Painting is a diary

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This is why I do daily drawings. My sketches, even if they’re rough and unfinished, are a way for me to record my thoughts and experiences from each day. And when I look back at my sketchbooks, I can remember how I felt, where I was sitting, and all the sights, smells and sounds that were around me when I first sketched it. It’s a visceral way to honour each moment.

I can’t manage a drawing every day. And that’s ok. I’d rather be gentle with myself that hold unrealistic expectations. But I try, and that’s what counts. The “almost” daily practice adds up more that you realise. Since I started shortly after my daughter was born, I’ve filled 8 sketchbooks with tiny drawings. That’s three years of memories!

What is one small thing you could do today and tomorrow? That’s my mantra: today and tomorrow... I don’t need to plan any further into the future. If I can manage something today, and then tomorrow, the rest of the tomorrows will take care of themselves.

It’s ok to go slow

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Take a deep breath. Wherever you are is where you’re meant to be. It’s the perfect starting place for the journey ahead. 

Where do you want to go? All it takes is small, slow steps and you’ll get there. 

It’s ok to go slow. 

I’m slowly working towards my illustration deadlines. Work is going well, but I’m choosing not to be overwhelmed by complications or setbacks. Slow work is better work, because I can focus on excellence (but not perfection, of course! )

Invincible creativity

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In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back. — Albert Camus

 

I’m collecting quotes to give me strength as I embark on the busy creative voyage of 2018. Care to share in the creativity? I’m going to be sending monthly meditations on the creative life to those on my mailing list. Sign up on my home page.  

Space Light and Inspiration for 2018

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On the first day of the year I always take a deep breath and tidy the house to create space for new possibilities to arrive in the coming days and months. There is a deep connection between breathing and space and creativity.

This is something I want to explore in the coming weeks.

“Inspiration” means “to breathe in” in Latin. Does that resonate with you? I’m going to send out a newsletter meditating on breathing and inspiration at the end of this month.

Why not sign up to learn more? 

Make your notebook extraordinary

What is a notebook?

A notebook is paper, card, glue, and perhaps a twist of thread to stitch the binding together.

The components are simple.

But notebooks are magical.  As soon as you purchase one at the stationery store and scrawl your name in the front cover, it has been transformed.

It is no longer

just

paper, card, glue and twine; it is an extension of you. When you add yourself to the ingredients list it isn't just

any

notebook anymore, it's

your

notebook. There is no other like it in the world.

You add your thoughts, your habits, your visions, your goals. It is messy. It is neat. It is dog-eared. It is imbued with your personality and emotions. Sometimes your notebook is the only safe place to express those emotions...

Not only that.

It is your notebook at this specific time and place. A notebook you bought and used two years ago will bear no resemblance to the notebook you bought yesterday. In that interval of time you have changed and matured, and the notebooks will reflect that.

To make your notebook extraordinary, and like no other, all you have to do is sit down and: write, scribble, sketch, glue, paste, cut, doodle, or do whatever else you feel like doing at that moment.

And then it is yours.

And it is extraordinary.

Because you are extraordinary.

My notebook collection

This weekend I spent some time organizing my studio, and I thought it might be fun to take you on a tour of my notebook collection and show you how I use them.

My Journal

I have been keeping journals continuously since I was 12 or 13 years old. I started in sweet looking cloth-bount diaries, then moved on to Mead 5-star spiral bound scribblers, then decided that I needed to be stylish and chic, and graduated to moleskines.

I write an entry almost every day. Normally I describe what happened that day (or the day before, if I'm writing first thing in the morning), and outline my thoughts about my projects or things that might be happening in my life.

However, I don't always write journal entries in my moleskine journal. I keep a concurrent journal in a Scrivener file and sometimes I brain-dump my thoughts into that. It's nice to be able to type at the speed of my thoughts, instead of waiting for my hand and pen to catch up.

I'm not precious about my paper journals. They're messy. They're full of scribbles. They're peppered with mis-spelled words and incomplete sentences. Sometimes I only have the time to write quick lists about the day -- things I saw, things I thought about -- in a rapid logging style. My journal is for un-selfconscious experimentation and expression. It's where I push my voice to its limits and figure out what my heart really wants to say. It is utterly private, but at the same time, there isn't much in there that is deeply secret or unsharable.

My Sketchbook

I recently moved from a moleskine pocket sketchbook to a normal sized one. At first I liked the smaller size of the pocket book because I could wedge it between diapers, wipes and bottles in my hold-everything bag. Now that Little One is older, and we don't need to bring the kitchen sink on every outing, I've opted for a slightly larger notebook. It gives me more freedom to decide how large I want my sketches to be. 

