Friday, 29 September 2017

The Beauty in Feeling Not Good Enough

Feeling not good enough is something that comes up for me often.


It's like a little friend that comes and sits with me when I'm feeling low. The sort of friend that wants to be there for you when you just want to be alone. My 'feeling not good enough buddy' doesn't want to take away from others what they have. I am SO happy seeing other people with stuff and being happy, that TOTALLY floats my boat. BUT, there are things I see that I WANT TOO (insert toddler stamping feet here) and, in these moments, I'm comparing myself to 'them that have these things'.


I understand in my head that this is not at all helpful for me, but I just can't help it.


It's like my eyes are drawn to the car crash of what I don't have, moving my attention away from what I do have. It makes me sad.
 

I am blessed and lucky to have all I have. I have so many things to be grateful for. So WHY does this 'Feeling Not Good Enough Buddy' come and visit so often, and maaaaaaan he stays for SO LONG!?

I would like this 'Feeling Not Good Enough Buddy' (F.O.G.E.E. for short) to be on my side, to be acting in my best interest, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he's not.


So I wrote him a letter:

Dear Fogee,
Thank you for helping me to see that there are things I want by noticing them in others. When you show me beautiful artists and their work, I know you are saying 'here look at this, I would like this, please work towards this', but I feel inadequate because I'm not up there on that 'Perfect Artist' pedestal and when I notice I'm not it takes me away from the happy place down here that I'm in. So, with that in mind, please can you visit for a cup of tea, let me know what it is you would like, and then move on and NOT stay over and make a tent in my garden that you live in permanently.

Many Thanks!
Gracie :)

I think the thing is, really he's a part of me that wants the best for me right?! So really he's a blessing...? Something in me to just 'notice' and not dwell on ...just 'gently notice' and move on :)

So here I am trying to see The Beauty in Feeling Not Good Enough. 


Trying to see it as a blessing. As a signpost that points the way and says to me 'Over Here is Quite Nice', but you can go whichever way you want and whatever speed you choose because underneath all that deep wanting you are a beautiful person that deserves acceptance for who you are Right Now in this moment.


I find acceptance amusing. How is it I can accept so much from others but when it comes to me I fall short. Really I guess that's what this blog post is about: Acceptance of myself how I am Right Now in this moment. Not in the future, not in the past, but right now.

And that's what I find tricky. It's easy for me to ponder on the future and on the past, those take me into my brain, into my thoughts. To be right here in this moment is tricky, it means I need to STOP and FEEL. Check in with myself. Not calculate some thinking thought process.

'Thinking Thought Processes' are 'safe', I can calculate them, work them out, control them. Feelings (in the now) are more obscure, less obvious, more scary (sometimes). Maybe really that's what this post is about. Acceptance.

How can I accept myself fully without accepting the parts of me I don't enjoy? The shadow parts, the Mr Fogee parts. I can't just hide those bits away and pretend to myself I'm accepting ALL OF ME.

I guess what I'm getting at here is, to make sure Mr Fogee stays for just a cuppa and doesn't set up camp in my garden, I need to welcome him in, sit with him for a bit. Accept him. Because he's only trying to help. He has, at the core of him, the need to protect me and get me things that would benefit me and, for that, I thank him :)

...So, Mr Fogee, will it be a Lap Sang or Earl Grey tea today?



Ramblings


I've been spending alot of time in the woods recently. Peaceful green caves and tunnels = Bliss.

I feel so happy under trees. It's really not an 'I want to hug a tree' hippy thing (although I have been known to hug a tree), there is something very therapeutic for me about being in a wood, the cool dampness invigorates me physically. Did you know that 'Forest bathing is the practice of taking a short, leisurely visit to a forest for health benefits. The practice originated in Japan where it is called shinrin-yoku in Japanese. Studies in Japan have measured changes in immune markers and stress hormones in people who regularly walked in specific forests in Japan. In addition, people with diabetes but not taking insulin found substantial benefits by lowering blood glucose levels' (quote from Wikipedia btw). Go hug a tree!

