It’s not easy being green

Summers end, new school year, pencils in a row.

Children reinvent themselves, some refuse to go.

Autumn hides the cobwebs just as spring brushes them clean;

Subscription to the promise of a new you yet unseen.

Starting fresh sounds simple, leave the ghosts behind.

Clear the debts from credit cards, from lovers, heart and mind.

Open up the blinds again, paint the rolling view,

Truly understanding what it feels to know your you.

Hold your nerve a little longer, time is still at play

You got through the hardest part, first few steps, first day.

All the courage you require is curled up in your heart,

Every move in this game now awaits your hand to start.

Who could squeeze their life inside a tiny little room?
Make their food with dolls house plates, a bucket and a broom?
Trust in friendships lasting from another place inland
Feel that even far away, their hands are in your hands?

 

Looking past the clutter, seeing what’s beyond.
Pushing through the brambles to the lilies in the pond.
There’s a view beyond the spot we stand on in the rain.
There’s another path beside this bumpy, strange terrain.

Keeping safe your mindset when the noise is getting loud,
Standing still and centered in the roaring gush of crowd.
Slowing down each racing breath, finding space inside,
Moving air to crushing lungs where fear is trying to hide.

Starting life in places new, without an anchor firm,
Centres you from deep directions, ones you’ve yet to learn.

Sometimes taking one more step beyond our comfort zone
Further than we ever dared, far away from home;

Distils every drop of courage, cleaning jewels of fate
Suddenly where once were walls, there’s an open gate.
Suddenly where once was distant; brush it in your hand.
Suddenly no longer dreaming, walk on soft green land.

Take this moment look around, all the steps so far,
Nothing vital left behind, perfect as you are.
Friendships travelled with you, words and thoughts and line,
Breathing slowly when you feel, nowhere close to fine.

Every gloomy hurdle, every battle won,
Finds your light the brighter, closer to the sun.
For every moment conquered, everything you feel

Shapes the life you’re made for, every dream made real.

LW

For my Treasure xxx

Home


I’ll let you know my secrets,
I’ll give you what I know.
I’ll tell you all that made me,
I’ll show you where I go.

There is no understanding
Without first feeling pain.
The blinding light of breakthrough sun,
On shoulders soaked by rain.

The humble yet delicious
Crust of bread, with butter – cold,
When hunger is upon you;
Rich and crumbly; yeasty gold.

A gift wrapped box beside a glass,
A pair of soft, warm socks.
A fire lit, the record slow.
The doors and windows locked.

Temptation to exceed our needs,
Surrounds our daily world .
Intoxicating thoughts, that need
the freedom, to unfurl .

Plenty comes and plenty goes,
In circles round and round
Shuffling things and thoughts and dreams
Re-rooting feet to ground.

Take a moment, separate
Desire from what is meant.
Sometimes lives and shelves of books
Are fleeting, borrowed, lent.

Only to be found again
In other guises, hands
Unearthing glinting treasure
Hidden in the hearts of man

A pure and sweet elixir,

The taste that brings you home.

Unlocking every bolted latch,

Switching off the phone.

A thousand miles can take you,
To the place you started from.
If what you have already lives-
In you, where it belongs.

This bottle needs no label,
Drink me, eat me, turn the key.
For I know that finding you,
Is finding home in me.

LW

Art fifty

This is my my 50th year…..

This is a selection of 50 of my Artworks..

On the wall in a hall.

And If you can’t be there in person….

❤💛💙💜

Hall open Friday 10th, Wednesday 15th, Friday 17th and Saturday 17th ( Georgia O’keeffe workshop day- spaces available ) Friday 8th July – opening times 10-2

See you on the 9th July for the private view if not before ! 🎨 x

Living in a cave and in a pandemic had it’s advantages…Many Artworks sparked whole group projects online while we were isolation or as a theme in art groups. See Seasarkle.org

And whoever we are, we are nothing without our friends. Thankyou to everyone for your help. especially my picture hanging assistant Allan, and the use of the hall over this festive jubilee month .

Keep painting over the summer everyone… Hope to see you and your purse on the 9th July!! 5-8 Take your Art straight from the wall!

Much love

Liz at the Beach Hut xxx

So far

Hello friends. How has your Spring been so far? Ours has been happily productive the last month or two. After a two year winter, our garden of flowers have begun to raise their faces to the sun.

Mixed media landscape Workshop

Series of Spring workshops. For Artwork Results go to seasparkle.org

It was wonderful to have a spot in a Spring craft Fair last month, dusting off the labels and the boxes and showing a range of Art prints, cards, cushions, mugs and brooches.