This sketchbook is all about daily experimentation and play. I'm not enamoured with the moleskine sketchbook paper. It only does an adequate job of dealing with watercolours and some pens bleed on the paper. That being said, I quite like that I can't be precious about what I'm doing. I feel free to make mistakes because these drawings are only for myself. 

I have many other sketchbooks which are the workhorses for my various jobs and projects. For those I normally use A3 or A4 Seawhite of Brighton sketchbooks. They're big, bulky, fantastic, and rarely leave my studio. 

My Personal Dictionary

This is where I have to admit to you that I'm a nerd; I'm completely, hopelessly nerdy. When I'm reading and I come across a word I don't know, want to use more often, or think is particularly lovely, I write it and its definition down in this little notebook. 

I don't know where I got this book from and it started off as something different. It's first iteration was as a book of lists: things I wanted to bake, things I loved, etc.  But, it turns out that a book of lists didn't inspire me. 

But a book of words? 

Heaven. 

Here are a few of the words therein....

caparison:

ornamental covering for a horse

fulsome:

complimentary or flattering to a excessive degree

dilatory:

slow to act; intended to cause delay

furze:

gorse (a type of plant). Thorny, evergreen, small yellow flowers, grows in the moors. 

pellucid:

translucently clear

plaints:

another way to say "complaints" 

numinous:

having a strong religious or spiritual quality. 

Will I ever use any of these words in every-day writing or speaking? Probably not, but I love knowing that I have enriched my vocabulary with them. 

My Inspiration Notebook 

Whenever I read inspiring passages or facts I copy them into my inspiration notebook.

In essence, this is like an old "commonplace book," which is defined as a notebook into which notable extracts from other works are copied for personal use. 

I'm on my third commonplace book. At first I copied clichéd quotes and song lyrics (I was in my teens). In my second book I copied beautiful paragraphs from novels, and useful paragraphs from non-fiction. 

In my third book, in addition to recording beautiful and useful things, I'm also trying to incorporate more poetry. 

I need more poetry in my life.

My Gratitude Journal

My Easter resolution this year was to keep a gratitude journal. I've flirted with the idea for years; scribbling little notes in the margins of my journals or day planner, but I've never stuck with it for longer than a few weeks, because I've never had a concrete plan.

I realized that if I listed three things I was grateful for every day, that would be 1095 happy things to remember over the course of a year.

I wanted a special notebook to motivate my in my quest for gratitude, so I ordered the gorgeous "Line A Day" diary from Chronicle Books, which is a perpetual diary that runs for 5 years.

Think about this: five years of daily gratitude would record 5475 happy moments.

My Day Planner

My day planner is a black moleskine notebook with squared pages. I have quested high and low, though stationery stores across three continents, and never found my perfect planner. My main requirements are: a weekly view where the daily portions are vertical instead of horizontal, so I can write lists; and lots of space in the margins for weekly lists that are not day-specific. 

For much of last year I used a planner that I had made in inDesign and had printed at our local Notting Hill printing shop. However, after six months the ring binding was in shreds and pages flew hither and thither whenever I opened it. 

Since moleskine notebooks have the strongest binding of any notebook I know, I bought a book with squared pages and ruled the spreads myself. 

I LOVE this little planner of mine. It is my brain. It is my time-keeper. It keeps me sane and helps when I feel overwhelmed. Everything gets written down, so nothing is forgotten (at least nothing important). 

And, there are plenty of pages in the back for me to keep notes on projects I'm working on, books I'm reading or want to read, random lists, and weekly recipes so that I always have the ingredients lists on hand. 

It's a mess, but I love it.

What do you think? 

Do you have any notebooks you can't live without? 

And, would you like a more detailed tour of any of the above notebooks? Please leave a comment to let me know. 

And, as always, show your love by pinning on pinterest, sharing on facebook or twitter, or hearting in bloglovin! 

How to make work easy PLUS a few daily drawings

{Soaring through the week, and crossing things off my list one by one}

It is a sunny, sweet day: perfect for sitting in the breeze and dreaming. 

Next door, workmen are clanking, whirring and banging. It gives me a false sense of industry. I'm not doing much, but someone nearby is working very hard. It feels like that work transfers to me by proximity. Like when I'm drinking tea and the washing machine is spinning loudly. I'm not doing anything, but it is working very hard, and so I feel satisfied and accomplished. 

