Nineteen Corvids, Unicorns and The Tree of Life

Corvid is the family name the crow belongs to. The crow not only symbolises death but also intelligence and destiny. I wanted to make some art to mark Covid 19. The Crow became my image. In numerology 19 becomes the number 1 which symbolises new beginnings.

The nineteen crows in the drawing aim to suggest peoples different experiences of lockdown, the rainbow coloured leaves hope and new growth. At the centre of the drawing is our local hill, Tinto – mountains to climb, the birds eye view. The dandelion seeds represent wishes and dreams, but also the spread of the virus and ideas.

The majority of the drawing depicts empty skies. Hardly a plane flying, hardly a car, just the sound of the wind and the birds. A space, a chance to breathe…


The second version of Nineteen Corvids is inspired by Medieval art, which I thought was apt as the Medieval era was a time of plagues and pestilence.

The Tree of Life, the lungs of the planet, life so precious! Two rabbits cuddle at its base. A vine of love wraps round the tree. Can we transform destruction to love and growth?

The water of life flows, abundant with fish. A kingfisher and swan guard the precious water. The kingfisher is said to be the first bird to fly from Noah’s ark after the deluge and is considered a symbol of peace, promising prosperity and love. Swan represents our ability to retain grace. A beautiful and elegant bird yet incredibly powerful. The colour white represents purity and the frog cleanliness and healing.

And so the river of life flows on, flowers grow. Spring turns to summer…

The three unicorns remind that life is ultimately mysterious – birth, life, death. The unicorn, an ancient mythological horse is found in antiquity and is the symbol of Scotland, chosen as a beast powerful enough to stand up to the English lion.

In Medieval times the the unicorn was believed to heal sickness. The wild woodland unicorn could only ever be captured by a virgin. This myth is thought to represent the Virgin Mary and so some believed that the healing power of the unicorn and its association with miracles represented Christ.

Magical healing Alicorn powder made from the tusks of unicorns was sold in Europe as late as 1741! Unicorn horn (narwhale horn) was an extremely precious commodity.

It would be easy to laugh at this superstition if it wasn’t for the fact that the Chinese sickeningly still use rhinoceros horn for medicine. They might as well bite their own finger nails for all the good endangered rhino horn is going to do them!!!

And so…

Do email me if you would like to come to my upcoming castle exhibition here in South Lanarkshire in due course or join my blog to be kept in touch.

Best wishes,


I Manifested a Castle!

The Dream by Kirsten Harris, Pencil on Paper

In the winter I decided I would like to exhibit in a castle, as you do!

I am a bit of a workaholic and have painted myself into a corner at home so a bit of creative thinking led to the idea that a castle would be ideal! Yes, a castle would be big enough. The idea made me smile… think big, girl!

Several wintery evenings enjoyed sidetracked looking at castles here in Scotland and thinking how cool it would be to win the lottery and buy one, visualising how amazing I would make my castle look. As you do!

But guess what? There are no castles in my price bracket! Dah! So I decided to draw a castle instead!

‘The Dream’ depicts a girl standing on a mounting block beside her horse ready to ride up a mountain. She stands outside a turreted castle protected by her horse tree guardians. Distorted perspective and a ghost like girl suggests that this is the imagination at work, a parallel universe. A dandelion clock represents wishes fulfilled, the mushrooms represent altered states of consciousness. The unicorn on the flagpole says anything is possible, dreams are good, life is mysterious, forward and up!

Whilst drawing ‘The Dream’ I suddenly remembered seeing a post on Facebook months before that a local castle had been sold and would be reopening as a hotel at some time in the future. I scrolled Facebook until I found what I was looking for. Bingo!

Why not ask?

I went for a nosy…

There were a couple of white vans parked outside. The downstairs windows were boarded up but there was a light on further inside, the front door was slightly ajar.

I tentatively pushed it open…

‘Hello!’ Hello!’ HELLO!’ No reply!

I could hear the sound of distant banging and ventured in. The place was a mess and obviously being renovated but ‘WOW COOL!’ A spiral stone staircase, dark panelling and a suit of armour. Walking hesitantly past another stairway, this time a grand sweeping one, obviously of a later period, I curiously peeked into some of the downstairs rooms..

This is perfect! Big walls!

Artists love walls!

I followed the sound deeper into the building and found two men with hammer and saw in the kitchen and mayhem everywhere. Full scale and big scale renovations were taking place. Amazing!

‘Um, hi, I’m looking for Mr X?’

They directed me out through a dark passage into a garden where I found Mr X with a chainsaw in hand lopping back a yew tree that was blocking a window and causing green mould on the stone.

‘Hello, I’m Kirsten, I’m an artist…”

Mr X, still wielding his chainsaw, listened to the daft explanation of my thought that it would be fun to manifest a castle to exhibit in as I had run out of space at home. It sounded daft to me as I was saying it but we got on immediately and had a hilarious conversation and the upshot of it was the family said…

‘Yes… because my work is quirky!’ (Best compliment ever!)

I had manifested a castle to exhibit in! And then Covid 19 disrupted everyone!

At some point in the near future I am sure we will be celebrating the grand reopening of the hotel. It should have been in April.

Do email me if you would like to be put on the mailing list to be invited, hopefully not long now!

Best wishes, Kirsten

(I forgot to photograph the drawing before I framed it, so not the best photo as taken through glass)

Copyright Kirsten Harris

A Bit Medieval

I have been making art to fit frames as the picture framer is closed and I had some antique frames in the studio.

Medieval tapestries were the initial inspiration for these paintings and it struck me whilst painting that everything is a bit Medieval at the moment.

We are living in the time of a ‘plague’ and the only option for toothache, which I have, is extraction and then only if my face has swollen up like a sheep’s bladder, which it hasn’t! The skies are blissfully silent of metal and bird song is a wonderful to listen and paint to. Getting into the Medieval vibe has been creative time travel this week locked in my tower!

The owl is a symbol of change and intuition and the unicorn a Medieval symbol of purity and grace.

‘Pensive’ is for everyone living alone. ‘Beak to Beak’ and ‘Good Friends’ are about respect and equality. Gosh we need that in the world! Have we progressed at all?

Painting ‘The Tree of Life’ is a contemplation about my place on the tree of life and my continued determination to plant trees whilst I am here. There are over 30 birds as well as other animals in the painting. I slightly regret that I didn’t have a better quality board to paint on, but needs must, so I used what I had. I hope it lasts the tests of time as I loved painting it.

The frame used to house a painting of my great grandmother so have subtitled it ‘The Great Grandmother Tree’ and hope she doesn’t mind that I have pinched her frame! I have a matching frame, and plan to do The Great Grandfather Tree next …

Stay safe!

With love, Kirsten

Art work painted on hardboard using chalk paint and wax…

Going Backwards to Go Forwards!

I’ve been ‘excavating’ my studio as my friend calls tidying up!

Tidying up art style means going through every canvas and seeing if I can finish or polish it.

Years ago I met an artist shaman in Zimbabwe who told me to finish every painting I start as a key to success. It struck me as a very good, simple and yet challenging advice.

Even though I am mad keen to get on and make new work towards my postponed exhibition I have been going backwards to go forwards.

Thoughts drift through my mind as I paint like this phrase, going backwards to go forwards. In horse riding a few backward steps is a good way of gathering the horses energy to go forward with more power. Yesterday I revisited a series of car paintings (now added to website) that were languishing inside a box. As I did more to the series done over 5 years ago the thought that the past is getting resolved kept reoccurring. Energy expended then is being honoured and completed and traumas such as dad’s death from cancer, healed. Art is like that. It kind of talks to you.

And sometimes it just takes years to finish a painting.

I remember years ago I was working on a big lion oil painting. I couldn’t work out why it didn’t look finished. It took a friend to look at it for about ten minutes and then exclaim ‘there’s and ear missing!’ Dah! We both burst into laughter. A few more licks of paint and the painting was done! And then the friend decided he wanted to buy it.

This small thistle oil sketch was half done. I had sketched out the shapes in paint and abandoned it to the eaves of the studio. I thoroughly enjoyed finishing it the other day and it has given me ideas for new work…

And as I have been excavating my studio I see that a robin is nesting in the eaves, flying in and out of an open window. How wonderful life is!

Walking into Ideas

My art has become increasingly about ideas! I guess I’ve spent the first large number of years of my life learning how to paint and draw and now I want to express ideas and do more with my art.

So where do the ideas come from? Truthfully, I walk into them in the field. The ideas for drawings, projects or blogs just pop into my head. I do the same walk most days. The fields behind my house have become my source of inspiration.

For a little while in the summer the farmers cows live there and out of respect I don’t go, but for the majority of the year I am the only human visitor. It’s my own private wildlife sanctuary, my source of inspiration, my talking woodland, my stream of consciousness, my flowing viewpoint.

I love these fields with all my heart. They are ancient fields, many of the beech trees are dying and reeds are taking over the ancient paddocks. Remains of wire, where fences once were, have grown into the trunks of many of the beech trees. Victorian clay drains lie on the surface having been trampled to destruction by the cattle. The ground is rough underfoot testimony to Scottish wet summers. And the fields are full of wildlife. It is perfect habitat – a shallow stream, grassland, trees. Deer, badger, moles, woodpeckers, hare, duck, wrens, owls, duck, geese, wildflowers. The fields are alive.

This is ‘my’ remote island retreat in central Scotland. A burn more or less surrounds the area making it inaccessible to the casual visitor and a stream and stone wall separate it from the far end of the next farm.

These fields are my heaven on earth. They teach me, give me ideas and restore my soul.

In my big abundance manifestation fantasy dream heck why not think big vision, I buy these fields and create a wildlife sanctuary, allowing re wilding. With no cows eating the young saplings as they start to grow the re wilding happens quickly. I restore the ditches so that the beech trees no longer sit in floods causing them to die and pull up any ragwort that has blown in. And beyond that I surround the land with love and give it to nature and the animals.

Four years ago I was in the field admiring a dandelion clock when my mother phoned to say dad had died. Time stood still. The fields took on a whole new resonance.

This past year I have hobbled around the fields with a torn plantar plate in my foot, needing to walk despite pain and it’s never failed to be worth it. Then, returning home nourished, spending the rest of the day drawing or writing ideas that I have walked into in the field.

And these days as I walk I dream that I will manifest the way to buy the land and be a custodian of a wildlife sanctuary. Ahhh! It’s good to have ideas!

And tomorrow I will draw…

A few of the thousands of photos I have taken in the field!

Messages from Dog

I sketched Maisie from life everyday last week to get more fluent at drawing dogs. Yesterday we went for our walk and realised we were in the same bit of field as a week ago when ‘the sky’ told me to draw Maisie for a week.

‘Oh why not? I’ll lie down again!’

