Sunday, 22 April 2018


This is a page about just keeping going when life isn't exciting or much is happening, but you just keep on ... always hoping for that day of sunshine, those moments of insight, which in the end are the things that keep you going.

Haven't used my Neocolour II crayons by Caran d'Ache for a while, so dug them out for this.  When you scribble onto a gessoed page you get the look below, kind of like wax crayons ... its what happens when you touch them with a damp paintbrush which is magic.
And below you can see how they explode into life - I left one band of colour dry just to show you the difference!
Then it was out with my bits of collage, making a kind of border around the page, which I then outlined with a white Posca pen.  I love the intensity of the colours and shapes here.
Then my statement of intent - which is just to keep on going, to keep believing in what lies ahead.  That's me down at the bottom, doing my damndest to remain optimistic and half full instead of half empty.  I've added a grey shadow and some strong black lines, which always make such a difference, and you might also notice that I've doodled on some of the collage elements.  I like to do that to make them my originals instead of someone else's work or design.
 And having said what I wanted to say I just doodled away until it looked finished, which it does.
Struggled not to be disappointed that, although 2,000 people came by in the last month, almost nobody stopped to comment.  It  made me wonder why I was doing this.  Childish of me perhaps, but I do love to connect with you out there ... just to know I'm not talking to myself.  But then again, its about keeping on keeping on, even when it feels like you might be wasting your time.

Monday, 9 April 2018


A couple of things happened to generate the thoughts behind this page - two women of my acquaintance have been working through very difficult situations in ways that impressed me so much with their strength and courage.

There hasn't been as much time as I'd like to work in my journal lately, so it was special to finally sit down and paint a background and begin to collage.  I know some people are intimidated by a white empty page ... but I love the feeling of possibility and the adventure of starting something with no idea of where it will lead.
Somewhere in this process I had two telephone conversations with the people involved, which left me with the feeling that it was a wonderful thing to be a woman in the company of such sisters.  I was also trying to work with "vintagey" colours, something I've always loved - I prefer brights but sometimes softer hues are more restful to the brain and eye.
Once I found a slip of paper in my stash with the words "women of all shapes and ages" the message I wanted began to form in my mind and on the page.  Another Modigliani lady represents a universal woman here, I think the word "winter" is there because of the dark times we all go through, and "nature" makes reference to the very essence and nature of women.  It all made sense to me at the time, honest!
Then the last thing I did was let the words "women are amazing" explode out of my brain and onto the page.  I have been a lifelong feminist, and yes there is still so much more to do, even if we do now have women bishops!  Some of the voices telling me the battles have all been won have gone a bit quiet lately during the current row (in the UK at least) about equal pay?  Decades after the legislation of 1970 which hoped to ensure this, it absolutely doesn't exist yet ....
I suppose the bottom line here is that this is me making a bit of a speech on paper, letting rip with some of my deepest held beliefs, and above all wanting to focus on the positives, and celebrate all that is amazing about women everywhere - including you and me!

Sunday, 25 March 2018

GRATEFUL .... (very)

Back from holiday, and although I've done a little work in my journal, most of it isn't for public consumption.  I do try to anonymise most of what I write about, but sometimes it IS just too personal to share.

On the first day of our holiday there was a death in the family, which left us trying to respond and organise some things from a distance ... never easy.

Nonetheless, it was warm and sunny and we managed to enjoy ourselves a lot of the time.  Returning to cold dark days and a funeral was a shock to the system, but in the aftermath there are many many things I feel deeply grateful for.  There was more than I could fit on a page really ... but this is the result.

I painted my page turquoise first, then added this glorious teal colour around the edge and roughly blended the two.  As I'm always saying - no need for fancy backgrounds when you're going to do a lot of work on top.
Then I began to add bits and pieces of collage, and (unusually for me) a photo face from a catalogue. When I do this I always make lots of changes to the picture to avoid copyright issues, and so that it becomes something original and unique.
Then it was out with the white Posca paint pen and lots of doodling, which joined everything together into something whole rather than random and unconnected.
And then all that remained was to write from the heart ... I almost never write quotes etc - this is MY journal and I generally prefer to use my own words.  Anything else might diminish its therapeutic value.
I know this is rather a brief posting - there is a lot going on in my life right now, not to mention the start of Holy Week.  I do, however, have a huge amount to be grateful for ....
Rosie X

