Sunday, 10 May 2015

Painting by Music (and April MJJ)


In April my challenge, set by the lovely Gemma, was to paint a Mona Lisa self-portrait. Oh wow, this was hard. I struggled until I realised that the challenge wasn't to paint as well as Da Vinci (phew) but to inject a bit of our individual personality into a Mona Lisa style portrait. So I tried for a whimsical, doodley, cartoon like feel that matched my crazy imagination. The scan doesn't show the range of colours and layers that the original has and similarly, unfortunately, nor do the prints. But hopefully Gemma will enjoy the original and forgive my lack of portrait skills!

James Newton Howard "Flow Like Water"

In my last post I talked about my son having enjoyed a painting-by-music exercise at school. I've been having some problems with my vision/head the last couple weeks so its taken me a while to get to it. However, this morning I asked my son and daughter if they wanted to have a try with me. Happily, they were both enthusiastic about the idea and we had a couple of hours of creative fun together! We used a variety of music. Each time we'd listen to the music whilst choosing our paint colours and then would play it again using it to guide and inspire our paint strokes. For instance staccato rhythm may produce dots and splotches. The mood and pace of the music may put a certain picture in our minds. We covered a few pieces of paper and listened to a variety of music. I think our favourite was James Newton Howard's "Flow Like Water" which I've linked to (above) in case you fancy a go. Here are some of our favourite painting results:
My son's painting using Luna  "BrunuhVille"

My painting using James Newton Howard's "Flow Like Water"

My son's painting using "Secrets" by One Republic

My daughter's painting using Luna's "BrunhuVille"

My daughter's painting using James Newton Howard's "Flow Like Water"
My daughter seemed to use the image in her head that the music inspired whilst my son & I used a free flow approach in sync with the rhythm and melody. We all found it hard to stop and leave the painting alone at the end of the few minutes of music. The fact that my daughter managed this last painting in just a few minutes impressed me. Maybe next time I'll try her process of going with the image the music gave me. But both my son & I enjoyed the free form freedom of having nothing in mind and just going with the flow of the music.


  • If you're inspired to have a go please do share your results.
  • How do you approach your art? Do you favour structure and planning or a see-what-happens method?
Wishing you all a Happy and Creative week!
Kat :-)x




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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

"Two for Joy" and "Being Wonderfully You When You Create" (MJJ2015)



Where have I been? You may ask. Not far, but it seems that I am behind with everything on my to do list, including blogging. Part of this has been all the jewellery orders I've been making which has been a positive experience. I keep telling myself that panicking is futile and that the only thing to do is take one task and one day at a time. Sometimes that keeps the screaming voice of panic at bay but what helps more is getting so immersed in my creative activities that I forget to worry.

The picture above is a 6 x 6 inch embroidered painting that I recently completed for my fab friend Maggie whose brief on this year's Magical Journal Journey swap was simply "texture". She loves magpies and so these became the central theme in this "Two for Joy" piece. I spent days creating texture with embroidery thread. It turns out to be more difficult to sew paper than fabric even when using these basic stitches. One reason is that the process is less forgiving to mistakes and yes, this wasn't my first attempt. Yet I prefer how this second attempt evolved and so I'm glad I decided to start over. I do hope Maggie enjoys this. She is such an amazing artist that I can't hope to measure up to in skill so instead I always try to just be me whilst trying to inject a little of what I know she likes.


Years ago I'd be so in awe of talented artists that I'd be frozen & unable to attempt my own art for fear of failure. But the MJJ girls have become my dearest friends and their encouragement to be me in my creations has meant a lot. They've also inspired and taught me skills and approaches I may not have tried on my own. Similarly many of you readers with your kindness have done the same and your support has been very appreciated over the years.

I've learnt that you can only ever be you in your art. It helps to try new styles and undoubtedly practicing your skills is valuable. However, don't be afraid to put yourself into your creations because of a fear of ridicule or failure. A piece of art that comes from you with heart and joy will always have a special quality to it no matter what mistakes or lack of skill is involved. That's why children's art seems to warm the viewers hearts and brings joy to the beholder. It is the honest imaginative fresh approach that comes from not overthinking or trying to conform.

