the Deepster's Dizziness

Exploits in art….

Institutionalised Cute


I’ve just started working on a number of Jane Davenport courses over at Artomology and Jane  She has many talents and is a great teacher, artist and self described artomologist.   I think I first heard about Jane through LifeBook 2013 (yes, I signed up to that, too.)  I’ve found her courses to be really comprehensive – and they’ve inspired me to start drawing again.

I next heard of Jane through a Whimsical Faces video tutorial she did for the Cloth, Paper & Scissors magazine site.  This inspired me to check out her online courses and I thought “Supplies Me” was the best place to start.  I have an obsession with art materials and art storage, and in this course Jane showed what materials to use, how to use and in what context.


Meeting Jane through her video and blogs made me realise I’m not alone, and that actually there are people out there with more stuff than me!  And I’m sure my hubbundy would be even more amazed by Jane’s collection of stuff than mine.

She also has a shop – Institute of Cute – in Byron Bay near Sydney, Asutralia.  And thanks to my sister in Sydney, Australia I now have a the new range of Prismacolor pencils, and bunch of ColorBox ink stylus tools and foam pads to play with and some hot off the press new stencils.

So, go on, sign up at Artomology!




For those of you who may not know I have had MS (Multiple Sclerosis) since 1991 and although since then I have worked and eventually went to university to get a degree, now I no longer walk and use a wheelchair full time and so am unable to work. So in so many ways the DLA enables me to continue having the type of lifestyle that I or you might be used to.

For those who would like to know more about MS, here is a link to the MS society:

The MS Society

I realised there are those out there who wish to abolish the DLA also known as the Disability Living Allowance.

The Disability Living Allowance is made up of a care component and a mobility component which on the one hand can allow you to get or rent a vehicle which is often adapted for your needs. The care component is split into 3 categories depending on the level of help that is needed which thereby determines how much allowance is given. This is the same with the mobility component except there are only 2 categories.

The DLA means that I’m eligible for so much care from carers which I guess depends on the council you live under. You can either employ people yourself or they can employ people from an agency to look after you and by all accounts it can be a bit hit and miss with either. For instance I have, based on my DLA mobility component, purchased an adapted vehicle which my husband drives and my carers can also drive for me which can enable me to go on holiday or my carers can drive me to the rehab gym where I can practice building some muscles up that have been wasting away, etc etc.

There is a campaign to abolish the DLA as there are those who say that some people who apply for and receive the DLA, say they can’t walk or work but who can actually work and walk.

However there is an online petition to stop the abolishment of the DLA and I have posted a link below to the petition and would appreciate it if anyone could take the time to sign it.

The e-petition

Here is also the link to the Facebook page dedicated to the stopping of the abolishment of the DLA:

Say No to the Abolishment of the DLA – Facebook Page

I know some people con the system and claim as much benefits as they can but the DLA has really helped to improve my quality of life and made things just that little bit easier for me and therefore I am not sure what I would do without it. So it is in everyone’s best interest, particularly my own that we keep the DLA alive and kicking.

I leave you with these thoughts and encourage you to sign the petition to not abolish the DLA.

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Taking the time


I’ve finally managed to complete April’s Sweetling, inspired by a mini course from our old friend, Effy.

A Sweetling is a paper doll made on water colour paper and dressed in painted papers or scrapbook papers.  The sentiment for this Sweetling is “Take the Time to Smell the Flowers”.

Sweetling April 2013











It took a couple of days, with much help from Andrea – who says she’s rubbish at art but has actually owned a jewellery shop and has a sister who does own an art shop in Hungary.  So art clearly does run in the family!

I must’ve had something Spring-like on the brain because I’m going with sunshine and nature in this piece.  The flowers and foliage are courtesy of  stamps from Leandra at PaperArtsy.  I chose the sentiment “Take the time to smell the flowers” because I thought we all need to slow down and take the time, from time to time.  The sun is cut from foam and has a nice flourescent glow to it.  The blue and green background is Nicholsons watercolours.  The Sweetling’s costume is from a bunch of old papers I’ve been storing up for the occasion.