I have been thinking a lot lately about what work means. 

My Dad always said that we should "work smart, not hard." 

And I've spent my entire life trying to figure out what that means. 

It means being efficient. It means figuring out what is absolutely necessary, doing that necessary thing, and then resting. It is when we rest that we get our best ideas. 

The trick is figuring out what the necessary things are. 

The other day I made a list of my "necessary" things. It is small but mighty: daily drawings, daily journalling, writing stories, working on my illustration projects, reading novels and poetry, keeping detailed to-do lists. (Playing with little-one and hanging out with my husband are necessary things, but they don't fall under the "work" category; they are unadulterated fun.)

That is all. 

Six necessary things.

Of course, my day-to-day life contains a million and one things I need to do: hanging laundry, cleaning the toilet, making my toddler's dinner, making our dinner..... These all huddle under the umbrella of "keeping detailed to-do lists." 

My to-do list umbrella protects me from the storm of tasks that constantly hurls itself at my door like a monsoon. I simply write down the things I think are most important.

And then I stick to it. 

Then powering through the drudgery becomes automatic. For example, I don't question whether or not I clean the bathroom on a Wednesday, I just do it. And, while I'm cleaning, I go through the motions by rote so that I can let my mind glide off and spin in circles, thinking about my wonderful, confounding ideas. 

But, that is tangental.

Meanwhile, I'm focusing on daily drawings, journalling, and doing good work in my studio. 

What are your necessary things? 

How do you work "smart, and not hard? 

Is anyone interested in reading a more detailed post about how I structure my to-do lists so that I can minimize my effort on a weekly basis?

{Don't forget, you can download all sorts of to-do list and planner printables if you join my

"Studio Friends" mailing list.

I'll add more printables every month.}

{The work in progress}

{Hippity-hop hippity-hop}

{Drawing faces on paint blobs}

{I can't get enough of cherry blossoms: I captured these on our morning walk to little-one's nursery school}

{A weekend trip to the Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park, a short bicycle ride from our house}

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Free Printables and a new website

How is it going in your corner of the world? Busy? Wonderful? Challenging? Fun? How would you describe your life right now?

I recently decided to eradicate the word "busy" from my vocabulary. It's not that I'm not busy, it's just that it's not a constructive way for me describe my life right now. The word "busy" makes me feel frantic and hassled. Whereas, if I say that my life is "full" or "rich," I feel like each moment is ripe with possibility.

One of the ways I cope with the "fullness" of my life is to keep detailed to-do lists. Being a working mom with a busy, curious toddler takes a lot of organization!

Do you also want to organize all the "richness" in your life?

I've created a special, printable PDF to-do list notepaper for all my Studio Friends.

Want one?

All you have to do is head over to

the home page

on my website and sign up for my mailing list.

As a Studio Friend, you'll receive no more than 6 emails per year. I don't like a crowded inbox, and I'm sure you don't either!

If you want to download the special "to-do" list and much more you can find it in the resource library in the "Studio Friends" section of my website. There are loads of free printables, from party invites to custom day-planner pages, all free for you to print and use! The "Studio Friends" page is password protected. Want in?  

Head over here

 and sign up for the mailing list.

So, what can you expect from my emails?

I will share insights into my studio: photos and stories and sneak-peaks at works in progress. These are things you won't see anywhere else on the web. I will also share some of the things that inspire me most. Hopefully you'll be inspired too!

My Studio Friends are so special to me!

Why I'm inspired by the clutter on my desk

As I sit at my desk, I can see five coffee mugs or jam jars filled with various pens, pencils, paintbrushes, and crayons; three notebooks half-filled with project ideas and dreams; two sticky-note pads; a scattering of pencil shavings; a baby monitor (she’s still sleeping!); half a dozen tubes of watercolour paint; my computer (on which I’m typing); and a pair of glasses I never wear (I’m convinced my eyes have improved).

I don’t need all these things. In fact, I rarely use half of them. But the fact that they are there, right at my finger-tips, gives me the sense that I could use them, if I were inspired.

If I were inspired...

You see, that’s the operative hope. I desperately need all the clutter on my desk because if it isn’t there, it makes work too difficult. I would have to find the exact pen in the zen-style storage container on my shelf. I would have to search for the perfect shade of blue pencil in the pencil case. I might waste five minutes rummaging through an immaculate storage container to find my favourite "hake" brush for watercolour washes. And in that five minutes, the fleeting, diaphanous idea that had been floating through my mind might have disappeared forever.