Looking at the sky feeling the muscles in my back let go the wispy clouds started forming dog shapes.

‘Ha! I’ve learned how to draw dogs, a sure sign if the clouds are turning into dogs.’

And then as suddenly as the idea to draw dogs a week ago came, a title for a series of drawings popped into my head – Messages from Dog!

Here is the start of the series…

Note to self – lie in the grass more often! I get ideas that way.

Chill by Kirsten Harris

Dog Blog – 2 – Sketching from Life

I am drawing my dog Maisie, a little Cockerpoo, this week as an exploration of drawing, character and line.

Today more lighting sketches drawn from life with two thicknesses of pen. Maisie does not keep still even when she is resting she keeps moving, ever alert, so it is a challenge…

All images copyright of the artist

Dog Blog 1! Lightning Sketches

How am I going to learn to illustrate dogs?

My plan –

1 – don’t go for finished product

2 – do lightning sketches to work out how to draw hairy hyperactive dog Maisie

3 – see if a character starts to emerge

4 – observe and draw as fast as possible

5 – don’t make up lines

6 – do at least 14 drawings a day

What next? Talking to the Sky and Setting an Intention.

The wind was cold but the cushiony grass looked inviting. I’d often felt the desire to lie down in that spot but had never done so. I guess the desire had always seemed too random. Today I let myself follow the impulse.

I let go for several minutes looking at the grey scudding sky.

‘What next? Let me know what next? What will you have me paint or draw? I need guidance!’

The answer came taking me by surprise – ‘Illustrate the dog blog you did three years ago in a week!’

‘Wow, really, a week? Thats 101 cartoons! That’s 14 or 15 drawings a day! Thats difficult! Where did that idea come from? I’m no good at drawing dogs, it’s a big task, it will take ages, do I have enough ideas to make 101 fun cartoons?

Resistance, lack of self belief, fear, doubt… all the crappy stuff that gets in the way, jumped up to argue with the voice, flattening the inspiration like a big boot on a seedling.

Hurdles. Those self imposed hurdles, that stop us even having a go.

Maisie came and stole her ball out of my pocket demanding play. We played ball at ground level, her level – me flat on my tummy, eye to eye, it was beguiling.

‘Thats it, just play, play at ground level’ the sky voice said.

‘You’re grounded anyway, why not have fun cartooning! Set an alarm clock for 1 minute, 5 minutes, ten minutes to get going. Do lightning sketches to allow fluency and flow to find you. Draw fast, with quick and simple lines. Allow those drawings that you admire so much to come. The ones that look so easy but are born out of practise. You can do it! Play and enjoy yourself without judgement or ego.’

So, today I commit to 101 cartoons of my little dog Maisie. I don’t know if I can do it, but I will never know if I don’t have a go!

I have, according to the voice, one week. All the time in the world!

Here goes…

Should Paintings be Pleasing?

Should paintings be pleasing? Nice? Attractive? Should they be decorative and easy to live with? Should they look good? Should they make sense? Should they obey rules?

Or are paintings something you have a relationship with? Are they a place to ponder, to lose yourself? A portal into another dimension in some way? Should they have a narrative or a message? Or should they challenge you, confront or inform?

I think the best paintings give you a space for meditation and escape. Good paintings are decorative. Great paintings are extra dimensional. And some paintings are just plain rubbish, but if the artist learned something and had a good time, who cares! And as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

Certain paintings literally talk to me in the process of painting them. Ideas come. The paint makes surprise demands and you follow not knowing where you are going. You let go into the paint. Do this, do that, the paint commands.

This painting – is it finished? Is it rubbish? Does it talk to you like it did to me? Is it just – what it is! Is it just plain odd? Is it work in progress? Is it an idea half formed? I don’t know.

I wanted to paint a landscape but it became about the winds of change. The cold winds then became horses. Unexpectedly, but maybe not surprisingly.

The wind has been strong and cold here for these past 3 weeks in lockdown. I have spent as much time as I can outside. I have to earth myself. Earth girls are ease. An alien amongst trees and animals. I’ve loved the peace! Just the wind and birdsong and the odd tractor passing. I have chosen to just continue doing what I have done for several years, just more so, no distractions, no imperative to do anything else, just be a hermit, paint, not listen to the news, write blogs, paint some more, walk the same walk everyday, be with my animals, plant trees, tend the land. I am used to being alone. It is peaceful and blissful for me.

As the horses came to life in the painting so came the title ‘Birth of the Clydesdale.’ These horses were first bred in sight of Tinto Hill, the defining landscape feature in this part of Lanarkshire. Tinto, a mother hill, a breast hill, a hill of local rhyme.

Thoughts came too… change comes to help us. Mother Earth knows best. This lockdown is wonderful for nature. We all need to rest, to reconsider… change is in the wind, the world is changing and it is for good. Branches get broken in strong winds and trees fall. Don’t be frightened, death comes to all of us, breathe deeply, listen to the wind, the wind carries ideas, be present…

How precious the strong magnificent Clydesdale horse must have been for farmers… What a change for the better to have kindness and strength, power and endurance to work with you. The expression ‘If Wishes were Horses’ was first recorded near Tinto too.’ First collected by James Carmichael in 1628 . The expression is a theme in my art. If Wishes Were Horses – once upon a time the Clydesdale horse was wished into being.

Maybe I will repaint this huge canvas, maybe I will add a Clydesdale or two and trees in the foreground or maybe it is finished, I don’t know! For now the painting has stopped talking to me. So I stop.

And does it matter if anyone likes it? Does it matter if it is good or successful as a painting? Not really! The wind whispered in my ear and I was happy.

Birth of The Clydesdale by Kirsten Harris , 100 x 150 cm, Oil on Canvas

Portraying Movement

This is an edited version of a 5 day free class given via FB to a local art group during lockdown.

Day 1

Find a photo that speaks to you of something that portrays movement that you would like to paint.. running animals such as cheetahs, horses are favourites of mine, but it could be cars or cyclists, people, weather, the sea etc. Have fun looking for images

Day 2 

– When you have found your inspirational photo decide some words you would use to describe the kind of movement. For example flowing, fast, jumpy, swirling etc. 

Is there more than one kind of movement in the photo? If so describe the different movements 

– then with the minimum amount of lines on a bit of paper (printer paper or back of an envelope will do) draw lines to describe the direction of movement. So you may have a curved line, of several swirly lines or a couple of straight line etc. For example a photo a leg might be moving in one direction and an arm in another. Then you might need to use arrow lines to map it. 

Add your words to your simple lines. You now have a simple direction of movement map and words.

You may find you want to turn you abstract movement map  into an abstract drawing or doodle, but only think about the movement, not the subject. Stay abstract.

Day 3

– You now have your words and direction lines. Stay abstract and work out what medium best describes your words. If your word is glide or flow or swirly for  example find ways to paint in colour those words.  You can experiment with different media to find out what works best for this image – ie watercolour, pastel etc 

Let the brush follow the directional lines you’ve mapped out. This will help give the flow of movement in your finished painting. 

– task 2 – spend the rest of the day playing with actual movement your word describes. 

Gliding round the house or whooshing your arm or hand for example. So a bit of actual movement. Have fun with it. See if you can physically find a feel of the movement. This will help with your painting.

Day 4

A photo captures a static moment in time, a painting can do more than that. 

I think it is important NOT to have strong outlines if you want to portray movement in a painting, or your work will just look like you have copied a photo!  We will add detail in due course but it’s amazing how little detail you need for people to read an image.

So today colour a whole sheet of paper using your 

– direction of movement (your map)

– feel (the words you are going to think about as you paint, ie floaty, flowing, whooshing, punchy, fast…) and let the background and foreground mix together. Almost like camouflage. This will be quite abstract again.  

Think transparency, now you see it, now you don’t! There’s a dancer or dolphins there and now there isn’t. No hard edges! 

You will be getting to know your subject doing this and might be amazed by what you come up with. So think about colour and brush stroke that expressed the energy of movement you want in certain places.

And most of all have fun! Go for it! Swirl and twirl, whoosh and float, punch and walk some paint about…

Day 5 – the finished painting 

If you watch something move 

– you are not going to pick up every detail. So stay loose as you add detail

– you are going to have blurry or broken edges

– the movement is going to leave a trace of where it has been in the background. So let the colour of what has moved ie a piece of red material flowing in the wind, leave traces of red paint strokes in the background as though it’s shedding a bit of itself as it moves

You can add as much or as little detail as you like to your finished painting. It is your painting but If you feel you are losing  the sense movement refer back to day 4. 

This gestural painting is the feel you are looking for as you add detail. Balance your painting between detail and directional flow of the paint. The background now needs to have the directions of movement in it as you add detail to the foreground/subject. This will keep the sense of movement and give a feel of where the movement has already travelled.  

– think movement

– keep your arm nice and loose as you paint (I often swing my arms before I start painting to loosen and warm up,it definitely helps!) 

I really hope this has helped and all makes sense… 😄Most importantly have fun painting and go for it…

‘Boldness has a genius to it!’ Goethe 

Stay safe my friends ❤️

Extra notes – You may feel you have lost something of the abstract joy of day 4 in your finished painting, so there is a great value in having another go. I wrote a blog a while ago called Why Do Artists Repeat Themselves? (link here) and here is another blog on portraying movement link here.

Have fun and happy painting!

Visit me on FB at Kirsten Harris Art

Opening to Angels

Opening to Angels by Kirsten Harris

I’ve always been fascinated by the handprint in cave art. The palpable presence of our ancient ancestors in the decision to make a statement with a simple hand print. The open hand symbolises letting go and release as well as receiving and showing friendliness. The hands are channels for our energy, our mind through the body out into the world and back. The horses respond to our release with release. We sometimes have to learn big lessons in trust to let go into the connection available when we open ourselves as a receptive channel of awareness and discover our presence can be light as a feather yet powerful, our touch fleeting yet meaningful and our being poised and energised like a spring at the same time. 

This image is now available as a hand signed black and white print. I am creating quite a collection – drawing to plant a woodland, making prints that plant trees! Your support is hugely appreciated. I am in a drawing frenzy as Autumn approaches and the tree planting season with it.

No Room For Doubt!

No Room for Doubt!

‘There is no room for doubt in art!’ Sean Scully

The opposite of the word doubt is confidence. Other words to describe the opposite of doubt include belief, conviction, trust, definiteness, faith, ease, truthfulness, solution, calm, clarity, knowledge…

At art school we were encouraged to be bold, to be confident, as a key to being an artist! That was the main input. Express yourself no matter what!

