{Guest Post} The Earth Without Art is… Unimaginable

Today I have my second guest post by Carolyn Schofield. This is her second post in a series of six (read her first post here). Carolyn intends to use her blog posts to talk about using art therapeutically and about encouraging people of all ages to use arts and crafts to express themselves. Over to you Carolyn…

Guestpost2When I got to know my late husband’s family, one of the great pleasures was getting to know his sister, Jennie Bambury. When I first met her Jennie was studying graphic design at art college in Brighton, and I remember her preparing for her final degree show. Jennie has now been working as an art teacher and freelance artist for over thirty years, and I have enjoyed following her career.

One thing I had never thought to ask her before was why she chose this career direction. She tells me that it was very simple: she had always loved art from her childhood.
She says:

“When I was a little girl I spent hours looking at illustrations in books.  Pictures told the story and I loved the colours and compositions that revealed more and more detail.”


Jennie became a freelance illustrator, producing beautiful work, but when her children came along meeting deadlines became difficult, so she wasn’t able to build up this side of her career. She won awards for display work but she felt there was something missing, and decided to direct her career towards helping other people access art, so she trained as an art teacher.

For many years she has taught adult art classes, eventually choosing to run her classes independently. From her converted garage art studio she is able to run small day courses and give individual tuition.


She has impacted hundreds of people through her work, giving people confidence in their abilities, as well as providing an enjoyable social opportunity for older people.
Jennie says:

“Art should be valued and embraced as highly as any other subject at school.  In my teaching I have heard many times: “I liked art at school but I was told I was no good”, and remarks like this can give the child feelings of rejection and low confidence.”

I agree with this. I’ve met so many people, often with little self-esteem in the first place, who are now frightened to do any painting or drawing or craft work because of harsh judgements made when they were children.


As Jennie has become known for her art classes, opportunities have opened up for her to do some work in local schools. Usually this involves doing a one-off day course with a group of primary/elementary school pupils, but in 2012 she was asked to develop a special project with children from seven schools in Nottinghamshire, here in the UK. The theme was the London Olympics, and the idea was to make one large, seven part frieze on which all the children worked, accompanied by smaller individual works. The work was displayed at Nottingham County Hall, then went on display at Nottingham Contemporary, a prestigious local gallery. Click here to see some of this amazing project on Jennie’s website.

Jennie has also undertaken a wide variety of commissions, for example designing a beautiful sign for her home town, as well as designing her own range of greeting cards and prints based on local scenes.

jennie's sign

Everywhere she travels Jennie takes with her a sketch pad, paints and pencils, so that she can capture everything she sees in her travel journal which she often uses as inspiration for future paintings. The work she does for her own pleasure reveals someone who has a deep love of the natural world and who has the ability to capture it on paper or canvas in a fresh and accessible way.

I leave you with her words about her aims as a teacher:

“My wish is to enable everyone I come into contact with to find their creative side and to revel in their uniqueness and special gifts.”


Thanks for reading.

carolyn 2Carolyn Schofield has an enduring love of craft activities of all sorts, including art journaling which she discovered this summer. She never quite gives up on any crafts, as her spare room and cupboards – packed with needlecraft and papercraft equipment, and half-finished projects – can testify.
Find Carolyn on Pinterest and Instagram.

Green Day and Doodles

I’m having a green day (no, not the band)

Year of the Doodle: 4/366

Green leaves art journal page

Day 4 in my Year of the Doodlebook, in which I doodled a stylised branch. Drawn with a Pigma Micron pen, and coloured using two different shades of green Derwent Inktense pencils and a waterbrush. The quote at the top of the page was already there:

“Creative thinking inspires ideas. Ideas inspire change.”
– Barbara Januszkiewicz Tweet this quote!

and I added in this one:

“If you would know strength & patience, welcome the company of trees.” – Hal Borland  Tweet this quote!

So this all got me thinking about green – both the colour and the being green. You should know by now that I love a list!

{List #6 in my ‘52 Lists‘ series}

Things I love that are green:

  • Green Day (yes, the band!)
  • Forests
  • Drawing leaves as seen in the photos
  • The Green Party
  • Broccoli
  • Recycling as much as possible
  • Pimento Olives
  • Apples
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Avocados (also Guacamole)
  • Green Grapes
  • Sea Glass
  • Pistachios
  • The Countryside
  • Spinach
  • Neat green lawns
  • The smell of fresh Oregano
  • Bearded Dragons
  • Peridot (my birth stone)
  • Pickles
  • Fixing rips / holes in clothes to make them last longer
  • Green traffic lights
  • Allotment gardening
  • Fresh Coriander
  • Upcycling

31 Things to Draw: 3/31

I’m embarrassed to post this but I’m going to post it anyway, because if I only showed you artsy things I’m happy with, it would be like lying by omission.

