Mandalas and Dream Catchers

I’ve been drawing mandalas for many, many years. Once it was a tool that helped focus me and bring me into a quiet and meditative space. Another time mandalas became a way of connecting with and working through my feelings in a troubled time. I kept a book filled with my intricate drawings for years until I felt it was time to let them go as I moved on with life. I thought my time with mandalas was done – I turned instead to doily making, a kind of crochet version of a mandala if you freestyle it and work with form and colour as your heart dictates. A thoroughly satisfying and restful occupation, mainly done during long winter evenings and eventually ending up, not with a book, but a blanket – a more cuddly and useful product formed from many hours of quiet contemplation.

And then recently I fell somehow into the idea of painting little dream catchers – a version filled with doodles and shapes of a repetitive nature emulating the work of a mandala.  Here are some I’ve been working on.  They are not quite finished yet…….


Then my journal page got a workout with this


I thought I was painting a mandala – which goes to show you never quite know when you pick up some colours where you might end up ………

The process, if you are interested, was to lay down a mixture of colours over the entire double page spread.  You see them now just as the background of the mandala.  Then I used a circle template to pencil in three circles, the rest is done freehand.  The mandala grew from the centre outwards, with lines and doodles and black, white and gold pens.  When the sixth ring was completed the remaining page was painted black.  When the black paint was dry I continued drawing and doodling the pointy outer shapes and finally the ribbons and feathers – at which point I realised my mandala had become a dream catcher.  I felt the black was too heavy so finally I made lots of squiggly marks all over using a white gel pen.

And here are some details of the piece –





So, even though it’s not quite a mandala and not quite a dream catcher, it was a lot of fun to make!  And it might make nice prints – what do you think?

Finally, for his fans – here is Siddy this morning.  Patiently waiting for Orlando to wake up and accept the toy that is being offered so they can play.


He did wake up and Siddy did his happy dance, but Orlando didn’t want to play – again…….  (sigh)……….

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

Has Commercial Christmas Started at Your Place Too?

My birthday, as I keep telling you, falls at the beginning of September.  A few days later I went into the city – somewhere I avoid normally – and was truly totally amazed to see every store had put out the first of their Christmas decorations and assorted stuff.  September!!  I thought it all arriving en-masse near the end of October was bad enough – soon we’ll be shopping for festivals and holidays all year round.  Are you like me and think this is ever so slightly crazy?

I did wonder if it is just here, where we do not really celebrate Halloween or have Thanksgiving as national pastimes like, for instance, our American friends.  Our national holidays are fairly low key and not hugely commercial affairs, so have the corporations decided that, lacking these other two major fiscal opportunities, to make the time of ‘Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All Men’ a spectacular four month long spending spree?  Or am I being just a tad cynical in my old age?  Maybe you like it!  So come on down and share with us – when do you think Christmas should appear in the shops?

So having done my anti-establishment rant about the commercialisation of holidays, I will now jump on the band wagon.  That’s the irony of life isn’t it!  For there is, purely coincidentally, good news for any of you who were pondering on items in my ‘Contented Crafter’s Gift Shop‘ and maybe put off by the exorbitant additional cost of shipping.  For just a short time – unknown exactly how long as yet – postage on any item, to any place, anywhere, is free! And, as just complained about by my good self, in time for the major gift giving season too.  Whoot-whoot!!  Ah well, if you can’t beat ’em you may as well join ’em as someone famous once surely said!

There are also, of course, pages from the art journal to be shared.  I’m beginning to work up so many ideas for proper paintings I don’t know where to start:

There’s this one based on an event from many years ago when my life was in crisis


There’s this one, just playing around with texture and colour


Or this one, where my latest addiction to gold paint and decorative tapes is indulged


And here, where I am just starting to play around with ideas for a proper painting


It’s an eclectic mix isn’t it!  Any thoughts?  I’d like to find time to make some more bracelets, my wrists feel they are in need of some decorative touches………

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

Back to Work!

Hello there blogging friends!