Today my 11 year old came home happy because he'd enjoyed art at school. They'd painted to music letting their brush strokes be dictated by the music in a freestyle unscripted way. For instance the drum beats would become dots & then the flowing passages long colourful ribbons. I've done a similar exercise with my writing but I'm definitely going to try this with painting. I suspect it would make a wonderful creative meditation. Why don't you give it a try? If you do, or have tried this before, please share your experiences. I shall share mine in my next post.

Wishing you all a Happy & Creative Week!
Kat :-) x


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Monday, 23 February 2015

Creative Half term & a new Magical Journal Journey

This year our Magical Journal Journey group is doing a swap that allows each participant to display their received art in whichever way they choose. Most of us want to create a collaboration that can be displayed on our walls. For instance: I am asking everyone to create two pieces of circle art, using the theme magical/mystical/mythical, that will form the blossom on a tree I'll paint on a large piece of board.

This month I am creating for the lovely Lisa (Priti.Lisa) who has asked us all to paint a portrait of ourselves. I admit, this was a task that exceeded my skills and challenged me immensely. It was also a psychological challenge as I began to notice every wrinkle, lump and imperfection as a result of days focusing on painting myself ;-)! The picture above is my finished piece but it was by no means my first attempt. The other incarnations went into the wood burner to provide heat whilst I painted this one :-)! I wanted to try and paint a traditional self-portrait of my outer image mixed with a reflection of what is inside of me. I'll leave it to you to judge the result. Needless to say I can find a million things wrong but I am also proud of my attempt. I certainly feel I've learnt new skills through the many hours of trial and error.


This past week was school half term holiday. We had painting days and amongst other things my children painted masks. Above is my son's tribal inspired mask. Below is my teenage daughter's more gothic approach...

Another fun activity we tried was when visiting the beautiful Lanhydrock woods. I gave them both a photo challenge that included a list of prompts and things to include in their photos. For example: themes, objects, letters of the alphabet, groups of 2 or 3 etcetra. They went off exploring, each with their own camera and then we viewed the photos back at the lovely cafe over tea and hot chocolate.

I was so impressed with their creative interpretation & imaginative reasoning. It was such a fun thing to do on a sunny day in a beautiful location. I wanted to share a couple of their photos but at the time of writing this I'm having a job downloading their photos. Hopefully I'll manage it soon & at that point I'll update this post with them.


  • What creative projects are challenging you this February?
  • What creative adventure have you recently enjoyed with your kids, grandchildren or friends?
Wishing you a Happy & Creative Week!
Kat :-) xx


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Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Creative affirmation with a dash of music & glitter...


My New Year has started with an even greater passion for creative living and keeping 'creatively well'. I took a break from jewellery making work over the Christmas holidays but kept up a creative practice, albeit reduced, making decorations food and playing lots of Christmassey tunes. Once our household went back to work and school on the 6th January I sat down and threw myself into jewellery making and writing. Every part of me seemed to sing with feelings of joy and a sense of coming home. Akin to the relief of stretching out tight muscles, sinking gratefully into a hot bath and being held by a loved one. At the same time inspired and filled with the excitement of possibilities. It felt like an affirmation for living creatively well and for me to further share my 'Creatively Well' ideas/experience with others. I have already begun building my new website and have lots of ideas to work on. Watch this space!

Why a photo of my piano? Well, glad you asked ;-)! 
I have a certain amount of nerve damage down my left hand side from past MS relapses. Part of this results in my left hand not working as well as it should. I've been practicing the piano, trying to retrain my hand and brain. A couple of days ago I managed to play a whole piece that I previously couldn't and it felt great; causing me to 'whoop' and cheer myself! Unfortunately, a fair amount of nerve and muscle pain followed. My children gave me a strange look when I held up my hand and talked to it: "don't think your grumbling is going to get you out of more practice - no pain, no gain!" 

Below is a picture I drew to celebrate the recent engagement of two friends and lovely people:


This original drawing was created using a black pitt artist pen on Bristol board card. He is a tree surgeon and they got engaged at the top of a cherry picker where he'd tied the ring box to a tree branch. As a self confessed tree hugger I found this wonderful. 