‘Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has a genius, power and magic to it.’ Goethe

In the documentary “Unstoppable, Sean Scully and the Art of Everything’ Sean says ‘There is no room for doubt in art!’ He describes doubt as an entirely unhelpful emotion that gives you nothing and creates a block. He says to be an artist you need to be driven, not care what anyone thinks and not doubt yourself.

I needed to hear those words! Maybe you do too?

I AM AN ARTIST not a doubter! I needed to be reminded to not doubt in order to reconnect with conviction, trust and ease to the flow that drives me forward. Luckily I have never had a problem with motivation up until the past couple of months when I have let doubt creep in, like an unhelpful ear worm, due to a whole bunch of events colliding, including an attempted scam where, despite my body screaming at me ‘there is something wrong’ I doubted what my intuition was shouting with almost disastrous consequences. Thankfully I woke up in time! However it left me traumatised and doubting myself.

Art is about exploring connections with life, love, god, creativity, spirit, whatever you want to call it. Art is about faithfully being yourself, whatever and no matter what! What else can you be!?

‘Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.’ Lao Tzu

We are often ‘taught’ to doubt, to not trust our intuition, to not trust our self, to not have self worth, to be humble and hold back, to not be at ease, to have fear, to give our power away and accept authority without question.

A whole load of (negative) events caused me to allow myself to doubt and block the flow of my art and therefore my life. DAH! How ridiculous can a girl get!? Don’t let the bastards grind you down!

‘If you stop doing the wrong thing, the right thing can do itself!’ FM Alexander

There is no room for doubt in art (or life). It is utterly unhelpful! Having faith and trust in yourself is a good thing, not an arrogance.

Art can transform experiences, trauma, disillusionment, hurt. Art can reconnect us to passion, to love, to life. Art can deepen our understanding of the experiences we have! We just need to show up wholeheartedly to the process and the solution is in front of us.

It is time to clutter clear doubt from my studio!

Time to just embrace that despite feeling a bit broken, including physically from breaking a bone, I can make art and be creative from where I am right now. The pain can have expression. What else? How else can change occur? That is clarity instead of doubt!

It’s a choice – confidence or doubt. Approaching art with definiteness that the years of knowledge and practice allow is an act of faith. In committing to the process the flow finds you …

Let go, make art!

I thought I would share these thoughts as doubt can show up in many areas of our life and I agree with Sean Scully – there is no room for doubt!

Trust your intuition! Trust yourself! Trust your heart! Trust your art!

Forward and up! Love Kirsten

(The image is a painting called The Moon Woke Me, Oil on Canvas)

The Perfect Circle – Lesson from Art History to Apply to Riding

Four Winds Medicine Wheel. Print available at

In his book Lives of the Artists, Georgio Vasari (1511 – 1574) recounts a story about the artist Giotto (1267 – 1337). He tells how the Pope was commissioning art and sent messengers throughout Italy to bring back samples or artist’s work. When the messenger visited Giotto’s studio, Giotto took a brush and keeping his arm close to his side painted a perfect circle in red paint with one brush stroke. The messenger thought he was being made a fool of. However when he recounted the ease with which Giotto had painted the perfect circle the Pope commissioned Giotto, recognising mastery.

Whilst teaching in Japan, I took lessons in Japanese brush painting. One of the tasks my teacher had me repeat many times was to paint the Enso, the Zen Circle. The circle is painted as one brushstroke to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create. It is a training in one’s ability to be whole in the present moment. The quality of the circle is altered by the quality of one’s presence.

If you are a rider I would like to challenge you to pick up a brush and paint a circle. Can you paint a circle freely and with ease? I would suggest that the circles that you ride (if you ride circles) will reveal themselves to you in the circle you paint!

Circles symbolise wholeness, infinity, eternity, time and timelessness, movement, the rhythm of life, unity, harmony, relationships, breath, Earth and our being in the Universe, connection…

By riding circles we have a way to connect to a wholeness within ourselves and our horse (or not!)

Why not give yourself and your horse a break for a bit to train your mind. If you cannot think or paint a perfect circle I don’t think it is possible to ride a perfect one! What do your circles look like? Practise painting circles with both hands.

Good luck!

I am off to practice my Zen circles…

Horsy prints and other artwork

For media downloads including Walking With Your Horse

Disillusionment and Creativity

‘Seeing and Seeding’ Photograph by Kirsten Harris

The etymology of the word illusion comes from the word luminare or lumen meaning to light up, too illuminate, to shine brightly. The words illusion and disillusionment are ones that I believe have changed from their original pure meaning.

I am using the word illusion to mean creative light and disillusionment to mean a dimming of the inner light, that creative spark within all of us that is most powerful.

I was musing with a friend as to why I was feeling out of my creative flow. I realised I was feeling disillusioned by many things, people, events and in the main feeling put off proceeding.

As soon as I realised the word disillusioned meant a dimming of inner light, I felt the spark of creativity re-emerging, re-igniting like a pilot light guiding forward. My whole mood lightened up. Fuck it, no-one or no-thing was going to dim my creative light! I am alive now!

One of the meanings of the word illusion is fantasy or vision. If a population is in the main disillusioned we remain passive, obedient, sticking to the status quo. But if we see disillusionment as a calling to bring our inner light of creative visions into a future reality that does not exist yet, we have power. We become master illusionists! We become powerful magicians using our creative minds as instruments of change right now. Having a future vision or fantasy that doesn’t yet exist is, after all, how all creativity, invention and change comes about.

It may feel hard not to feel disillusioned looking at a planet on the edge of crisis and a population that seems, in the main, to only give lip service to caring. We rush around at high speed in airplanes etc consuming, working, doing our bucket list! Or we are stuck simply trying to survive in an expensive consumer society.

I propose it is time for a creative FUCK IT list instead of a bucket list!

Fuck it I am not doing that anymore.

Fuck it I am going say NO!

Fuck it I am going to create a different vision for the future.

Fuck it I am going to speak out.

Fuck it I am going to find simple ways to change things in the environment that I exist in right here, right now.

Fuck it, I am going to love getting creative!

Fuck it no-one is dimming the power of my light!

Our illusions are in fact not so much fantasy but fantastical vision of creative energy where mighty good power lies, where healing occurs and where miracles (may just) happen!

So as individuals and as a population are we illuminated or ill?

This is a magnificent planet of immense shimmering light and beauty. That same light and beauty is within me and within you, within and without. Switching our creative light on one person at a time to be master creators of a healthy future for our planet is what I believe we need to learn do. We need to create healthy visions for our world and share them with each other!

It is time to learn how to switch our inner vision back on!

So VISION ON my friends…

What lights your creativity up and what’s on your fuck it list?

Written with love

K x – Art – Alexander Technique

We need bees! Beautiful bumble bee in my garden last summer. LOVE!

In Our Hands

(I shared this originally as a facebook post on my art page Kirsten Harris Art. I wanted to write something to go with the drawing and to write from my heart about horses. I thought I should post as a blog here. I hope you enjoy it. ) 

‘In Our Hands’ by Kirsten Harris

5 Thoughts – 
1. Our hands have immense sensitivity. Can you let your hands be neutral? Do your hands know how to listen to follow your horse or do they control and bully? Do you use your hands to pull at your horse’s sensitive mouth and head? Or do you allow the energy of your heart-brain and the elasticity of your body to move through your hands into a flow of union and connection? 

2. Can you sit in balance on a chair, easily for a prolonged period of time without discomfort? If not, learn to do so before you sit on a horse. You are only bringing your inbalances to your riding and teaching your horse tension otherwise. You will create imbalances. Find your own poise first and then you will find the poise of your horse. It’s magical when it happens and totally worth the work on your self.

3. Horses are teachers for our heart and soul. We have much to learn from them. If you feel anger, frustration or ego around your horse walk away. Take wise counsel, breathe, let go. A horse is not a sponge for your unprocessed stuff. Negative thoughts and emotions do not belong around your horse

4. Be patient and learn to be at ease with yourself. Meditate. Listen. Let go. Horses will teach you about timelessness, unity, flow, courage, the divine, non verbal communication, boundaries, energy… Horses will teach you how to think into the vastness of the universe and the great mysteries. Be patient with yourself and your horse. Learn to get out of your own way to allow the door of knowledge to open. There is plenty of time. It is all you have. Enjoy the process. 

5. It is OK to feel fear. You and your horse are both flight animals. It is not OK to take your fear out on your horse. Let your heart be open and soft. Love your horse with all your heart. Let your ego dissolve so you are pure around your horse. Be a child of wonder and awe in his presence. Be fully present. Enjoy what you are learning and experiencing right now. Don’t compare your journey with your horse with that of other peoples. The journey of ‘should’ and ‘ought’ will only get in your way. You and your horse are both unique and marvellous. Your horse is an honest loving mirror into your essence, your soul in space right now if you dare to peek. Do you love what you see? 

Written and drawn with love

copyright Kirsten Harris – Artwork and prints – Alexander Technique

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A Jar Full of Possibilities!

My friend, musician Emma Smith, wrote a lovely blog recently called ‘How to Deal with Overwhelm’. Link here


It inspired me to do my take on her idea and to finish off this year with a brain storm of all the thoughts, inspirations, ideas, intentions, goals and wishes I have for my artwork moving forward and write them individually on a piece of paper and put them in a jar. As my blue glass jar filled up I wondered if it would be empty next year or in fact be twice as full as ideas do seem to inspire more ideas!


One of Emma’s suggestions for the days when you feel a bit lost, overwhelmed or unsure how to proceed, is to pick out one of the pieces of paper and see what ‘chance’ wants you to do, which might be meditate or go for a walk. As mine is an arty jar I decided to add wild cards too such as go on an art date or lie in semi supine for twenty minutes and let go and let inspiration come to me . Link to Body Magic here 


However for me the main benefit of this magic jar is to get all my ideas stored in one place. I have a tendency to write ideas on scraps of paper or in different note books or on my phone, but collating everything in this way in a physical place feels really helpful and very heart pleasing.


It doesn’t so much feel like a ‘to do’ list or a bucket list but more a kind of sweetie jar of passion or a cauldron of possibilities and a beacon drawing me forward into the new year.


I am sure this idea can be adjusted for any passion such as blogging or health and fitness …


Wishing you much love and happy creativity as the year comes to an end.


Kirsten xx – Art – Alexander Technique


Uncluttering My Sluttery!

Apparently the Victorians had a word for a room into which unwanted, unusable, needing to be mended stuff was dumped – a sluttery!  I love it. Why do the useful words drop out of usage? So here’s to admitting that I have a sluttery!


I am guessing most other people have a sluttery too, though they may of course be in denial! But I bet I am not the only slattern in the vicinity!


Do you have a secret kitchen drawer or cupboard that you would be appalled at the thought of someone looking inside? Or perhaps an attic or shed that even bigger stuff is dumped into. All that ‘it might be useful one day’ stuff that we don’t want to deal with. My sluttery has  got so jam packed that it is overspilling into my life. I hide my inner slut no more!


