My Painted World

I am an artist, a word gatherer, a realm wanderer and wonderer, I’m a dreamer, an Intentional Creativity® teacher, and traveller of life…

Welcome to my painted world, home to my visionary self who travels between the realms upon the back of a giant bear with curiosity, paintbrush and pen.

It is through the eyes of a visionary artist and the heart of a continuous word gatherer that I’ve learnt to breathe the deepest, to see and feel in a different kind of way, to hear and trust what isn’t always obvious, this is where creative magic lays, eager to be found.

Over time I’ve come to realise it is in amongst the quietness, quite often personal  darkness that our greatest refuge may be found. With eyes wide open I searched through this confusing darkness, listening and gathering, gathering droplets of what emerged as my greatest inspiration.  I’ve nurtured and scattered seeds, allowing them to mature and flourish within pages, through paintbrushes and now through the portal of the canvas and gathering of words, this journey which has laid restless in my heart for so many moons has finally begun.

Whether you arrived here with intention or landed by accident, I thank you for giving me a few moments of your time and very much hope you’ll choose to travel through this website of possibility.

IMG_5122 2

Here is my story written in the way I like to live, think and write…

IMG_5559

Once upon a time gone by there was a little girl who some may say was slightly strange as she preferred animals and rocks to most humans. She spoke and listened to them, heard and saw them, sometimes she even felt their very essence, always gathering much knowledge and compassion along the way.  It wasn’t long before the trees befriended her, as did Mother Nature, the elements and winged friends from the skies above. They guided and inspired her to see her world through the eyes of a visionary, enabling her to navigate her life with a hope filled heart and deep determination.

it was on a full moon as time chased the last minutes before midnight in the mid 1960’s that she called her first cry on our beautiful planet. A cry which together with her brave Mother, a Mother bear from another realm heard and came to comfort by placing one of her cubs as the little girls companion, her guardian. Together with her human family he loved her deeply as she loved him and has remained by her side to this day and beyond.

It is thought much pain met the little girl as she was born into a severely damaged body. This was followed by many surgeries, physical restrictions, trauma, frustration, feelings of inadequacy, feelings of being different. As she grew older in what often felt like an unfriendly world it became clear to her that if she was to have a chance at the life she longed for she would need to find bravery and search for courage.

She believes it was due to these challenges and the darkness that surrounded them that she discovered so many wonderful treasures that many other folk seemed to miss or didn’t have the time or inclination to explore. It was a deep inner knowing that this extraordinary, challenging life she was experiencing just had to be for a reason, an unexplainable, unknown reason that steered her through some devastating times.

The little girl also discovered at a very young age that creativity, especially painting and drawing held the key to her freedom. It set her free from her restrictive life allowing her to experience an alternative way to live and be, to exchange pain and her wheelchair for the back of her guardian bear who’d unconditionally love, witness and protect her, who’d accompany her on visionary adventures, who’d leap to the tallest of treetops so she could chat and comfort the lonely leaf that stuck out on his own.

IMG_5555

Through the wonders of painting and an inquisitive soul she traveled from one realm to the next, she would merge reality with imagination, allowing herself to explore wonder and possibility with a huge loving heart. She was continuously expanding her curious mind whilst firmly believing the best was yet to come.

Time ticked by and the little girl achieved many things and was always grateful for her ability to see through the positive eyes in which she did. She married a wonderful man and was blessed with a remarkable son and beautiful daughter whom she loves with strength like a force of nature.

The little girl loved her life but often felt a little lost. She lived through many adventures, good, amazing and heartbreakingly horrible before a series of difficult events led her on her journey of all journeys where she discovered the magical kingdom of Intentional Creativity.

It was within the safe walls of this castle, around the circle of red thread that she sat in wonder with other brave women, their training began. She learnt the answers to the questions she simply hadn’t known how to ask before, she discovered the lost fragments of herself, she realised her life’s journey had indeed been for something, something wonderful that could be nurtured and created to inspire and encourage others. She discovered all of this and so much more from being accepted, from being acknowledged, from being encouraged to experiment with paintbrush and pen in a mindful transformational, way. She was in fact doing very similar to what she’d always done but the difference was she was doing it with intention, with a wide open heart, with new sight, new breath and under the guidance of a master. It wasn’t long before the little girl realised If she was going to reach her big ambition of becoming a teacher, she would have to call upon her old friends bravery and courage whilst holding on tightly to her creative wands, her wands of opportunity and freedom, her painting tools, brushes and pen.

Some days she could be seen surrounded by her animal family waving her wands as hard and as fiercely as she possibly could, she’d spin around and around conjuring up her own inner magic blasting it out to the canvases that hung on the walls of her tiny dwelling. She would comfort her aching hands in gloves of paint before placing them on her canvas with an enquiring mind. She would excavate intriguing inside imagery and clusters of words and symbols filled with wisdom and wonder. Every creative encounter led to a new adventure, an adventure leading to no definite destination, a journey without restriction or judgement, just freedom and opportunity wrapped in new knowledge. For the little girl this meant everything, it was what she’d been searching for and now she knew how to use it.

