Concertina fold travel sketchbook being created

I’m back in more ways than one

I’m back, in more ways than one. Yes, I’ve had a wonderful trip to the UK and Ireland, my first time. I loved it so much and found it so inspiring.

Concertina fold travel sketchbook being created

During my trip I worked on and off in some homemade concertina sketchbooks. These were more about capturing impressions of shapes and pattern more than recreating a scene. I was struck by patterns and the different plants, countryside, and – well everything is very different to Australia!

Here are some of the patterns that saw. And these are only from St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin!

Photo montage of tiles and ironwork patterns in St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin

The other sense in which “I am back” is with Creating for Happiness. In order to be able to travel and allow for a jet-lagged slump at the end, I needed to pre-write 6 weeks of daily emails! That is a lot of work while you are planning and packing. I got it done though and Creating for Happiness hummed along nicely while I was away and I was able to pop into the Facebook Group at times to keep up with everyone. It worked really well.

Back home and with jet-lag receding eventually, it was time to look at Creating for Happiness and make some decisions. I launched Creating for Happiness on January 1 this year and have written more than 187 emails! No wonder blog posts and newsletters have been scarce or non-existent. I’ve loved writing them though and interacting with CFH members, coaching and everything to do with Creating for Happiness, so the decision to keep going was easy.

Having decided to progress, I could see the time for change had come. Firstly, can I continue to write an email a day? The answer turns out to be both yes and no. Yes – I have discovered that the more I say on the topic of daily creativity, creative block, creative anxiety, creative self-confidence etc etc, the more I find I have to say. I am not running out of things to say any time soon. And no – I can see myself writing daily emails for a while longer, but I can’t see that it is something I can do indefinitely the way my life is set up now. So what to change? The emails or my life? I’ve opted for my life. That decision lead to lots of other decisions, the subject of which I’m not ready to reveal just yet.

But one I can talk about is the membership. I’ve closed Creating for Happiness to new members until I make the changes to the program that I have planned out. There are a few reasons for this. One is that it keeps things simpler for me while I’m working on other aspects. The other I see as a kind of reward for current members. I want them to feel special because they put their faith in me when the program was new and I am so grateful. I have learned so much from them and I will use this learning in working on improvements and enhancements to Creating for Happiness. (If you are wishing you had signed up but think you’ve missed out, you can put your name down to be notified when it reopens to new members.)

6 mixed media paintings of TV test patterns in progress by Jan Allsopp

I’m also back in the studio. It took a while for me to feel back in the swing of things and now I’m thoroughly enjoying being in the middle of a new series based on, of all things, the TV test pattern. My Dad was a TV electronics engineer during the golden age of television in Australia. He had a dream career and TV and visiting the TV station are fond memories for me. I’ve been thinking about this series for a while now, so it’s great to have begun. Oh, and I’m painting them in my Dad’s retirement electronics workshop! It’s now my studio.

Yesterday I delivered ‘A good day’ to the Glasshouse Regional Gallery in Port Macquarie. It has been accepted into the Northern Exposure 5 exhibition. Northern Exposure is an annual exhibition that showcases the work of artists on the Mid North Coast of NSW. I’m humbled to have been selected. The opening night is next Friday 13th and please come along if you can. The exhibition itself runs 14 July – 9 September. Please fit in a visit during that time if you can. ‘A good day’ is also available for purchase. Let me know if you are interested.

Mixed media painting in creams reds blues and black

Back too is my desire to connect more with my readers, other artists and patrons. To this end I am taking up writing these posts again and added to that I’m making a weekly studio video. I shared the first one last Sunday on Facebook. The next one will go out tomorrow. Don’t like Facebook? I’ve created a YouTube channel where you can find the videos. Or you can rely on these blog posts coming to you via email. I’ll include a link to them here too.

Future posts won’t be this long! I’ve had quite a lot to catch up on with this one. Where ever you are I hope you are having a lovely weekend. Winter in Australia is giving us ridiculously summer-like weather at present. It’s wonderful!


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