I think we all have a mental sluttery too! Unresolved stuff,  that has got to be a good thing, a creative thing, to own and to take responsibility for.  We hold onto whole load of cluttering thoughts that stop us moving forward in life and keep us in a slatternly frame of mind thereby giving us excuses not to be the person we might really be. The ‘I am not x,y, z enough!’ stuff.  The excuses and procrastinations that we might just need to let go of.


From an Alexander Technique perspective this thinking stuff can manifest as physical aches and pains and emotional or creative sticky stuckness too. We all have unhelpful thinking habits in our mental sluttery that may keep us in a physical muddle.


So, these last weeks I have been uncluttering my sluttery, and the expression has been making me laugh and making the job a whole lot easier. The acceptance of my sluttish behaviour has been fun.  My inner slattern has been showing up in the stuff that I haven’t wanted to deal with or finish or throw away. The paintings that I am never going to resolve, the ends of paints that have dried out …  I have decided to dump the slut!


Good bye to the pretence of being organised and neat by shoving the crap into my sluttery and hello to owning a sluttery and sorting it out to create space and along with it the grace of acceptance of less than perfect me and with that the fluttery exciting possibility of new creativity coming soon and no doubt having fun refilling my sluttery again over time ….


So, here’s to our brilliant Victorian anscestors for actually naming the place that they dumped their stuff, rather than pushing it out of the conscious mind and here is to the revival of having a named sluttery and with it our ownership of our difficult to deal with stuff which is just work in progress on many levels after all …





Letting Go of Blocks to the Creative Flow

I have felt blocked in my artwork. Despite having masses of ideas bubbling to get out, the flow of energy to pick up a brush has not been there for a few weeks. That is a first for me for years and years!


So I have been thinking about letting go of psycho-physcial and emotional blocks and how to do it and why we get blocked in the first place. There are no profound insights here, but some musings as I declutter my studio.


– From an Alexander Technique perspective the answer to letting go would be to simply STOP,  lie down in semi supine, let the ground support you and allow time for the whole system to come back into balance.  A little bit of Body Magic required.


I haven’t particularly wanted to lie down recently but I have wanted to sit in the garden a LOT and just listen to the birds and watch the garden grow. I have spent mornings recording bird song and found balance through simply being the listening. And I have taken photos on my iPhone of bugs and dandelion clocks. Intuitive listening as to what to do next has always been part of my creative process. Trusting that listening and looking are simply enough has to, I guess, be enough.


– I am decluttering my studio ruthlessly. I totally understand now how folk in these TV documentaries become hoarders. The hoarding and holding on seems to come about in response to some emotional trauma that they feel unable to deal with, and thus holding on to a physical manifestation of their love and life becomes their way of dealing with that trauma.


My response to my dad having cancer and his horrible death was to paint even more than ever. The result being that I have physically run out of space in my house and studio for any more paintings or furniture to Up-Cycle Danishly! Short of moving house some radical decluttering is needed. Letting go physcically is feeling good emotionally. I have always aimed to finish paintings, an aim which can take years, as once the painting is started they can become problems that are hard to resolve. A couple of days ago I decided I was simply not interested in those problems anymore. They have been recycled. The first glimmer of space in my studio and brain. Yippee! I have let go of the physical manifestation of some past problems.


– As I oil paint in a space which could benefit from a lot more natural light, I had come up with the solution to hang lots of mirrors to throw light around. The mirrors are now all going back to the charity shop. Everything is only borrowed, let the borrowed light flow forward! I realised yesterday that the space they are taking could hang finished artwork and I will invest in some better lighting. Let there be light! More brain space and flow potential awakening. No doubt it is bad Feng Shui to have loads of mirrors anyway but I am no expert!


– I heard Robert Holden describe decluttering ‘as taking you back to what is important’ or words to that effect the other day. I think that is a lovely description. In this decluttering what I am left with are art materials and paintings and a desire to make my grotty garage studio a more light filled lovely space.


– Having always been someone with easy access to my emotions it has felt strange to me to hold on, unable to cry, needing to stay strong and solid rather than let go and potentially disintegrate. Probably living alone has solidified the need to stay strong. In some ways I have beaten myself up for this ‘lack’ of grief, but am now finding out that I am not alone in the inability to cry at the big events and that there is simply no right or wrong or ‘how to’ with grief. Death, like life, is a process.


Life and death surrounds us daily when we open to it. We are as part of death as we are of life, denying that or putting a ‘should’ in the mix of how to deal with life or death is to block the flow. My way to move through it has been to paint and write blogs. I have learned huge amounts in this process and am still learning.


Holding on and letting go are perhaps just mirrors to each other and part of the necessary human experience.




Some of my bug photos – short, important, beautiful lives  ….




I Love Artists!

What could be better than gathering a group of artists who are scattered across this much over looked part of rural South Lanarkshire and who in the main don’t know each other and putting together an exhibition on a shared theme.


This time Tinto, our much loved fire hill, is the source of inspiration in a show at the Tolbooth, Lanark called 36 Views of Tinto, a homage to Hokusai’s famous 36 Views of Mount Fuji.

The last exhibition in October was inspired by the Falls of Clyde – Romance of the Falls.


So, a short blog of appreciation for all the artists …


What really strikes me about doing a group show with these people, whom I am just getting to know, is what intelligent, interesting, creative, easy going, solution orientated people artists are.


Artists are great!

It takes passion and courage to be an artist and a lot of self awareness.


To me it beggars belief that folk still think of artists as ‘mad’ and are quite happy to say it to their face, even if it is in jest. I am not being PC here, far from it, but making a point that sometimes we don’t question our assumptions.


For more musings in a blog called ‘Mad’ – click here! : )


So my thought for this morning is this – the world needs people with these amazing capacities as advisors, inspirers and general ‘earth angels’!


I love artists!



The Path of a Painting

The idea for this painting came from walking in the mountains. I wanted to make a painting which was more about the experience of walking uphill, than a portrait of a hill or mountain. I have called it ‘A Spiritual Path’, as it is about the push to keep going in life when the path seems steep or challenging.


I looked at Hokusai’s ‘Climbing on Mount Fuji’ as inspiration, in particular the abstract, atmospheric feel, the mark making and colour



Climbing on Mount Fuji

by Katsushika Hokusai (1760 – 1849)


Maisie on my lap while I contemplate the work of Hokusai and plan my painting and Walter mows the lawn!


Painting mapped out


‘A Spiritual Path’ is a large canvas, 110 x 150 cm.

I painted standing up keeping the thought of walking on rough ground as I made the marks on canvas, inspired too by my current explorations with The Alexander Technique.  I wrote a blog as a warm up to the painting ‘On Being Wiggly, Part 2 – Here is a link to part 1 and 2


And here is the path of the painting –

Maisie with ball on table, she knows the game of art or the art of the game!

I have to chuck the ball out of the open studio door between brush strokes to keep her entertained while I paint.


Looking like a big breast at this stage!

I guess that is Tinto the fire hill for you.

Wanting to bring in a suggestion of

Fallburn Roman Fort at the bottom of Tinto,

the semi circle marks


Decide to





A Spiritual Path

by Kirsten Harris

Oil on Canvas

110 x 150 cm





After!!!! Several days later


Brushes stuffed into rubber gloves to stop them drying out during the process!

Messy Painter! : )


This painting will be exhibited at 36 Views of Tinto Exhibition, Tolbooth, Lanark

16 May – 6 June 2018

A Conversation at the Picture Framers …

On my recent trip to the picture framers for 36 Views of Tinto Exhibition I had a conversation that I have been thinking about all week. I want to share it –


I was helping another artist choose a frame for her painting for the show.

A woman in the shop became involved in the discussion.

She was framing her husbands painting, who she described as one of The Scottish Contemporaries.

My artist friend starting belittling her own painting as ‘only an amateur effort that Kirsten has kindly included in the exhibition, I am not sure why, it’s not very good ….’

The other woman replied – ‘Yes, there are only two kinds of artists amateur and professional’ or words to that effect.

She wasn’t being snobby (well maybe slightly) but she was just stating a perceived truth!


‘Is that true?’ …. I thought, and found myself saying what I believe to be true –


‘There is only one kind of artist, and that is artists, because as far as I can see everyone puts there heart and soul into their work and that is the only criteria that matters!’


Come and see the 36 Views of Tinto Exhibition at the Tolbooth, Lanark if you are in the area – where local artists have put their heart and soul into interpreting Tinto our local much loved landscape feature. Maybe you will find something you want to own. It is going to be a great exhibition!


Look forward to seeing you … and by the way, my friends painting is very good and I am sure it will be snapped up!



Withdrawn and I

In my last blog (link) about drawing through February I used the word withdrawn, realising I have been a little withdrawn of late. It is an interesting word in the context of drawing as it appears negative, withdrawn as in stand offish or depressed, but is it?


The act of drawing – to move a pencil around paper, to make images, marks, lines on a flat surface – is by it’s very nature withdrawn, a solitary activity.  A degree of withdrawing from the world is necessary to make time for art, to be in the alone zone, that is creative. Withdrawn can mean to be depressed but it also means to take money out, withdrawing a deposit made earlier.


To draw is to put money into the bank as an artist. Explorations in drawing are deposits of energy that can be taken out for future use later, either as skills, ideas or artworks to sell. To draw, is to make a journey into the unknown To draw can mean to leave something undecided, no obvious winners – it’s a draw. Drawings don’t have to be finished.


To withdraw also means to inhibit, to draw back, to step or retreat back, which is interesting in an Alexander Technique context as being back in your back allows a space to occur where something ‘magic’ happens. ‘Back back’ we say.  It is a skill that that is as profound as it is light.


Withdrawing can also be a form of meditation or constructive rest (link), withdrawing from the urgencies of the day at least for a while, to allow ease, change.


Staying back in your back is important for drawing, not only the arm connecting to the back to avoid pain, but back enough from your work so as to not be lost in the detail. Backing off enough to stay aware of the whole image but being drawn forward enough to actually create something. An opposition of direction, an expansion of awareness.  It is an art in itself.


Withdrawing can mean knowing when to stop because this is a ‘battle’ you are never going to win. A waste of unfocussed energy. A waste of life. Why is withdrawing seen as negative when it is in fact powerful?!  Withdrawing to allow change. Withdrawing, not so much about being defeated but more about looking after yourself.