IMG_5556

As we approach the last lines of this chapter of her story, I’m able to share that the little girl did reach a big ambition and is now a fully trained certified Intentional Creativity teacher and has come to love the fact, she is definitely more than a little strange and sees it as a gift that she’s been sprinkled with a big large topping of peculiarities.

However, due to a bit of a hiccuttyhup with the little girls health she had to face a difficult decision and please know it was an incredibly difficult decision for her to make. For her to teach the wonderful magic of Intentional Creativity in all its glory, in the way in which she wanted to teach it, she would be needing and very much wanting to demonstrate the process which involves a lot of painting. This leaves her unable to paint for herself, unable to paint the paintings she’s been dreaming of for much of her life and now knows how to bring to the canvas, unable to be the artist she was always meant and now believes she can be. She thought and hoped she could do it all and she tried but it was simply too much and left her heart feeling heavy and sad and her body exhausted. At first she found this difficult to accept, but gradually has, and as one of the gifts Intentional Creativity teaches us is to be true to ourselves, the little girl knew deeply that painting and writing for her at this time in her life needed to come before teaching.

Not wanting to leave this story on a sad note I am happy to share that the little girl is now working on a new series of paintings and writings and loving every minute of it. She misses teaching but knows that for now she has made the right decision.

Although things didn’t actually work out as she’d intended, it would appear that things are now working out as they’re meant to and she tells me she found great hope and comfort within the words of her dear companion, the bear. Whilst on one of their adventures to another realm, he spoke with his deep gentle voice “There are many ways in which you can teach through your story, all will become clear, clear over time, clear you will make it for others, clear for yourself” I for one can’t wait to discover what that actually means!

Just in case I’ve totally confused you I should probably mention the little girl is me, still not quite grown up, still travelling with pain but most definitely enjoying her precious life and peculiarities!

 

If you are curious I have included a factual version of my story below.

I discovered the gifts of imagination and creativity when I was a small child. Creativity cradled me through a pain filled challenging childhood with many hospital stays, intense physiotherapy and so many emotions. Although the path has been long and twisty, creativity, especially painting and writing has led me to where I am today, a very happy creative wand waver!

I would have liked to have studied for a fine arts degree but life had other ideas which insisted that I bury my creativity within a box and place the lid on tightly before following a different path to office work which over time became suffocating.

Some years later after having my son and daughter the lid to my box grew restless, I found myself creating stories and drawings for my children, we would make up rhymes and go on imaginative adventures, we loved it and I became very interested in children’s creativity in general and the freedom that lay within it. This led me to working with preschool children for many years which I loved.

Although I very much enjoyed my time working with children I still had a longing to create for myself so I took some adult education courses for painting and drawing and after some time successfully exhibited my work in the Bankside gallery, London and the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford. I also have illustrations in private collections here in the UK and overseas.

In 2008 my childhood world of imagination started to emerge and I became serious about writing and illustrating. I started by creating small drawings of some of my childhood animal toys, especially teddy bears, soon I was writing short poems to accompany them. I printed my illustrations on cards, bookmarks and prints and exhibited and sold this work at craft and teddy bear fairs, it was very well received. Around the same time I was invited to write and illustrate a series of six articles for the international Teddy Bear Times magazine as well as an article for the New Zealand Teds magazine, this was a very special time for me.

In 2015 I had to slow my illustration work down due to my hands deteriorating from the medical condition that’s accompanied me from birth, this way of working was becoming too restrictive and painful, the only way I could deal with making the difficult decision to close this chapter of my life was to believe I was meant for something else and the best was yet to come.

In 2016 I discovered intuitive painting as well as the work of Flora Bowley, an intuitive artist whose methods were an inspiration to me as well as a positive distraction from my increasing pain. I gave up using small brushes as I was continually dropping them and painted mostly with my hands and pieces of sponge and rag, having my hands in the paint with gentle movement somehow eased the pain, it was soothing and it was like I was beginning to feel rhythms within the paint, I was painting and that’s what mattered to me.

It was at the end of 2016 that things began to slot together when I came across the work of Shiloh Sophia and intentional creativity, her philosophy made perfect sense to me, she’d really got my attention. I enrolled on one of her short courses and that changed absolutely everything for me, it literally woke me up, I felt I’d finally landed where I was meant to be. This led me to taking her teacher training course with the Color of Woman School to become an intentional creativity teacher, graduating in November 2017.

Together with my Intentional Creativity journey I had to travel a parallel path, a path of finding new ways to paint and create, ways in which to reach the enormous canvases I would need to be painting for my training, making adjustments, accepting once again that things were going to have to be a little different. This challenging path has led me to discovering many wonderful things and alternate ways including my woo woo sticks, and amazing painting wall, details of which I plan to share with so much more in future blog posts.

I honestly believe it is now my big adventure begins…there is still increasing pain, frustrations and challenges, all with their own circle of darkness, but without them I wouldn’t be me, I may not be creating paintings or creating this website and certainly wouldn’t be writing a book about this wonder filled journey I’m privileged to be travelling. Most importantly I wouldn’t be hoping my paintings and words may touch you in some small way which may possibly inspire or lead you to embarking  on your own creative adventure.

IMG_5562