Husband says the Sweetling looks like Edna Mode from The Incredibles or Hetty from NCIS.  You choose.

Effy says there will be another Sweetlings mini in June, so sign up now.

FACEinating Girls


I don’t know about you, but I find drawing faces really difficult – shock horror! – I can never get the proportions right and everything ends up a bit cross-eyed.

So I’ve recently come across a new set of clear rubber stamps by Andrea Gomoll, which hopefully, will help me to get better at drawing faces.

FACcinating Girls








Called FACEcinating Girls, the rubber stamps are designed to go with a three week online workshop she’s also running on drawing faces.  We’re currently on week one of FACEcinating Girls, with two more weeks to go. I’ve found the the videos really informative, and as with everything – I just need to get on with it.  I’ll be be posting the results here soon, so look out for something that hopefully doesn’t look too much like an alien from Roswell.

So go on and check out Andrea’s blog for all things FACEcinating.

21 Secrets


Whilst I’m sharing……

I’ve recently discovered 21 Secrets, which brings together 21 of the best and most creative artists and teachers from around the web. There’s something new on there everyday – new techniques covering all aspects of  art from acrylics to water-colours, so check it out.


21 secrets

21 secrets

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Hungarian Shadow Theatre


Not craft related, but definitely worth seeing.

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Just thought you artsters should check out the uber talented artist, Effy Wild.  She has a new online workshop on the more spiritual side of art journalling, called Moonshine.













To quote Effy, Moonshine is a “seasonally driven spiritual painting programme that will enfold you in the stories, power, and beauty of the feminine divine. Moonshine runs in quarterly sessions” and starts on 1 May.

She’s the kindest, most generous and open soul so go check her out.   Go on – now!

I can’t wait to start, how about you?

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Well… better late than never I suppose …


Hope  you enjoyed  loads and even more loads of  scrummy chocolate Easter eggs, unless of course,  you are diabetic like yours truly.  Hope you had  a wonderful Easter and, I guess the phrase would be a “jubilant resurrection”.

The last 6 weeks have been a little quiet on the art front – I’ve taken on three new carers and there’s been the usual settling in period.  You’ll be pleased to know I’ve still been learning as much as I can about all types of mixed media art, and I can’t wait to get started on new techniques once my new carers are ready for some ART!

I’ve finished my calendar spreads for February and March, for the Art Journalling Calendar Challenge with Kate Crane.  Two different carers helped me with these – Mary Ann for February and Theresa for March.  The February one looks quite spring-like and full of green hope.

feb 2013 spread

February 2013 calendar spread

The March calendar spread is based on Easter (eggs) and themes of hope, new life and the Resurrection.  Little did I know it would be the coldest winter for 50 years.

march 2013 spread

March 2013 calendar spread

I’m now just making a start on April’s calendar spread.  Rather optimistically it’s got a Spring theme of green fields and yellow daffodils.  In this never-ending winter of our discontent perhaps I should’ve done snow and ice.

I’ll write again when I’ve got more work to show you.


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Stealing my dreams


I got the idea for this spread from a reading in the United Christian Broadcasters’ booklet ‘Word for Today’, which on the 5th, 6th and 7th of February were about ‘Living Fearlessly’.

When you’re training an elephant, you control it by controlling its thinking. You put a rope around the elephant’s leg, nail it to the ground, and it learns that it can’t go any further than that. Even once the elephant has grown up, and is strong enough to break the rope and escape, it thinks it can’t so it doesn’t try.

The booklet describes how the elephant’s fear can prevent it from breaking free.  Perhaps subconsciously that’s how I feel.

I’m afraid of failing in my artwork.  If I’m afraid of failing in my artwork, it can prevent me from actually trying.