Storm Arwen took it’s toll on the caravan which now needs a replacement for it’s steampunk metal windows. (which I quite like!) The caravan is too heavy for me . So it has been cleaned up and is now for Sale. Do let me know if you are in the area and fancy a Summer project!

I am delighted to be able to tell you about my upcoming exhibition at Coldingham Village Hall over the next couple of months. The work will be hung over several weeks as events are on in the hall, and will culminate in a private view at the end, where sales can be taken home straight from the wall!

The Art club were asked to make a piece for the Jubilee. I gave each member a different letter to create their own style of Artwork. These were then put together as a collage on board and will be displayed in Coldingham Priory.

It’s been nice to see faces again.

Nobody is an island. Our place remains full.

Artwork was made all winter, along with many poems written. New pieces have come back from the printer to become prints, cards as well as originals.

There was even a little drama. …..

After three years, The people of the Sea Eyemouth project, finally came to fruition and we performed our show, including the film created in lockdown and Artwork made by yours truly.

And here is our art group’s display in a shop window in Coldingham.

We have new plans coming soon, but until then sending you all a big Spring hug x

Happy creating !

With love, Liz at the Beach Hut xx

Battle

Many readers will identify with the painful to watch Versus Arthritis adverts on television . Asking viewers to pledge support for those in severe chronic pain. For those suffering a myriad of fatigue inducing symptoms. I imagine these adverts are met with a variety of responses. Each according to life experience. If illness for you has come to mean an easy, specific and named condition, with a sociably acceptable set of treatments, this no-mans land of auto-immune symptoms will make no sense. Those of you with friends or relatives who have arthritis , may become interested, hoping to gain insight and understanding.

Perhaps you are untouched as yet, and believe the afflicted to be exaggerating. Perhaps you feel a few twinges and you have already begun to feel less mobile, a little weaker, and not so certain your g.p. understands your needs. How much worse does it get? What happens then?

And for those affected personally with a degenerative condition, a body that is consistently affected by weather, a slave to daily fatigue and is aging years too early; maybe your heart breaks just a little bit to see that pain, because you know it yourself and live through it every day.

Living with disease and pain is exhausting. And debilitating in more ways than just your illness.

Bad enough are the daily rituals of pain-easing strategies and positive, life affirming reminders on the fridge, when you can’t now reach the bottom shelf, but sometimes more crippling is the lack of understanding by many employers, friends, colleagues and even family of how to live with and even love with the cards you’ve been dealt .

Unfortunately, it is often those closest to you who can lack belief in the validity of your pain, or why you can’t join in family activities. Employers might lack the understanding of how to incorporate chronic pain into a hard working professional’s life, and therefore write them off as lazy or ‘milking the system’.

A lack of effective financial support, twinned with a lack of information to guide the affected in the workplace, can create a lack of respect for our still beautiful and resourceful bodies and imaginative minds that still desperately want and can give something valuable to the world.

Do you tell ?

  Ironically I often see people desperately trying to prove themselves still able, by achieving double the output of creativity, in half the useable time of an average person; before weariness once again steals their daylight hours.

And although we educate our children in schools, in a plethora of differentiated ways, owning our healthcare needs as valued adults seems to be a different matter. In my classroom for example, a movable trolley with wheels, spaces between desks to navigate my sticks, an ergonomic chair and access to the lift would have saved my early retirement .

Without support to maintain a normal work/life balance and earn a competitive salary, those with a chronic condition are often forced to rely on disability payments or p.i.p.

This does two things. It labels people as permanently unwell, and keeps them in a state of limbo. As an ‘ill’ person , they might feel highlighted under their disability or condition before they are themselves, their old, ‘professional’ self . It can be incredibly difficult to convince the world out there ( and ourselves) that you can be both a, suffering from a degenerative condition and b, you still want to be, or are able to be the same or even better version of YOU.

The second thing that disability payments (or the equivalent) can do, is to minimise the quality of creative life you might get to live after your illness. An artist wanting to make money after being struck with a chronic and degenerative condition had better make A LOT of money at once or not at all. Because sometimes, making small amounts can cause more hassle than it is worth. This is of course, ludicrous. As a consequence thousands and thousands of amazing people who still have incredible creativity to offer the world, are stuck. Stuck earning too little to live on with the usable hours of their day or week. Having to declare any profit on a piece which might have taken months at an hour a day and then potentially losing financial support because they might be deemed able to work.

Sadly, sometimes, others are stuck being dependent on caregivers at home who might not be treating them properly, either emotionally or physically because their illness is not taken seriously, or they become stuck in a cycle of believing that because of their illness, their life force has also diminished. As parents our needs often come last on the list. But truly, unless you take decisive action to get as well as you can, your dependents won’t have the best of you, the rest of the time. Your life force is still there . It just needs a nap.


