Tag Archives: reflections

I am not who I was


looking in the mirror, I don’t see me.

Yes, I recognise the gold eyes, that scar from a dog’s bite, the constellation of moles each of my babies traced while nursing…but I can’t find me. because I am not who I was before.

I’d avoided holding up a mirror to my inside self, thinking that time would heal ( let’s eradicate that myth please) that I would get better – return. but, no. The reflection has changed and I cannot yet come to grips with it. I don’t want to know this person. how can this be me?

I am changed: maybe for an unknown length of time, maybe forever. It feels like wearing the wrong sized clothes – every movement is a reminder that something is not right. I keep running into myself thinking to see the old me but this changed me is staring back instead.

I have always been a very social person; though private, I really love people. Now the thought of being with them – the noise, the need for extended focus, the physical and mental effort – draws me right back away. Then enters guilt because I had been so involved before. Now, everything I have to give I try to save for my family because the time with my children is short. I don’t have enough left over to share and that is so very difficult to grasp, let alone try to explain.

Art, music, singing, talking with people – these have always been a integral part of who I am, easy…flowing. Now I find myself limited in these precious things and more, restrained by this new reflection I see. I cannot fight it, the consequences have been far too harsh. I can push, but there is always a cost. Deciding when the price is too high has become my great challenge.

So, maybe this is a way to explain myself – an apology for not being here and there like I was before? Maybe I’m trying to let myself off the hook and I’m just about OK with that, which is the strongest thing I’ve done in a long, long time.


These kind of changes are very hard. Maybe you’re in the middle of something life altering, too. Please, be good to yourself. Push but don’t plunder.

Sometimes pouring out in measure is a greater sacrifice than giving unrestrained.

Beth x




pinholes, heartache and healing


There are holes in my paint and I need to figure out what to do with them.

There are some holes in my heart, too. and I’ve got to take care of them as well…

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The question is, what ones do I fill and what ones should I leave? Sometimes trying to fix a hole doesn’t help. It’s become an integral part of the work, part of the landscape. If I go tinkering around too much, I will alter what has become. I risk damaging the whole by rewriting the history. So I need to be careful. and I need to take my time.

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There are fillers and  sealers and sanding techniques, books and videos and seminars – plenty on offer to fix my problems – but that doesn’t mean it will work for me. So I am going back to basics, back to what I know: take each empty space on one at a time, to see what can be done. Fill up those that will accept the paint and leave those that won’t. Repair what I should and leave the other to rest. because sometimes things just need to settle…to heal and become part of who I am now. Sometimes, it’s about letting it go…


because perfection is an unattainable goal. What suits the canvas as she stands now? what sits well in the light of this present moment? Make your choices from here, not from a place of “what could have been” or what should have happened. That kind of thinking risks every other mark, every beautiful place on your canvas.

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So here it is – paint and thoughts on ocean, air and atmosphere.  There are smooth places and fixed holes and untouched textures on display. It is a whole picture, the sum of all these parts you see plus the journey to get here which you can only imagine.

This painting’s process reflects a bit of my own. I’m still working on me – carefully, one space at a time. How about you? Be careful with your own canvas, too. There is hope for us.

reflections: looking out, looking in


As an artist, I look within as well as out and around for the direction of my work.

This character contemplation – contempt, compassion – leaks out (and sometimes pours all over) into the work.

Reflections and shadows and perspectives layer.

The light changes.

The colours fade or intensify with emotion and experience.

And at some points the lines blur.

This last photograph may look like a framed picture on a wall, but it’s actually the window to my studio, the heart of my workspace. You are seeing into the interior as well as out towards the landscape reflected in the glass.

These three places/spaces/events are together as one: the work in front, what lies beyond and what has taken place before.

When we truly give of ourselves in our creative efforts, we become part of the work even as it is reflecting a part of us. Both are the better – the richer for it. Be encouraged.


the last painting of 2013


I cleared a path through the papers and boxes and firewood that seasonally take over my studio space. It was cold but bright in the last light of the day. Sunshine. Amazing sunshine at the heart of a Scottish Christmas and New Year…

My heart needed some space. and some light. There had to be time for one last painting. One for me, about me. So I warmed tubes of paint by the heat of my skin as I fed the stove and found a small canvas to begin…

This year has seemed like a series of swells and storms – the building up of things and the breaking of things. In this process I have found myself standing, drowning, drifting, clinging…

Though I have been at times lonely, I have not been alone…

and I have seen reflections of light in the dark places. These are the final minutes of sunshine for 2013 on our farm, filtering through the trees and windows…touching the wet and unfinished painting of my journey…

Here is where I stopped the work, with brighter skies on the horizon…

I cannot say what 2014 will bring for you or me, but I choose to look forward with hope. And it’s ok to take some rest, to float a bit when the waters quieten down for a time.  Choose your focus and you won’t drift off course. Be encouraged.

a personal conversation


Sometimes you just gotta talk to yourself.

because you’re the only one who knows what’s going on in there…and has the chutzpah to say what needs said.

I’d been struggling  inside my head all week. There are paintings to paint, writings to write, but nothing was happening and I was beginning to make excuses not to go into the studio.

(like cleaning… seriously!) So I sat myself down , got out some tools of the trade and had a chat. This piece of art/journal/lecture came out of that discussion.

It really is OK to talk to yourself. Just don’t talk down.



speak, Friend, and enter…


Doors interest me, especially ones that wear their history. I want to see the peeling paint, the colours underneath. Dents and scars are part of the package – the marks of place, people and time.

Life is full of doors…ordinary, life-changing, closed, unlocked, scary, inviting…

Some doors stop my thoughts in their tracks and cause me to wonder …


What’s on the other side of this place I’m standing now?

Maybe you’re facing a door in life’s journey. Is it closed or just about to open?

Dare to knock…more than once…and press through to the next place




distilled: life words



It’s good to get your words out.

Put them down in a way that you can look at the big picture as well as the smallest punctuation mark.

Sometimes I find it easier to “discover” the words rather than write them out of my own musings. It’s a big step towards editing that isn’t painful and prevents rambling or navel gazing.

So here’s my process:

I have painted a background, but any coloured paper works well. I’ve recycled junk mail and old magazines by cutting out words & phrases that caught my eye. I find a semi-quiet place to work.

Instead of picking out one at a time, I just dump the whole word box on the board.

It reminds me of how jumbled our thoughts can get when we’ve not had a chance to process anything.

I start teasing out words that are speaking to me in the moment. I take my time, changing things as I go. There is nothing to get wrong – the piece is fluid.

It always amazes me what fits together, how the words from my heart speak to the page…

I stop when I feel all has been said and just let the words sink in.

Then I do one more edit – what is most important to keep from this exercise? – and make an art photo to keep…

What needs said in your life right now?