Sunday, 25 February 2018


This will be my last post for a few weeks as I am off to the sun in a few days - and very welcome it will be because its barely 2 degrees here and COLD.  That might account for my choice of lovely warm colours below - my usual splodgy painted background.  If you look  closely at the top left you might just be able to see where I painted over something I didn't like.  I hope that it encourages you to know that I do it all time - obviously I never show you my rubbish pages, but I assure you I do make them.
Then I dug out my collage file and dragged out bits and pieces which appealed to me.  I love this part, its so instinctive and intuitive - you don't over-think it you just DO it.  Then I try placing pieces here and there, and some of them get stuck down and some don't.
My usual next stage is to add black outlines and grey shadows - but I forgot the shadows this time.  That was possibly because I was giggling at this lady I'd put together from various elements - I love her mad red eyes!  Since the figure generally represents me, this prompted the train of thought about being a bit wild ... or liking to think I might be, or perhaps could be if I wanted!
And then as ever comes the doodly part where I just embellish the page until it looks "right".  Don't ask me how I make that judgement, I just do!
I find as I age that my essential self doesn't change in the way my external appearance does, which means I am always surprised by the person the mirror shows me, as I don't seem to look how I FEEL!  Never mind, can't do anything about that so I'm not going to let it worry me, and nor am I going to spend any money on "fixing" it in any way.

I'm off on holiday to warmer climes and can't wait, particularly since snow is forecast this week.  Bring it on, and see you when I get back.


Saturday, 17 February 2018


A friendship which is important to me has been in slightly choppy waters lately, but for me it is vital to weather this because it would be a shame for us to fall out over something relatively trivial.  So I'm counting to 10, and letting something that has hurt me go.  Because its right and the only thing to do.

But of course, what I always do when something is troubling me, is get it down in my journal.  I started with my Neocolour II crayons, which haven't seen the light for a while.  Do you find that your enthusiasm for some materials waxes and wanes, because these used to be my no.1 go-to and yet they've gathered some dust recently?

Anyway, made lots of swooshy shapes in bright shades of pink and purple - such fun doing this.
Then I took up my trusty Posca pen and outlined some of the shapes, and added some black and white stamps.  I did think at this stage that I'd ruined it with the black lines ... and was tempted to gesso over it, but didn't.
Anyway, once I got the words off my heart and down on the page it kind of all began to make sense.  Somewhere in here, perhaps at a subconscious level, the petal-like overlapping layers represent the complex layers of a shared history.  Almost exactly a year ago one of my closest friends died.  It was a shattering loss which made me promise myself that I would treasure the people I loved even more.
So I then just had fun doing all manner of dots and doodling, and if that makes the page look busy, a bit mad and kind of complex then that's OK, because our friendship is like that too.
And to be absolutely fair, I am no doubt whatsoever that I can be equally annoying or accidentally hurtful from time to time.  Its not worth storing such things up, so I am letting them go because friendships based on human frailty will always have their ups and downs.  Anyway, I love her, even when she's driving me batty.

Monday, 5 February 2018


This whole page started with the words on grey paper "I think I'll hang on" - I'd stamped them with the intention of using them on something else, but then I never did.  When I found it again in my collage stash I challenged myself to use it, and this is what I did!

Because it was grey and black I thought I'd work in monochrome shades on a vivid background, in this case a luscious lime green.  Just for starters I drew lines across one corner with my Posca Paint pens ....
And then it was out with the collage pieces - but I wanted to avoid doing what I often do, which is put a rectangular frame around the page.  This was my attempt at framing with softer edges.
 As you can see in the contrast between the above and below pictures, once you add outlines in black and a shadow, it all begins to form a whole instead of being random pieces.  Down went my "mission statement" text, and I extended the woman's body so I could add to it.
The words about hanging on were important to me because a few months ago, in the face of a second diagnosis of auto-immune illness bringing even more pain and tiredness, I honestly wondered why I was still trying to live a meaningful purposeful life ... when it would be so much easier to give up and just watch daytime TV.  A truly horrid prospect, but I guess it was a low point.

But, because I believe that EVERY life has meaning and purpose, it gradually became clear to me that mine does too - even if I can no longer do some things.  What the heck, I'm trying (and not always succeeding) to look for the positive every day, to rejoice in small pleasures like the first snowdrops, and to believe that things can get better.
There are days when I struggle to hold onto these truths, but that's because I'm a normal human being and I get tired and discouraged sometimes.  But better days ARE coming, there are still joyful things to look forward to (daughter's wedding in November) and there are already snowdrops are showing me that Spring is just around the corner.  That's got to be enough for now, and it is.

Sunday, 28 January 2018


My apologies for being completely flattened by a virus last week - I was reduced to lying on the sofa watching "Say Yes to the Dress" (our daughter is getting married), between extended naps.  Not yet 100% and still resting a lot, but am getting back to something like normal.  There do seem to be some nasty bugs around this winter, as well as the severe flu problems.

Anyway I made this before I got sick, in response to someone who was, um shall we say, being annoying.  Or it could have been me being short-tempered, I admit it.  Either way, I was trying to be very calm, sensible and grown-up while they weren't, leaving me struggling to "love my neighbour" as I should!  As ever, such feelings found their way onto the pages of my journal.