But, if my desk is cluttered, or even messy, then everything is ready... just in case.

My desktop clutter is a kind of superstition. If it’s not there, I’m not sure I can make anything.

So, I work with projects layered upon projects. They are piled on my desk, like some sort of sedimentary settlement of creativity. They are a river delta of thoughts; grains of sand upon grains of sand forming an unsteady marsh for me to wade through.

Even the floor is part of my geography of inspiration. Scattered at my feet are: my scanner, my wacom drawing tablet (still plugged into my computer, with the cord snaking off the desk to the floor, just in case), three more notebooks, a binder full of archived lists and ideas, a ream of printer paper, a half-finished book, my garbage can (newly acquired, now at least there isn't any trash on the floor), and several large pads of Fabriano watercolour paper.

In this mess I have my best ideas.

In this mess I feel comfortable.

I think I'm pretty good at keeping our house clean and clutter free. I've read the decluttering manifesto by Marie Kondo. I regularly donate items to the local charity shop. I keep to a rigorous weekly cleaning schedule. I make sure little-one's toys are organized and stowed away at the end of each day...

So, even though I sometimes dream of having the perfect zen-like studio space, full of organized storage, white walls, and calming house plants lining the window sill.

In reality I have happy mess; a happy creative mess.

How I'm hoping gratitude will change my life

It has been two weeks since Easter, and I'm finally planning to take the egg tree down off our mantlepiece and carefully pack the decorations away for another year.

Easter always sneaks up on me. It blooms, unexpectedly, out of winter darkness like a crocus popping out of the snow. Always before I expected it, and always against the odds.

Despite my unpreparedness, it is my favourite holiday. The promise of new beginnings always gives me new hope. Why don't we make Easter resolutions, instead of New Year's resolutions? The momentum of the new-growth would carry us farther than the gloom of winter.

My Easter resolution this year was to keep a gratitude journal. I've flirted with the idea for years; scribbling little notes in the margins of my journals or day planner, but I've never stuck with it for longer than a few weeks, because I've never had a concrete plan.

This year I decided I needed to be more committed.

Enough flirting, let's get serious.

I realized that if I listed three things I was grateful for every day, that would be 1095 happy things to remember over the course of a year.

I wanted a special notebook to motivate my in my quest for gratitude, so I ordered the gorgeous "Line A Day" diary from Chronicle Books, which is a perpetual diary that runs for 5 years.

Think about this: five years of daily gratitude would record 5475 happy moments.

I hope that as the years go by I will notice how my responses to gratitude will evolve, and that I will discover aspects of my life that I have previously underrated.  Maybe I will even discover the secret to lasting happiness. (One can only hope).

When I look back over a period of time and think "I have been happy" or "I have been unhappy," what I say depends completely on the mood I am in at the time.

If I am happy -- if my daughter is laughing and content, and I have had time to draw, or paint, or read -- then that moment acts as a thread to connect to all the other happy moments in my life, when I have felt similarly content.  It becomes a string of pearls extended backwards in time.

But if I am unhappy, then I am reminded of all the moments in my past when I have been sad or discontent. The past, and therefore the future, seems impossibly bleak and cold, with all those unhappy memories starting at me like reflections in a hall of mirrors.

What I want to do is focus on all my happy memories.  To do that I need to focus on being happy today, so that I can pull that pearl-string of happy memories back into my life.

I want to dwell in gratitude.

This is how I'm doing it:

1. Setting a time.

I like to write my gratitude list right before going to bed, so that I can fall asleep surrounded by happy memories.  So that I don't forget (and I forget everything nowadays) I set a reminder on my phone to go off at 9.30pm.  I'm usually asleep by 10pm.

2. Three unique things.

I try to make my items unique. So, if I'm grateful for a cup of coffee for the third day in a row, I try to think of something special about it. Maybe holding the warm cup in my hands. Or the smell. Or the ritual of preparing it.  That way I can explore as many aspects of the things I love as possible and not get bored in occasional repetitiveness of the process.

3. Really being grateful.

Once I've written my list I pause for a moment and I actually say "thank-you" for those things I've just written down. That way I can internalize the gratitude and not write the lists mindlessly (though some evenings I'm so exhausted I'm happy if I can put pen to paper.)

If you liked this post, pin it, share it, tweet it... or just leave a comment to say hello!

A hand painted iPhone wallpaper and more daily drawings

My Christmas gift this year was upgrading my iphone4 to an iPhone6. I've never been much of a technology snob, but this small change has revolutionised my smart phone experience. The camera is crystal clear, maybe even nicer than my fancy dslr in some ways. 