It’s spring here at last and the sap is finally rising.  The daffodils are smiling, the blossom is blossoming and the birds are singing enthusiastically by 5 am every morning.    It’s just wonderful!

Another short break has ensued from posting here while I had my two week long birthday festival, followed by a mild case of flu, followed by a back that got put out by all the festivities, followed by trying to catch up with everything that had got away on me.  All is well again now and we are good to go as we cruise towards summer.

Of course I kept on making stuff all this time – several light catchers got sent off for example – and not a one of them photographed before doing so…….  Sigh!!

Miles of decorative tape got made – such an excellent activity when you only have energy to plop yourself onto the sofa and keep yourself amused with doodles and colour – a few cards got put together with said decorative tape and a few note books and journals found themselves titivated up as well.  Serious painting duties have now resumed.

Decorative Tapes are made by laying down strips of masking tape onto plastic cutting boards, the kind that you buy from the $2 shop, and painting them or doodling them start to finish.  The centre one in the photo below is all doodles, the other two are painted and when dry I used gold paint through stencils.  The one on the right has additional doodles.  Loads of fun!


Some books got covered with other decorative tapes:

The back and front covers of another notebook:


A journal cover for the official photographer – who incidentally took none of these photos – but that’s okay as I’m not that enthralled with the quality of cover that she received!


Little thank you cards were made from paper painted with left over paint from other activities that piles up until I feel I want to do something with them – these ones were dabbed with paint on a small round dauber I was using at the time:


Storage for little thank you cards made from an empty packet of washing machine powder covered with paper and edged with decorative tape


A journal page almost completed, edged with more decorative tape:


And I’ll leave you today with a small peek at an amazing basket of flowers received from Ms Laurie at Life on the Bike and Other Fab Things for my birthday.


Blessed indeed!

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!


Bottoms Up!

So!  I began to get a series of emails from Twitter advising me I had new followers.  This may not be big news to some of you avid tweeters – but to me, whose Twitter account at three years old sported twelve followers and whose only tweets consisted of the automatic notifications made when I posted something on WordPress – it was a bit unexpected.  Especially as they addressed me as Tericia and the new followers were mostly all young Latino looking dudes sporting an arm muscle or a Superman/ Batman, or interrelated Marvel Comics costume.

I assumed, in my all my worldly wisdom, that Twitter had somehow cocked up and mistaken my elderly profile for some pouting Latino looking dudess named Tericia and they’d soon enough sort out their mistake.

Time passed and the emails kept coming, accompanied now and again by a private message containing single words like ‘hey’ or ‘hot’.

I thought I must go check my Twitter account soon as I’ve done ……

So, this morning, with the weather turning wet and cooler again and my plan to plant up the spring garden put on hold, I hunted around, found and opened my Twitter account and was truly amazed to discover a lovely profile picture of a slim, dark haired me pouting provocatively up at my hand held cellphone and my name clearly scribed across the top Tericia McGowan.

Well, I’ve heard of the Mandela Effect and all that, but I didn’t expect to slip through universes and dimensions as a totally different ethnic and generationally nubile and re-named me.  I had a quick peek in the hall mirror just in case – but nope, still Contented, still -er – generationally mature and definitely not nubile!

Tericia had definitely been handed my account – Oh, hang on – I’m slow, but I’m not that slow!  Had Tericia in fact hacked her way into my account?  Oh ho!  Off I went looking for evidence.  Where my nice little bio had once been telling you all about my contented retired, artful life now rested a nice blue link address.

Of course I hit it – don’t be silly, what would you have done?

You could have knocked me sideways with a feather duster!  Or, as my favourite aunt would once have said ‘Well, bugger me!’

It took me a moment to realise that the two beautifully curved and rounded gleaming moons shining out at me was in fact a bottom, an ass as you Americans say; an arse for my English friends; a derriere, a behind, a bum!



Arched.  Taut.  Erotic.

Well, that explained all the muscles and Superman and Batman and so forth costumes!

There were many photos of Tericia’s bare and tightly bunned bum.  She must, quite rightly be very proud of it.  However she picked the wrong dudess to hack!  This hacking victim is well versed in the sublime art of the ‘Interesting Times Curse’* and planned on putting it to good use.