When you feel in pain, are tired and your va va voom has disappeared, it is almost impossible to tell yourself it will be OK. Prepare a box of nice things, a book, whatever food you love, new pj’s etc. Wrap a couple of presents for yourself. When the day gets really rubbish it’s there as a gift. The white knight might come charging, but in the meantime be your own.

When you live with chronic illness, you are often looked over as unsociable or underachieving because you can look well. That is until you move, or bend or try to walk.  

Then you’re still at the fence

For many people it can put an end to their chosen careers or dream path. Not only because their energy has diminished but because others see their failure and think it is best for them that they give up their crazy ideas. At best this might be justified as being for their ‘own good’. If we see pain, we often feel the need to just stop, not continue and give up for an easier life. But sometimes, your continued belief in your dream scares and intimidates people. How can you still have the audacity to do a brave thing in your condition when they haven’t? We know people react out of love or fear. That’s their fear talking. There is no room for a different, braver version of you. And the longer you’ve been ill, the wearier you will be. It wears you down. It takes an enormous amount of resilience to look past your pain, or your illness, the negativity of others and see yourself still sitting there.

Of course, there are other reasons that domestic situations might be difficult. If you need help with more specific issues click on my blog here :

Imagine a kindly hand in yours, telling you please be brave. On the journey through pain management and recreating a new life there are so many blind alleys to go up , promises and pastures new, magic fixes, gurus, and snake oil. Or you could drown in daytime tv and wine, buy new outfits you might wear if you could only bend your arms a bit more. Or like most of us, swing from one extreme to the other, like a giant pendulum until you rest on where you’re meant to be.

In the heart of it all is your key. The only key you need to navigate and know what you need. How to eat, what to wear to be comfortable, what makes you happy, what you have to offer and who you are, You.

On my journey to this page, I have battled heads of teaching departments, g.p’s, psychotic ex husbands, surgeons, solicitors, the weather and less than sympathetic relatives. But the biggest battles have been with the deterioration of a pandoras box of connected diseases- glandular fever, meningitis, arthritis, endometriosis and lupus. All of which have ebbed away at my energy, my career and my ability to live a pain free and operation free life

But. Those battles, the lack, became my drive. For my sense of self as an Artist, a single mother and a human being; I kept putting one foot in front of the other and vowed to create something every day. To that end for ten years since Escaping, I have written 100 blogs posts, ( today is my 7 year Blog Anniversary)❤ written 40 poems, drawn 200 illustrations , taught hundreds of community art groups, supported individuals and groups in the pandemic, completed hundreds of drawings, paintings, prints, cards and products. And I don’t think I’ve even started.

And I have learnt

  • Our bodies are telling us loudly what we need. Keep moving towards those things. Keep communicate those things to your doctor.
  • Know your rhythm. Completely be ok with it, even if the rest of your tribe think you are bonkers. Today is Happy day. Happy day is the first day of the year when there is enough sun to be outside for more than five minutes. I’ve waited six months. The cold is my kryptonite and grips my veins until I cry. So I did too much today. And it was worth needing to rest all afternoon. (which is often my rhythm anyway) At least there was Achievement too!
  • Accept your uniqueness. Having a chronic illness of any kind can feel like a ticket to a club you don’t want to be in. Let those that love you know what it means and concentrate on what you can do.
  • Accept help without feeling like you are helpless. There are plenty of positive ways to share skills.
  • Let go of activities taunting you because you can’t do them anymore. Who needs to paint on rice anyway?
  • Eat your greens, take a shed load of vitamin c and keep warm. Wear lots of thin layers and use heat patches.
  • Don’t be alone in a world that has become so isolated, but has so much potential. If you are housebound, volunteer as phone befriender for the elderly, find a local group or if you need support in your pain, locate a pain clinic. (These are groups set up to help find ways to manage and understand pain, and meet other people)
  • Rest. When you need to. My dog and cat now get grumpy if I don’t, as we all pile in a heap together.
  • Talk to someone if it hurts, if you’re sad, if it’s a bit rubbish. We all need that. And they might need it too.
  • And obviously, the most important thing is to make some art. Or create, or sew, or cook, or felt, or knit, or grow tomatoes or ANYTHING you can see taking shape outside yourself that expresses joy. Re-wire your brain in this meditative way as often as possible, listen to story tapes, not news, music not noise.

This drive to let the work blossom gives a perspective to my physical pain, and allows me to empathise with others in the same situation. Working together has been my joy. Without the groups and individuals there would be no Liz at the Beach Hut. We inspire each other. Being alone in pain is no use to anyone, but being silent amongst friends is a blessing. Press the link to the next page to see a selection of some of my own work, some of which was achieved on crutches (five years) , with a face full of skin cancer stitches and with a combination of early onset arthritis and lupus.

