The Quirky Art Heart at

the Centre of the Squircle.

Yes. The Squircle.

The Quirky Art Heart at the Centre of the Squircle 1
Sally Swain

Not my invention, though I do love originating words. The word ‘Squircle’ has been mentioned to me independently by several folk. It must be in the ether (the e-ther?).

What do you get when a circle of women meets on Zoom?

A Squircle.


Circles, curves and spirals of interconnection surrounded, but not bounded, by angles and straight lines. 

A Heart Squircle
Sally Swain

What do you get when the women are participating

heartfully and artfully in a workshop-playshop?

A Squircle.

Response Art
flowers painted during and after an Art and Soul Zoom workshop/playshop

What do you get when the women connect deeply

with their creativity and with each other

in ever-evolving, respectful community?

A Squircle.

I am loving my work.

(What a lucky duck at a time in history when global suffering is intensified by a pandemic and I’m fortunate to have work at all.)
The work? Heartwrite, Creative Sustenance for Arts Therapists, Soul Bricolage and other Art and Soul playshops. Art therapy, supervision (Zoopervision on Zoom) and Creative Purpose Coaching. Facilitating creative confidence and mindful self-compassion in a grouping of wise, kind folk – holding the space for them to discover the riches of creative practice at their fingertips. I am loving it.

I might be loving facilitating workshops, but I’m not loving these little pictures – the heart squircle or the flowers.
So….rip em up and combine them.
Ha! Creative solution

I might be loving facilitating workshops, but I’m not loving these little pictures – the heart squircle or the flowers.
So….rip em up and combine them.
Ha! Creative solution

The Quirky Art Heart

at the Centre of the Squircle?

(or Squirkle, which contains quirk)
It is me.

It is all of us.

I am blown away by the depth of intimacy, warmth and authentic connectedness emerging in my Zoom groups. In some cases even more so than face-to-face. Why is this?
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.
My current theory is that people are often feeling safe and comfortable in their own homes, rather than having to wear a public persona. We are all in our own environments, with personal objects visible. We are contextualised and somehow equalised. 
Does this make sense?

The Quirky Art Heart at the Centre of the Squircle 2
Swain unfinished art

with love, art and soul
from Sally


Reasons to Blog

Number One: Coming Home to Yourself and the Beauty All Around

My head is full of lumpy clatter. What on earth will I blog about? I don’t know.

What if I give myself permission

to not know,

to down-slow?


mindfulness home

I notice the garlic clothed in spectacularly stripey purple and off-white skin. I notice the dented, browning bits.

What if I pause? What if any of us pause, slow down and allow the spaces; even brief ones. Is it possible to allow a minute or two to let up with the voice that badgers us to get something done?

How is it that capital P Productivity became King, while the Duchess of Doing-Very-Little lurks in the shadows? She is guilt-stricken and spurned.

Can it please be OK to relish a moment of Simply Being?

mindful photograpy Swain

If you can’t manage real flowers in your micro-garden, fabric flowers are the go, even if they become soil-stained

We seem to know that mindful self-care is essential nourishment, but hey. Intellectually knowing something and embodying it are two different things.

Might I allow a pocket of presence?

And might I bring self-compassion to that presence in an act of kindfulness?

Can I rest in the empty space – the minuscule bracket of blankness between one thought-train and the next?

mindful photography garden

Cracked rabbit, neon centipede. All the garden friends.

What will I blog about?

This. Exactly what’s happening (or not happening) in my creative process. Even someone who has pretty much dedicated her life to her own creativity and to nurturing creativity in others, struggles to justify the carving out of fertile space. Even someone who deeply knows the value of letting the field lie fallow, is obliged to wrestle with inner critic creatures.

mindful art Swain

a city flamingo meets its leaf


Continue reading

Get Your Art Eyes On

I catch myself thinking drab thoughts.

turn ugly to beautiful

A cigarette butt converses with a dried leaf
Sally Swain
Get Your Art Eyes On

I am in a drab place. I must trudge across an underground carpark and it is eternal.

Trudge This Way
Sally Swain
Get Your Art Eyes On

It is the Sahara desert and I am weary. Where’s the camel when you need it? Oh. That’d be the fully functioning car I just parked. I forget to be grateful for the privileged first world life I lead. Facebook friends post photos of exotic meals in exotic spas in exotic forests near exotic mountains. I am in a carpark.

There’s a feather if you look
Sally Swain
Get Your Art Eyes On

I snap

Continue reading

a seed of a dream

Art and Soulie Spot 9 

Stories from the Creative Path

Sally McKern’s Creative Circle of Life continued…

Sally McKern art

Sally McKern
© original art

Click here for the story so far (Part One).

Part Two

So now my baby girl daughter is 23 and I am 46

She is a beautiful young goddess in her own right.

Looking back on all of this now I am realising that these creative moments were crucial points in my development.

These experiences went a long way in defining who I became as an adult and who I am today.

My beautiful son is now 19 and he is also out in the world doing his own thing in the big city like his sister, hundreds of miles from my home in the country. I am not so identified now with the mother archetype, not in the same way I was when the kids were growing up. Now my holding and guiding is done from a distance and there is more letting go and observing.

Sally McKern art

Child of the Universe
Sally McKern
© original art

All these years

Continue reading

Lichen Love. (Like n Love?) The Mindful Kindful Texture Walk

How to bring yourself into the present, even for a microsecond? And feed your creativity at the same time?

One approach is to go for a texture walk. What’s that? If I happen to be walking anyway, I attempt to find a tiny space of light amidst the VeryClutteredBrain by practising specific mindfulness. It helps to focus on a something.


Paperbark texture

I love the texture of this messy, soft, papery Australian tree

I might say to myself: 
From where I am (here) up to that park bench (over there), I’ll bring my attention to textures. Or shapes. Or light and shadow. Or colours.

It’s not unlike playing ‘ Continue reading

Top Two Tried-and-true Creativity Guidelines


Yes – I believe there are two Creativity Guidelines at the heart and core of the matter. 

I’ve been suggesting them in Art and Soul groups for about twenty years. Every now and then I look to the sky thoughtfully, pondering their validity. Do they still resonate? Do they help? I find they stand the test of (such thorough, scientific) scrutiny.

And here they are….drumroll….

  1. Breathe

  2. Be kind to yourself

That’s it. The good news is that breathing and being kind to yourself are simple. The not-so-good news is that they are difficult. Believe me. Like a lot of Art and Soul suggestions, these pointers arise from my own bitter, breathless, breathstopping, breathfull, self-savage, self-snippety, self-compassionate experience.

Try them. While writing, arting, gardening, mosaic-ing, singing, creatively relating, see if you can become conscious of your breath. For one split second. Continue reading