for colour, but I love this mix of brights and naturals, the magenta alongside the seaside blues and ochres.  I also adore the hippy chic patterns and fringes.  There is a lot of art going on here, but fun too and some mayhem and mischief (For those Harry Potter fans out there, one of my favourite quotes is 'Mischief managed'!)  

But what I'm mostly loving is that the process of creating this board has unearthed my word for the year.

I have been thinking about my word all of January and not deciding on one.  I had in my mind the words 'brave' and 'courageous' and various others but nothing really felt right.  But when I was flipping through the magazines sourcing images and words for my vision board one kept coming up: ADVENTURE

This is what I love about the vision board process.  My conscious mind had been looking at my being 'brave' and 'courageous' etc but my soul wants Adventure!!

It's a little scary and I will still need to be brave and courageous as I step onto my path for the year ahead, but how exciting!!

And here's the other word that came up more than once:

Vision boards truly are MAGICAL!  

Have you made your vision board for 2013?  It's our first creative exercise in my 'Goddess Inspirations' yearbook and a tool I use throughout the year for exploring and manifesting.

It is such a great way to start the year and is marvellous for manifesting what you really, really want to come into your life.  And if you don't know what you want, it doesn't matter because the Universe does know and will point it out to you!!

What do you wish for 2013? What does the Universe have in store for you? What are you visioning for this year? I'd love to hear!

From my adventurous heart to yours

Love and light

Rachel xox


Baby steps count...

It's been a slow start to 2013 here.  The rush and self imposed pressure to get my Goddess Inspirations Yearbook finished before Christmas and then the holidays themselves left me feeling very low in energy.  

So, how to get back in the creative flow?  I reminded myself of the oh so useful mantra 'Baby steps count...'

The Universe just needs you to show up.  It doesn't matter how small a step you take.  Maybe, it's tidying your workspace or studio, prepping some pages for art journalling, collecting some inspirational quotes or even doodling on the back of an envelope.

I'm not preaching, I'm reminding myself (!) that this is what I need to do when I'm feeling stuck or (sometimes) so anxious that nothing seems possible, even while I truly believe that EVERYTHING  is possible and that we create our own reality.

With this in mind, not having picked up a paintbrush, glue stick or even a Sharpie since mid November, because I had been writing instead of painting, I ventured back into my little conservatory which serves as my studio.  I tidied up.  I gave myself a space to work in.  I did a little journalling and doodled some mandalas.  And I found some small canvases I prepped a while ago.  I decided I would try some 'tribe' work on canvas instead of paper.  


To keep myself on track ie being creative every day, I'm taking part in the Creative Every Day Challenge run by the lovely Leah Piken Kolidas.  It's an easy going, low pressure challenge.  Being a part of this is encouraging me to be creative every day but if I miss a day or two or do something other than painting/journaling such as baking a cake or going on an art date then that's absolutely fine.  If you want to join in just visit Leah's website at the link above and see how it could work for you.

I also joined a group on Facebook called 'A Piece a Week 2013' - a place to inspire and be inspired - to encourage and be encouraged.  A piece a week is a comfortable target for me to encourage my own creative process.  You can still join if you want to, just click the link and ask to join.

How is the new year finding you?  What baby steps are you taking in your creativity?  Or gigantic, magical, scary type steps!!? I would love to know what you are up to these cold winter days so please share in the comments...

Counting those baby steps, from my creative heart to yours

Rachel xox 


2012: a year in review

This is a long post, so grab a cuppa and pull up a comfy chair with me.....

2012 has been an amazing year of great change for me.

When I set my goals and aspirations in January I had lots of hopes for what I wanted to do and how much I wanted to change my life but didn't realise just how much I would really accomplish in those 12 months.  

Here's my vision board which set my intentions for 2012.  A bit faded now as it's been on my studio wall all year!  The figure half way down the right hand side is a much younger self, she's drawing with pastels.