It took my health providers years to finally unpick my particular selection box of goodies, and along the way, I missed school exams, college terms, weeks of work, almost a lifetime of fatigue, joint problems and pain and digestive problems. I have had 18 operations and endured a ten year fertility battle with multiple losses. It took the longest time, but I refused to give up. It was simply because I wasn’t the norm, an easy fix, and I didn’t always look ill. When it was suggested I take early retirement because I was on crutches, when I wondered if this body would stop me moving forward, I let momentum and trust take me to the next destination. It has taken me far longer than I imagined it would, as a healthy twenty something leaving Edinburgh Art College. But I now know, that my journey to get here has been rich and rewarding, a parent, a teacher, artist, writer, and a person who exists.

Every obstacle an opportunity.

And always with my trusted companion !

You can do anything.

Just do it your way

xxxxx

All our love, Liz at the beach Hut x

Art folio

Winter months are a good time to reset, remember, revisit and recollect. So often, when we feel it’s an uninspired time, we sweep aside how full the journey has been to get to where we are now. Discover again your forgotten gems, past achievements and unrequited ideas. And wherever you may be right now, keep your creative journey alive. Here are a few things done by yours truly over the years, from craft fairs, community Arts, Artwork and classroom teaching . Determination to keep making and to inspire and be inspired by others continues to be the best medicine I can find for chronic pain ! A snapshot so far

P.G.C.E Moray House Artwork with Primary and Secondary Schools
Henry Moore Secondary Art Class
My ‘Superhero’ group by one of my Art Class
Art with Dementia
Felt Wallhanging. Old School House Exhibition
Detail of Felt
Canvas Wall Art
Detail
Dalkeith Arts press release
Giant paper mache shoe for theatre production
Alien carnival float designs
Kids ‘Create’ Art classes Lasswade Leisure Centre
Primary school Nativity Backdrop
My classroom Ross HIgh School. Recognise my tiny assistant !
Dalkeith Arts Co-ordinator
Degree Show Edinburgh Art College
Handmade felt wall-hangings, ‘Creatures’ and drawings.
Felt commission
Small felted pieces
Felt commission
Making Felt. Always with an animal about!
West End Craft Fair Stall in the 90’s and Artwork Maison Hector Stockbridge
Kids Summer School East Lothian
Felt purchased by private Leith Home
Summer School
N.E.C Birmingham
Handmade cards
Felt cushions
Personalised Blankets
St Johns hospital Livingston
Detail
Pencil pots
An artist never travels light
Art Bags for individuals in the pandemic
Collating Our Artgroup’s Artwork for display
Classroom
Many many folders!
Much work done
And many labels!
A life in colour

Art class

Between rest and rain the words come,

and drawn lines stroke my page.

Though chimneys howl and waves are fierce

your colours block their rage.

I thank you friends for sharing ways

to open up your hearts

your palette of our friendship

your gestures, lines and marks.

Catch your worries, leave them

unwind slowly, shut the door.

throw the clock out, see your hands move

see what’s not been seen before.

No-one’s watching, it is magic,

Doesn’t matter where you start.

Looking, laughing, making memories,

Making joy and Art.

Thankyou so far you fabulous Artists for being my inspiration! xxx

Liz at the Beach Hut

Thankyou

As we look past the storm damage and the winter garden, bereft of it’s colours and usually dug up by four giant paws …

We could be sad and ponder all that was lost, and is gone: lament the landscape of change.

Or we could take a moment to celebrate all that has been and the journey through this last year, the people we met on the way, the new friends, the furry feet, the help we prayed for and received miraculously.

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The beach hut is a movable feast. It goes where we go, for as long as it needs to be there. We all have a beach hut spot in our hearts. Who knows where ours will go next.

Skye Blue house was named after our beautiful Skye and the Blue of the sea and my daughter’s eyes, of all things sacred and beautiful in nature and in art.

Latterly life might have thrown a few curve balls, with health and weather, goblins and ghouls; but in our time here; we made fairy gardens, and a pond, had chickens that laid blue eggs, had garden parties, grew lettuces and fruit, painted a lot of furniture and made a lot of art.

Life is a series of moments strung together with spiderwebs of time. Every day adding brushstrokes to the painting of our life. The point isn’t to finish the picture, but to keep painting.

Take a moment to guinea Hygge from time to time
Notice wonderful things
Celebrate and dance whenever possible
And keep a chair ready and the kettle on for your next best friend to appear.

Happy New Year wherever you are, and love and blessings from all of us here ❤

Love, liz at the beach hut 🧚‍♂️🎄xx

Road trip

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Oh what we wouldn’t give

To have another life

One which has more sunshine

Where no neighbours give us strife.