Backing up a horse is a useful exercise. Asking the horse to take a few steps backwards gathers the horse’s energy so that stepping forward again is done with more controlled spring, coil, balance, poise … You can train a  horse so that you only have to think ‘back back’ and your horse will go back, drawing his energy up into poise, drawing you up on his back. (link)


As a self employed single person I have to draw on my own resources constantly. Withdrawn in terms of a relatively isolated location it would be easy to fall into feeling lonely, especially in the middle of winter. But day after day, year after year, the act of drawing, literally drawing up energy from the well of a creative source somewhere inside, takes me to a place of peace, calm and ease, where the days pass happily and drawings are made. If I feel negativity I only have to show up at the drawing board to be drawn into a happy focussed place within minutes. I learn to trust , my mantra –  ‘everything I need is already here, I just have to line up with it!’


Withdrawn? I guess I am just with drawing!



‘Ahhh Ha!’ by Kirsten Harris

Pen on White Paper


The Daily Ease, A Walk in the Woods, Colouring Book LINK TO BUY

28 Drawings Later – Drawing some conclusions, half way through

I’m doing a project called 28 Drawings Later aka getting through a shitty February in the wilderness! (Us Brits like to moan about the weather, a national form of therapy and endless fascination!)

The title 28 Drawings Later appealed – the suggestion of a journey, the suggestion of arriving in a new place – bring it on!


Hmm, I thinks to myself – drawing through the depth of a snowy winter means I can stay inside and watch daytime TV, not like last years madness of painting seascapes in oils all winter in my freezing cold studio. Drawing will be a doddle by comparison and give me a focus through the hideous weather.  I’ll do it!


I envision myself knocking off a quick sketch everyday no problem, but instead it has got me ‘drawing conclusions’ about my lack of method and random processes as an artist as well as my desires and hopes. It’s the 13th of Feb and I’m nearly half way through this drawing everyday thing and feeling like I haven’t even got going …


Conclusions drawn so far

  • I have different styles of drawings for different moods. Guess I must be moody!
  • Initial enthusiasm soon turns into an inner dialogue of … why are you doing this? You work every day anyway … why am I making myself DO a drawing project, it’s not like I need motivating … I ignore the chatter and start
  • I have an idea that I want to draw horse anatomy. So far, day 13, I have got nowhere near that work. Procrastination February!
  • Week one, I seem to be in a quiet cartooning mood, with ideas developing around lightness, buoyancy and uplift.  The drawings make me smile and feel ridiculously content and happy, which is just as well as the TV seems to have got stuck on a channel entirely devoted to true life murder stories.  Days pass and daytime telly becomes a gruesome backdrop of how and why people kill each other, horrible and yet quite fascinating! I convince myself that Goya would have watched these documentaries unable to switch back to my usual diet of antique and cookery programmes or put some music on. Animals start floating off the page … I discover programmes about forensics, I like anatomy I tell myself, watching cop shows is research!
  • Week 2, I manage to turn the telly off, but rather than get on with the ‘oh so accomplished’ anatomically correct horse drawings that I can see in my ever hopeful mind’s eye, I start finishing bits of furniture, up-cycling Danishly! Doodling and finishing stuff is part of the process, I console myself, feeling like the Queen of the Procrastinators whilst sensing some fear around finding that my inner Leonardo da Vinci really doesn’t exist!
  • Having got rather carried away with buying and painting furniture recently I spend most of the second week thinking I really must sell some of it. (Artist as hoarder.) I seem to have a particular ‘thing’ for chairs. Feeling sad at the thought of restraining my trips to the car boot I get a genius brainwave –  if I rid the house of two sofas and a very large arm chair, bought for my even larger now sadly deceased dad, that I never sit in, I can paint more furniture and buy more random objects that appeal and I don’t have to sell my painted furniture that I like and takes ages to do.  I could even do some still life drawings to justify buying more stuff! Realising the total genius of this idea I conclude that sofa’s are crap for the back anyway, take up a ton of space and it means I can make another drawing area where the sofa was and start channeling my inner Leonardo properly. It is now totally obvious to me that I am not drawing the way that I want to because of the sofas! I  just need to find a van and a man to help me take said lumps of back breakers, posing as comfy chairs, to the charity shop. I am, it turns out, not a hoarder at all but the High Priestess of clutter clearing!
  • Feb 13th happy with my plan to release sofas from my life, I realise that I have been a bit withdrawn (interesting word) of late. I am just tired, tired of the endless snow and rain in South Lanarkshire and mud, lots of mud, but my brain is now racing with  ideas of what I would like to achieve with my drawing and painting. The next painting is always going to be the best one! This is exciting! This is motivating! So as it is February and snowing again, I decide to allow myself to be with nature, and rather than beat myself up with my coloured pencils and sticks of charcoal, align myself with the bulbs in the garden that are just beginning to show and know that all these brilliant drawings too are hiding just out of sight, a bit frozen in my consciousness but about to burst forth when ‘winter’ lets go of its grip.
  • This seems like a jolly good reason to do lots of resting in semi supine aka The Alexander Technique aka Body Magic (link) to help the budding art grow from the inside out and of course give Leonardo a chance to find his way to Scotland … maybe he just doesn’t like the snow either! Happy that the Alexander Technique always illuminates,  I am off do do some drawing … or maybe just lie down for now … Spring up spring!

‘Love Time’

by Kirsten Harris

Pen and watercolour on White Paper

The Lightness of Being a Horse

by Kirsten Harris

Pen and Watercolour on white paper


by Kirsten Harris

Watercolour and pen on white paper

‘The Bird that Wanted to Fly’

by Kirsten Harris

Pen on white paper



My painted furniture – side panels from a corner cabinet and set of shelves


More Alexander Technique drawings here The Daily Ease A Walk in the Woods. Colouring Book


On Tintock Tap – Symbolism in a Traditional Lanarkshire Rhyme


‘On Tintock Tap there is a mist,

And in that mist there is a kist,

And in the kist there is a caup,

And in that caup there is a drap;

Tak’ up the caup, drink aff the drap

And set up camp on Tintock Tap’



Tinto, 1/1/2018


To me the traditional Lanarkshire rhyme, On Tintock Tap, is less a rhyme and more a riddle full of symbolism, though it could of course be suggesting that there is great wealth buried under the 4 metre high Neolithic/Bronze age cairn which, never excavated by archaeologists, is believed to be the biggest in Scotland.


Walking up Tinto I started to think about the meaning of the symbolism in the rhyme, much of which is spiritual symbolism that shows up across cultures and traditions. Here are some musings …


Tintock/Tinto – meaning fire hill, is an immediately recognisable and identifiable hill seen for miles within this part of Scotland. Fire is associated with the sun and the stars.  Fire symbolises energy, life, courage, determination, action, risk taking.  The inner light, the inner spark, the divine fire burning within. Fire serves as a beacon and messenger, the light can be seen from afar, especially from the top of a hill. It’s fire is an invitation for people to come together.  Warmth, hope, energy, passion and will power, transformation, transmutation, creation and destruction, creativity and dynamism are all part of the symbolism. On top of Tinto is an enormous man made cairn, who created it and why? Fire also represents home – the home fires and dance – the dancing fire, primal energy, sexuality. (Many think Tinto looks like a giant breast the cairn being the nipple). Fire is made from burning wood. The element of wood is represented by the staff or magical wand and the tree of life. The ancient Beltane festival and the Baal Fire are associated with Tinto – traditionally lit across Britain on May 1st, half way between the spring equinox and Midsummer to bring good fortune and show togetherness, Beltane was a time when cattle were driven out to summer pasture. The simultaneous lighting of fires stretching across the landscape to show the unity and connection of people. Tinto has associations with the seasonal clock.

Tintock Tap – climbing to the top of a hill or mountain symbolises the will to succeed, aspiration ambition, success, reaching your highest potential, a challenge needing energy, higher attainment, a bigger perspective, leadership, a vantage point, self control. Climbing to the top of a mountain is the closest we can get to heaven on earth. Mountains symbolise eternity, constancy, stillness and firmness. Traditionally the mountain is earth and female. The sky, clouds,rain, thunder and lightning are male. (The River Clyde can be seen snaking through the landscape below Tinto. The view from the top is truly astonishing.)

Mist – Mist symbolises a veil, the hidden, the ethereal, the mysterious. What is shrouded in mystery? Mists of uncertainty, clouds, doubts, questions and anxieties, blurred vision, lack of clarity. Mist is a slow drizzle that blurs and distorts our vision and perception preventing us from seeing clearly. Mist can hide something that is real and true but is perhaps not meant to be understood or seen right now by our rational minds. Mists will lift in time. An invitation to leave the analytical ‘male’ aspect of the mind and enter the ‘feminine’ intuitive state on the top of the mountain?

Kist –  meaning chest. A treasure chest, secrets, something that you hold very close to your heart and want to keep safe, the body, the home, security, a container. Here is a mystery within a mystery, the mysterious mist contains a treasure chest with hidden things inside. How do you find the treasure and open the chest? The treasures of the heart.

Cup –  The cup is a a container for the spirit to be held as it pours from heaven to earth. Cups symbolise the spirit, receptivity, the heart, love, emotions, water, the holy grail, (Roslyn chapel is within view!?). Suggesting that the top of Tinto is an important spiritual place. As above so below.

Drop – water, a tear, life itself, a drop of blood, the individual, millions of drops of water to make a river, the river of life symbolised by water, the element of life. Purity and fertility. Rain fall. Cleansing. The emotions. The human body is over 60 percent water. Water is linked to the moon, governing tides. Water is symbolised by cups. Water finds a way … Water takes the path of least resistance to find it’s course. Drinking from the cup to quench a thirst, physical or spiritual?

Set up camp – take the path up the hill to set up camp, to stop! A steep path represents a journey that requires the energy to persevere to reach the look out point. To set up camp is an invitation to stop, to meditate, to look, to be and get clarity, take the time out for your self, to be still, to experience a new or different perspective. A high vantage point from which to plan your journey, your next direction.


The astrological  elements are represented in this verse – Fire, air, earth, water,. Where better to study the astrological clock than from the top of a hill.


So, to conclude – this traditional rhyme seems to be suggesting to me that Tinto is an ancient place of spiritual and physical importance with a profound message for anyone who wants to seek it ….  And perhaps there really is gold hidden under that giant mound of rocks, after all Wanlockhead the source of the pure Scottish gold of Kings is within sight of Tinto. Who knows … a mystery indeed!

7/1/2018 On Tinto Summit


8/1/18 Sunrise over Tinto


I am looking forward to painting Tinto for

36 Views of Tinto Group Exhibition at the Tolbooth in Lanark – 16 May – 6 June, 2018

check out the Facebook page 36 Views of Tinto, Exhibition here


Thanks for reading this blog.




‘On Tintock Tap there is a mist,

And in that mist there is a kist,

And in the kist there is a caup,

And in that caup there is a drap;

Tak’ up the caup, drink aff the drap

And set up camp on Tintock Tap’





Mad!? Part 2

About a year ago I wrote a blog called Mad!? It was a rant about why artists aren’t mad, in response to being called a mad artist one too many times. Mad!? Link to blog


This blog is a consideration of the fact that ‘mad’ might be a very apt term after all!


Mad – when you find your self dressed in oversized, second hand, blokes’ sallopets and wooly bonnet, painting in an unheated studio, with the door open for ventilation and a hot water bottle strapped to you, when it is minus 2 outside and blowing a gale.


Mad – when in those said conditions you are painting a herd of zebras in the warmest colours you can find for an exhibition straight after Xmas in Lanark, and realising that the painting will never dry in time.


Mad – when you are wishing Xmas could be cancelled so you could get on with painting and then realise that you painted right through Xmas for the last few years anyway.


Mad – When you would rather paint than do anything else, but every painting is a giant struggle to achieve.


Mad – when your dog plonks her ball on your paint table and between brush strokes you throw it out through said open door to keep her amused, over and over and over again.


Mad – that the dog loves it when you paint as she finds distracting you a very good game indeed.


Mad – When the electrics in your studio are not working so mid winter Scotland you are working in the near dark, trying to catch the last rays of light before night falls at the ridiculously early 3.30pm, and then feel frustrated for the rest of the evening as it is over 16 hours before the sun rises again.


Mad – when you wake at 4 am, think bugger – still 5 hours before daylight, might as well write a blog about art in the meantime.


Mad – when you have long since run out of wall space in your own house, and can barely swing a cat for finished paintings and painted furniture, but rather than focus on selling you just want to paint more, as the next one will be THE good one!


Mad – to live in the middle of absolutely bloody nowhere and be a self employed artist. Great for the peace to get on with it, terrible for the scarcity of folk and general total lack of social life. Urban self gone missing!


Mad – that despite that you realise that being a somewhat reclusive artist might be who you really are!


Mad – to rather buy art materials than clothes or have a holiday. Nothing makes you happier than to buy white paper, clean canvas, tubes of oil paint and new brushes.


Mad – the price of aforementioned paper, canvas, oil paint and decent brushes!


Mad – to be the great ruiner of brushes!


Mad  – because it’s only 4.15 am and not daylight for another 4 hours at least!


Mad – because due to freezing studio conditions over last 3 days, your back is feeling somewhat tight and you have a bit of a chill, but you can’t wait to get back out there and try to resolve the massive painting you have started!


Mad – to start a massive oil painting in the first place when you could sit in the warm house and draw.


Mad – about art!


Time for a another coffee and to do some drawing until dawn  ….


With love,

Mad artist … or not so mad …

Mad!? Part 1, link here




Framed for £100!

Do you want to collect art, but don’t know where to start?

Do you want to give someone a really amazing present for Xmas, a wedding or special birthday?

Do you already collect art and want to add to your collection but are running out of wall space?



Here is a solution –

  • This collection of small seascapes framed for £100. They are like windows to the beach. An attempt to portray a feeling that looking out to sea the view is unchanged … I am seeing what the cave people saw. Our distant ancestors of the neolithic, the bronze age … Perhaps when I paint the sea, I am connecting to my inner cavewoman! Looking inland at the landscape it is changed probably beyond all recognition from that distant past, but gazing to the horizon of the sea, there is a sense of the infinite and the timeless.
  • Small paintings are ideas being worked out, emotions explored, a passion for the sea and the sky – the moving elements captured in paint. Small paintings are intimate and personal.

If you are interested in any of these treasures washed up by the tide of 2017, you might want to check out my blog too.  I wrote over 40 blogs called ‘Diary of an Exhibition’ this year about painting the sea



All paintings are oil on canvas or oil and sand on canvas and are £100 each, framed with a white frame and gold slip and signed on the front.



SMALL SEASCAPES GALLERY – FRAMED FOR £100 Click this link to see what is available. 


Email me if you see anything you like …

Postage worldwide will be charged at cost.








A Postcard from Lanark

I just wanted to write a short blog to sum up the Romance of the Falls exhibition.

When I started this project I bought a postcard on ebay, for £3.

Not wanting to promote any one persons work for the group exhibition I needed a strong image for the poster.


The postcard had been sent from Lanark to Calais in 1923.

It reads on the back –

Spending the week-end here. A lovely place. Think you would like it. Love Nessie



Nearly 100 years later, the postcard became the poster for an exhibition, the Facebook banner, the invitation and was screened on the interactive display on the high street.


I love that this simple, thoughtful greeting from Lanark was kept all those years and got a whole new lease of life, finding its way back from France to Lanark!

Butterfly effect through the ages …


In 1923 Lanark and the Falls of Clyde were still a tourist destination. I challenge you to find a postcard of the Falls for sale in Lanark today!

That is because the hydro electric stole the power of the Falls shortly after this card was sent and Lanark as a tourist destination fell into decline.


The landscape around the Falls of Clyde is till under threat.

Please check out this Facebook page


Save Our Landscapes – New Lanark/ Falls of Clyde


For over 200 years visitors, artists, poets and writers flocked to the Falls of Clyde. It would be wonderful to think in 200 years time the same thing is happening. It was a wonderful summer with the falls in full power. I would LOVE to see them like that all the time. I think it would be very good for the area and put Lanark back on the must go map!


Please like the Facebook page


Save Our Landscapes – New Lanark/ Falls of Clyde 


(sorry the link not active, you will have to cut and paste onto Facebook to find the page!)


Best wishes






Have you ever thought about investing in a dream?


Have you ever thought about investing in a dream?

My current dream goes like this –  I want to make more Alexander Technique inspired cartoons next year and I want to plant trees, to do my bit for this beautiful planet we live on! I also want to engage children and teenagers with the Alexander Technique thought processes, so that is simply something that they naturally know from a young age.

I am an artist and Alexander Technique teacher and I have been slowly working away creating images that hopefully express AT in a fun way. A task that I find exceedingly challenging, but very engaging.

One teacher, phoned to ask to use one of my cartoons to promote teaching the technique within the BBC. She said  ‘The Alexander Technique needs more images with a sharp wit like these.’ Amazing feedback!

Another teacher said I was wasting my time making art to promote Alexander Technique, that people simply were not interested!

If I am wasting my time, so be it! I care about Alexander Technique with a passion. It can so simply and profoundly transform peoples lives. It transformed mine. If I can do a wee bit to bring it into peoples field of attention via a cartoon or a verse or something else, yippee! To me that attempt is not a waste of time – it is my dream.

What do you think?

This is my latest project. The Daily Ease – A Walk in the Woods.  An Alexander Technique inspired colouring story book for children and adults. All profits will be used to plant trees.

It is the sort of thing as a child I would have loved, and I think would have given me a ‘heads up’ on some useful thinking that might have kept me out of trouble in more ways than one!

If you have ever thought about investing in a dream, perhaps you will think about buying one of these. You can enjoy the black and white images as they are, colour them in, read the stories and AT inspired ideas contained within to a child, enjoy them yourself, give as a gift or know that a tree has been planted.

To buy click here


Free postage in the UK, please email me for international postage.

Many thanks, Kirsten


‘Feeling a Bit Prickly!?’ detail from ‘The Daily Ease – A Walk in the Woods’


Kirsten Harris 001

‘News – Skeleton Slumps at Screen!’

FB logo for The Daily Ease – Alexander Technique.

Organising a Group Exhibition

The last few months has been filled with organising Romance of the Falls exhibition in Lanark, and I loved it!


It has been a tremendous opportunity to meet other artists and locals in the community. As a self employed artist working from home it is easy to find oneself isolated. I no longer feel isolated. I feel connected to some great people.


The 3 arty parties we threw for the exhibition saw not only artworks bought but friendships formed. Like minded folk connecting. Be that artists with other artists or art lovers getting a chance to meet the artists and vice versa. It’s been great! The feedback has been really positive.


Today is the last chance to see the morphed exhibition – Artists Choice.


A big thank you to everyone who has exhibited or visited and especially those who have bought art work.


A massive thank you to Ian Leitch for his continuous tireless and voluntary work at the Tobooth and support of this exhibition. You’re a star!


Much love Kirsten








Art, Bamboo Glasses and a Foul Mouthed Pub Landlady

Last night at the exhibition opening of Seascapes at the Old Chain Pier in Edinburgh, stories were told about the eccentric landlady who presided there in the 50’s and 60’s. Her family had owned the pub since the turn of the century.


My friends mum and dad, revealing how they went on their second ever date to the Old Chain Pier 55 odd years ago, reminisced.  Last night was their first time back…


Apparently Betty Moss was a character and a half, always resplendent in oriental costume and bamboo glasses. She swore like a trooper, shot a gun to the ceiling to call last orders, swung a cutlass over her head to deal with rowdy customers and told everyone to ‘fuck off children’ at the end of the night. It was a sailors pub and she was in charge! 50 years later she is still talked about, her photo, found by the present owner in the cellar, hangs above the bar.



(Betty Moss – check out the earrings!)


Back then every inch of the pub walls were covered in postcards from all over the world. There was no picture windows to the amazing sea view! I guess sailors don’t want to look at the sea whilst drinking a pint and a nip. In fact everything about the inside is different, yet the memory of Betty Moss lives on.


Later in the evening my friends gave me ‘how to’ instructions on a contemporary kind of postcard,Instagram, wondering why as an artist I hadn’t made use of this ‘postcards to the world’ form of communication to show my paintings.

Um, no answer apart from not knowing how to do it! Dah!

So I was given a brilliant impromptu masterclass from a professional marketeer, the art director of an ad agency and someone who has 1000’s of followers on the said platform… WOW! Thank you guys, I hope it all went into my brain. Brilliant stuff.


I wonder what Betty Moss would make of the social media conversation? By the sound of her she would have embraced it long since, have made big ripples in new medias and be talked about all over the world!


Hmmm ….. where are my bamboo glasses?





Exhibition on until the end of January.

Framed seascapes from £100

check out my website…


‘My Walls are Too Small!’

‘My walls are too small for a big painting!’


It’s a comment I hear a lot and it always makes me laugh. I look at the person and think, ‘What a load of rubbish, you don’t live in a hobbit hut!’


So here is my low down on why ‘my walls are too small’ is not true!


  • It may just be a matter of education, you may never have tried a big painting on a wall and so have no idea how amazing it will look, so are possibly assuming your walls are too small.
  • Did you know that a big painting in a small room will make the space look bigger?Breaking up the space with lots of small paintings can actually make a room look smaller.
  • A big painting adds wow factor to a room. It can save decorating. Just hang a big painting and bobs your uncle, you have impact. I am not a fan of rooms with a TV a sofa and white walls, the so called minimalism. Add a big painting and your room will suddenly have a heart!
  • Most ceilings are much taller than you! (I will make an exception for very tall folk entering low ceilinged ancient cottages) Most big paintings won’t be taller than you. Therefore your walls are definitely not too small!
  • If you buy directly from an artist most artists will be more than happy to let you try before you buy. I am like to hang a painting for someone who is interested in my work and try different wall positions to see if the painting is going to work in the space,  with absolutely no obligation to buy. So do ask. In fact my sister would say I should come with a warning as I will probably help you rearrange the furniture too!
  • On the subject of redecorating – if you are redecorating think about choosing the art work first then the wall colours after. It’s logical if you think about it!
  • A big painting can add structure and cohesion and flow to the look of a room, pulling all the elements together. By the way you can hang oil paintings in bathrooms.
  • And here is a radical thought, it is ok to take paintings down and put new ones up. I rotate my paintings all the time creating a new vibe in the room instantly!


So, go on … I dare you, think about being bold and buying a big painting. A big painting needn’t be more expensive and your walls are probably certainly not too small!



Wind and Sea and my hair being buffeted by the weather! – SOLD

A Falling Romance – SOLD



A big painting and some handsome men!


Michael Douglas and a big giraffe painting … Genius me, I managed to get both him and the painting out of focus! I think I was too excited by having him at my exhibition! What an incredibly nice man. He loved the giraffes ….


There is another big giraffe painting hanging at the Tolbooth in Lanark this week.


Two upcoming private views – this week



and now for something completely different here is a link to my colouring book – I love it! Xmas pressie idea …

The Daily Ease – A Walk in the Woods  Colouring Story Book HERE


My Colouring Book

How about a giving a gift of planting a tree via a colouring book this Xmas?

At the same time you will be sharing a a healthy dose of Alexander Technique and mindfulness nature wisdom …


If that sounds appealing you have nothing further to do than click here and buy The Daily Ease – A Walk in the Woods, my Alexander Technique inspired colouring story book.


I am super proud of it – it is hand drawn and written with love inspired by walking in the woods with my dog Maisie. All profits will be used to plant trees, so please do consider supporting this environmental/educational project.


Front and back cover .. showing details of drawings inside…


  • ‘A very beautiful combination of writing and pictures’ John, AT teacher
  • ‘It’s making me want to go for a walk … That’s amazing in itself!’ Dougie
  • ‘Within the Words and magical illustrations are lots of wonderful reminders of the wisdom and teachings of the Alexander Technique. It is a delightful, gentle, joyous book of wisdom for all ages.’ Sally


The Daily Ease – A Walk in the Woods buy here! 

(sample pages when you follow link)


Please ignore the bit on the link that says local pick up only. I haven’t figured out how to change it!

Free postage in UK.

Please email me for costs to post abroad.


I hope to hear from you


Love Kirsten and Crazy Maisie dog x

Maisie walking int the woods in Scotland



If you love art you will adore an open studio …

Every year all over the country artists open their studios to the public.

This is a fantastic chance to buy directly from an artist. It is a win win situation for both artist and art lover. Here is why …


  • No commissions to pay to middle men aka galleries, art websites etc. This means that the artist does not have to add money to the price of the artwork to allow for commission, meaning that you the buyer can purchase the work at a better price.
  • The artist gets to meet you the buyer. Over the years many of the people who have bought my work have become great friends! Why? Because we share a similar vibe as evidenced by the art that we both like. Some unspoken, unquantifiable, joyous link is established. When you buy through a gallery or a website the opportunity to make that connection is not there. It is huge loss.
  • From an artists point of view it is absolutely brilliant to get feedback, positive or otherwise from your visitors. You learn so much by folk coming to your studio. Don’t be shy to talk to the artist about their work. It is also brilliant to know who has bought your art. Having put your heart and soul into the art work, to not know who has bought it is a little bit sad.
  • Open studios are often in the artists home. Visiting you get to see what influences the artist, how they live, what they surround themselves with, the environment the work is made in. Very famous artists studios have been known to be dismantled intact and rebuilt in a gallery situation after their demise! I can think of two examples local to me. Ian Hamilton Findlay’s amazing garden Little Sparta is now an out post of the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens. I was lucky enough to meet Hamilton Findlay and look around his garden before his death. Link to Little Sparta Trust here. Also Leith born artist Eduardo Paolozzi’s studio has been rebuilt in the Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh Link here.
  • An artist will want to find you something to sell at a price you can afford! Trust me on this! It is such a good feeling when someone want to have your work in their home, it gives you impetus to keep on creating. At an open studio you will see work that you won’t find on websites or in galleries. Ideas, work in progress, sketch books, unframed masterpieces … you will find treasures!
  • The artist will be delighted to see you. It is a lonely business being an artist. Folk paying an interest in your work is amazing. You will probably get a cuppa or a glass of wine or a bit of amazing home made cake!
  • It is a great day out. These days artists  often collaborate to make a yearly artist trail in their area. My open studio this weekend is part of the Biggar Little Festival.

Open Studio – Up Cycled Danishly

I have been working towards Up-Cycled Danishly for over two years.

That is, painting furniture and doing seascapes for the walls.

This open studio I have achieved it the look I was after… It is not quite a fabulous as I hoped due to lack of space, so everything is a bit  crammed, but mission accomplished!

The idea was to up-cycle furniture in an antique Danish peasant style, as inspired by my Danish grandmother, and combine the furniture with seascapes. A look that reminds me of my childhood and one that I have always loved. I have a few inherited pieces of painted furniture so decided to add to the collection. My rule was to take solid pieces of furniture and improve them, rather than just make them look different. They were to look old and as though they were meant to be that way.


Bizarrely the  best brush I found for painting the motif details was a Japanese sumie brush, designed for painting on rice paper not wood. But it worked.

It has been a huge amount of work. Painting furniture is a slow business.Also bulky! My house is now beginning to be rather, um, full! Time to let go and sell a few pieces to create space to keep painting.


In order to set the room up I have turned my painting studio aka the garage into a dump. Anything that doesn’t go with the look has been put in there. OMG, total mess! But hey ho, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do, and being a finisher/completer type (so a human resources friend once told me) Up-cycled Danishly it is.


Essentially the look is striped upholstery and rugs, roses and other flowers, hearts and birds as motifs, colour schemes blues, greens reds …


Carnwath, the nearest village to me, prides itself on being the village in Scotland furthest from the sea, which to my mind says nowhere in Scotland is very far from the sea! But oh to now transport the work to an old farmhouse on the coast with lots of space to see the pieces in interior design vignettes as opposed to squashed together.   In the meantime here is is in South Lanarkshire –  Up-cycled Danishly.

I hope you like it. All work is for sale.


Up-cycled Danishly

Next weekend … 28-29 October

My house …

Coffee and Danish biscuits and a warm welcome …


Berry Knowe Cottage, Westsidewood, Carnwath, South Lanarkshire. ML11 8LJ

Phone me for directions – Kirsten 07711 903537

Or by appointment.









Check out this Free Creativity E-Course Testemonial

This blog is a letter from someone who took my free creativity e-course. (link below.) Maybe you can relate to what she says about spending 50 years thinking she wasn’t creative …


‘Kirsten, through your online art course you made me feel like I CAN be creative after 50 years of thinking I can’t! You opened my mind to a new possibility and showed me art – my art creations – in the simplest of things. This is a mind opening, chink of possibility. I have yet to transform this new way of thinking into an actual, physical piece of art although I did go and cover my walls (the canvas) in paint recently. It was hard physical work and my arms ached for days afterwards but as I did it I reminded myself that this too, the simple act of decorating a room, could be classed as art when thought of in this way. Paint on a canvas. Strong roller strokes of a colour I love … And now I love the new feel of the room I have recoloured and recreated.


I want to find another slightly less physical way of covering a canvas in paint. I like words. They too are art I now realise. Squiggly lines on a piece of paper that convey something – a thought, an idea. I love the thought that putting on my moisturiser and painting my face with makeup is also an art form. This opens up my mind so much to all these ways of being creative. My garden – selecting just the right flowers and placing them in certain places that I choose, is a creation. Who knew? Me! Artistic. What a concept!


I love the concept of the physical body and the mind working together (or maybe letting go together) to allow a piece of art to flow and become. My art. My expression of something – as it is and as it shows up in that moment. But can I manage not to judge it? That’s a challenge. Years of internal criticism habits are hard to erase. A lot of old thinking patterns to break and yet you have helped me make a beginning. I don’t think I shall really draw or paint – I don’t think it’s my medium although I don’t rule it out, but you have opened my mind to the possibility that I can be artistic in so many other ways… my signature, my writing, an arrangement of objects, flowers, a choice of a photograph to take – oh so many possibilities suddenly appear. And art can be fun it seems – not too serious a business after all.


You work your magic in so many ways. Thank you for all the thought, love, experiences and fun you poured into this wonderful creation of a course – I loved it. It is a gift.’  Sally, Scotland


Why don’t you sign up for 8 days of ideas about creativity in the free e-course below, it is totally free, just an artists way of making connections …




Free Creativity E – Course – Testemonial

This blog is a letter from someone who took my free creativity e-course. (link below.) Maybe you can relate to what she says about spending 50 years thinking she wasn’t creative …


‘Kirsten, through your online art course you made me feel like I CAN be creative after 50 years of thinking I can’t! You opened my mind to a new possibility and showed me art – my art creations – in the simplest of things. This is a mind opening, chink of possibility. I have yet to transform this new way of thinking into an actual, physical piece of art although I did go and cover my walls (the canvas) in paint recently. It was hard physical work and my arms ached for days afterwards but as I did it I reminded myself that this too, the simple act of decorating a room, could be classed as art when thought of in this way. Paint on a canvas. Strong roller strokes of a colour I love … And now I love the new feel of the room I have recoloured and recreated.


I want to find another slightly less physical way of covering a canvas in paint. I like words. They too are art I now realise. Squiggly lines on a piece of paper that convey something – a thought, an idea. I love the thought that putting on my moisturiser and painting my face with makeup is also an art form. This opens up my mind so much to all these ways of being creative. My garden – selecting just the right flowers and placing them in certain places that I choose, is a creation. Who knew? Me! Artistic. What a concept!


I love the concept of the physical body and the mind working together (or maybe letting go together) to allow a piece of art to flow and become. My art. My expression of something – as it is and as it shows up in that moment. But can I manage not to judge it? That’s a challenge. Years of internal criticism habits are hard to erase. A lot of old thinking patterns to break and yet you have helped me make a beginning. I don’t think I shall really draw or paint – I don’t think it’s my medium although I don’t rule it out, but you have opened my mind to the possibility that I can be artistic in so many other ways… my signature, my writing, an arrangement of objects, flowers, a choice of a photograph to take – oh so many possibilities suddenly appear. And art can be fun it seems – not too serious a business after all.