My Vegan Journey

I still eat cheese. Can't help it. And butter ...and occasionally ice cream. There I said it! Ha! Apart from that, I'm vegan... IT'S A WORK IN PROGRESS! :) Seriously though, since I gave up meat I feel so much better. I gave up meat for health reasons - it makes my migraines worse when I eat meat - I dont' know why but, tried and tested, it does. Plus when I was pregnant with Summer the thought of meat made me sick.

...also hummus and tomato sandwiches are AMAZING.

Reading

Life's Companion by Christina Baldwin. I LOVE journalling. Imagine a friend you can tell anything to and completely trust that they won't judge you or share your secrets, a friend that is always available and ready to let you share your thoughts, feelings, wants, needs, fears. That's what journaling is for me. This book talks about and journeys with this awesome journaller
Christina Baldwin and everytime I open it it's like greeting a friend. 

From the Inside Flap: In "Life's Companion, Christina Baldwin points out that writing is a means of expanding our inner horizons, of relating more meaningfully to the world we live in and to other travelers on the spiritual path. Baldwin, a leader of the renaissance of personal writing, has taught personally more than 30,000 people the joys of journaling".

'...her clear calm vision for writing as spiritual practice emanates from every page' - Kathleen Adams (author of 'Journal to the Self'.


Listening To



Watching

Recently finished watching Bitten season 2. Loved it, it's awesome. Can't wait for the next season to be released on netflix. If you enjoy vampires, werewolves, shadow hunters, supernatural, you'll love this.



Journalling

Water is coming up alot. Mostly probably because I live next to the sea :) I liken water to the unconcious mind and to intuition. These three things (unconcious, water, intuition) are fluid in nature, strong and flowing with the opportunity to travel deep underneath.
Houses also coming up for me alot in my journal. Houses, for me, represent my life and myself with many rooms and winding corridors ...there's the strong possibily to get lost.

I wanted to work on animal personalities and attributes. So I did a series of journal pages each using a animal that expressed to me what I wanted/needed/was expressing in the page. Apart from the Peacock which was seen on a beautiful day out at Herstmonceux Castle with my husband and daughter, little Summer. On that day it's almost as if the Peacock wanted to be in my journal :)





Poetry

'Badger'

As the dusk of a still
And a silent eve,
Descends to the arms
Of the waiting night.

A rustle does sound
Through the lying leaves,
And the brittle twigs
Of the dying wood.

The cautious eyes
And a wary stare,
Emerge from the dark
Of the hidden sett.

As the badger roams
In the quest for food,
Through the bones
Of the tracks he wore.

Andrew Blakemore



Do you have a Mr Fogee? Do you notice him staying a little longer than he needs to? Making camp in your life?

From My World To Yours <3


Saturday, 9 September 2017

Life Book 2018 - It's on it's way!!!! :)


Life Book Life Book Life Book!! It's here!!

 Registration is Now Open!
Class Begins January 1st 2018

Click here to find out more: Life Book 2018

The one and only AWESOME Life Book! I have to say I am absolutely besotted with Life Book. I have seen first hand how this course changes lives. With a massive following and established in 2012, Life Book is the original Year Long Art and Wellbeing Online Course. AND you don't even need to be an artist to join, seriously, you don't even have to have ever picked up a pencil! Let me tell you a bit more about Life Book in case you haven't heard about it yet: 

“Life Book, a celebration and honouring of YOU”
is a year-long mixed media art class organised by
Tamara Laporte from Willowing Arts


Tam is joined by 23 incredible art teachers who are all gearing up to share their mixed media techniques, tips and tricks with YOU! PLUS this year, Life Book is going to be bigger and better by including another 12 fantastic artists and wellness guides who will focus on additional personal development practices and other art modalities, think: sculpting, yoga, sacred bowl making (clay), working with angel energies and creating angel inspired jewelry, photography, conscious dancing, archetype work, poetry & story telling!

Themed around self-development and healing, you’ll be creating several loose mixed media art journal pages per month which by the end of the year you will bind into a glorious journal (a Life Book)! You will have a wonderful keepsake that you can treasure for the rest of your life! You will also be introduced to yoga, aromatherapy, angel energy and other wellness exercises to help support your personal development journey more holistically. Imagine the fun you will have getting introduced to and acquainted with some of the other wonderful art forms out there!

