I know its only 1 month in but I already have progress to report….

So last year I didn’t set my 2017 action plan until mid February. This year I was all done and dusted with ‘getting my act together’ before last Christmas. I was exceptionally smug about how I’d caught up with myself by the end of the year. And I continue to wallow in my smug self-satisfaction as I celebrate the (near) end of January 2018.

I am ahead of my game.

I’m focused. I’m energised.

I’m (over) achieving !

I appear to have got my multifaceted act together.

To be fair I’m not really smug, but I am genuinely elated by how much energy I’ve leapt into 2018 with and how much momentum I’ve rolled with. I mean, blimey, 4 whole weeks and I’ve not had a meltdown; an identity crisis or fallen into a self-confidence hollow. I am on a roll.

I put this down to two things.

#TheJanuaryChallenge : this little package of fun and well-being run by charitable organisation 64 Million Artists, invited anyone and everyone in the UK (and beyond) to spend a few moments of each day mindfully contemplating something creative: be it drawing your self-portrait in your spaghetti hoops or expressing yourself using the medium of GIF, it afforded a period each day of self-expression, and an opportunity to engage and have a bit of banter with other individuals enjoying the daily micro-challenges. OK I didn’t actually post in every challenge of the month , but I did contemplate each one to varying degrees and I did enjoy reading the posts of those who did. The best thing is , there was no pressure to engage, it was simply a joy to do so.

Secondly, 2017 had been working towards my first ever solo art exhibition and the event opened on 12th January… a serious kick-start to my artistic self, my self-esteem and focused my mind on challenging myself – Lucy of What My Fridge Says made me her featured blogger #19 in the third week of January. That was and still is very exciting for me. But the very best bit was the most lovely words she used to describe me and my blog. It made me realise that my blog reads and represents me exactly how I hope it would

…When I read her blog it seems to me that she is living fiercely, boldly and with risk…not to mention enjoying the journey – Rose Tinted Ramblings of a life less ordinary , these

attributes are certainly something which I find magical. Plus, she drive a pink car – whats not to love. Click the link above to read about her first solo exhibition. Despite loving every second and going for it, she also captures her anticipation and anxiety beautifully. Often anxiety is seen as a mental health issue and connected to worry, but I really do see anxiety as showing you care and when used to drive the vision of you dreams, it’s often complimented by accomplishment. This lady could teach the world a thing or two.

So I’ve hit the ground running in 2018. I’m aware that in reality I can’t run at this pace solidly throughout 2018 and there are bound to be some challenges and setbacks thrown in along the way but, for just right now, I am very focused, slightly ahead of myself and feeling pretty mighty.

So at the end of month one how do the stats add up?

2018 is the year of LEARN, APPLY, INTERACT

so far I have

  • been the first featured blogger for Hayley of Mission Mindfulness new guest series blog spot ” Words About the Weekend”
  • been a featured blogger by Lucy of What My Fridge Says on her co-hosted twitter linky #thesatsesh
  • held a successful preview event for my first ever solo exbihition
  • …and sold a painting at it (it’s on until 17th March if you happen to be in Mid Wales before then)
  • been paid a deposit for a commissioned painting and have until November to complete it
  • been commissioned to design and make a window for a couple new to our village
  • been booked by a WI group to do a talk bout the stained glass window project I was involved in last year – not until October but booked on New Years Day
  • set out workshop dates to run sessions from my home studio teaching small groups stained glass – and have some people booked on some of them
  • created a pricing structure for commissioned work ( but not properly put it into practice, for example i never remember to ask for design payments up front or deposits)
  • have read so very much in my effort to learn and improve my use of social media (particularly twitter and wordpress). Have linked up to Ben Huberman over at WordPress, in an attempt to get more from my blogging. Plus, though twitter linky #blogcrush ( run by Wendy at Naptime Natter, Alice at Letters To My Daughter and Lucy of Lucy at Home ); discovered the very generous Hayley of Sparkles and Stretchmarks. I do plan to pick her brain more if she doesn’t mind because her success and openness on how to make a living from blogging is not only inspiring and surprising -I genuinely had no idea !
  • I have 25 more twitter followers, 11 more blog followers and 7 more FB followers – small changes but a step in the right direction
  • I’ve even been making stock items of some of my glass designs…. I have hens and blue tits ready to find their forever homes..

