April 30, 2015

New beginnings, a move and silver linings . . .

All the best laid plans . . .
Here we are at the very end of April already, Spring has sprung and things are a-changing. New life, new beginnings, new things a-growing.
I had such good intentions this year to make lots more art, to write more, blog more and share my happenings, but you only have to be distracted for a  moment and along come all manner of things to send you off on other paths.
 Sometimes a path can be a little misty and you're not very sure where it will lead, it's an adventure, a little scary, yet intriguing and exciting too.
 As you follow the path, you come across unexpected surprises, some good, some not so, but you keep on going, you don't look back. You wonder what waits around the next corner.
If you look in just the right places along the way, you will discover unlooked for treasures, the silver linings, the pots of gold.  The stars will twinkle and the sun will shine and as the mist begins to clear, you will see a whole new world laid out before you and know that life has taken you off on a completely new adventure. 
I wonder if you guessed? Mr O and I found ourselves on a misty path these past few months, setting off on an adventure, not at all sure where we were heading as we packed up our worldly goods. It turned out we were going over the hills towards the little artist's town of Kirkcudbright, to a new wee hoose. All rather unexpected and very quick, I think in a matter of six weeks we discovered we were to move, we found a new home,  moved out and in again! 

As you can imagine, all is a bit of a blur for now but we will 'coorie doun' and gradually begin to feel settled again as we grow into this, the sweetest wee cottage with it's glorious gardens just a-waiting for us to make our mark on them and nurse them back to life.


It will soon feel like home, things will find their place and I know we will be happy here, I can feel it in my bones.

 We have been surrounded by lovely folk helping out, moving us, feeding us, working to fix up the cottage and the garden, folk sending beautiful flowers, cards and other loveliness and want to send out  a huge thank you to all, we couldn't have done it without you.

Whilst we have been such busy bee's, amidst the un-packing, the planting and the exploring I have squeezed in some sketching here and there for the sketch-a-day challenge, but I am longing to get properly back into making some art.


My workshops however, are still running and there was much wonderful creating going on at the print & pattern and the journal making events. There are more workshops a-happening soon...


Introduction to HeART Journaling Workshop
5th May 2015 ~ 6.30-8.30pm ~ £15pp, incl refreshments.
The Art Room within the Old School, Dumfries.

Collage ~ A garden of love  Workshop
12th May 2015 ~ 7-9pm ~£10pp incl refreshments
The Franca Bruno shop, Gatehouse of Fleet.

Playing with colour Workshop
19th May 2015 ~ 6.30-8.30pm ~ £15pp incl refreshments
The Art Room within the Old School, Dumfries

 Journal Making Workshop
21st May 2015 ~ 10am-12noon ~ £10pp
Castle Douglas Community Centre, Cotton Street.

For full details visit www.ruthieredden.com

(The last photo is the magical view from our new wee garden, down across the fields to the sea.)

February 23, 2015

Creating with HeART ~ workshops & journals

What a whirwind February has been, filled with creativity, writing and workshops.    

I mentioned back in the Autumn, my first HeART Journaling workshop and why it was something I really believed in & wanted to continue (see here). I am happy to report that five months on, I have lots of workshops lined up.
 There is always much chat and laughter in the air at the workshops which makes for a great atmosphere, helped along by lovely folks such as Franca,  the owner of the Franca Bruno shop  our Gatehouse venue.  She not only keeps us topped up with cake,tea and coffee but endless supplies of clean painting water too!
 It brings me immense pleasure to share my creativity with others, encouraging them to let go and play, and what wondrous creations they make. The pieces below were done at my 'playing with colour' workshop.
 I often hear folk mention they haven't 'played' for years, some since childhood, so it it a joy to stand back and watch those creative muses showing face at last, being allowed free rein to get messy and have fun with all the delicious art materials to hand.
Hearts seem to work appear often, I wonder is it anything to do with the fact it's called 'HeART Journaling perhaps!   This was the  'Introduction to HeART Journaling' Valentines workshop.
 Last year I was asked by storyteller, author and poet extraordinaire Renita Boyle,  recently  appointed  'Reader in Residence'' for the year for Dumfries & Galloway, to see if I would be interested in running my 'HeART Journaling' alongside her own 'Memoir in a month' workshops, part of an innovative partnership between Dumfries and Galloway library service and the Scottish Book Trust. Renita is a wonderful, whirlwind of enthusiasm and inspiration and I just knew it would be a pleasure to work with her, so dates were duly set.
 I have held two of these workshops so far in Castle Douglas and Whithorn (there are more on the way) and they have proved such a huge success that I  have been asked to return and hold monthly HeART Journaling workshops in the community centre in Castle Douglas which start on 12th March! .