  Here's who's teaching on Life Book 2018 this year:


PLUS this year, when you join Life Book, you will get a VIRTUAL GIFT BAG too!!! In it are: free classes (yes really!!!), lots of discount codes for amazing products and courses, beautiful and uplifting high res prints, free colouring pages and ezines! Awesome right?! You get SO much extra fun stuff!!

It's a whole load of yummy in a supportive environment! :) PLUS the ease of it being an online course that you can dip into when YOU are ready. AND you can choose which classes to do too - it's like a pick and mix that you can cater to YOUR needs :)


Registration
is Open!
Class Begins January 1st 2018

Click here to find out more: Life Book 2018


Come and join us and be part of this wonderful supportive team and community of teachers, healers and students! See you there! :)

Friday, 7 November 2014

Setting Sail


Since my last blog I've moved home. I'm not very good at moving and tend to end up having a mini breakdown, this time has been no different. There's something very unsettling about moving from the cosy space that holds many memories. From the wall that I knock on when I'm bed ridden with a migraine and wanting tea and love from the husband, to the stain on the curtain where me and my best friend spilt wine whist doing our best rendition of Celine Dion one New Years Eve, my old home is a space that holds many good and happy memories and had become my little family's safe haven. I will miss it. The new place is lovely and I am so happy... but it hasn't got any memories yet, and memories are what will make it a real home for me. So I sit now in my new house, like an artist with a blank page waiting for those memories to be created by the wonderful family and friends I am so lucky to have around me and in my life. And the word 'Trust' comes to me again. Trust in the Process Gracie. Trust that all is going in the right direction. All will be ok. Just Trust :)

Settling into our new home

We now live right on top of a cliff and the views are epic


Akita's happy cause there's lots more rabbits to chase on top of cliffs


As it's been a while, I thought I'd let you know about some of the other Arty things I've been up to too. I went on a FAB art retreat with Tam and some other lovely ladies in the Summer. It was in beautiful Oxford (UK) and run by the fabulous artist and teacher Erin Faith Allen called so appropriately: 'Call of the Wild Soul'. We stayed in Magdalen College, which was most definitely haunted, and had the most enchanting deer park on the grounds which made for magical morning walks.



Me and Tamara Laporte :)

 

Morning walks through the Deer Park


We visited beautiful Godstow nearby. Godstow is where Lewis Carroll and the real Alice took a boat trip that started the amazing Alice in Wonderland story on 1862, and the inspiration for C S Lewis's Narnia. I can understand why.

The ruins of Godstow Abbey



The river where Alice In Wonderland was born


It was awesome and so so inspiring. Being around a group of like minded arty women for a weekend is such an awesome experience and will stay with me forever. 



We made some art too of course :)
Made during Tamara Laporte's lesson on Call of the Wild Soul Oxford

***


I've also been making and creating in between packing, stressing and moving

I have started one of Tam's courses 'Life Book 2012 The Tam Edition', which I'm loving!




ATCs made recently
... I'm still very much loving ATCs!

Close Your Eyes and Set Sail - ATCs
There Is Always Beauty - ATCs
Give the Earth LOVE - ATCs
Mia and I made beads out of fimo clay with our friend Jess - crafting fun!



I've also discovered Keaton Henson. His music is vulnerably haunting -wonderful. Check him out here: http://youtu.be/f2fCcggNkT or here:



Wow, I didn't think I had much to say, but that's a lot lol! As always thank you for listening to me and letting me share my stuff with you, I really appreciate you being here with me :)

p.s. I want a cow:
http://youtu.be/cIp3nIBhUBY



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Monday, 14 July 2014

Artists Around the World (blog-hop)


I've been asked by the awesome and coffee loving, tradigital artist Minerva Levinston, to join her in a blog hop! Yaaayyyyyy! The blog hop is called 'Artists Around the World', and this week is my turn to answer 4 questions. So, here goes :)


1. Why do you do what you do?

Most of the time I'm 'happiness seeking'; If I enjoy it, I'll do it. Because of this, I tend to drift from one genre to another and from one medium to another, I'm a bit of a happy hippy drifter. I've dipped cut flowers in hot wax and hung them spiraling from an auditorium ceiling, I've used old dolls and paint to create sculptures, I've sung in, played in and promoted bands and band nights. Maybe I'm using art to work out what life's all about and what I like, most probably its just self expression. Currently I'm really influenced by mixed media art (especially Tamara Laporte's work, Tam's a lady I work with at Willowing Arts). I'm loving the mish mash beauty of creating mixed media pieces using collage, paint, ink, wax, stencils. I find joy in using whatever I can get my hands on to create stuff and, by using whatever comes to hand, I'm not too confined in my creation and thinking.