My word for 2012 was CREATIVE and in my visoning session at the start of the year I set three main intentions: 

  • be creative every day
  • start my blog
  • start my creative business 

Importantly, I also wanted to give myself TIME: time to be me, time to be creative, time to paint.

At the beginning of 2012, I was teaching holistic therapies, running my training business (Amethyst Holistic Training) AND trying to be creative every day.  I was crippled with back pain and running on empty; I knew that something BIG had to change before I crashed completely.  So, after much agonising I decided to give up teaching.  This was a major life change for me - I had been teaching therapies for 13 years, but I also knew that if I wanted to be creative and give myself time to do this, it had to happen. So, at the end of April I stopped teaching and gave myself time.

By March I had started my blog (you're reading it now!) and I had a steady routine of running my training business in the morning and painting/journalling in the afternoon.  Woohoo, two objective achieved!!

Starting my creative business took much longer and this is fine.  I wanted to give myself time and this is what I did.  I enjoyed painting and being creative; there was no hurry.  But during October, my guides and angels started hurrying me up.  They told me, in my little planning journal, that I could get the party started!! 

I think there was a general speeding up for lots of us as we got nearer to the big energy shift on 21.12.12.  In October I started to get enquiries from people interested in buying my work or prints of my work. October and November became a bit crazy as I spent more time on product development (cards and prints) rather than on creating (although I realise now I was creating but in a different way). 

And out of the blue, my goddess guides decided I should create a Yearbook!! For the last 3 years, I have written a monthly newsletter for my training biz.  I was writing the newsletter for November and a voice whispered in my ear, 'This could be a yearbook'............. Mmm, a yearbook I thought and then spent the next 6 weeks writing and creating it!!  

It became an entirely different creation to the Amethyst newsletter idea, with the goddess guides moving in and becoming the major focus.  You can read more about it and buy it in the shop!!  This was something I had not planned or thought about - so when you are doing your vision boards and setting your intentions for 2013, leave some space for unknown and amazing things to happen.........

I've come such a long way since January:

  • In February I started painting again, largely thanks to the amazing Flora Bowley's Bloom True ecourse.
  • In March I started my blog.
  • In April I stopped teaching. I also went to see the utterly wonderful and inspiring David Hockney exhibition 'A Bigger Picture' at the Royal Academy in London.
  • In May and June I took time to adjust to my new routine, painting and journalling.
  • In July, my partner, John, and I took a much needed holiday in beautiful Northumberland.
  • In August I started a new way of working thanks to Tracie Hansen's class in Connie Hozvicka's 21 Secrets Art Journal Playground.  Using this method as a starting point I have created my 'tribe' paintings featured on my blog and posted on FB and IG.
  • In September I was a guest on Teresa Robinson's blog Rightbrainplanner
  • In November, I started writing my Goddess Inspirations Yearbook & Planner, and opened my shop on the website with prints and cards.
  • In December, I published my Yearbook and Planner! 

I have also: grown a supportive online community of friends and fellow creatives on Facebook and Instagram; taken part in Louise Gale's HeArt Exchange and Creative Color Challenge; joined The Art Journaler online community with Mandy and Teresa; gained new friends and lost some old ones as my energy and interests changed. I have experienced some heartache but SO much joy.  

I hope your year has been as full as mine.  I am truly grateful to the Universe for putting all these wonderful  opportunities in my way and my being brave enough to take part in them.  

What about 2013?  I'll be doing my vision board for the year and posting it here.  To begin with I have in mind more painting and getting back in the creative flow.  I'd like to do more regular blog posts and there are some Goddess oracle cards in the pipeline.

I haven't yet decided on my word for the year, though I have several floating in my head.  Have you chosen your word for 2013?  Have you set your intentions?  I would love to hear what you have planned or would like to achieve.  And if you have done a review of your year on your blog, please share a link in the comments below as I would love to check it out.

Wishing you all you wish yourself for a wonderful 2013

From my very grateful heart to yours

Rachel xox