However, the one thing the new phone didn't have was my favourite "cloudy cosmos" wallpaper. 

So I decided to paint my own! 

Sunset on the winter solstice above the roofs of west London. 

The view from our kitchen window 

Sketching on regent street 

Adventures.... at Gladstone's Library in North Wales

I spent two days working in the grand theology room at Gladstone’s Library.  I desperately needed some peace, quiet and rest after 10 strenuous months of motherhood. My mom and M looked after baby while I burrowed into hibernation in North Wales.

I set up my computer, my notebooks, and all my other resources (pens, paper) and hoped that both motivation and inspiration would be close at hand.  The library reminded me, nostalgically, of my studying days; sitting in the Warburg with piles of books, trying to sift through citations and notes to discover some clear ideas about art history.

Like panning for gold.

It felt similar being at Gladstone's Library. I wasn't actually there for the books, but for the "bookish" atmosphere.  I wanted to sit quietly in a place inspired by, and completely passionate about, books.

So there I was; with all my supplies; ready to work; but with no idea what I should be doing.

I revelled in the quiet, dusty smell of old books, with their tooled bindings and leather covers. I heard the hushed whispers of other studious folk. Their fingers tapped their computer keys (were they more inspired that I was?). They shuffled papers. Every so often quiet sighs of contentment or frustration echoed in the vaulted hall.

I sat in solitude and silence for 2 days, and this is what I learned...

  1. It’s so much easier to “want” to write a story than to actually write it. I could feel the emotions of the story running in an undercurrent, through me, like an invisible river. But I was having difficulty becoming quiet enough to plumb the depths. 
  2. You will be compulsively driven to work or read at Gladstone's Library... because there isn't much else to do. If you wanted to procrastinate: you could walk up the hill to Hawarden Castle and back; you could have a coffee at the Gallery Cafe or a glass of wine at one of the two local pubs; you could stare at photos of houses for sale in the windows at the two estate agents on the high street (so much more affordable than London!); or you could read the names of all the departed souls on the gravestones at St. Deiniol's chapel. That pretty much exhausted my (very creative) efforts at procrastination. And then I gratefully returned to the library, my stack of notebooks, and my thoughts. 
  3. Time stretches. And stretches. And stretches. Solitude and silence made each hour feel three times longer than at home. (There's a lesson in this about and nature of time and chronos vs kairos, but I'll think about that later...)
  4. I work best amidst a little commotion. The washing machine spin cycle; builders erecting scaffolding across the road; groceries being delivered; they all create a feeling of time being very precious. If I tell myself I have an hour before Little M wakes up from her morning nap and I need to finish "x," I often accomplish far more than I could have expected. This made me confident about returning home with a renewed sense of purpose and an enthusiasm to work in the midst of our busy household. 
  5. Gladstone's library is a bibliophile's dream. It is the only "residential" library in the UK; which means it is a simple hotel housed within an amazing library. It has a bar, a cafe serving very good food, a chapel, and books, books, books. The bedrooms are basic, but have everything you might need, except a TV (...which is in one of the lounges. The assumption is that you didn't come to the library in order to lie in bed and watch telly). And it is amazingly affordable! I would return in a heartbeat. It's the perfect place to both "get away from it all" and gain a bit of inspiration.  

My stay at Gladstone's library was everything I wanted it to be. I had solitude and rest in spades. I read. I wrote. I fleshed out the idea for a new story. I planned. I imagined. I daydreamed. 

In the end, I left refreshed and rejuvenated, and eager to return home and bury my head in Little M's curls.

Fancy your own quiet weekend amongst the books at Gladstone's Library?

Check out their website here

*  *  * 

And finally... 

Did you enjoy this post?

 Feel free to pin the photos, heart the post on bloglovin, tweet it, or share it on Facebook. And, make sure you subscribe or follow along to get even more weekly inspiration and follow along in my creative journey. 

See you next week!

{Heaven in the Library}

{The Bar}

{The Gorgeousness!}

{Time to Read}

{The view from the graveyard}

{The Library Garden}

{Classical music on the radio in my bedroom}

How and why to keep a reading or book journal

When I was a teenager I discovered an old notebook of my grandmother's in which she had written down the title of every book she had read as a teenager in her gorgeous, florid handwriting.

Seeing her notebook inspired me, and shortly afterwards I bought a small notebook from our local dollar store and started keeping a reading journal of my own.  I have recorded 715 books that I read for pleasure since October 30, 1999 (which is weird, as I just realized that my daughter was born exactly 15 years later!).

