Monday, January 13, 2020

Alarming Lumps

When life gives you lumps, make journal pages.

*   *   *

     Well it makes sense to me... And it's true - there are times when an art journal page can be the best gateway for self expression and catharsis. The awesome thing about art journaling is that there are no rights or wrongs, no judgement and no rules. Grab a piece of paper, card, slow moving child, very tired lion and decorate it with all manner of shiny things until it represents or reflects your mind/heart/dreams/state of being/craving for chocolate/desire to instigate a zombie apocalypse and hey presto! You've taken something abstract and ephemeral and given it form and substance.

     This is my page of cacti....big, pointy, spiky things with lumps. They're not everybody's cup of sneaky Irish coffee, but I love the prickly critters. They may look like angry harbingers of stabby pain, but just when things may be at their worst, as rain pours down from stormy skies, beautiful flowers in the brightest most glorious hues burst forth from the ugly and alarming lumps, turning the darkest day into a carnival and colour - hope and joy from something so intimidating.

     .....When I paint a page like this I have no real idea how or why I choose the direction and the form. I make marks that make me feel better, that provide affirmation and release. Only when the page is complete can I sit back and take stock, view it as a whole and finally find the meaning. It's not a process that suits everyone, I know, but to go with the flow - to allow the process to lead me rather than trying to force my hand to interpret my fluid mind - just works for me.  So, when I paint a page of lumpy cacti the day before I go for an emergency mammogram, having found a lump in my booby-boob, I just have to appreciate how this whole thing works. I painted the flowers.

     Cancer took my family, my pets, my friends. It is my nemesis and I hate it with a vengeance. The feeling that it may have gained a foothold inside my body isn't easily put into words. But I can paint a picture... At face value it means nothing to anyone but me, but isn't that the point? Finishing it last night somehow made me ready to face today, ready for a showdown if one be needed. I had made my mark - a part of me existed outside of myself in defiance of the alien existing unidentified within me. My cacti have big spikes; I see them as a "fuck you" to the possibility of cancer breaching my defenses. I have felt small and afraid, but I am strong and spiky, and I bloom brightly in the harshest of environments.

     I do NOT have cancer. My lump is benign - a zombie in my chest, but one that's likely harmless. I have more check-ups, but cancer can't touch me right now. My spiky defenses are in place and holding and my colours aren't dimmed....not for an instant. Fuck you, cancer.

     I have a vegan zombie boob. Hurrah for vegan zombie boobs! I may paint a version, I may not....knowing me I will actually paint my actual boobs - something that I assure you will most definitely NOT be appearing on a blog post! Art is self-expression as much as it is skill, style and technique. Long live every page, every graffiti-adorned majestic lion, every be-glittered toddler...long live every mark we make....we give them worth, they give us meaning. May we bloom like a cactus. May our strength be our beauty. Kick arse, we're awesome.


  1. Shroo, you truly kick arse and are awesome just like your punky, spikey, rainbow cacti 🌵 thrilled to hear you are cancer free 'fuck you cancer!' Wishing you the strength of an army, sending you oodles of positive zombie vibes xxx

    1. Thank you so much!! I very much believe in not taking things lying down - sometimes kicking hefty arse is the happiest, healthiest option! And now I have a zombie boob ... Who knew that was a thing? My zombie's name is Bertha. She likes sit-coms, penguins and brains, not necessarily in that order... Hope she's just a temporary feature!!😂💕💕


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