I couldn't decide how to display my drawing. First I scanned in the original, printing it on self-adhesive acetate and fixing coloured paper to its back:


I liked this but wanted to try another idea. This time I printed on printable acetate and then used glitter on the under side to accentuate certain elements. I have to admit it didn't go as well as I wanted but as it was my last sheet of acetate my obsessive perfectionism had to put up and shut up ;-)


After some deliberation (& other attempts including printing on window film that the couple now plan to attach to a mirror) I decided to use these three versions by mounting them on a trifold display card:


I decorated the back side with Anna Griffin paper. On one side I wrote a note to the happy couple:


The next photo should show the whole thing folded up with the note on top and beautiful ribbon tying it all together.......but I forgot to take that last photo before giving the gift to my friends. So you'll have to imagine and I know you all have amazing imaginations! Just be sure to be kind with your imaginative image ;-)

I hope 2015 has started well for you.

  • How has your creativity expressed itself so far this year?
  • How did this creative activity make you feel?

Wishing you a Happy & Creative week!
Kat :-)

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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Festive thoughts & my addiction to glitter....

 It is the season for celebrating. Whether you celebrate Christmas, the Winter solstice or any other wintertime festive occasions: I wish you all a very Happy Holiday, Happy Christmas & A Happy New Year 2015!
 As you can see from the photos, the last couple of months my creativity has been primarily focused on making jewellery, beaded cards, bookmarks & lots of sparkly things :-)

 I have been blessed, this second half of the year, to be well enough to really grow my little home jewellery design & craft business. It does mean that I have been a little slack with my blogging & for that I apologise. I have kept in touch a bit more on my facebook pages CreativelyWellCreations & WrightStory. I also now regularly post on my Creativelywell Instagram page. But blogging is my first love and I hope to blog more regularly again in the New Year.


Other than jewellery & crafts the recent weeks have been full of Birthday celebrations & Christmassy events. This year was my son's last primary school nativity & carol service. Very emotional to come to the end of a special era. Yet as they grow they are involved in new beautiful things. For instance my daughter singing carols for the elderly & my son playing his guitar for the first time in public at a candlelit service. 
 One of the best parts of this time of year is time spent with friends. Games evenings, craft sessions, sitting around an open fire and having everyone over for dinners, drinks etc....  Lots of people have Christmas parties to go to and some of these photos show items made to match people's dresses. I love designing things especially to suit an occasion and/or outfit. The best bit is when people are happy & enjoy wearing my creations as much as I enjoy making them.

 I like making fun festive wear too - like Christmas charm bracelets or the jingly bells earrings below. They always seems to encourage a smile and a giggle.

Christmas Eve tomorrow and the excitement level is increasing in my home. I'm looking forward to us all giving each other our full attention over board games, dinners, cards, crafts and winter beach/coastal visits. Those times with the children are precious and make lovely memories. I also love having the house decorated. I am a glitter & bling addict, like a magpie attracted to the pretties! I do think fairy lights and a decorated tree are magical. And yes, I still believe in Santa.


What ever & however you celebrate this winter festive season, I wish you happiness, warmth and love. I also wish you lots of opportunities to be creative.

Kat XX


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Friday, 17 October 2014

Inspired by Henri Matisse (MJJ2014)


The last journal in this year's Magical Journal Journey swap belongs to Lisa Wright who chose Henri Matisse as her inspiration. As you can probably tell, I struggled to capture Matisse's style. However, I did relate to and enjoy his love & bold use of colour, pattern and the idea that one could throw the rule book out the window. Matisse also went through a period of time where he used paper cut outs to create art. Above is my version of this. I spent time painting and creating pattern on one piece of canvas paper. Then on another I blended greens and metallics to create a background. With a sci-fi fantasy story in my head whilst I did all these pages, I cut out shapes and glued them into an arrangement that pleased me. I do think it has a sci-fi fantasy feel to it. 

Matisse often used unexpected colours in his landscapes and portraits, choosing not to conform to the expected colours of nature. This gave me a story idea that included travel to parallel worlds, one of which had a very different coloured sun and subsequently an alternative natural colour pallette.


Having studied Matisse's landscape paintings I tried to emulate his use of large bold brush strokes of colour. The result was far from resembling his style but the inspiration encouraged me to try to work in a different way. It is good to stretch myself and try different ways of painting.