Well here’s a little story

Given with a pinch of pride,

To tell you that you can indeed;

And land the other side.

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Not only as the self you were:

Bit all the missing parts,

The scattered bits you thought were left,

Like plasters on your heart.

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It started during Covid, when our patience , trust was tested

The art was made for future times, and painful bones were rested

Contact with the outside world was mostly done on zoom

While unkind eyes peered in through the curtains in the living room

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A goldfish bowl is what it felt, a sport for bored old men

While real life captured daily in the dreams of ink and pen

But sadness takes its toll you know,

Despite how brave you feel

Despite distractions, kindly words and never ending zeal

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All a human wants to do

is open their back door

To feel the sun on their bare feet

And let their spirit soar.

Pain is eased by warmer climes.

Where damp bones are less sore.

Where just for once a dress is aired

To float in at the shore.

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We packed the house with boxes

Planned a road trip for so long

Both of us excited, planning

Nothing could go wrong

We headed off to Dorset in a car packed to the top

And listened long to Audible and old c.d.s non stop

The B and B though lovely , was run strictly, and like school

Bear, in car at Breakfast , trying bravely to stay cool

Beaches were so pretty but a long way from the car

And a wander down to Lulworth Cove felt a step just too far

A hot and fluffy Scottish dog and 12 year old, to entertain each day

These trips should come with medals or a free spa by the way!

Next was a small chalet in a little place called Eype

Right next to lovely Bridport which was where we really liked.

We looked at lots of houses, thinking renting would be right

To see how life would unfurl and if this was where we liked.

We needed to be careful.

And that’s why we were quiet

The more they knew, the chance for damage

grew with every night.

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A plan was hatched to safely try another little boat

A few who knew could see how hard we’d tried to stay afloat.

All we needed was a plan,

of Epic size proportions

But, hey this is real life here, 

with all its mad distortions...

Returning back to where we live, my daughter would not go

Her summer was more summer if she could simply flow

So we returned, the bear and I, had just two weeks left to search

To look online for something new, in shadows of the church.

That time was peaceful, useful, long , she’d never been away .

And we both got to do the missing which we did, I’m glad to say .

Our house was cleared and cleaned and boxed and sorted every day,

But every turn produced a problem tripping up the way.

From nests of wasps which manged to escape their mortal trap

to blown up routers thanks to power cuts, needing several chaps.

Each new thing became a task though simply to sort out,

and spaces came with things that went, the things we dared chuck out.

If you think you are going, you clean out even more

your cupboards don’t have spices dating back to Eighty four.

So emails pinged and forms were filled

for landlords time again

Oh how we forget what its like to go through that in vain

To jump through hoops and hand out cash and prove our worth for lets

‘ No parking, fun, or children, and definitely no pets!’

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In summer too when every shed is sold as summer space

For one months rent , a car you’d buy or ticket up to Space.

The days were ticking past and I had to get my girl ,

my guinea pigs were down there too and this lot are my world.

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Bear and I however had managed something too.

Our goodbye lunches sparkled in the eyes of all the friends we knew.

We felt a tug of love, a lamplight in the gloam

The silent yet warm constant presence making home a Home.

We drove back down to England to continue with the plan.

A room filled floor of boxes to join us in a van

When two hours in a wobble veered us off the A1 road

And holding Bear in one hand, the A.A. man did unload

The boot packed full of random stuff and two cats ,mewling madly

Our tyre was worn but also had a cut which leaked so badly.

We made our way back down at 50 all the way

And 12 hours later we arrived, but no words could we say.

The best parts are the absences in an adventure story

The chance to miss and find again, your own sweet Jackanory

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Sometimes life can play a trick and you must listen hard.

Sometimes you must journey long to stay just as you are.

Sometimes you must see yourself as others see you first.

Sometimes you must love yourself the way you most deserve.

We used our instincts all the way and listened to each time

An obstacle would light each step and that this was a sign.

Not to carry on this path;

But see it as devine.

On getting down to Sussex,

where the gathering troups were held

The planned next manoeuvre

was far from being gelled

In England there was one month left til schoolterm did begin.

But Scottish schools returned in days, and time was running thin.

As things came clear for reasons I shall leave for just today

It came to me that this was time for us to be away

In one day two new tyres, new togs and food was deftly sought,

and all those things that previously for Dorset had been bought,

We’re swiftly and with Kondo grace stuffed back into the car.

Along with several animals and all the Art so far.

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And realising with lightning speed that this had been the reason

That fate had stepped in just before this new emerging season

And travelling back to where we knew were friends with open hearts

Was where we made our home and what inspired the Beach Hut Art.

