Fat stigma

This page tells the story but there’s also a lot of back story. Those of you who follow me know it already. My body has changed but my attitude hasn’t – all bodies deserve to be loved and respected regardless of weight, shape, sexuality and so on. Everyone deserves good medical care, free of bias. I am grateful to people like Izzy who are changing the medical landscape, one brave move at a time.

Dylusions – Paints: Bubblegum pink, Crushed grape, Lemon Zest. Stamps: Dy’s alphabet. Stencils: Stencil It, Sugar Lumps, Teardrops.
Other: Archival Ink, Distress ink, white gel pen, Pitt big brush pen, Ranger Collage medium.   fat stigma

Star Struck!

This week’s quote speaks to me – I’m a firm believer in the power of gratitude, and this is a timely reminder not to whine! I’ve got a friend who is struggling to make the changes they say they want. I’ve suggested more than once their lack of clarity, and gratitude, is getting in the way of the Universe providing for them.

The challenge was to use acrylic paint, and stars. I have plenty of star stencils from Tim Holtz & Dyan Reaveley, so used dark blue paint, silver and copper Nuvo mousse and Golden Fibre paste for the stars. The background is Dylusions paints because I love their intense colours.


Art classes in Greymouth went well

I taught an art journal class on Thursday night and a gelli print class on Saturday in Greymouth, through Left Bank Art Gallery. The classes were held at CoRe, a fantastic community facility run by Cassandra Struve, one of those people who has so much passion for community development and can see the possibilities then act on them.

Some of the people who attended didn’t want to be photographed, which is fine, so these photos are entirely representative. People seemed to get a lot out of it and enjoy the processes. I had brunch with Penny Kirk yesterday and spotted a women who had attended the gelli class. I said hi and she told me she’s already turning her gelli prints into cards and will be buying her own gelli plate.

I’m already talking with Cassandra about running more classes in the new year, taking people to the next level with art journals and printing. As I said to Tony this morning, it’s funny that when you travel away you quite often get more support than at home. Perhaps when you’re local people assume you don’t have much to offer, or figure they can catch you any time?

Here’s a few photos of the classes and what people created. Enjoy!

For the love of HIM

Some songs & bands are my ‘go to’ when I’m in my office working, or at home creating. HIM is one of those; I love Ville Valo’s gravely voice and the band’s dark lyrics speak to me. Sadly, they went their separate ways a couple of years ago.

I enjoy recording the music I love in my art journals and, for anyone that cares enough to read it, the lyrics tell you a lot about me and what goes in on my head.

As an aside, Ville has joined with Finnish band The Agents and they released a single late last year. I just tracked it down and I’m horrified; it’s in Finnish so I can’t understand the words but it sounds like Abba! I was hoping for more dark music that would speak to me, but no…

Dylusions — small journal. Paint: Mushy peas, Laidback lilac, Rose quartz. Stencils: Squares, Star struck, Spring flowers. Stamps: Dy’s alphabet. Other – Stamps: Tim Holtz Tall Text, Distress ink, white gel pen, Pitt Big Brush Marker, Distress collage medium.

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Add to your toolbox

Every week I do a couple of challenges. This week’s was to use watercolours and dashes, in combination with a Mother Theresa quote. As I usually do, I showed Tony the finished page and asked what he thought. “Hmm, it’s not really you.” 

Yes! The challenge was a success because it got me using a medium I don’t normally – watercolor – and some mark making that felt unfamiliar. I have a set of marks that are “mine” and dashes are not part of my normal repertoire.

I like see the hand of the artist in my work, and have my own style even when influenced by amazing artists such as Tim Holtz and Dyan Reaveley. But that doesn’t mean I can’t learn new skills, try new things, and add to my toolbox.  I’m grateful to artists like Theresa Miers who give their time and talent to inspire and encourage other artists.

 This week I used Pebeo watercolours, Dylusions black paint, Nuvo Mousse in copper, Tim Holtz dashes stencil, Dylusions heart mask and Distress ink to edge the quote.