I’ve even achieved on my personal positive plan.

I have been eating less bulk, more healthily; drank more water; suffered less stomach discomfort (goodbye acid reflux) and am less bloated from skipping the alcohol. This has translated to having lost half a stone without even noticing (ie not felt like I’m missing out, hungry, deprived) and looking a darn sight healthier (less puffiness, clearer skinned). I’ve been dancing and I’ve given myself the extra 10 minutes I need in order to walk rather than drive into the village. Both of these activities have the added benefit of boosting my energy and sense of wellbeing.

All in all, one twelfth of the way into 2018 and things are going well. I promise I wont do this at the end o every month, but just right now, I’m feeling pretty damned elated and I wanted to share it with YOUx

Lucy At Home

Mission Mindfulness

My first solo exhibition…..eek

On Wednesday I finally set up my long-planned (I booked the space a year ago) , first ever solo art exhibition.

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I did what I always do when out of my comfort zone. I wear ALL the colours and blag it. So here I am heading out to the gallery (via the hairdresser) to meet the curator and set up my show.

And here I am with talented illustrator and wonderful friend Amanda Rose , post hair transformation (thank you Sadie of Meraki Salon, Llandrindod Wells ), and somewhat more relaxed , having nearly finished the set up .

So that was Wednesday.

Friday evening was Preview night. The venue, Amgueddfa Sir Faesyfed (Radnorshire Museum), in Llandrindod Wells, county town of Powys.

It’s a weird thing exhibiting your own work , well certainly so the first time, I can’t speak beyond that. The overwhelming feeling for me is embarrassment. I’m an untrained artist, other than some local community lessons both in art and in glass, I didn’t study it at school or university. Part of me thinks I’m going to be unveiled as a fraud or laughed at. Another part of me, the biggest, feels typically British… one does not invite ones friends around and layout their stuff and ask them to publicly say nice things about you and your things “Come on people, praise me!”. My fear that my lovely friends would come along and feel they had to be nice because I needed some positive affirmation (which I did/do) but which might not be genuine. I’m transported back to being a child and handing a picture to a parent with great pride, and as it’s blue tacked to the fridge door them saying “that’s lovely dear, what is it?!”.

all glammed up (all the colours!) ready to face the crowds

But the other feelings I had by Friday evening other than fear and embarrassment, were excitement and pride. I was desperate for Hubby to walk into the room for the first time. He was genuinely emotional and very proud. I knew then that I’d done OK. Actually, I think I knew on Wednesday. The gallery space at the museum is fantastic, well-lit, good proportions, nice feeling. The curator, Will Adams, is fabulous, both in his skills and in his reassuring nature. My friend Sue helped me with pricing and then offered so generously to cater the event with some of her amazing canapes had provided oodles of encouragement and reassurance. Sues catering is second to none. She founded the business Tea ad Sympathy, which continues to offer excellent services in the Wiltshire areas even since she retired to Wales. Her and husband Paul arrived early too with said canapes and it was reassuring to get feedback on the exhibition from them before the arrival of others. Paul is an amazing wildlife artist in his own right (despite what he may say himself), his skills are incredible.

The evening was fabulous. I received so much support and it wasn’t just friends and people I knew . I’m going to leave you with a gallery of images from the night and you can decide for yourself. If you are in Mid Wales between now and 17th March, please do pop in and take a look. If you let me know you’re coming I will try to come and meet you for coffee and cake. The local Herb Garden Cafe is excellent for that sort of thing.

Pictures courtesy of Hubby, the museum, and good friend Craig….

“Out of the Darkness, Comes the Light”

When I began this body of work in 2014 it was as a result of the awe and emotion evoked when I looked out at the huge expanse of the dark night sky from my home in rural Mid Wales. There were so many more points of light and smudges in that darkness than I had ever seen before, having previously lived inner city. I would look up, with wonder at the prospect of the infinite new beginnings and endings; the energy that must be existing, living, dying and flowing beyond beyond.

Then I started looking at images taken from space telescopes and felt a spiritual connection to all that light and energy exploding out of the darkness. These energetic outpourings millions/billions of years ago still shine bright today; still impact on the here and now. For every action, no matter how large or small has an impact. A smile, a frown, a wave, which road we take, which path we walk. Everything makes a difference.