I battled my way through all the incongruities and inconsistencies of my Twitter page and eventually removed all traces of Tericia McGowan [may you live in VERY interesting times Tericia McGowan and long enough for stretch marks to pit your twin moons!] and reclaimed my Twitter account for me.

Lastly I looked into my ‘Followers’ list.  Almost TWO THOUSAND! Last time I looked it was twelve …………..  And no way – no way Twitter people – to mass eradicate them.  There they were all those lovely young men looking like they might just have emerged from pre-pubescence into puberty; strutting their stuff according to their life view – but all – ALL! – very attracted to the bum of Tericia McGowan.  Not a one of them there to enjoy my journey back into the world of artiness.  [May you all live in interesting times young men! – oh, that’s right you do!!]

So, Tericia McGowan [may you live long enough to see your taut little ass dissolve into a lumpy puddle!]  I had to spend three hours of my life – three hours I can’t really afford to waste at this end of the life spectrum – blocking one by painful one each of your avid rear-end admirers.

I now have twelve followers again.

To any of you who read my blog and who may have come across one of my tweets and who may have inadvertently – or out of mere curiosity hit that harmless looking blue link in my bio field – I hope you enjoyed looking at Tericia’s bare bum – I  suppose you realised quite quickly it wasn’t mine, but were too bemused to enquire any further…..  ??

I’m not at all connected to my Twitter account.  But I have two very kind blog readers who loyally tweet out my posts as they hit the airwaves and who may have helped grow my sudden large following if they have any young dudes on their twitter lists ………  [Just joking Norah and David!]  I hope none of your friends investigated the little blue link under the name of Tericia McGowan.  If they did I apologise! If Tericia McGowan [may you live long and grow some self respect Tericia!] comes back again, I may just have to let her have it!

Still, it’s all done now – I’ve reclaimed my Twitter account and found a couple of other interesting/nice folks to follow too and I’ve got my lovely twelve followers.  One day I might even see the point of having Twitter and go read some tweets.

So, if you’re still with me [well done!] here’s a fun little art journal page to finish off.  Staying with the subject of birds, twitty ones, it features an owl, a bird who is equated with wisdom.  Perhaps he’ll fly over Tericia McGowan and drop a bit on her.  :-)

Painted over black gesso across two pages, with stencils and modelling paste leaves and stars.  The little verse bottom left made itself known as I finished – it’s a bit Roald Dahl-esque don’t you think? I’m dedicating it to Tericia McGowan – enjoy!

Good NightIf you click once on the photo you will see the painting pretty much life size; click twice and you’ll see every brush stroke – or be in Kansas!

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

*Commonly attributed to the Chinese, it may in fact be an American invention. I just found this out via Mr Google – I love Mr Google!  ‘May you live in interesting times!’ usurps any hopes for peace and quiet and ease in the victim’s daily life.  The up-side of this of course is that it is through troubling events that we deepen as human beings through personal growth and through the opportunity to reach out and help each other.

Muckin’ Abart In My Sketchbook

Here are some sketches I make with different lead and coloured pencils in the evenings, when I just sit and play with ideas and see where they lead – if anywhere.  Just ‘muckin’abart’ really!

At first, when I started painting again, I was just re-familiarising myself with some mediaJournal6

and faces11 8 16

Later, I tried timing myself to see what happened if I didn’t get stuck in detail


This ten minute sketch stretched to twenty minutes……

20min sketch

For some reason I spent an hour playing around with perky birds…



I’m not particularly good at birds and animals – but these were good enough to make me have a shot at Siddy last night – he doesn’t stay still long enough for me to get it really right – but I’ll keep going………


Someone else inspired me to play with modern day flower fairies….. the circled bits indicate I like that idea and want to take it further…….

