Biting off more than you can chew and other ramblings..

•June 1, 2015 • 1 Comment

10710772_10202750088621224_347949111000897321_n (2)

I’m only writing this now, this afternoon as I’m feeling human again: like I’ve got a little bit of my life back that I’ve not clapped eyes on for a while.

I’ve just read my last post Shopping Trolleys & the math of time is simple it made made me chuckle a little.. due to realising that a couple of months down the line I’m still dealing with the same old issues: I hadn’t been saying no enough.

This all happened sometime in early May:

I had gotten to the point where I had said yes to far far too many things and the reality was I just didn’t have the time to do it all. So with a gentle nudge from Karen, my mentor, I realised I couldn’t go on as I was and that things needed to change quickly: completely exhausted and most probably heading for some kind of burnout: I know what that looks and feels like, because I’ve been there before.

With some sound advice I proceeded to cancel a few things, I felt awful doing so: knowing that I was letting people down.

After cancelling the first (over) commitment I felt immediately better, I then cancelled another and felt better again and then finally I decided to leave scheduling the next Salon exhibition at the studio for at least 2-3 months.

Karen had also suggested that I find a meditation/visualisation video/soundtrack on youtube and start doing this daily when I felt things were just getting too much. It took a little searching to find the right thing: but when I did I proceeded to listened to it 4 times in a row: it immediately soothed my racing mind, my anxiety and eased the tension in my legs. I then listened to it regularly until I felt I could manage my too too busy life. And I’ve now got it saved so that I don’t get into that mess again. Maybe my selection of meditation won’t suit others, but on the off chance here it is: 

I now plug in my headphones and relax.

I’ve just finished a stint of working 14 days, and we’re talking full on stuff: 6am in the morn until mid to late evening most days, that is crazy living and just down right stupid thinking: that’s what you call biting off more than you can chew. That’s without the commitments that I cancelled and no way to choose to live.

Today is my first day of a 7 days off stint from my council post: I’m a care worker in the community: sometimes a difficult job that involves seeing and dealing with the worst bits life throws at us humans. Yesterday I took off my uniform and flung it in the wash basket.. It felt bloody good to be honest. Today we’ve hung the next exhibition at the gallery and as we left I just suddenly felt like me again. My life had become a heaving mass of deadlines and work: and I mean heaving.

I think there are several things that made me take on far too much and I’m beginning to work them out. I have this thing with famine and feast: it seems that I have had months where there’s little or no work where money is scarce and I struggle to get by: then all of a sudden I seem to get a load of offers/bookings and because I’ve been so starving for money and for work I say yes to them all… not anymore

And then there’s this thing that’s suddenly appeared in my life with what seemed like no warning: the age thing. All of a sudden I felt a bit passed it, I’ve begun feeling tired and ache like I’ve not done before: my zing isn’t always there: it goes walk about on a frequent basis.

Amongst all of these goings on I’ve had fleeting moments where I’ve considered going back to a full time well paid job: luckily only fleeting, because I know it would kill me and I’d not see me zing ever again.

Shopping Trolleys & the Math of time is simple.

•March 12, 2015 • 3 Comments


It’s been a while since writing a post & I’ve often thought ‘I must write a post’ and then decided not to (based on not knowing what to write about) or I’ve gotten swept away with other stuff…

Some of that stuff was the not knowing whether I can make ends meet stuff, the living in fear of the car breaking down and having no cash to fix it stuff, the I really do hope this is the last month of scraping pennies together stuff. Luckily it’s ended, with a lot of hard work and some solid, sound  and motivational advice from Karen my money mentor.

Then today I came across an article online, by/from Kevin Ashton’s book ‘How to Fly a Horse’ that seemed to capture a lot of what I’ve been working on in the past few months. Time (the lack of it) and saying no.

I’ve had to work really hard at saying no to people who ask me to ‘do it cheaper’ or can we discuss your rate, price etc etc..  One of the things that has really helped me to say no is something that Karen said to me (I can’t remember her exact words but it goes something like this..) These people who ask you to cut your prices are walking around the supermarket and filling their trolleys with food, are you? Why should you not be able to afford to do this at the expense of those people…

So whenever someone asks me to drop my quote/price I just think of shopping trolleys. After all money has a huge connection to  and with time. The more I lower my prices.. the more hours I have to work and the less time I have to spend on my ambitions, passions, friends and family.

Here’s a snippet from the article (it really is worth a read).  ‘How to Fly a Horse’

‘Saying ‘no’ has more creative power than ideas, insights and talent combined. No guards time, the thread from which we weave our creations. The math of time is simple: you have less than you think and need more than you know.’

So how have I been spending my time? in the studio? Nope. Painting? Nope.

Getting organised, staying focused, setting up systems and ways of working.. I’ve been so busy that for a time it has made everything seem like a jumbled mess, and a huge muddle of tasks to do, email in boxes full to bursting and a whirling spinning head. Armed with my fabulous default diary and putting a limit on the amount of overtime that I do I am now making headway!

Time ahead to spend in the studio? Yes! Time for painting? Yes!

Goodbye 2014

•January 1, 2015 • 2 Comments

slanted view 2

‘Slanted View’ Acrylic and collage on paper, 2014.

Since starting this blog, April 2011, I’ve written a short pre new year blog yearly.. a little late, and a bit of a hasty one this year but here we go!