Live Fearlessly

Live Fearlessly

I don’t always value my art, and feel over-awed when people say nice things about stuff I’ve done.

I’m still not in love with the four canvases I did last year, inspired by the seasons.

When I did a course in collage at the Mary Ward Centre, I did a piece of work that took me forever. People really raved about it, but in my mind I was just thinking they were talking pants.  Even now, when I think back to that stuff, there’s nothing about it that I remember.

When I did art at the Marie Curie, there is nothing now that stands out to me about what I did. I can’t recall anything.

Maybe that’s just me.  My carer Mary-Ann says that I’m mean to myself in a way that I’d never dream of being mean about anyone else. Or their work, or their talent. I don’t feel like I have any talent.

There are some things I did craft-wise that I can say- “ooh, that’s good, I’m really pleased with that. That was a really good idea.”

I’ve always separated ‘craft’ from ‘art’. I never thought of myself as ‘artistic’, I still don’t. I can’t do art by myself. The only reason I can do these journal spreads is because my carers are my ‘hands’.  Maybe that’s why I don’t value the work I’ve done.

In this ‘fearless’ spread, there’s something about the composition that I’m not happy with.  But it did satisfy me that I did it all in blue. People have said that if I paint all in blue, does it mean I’m really sad? No, not consciously. But maybe I need to speak to my therapist about that!

When I think about this spread, I think about how I got to where I am now. When I was a teenager, I wanted to train in journalism. But I got kicked out of college for not going to lectures. Then I got kicked out of the house. When I got kicked out of the house, I went to live with Sam and Jenny, and got into youth work. I did it for 18 years, got a degree in Informal and Community Education, but then I couldn’t do it anymore because the MS had developed.

MS steals things.  It stops me from achieving the things I used to be able to do independently. But if it wasn’t for the MS, I wouldn’t have got involved with art or craft in the first place.

I can do these art projects, but only with help and support.  I need to remember that that doesn’t make my art any less valuable, or any less personal.

I should grab the opportunities for art by the horns.

I need to complete the various programmes that I’ve signed up for and prove to myself that I can do this.

The people around me see me as an artist. Maybe I need to embrace that, despite the fear.

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Art Journalling Calendar Challenge 2013


I’ve only just discovered Kate Crane‘s wonderful Art Journalling Calendar Challenge. She is an inspirational teacher and has done some great Youtube videos and DVDs, so check her out.

I missed January’s challenge, but with my carer/art therapist Mary-Ann, we’ve just finished a calendar spread for February, and I’m rather pleased with it, even if I do say so myself.

February 2013 calendar spread

February 2013 calendar spread for Art Journalling Calendar spread

I don’t know where the idea for a background of green hills and blue skies came from – it all looks very sunny and optimistic, given we’re just out of January snow and into the biting cold of February.

Anyway, it’s a slight contrast from my previous piece which was an angry red spread on getting through Tough Days and believing in better things to come. I’ll post that soon.

Husband did  a nice job, for an art baby, with the Nicolson’s Peerless Transparent Watercolours on the green hills.  The sun is a Dylusions ink spray, a Christmas gift from that nice Paula Watkins (thank you!). I’m very happy with its also impressionist look and colour. Stencil patterns down both side are Dylusions stencils c/o Art from the Heart.  The castle is from some scrapbook papers I’ve had lurking around for a few years, from a set called Once Upon a Time I ended up using on my wedding album (some 8 years after we got married). The tufts of grass are sheets foam cut by QuickKutz.  The calendar squares are punched card stock from the archive.

It was a labour of love that took us the best part of two days to complete, all to a soundtrack of old skool 80s music.  I think it must be the Carrie Diaries that has got me back into the 80s, and now I’m passing on my wisdom to Mary-Ann about what real music is.  She’s still finding out about the Communards and Bronski Beat…. I mean, come on people, it’s 1986, so Don’t Leave Me This Way!







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