Saturday, 30 April 2011

Painting Transformation

As I was sitting on  my hammock enjoying the sun over the last few weeks I saw our very sad, chair, hanging around in the corner.  I bought this patio furniture set in Woolworths 5 years ago when moving in.  The table has been donated to Will's allotment along with the other 2 chairs, keeping 2 here for us.

But oh dear, they look sad and not very inviting.   In a flash moment of colour, I decided I was going to do some painting, only this time - the furniture.  I had some lovely emulsion paint left over and a spare mixing pot, so here I became Miss Mixer and had a base blue and added some white.  I just love the colour I made.
Sad looking thing before

The 2 chairs looking more fun and alive

Miss Lucy always is in frame when I'm taking photos!
I also found a little stool that I had bought from Ikea ages ago and thought it would make a lovely little addition to the chair family.  So I painted the top.  Not too sure at this point whether to keep it all blue.

Then, my friend Lesley popped over for a cuppa and she said "Why don't you paint one of your girls on the top of that little stool?"  You know what?  That's a fab idea.  It didn't take me long to decide who was going on there as I have a little supply of girls for canvases etc...  So I did.

I'm soooooo delighted with the outcome.  It completely enhances our lovely little garden.  The colour blue reminds me of the sea and for some reason I feel all Mamma Mia'ish when I look out there.  They're now sealed with outdoor varnish so they're ready to spend the summer out there.  Love them.

A bouquet of hearts for you x
Lots of Love
Jules xx

Friday, 29 April 2011

Today's the day - My Book is Published!

Me holding a copy of my book!
I really must blog more as I have so much to write about.  It has been over 2 weeks since my last post, gosh, where has that time gone?  I have been so involved with my book arriving, painting, creative, getting my workshop organised for May 8th, booking a workshop in Portugal with Flora Bowley, organising my wedding in September (oh I don't think I mentioned that!) and working on some personal creative projects around the house. (plus more painting in the garden).

Need to take a breath.  Let's tackle one thing at a time.  

Firstly, I received about 200 postcards from the publisher for me to send out, which are just delightful.  When I saw them I felt a flitter (or this flutter) of anticipation and just thought... oooooooooooo wooooooooooooooow.

and.. breathe Julia ..

Then at the weekend, a package arrives on the mat.  Could it be?  Yes it was.  My book!!!!
Gosh, the feeling of opening the envelope and holding it.

A day later I received some more complimentary copies of my book.  Such a wonderful feeling.

For those who may be reading this, wondering what it's about: well it's a coaching book that helps those applying to UK universities to creatively start the blooming process for writing their personal statement. Selling themselves on paper, in a nutshell.  In alot of the work I do and have done, I work with individuals who face a blank page and just don't know where to begin.  

So whilst in France last year, I sat down and thought about all the times I have helped, supported, creatively coached people and decided I would start to dabble with the concepts.  What evolved was a seven step process.  

  • Collect it
  • Expand it
  • Prove it
  • Draft it
  • Build it
  • Review it
  • Submit it

Hey Presto.  I submitted it to a publisher I had found in my Writers Year book, How to Books Ltd in Oxford.  Their spec seemed to fit the bill.  I sent off my proposal just as I left France to return home to Liverpool having spent 5 months there.  (writing for 3).  I received an instant thank you from the publisher, Nikki, and then about 4 weeks later, I received an email saying they would like to publish it.  

Here I am, not even 1 year later since I returned and I hold the copy in my hands.  In September 2010, I submitted the full manuscript and 7 months later, it's published.

It just shows me and proves to me what I can achieve.  I have wanted to write this for such a long time.  I really hope that it helps those people who perhaps do not get the support they need from their schools/colleges and more so, for those who apply as individuals and are doing it all pretty much on their tod.  

Now nearly being published and realising that everyone has the opportunity to read it and to critique my 7 steps, I feel the nerves of  vulnerability - people assessing what I've written thinking that it's either a load of Tosh, or Fandabidozi.

Well, let's hope mine is the latter.

Right, I'm off to watch the Royal Wedding - Today is a day for champagne all round, a toast to William and Kate plus my book.

Love, Love, Love
Jules xXx
Miss Lucy always gets in the photos!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Painting in the Sunshine

I find if I am to paint then there's nothing quite having a block of time to spend, lost in colour.  I tend to have more than one painting on the go - sometimes I'll be finishing off one and I'll need to add some detail, perhaps another layer, then move on.  

