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Positive Self Talk……….

2013 Journals
Our captivation with Facebook is testament to the fact that we humans are quite driven to want to document our daily lives, thoughts and hobbies, and for me, my art journal is the place to document my inner world. In fact I fill up and create several journals per year, you could call it a compulsion!


I wouldn’t call my journal a diary and yet the pages do often reflect the journey of my life and thoughts, and in time each journal becomes such a treasured friend,  I don’t leave home without it!


My journal is a place to collect what I would call the “residuum” of a day…………….
A page may be based around something I accidentally found or saw that day,  something funny or profound someone said, a great idea, a design for something ………..all sorts of shards and fragments of residual daily moments can contribute! So you see it does become a diary of sorts.
As I said last week, I don’t always plan what is calling to be expressed….I often just start playing with materials,colouring the background, finding what’s on or nearby my art table to use, look for words in a magazine and start composing! The inspiration unfolds as I play and see what is flowing in and out of the sub conscious mind.
This week found me teaching myself how to cut out gorgeous shaped edges ( Thanks to Valerie Sjodin) and how to emphasise those with text. Since I’m off work on a Chinese New Year holiday, I felt fully justified in telling myself to Stop, Smile, and Breathe!
But as I painted and doodled, personal concerns about how to pay for three or four years of teenage University fees in England at overseas rates crowded in, and since I am a solution focussed person by nature, I began talking to my worries through the journal page.
In season with Chinese New Year wishes for wealth, I created a small shrine to manifest my needed Tael” of gold on the pages …………..
and here it is…………ta da! my wishes to manifest that gold! and I know that just articulating my wish puts it out there in the universe!  Somehow and sometime soon, a door will open and I’d better keep my mind open to that!  Thats how I believe the power of Positive Self Talk works anyway.
I will share with you a very beautiful video that I saw this week, featuring artist Paulus Berenson, who is in his 80’s and has journaled his whole life………….as he says, “Your journal allows you to hang out with your own imagination, your inspiration and your intuition”
Making Journals with Paulus Berenson  ( Its a 10 minute film, so let it buffer first before you try and watch it or you’ll get frustrated with all that stopping!)
Why not hang out with YOUR imagination this week friends, try a doodle, or a new font, what is it you might need to manifest? Have a play!
till next week
Happy Year of the Horse
Katie xx

Speaking words of wisdom…..

When I find myself in times of trouble,
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be’
This week I found myself working in my Daily Art Journal, in which I ponder the week and thoughts of the present moment. I play with materials and images,  not always certain what the outcome will be and what is calling to be expressed. As you can see, my childhood roots have crept through!
I grew up in a household which was filled with Catholic Iconography, we had a Mother Mary statue in every room and somehow as an adult I still create Mother Mary corners in my home, even though Mary sits beside the local Chinese equivalent goddess of compassion and mercy, Kwan Yim and various other icons of general lovingness.

So Mary is a comforting presence  the Beatles told us, and we also know, she speaks those three little words of wisdom. A great mantra for me this week as I roller coaster through a turbulent week of active night time brain……..

“and in the hours of darkness she is standing right in front of me,
speaking words of wisdom,
Let it be………………”

I did create my own Mother Mary some years ago, I called her the Solstice Madonna and I love her grandeur and how she ‘presides’ in our house, a steady and familiar presence with a “Let it be” reminder………..

“and when the night is cloudy there is still a light that shines on me
Shines until tomorrow
Let it be….”
Have a great week Wild and Arty friends,
we say goodbye to Year of the Snake Energy
and get excited about the upcoming Horse!
Hurrah !

The Amazing Stine Baska

This weekend I was blessed to have a visit from the ‘Amazing Stine Baska’. Stine is a truly global citizen, having been born in Norway, currently lives in Sydney Australia and has had a stint living right here on Lamma with her gorgeous family. Stine is famed for her extraordinary photography, she specialises in family images taken in outdoor settings and I have witnessed her abilities to bring smiles to a sulky 16 year olds as well as distracted 3 year olds!!!
Check her Website:
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Last April Stine attended our ‘Wild at Art Retreat’ at Tao Fong Shan and created her very first handmade book……



She then spent 4 weeks in Norway with family and proceeded to create a further 8 handmade books!! Using the basic techniques of hand stitching one signature, she adapted to the materials she could lay her hands on whilst there and ended up using the old pages of children’s story books that she found along the way to make family book for her mother and new journals.

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Stine has remained a prolific book creator, featuring many of them on Facebook. Here are pages from her Journey Book, exploring the notion of physical journeys as well as the spiritual and emotional pathways that we all take. Using found objects and old books, Stine blends text, memorabilia and images upon her pages.

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This Saturday found Stine around the table at Flowers Towers sharing some Saturday Journalling moments with some of the other Art Journaling members of the Gin and Tonic Art Club.

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Stine has now flown away to Norway for another winter sojourn and I am sure she will return having produced further copious tomes filled with impressions of her own inner world as well as the world around her.

Making Art in books?
Thats the gorgeous beauty of this Art Journaling thing, is that you do not have to be an expert in any special art method ! And you do not need an art studio. Art Journaling can be Art-on-the-Go, Art in-Small-Spaces and Art for absolutely anyone at all who fancies a dabble and a play and of course it can be as shareable as you like……you might not wish to share your journal pages with anyone at all !!! Books facilitate a kind of intimate art making dialogue which can be  private or not!



