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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Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Breathe Deeply - You're Ok


I was recently discussing with the husband the topic of 'getting it wrong'. We were talking about my phases of paralysing fear of 'getting it wrong'. These phases stop me creating (which is a tad annoying). Call it self sabotage or just blind panic, I basically go into a mishmash cycle of self-doubt/fear of getting it wrong/art paralysis.

I fall into this cycle when I'm scared and thinking of the 'bigger picture' or the end goal. Rather than enjoying walking up the mountain (the process), I start looking at the top (the end product) and wondering how I'll ever get there, how far away it is, how crap I am that I'm not there yet, and how many people are already at the top before me laughing at little me not able to manage it etc etc....

I then look down at my feet and realise I have, in fact, stopped walking (creating art) altogether.

Now, if you want to get up a mountain you do have to at least walk (unless you can teleport or you are a winged unicorn/butterfly/angel/insert winged creature here). So, to get closer to the top of said mountain I need to at least put one foot in front of the other, ie to create the elusive 'Art I Like' I need be practicing my craft and making stuff.

current work in progress
Me and the husband, at these points of paralysis, cheer me on with kindness. Kindness has power. Seriously. Kindness really has power. Just saying to myself 'it's ok sweet cheeks, you are awesome, be gentle with yourself, baby steps, you can do it...' creates in me a gentler, less stressed self of soft compliance, and then I feel happy to create art again and take baby steps.

'Baby steps, it's ok, you can do it, just take little steps' ...until you're walking again towards the mountain top.

I dream of bypassing these moments of frozen panic, but this would probably take:

a) years of therapy
b) a change of my history
c) a lobotomy
d) a life time of mindful practice.


For now, when in these moments of frozen panic, Kindness to myself helps and I try to: 
  • Give myself Kind Words and Kind Thoughts, I am still a wonderful being.
  • Do something, anything that will move me towards the top of my mountain (baby steps little one, baby steps).
  • Realise I am not perfect, the steps I take may not be perfect, and That. Is. Ok! :) 

Be kind and make any movement towards the end goal. I'm not perfect and my steps along the way won't all be perfect, but they will take me closer to where I want to be. Standing still in fear will not.

I want to add a little something here about a lady called Leonie Dawson (you may have heard of her, if you haven't please check her out cause she's awesome). During one of my frozen moments I watched one of her videos (click here to see Leonie's video). It really helped me re-feel hopeful and passionate about my creations and stopped me 'falling off the creative wagon' for too long. Thank you Leonie, you are proper awesome! :)

I'm off to go create now... baby steps, baby steps. Thank you for listening and being here with me.

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Me and the husband :)

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Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Trust


For me, this time of year is usually about feeling bad that I'm not managing to hit all my new years resolutions perfectly. I truly truly want to believe that all I want comes to me easily and without hassle and I truly want to believe in myself. But, come mid January, my belief and trust begins to wane. This year is no different. My resolve and determination has started to waver and I feel like giving up on my goals. Like a big black mean cloud, uncertainty has come to pay me a visit.

I really want to trust that everything is ok right now, in this moment ...but everything doesn't feel ok! I feel like I've got so much to do, so much to learn. I constantly feel like I'm not good enough and I want to be the best I can be. At everything. Now.

I'm not enjoying 'the moment' most of the time because I'm too busy trying to be better, get somewhere, be something, and I'm too busy telling myself I could do better, I could try harder, I could be healthier, fitter, faster, cleverer, artier....

Love Yourself Deeply


This year I would like to Trust.

Trust in the Universe, Trust in Life, Trust that I really AM truly AWESOME, and that everything is ok :) Because truly, everything IS ok and the only reason I feel it isn't ok is because my own self made belief that I need to be better, and that I'm not good enough keeps rearing it's ugly head. So, my word for 2014 is Trust; Trust in the process, Trust I'm ok, Trust that I'm safe., and Trust that everything is and will be ok. It's a strong word for me because it means I need to let go and just breathe. But, in doing so, I just might start to create a space to enjoy and live in the moment.

Breathe Deeply

Thank you for listening :)


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Monday, 23 December 2013

Joy and Connection

I love Christmas time, the pretty lights, the excitement, the mulled wine, the open fires... Did I mention the mulled wine :)

There's something about Christmas that is just so cosy :) and, for me, this feeling is not just relegated to Christmas and Boxing Day, it's the whole season that sparkles for me. What is it about this time of year that makes me so happy? People. People make me happy, when they're happy and excited and kind and together, I love it. There's something about this time of year that makes people happy and grateful for all that is around us. We joke that it's 'just the presents we're excited about' but it's not really is it :) It goes deeper, it's community in a culture where community isn't experienced much, it's about giving in a culture that doesn't have enough time to give, it's about stopping and appreciating all we have and all we are, individually and together. To celebrate and feel joy because life and connection is an amazing thing, and each Christmas we recreate a little piece of this joy, joy in you, and me. And all of us together.

Happy Christmas dudes! I am sending you love and Christmas sparkles, wherever and whoever you are and however you choose celebrate this time of year: you are amazing :)

Work in progress

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Thursday, 21 November 2013

Making A Junk Journal and Stencil Winner Giveaway!


This month I made my first book and I feel so proud of myself! :) I have been watching Jennibellie on YouTube and I love the idea of making my own book to play with, and I love Jenniebellie's passion for using recycling to create! So, I rummaged through my recycling box, painted, played, inked, stamped, gesso'ed, sewed, cut, played some more.... and created a Junk Journal. I think I may easily become hooked on book making! Now I'm stuck on what to create on the pages, but here it is as a work in progress...

The Junk Journal Cover was made using old packaging from a book that came in the post.

I chose the knight image to represent Art as my 'Knight In Shining Armour'.

Using Tam's Stencils and gesso :)

 
Inside pages made with old cereal boxes.

 

I'd really LOVE to hear what you think! Do you Junk Journal? What do you put in your Junk Journal and do you have any tips for me?! :) You can put your comments in the box below and remember to sign up to receive my blogs by email here: Receive Gracie's Blogs By Email!



Tam's Stencil Giveaway Winner!!!

Thank you so much for all your comments! They were so so lovely to read :) As much as I'd like to send you all a set of stencils, I can only choose two winners. The winners I chose at random (closing my eyes, scrolling up and down and picking the first name I saw which I found very fun!). So, the winners are:

Textile Recycler
and 
Jackie Beeman

Congratulations! Let me know your email addresses, if you haven't already, and we can get the stencils to you so you can get playing!

 Thank you to everyone that entered :)

With Love and Paint Covered Fingers
Gracie
xx


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