The next painting was inspired by a couple of Matisses's painting of women in hats and his love of the feminine form. Once again I attempted to recreate bold use of colour and brush strokes. I attempted to use alternative colours in my shading of her skin in a similar to the way he did. It was a lot harder than it looked. Unfortunately the proportions of this girls face went wrong but I decided not to assign this painting to the bin; there was something I was pleased with in the use of colour in this.


This lady doesn't feature in my story but the characters in my fictional world do have a faint violet tinge to their skin, hair and eyes caused by their exposure to the very different sun, in a similar way to this lady's own blue shading. As always, if you'd like to read the story just send me an email and I can send you a copy to read.

During this swap we have all been collaborating on the journal covers. I decorated the back inside cover with this use of bright colour and example of pattern.

 So another Magical Journal Journey comes to an end. I have just received my journal back from its travels. It is absolutely gorgeous and I completely adore every page that has been created for me. I shall share my journal with you in a blog post coming soon.

I feel so lucky that as a group we have all grown close as friends. The bond we have all formed is special in a way that we couldn't have predicted three years ago, even though we were already online friends. The connections we make with some people in our lives have a profound and powerful effect on us. For me, life is about the connections we have with the other people who share our journey through life. The fun thing is that we never know when, how and who we'll meet.


  • Who has inspired you recently? 
  • What connections have you made that have altered your creative life?

Wishing you a happy, inspiring & creative weekend!
Kat :-) x

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Thursday, 2 October 2014

The joy of creating daily and new achievements...



Happily I've been able to create most days this past couple of weeks which has brought me plenty of joy. Creating seems to calm me and ignite my spirit all at the same time. It continues to be a magical way of boosting my wellbeing.

In addition, for the first time in many years I was well enough to attend a craft fair with my jewellery.

My friend took this photo half way throught the sale so there are a few gaps. I decided to set up & do a little jewellery making in between serving customers. I found that people liked to see the jewellery being made. I was so nervous at the beginning of the day but quite quickly I relaxed and began to enjoy. It felt a worthwhile achievement to have managed to have my own stall. I have to say I wouldn't have managed without the support and help of my husband and children who were fabulous.


I managed quite a few sales and a few custom orders. Even better was the boost to my confidence and the pleasure of meeting some lovely people; fellow stall holders and customers.



I was wiped out for a few days afterwards, so I wouldn't think of doing these sales regularly, but I'd like the chance to do another craft fair and maybe a jewellery party before the end of the year.

  • Have you tried something new recently that made you nervous but turned out to be beneficial and/or enjoyable?
  • When is the last time you pushed your creative life in a direction that took you out of your comfort zone? What was the result?
On the way to the craft fair, at one point, I was tempted to turn back and chicken out. I'm so glad I didn't. Its hard to publically display things you've created because you are then open to opinion and judgement. Over the past year I've discovered that the rewards are worth the aprehension. I get a real buzz when someone enjoys something I have created. Whether a picture on a wall or a bracelet being worn, spreading a little enjoyment and joy feels good.


Wishing you a Happy and Creative week/weekend!
Kat :-) x

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Monday, 15 September 2014

Inspired by Duy Huynh (MJJ)....


The penultimate journal in this years Magical Journal Journey belongs to Tammy who chose Duy Huynh (pronounced yee wun) as her artist to be inspired by. I fell in love with Duy Huynh. I'd encourage you to view his paintings. They're full of imagination, fantasy, symbolism and layered meanings but even if you could ignore all those his art is just fascinatingly beautiful. So, probably more than any artist so far I would've loved to successfully emulate his skill and style. However, despite having the vivid imagination needed I lacked the art skills. I had fun trying though :-)

The painting above and the double spread below are my imagination trying to express itself. I also took on board Duy Huynh's use of travel, boats, music and artists in his work.


Below I've copied the back page where I wrote about the first painting and created a poem to explain my thoughts about the second.

In this swap we have each been contributing to the covers of the journals. However, very little had been done to these covers so I was unsure whether I was meant to or not. In the end I decided a boat that told a little about Duy Huynh and his life may look nice on the front cover. I hope I did the right thing & Tammy likes it. She has my permission to paint over it if she doesn't.