You know by now how much I like Australian Aboriginal art, and I'd recently seen a painting done in blue dots on a deep blue background, so that was my starting point.  One of my favourite Modigliani ladies got things started, but it didn't seem to need any more collage since I knew I wanted LOTS of dots.
Then, having chosen a black and white figure I wasn't sure I liked it, so cheered her up with red hair and began the dots process, as ever done with my trusty Posca Paint pens.  I love this kind of work - it has a meditative aspect - and I like seeing the shapes grow under my hands.
That was when I wrote down what was on my mind.  I'm not proud of it - my inner child was rather cross in fact - and wanting to tell somebody where to go ... but actually I managed to persuade her not to.
I had so much fun with the dotty patterns and the wavy lines.  At some stage the dress got coloured yellow as well - it seemed to need it.
So with that off my chest I was able to continue behaving (if not feeling) like a grown up.  I am reminded of the part of the Desiderata which says ... "avoid loud and contentious persons, they are vexatious to the spirit".  Not just me then.

Monday, 22 January 2018


Alas, Rosie has a nasty virus and will not be posting any time soon.  Sincere apologies to all my readers.  Normal service will be resumed eventually ...

Sunday, 14 January 2018


My other half brought me flowers the other day - yes he still does, after more years than I care to confess to.  I know that makes me lucky, and I wanted to record that truth.

So I prepped a page with gesso followed by lilac acrylic, which I then rubbed off here and there with a wet wipe.  Easiest way I know to start a page and get rid of the glaring intimidating white expanse!
Then, to give you an idea of how I work, I pulled out some bits and pieces of collage which just happened to appeal to me.  Yes I know they are all blue or lilac - I seem to get stuck in the tone on tone mode where I use a palette of similar colours.  I just got made that way.  Not all of the pieces made it into the final page, but that's just my process - try things, keep some, discard some.
Sorry about the apparent colour change below - its the difference between natural and artificial light, the former being in short supply during these dark January days!
Having got some collage pasted down I was beginning to draw some hair around the face, then as usual I outlined the collage pieces with a black line followed by a shadow (done with a marker).  I love how it always makes the pieces 'pop' off the page.
And finally the words and the inevitable doodling.  As you probably already know that is pretty much my favourite part, and very few pages feel complete without at least a few dots!
It would be so frighteningly easy to take my Beloved and everything he does for me as carer, chief cook and bottlewasher, housekeeper, driver, etc etc, but I really REALLY don't want to do that.  I so wish he hadn't had to take on caring for me, but he says he does it because he loves me.  That's pretty special, and the feeling is entirely mutual.  We are, as ever, best friends.

Sunday, 31 December 2017


I didn't set out to make a New Year page, it just sort of happened because this is always a reflective look forward/look back period for me.  It felt good and right to conclude that in all of the many ups and downs the past year has brought, there was so much that was good, lovely and true.

The page began with a soft blue acrylic paint, which I then dabbed off with a baby wipe.  In reflective, nostalgic mood it was possibly inevitable that I went for a soft sepia vintage look in my collage materials.  I used to love making collages with this old fashioned, timeworn look, but don't do so very often these days.
I was just building up layers from my store of bits and pieces, and this time my shadow line was done with a soft sepia (I normally use grey).  Below you can see why I try to avoid shiny paper because of the reflection in the picture - and this wasn't even particularly glossy, but I was taking photographs in artificial light.
Decided I didn't like the centre of the frame so as you can see below I collaged over it until I was happy with the result.  Not sure why the moon turned up, unless I was also thinking about New Moon?  It made sense at the time.  The writing arose from the place my mind had travelled to - sitting in that no mans land between Christmas and New Year, giving thanks for all that had been and looking forward in hope.
At that pointed I decided it needed more blue and think I ruined the effect of the sepia, but what the heck.  The blue I added isn't actually quite as bright as it looks but is the effect of electric light again, so necessary in these often dark, short days.
I left it like this for a while but in the end the blue was really irritating me, so out with the marker pens and I toned it all down.  The result isn't perfect but its better I think?
Once again, I share with you my own hopes for a new year - which are for more light, less pain and a great deal of love, which really is all any of us can ask for or need.
God Bless

Tuesday, 19 December 2017


I'm not getting very many opportunities to journal right now - its a busy season - but eventually managed to fit some in by giving it priority.  Its become something I can't NOT do, necessary to my well-being, because something in me shrinks if I don't.

Having carved out the space and time I sat down and painted my favourite colour combination on the page, not knowing where it would go.
And then I put Frida Kahlo down because she's such a role model for me, and suddenly the words I wanted just came ... pretty much from nowhere.  Or maybe not.  Sometimes I feel empty of anything to give, but in the end there is always this one thing.

As you can see I do very simple lettering, and then later go back and embellish it.
These bands also "just turned up" but after this I left it for a day because I got to a point where I wasn't feeling it and inspiration had gone AWOL, probably just because I was tired.
Then, as you can see below, the next day my enthusiasm and energy were renewed and I basically went mad with the dots and doodles!  I love that part.
I do hope Christmas is a happy time for you and yours and that you will come into a new year rested and renewed.  Thank you for being with me on the journey.