If you’re put off by the word ‘journal’ and imagine tomes of self-reflective writing, don’t worry!
Art Journaling is 50% of “Play” which means experiments with materials, colours, textures and patterns and 50% of “Something to Say” which really means to give a voice to something calling to be expressed.


Maybe its time to buy a small sketchbook/ notebook and few small art supplies and start doodling or sticking or experimenting…….

Why not make a little art time….

1. Put it on your to-do list this week.

2. Commit to the smallest doable amount of time that feels possible, can be a five minute doodle.

3. Set up a small space with some supplies so that you are ready to create and don’t have to spend time finding materials. You don’t need a lot of supplies: pens, a set of paints, a paint brush, glue stick and a few favourite poems, pictures or magazines….. and it’s a super compact and portable hobby!!

Go to it friends !!

Till next time

Katie xx

Holiday Doodlage!

Mandalas on the RE-Bound!
Have you ever tried to buy a square sketchbook? Very tricky! Hard to find one and harder still to find one with decent paper for mixed media work. I wanted to create a book that I could use for the delightfully meditative activity of making mandalas.
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I found the solution in RE-Purposing and RE-Binding a young child’s “board” book and converting the pages into usable spaces, combining a second book: a much loved copy of “ My favorite thing” by my lovely friend, poet Madeleine Slavick.
I wanted to cover the children’s images with a text that would suggest moments of contemplation to me as I built mandalas within the pages…….
Madeleine travelled around Mainland China on behalf of Oxfam in 1998 and interviewed people asking the question, what is your very favourite thing in life…… the responses range from ‘My pen’ to ‘My family’ and ‘Nothing’.
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Here it is now : “My Little Book of Mindful Doodlage”
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The great gift is that the headings on each page suggest ideas and themes and thoughts to me, as pause each day to draw and doodle
the layers in my mandalas………….and you know what, that’s my own very favourite thing to be doing ! So this xmas holiday when I was travelling in the Philippines I continued my Doodlage….out and about in all sorts of lovely spots.
If you fancy finding a few gorgeous Mandala Doodles why not check out the related Pinterest Pages……
and check these two Amazing Mandala Doodles created in a brand new square sketchbook by my very own artistic cousin Berni, hard to believe that this is her first ever dabble into this technique !! Stunning, complex and confidently executed!

Why not start a new 2014 creative endeavour…..pop to your stationary store and pick out some coloured pens and get started!

Enjoy your foray!
Till next time



Up close and Personal on the Mountain!

Connecting with the Energy of Trees 
Kadoorie Farm and Botanical Garden
This fabulous mountain, site of the Wild at Art, Autumn Retreats, is truly one of my favourite places in Hong Kong.In case you have never been there, take a look at this amazing map:
Kadoorie up close
This last weekend, local artist  Roz Keep and myself spent time halfway up a large mountain, with French Ecologist Claire Elouard learning to fine tune our intuitive powers by engaging with the powerful energy of trees.
The trees in this location are spectacular and we were based on the Fern Walk and travelled into pine ridges, woodland walks and the upper stream getting to know the energy of young and ancient trees along the way.

UP in the trees

Shinrin – yoku
Don’t you think just being among trees is good for our wellbeing ?? walks in the woods are actually shown to reduce stress and illness. Well, I’m a tree hugger and proud of it !!!! I know that being up the mountain at Kadoorie this last few days, my breathing becomes softer and calmer, I feel peaceful and grounded.
Well would you believe Japanese even have a word for this feeling – shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing and surveys in Japan have revealed that a forest stroll can have beneficial effects on blood pressure, heart rate and the immune system. …….
Not surprising is it.
Have you heard of the field of “eco-psychology”? Based on the notion that our disconnection with nature is a central factor in many modern emotional woes.  Walks in the woods are recommended to bridge our human/nature disconnect and helps to clear the mind as we breathe in fresh oxygen being emitted from the leaves.
In a dense city like Hong Kong its very important for people to be awake to and aware of the fabulous city Banyans and the benefits that just even noticing and walking by such a tree can bring to us all in a crazy city day……
Just saying!
Thats all from this weeks Wild Warblings !
Make sure you notice your nearby tree friends this week!
Katie xxx

Dragons and a little spot of Heaven !


This year I participated in the Travelling Art Project created and hosted by the lovely Joyce Van der Lily who is down under on the Southside of the world, situated along a gorgeous beach in New Zealand. Joyce sent out 3 semi prepared artist canvases last January and they made their way around the world along a pathway of mixed media artists. Each artist responded to the surface in their own personal style and image on the canvas shifted and changed along the way……

This is as the canvas left Joyce
Then the canvas was added to around the world, interesting that even before it arrived with me in Hong Kong there was a distinctly Chinese flavour dictated by the red theme and then the dragon!
I was handed the canvas in England Catherine Mason who added part four, I then added part 5 ( last picture above).
This is how the canvas is currently looking………and I wonder what will occur next!
Heres the facebook page of you feel like joining!
Garden Angels
A little bit of heaven in Yung Shue Wan….

Last Saturday found a few of us making  angels at Flowers Towers, with Fern, Vicky and Panda…they are all now flying in Yuletide readiness in the Xmas Party House, some inside and some flying in the breeze!

Till next week’s Wild Warbings
keep warm!