Yes – I’m finally back! I don’t actually have anyone following my blog at the moment, so I doubt anyone will even read my rambling – but that doesn’t matter, to be quite honest.

Having a place to “splurt”, just for myself, is a wonderful thing. Being able to put my images online and talk about them gives me a sense of accomplishment. When I’m feeling low and think I haven’t done anything, I can see that it actually isn’t true. I have done, and continue to do, tons of artwork. Finally, I think art is truly becoming a part of me. I’m actually beginning to feel like an artist. In fact I can almost say it out loud (almost).

I’ve let this blog go, I know, over the last year, but I’ve been busy with other stuff – including lots and lots of art that I’ve done for a different project. And life took over. It has a way of doing that.

Plus, I’ve had a pretty exciting year. Sad too, at times, I’ll admit. But once again, life has a way of doing that.

Anyway – back to business. I’ve been busy today, with closing down my old art blog and transferring across all my old posts. It means saying goodbye to some beautiful comments that gave me a lift when I needed it, but it is time to move on, and that blog was too tricky to manage. I want this one to be easy, quick and fun. Maybe one day someone will even read it!

So what has happened? What has given me a kick in the bum to get me started again?

I think it is because I have so much I want to share. Even if no-one else ever reads this, I want to be able to remind myself just how lucky I’ve been. I have an art journal I’d like to share from an unexpected (and totally wonderful) trip to France. I’m planning to put up my pages over the next few weeks.

The trip came out of the blue, and I’m still pinching myself about it. I can’t believe it actually happened. I found myself agreeing to speak at a conference, and suddenly I had a plane ticket in my hand. To top that off, my sister was going to be there at the same time, and I started receiving emails about an amazing millhouse in the south of France and a flat in Paris … and I was invited …

Truly?? Me??

Of course my immediate response was to start browsing Etsy to find a handmade sketchbook. And I found the most beautiful book here. When it arrived in the post I was over the moon. I had to toughen it up a little on the edges, as I’m not gentle with my sketchbooks – they have to survive being thrown in and out of bags with all my junk. And of course I immediately spilt something on the cover, so I started decorating it … but the papers – they were SO beautiful. It was the colour that sold me on it all. Lots of purple on the outside, with thick white paper that could easily handle watercolour and multimedia.

I prepared a few pages before I left – starting with the cover page, and then collaging odd bits here and there and adding a bit of paint or gesso. I find blank shiny pages a bit confronting, and I’ve found the best way to get started is to “spoil” that perfect white. After that there is no going back …

(Apparently I prepared this purple page a little too well – I was told I wasn’t allowed to use it to draw on!)

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