2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?

Eeeerrrmmmmmm..... I have no idea lol! ...it's got me in it :)


3. How does your creative process work?

My process is this: if it works and makes me feel good, I do it more. If I'm stuck or it makes me feel bad then I wallow in the bad feelings for a bit and then ask for some feedback from someone I trust to be gentle on me (or I make and drink tea)... then I make more stuff and see if I like it and the cycle starts again.


4. What are you working on now?

Right now I am loving ATCs and swapping ATCs. ATC stands for 'Artist Trading Card'. They are miniature works of art on small (2.5 x 3.5 inch) cards. Usually made in twos to swap with a partner, using a pre-decided theme. I made these (below) for the June ATC swap run at Willowing Arts (http://willowing.ning.com/group/arttrading and the Life Book 2014 ATC swap. Materials used: watercolour crayons, markers, glitter paste, pocket stencils, music sheets for collage, stamps and acrylic paint.

ATCs made for Willowing ATC Swap - Theme was 'meditation'

ATCs made for Life Book 2014 ATC Swap - Theme was 'Daily Rituals'

 

I've also just put my first video 'Safe Home' up on YouTube, yay! That was super exciting for me! :)




I have also been working on and off on this mixed media girl (below) for a while now. I keep coming back, changing and adding stuff, leaving her for a bit, then coming back again to do some more. She doesn't feel 'finished' yet and I'm not yet sure why that is so I keep experimenting.





Thank you for listening and letting me share my stuff with you, I really appreciate you being here with me, thank you! :)


Next Monday 21st July, these 3 lovely artists will post their answers:

Angela Kennedy, my goodness I LOVE this lady's art so much!:

Fellow ATC swap partner and awesome artist Carmen Sánchez-Buster: www.carmensanchezbusterart.blogspot.com

Nina Spolar, architect, photographer, graphic designer, illustrator, and maker of one of a kind and super cute handmade objects: www.madebynini.net

You can also find out about the lovely Minerva Levinston here: www.minerva-levinston.blogspot.com

Go and check them out! :) 

Here's the husband and I at the top of Snowdon mountain (in Wales) dressed as Han Solo and Princess Leia :) Us and other family members climbed Snowdon together, dressed as Superheroes, for the Princess Alice Hospice charity. It was hard work! You can find out more about that here: www.justgiving.com/Catherine-Fry1


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Thursday, 12 June 2014

The Art of Blogging



I'm relatively new to this blogging lark and I've been wondering and pondering on whether my posts need to be in depth/spiritual/life changing/funny/inspiring/mind blowing? Should my blog posts be long? Or short? Structured? Rambling? So. Many. Questions! (If you have any ideas for me on blogging please let me know!) There is something in this for me about 'being seen', sharing my art and connecting with you. Maybe I could just ramble along writing whatever comes into my head (errmmm like you are now Gracie) ... and share some art :) Yayy! Great idea me! Here's some stuff I've been playing with in my sketchbooks.

This is my large A3 size sketchbook, nice to really stretch out and play big in this one:




The hair on this next one was inspired by Tam and also Alice Savage's work. I'd heard people rave on about how meditative doing this sort of 'line work' is and I have to say it really is!



 I'm loving the colour combination of pink, yellows and blue right now.




I'm also enjoying playing around with face shapes and angles, this next one's a work in progress. Not entirely sure what to do next on it...


Ha I've just realised this is a combo of yellow and blue again! ...maybe it needs some pink...


Since my last post I've been lucky enough to hang out with these two lovely ladies, beautiful Mia and pretty Juliet. Love them! :)




Until next time if you miss me you can find me here (come and say hi!):
www.instagram.com/graciehowle
and here:
www.facebook.com/graciehowleart

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Thank you for listening and letting me share my stuff with you :)



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