Many of the folk attended both mine and Renita's 'memoir in a month' workshop, and I was right, we have all been hugely inspired by her teaching, words and readings of her magical work. There has been much wonderful writing a-happening, and a coming together of folks over it, but that is to be saved for  another day.

 There is something very soothing and therapeutic about putting things down on paper whether it is words or images and since I began creating in my own  HeART Journals I have learnt to be brave let go and had great fun in the process and so it is wonderful to see that my workshops are now inspiring others to do the same. 
Talking of journals, I have a real passion for them and wanted to try making my own using materials I had lying around.  It was great fun and I loved the outcome, particularly the fact that I had found a use for those often discarded cardboard boxes, used pieces of wrapping papers etc, I am all for re-cycling!

Of course this inspired my next workshop 'Journal making' which is on Tues 3rd March, The Franca Bruno shop in Gatehouse of Fleet.

If you would be interested in coming to any of my workshops you can find a complete list along with dates and info over on my brand new,  re-vamped website, which I hope is much easier to navigate. www.ruthieredden.com    I hope to see some of you very soon.


January 13, 2015

Sketching daily, a new years intention

Where do the days disappear too? I'm sure I only blinked and its January already! So a belated Happy New Year to all in blog land and beyond.  May you find moments of loveliness in the coming 365 days!

This year I felt drawn to set myself  words to live by to help me keep on track and 'Clarity' & 'Focus' were the words that fell into my lap. Perfect, for I needed a clear vision for what I wanted from my year and  I needed to be able to focus on my goals for my business and home life too. It is so easy in this busy, busy world to get distracted and  lose your sense of direction.
  A good long stroll on the blustery, sparkling beach cleared away the cobwebs and I began to form a picture of what I wanted more than anything from this new year.   More creativity, more art making! When I looked back at last year and saw just how little art I had made it made me very sad. After all I am an artist and an artist should be making lots of art. So I promised myself I would make some plans this year to change that. 
I began my new HeArt journal and set down the ways I want my creativity to manifest itself this year. With painting, photography, crafting, writing and sketching. (I have to mention that the mandala in this piece was inspired after a wonderful workshop I did with the lovely Julie Gibbons in December.) I have made lots of plans and have many things in the pipe line and cant wait to get started again.
Firstly I have set up a private 'Sketch a day' Facebook group, where every day I post a new topic to be interpreted freely.  It's a place where we arty folk can share our sketches done for the days topic and encourage each other in the process.  I am loving the challenge and discovering there is something very encouraging about doing this challenge with others. Last year I tried it by myself and lasted a week!
 These are a few of my sketches so far ~ Topics such as : Breakfast
 Something Blue ( I do love blue & white china)
 An eye (mine)

 A mug

 Already I have re-discovered how much I love pen and wash, how looking hard at something to sketch it just pulls you in and you begin to see more and more, and also how fascinatingand inspiring it is to see the interpretations and works of others.  So if you would like to join us do hop on over here, you will be made very welcome.

Another resolution to myself this year is to be a better blogger, so I shall be back later in the week to tell you all about the new workshops I have coming up!

October 29, 2014

Autumn poetry, pictures & paintings

 The golden hues of Autumn have danced through the trees surrounding our wee cottage and trickled their way into my sketchbook. You perhaps already guessed that I love this time of year, it always fills me with the joy of being and ignites my creativity.
Walks in the ancient woodlands fill my pockets with treasures aplenty, each taken home and placed in pride of place on my studio 'seasons'  windowsill to bring me smiles through the darkening days.
 For me autumn feels like a comfortable ancient cloak wrapped about my shoulders, familiar & cosy an old friend to be greeted with joy after the longest of partings.
 Mr O tells says my hair is like "Autumn" and that as we walk in those quiet places I disappear into the surroundings, ha!  so it seems I am indeed an Autumn lass.
 I stop at every turn to take my photos, forever astounded by the hues and textures Mother Nature provides, inspiration for my paintings for years to come.
 Every once in a while I catch a glimpse of wee messages left by fae folk, hearts hidden here & there if you remember to stay still awhile and look for those secret places..
 Even the sunsets seem imbued with Autumnal colour.  It seems the perfect way to say goodbye to the day, to stand on our doorstep and watch the sun slowly sinking into the night leaving velvet darkness.
So I am away back to my paper and my paints to try and capture the essence of Autumn, I'm not sure yet who will appear on the page, but she does have glorious hair.  I shall leave you with some words from one of my favourite Autumn poems by Thomas Hood

"I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
Stand shadowless like Silence, listening
To silence, for no lonely bird would sing
Into his hollow ear from woods forlorn,
Nor lowly hedge nor solitary thorn;
Shaking his languid locks all dewy bright
With tangled gossamer that fell by night,
  Pearling his coronet of golden corn."



it can be read in full here 

October 08, 2014

Art journaling workshops

Back during the long hazy days of Summer, I had the pleasure of teaching my first "Introduction to Art Journaling" course.  Set in the lovely surroundings of the Franca Bruno shop in Gatehouse of Fleet,  a beautiful old  converted church,  it was the perfect setting for an evening of creativity.    There was much laughter, chatter, creativity and playing with paints, pens and papers.  Franca provided a delicious array of refreshments to keep us going and someone bought in a big bowl of fresh from the garden raspberries!
 I have been working on a programme of workshop based activities over the past year, with the view to teaching creative play, based around topics that can also take the participant on a journey of self discovery and nurture their soul.   It was a joy to see these lovely folk letting go and "playing" with the materials I provided, and coming up with some beautiful pieces of work. When teaching the workshops, I demonstrate a variety of techniques and medium and with creative prompts folk then experiment and get creative themselves.
 My own art journaling is now an extension of me, a place where I capture my hopes and dreams, emotions and thoughts through art and words. A place I can experiment and play creatively.
An art journal can bring greater insight and understanding of self, it can enhance the ability to listen to our inner voice and heighten our self awareness. By putting down our thoughts it focuses out attention and  allows us to explore them. Journaling is also a great stress reliever, and a wonderful way to discover new talents or awake old ones.
During my workshops we explore self expression, art-making and journaling all in one go.  You don't have to be an artist to participate, all you need is the desire to be creative and an art journal. So if you ever felt you wanted to:
* Discover your artist within
* Begin a creative practice
* Learn to have some creative fun
* Get in touch with and nurture your soul
* Explore creative expression
* Learn how to start creating an art journal
* Begin your journey of self discovery
* Learn art techniques

then perhaps heart journaling is for you.
I have dates for my upcoming "Heart Journaling" workshops

 *  Tuesday 21st Oct, 7-9pm at the Franca Bruno shop. Gatehouse of Fleet £5pp

*  Saturday 22nd Nov 1.30-3.30 at The Art Room within the Old School, Dumfries £20pp
I am also hoping to run a series of weekly workshops in the New Year

You can find more information about the course or contact me if you are interested over on my website www.ruthieredden.com   or e-mail me at ruthieredden@hotmail.co.uk.

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 You may also be interested to read my post about the "Happiness Book" I keep here.