This is how I spent my afternoon.  Today Will spent pretty much all day on the allotment and I de-camped and set up a table outside in the garden.  The sun was just gorgeous.  As a Leo, I love it.  So I took my little table, shlepped it outside, and then whatever paints I had at home.  I still have my studio over at my parents, tho' I find that I need to be more home based these days with work, clients etc... so I have to double up on art space.
I have been working on a commission and also finishing off my paintings so that I can make prints, and create some stock for my soon to be launched etsy shop.  Started making a design for my wedding invitation, which I thought would be a lovely Julesie thing to do.......More about this another time! 

I enjoyed being outside, catching the sun and deep in thought as I played with paint, colour, layers.   I have been reading my Kelly Rae Roberts book again which I just love and spent some time earlier going through her blog post timeline and how she started her art journey and where she is to this day.  It's inspiring and I must remember that it's possible for me too.  I'm doing quite alot of soul searching these past weeks about different aspects of my life.  Focusing on much journal writing, drawing and sketching, plus looking at how I can support my book coming out on 29th April.  Got to get my head round this and put some energy there in recording video.  Yikes!  
There's nothing quite like SunDrying!

My Muse and Painting Protector
Anyway I have found a great way to store my paints which was suggested by Melody Ross over at Brave Girls ... ingenious! I'll post that soon.

Happy Sundays 
and Mondays 


Monday, 4 April 2011

Have you ever been to therapy?

at Dream
I suppose you could say that I'm a portfolio worker.  What this means is, my time is split between various jobs that I do.  Part of the week I'm employed and then all the rest of the time I'm self employed as a artist, writer and creative coach. I don't necessarily call them 'jobs' but they're all projects.  I have been pondering on the word 'do' for a few weeks now since I started Beth Nicholls ecourse 'do what you love' which is hitting out some very tough questions.  The very first week we were asked not What do you want to do in your life?  But, how do you want to feel in your life?  Have you ever thought of this?

So, in my employed time, I work as a careers coach in an independent school in Liverpool and I also work in a health food shop, just me, on my ownsome, advising customers about vitamin and mineral supplements etc... and the other day I  am flicking through the March edition of "Your Healthy Living" magazine, and start reading an interview with Cindy Crawford.  We all know who she is right?  The interviewer asked her "have you ever been to therapy?"  I think that's a tad nosey but ok, I'm reading it, so this is how Cindy replies:   

"It's funny because I go to the homeopathic doctor and he's a great friend of mine, I walk in and he says, how happy are you on a scale from 1 to 10 and I say to him; Jim, my goal in life is not to be happy.  I don't need to be happy all the time, I need to feel.  First of all, you can't be happy all the time.  So if that's your goal, you're going to fail.  I just want to be present in whatever it is.  Even if it's the bad stuff.  I'm not afraid of rolling up my sleeves and talking..... I want to engage with whatever it is, good or bad.  I don't measure success by happiness or by things, I measure it by whether I was there"

Thump.  I felt hit by this very short paragraph.  I have read these words so many times over the last 20 odd years, in various forms.  But for some reason, on this day, this really made me go.  'Yes.  You're right Cindy.'  (believe me, I never thought I would be writing about Cindy C).  This article has been playing on my mind which is why I'm writing about it here. 

I had realised that pretty much all the time, I do have very high expectations of myself.   

I strive to be happy, to live a peaceful life, in a certain way and sometimes, it just doesn't happen that way.   If we could buy a measuring tool for happiness - I'm sure I'd find that what is being happy for one is not necessarily being happy for another.  If I'm not feeling whatever it is I need to feel, then I just surrender to it and say to myself 'It is, what it is'.

I thought I'd have lots of children by now and I don't have any.  Does that make me unhappy?  It does, Yes.  And yet, I'm working with this one and coming to terms with it.  I'm feeling it.  I can't measure my life against it.  I don't want to measure it against my happiness.  Does that makes sense?  Does it?

Who would have thought that a simple paragraph in a freebie health magazine would have sparked these thoughts.  It just goes to show that the written word is still incredibly powerful. 

Hope this makes sense.
Phew, you made it to the end.
Jules xxx

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