The prompt was to draw chairs. I tried. I really did.
But some of them look broken! 😀

Day 3 // 31 Things to Draw with @lisacongdon // Chairs! (some seem broken haha) #creativebug #CBDrawADay 

A photo posted by Zoe Ford (@topfloortreasures) on

31 Things to Draw: 4/31

…aaand back to the ‘green’ theme with leaves, even though they’re in black and white: 

Thanks for stopping by,

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Clouds, Teacups & Homelessness

Year of the Doodle: 3/366

Today’s prompt was ‘Clouds’. I’m really loving this book! It’s so good for quick art journaling when you’re short on time. I love how the backgrounds are already done for you and you just get to concentrate on the prompt and adding your own take on it.

clouds art journal prompt

What a beautiful quote, too.

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storms, but to add colour to my sunset sky.”
– Rabindranath Tagore Tweet this quote!

The balloon image came from a recent copy of The Big Issue magazine, and I turned it into a hot air balloon. For those not in the UK, it’s a magazine that benefits homeless people. They buy the magazines from The Big Issue Foundation and then sell them on the street. This gives the seller an income, plus enough money to buy more magazines to sell. It also gives them dignity and a purpose. I don’t often see a Big Issue seller in my small town, but when I do, if I have the cash, I buy a copy.

I feel the above quote is relevant too – having the opportunity to sell the magazine gives homeless people a little bit more sunshine (positivity). Homelessness is an issue that has the potential to affect any one of us so I feel it’s important to support those living on the streets when we can.

What’s an issue that’s important to you?

31 Things to Draw: 2/31

Yesterday’s prompt from Lisa Congdon’s drawing class was teacups.

Day 2 // 31 Things to Draw with @lisacongdon // Teacups! #creativebug #CBDrawADay

A photo posted by Zoe Ford (@topfloortreasures) on

This is a really fun series to be part of, and I’m looking forward to completing the 31 drawing exercises and looking back through them. I’m drawing them in my purple hardback Moleskine with square grid pages (I absolutely adore Moleskine books! I have lots of them).

What’s your favourite brand of notebook or sketchbook?

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I Dream Of Zendoodles

Year of the Doodle: 2/366

Day 2 in my ‘Year of the Doodle’ #ArtJournal book

A photo posted by Zoe Ford (@topfloortreasures) on

Yes, I genuinely have zendoodle dreams sometimes! I’ve always been a very vivid dreamer and daydreamer. My night-time dreams can be so realistic that often when I wake up it can take a minute or two to realise the dream didn’t really happen.

It’s funny how zendoodles can be such a calm and meditative thing to draw, but one time that I drew one full of pointy triangles and zigzags I had a nightmare that stayed with me for days. In the nightmare I was traveling along a dusty road in a small white car when we drove past a small mountain range and they were made of the zendoodle I had drawn that day! Yet the mountains were really sinister and frightening. I woke up terrified and couldn’t stop thinking about it for days afterwards.

Thankfully, zendoodles don’t cause nightmares for most people – I am on quite strong medication after all – and usually they occur in happier dreams. Either I’ll dream I’m zendoodling, or something in my dream will appear to be ‘made’ of zendoodles.

31 Things To Draw:

Yesterday I began Lisa Congdon’s new class ’31 Things To Draw’ which is going on for the whole of January. The first theme was trees:

Day 1 // 31 Things to Draw with @lisacongdon // Trees! #creativebug #CBDrawADay

A photo posted by Zoe Ford (@topfloortreasures) on

It’s all about embracing the imperfections in our drawings and not making things look realistic. It’s a great exercise in practising illustration!

Are you taking part in any art challenges this month or this year?

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‘Strong’ – My Word for the Year

Year of the Doodle – 1/366 (yes, it’s a leap year!)

First page of 2016 in my ‘Year of the Doodle’ #ArtJournal book by @dawndsokol

A photo posted by Zoe Ford (@topfloortreasures) on

I don’t think I had a ‘word for the year’ in 2015, although I did in previous years. This year my word is strong. It’s a thing I’m going to focus my mind on being. I haven’t been a particularly strong person in the past – mentally and emotionally, I mean – so I want to improve in that way.

A therapist once taught me ways to build boundaries and look after myself, but that was a few years ago and those boundaries have weakened over time. This year I’ll be making them a lot stronger. One of the ways I do this is to free-write in my journal. It’s so cathartic! It really helps me to calm the chaos going on in my brain and figure out how I want to move forward. It’s difficult at first, but eventually all this good stuff comes out. Inner wisdom. It makes me feel strong and like I can face anything.

Have you chosen a word to focus on for the year yet?

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