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We made the journey home which made us feel quite glad

To unpack every box and discover what we had

To know the choices laid out bare and stand still any way

And re affirm what we believe, no matter what they say.

You run, and search for you we think is missing in your lives

When what you have is what you’d pay a leg for in St Ives

Off we drove at 5 am, stuffed up to our cars brim

Excited to be going home at last and not so scared of him

Guineas cage on top of cats and Bear leaning on me

A more comical carload you’re unlikely to see.

The school had left a place for her despite our prior chat

And lovely feels are happening when home feels where its at.

The boxes are now emptied, the feet are on the ground.

The Summer shed off more than rubbish,

Insight has been found

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We can save the rest for other days, as this could take a week

But trust me when I tell you that if Inner calm you seek

Step outside your comfort zone and leap into the unknown

Miss your loved ones Til you both want nothing but your home

Drive away and back again to see where you are now

Scare yourself a little while your body will allow.

Mine’s already creaking with the haar in every joint

The Autumn school term makes adventure hard now, that’s the point

A healthy body to ease pain needs the right amount of heat

And healthy minds need peace to live with earth beneath your feet

So, back to the beginning with a view I’d pay to have

To know the value of your lot and make your head feel glad

The chance to see what you would miss is if you let bullies win

They pop up almost everywhere so turn to them and grin

Your feet are earthing you wherever your two legs can be

And your two legs can carry you from shore to shining sea

And if like me, you struggle with this easy of all things

Three thousand miles proves your car can be your wings

The Gods were working with and for us on this magic quest,

This summer ended not as planned but worked out for the best.

For us, I know the following, and never will forget,

We like our house and won’t be pushed into an airbrushed let

where animals and children aren’t welcome on the floor.

It might be noisy but there’s always welcome here behind our door.

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A little word of thankyou too for meals made on our quest.

And barefoot caravaning tending truly was the best.

My bin man and our lovely gardener we could not compare

And A. A men with pet skills, well you got us everywhere.

We’ll love and richly leave you for a little while this time

But soon be back with drawings, stories, notions love and silly rhymes .

]

Leaving a light on,

All our Liz and the zoo xx

Paw me

It was all a bit of a mad dash, with not much time to panic as it was a cancellation. But the surgery was very much needed as the drawing hand was really struggling with bad arthritis and pain. A massive thankyou to my friends and even to people I know only a little, for being so so kind, positive on facebook, offering lifts, chocolates, flowers, getting easy to cook groceries, gifts and the all important loo rolls! We have the loveliest people in our lives.

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Anything is possible with a little patience, trust and chocolate !!

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Back soon with words, all our love, Liz and the zoo xxx 🙂

Drawing on


Hello yellow light and hopeful thoughts wherever you are.

The first ray of morning light through my window… – earlymorningchic

In these ambiguous months of daring to hope, but not wanting to feel any more disappointment, we stand on the edge of a life we might step into.

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For some of you, your path might have turned a new direction entirely, leaving you a bit floaty. Reality hovers in a hazy cloud of internet balanced with the real life intense everyday dramas played out in our homes, and nobody knows what the next move will be.

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Thinking about most things only gets us so far.

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Trying to make sense of the changes and losses, and staying positive has been tough. Our sparks of hope might have been dashed too often to stay upbeat . The mundane has taken centre stage over bigger rewards and adventures, pools of simple pleasures between the TV shows and endless meals.

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We have found new ways to make the usual , unusual. Our minds have been busy balancing coping strategies, in essence, the left brain trying to make sense of what is a global unfathomable phenomenon with analysis and logic, whilst the right communicating it’s emotional response through creativity and self expression.

This tender balance of logic and free creative will, is an essential survival recipe , and a basis to nurture your creative process.

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The vastness of our choices, our decision making skills (or not) and freedom of expression shrank in almost every area in the last two years, going out, meeting people, communicating normally, feeding our souls with new wonders and different visual excitements , our vistas shrank. Our pools of reference and the connectivity which established where we were at that given moment was suddenly much smaller.
And what can happen if we are not careful, is we start to forget the things that mattered to us in the time before. Think about when lockdown first happened and you looked trough old photos, reminding yourself of old clothes and cars you loved, people you cared about and lost touch with. It is the same process with the things that you love to do, that enable your voice to sing.

Whole chunks of important fuel for the spirit which we aren’t able to taste for months and months. We forget what beauty and drama is out there as our lives begin to curtail us layer by layer.

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We forget how to express joy at this wonder, because the powerful surge of happiness that comes with that freedom feels like it has gone, or is not as urgent.
But this is when we need it most.