Sometimes my journal pages are obviously about a particular thing, other times I’m not sure where the words have come from – maybe a song, a conversation I overheard, part of a dream. I am not sure where this came from; possibly a conversation I had tonight with my best friend of forever (ok, 50 mumble years) in which my late Dad was mentioned.

Large Dylusions journal. Sprays: Squeezed orange, Crushed grape, Tangerine dream, Bubblegum pink. Paint: White linen, Funky fuchsia. Stencils: Diamonds in the rough (lg & small), Shutters. Stamps: Dy’s alphabet. Other. Stamps: Tim Holtz – Tall text, Visible Image – Dare to be different, Tim Holtz – Entomology. Pitt Big Brush pen, Archival ink, Distress collage medium, white gel pen.

looking for signs 20190811

Ok enough in my own skin

I’ve been chatting with a friend about the spare skin that comes with significant weight loss. Deciding or surgery, or not, is a big deal and impacts on your physical and mental health.

In my case, surgery isn’t an option because of the risk of ending up on life support again due to my dodgy airway. I doubt I would do it anyway. I’m ok enough in my own skin most of the time.

I also support those who feel the need to get it fixed so they can move on; I think there’s balance needed though. When you’ve abused your body so much you need weight loss surgery, your body is never going to be perfect and that needs to be ok for your mental wellbeing. (I may be wrong on that of course – maybe perfection is possible?)

Small Dylusions journal. Paints: Chopped pesto, Lemon zest, Periwinkle blue. Stencils: Teardrops, Diamonds in the rough, Shutters. Stamps: Dyan’s alphabet. Other: Tim Holtz tall text stamps, Distress Ink, Archival ink, white gel pen, Pitt Big Brush pen, Distress collage medium. 

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Being challenged

I enjoy participating in a couple art challenge groups; they ensure I make art regularly (who am I kidding? I would anyway). This week’s quote is from Lao Tzu, so I ended up doing a second page with one of the quotes from the Tao te Ching that I have on the wall above my desk.

The page with the circles was done with watercolour pencils on a gesso background, acrylic paint through stencils, and detailed with a Posca pen. The challenge included using pencils, and making marks with spots and dots. Challenge accepted 😉

The other page is Distress Paints, then metallic DecoArt paints through stencils, and finally blue Golden acrylic  through a StencilGirl stencil (thanks Lynne W!).

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Get ya gelli on!


I decided I wanted some gelli print samples that have a description of my process on the piece of paper, so people who come to gelli classes have visual reminders. I’ve spent time this afternoon recording my process. I don’t find that easy because I get distracted and keep creating, then can’t remember exactly what I have done! Here’s a sneak peak ahead of classes in Hawera this coming Wednesday 10 July and Greymouth on Saturday 20th July. Email at cathsheard @xtra.co.nz if you’d like more information.

process photo

Paint on the plate ready to print.

gelli print 20190706

The finished print.


An iterative process

Developing a body of work is a strongly iterative process for me. I start with an idea and play with it, refining and revising until I have a huge pile of works, especially if I’m working on paper. Perhaps only 30% of those works will make the final cut.

The final works often bear no resemblance to the initial ones; sometimes I can only ‘feel’ the linkages, not really see them. But the linkages are there, because each work is a visual representation of the ideas in my head. When I am deeply engrossed in a body of work there are repeating colours, shapes, lines and patterns that appear over and over, often without my being aware of it at the time.

My process is really about the process, not the final image. A lot of my current works are small – either A6 (4.5×6”) or A5 (9×6”) on beautiful Hahnemuhle watercolour paper. I might have 10 or 20 pieces of paper on the go all at once. I put down colour on each piece in layers, then work back into them making marks, adding patterns or collage – back and forth amongst the pile, strewing them all round me as I work. It’s messy and intuitive.

Choosing pieces for on the advertising ahead of time is stressful because I don’t know what the final works will be. But choose I must – and I have. Dimmie, who I am exhibiting with, is going to produce the poster etc with her awesome design skills.

The photos show some of the possible works, and a pile of works I’ve done to date. 

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