with a little bit of bloomin’ art

It’s Mental Health Month here in Oz.

Wednesday was Mental Health Day.

Just as well, says Sally, as I was feeling super-stressed and I had the opportunity to attend Qi Gong class while watching the rain lollop down the window pane. That helped.

Art helps.

Writing helps.

Creative expression helps to alleviate stress big-time.

And small-time. That is, even if you have only a small rainy window pane to express your pain, or simply play with colour, it helps.

collaborative art children

A collaborative three-way art-play from last school holidays

You might remember Aunty Art Café. It’s one of the occasions I’ve shared with you school holiday art-making experiences with my niece. Fun.

Aunty Art Cafe

watercolour art co-creation

Upside Down Waterscape

This school holiday, my niece, sister and I had one hour. Just a little bit of bloomin’ art-making time. (please excuse the My Fair Lady song reference. Do you know ‘With a Little Bit of Bloomin’ Luck’ from another era?)

One hour. What shall we do?

I tear up small square pieces of paper. Let’s not be overly ambitious and begin a project we’re unlikely to finish.

Here’s what Amy Maricle of Mindful Art Studio says about working small:

Many of us struggle to find the time and motivation to create. Work, family, house cleaning, and other responsibilities seem to get in the way and always take priority. Making art often feels like an art “project,” or chore – instead of a joy or a release – it takes a large chunk of time to set up, complete, and clean up. If I approached my art practice this way, I don’t think I’d make a tenth of the art I make.

Small art, here we come. I get out the watercolour Brilliants. The set of 12 and the set of 24.

Let’s each start on one piece of paper with the common theme of CIRCLE. Let’s paint for ten minutes, then pass it on. Ruby, Jennie and I begin. We do a round-robin.

Paint, pass it on. Paint, pass it on until each paper morsel contains the contribution of each person, then returns to the originator for finishing off.

group art small watercolour

Small Circle
contributions from Ruby, Jennie and Sally

Let’s repeat the process. What will our theme be? The SQUARE. Ooo that’s a challenge for a circle-spiral-swerve-curve artist such as myself. But hey – the Pass it On process is ripe with challenge already.

What if you want to spend longer than your ten minutes on each piece?

What if you don’t like to be rushed with your art?

What if the person before you has filled up the space and there’s no room to add anything?

What if you dislike what someone else has done to your original piece?

collaborative creativity

One hour.
Three artists.
Circle and square theme.
Pass it on.

Somehow, each of us runs with the exuberant or painstaking rhythm of individual yet collective art. Somehow, each of us accommodates to the challenges.

fairytale painting

Fairytale Window Pane
complete with spikey fence, crying curtain and a flower-torch goldenly lighting the way

Somehow, in this contained collaborative creative endeavour, each of us finds a measure of delight and inventiveness.

And look what we’ve made together!

paint play watercolour

One hour.
Three artists.
Circle and square theme.
Six pieces.
Including one fairytale window with its own flower-torch light source. A little bit of bloomin art.

You could say: At least some of the time,

with a little bit of bloomin’ luck,

three art hearts are better than one.


Here’s a link to Mental Health Month, by the way.

With love, art and soul

From Sally


6 thoughts on “with a little bit of bloomin’ art

  1. That’s an absolutely bloomin’ lovely project. I must keep it in mind for when I next see my mother and my sister. In NZ this is Mental Health Awareness Week. I hope it will help keep us mindful of mental health every day. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Gallivanta. It’s always a treat to read your comments. Art-making together can be simple and accessible. This is what I find: It’s generally easier to NOT do it and to keep reproducing existing patterns of relating, then when you do make the effort for a bit of creative connection, it repays you in spades. Provides fresh air. What do you think? (not that my relationship with my niece or sister needs freshening, but hopefully you know what I mean).

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  2. Hi Sally, this is so beautiful and such a good point. My mum and dad came to visit on the weekend and I had a blank canvas ie. a large piece of old ply that I had covered in white gesso years ago, then been too overwhelmed with the blankness of it to go any further. So I just wrote ‘blank canvas’ in the centre of it and put it up in the dusty cobwebby loft awaiting courage and inspiration.. So with my mum and dad’s arrival I felt re-inspired to make some art with it, and invited them to join in. They were kindly up for the challenge and together we covered it in art! It’s now on the wall but also an ongoing work in progress because it’s so big and inviting and not daunting now. It was such a great feeling and I have felt buoyed up by it ever since. I was thinking of you during this whole experience and feeling your presence dear Sally. And reading your blog today feeling especially in sync with you you fantastic art lady you!! ❤️🐝❤️

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    • Sally M, dear fabulous creative woman, that is the BEST story. On many levels. One level: finding the courage and the entry points to facing the Scary Blank Canvas monster. Another level: finding creative approaches to engage both your mum and your dad together in a positive, expressive experience – facilitating connection amongst the three of you in gentle yet powerful yet playful ways. Oh. My. Goddess. Clever, inspired one – keep up the good play. And don’t underestimate the beauty and strength in what you offer.


      • Thank you so much dearest Sally! Your beautiful generous kind encouragement fills me to the brim and really does give me courage to dwell as artfully as possible in the world. Thank you dear Sally 🙏❤️🌈

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