Another 12 months on and I’m looking back and thinking how the heck did all of that happen in just 12 months. It’s been a tough year in a lot of ways and I’m hoping this year will be a little more settled, a little more productive and a lot happier.

Having said that there’s been some really grand moments and again I’ve met some wonderful people!

I’ve put together a slideshow of some of the great moments of 2014.

A big fat thankyou to everyone that has helped to make 2014 a good year: all my friends, family, new acquaintances, new friends in Cromford & Derbyshire, old friends that have been in touch & for all the kindness that many of you have given & shared with me, thanks to all the artists that took part in the Salon exhibitions during 2014!

All the very best to all of you & may 2015 bring with it health, love & happiness!

Some reasons to be cheerful: in no particular order:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Buying Time

•October 23, 2014 • Leave a Comment


It’s one of those times of year, for me, that brings with it a period of reflection.

3 years ago, almost to the date (don’t ask me what date as dates are one of those things I’m not so good at), I was facing a huge amount of loss and heartache. A smidgen of hindsight then would have been good: as I would have known that life was going to be hard for a while: but that life was going to be better, happier and fuller. I would have known that there was 3 rich years of a belly full of good art and grand people ahead of me! Some very tricky bits too of course: but that’s life.

Life has started to shift and I can see a way forward. The last 3 years of grit and determination are beginning to pay off, with an offer of a freelance opportunity managing a gallery in the Derbyshire Peak District and I’m also setting up an art group at a school in Derbyshire. This in turn also means life is full: fuller than full at times. I now have 5 jobs, which all take up varying amounts of my time. And the reason that I gave up one well paid job 3 and a half years ago, painting, currently has little room in my life.

I met with my money mentor this week and I’ve had a massive shift in my money mindset: we worked out that following my first session in August I have increased my income by one third. It’s down to Karen’s mentoring, advice and amongst other things now being able to take decision making at a much slower pace and being able to say no, nicely of course.

This huge increase means I can now begin to pay off my debts: that’s the first step, although I have to acknowledge that my debts are miniscule in comparison to others: that I’m thankful for. The sessions really are helping me to see things much clearer, understand my habitual ways of thinking about and dealing with money. It also means that I will be financially better off at some point in the near future, I’m still facing a continued period of austerity.. Debts first: I need to be rid of them completely! Of course all this busyness and such like means I have little time to paint.

Another step will be to buy back time. Time to paint, that’s one bit I’m really looking forward to.

Salon 6 ~ It would be rude not to.

•October 15, 2014 • Leave a Comment


Salon 6 seems an age ago now and it wouldn’t be right to let it pass by completely without a mention on my blog. It’s taken a while to get round to it as life and work has been incredibly busy for the last few weeks.

Salon 6 left me exhausted, but a good exhausted. A truly great show I thought and so well received by so many. I’m chuffed to bits with how it went.

A room full to bursting with great work and such lovely people! I had 80-90 people through the door in just 3 hours (although my ticker/counter registered 91), an all time record I think and 3 sales too.

I’ve already started work on Salon 7 which will be in late January 2015.

For those of you who haven’t seen any of the photo’s online here’s a few of my favourites from the night:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Old Lock Up Studio available to hire for workshops

•September 5, 2014 • Leave a Comment

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Location: The Old Lock Up Studio is a beautiful historic grade 2 listed building in the village of Cromford which is available to hire for art/craft workshops and classes, the studio measures 550 square foot and has many original features. Formerly the village jail in the 1780’s the studio itself was the jail keepers living quarters. Prior to this it was one of the first dwellings/cottages in the historic village of Cromford: the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.

The studio is an artists working studio that provides life drawing classes, children’s art workshops and pop up exhibitions, it is also available to hire.

Facilities: Natural daylight through windows and skylight. Artificial light through fluorescent ceiling lights. Access to multiple power sockets. Tables. Chairs. Storage heating. Kitchenette for hot/cold drinks. Fridge and hot plate. Toilet and handbasin.

Suitable for: Art/craft courses and workshops.

Capacity: 10-12 people.

Catering: Refreshments, home made cakes and light lunches available at an additional cost.

Hire Charge: Full day rate, half day rate and hourly rate available: all include setup and breakdown times of 15 minutes maximum either side.

For further information email:


Salon 6 at The Old Lock Up Studio

•August 27, 2014 • Leave a Comment




Salon – a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine taste and increase their knowledge of the participants through conversation. These gatherings often consciously followed Horaces definition of the aims of poetry, either to please or to educate (aut delectare aut prodesse est)

The Salon events were founded in August 2011 by myself and Clay Smith, they have now become a highlight in this areas cultural calendar.

The next one night only event is fast approaching and will be held at The Old Lock Up Studio in Cromford, Derbyshire on 27th September 2014. Doors open 6.30pm until 9.30pm approximately and the event is open to all, so please feel free to join us.

This will be the first Salon exhibition that I have organised and curated independently, I’m incredibly excited with the lineup of artists and it’s looking like a great show that’s not to be missed. 

Please click and follow the links below to find out further information about the Salon 6 artists:

Jackie Berridge

Louisa Chambers

Valerie Turton

Terry Greene

Steve Gresham

Sarah Fiander

Sarah R Key

David Manley

Mandy Payne

Alyson Morgan-Tansley

lois Gardner Sabet

Rachael Pinks

Stephen B MacInnis





Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 135 other followers

%d bloggers like this: