Standing Stones and Sea Spray

If I’d waited to know who I was or what I was about before I started “being creative,” well, I’d still be sitting around trying to figure myself out instead of making things. In my experience, it’s in the act of making things and doing our work that we figure out who we are. ~ Austin Kleon

The lovely Sara, who inspires and supports over at A Sharing Connection, once mentioned in a comment that she hoped I’d keep painting, after reading something I’d written about painting, either this post or the extract below; she never said which.

I surprised myself by doing a wee bit of  painting last week. I’d offered to give my daughter some tips for capturing her features quickly in the self portrait part of her art exam, but I ended up inspired, transfixed, longing to do some ‘proper’ painting of my own again. Here’s the first eye I’ve ever painted; my daughter’s so beautiful, I could paint her all day long! The universe has a canny knack of nudging us with synchronicity, of healing us by reuniting us with our deepest desires to create and share something with love, whether it’s a meal or a beautifully decorated table, a painting, a patch of garden or a piece of poetry or music.

Today I found myself wanting to share the sea-twinkle in my daughter’s eyes. When I master the technology, I’ll post a clip of her singing. Her voice is as warm, clear and sparkling as her eyes.

When I was clearing out, I found two of my old paintings and remembered telling Sara that I’d maybe post photos of them someday. Both were painted at a tiny table in my first studio flat in Greece; they’re just copies of ripped out calendar photos, postcards or photos from magazines – I can’t even remember now – but I do remember vividly how I was feeling as I painted them. It gave me a sense of home – of Scottish skies, dreich days and damp green winds….

…and the fresh excitement of a soul homecoming, of an inspiring new life lived by the sea.

I’m at a real crossroads right now, lurching between my deeply held belief that it’s OK to simply journal fragments of my life, to keep a weblog, a journal of days, and the realisation that with several hundred million blogs out there, I’m just adding to cyberclutter. But I’m comforting myself with the thought that quiet creativity and the sharing of those fragments keeps me real, keeps me authentic while I’m piecing myself together.


  1. It’s not cyber clutter. It’s a space, your own space, for you to make as your own, and share. What a gift!

    So many people have stopped blogging and yet for me that is the essence, the richness of the social media thing, the rest is froth, this is where we can really share glimpses and insights into each other lives, our selves, and make connections.

    Also – wow, imagine being able to paint!!!! It’s like my wish for curly hair, oh if only, if only!

    1. Good to see you, Joanna, especially when you’ve still got a few hundred holiday photos to sort out and share! 😉 When I’m not frustrated with technology, I do see my bloggling as a wee place of my own, to decorate and care for and entertain friends in, sharing photos and poetry, memories and music, good times and bad. The problems start when I want to tweak it, to decorate and improve it but don’t have the skills or the will to start rebuilding it from scratch. Know one of my favourite things about blogging? I have never, ever got over the buzz of seeing something of mine in print; it goes right back to when I was a wee girl at school and my mum kept newspaper clippings with our names in. The feeling grew when I had a few things published. I know self publishing isn’t the same, but there’s still something magical about seeing your words printed on the page.

      Thanks for visiting, and for all the Twitter help; it feels less scary, more manageable now. Thanks, too for your patience when I gush and drool over at your comment boxes. Like I said to Jane the other day, it’s an almost zen-like form of practice for me to visit other folks’ posts; you never know what to expect, but that simple act of focusing on what you find opens up so much; I always feel empathy and gratitude when someone’s brave enough to share something honestly, and that momentary immersion in someone else’s world is a pace I can cope with.

      Your blog has really inspired me this last year. I’ve always talked too much and posted haphazardly (my desire to share gives the random stuff its structure) but your blog has such serenity to it, a clarity that comes from knowing what your practice is all about, from having found and followed your interests and passions; you say more in one photo, carefully chosen, taken and simply annotated with a few lines of poetic prose than I do in a massive splurgey post and half a dozen comments! I think that’s maybe why I’m being drawn to photography blogs at the moment; the Scanner in me enjoys seeing how we all express ourselves differently.

      Which brings me to painting, oh straight haired one. I think you can already paint, or you’re at least 95% of the way there already! You engage with life and see like an artist; you frame, edit and experiment like an artist. Your youness and emotion will emerge all by itself as you paint; all you need to do is paint what you actually see, not what you think you see. If you’re worried, print out a washed out line version of what you want to paint and paint on top of that, just to keep your proportions and perspective right. Play with paint. Cover up your mistakes with even more paint! Miss out difficult bits and pretend it’s deliberate! 😉

  2. Janice,
    I love reading your words, stories, and enjoy your paintings – never clutter in my book of life – the best of the net. And then to find Joanna’s here also..lucky me!

    I have been sticking with book reviews the past 2 years as I am not wanting to share my great Falling Apart and the opening door to the Great Opportunity. At 65 years, I am hoping to be known for my kindness and not just my dis-ease. My great cover up – which when I look closely I realized I am angry at it for limiting my expression of my peak of creativity. I can not sit for very long and I am very happy my computer program takes dictation.