Flower Fairy1

I really like this one, the one that I’ve coloured – but she hasn’t gone any further yet:

Flower Fairy 2

The first one made it onto an art journal pageflowerfairyfull

While the page was a bit of a wash out  – hence the lake and swans appearing – the fairy herself is great fun.  I like a fairy with attitude!

fairy detail

It’s coming along.  I’ve got several art journal pages to show you next time – I feel like I’m getting near ready to start work on canvas again…….

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!


If the Earth Were Only

Here is a recent entry in my art journal – this one took about four days of work to get to ‘finished!’ status.  The main problem was that in my enthusiasm to get started I forgot to gesso the pages so was working on raw water colour paper.  It was inspired by a double whammy, picking up a verse I know well and seeing an artist at her work on You Tube.

If the Earth Were Only ..... Art Journal August 2016

If the Earth Were Only …..
Art Journal August 2016

Do you agree with me that the big-eyed girl is a bit of a worry?  I had seen videos on You Tube from an artist named Megan Saurez and am quite fascinated with her style – I have always tended to big eyes in my work, partly because I think the eyes are the window to the soul and are the most important part of the face – Megan takes it a step further and paints delightfully impish faces and I wondered what would happen if I made my eyes even bigger ………  I don’t have her talent or technique to make it work though – suffice to say I won’t go quite that big again…………

I’ve had the verse in my possession since sometime in the mid 80’s.  An older student gave it to me, thinking I would like it.  She was right!.  I’ve since used it several times when working with middle teens and even some adults.  I just found out the author’s name via Mr Google – don’t you love the internet!!  I couldn’t find out anything else however, just his name, Joe Miller, and the fact that he wrote this piece in a little book which got slated for being neither scientific or spiritual, just a woolly mix of both. Which says more about the reviewer than the work in my opinion.

It speaks strongly to young teens who are beginning to stand firmly in their ‘scientific facts’ and yet still have their hearts touched by something a little more intangible, resting in the realm of feeling.

Personally I think everyone should come in contact with this verse at some time in their lives.  And think about it.

Thanks to the kindly input of Derrick Knight after my last post, the issue with the biggifying feature has been resolved.  You can click twice to get a really good look at my appalling penmanship!

Here’s the text only:

If the Earth were only- text

And here’s a close-up of the face.  I like the hair – on the actual double page spread it looks like fields and hedgerows and forests…….

If the Earth were only - detail

What do you think?

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

I Am a Tree

I just want to say thank you to all you lovely people who have popped by in the last three days.  Thank you for your kind and supportive words and thank you for coming to visit in droves despite my long and unexplained absence.  I so appreciate each and every one of you!  You have quite made my last couple of days most enjoyable  :-)

As a result, here’s another post hot on the heels of the first – just because I’m really happy and you know I have months of missing posts to make up for ……….

After painting every day for almost three weeks I was still really struggling to find my way with colour and form and technique.  And because I was receiving so many private emails and messages wondering if I was okay because of my absence from the blogging world I decided to bite the bullet and share what I was doing.

I was frankly amazed, though I shouldn’t have been, for the community around this blog is made up of the most fabulous people!  All those messages of support, so kindly given, left me quite touched and I awoke yesterday morning to find something in me had moved and changed.  I couldn’t wait to get the chores out of the way and get to the work station.  I knew what to do and decided to just go for it.  By last night a double page spread had emerged in my art journal, almost seamlessly, and was finished and, most importantly, I felt really happy with it.

It is by no means perfect, but it will be I think the basis for another work further down the track.

This idea was sparked by my friend Yvonne’s post that featured relief heads of women found around Venice.  The final photo featured an unusual fresco and aroused a number of comments both helpful and unhelpful.  Mine was one of the unhelpful ones!  All was revealed in Yvonne’s following post.  I thought she was a tree sprite of some kind and even though I was completely wrong – or perhaps because I was – I fell to musing about the spirit of trees and how they might appear, which then led to some further musing on what they might have to say.

I am a tree Aug 16


I am a tree detail

And the words, if your eyes like mine can’t stand the struggle ……… and because I have lost the ability to have you double click on my photographs to enlarge them  – I don’t know why……

I am a tree Words

Thank you for your support and encouragement – it really does take a community doesn’t it!

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!