All your thoughts are magical possibilities. Catch them quickly…


Your mind is amazingly curious. Casting out a net of constant questions, and catching all kinds of fishy thoughts, from tiny quick darting silver ones you hardly have a chance to grasp, to thundering great chunky ones that sit in the net taking up space and not letting new ones in. When I was little I asked a lot of the usual questions children do, but was often told to top being silly. So I found listening ears in older relatives who loved to talk, in looking after other people’s children as I grew up, small curious beings who saw the magic in life still, I read and read and found myself down rabbit holes and in faraway trees and
I drew .

And a dialogue of sorts grew in the observing of everyday things around me, seen in a different light. People were fascinating to me. And when I realised that some of them not only talked back but had questions of their own, thanks Gilda. For my introduction into kitchen philosophy at a tender age over a cup of tea.

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Our thoughts like our ideas, our appetites, come in waves of intensity. I can often pack away a problem into a small case in my brain somewhere for days, only to give it a whole unadulterated day to itself later. Have a sketchbook or notebook handy Always!
Art is truly made in the cracks of the day. Padded out from a scribble on a paper napkin or a voice memo in the bath. Catch your inner ideas, they have to battle with a lot of boring rational thoughts. There will never be a perfect time to create.

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But putting together twenty scraps you’ve made over a month in ten minute bursts after the house is quiet in the morning, becomes something real and alive.

What I have come to appreciate is the value of intense creativity. In the central vortex of the act of completing a piece of work, I am lost and meditative. Words are gone and instinct takes over. I knew it was something I couldn’t do when I had a very young child, but you might be more disciplined than me!

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To get to this sweet spot, is a luxury I have learned to value drawing again throughout the pandemic. The child and Bear seem to have developed an understanding of my mental disappearance whilst still being in the room. After 12 and a half years of my ‘mum brain’ being on high alert, and 12 years of being a Stepmother to two small boys before that, it is a lovely escape. Even better because it is shared with others . And all of our life experiences so far feed into those simple drawings.


Sometimes you must put in every tiny scrap of detail in a piece of work

Sometimes the detail speaks for itself and is of itself without words

I know I need to be both of these Artists

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That without one type of creating, the other makes no sense either.
That all these years having to decide which artist I was: was a waste of good thinking time, or maybe it was the path to truly knowing my path.

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Going to an academy or school which pigeon holes you into a type of artist can be a wonderful thing. But it can also deter you from ever trying anything new
My favourite accomplishment of the few years since retiring from teaching art has been to actually finish a painting. As a teacher, every day I would begin a demonstration for each class, sometimes eight groups and new projects in a day. And I would promise myself that some day there would be actual paintings from all these starts. Sketchbooks held a vast ocean of possibilities that I would create someday in the cracks of my life somewhere. These cracks were stuffed with ideas and promises, and inspirations which kept me moving forward.

From stairs in my home

I painted walls for my children, my own daughter and my stepsons. I painted on flower pots and murals and birthday cards and designed things for people. I didn’t understand the frustrating pendulum which kept lurching me from intense drawing to free abstract work.

Murals and classroom walls (below)
September 2012 016 - Click to view full size photo
School and stuff 014 - Click to view full size photo


How could you be someone who thinks so much, has so many ideas and also this flowing mass of colour reacting to life through instinct.?
I was, I am still years later. Back in the teaching years it was squished into the clothes and resources and pupil work and in the details, but it was still there. Our true essence is always there.

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We are all many characters depending on which chapter we are in.

There is a wonderful freedom in not abiding by one set of rules for your work. A freedom to experiment with different media and applications.

All the work you do has your stamp on it, and the more you do, the more you you’ll see patterns and rhythms even if every piece if different.

Enjoy your seasons!


Never apologise for the many ways your mind needs to express itself. Or the contradictory ways that joy comes out. My big friend Jim makes fairy gardens. And knits hats. He looks like a biker. His artwork is unapologetic and fun, colourful and so clever. Although he has given me permission to use his pictures, he doesn’t really show his work. The joy that one or two people get from seeing it or getting a gift from Jim is enough for him.

Yvonne teaches English after a career in teaching history, knits, sews, bakes, plants and writes a blog all with the same humble but consistent enthusiasm. Until recently I had no idea she could do half this stuff. The hidden craft skills and beautiful objects she has created is inspiring. Again, mostly for family and only on here because of arm pulling.

Both of these friends are inspiring to anyone who thinks you have to have training, or only do one thing and excel at that and then it only matters if the world sees it on Instagram. Each object they have made is pure and of itself. I think the troubIe many people have is muddying one area of skill with another and trying to cram too much into one idea.

It took me a while to realise with my art that wasn’t working; was the paintings I was trying to put both sides of myself in at once . There was the patient ordered one, who interpreted an object , albeit in a Liz way, and there was the wild one, who was quick to mark make and needed less permission. Once the pressure to perform goes, the freedom to immerse fully in the artwork is wonderful.