    January 17th 2015 I fell raking leaves in a rain storm. Fractured my jaw and opened the door from 3 very big bacterial infections. The whole area is still not repaired at this time. Right arm is a shaky mess and I can not hold a pen yet. Now we discover that vertebrae are pressuring discs and causing pain and dysfunction of the right leg and twisted spine in the Lumbar region. My creativity is being sapped by the drive of the pain. I look like a stroke victim for sure – 16 sessions with the Physical Therapist to go and I am sure it will find relief and not just reading escapes. Our Government is messing with our health care and the pills are out of reach in cost…so am working with meditation in the middle of the night.

    Your paintings are new thinking and show your talent in a new expressive light.
    Your daughter must be very beautiful with such a lovely eye

    I can not sit for long but I have all your recent post lined up in a special spot on my inbox so that I will savor each to come and feel a sense of connection with “friends”

    Beautiful sharing Thank you so much
    Patricia recently posted…LIFE FROM SCRATCH: a memoir of food, family, and forgiveness ~Sasha MartinMy Profile

    1. Big hugs winging their way, Patricia! I always smile when I see your ladybird, Hilary in her sun hat, Sara’s sunglasses and other familiar faces in favicons; they’re like wee marker buoys of constancy, friendly faces you spot instantly in a crowd. You’ve supported other folk in many blogging communities for years now and I’m sure many other people appreciate your support like I do.

      I really feel for you. It takes very advanced zen practice to be able to deal with constant body pain and your blog is a joy and a Catch 22; it gives you structure, purpose, a lot of reading pleasure, a chance to use your writing skills and a distinct niche and readership, but as you say, it’s not a journaling blog so doesn’t lend itself to constantly exploring your medical issues and resulting emotions. Are there websites with communities and forums where you can share encouragement and empathy with others in the same boat? Where you can work through anger, sadness and frustration before they get stored up and compound the physical pain? Where you can support other folk on their journeys as they learn to adapt, evolve and let go? I can’t imagine, though I’ve had glimpses of accute pain myself and live with low grade chronic pain, how it would feel to have constant, accute pain. I saw my mum suffer with severe arthritis and realised that no matter how positive she was, the pain became exhausting.

      I’m glad you keep seeking joy and are still visiting blogs where kindhearted people visit. I wish there was more I could do than send you love, radiant, healing wishes and hope. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and your honesty with us.

  3. Hi Janice .. you said your impasse yourself … your friends are here .. constancy – brands perhaps even .. your tulips – love them …

    We enjoy seeing you appear … and despite the sabbatical – we’re here and we understand … the blog has kept me sane … and given the grey tangled mass plenty to think about … and that never stops me being eclectic in my thoughts …

    Your words of wisdom are here to guide us too .. it’s amazing how we relate to others … thanks so much .. love being here …cheers Hilary
    Hilary recently posted…Cheapside Hoard: Goldsmiths, Bankers, Jewellers, Pawnbrokers and Toymen …My Profile

    1. Thanks, Hilary. Kindness, loyalty, gentle support – old fashioned concepts, but I cling to them in turbulent times. I try to lead a values-based life where “I hear you; I see you comes to mean something, whether it’s words in the boxes, a silent message sent through time spent being present and engaged, or a smile in a supermarket queue. The greatest gift we give each other online, I feel, is a few moments of deliberate connection.

      I’m glad you mentioned the tulips: the blighters have been causing a lot of my techno angst. I’ve been trying to find a new theme or make this clunky old-fashioned one of mine responsive but am struggling to find one that makes full width headers responsive; my tulips are like a flowery burst of sunshine at my kitchen window whenever I log on and I’d like to keep them!

  4. Whoa, I’m late for this celebration, but I do have an excuse, which fits your post. I’ve been writing and it has consumed my time.

    I loved all the pictures. My favorite is the stones. I’m not one for believing three’s a crowd — I like the number three. When I look at that picture the one on my right looks like it’s smiling up at the tall one.

    The sea and your daughter’s eye are also lovely pictures. I hope you’ll continue to dabble. I think creativity is the soul food of the mind. It’s a crazy venture into places we might not normally go. I can’t *imagine* not being able to imagine and create. So, go to it and share more with us.

    p.s. I love the Kleon quote.
    Sara recently posted…Nature Nurtures HopeMy Profile

    1. Hi Sara,
      I hope your writing project is something we’ll be hearing about soon – or getting the chance to read! I’m relieved to see you back and blogging. I always get concerned when blogging companions don’t update their posts as regularly as usual; I know it’s me projecting my own situation onto others, but I don’t like to assume that someone’s absence is because of happy, creative reasons, like a writing project. I was worried about your friend with the ill son.

      I’m longing to paint again, but sadly, I’ve discovered that a lot of my creative activities clash like squabbling toddlers vying for my complete attention. The worst, most saddening example is that my writing’s rubbish at the moment because I’m grappling with blog themes and technology. It’s just in my nature to focus intensely on whatever project I’m working on, whatever my weird, obsessive brain hierarchy has decided is its priority at the time.

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