Saturday, 5 January 2013


I don’t remember much about my early years. Just bits and pieces, blurry-edged fragments of memory and me myopically squinting into the past saying, ‘Eh? What was that? Where was I??’ Even if I don’t have vivid memories, what I can recall is a lighter feeling, a less furrowed brow. I remember being around six years old, at my school desk, my neighbour having pulled her tidybox out onto her lap, searching under swollen scrapbooks and Cuisenaire counting blocks for a rogue crayon. We pressed freshly-printed handouts to our noses, savouring the purple-inked paper’s smell and warmth. We giggled and talked as we made our pictures.  I glued crepe paper squares where I felt to, sprinkled glitter, chose colours from a shared bucket of crayons and felt pens, and filled the white spaces on my sheet with sunny yellows and oranges, deep blues…but not pink, never pink, not unless a dictatorial colour-by-numbers handout demanded it. My biggest exasperation was having to wait for someone else to finish using the lone cherry red crayon.
Today I hung out with my gorgeous artist friend Janine Whitling in her studio. I remembered what it was like to play as we painted, collaged, stamped and pow-wowed our way through the morning.
Here’s some of what I got up to…


mixing paints

painting over an old canvas...with crazy-bright orange :-)

stamping and more collaging

No goals. No rules about how we should create or what looked best. And it was so much fun.
Sometimes grown-up life can feel a bit 'colour-by-numbers' - a bit rigid and unimaginative, with pressure to meet certain expectations. There’s something awesome about making time to paint or write, doing something creative. Not because I need to become a painter or writer, or because I need to produce something, but just to nurture that part of me that doesn’t have a furrowed brow, the kid inside that’s waiting to play - to remember that grown-up life can still be so very simple and lovely.
J xx