It was like trying to please both children with one present, but what was needed was to give each of my creative sides time to explore their path and let go as individuals. The critical voice I heard telling me to choose, from my training at Art College, my familial conditioning, those that sought to understand the work; (and in doing so, silently slightly pigeon hole it) , had to have the volume muted.

And I can tell you, the freedom to do that, although it has taken nearly fifty years is wonderful. I always loved to draw, details, to absorb what I saw and explore the essence of an object in itself. But I also could create artwork which was in itself the rhythms and textures and colours of the thing too.

garden theatre - Click to view full size photo


We don’t need permission to express multi dimensional joy . Sometimes having a shake up in life is an opportunity to question how and why we go through the day in the way we do.
I’m not going to lie, this last stretch of lockdown, in less than sunny Scotland has been by far the hardest for me. In previous months, the enormity of what stretched ahead was made easier almost by the challenge of it, and what and who needed looking after. Ever the land girls. We just buckled up our cords and braces and got on with it. Not really giving too much thought to the fuzzy future, until the daily chores were done and everyone was schooled, fed, cleaned. Medicated or entertained!
We’ve all been doing that in our funny little bubbles..

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It has been like sleepwalking, living through these months with a fraction of the ingredients we had, and only a few of the loved ones we care about.
But because we have stoicism, hope, resilience, imagination, strength we know we can get to the other side. I have just watched the film birdbox. Sandra Bullock out on violent open river with two four year olds, escaping the end of the world, rowing for their lives, all three blindfolded . Trusting only instinct to get to the place of sanctuary where they will be free.

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Those of us still waiting for injections, still waiting for permissions, for medical procedures to start, for the goal posts to remain still, rather than keep moving, are on a treadmill. The ground feels unreliable. Dare we trust it?

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We just want to get off the roundabout and for the world to stop spinning random poker questions about our healthcare.
I had a bad day. I don’t often get a bad day truth be told. So it was allowed. It was all Facebook’s fault. They chucked up a video post of my Stepfather who died last year. Of a happy pre-Covid Easter where we all fed lambs and chick’s and sat in the sun in their garden. I felt a surge of loss but in a strange way, a renewed gratitude too.

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Very soon, life will resume something different but new. We aren’t the same people we were going in. Some of the ones we had in our world are sadly no longer here. Some people might be less able. Some are suddenly much older, some have left our lives for other reasons, some of us might want to stay where we are, or enjoy it in a way we hadn’t realised. We might not want to do things the same way. Or at least we might want to be more mindful, more selective.

What is clear is that there is no excuse not to be happy in our pursuits.

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I knew I couldn’t do things the same after that day.
Or if I did, I had to know why
Sometimes we have to question who has made the rules we live by, why we do things. Where they come from.
I felt I’d entered the upside down.

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So I decide to give myself

Permission to STOP

NAP

THINK

PERUSE THE AREA
Permission to bathe ridiculously

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Permission to say to oneself …. Really? Do I really want to eat, read, wear, go to that?

To check my thoughts as I did things, and ask if I really wanted to for me?.
To make art at the living room table for 6 hours and watch films at the same time
To reverse all the meals in the day

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To do things in a different order
To stop thinking about everyone else just for five minutes.
What happened? Nothing.
Apart from a feeling like I had the best pair of comfortable big earth shoes on.

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People that know you best might ask if you are ok, but probably nobody will notice.

Most to do lists are only in our heads.

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Moving through the days with an awareness of why made me realise
that I actually do prefer most of the things the way I was already doing them, but now I feel much less like life is on autopilot.

We made it that way because we like it and it works.


In order to get out of your own head for a bit and see if you still fit your seat. Imagine you are in a car, instead of being in the drivers seat, you are now a passenger.

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You are free to watch the road, look ahead, see what’s coming, read the road signs and enjoy the view. You don’t need to be behind the wheel to be on a journey.
Whatever you believe in, and it’s a personal box of magical ingredients for every soul on earth, you’re not alone. There are people on the road with you. Give them a wave as you amble along.

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Being upside down is often the first step to being firmly rooted. Rip up the rules

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Make art that makes your soul sing, making nobody but you happy. And get back in the driving seat of your creativity.

This blog post has taken a while to write as my hand is now cripplingly painful. The bones are fusing and I have to stop regularly. However, finally the fairies have woven their magic and surgery is extremely imminent. I am getting bones removed next week from the drawing and writing hand to make it , hopefully, less painful. So. All this, means I not only have faith in all of you, but in the universe too and in me, getting back to some new creating in a little while, in whatever way we all can!!

Wish me luck my lovely friends!

All our love, Liz and the zoo xxx

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