Picture Bath


Swain Once Upon Picture illustrated book

Once Upon a Picture
a page from the picture-story
inspired by van Gogh
Sally Swain © original art
Allen and Unwin


Sally Swain original art painting

Here Am I
Swimming in a Teacup
Sally Swain © original art
purchased by a lovely member of Sydney Threshold Choir


flower sacred space

the Sacred Space
at Good Grief Cafe

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The Woman in the Moon

Can you see a face?

solstice paint collage

Art and Soulstice
Sally Swain © original art

It’s time for my very own Art and Soulstice.

What does that mean?

It means

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Who knew?

I didn’t.
But I do now.
What do I know?
(Read on for Art and Soul Queen Sally’s Creative Christmas Message….)

I now know that Brian Eno is elegantly, eloquently wise. He recently rocked my paint-splattered world. He speaks with both divinity and great ordinariness of the value of creativity and the arts.

fabric swirl

Fabric Swirl by Sally
just the ordinary beauty of clothes soaking in the bath

I recommend

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Art is Everywhere (if you quiet your mind to see it)

and here’s a Little Poetry Challenge for You

I feel a niggling guilt about my maintenance of Things.

Do you know what I mean?  

‘Things’ are not where my energy goes.
Creativity, care, creatively caring for people, inspiration, respect, art therapy, cultivating gentleness and kindfulness in the world. These are some of the places and spaces I prefer to focus on, given the chance.
The peeling paint wall outside my sweet rented workplayspace is one of those Things calling for attention.
Mostly I have a very un-grownup ostrich strategy of filtering it out. Mostly I don’t see…I don’t actively look….at such niggly naggy Things if I can help it.

Do you know what I mean? (reprise)

One day

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What do you wish to create?

Once in a blue moon…

Once in a Blue Moon Sally Swain painting

‘Once in a…’    I just happened to have previously created this blue moon (with leopard?!) paintage and couldn’t resist sharing it with you today. 
Sally Swain © original art

Friday 31st July is a blue moon night. In case you’re unsure of the conventional definition, a blue moon is

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Be A Mused. Be Very A Mused.

Dad and me and creativity

Do you have a muse? Many ongoing muses?

Who or what inspires your creativity?

Dad and me

Dad and me

My original muse was my Dad, David Swain. Dad made a life of writing, cartooning and mentoring other creative sparks.
His first book, The Cantbeworried Tales, came out when I was seven. He gently satirised Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in cartoon and verse. This little book made a big impact on his world and mine.

Cantbeworried Tales David Swain's first book

The Cantbeworried Tales
David Swain’s first book

When I was eleven,

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From POG to BLOG in forty years

A Creative Source Story….

I am sixteen. I sit on the beige 1970s oval rug in the family room, with my sister and my best friend.  We are surrounded by pencils, paper, Perkins Paste,scissors and magazines such as POL.   

POL is supercool, stylish. I dream of living among its pages; of being tall, slender, popular, with a floppy crocheted hat.

We cut the title from its glossy cover page.   

With the substitution of a mere letter, we invent… POG.




We design, laugh, arrange, laugh, cut, laugh, paste, laugh, rearrange. Oh. And laugh.

We don’t know it, but

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How to Access Your (Already Abundant) Creativity 2

A Flower Power Point Presentation

to be viewed one blossom at a time



Flower Power Point Two…

Curiosity Feeds Creativity

I’m in the supermarket, back from holiday, feeling flat.

Same old same old. No more birdy twitters and compelling vistas. Just dumb old plastic, fluoro, beeps and trolleys. Ah trolleys.
 I remember to

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Yellow Teapot

‘confident of welcome in the world’

Teacup Period

I was in the heart of my teacup period.

Rhyming Cuplet 2

Rhyming Cuplet 2

This was a few years back. I met up with an old friend Clare, who lives interstate.  It turned out she had written a poem about a teapot.

I was immediately inspired to paint a yellow teapot.

Serendipity (dontcha love that word?)

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What if you don’t like your picture (in art or in life)?

You could ditch it, rip it up, scribble over it…you could adapt adapt adapt.

What if there’s a gulf between the astoundingly beautiful vision in your head and the muck that’s appearing on the canvas? This is The Gap.    

Creativity lives in The Gap.

If you keep going, you have two fundamental choices.

  1. Keep trying to make your picture (or life) resemble the perfection of your imaginings. This likely leads to a wrestling match with your Inner Critic, your art-esteem, your materials, your existing picture (or life).

    and/or you could…

  2. Adapt adapt adapt. Follow your brush or gesture or what’s already appeared. Surrender to the Art of Emergence. Trust the process and the flow of your picture (or life). This option is far easier said than done. It goes against the grain of all we’re taught in our outcome-driven, get-it-right-or-die dominant culture.

Neither of these choices is right or wrong. Much art-making (and life) is a dance between Continue reading