Art & Craft Musings Paintings

Journey – My Word Of The Year & Artist Guardian


When I was at university and had to write essays I was the Queen of Procrastination™. Although I always finished things on time, I was emotionally unable to put in the proper time required. I would always do everything last minute, rushing through it, wishing for it to be finished already. I never had anything looked at beforehand by teachers to be critiqued. I would read through it before submitting to spot spelling mistakes, but actual rewriting was too painful. It just had to be done, handed in, away, GONE.

I’m not very good at process. So, in 2014 my word for the year is ‘journey’. I want to try and spend more time experiencing the journey, rather than only focussing on the end result. I want to enjoy the process of whatever it is I decide to engage in. Too often I have started a painting and struggled through it, hating the work and just wanting it to be finished. That way I could feel the satisfaction of completion, but it left me feeling empty.

Most of all I want to allow myself to have a journey. Allow myself the time and space to grow. To stop feeling like I have to be perfect. To stop comparing myself to other people. I want to have my personal journey.

I’ve been working quite hard (in whatever little time my job & raising two kids allows!) to make this happen. I can genuinely say I’ve enjoyed painting more than ever these past few months. Partly because I was painting to paint. Not for the result. Not to share. Not to get recognition or attention. With this post I am tentatively getting back into sharing my work. I love showing what I paint, but I also want to be really careful not to fall into the trap of becoming a ‘share junkie’. Where the sharing becomes more important than the joy of creating.

The following piece is my ‘Inner Artist Guardian’. She’s a welcoming and caring person inside me, who allows me to journey and create freely and tries to protect me from my own nasty critical thoughts.

Progress shots from sketch to painting




Detail shots, yummy texture

Finished painting

The work in this post is inspired by a lesson on Life Book 2014, come join us!

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Art Supply Shops in London


I love going into art shops and nosing around for new supplies (or stocking up on basics). I can’t imagine how they must struggle against competitive online suppliers. Nothing beats actually going into an art shop though, I’m addicted! So I thought I would compile a list of shops I frequent that sell art supplies in London. Most of these ones are in Central London. I hope you find this helpful!

AtlantisAldgate, E1
A huge shop (biggest in the UK according to their website) with pretty much any art supplies you can think of. Lots of supplies for fine art, but also things for kids, plenty of materials for mixed media artists (they do both natural and bleached beeswax). Huge range of Golden & Liquitex products. Best thing about Atlantis is that their prices are very very good.

Blade RubberBloomsbury, WC1
This shop is a must for art journalers. They don’t just do rubber stamps but a ton of papercrafting accessories and more. They do a lot of mixed media & art journaling essentials. It’s the only shop I’ve found that actually stocks things like Stewart Gill paints, mica flakes and specialist magazines. They are unfortunately quite expensive but you do have the advantage of seeing the supplies in the flesh rather than guessing what something is like when you buy online. They also do classes.

Cass ArtCharing Cross, WC2 – Soho, W1 – Hampstead, NW3 – Kensington, W8
They have a few branches and do great deals on quite a lot of their stock. Paper, sketchbooks, Promarkers (sets) and Caran d’Ache watersolubles (sets) are really competitively priced. I haven’t been to their flagship store, but their smaller store on Charing Cross road is great for picking up a few essentials.

CornelissenBloomsbury, WC1
Quite fine art focussed, but I would recommend going in here even if you’re not interested in what they sell: the inside of the shop is amazing! It’s what you’d imagine stepping into a 19th century art shop would be like. Apart from the obvious they sell some interesting stuff (I found some type of gold coloured powder in there, never seen that anywhere else) and tucked away at the back you can find discounted supplies.

Cowling & Wilcox LtdSoho, W1 – Shoreditch, E1 – Camberwell, SE5
It’s been a few years since I went into this shop but I think they’re quite similar in terms of stock to Cass Art.

HobbycraftCroydon, CR0 – Greenford, UB6 – Romford, RM1 – Watford, WD17
You have to travel a bit further out of town, but the size of the store makes up for it. Prices aren’t as low as you might expect, but the shop is great for browsing because they have so much. They cover almost every area of art and craft. I especially like going into the aisle with art supplies for kids, you can pick up some nice things for mixed media projects for a lot less money than the stuff that’s specifically targetted at art journaling.

John LewisOxford Street, W1
The haberdashery department in John Lewis has some nice bits & bobs. I’ve only been there for my knitting/crocheting needs, but they also do lots of little accessories (embellishments, ribbons etc) and I think they’re picking up on crafters’ needs a bit more over the past couple of years.

London Graphic CentreCovent Garden, WC2
I love this shop because it’s got a lot and is so central. They are a bit pricey though. In the ranges of drawing/watercolour pencils, (watersoluble) oil pastels, conte crayons etc they sell single colours of almost everything which can be very handy. They sell an adequate range of paints & mediums although if you really want to go to town on those I’d still recommend Atlantis.