I spent many many hours painting and repainting whilst living in my imagination. Duy Huynh is so suited to my character but I've a long way to go before I can do my imagination justice through painting. Oh to close the gap between idea and finished piece...... But like all creative skills the only way to improve and develop is to keep showing up and having a go. Meanwhile I keep myself creatively well!

Wishing you all a Happy and Creative week!
Kat :-) xx

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Monday, 18 August 2014

Inspired by Anahata Katkin.....




Kim chose Anahata Katkin as her chosen artist for this year's Magical Journal Journey. Kim's journal was already full of gorgeous art and after sitting with her for the past couple of weeks I have fallen in love with Anahata's work. In the above painting I borrowed her way of using black and white areas in her paintings, of having flowers in ladies hair and tattoo type markings on their faces. Other than that I just went where my imagination led me. This double spread was a labour of love and much time that I found really therapeutic. I named her 'Anatola' and wrote about her (more of that later).

Below: the painting on this page was inspired by Anahata's painting "ROOTS":


Anahata Katkin has a series of paintings on rolls of wall paper and so in keeping with this idea, I painted and collaged on to wallpaper for the last page:

The large heart is actually the cover of a little book which tells the story of Anatola whose name is the feminine version of Anatolius that means sunrise in Latin. As my lady helps to wake the world at sunrise I thought this an appropriate name :-) It also struck me as similar to Anahata which was a happy coincidence. If you want to read more about her, I'm happy to email her story to you. Just ask.

Now this last piece is actually the back inside cover. It was still blank when I received it and so I painted and collaged on it. The paint affect is nicer in real life but alas was difficut to capture on camera/scanner. As we are collaborating on our covers, someone else can now add to this.

Yet again I've been stretched artistically, helped further my skills and added to my experience. It is a really fun way to enjoy and develop our creativity.

Amongst the busy summer, this art journaling is a havan amongst the chaos. Another example of me keeping 'Creatively Well'. Thanks Kim for choosing such a fun artist to inspire your journal.

Wishing you all a Happy and Creative week!
Kat :-) x

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Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Keeping Creatively Well with personalised jewellery and card orders...






After a few days of ill health last month I got behind with everything and when I went back to work I had to take it a bit easier. However, since then I've been catching up with lots of personalised jewellery and card orders. It has been so much fun designing pretty things to suit individual briefs. Not to say it isn't a challenge when working around health and the busy/noisy school summer holidays. But being creative keeps me well and I get such a buzz when people are happy with their creations. I won't bore you with all I've been doing but here are a few recent makes. Above was actually a design I recently drew/painted for a Cornish friend's Birthday. I forgot to take a photo of the finished card before I gave it to her but this was the main part of the design. I then used the same design in minature along with a few other details to make the background paper.



This was a necklace I was commisioned to create. I used beautiful purple Czech glass beads, silver plated celtic knots and most of my energy making the multiple fiddly connections ;-) 


The card below was a commission from a customer who wanted a Marilyn Monroe themed card for a male 70th Birthday......


Apparently I made the recipient of the card cry which I think (hope) was a positive thing, lol :-) I know my customer was pleased and it is great when people enjoy something I create. It feels nice to spread a bit of happy!


Below was another bespoke order from a customer who wanted a coral bracelet and necklace set. What I didn't realise at first was that coral can come in a few shades. I enjoyed making this and it was well received. The magnetic flower clasp I used was also gratefully received because the customer had a problem fastening jewellery due to a hand/wrist injury. The beads I used were a mix of natural coral (the smaller beads) and quality shell-coated glass.


Finally, I recently designed the earrings and bracelet below as a set that could be versatile with neutral colours to match many outfits. It was also a little more delicate and I think it is suitable to wear on casual or dressy occassions. The beads used here were non-magnetic hematite.


 My daughter kindly modelled the bracelet for me....


That is a little of what I've been creating recently. If you're interested in seeing more of my jewellery or cards then you can find them on my facebook page CreativelyWellCreations. Please do visit, perhaps 'like' and if you have anything you'd like me to make you can send me a facebook message. Eventually I will get a website and have started looking at having a monthly newsletter with updates of designs and offers. 
  • How have you been creative recently?
  • Do you find that being creative helps keep you happy and well?
Please do share your news and experiences, I love to hear from you.

Wishing you all a Happy & Creative week!
Kat :-) x





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