They say that something as a small as the flutter of a butterfly wing may ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world…

Bernice Benton – acrylic and stained glass artist

Before moving to Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys, Mid Wales I felt there was ‘an artist within’. It wasn’t until I moved here with my partner and our son in 2005 that I felt I had the opportunity to explore and develop my creativity. We all say that our landscape inspires our art and creativity and it definitely does. By finding the time to connect to the earth and the sky, I also began to tune into my own inner rhythm; was more able to connect to those around me; and to follow my own energy patterns, which has enabled me to find a balance, joy and a vision I did not find before.

I attended some art classes and stained glass sessions, and for those tutors I am truly grateful for their enthusiasm, inspiration and guidance. They gave me the basic tools, confidence and energy to explore and develop. The journey is far from over and for that I not only thank my surroundings, but the amazing people whose souls and personality have guided and enhanced my vision. If you are reading this you are probably one of them.

Every chapter of my life to date has led to this one. Those beyond will evolve from these now. Each moment that has been experienced, guides me through the here and now and forward into the light of my future.

Everything is connected.

My Random Musings
What My Fridge Says

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Lucy At Home

Monday Stumble Linky

 

The Creativity inside…

As a youngster I was pretty enthusiastic about art.  As a teen I did pencil sketches of my favourite rock stars, John Taylor of Duran Duran, The Tompson Twins , Midge Ure.  They weren’t bad for a 16 year old.  I never, however studied art at O level or beyond.  The teacher changed, I lost confidence, I was academic so I studied the sciences and maths.  I became an an office worker, accounts, credit control, reconciliations, payroll.  I was good at it and even enjoyed the companies I worked at.  But I longed to be creative.

I would theme my sons bedrooms.  As a baby he had prime colours and rainbows.  As a kid he had space rockets and stars.  As an older teen – red/black bold daring.  I took to gardening for creative release too.

When we moved to our rose tinted  life here in Wales I remember telling John that I the artist in me would show itself.

I joined a local art group and developed some techniques and confidence.  I took on a few pet portrait commissions and took photos photos of local trees and copses and rivers using them to develop techniques of shadows, light flow and reflection.

This is Ruby – such a delicate gem with the most gorgeous collar

I learned how to blend the paints and more recently to introduce texture.

Still Waters - acrylic on canvas
Still Waters – acrylic on canvas

I went on a course to learn stained glass techniques and found it interesting how with glass I had to consider more abstract and pattern use to suggest texture and mood.  I designed a several panels for our front door – making up a little ‘storyboard’.  and then in our ‘space’ themed bathroom, instead of obscure glass , i designed a panel based on a Whirlpool Galaxy

 

Whether I’m any ‘good’ at it, I don’t know. Ii do know its an obsession, I can’t stop.  It moves me and drives me.  Whether people will like them, enjoy them or respond to them – I guess that’s down to the individual.

Our Chickens, Henny meet Handsome George and a family is born
Our Chickens, Henny meet Handsome George and a family is born

What is art? We all have a different view on the subject.  If art is the reproduction of a vista/person/object so it is hard to differentiate between whether its a photo or painting , then I guess I’m not very good.  But is it a row of coloured dots, an unmade bed, a dead sheep in formaldehyde?  If art is anything that makes you think or creates an emotional response then all of life is art.  Scientific discovery is art, construction, destruction, making, baking…. everything is ART.

I am so excited to be part of a two month exhibition at The Wyeside Arts Centre.  My first ever proper exhibition.  Alongside 6 other artists we explore under the title “On Reflection”  – I’ve created 8 pieces, interpreting of space-scapes and sky-scapes in partnership with sentimental quotes that strive to capture the expanse and potential of our existence.

"Dance of the Spirit" - aurora over th Fjord
“Dance of the Spirit” – aurora over the Fjord

So I sit at home, with my partner John.  ever encouraging and happy for me to follow my less-ordinary dream .  I paint, I cut glass, I solder, I blog, I garden.   I create.  Its my art and its a bonus if others enjoy it too.    I hope some of you do.

And, if you happen to be in the Builth Wells area of Wales on 1st May between 6:30 and 8:30 you can join me and the other artists at the preview of our joint exhibition.  I’d love to meet you x

I'm there - my first ever exhibition - ooo, how exciting
I’m there – my first ever exhibition – ooo, how exciting