I didn't realize when I started how much that little reading journal would influence my life. It has become a bibliography or road map tracking my personality, my worries, my likes, my dislikes and my fascinations.

Why you should keep a reading journal: 

1. To remember what you've read.

 Sometimes I'll remember a story I read, but won't remember the title.  Or I'll want to recommend a book that I loved three years ago... It's handy to be able to open my notebook, flip to the relevant page, and find the title and author.

2. To track your changing personality and reading taste.

 Certain books speak to us at certain times in our lives.  When I look back at the books I was reading a year ago, three years ago or 10 years ago I can see exactly who I was at that time and how those books nourished my personal quests.

3. To keep track of how much you've read.

If you're like me, you are a competitive reader.  Each year I want to read more than the year before.  The goal isn't always more books, but to read with more discernment.  One year I read all of Shakespeare (except for the history plays).  Other years I have had other challenges for myself.  Keeping a reading journal keeps me accountable for my reading goals.

4. To record your impressions of a book.

 My reading journal started out as a simple bibliography (Title, Author, Date Read), and hasn't expanded beyond that.  However, I also keep a "Commonplace Book" where I collect quotes and passages that inspire me.  This is like an extension of my reading journal.

5. It makes you a better reader and a better writer.

 When you keep a book journal you are practising conscientious reading.  You're reading with purpose, and giving focused attention to something invariably makes you better at it.

How to keep a reading journal:

1. Selecting a container.

The decision here is digital vs paper. When I started the digital world wasn't nearly as advanced as it is now.  I bought a little notebook from our local dollar store and started recording the books as simple bibliography entries. As that's how I started, I don't think I'm going to change my system.  You could get a slightly larger notebook and include your favourite quotes, if you wanted.

I know that Moleskine does a special reading journal notebook, which might be a nice option.

If you want to go digital, you could open a word document, or even use one of the reading log websites such as goodreads or librarything.  The thing with goodreads that frustrated me is that you can't record books twice, which means you can never record when you've re-read a book. (My husband always teases me about how often I re-read books.)

2. Decide how much or how little you want to record.

This is completely up to you. Do you want to write a book review and collect quotes for each book? Or do you simply want to record the title, author and date you read it?  Those three entries are the absolute minimum.  You could also record how you acquired the book or who recommended it to you (bookstore, library, borrowed from friend, found on the train seat, etc). And you could have a system for rating the book.  I usually put a small dot beside titles I really enjoyed.

If you do decide to copy quotes, make sure you write down the page numbers for each one, or you'll never be able to find the original again (I've learned from my mistakes).

3. Number the books.  

Your first entry will be # 1.  Then number each subsequent entry so that you can keep track of how many books you've read since you started.  I've read 715 books for pleasure since Oct, 1999.  I didn't include the innumerable books I had to read for academic papers and research, as all those books would have been recorded in the various research bibliographies appended to my essays and dissertations.

4. Record the book when you've finished it.

If you don't, you'll lose track.

5. Keep a page or two at the back to record books you want to read.

Whenever someone recommends a book, or I read a book review that sounds interesting, I write the title of the book down in the last pages of my reading journal.  That way I'm never stuck for something to read when I have no books on my bedside table.

Have you every kept a reading journal?  Do you have any tips? 

Let's paint the town...

The other day I was walking home from the grocery store and I saw a blank billboard above one of our local cafes.  

I wondered, "What if artists could take over the billboards of London for one day? What would the city look like?" 

Sometimes I get tired of being forced to stare at advertising for phones, cars, musicians, movies and car insurance packages. I'd much rather wander down the street and stare at beautiful, inspired work by local artists. 

So, I came home and placed one of my own paintings on the billboard in photoshop.  

It's fun to dream, isn't it? 

A few snapshots of my studio

These past few weeks I feel like I've been participating in a triathlon, but instead of three sporting events I'm working on three creative endeavours.  The first is book one of Mattie's Magic Dreamworld for Random House Struik, the second is book two in the same series, and the third is baby!  (You can see a few watercolours from book one above)

Let me tell you, creating a person is a lot harder than I expected it to be.  It is both physically and emotionally draining.  Much of my creative energy is being siphoned off into the task of building a this little human, which is such an amazing and inspiring process!

In the meantime, I'm enjoying home-made lattes and the post-storm rainbows I've been seeing above the rooftops of London. 

What's been happening in your life lately?

I'd love to know!