Sunday, 31 August 2014

Return of the Mojo

The return of the Mojo

Summer is over and suddenly, it's show time.  I may be on my sofa, yes, and I may be basking in the gentle sunbeams slanting through my windows, and I may be keeping an anxious eye on my guard hollyhocks as they strain to break from their restraints by the front door and smack anyone within eight feet in the face, but this is a different kind of sitting on the sofa.  This time, I am only here for as long as it takes to write the blog because people, I have things to do.  I have found my mojo.  I am on the case.  The whole of August was a month of feeling droopy and unloved.  It was a reaction to a very busy period, both professionally and domestically, I needed to stop and get off the merry go round.  But having stepped off, it took a long time to stop spinning, and when I did, I saw how very tired and sad I had become.  Time taken to rest and contemplate life, to bore my friends silly with the story of my life and what I am really really feeling now, and then, and all the time, paid off and today, I bounced out of bed with a squeak of triumph, knowing that in the night, my mojo had crept back and laid down beside me as if it was never away.  

Isi's Magic

This lovely little children's book is out on 15 September, and I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to illustrate. About 18 months ago, my great pal and colleague Mandy Preece, who runs Fern Publishing, introduced me to her friend Dreena Marten when they were looking for someone to illustrate a book Dreena had written.  Oh and what a joy it was to be asked to do these paintings.  The whole of the book is about sweetness, magic and beauty and the love of nature.  It is about a little witch girl called Isi, her puppy, a curly haired poodle, and explains how Isi is a pretty, kind, bright little girl witch, not a long nosed old lady with a pointy hat and nasty spells.

Isi, the pretty little girl witch, wears red Doc Marten type boots.  Buy the book and see the rest of Isi, meet her little poodle and see where she lives and what she does.

  Dreena Marten is a witch herself, she loves and protects the planet and nature, and lives by a code of seeking the best in and for everyone she meets.  I found Dreena an inspiring lady, full of wisdom and knowledge, and I have to say, with a wonderful sense of humour.  Here is what Dreena says of the book and why she wrote it 

"My reason for publishing Isi was because I wanted to create a book I could read to my young son which showed witches as cute, kind and magical rather than ugly and wicked! As I say on the Fern Books website :

I can see a new future – one where people of all faiths (including mine) are accepted and honoured. A future where we can talk openly about our faith without the stereotypes cropping up – very few of us actually have black pointed hats and the warts on our noses! So here is my offering to help change views and perspectives. Isi’s Magic is a small children’s’ book with a big job – to break down the preconceptions about a faith. My hope is that if we start with the children, then we can change the understandings of a whole generation.

The book is aimed at pre-schoolers and is designed so they have to turn the page to get the answer to the questions. I wanted to break down existing preconceptions (i.e. that we wear black all the time or have pointy hats etc.). I also hope that this would be a book pagans could buy as a gift for non-pagans – to help start a little revolution in changing views and negative depictions about my faith

The book retails at £4.99 and will be out on 15th September. It can be pre-ordered at 

and will be available on Amazon from the publication date."

For this little book, I have painted 13 pictures and enjoyed it so much.  I had a gorgeous little character to create, alongside creating her home, what she wears, and where she sits and loves the woodland around her.  I remembered being six years old and falling in love with an illustrated fairy story book my aunt had given me; the pictures in this old book were full of colour, and light, and magic, they made me feel I was part of a wonderful world that I always knew was there, I just had not accessed it yet.

And so my dear friends, please buy Isi's Magic, and see how much fun this simple, happy, powerful little book is.  Fab illustrations too.  

God's Kitchen

I am in the process of painting a companion painting to "God's Study" from a few months ago. This is God's Study

God's Study, a moment in time as God popped out to put out the washing, and I snapped this image.  In paint.  

 In God's Kitchen (the sequel), God has just left the kitchen for a few minutes, and I am painting a snap shot of what it looks like.  So far, God has an old gas cooker and lots of teapots.  Do I base God on myself I think you are asking.  Perish the thought, I say, I can't help it if God has a shed load of teapots too.  Once God's Kitchen is painted, I will show you all.  The God's Study paintings can be commissioned.  I add details from your life into the Study - it is very personal and special.  I remember doing one for a newly ordained Vicar once, which I thought was a wonderful gift.  God's Kitchens can be commissioned too, except we don't all know what the Divine Kitchen looks like yet.  Contact me if you want to talk about your own God's Study or Kitchen.

Conversations about the End of Life, finding time to think in our busy worlds

The next Conversations is set for 17 September here in Bognor at the Salvation Army social centre. I am delighted to host this gentle, open and forthright afternoon, with my dear friend Gail Willington.  Gail has got married since the last poster, and so has another name below.  The session is free, and we have space for up to 8 people.  Tea and cake is of course, part of all of the stuff I do on end of life, and will be freely available.  But don't stop eating the week beforehand, aiming to come and have an almighty binge, I will be watching and I will see.  I know a binger when I see one.

I'm watching the cake stand.
These Conversations are so important.  It is the simplest thing to talk, one would think, but in reality, it is not so simple if you do not know how to start.  Talking about the end of life, of dying, is part of living.  It does not have to be fraught with tension, it does not have to be heavy.  It does not have to be full of pain.  It may be all those things, but it does not have to be difficult.  These sessions are to start the conversation going.  Gail and I are open for all possibilities, we have much experience of talking to people about death, and we will take it as it comes.  We want to open the simplest of opportunities for people to gather and ask questions of each other, and see what it feels like to address this immensely important subject.  You are so welcome, come and see us and join in.


Life is good.  On the whole, it is good.  One of the things I did during August was to sell things on Ebay.  Good Lord it's addictive.  I began to think we don't need that table.  See what I can get for it.  And that bed.  There's a lodger, see if I can get a few quid for a lodger.  I began to creep around at night and hide things, perfectly good things that I like and want, in a pile in the corner of my studio ready to pop onto Ebay and see if I can sell them.  The bubble burst when I had sold 20 items and made about 45p.  Life is, then, good.  I am no longer temporarily gambling my household on Ebay, I am no longer without my mojo, and it is time for tea.   

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