You work your magic in so many ways. Thank you for all the thought, love, experiences and fun you poured into this wonderful creation of a course – I loved it. It is a gift.’  Sally, Scotland


Why don’t you sign up for 8 days of ideas about creativity in the free e-course below, it is totally free, just an artists way of making connections …




Disappointment, Destruction and Recreating

The last ever trip I did with my dad before he died was to go and see a field shelter that I wanted to buy for my ponies. Here it is

Sadly within a few short months it started to collapse as the arches were built out of unsuitable material. I phoned the guy who built it who came and stuck a bit of wood in the middle saying ‘I didn’t realise it was this bad’ and promised to come back and fix it. He did not. Nor did he answer my phone calls. I felt so disappointed having saved up for a year to buy it.

So I paid someone to take it down as I was scared of it collapsing on my ponies and felt really upset. A pile of timber sat in my driveway for several months.


This summer a retired friend offered to help me to rebuild it, reusing as much of the wood as possible. Tears came to my eyes when we got the bones of the structure up as it felt enormously healing. Recreating something ten times more solid – I know dad would be really cheered.

Here is the finished shelter …


So despite being really upset about the lack of response and the shoddy workmanship of the original arc here is what I learned …


I learned about the art of hammering, with a free neck and a free wrist, letting the momentum of the hammer do the work.

I learned about the kindness and pure goodness of people  ‘I am not doing it for you, but for the ponies so they have shelter in the winter’.

I learned about patience. The original arc was erected in a morning. Our shelter took us many days, making sure that the structure was entirely solid from base up.

I learned about pacing yourself when doing a big job like this. Work away with awareness and consideration and a structure will emerge and you won’t ache.

I also wondered whether in the long run it is entirely more satisfying to make something yourself than to buy off the peg!


My friend tells me that I would now be able to build a shed myself, though I am not entirely convinced, but I do have a much better sense of construction having gone through this.


The tortoise and the hare story springs to mind.

We got there and the ponies LOVE it!






Press Release – Romance of the Falls Exhibition

During the Napoleonic Wars when Europe was closed for The Grand Tour, The Falls of Clyde at Lanark became a ‘must visit’ place on what became known as Le Petit Tour.


Determined to continue the Romantic tradition, Romance of the Falls is an eclectic, exciting group contemporary art exhibition at the newly refurbished historic Tollbooth in Lanark’s High Street, opening on the 12 October for a month.


Following in the the footsteps of JMW Turner, Jacob More, The Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Sir Walter Scott to name a few of the greats who have drawn inspiration from this spectacular scenery over the past centuries, a collection of artists are once again being inspired by The Falls of Clyde which have been flowing at full power all summer. It was the building of the hydro electric power station in the 1920’s that caused the Falls of Clyde to fall off the art map! (See before and after photos at end of this post).


Painters, sculptors, steam punk makers, furniture creators, illustrators, glass workers, jewellers, textile artists and a film maker exhibit side by side in this powerful exhibition, each interpreting the theme of Romance of the Falls in their own style, ranging from wildlife to landscape, abstraction to surrealism.


A percentage of sales from the art will go to the Tolbooth to continue their exciting refurbishment work, bringing this fifteenth century former prison into an exhibition and event space with wow factor. The next phase is refurbishing the magnificent high ceiling upstairs room.


Art work will be exhibited on both floors during this show.

Come and see what amazing artistic talent there is in the area!


ARTISTS EXHIBITING – Jacqueline MacAteer, Mark Davies, Myra Gibson, Veronica Liddell, Stephanie Whatley, Julie Grey, Evelyn McEwan, May Carnan, Nancy Scott, Kathleen Stewart, Pat McKenzie, Ellen Mc CAnn, Isobel Stamford, Jill Sievewrithg, Jean Mellin, Eve Whittle, Trudi Green, Kaye Shearer, Andy Cross, Hazel Findlay, Elspeth Wight, Jo Green, Janey Horberry, Eileen Hood, Christine Brown, Jane Kirkwood, David Randall, Ewan Cameron, Trevor Taylor, Kirsten Harris

The Falls of Clyde by JMW Turner

Two photos of the same view at Bonnington Linn.

Firstly as Turner and the Romantic artists and writers saw it and the second with the hydro electric diverting it’s power most of the time these days.


Above the left hand waterfall is a little iron bridge, now uncrossable, that led to the island in the middle of the falls and a folly temple. It must have been so exciting to cross the fall with it’s 30 ft drop.


Remains of the ‘Hall of Mirrors’ opposite Corra Linn.

Mirrors gave visitors the feeling that they were standing inside the waterfall.

Now under threat of collapse from development work at the hydro electric sub station.




Romance of the Falls Exhibition venue – The historic 15th century Tolbooth in Lanark’s High Street and it’s beautiful community gallery.



Press in the Lanark Gazette

Monkey at a Waterfall

‘A Falling Romance’ Oil on Canvas, 100 x 150 cm


Painting on a large scale involves using your legs.


Not only do you stand at the easel but in Alexander Technique speak you have to use your monkey. That is to bend at the hips and knees to get into deep squats. Monkey is a must if you are not going to end up with back ache as a painter of large canvases. (An Alexander Technique teacher will show you how powerful your monkey is!)


Walking back into your back to get a distance perspective also helps. Walking backwards away from the easel is a chance to connect the arms deeply into your back to flick paint, smear, scratch, dab and throw paint as you move forward and up again into the painting.


Staying active up and out of the hips, legs and feet to move while you work is also essential. Move with the paint to let it flow.

Dance like a butterfly, paint like a bee!


This style, as used in ‘A Falling Romance’ could be described as action painting or whole body painting. It is exhilarating, gestural, fun and messy. A bit like pogo dancing at a punk concert –  you just have to let go, go for it and not really care!


Inevitably beautiful passages of paint get lost in the craziness of the process.

Creativity, destruction, flow …

Let’s go…


If you want to let go more in your creativity adventure with a bit of Alexander Technique thinking thrown in, why not sign up for my free creativity e-course.

It’s fun – 8 emails over 8 days to get you thinking a little differently … hopefully!

It may be a good place to start and was written with love … link below



In the meantime –  here is a monkey (ok a chimp)

Darwin, Oil on Canvas, 40 x 50 cm


Link to my free creativity e-course below

To start learning Alexander Technique click here






An Ashtray and the Inspiration behind Romance of the Falls Exhibition

I smoked as an art student. Nearly all of us did. It was the 80’s after all and we thought we were cool. What we didn’t realise was that the ashtray we were casually flicking ash into was worth a million quid! Now that’s cool!


Professor David Hill, the world renowned Turner expert and author, was our art history lecturer at Bretton Hall College in the 80’s. Every class from cave painting to the High Renaissance, from pop art to pointillism, David Hill would find a way to bring Turner into the conversation.


As a first year I hated Turner, and with artist Jane Tomlinson took a pop at Turner by writing a joke essay about a fictional Mrs Turner and handing it in. Anything to argue against the revered man. By the third year I was converted and wrote my degree thesis on the Turner Prize.


David Hill wrote a book called In Turner’s Footsteps, so of course the big inspiration behind gathering a group of artists for the Romance of the Falls Exhibition at the Tolbooth, Lanark 12 October – 12 November is to follow in Turner’s footsteps drawing inspiration from the Falls of Clyde. Ever since I have visited the Falls I have thought ‘I am walking in Turner’s footsteps’, seeing what he saw. An idea for an exhibition has been brewing for several years. David Hill


For the million pound ashtray story and David Hill’s discovery here is a link to his website … well worth a read, quite amazing.

The Bretton Hall Marbles: #1, The Ashtray and the Million Pound Plant Pot

The Royal Academy of Arts in Edinburgh have kindly allowed us to  reproduce Turner’s Falls of Clyde painting as a postcard which will be on sale at Romance of the Falls, Contemporary Art at the Tolbooth, Lanark 12 October – 12 November.


Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775 – 1851)

The Falls of Clyde 1801


A Falling Romance – work in progress …

Detail from a much bigger oil painting’ A Falling Romance’ work in progress  ….

Looking down onto Cora Linn …

Looking across to Bonnington Linn


An old postcard looking up to Bonnington Linn.  Details of the upcoming exhibition


In the days when The Falls of Clyde was on the ‘must paint’ list for artists, visitors were able to get to the base of Bonnington Linn to paint the scene.  There was also a little red iron bridge, now unusable, over one of the cascades to the rocky island in the middle where the two falls separate, which housed a temple. The island is covered in trees so I have no idea how much remains.


The experience of the waterfalls then must have been more intense. Coupled with the fact that since the 1930’s the hydro electric has ‘stolen’ the water, subverting it though the power station. My guess is that action alone caused the Falls of Clyde to fall off the ‘must see’ list!


Unbelievable luck for this group of contemporary artists ‘Romance of the Falls’ as coincidentally the river have been running in it’s full glory again all summer due to repairs to the substation. So, in part, we have been able to see what Turner, Wordsworth, Naismyth, Burns and countless others greats saw. The left hand cascade on the old postcard is now-a-days usually dry, though not at the moment, so go soon if you get a chance.


Researching the history, I found an old etching by a nameless etcher.


I decided to imagine myself into the view from below, using the etching as inspiration. Many of the romantic paintings and engravings of the past show naked nymphs prostrate at the base of the cascades too. Not a naked nymph in site during my walks in the beautiful woodlands by the Clyde this rainy summer so decided against nymphs!


I began and soon realised what a flipping difficult task painting a waterfall is. I don’t want to paint a portrait but somehow portray something about flow, power, movement, energy, growth in a semi abstract way.

Water coming from the sky, over the falls and into the earth.

Wow and I thought painting seascapes was hard!


The first layer of paint came out as a pretty but fantasy-like waterfall picture. Hmmm, ok, but not what I had in mind… more walks …. more layers of paint …. more and more respect for the unknown etchers level of detail and truth about the landscape ….


To be continued …



A Walk in the Woods – Art Muscles and The Tree of Life

‘The Tree of Life’ by Kirsten Harris


You don’t get big bulgy biceps, if that’s your thing, without a lot of time spent developing them. The same can be said of art – developing a painting, an exhibition or collection of drawings takes time and dedication. Skills, like trees, take decades to grow.


Many years ago dad said to me –

‘If someone ask how long it takes to do a painting say  – a lifetime. Each painting is a culmination of your lifetime spent painting.’ I felt very supported in that moment.


I have no idea why I paint, I just do. But sometimes ideas come to me whilst painting.


Having spent the last 15 months since dad’s death painting even more solidly than ever, I started fantasising that it would be great to stop painting for a bit and develop a different kind of muscle.


The ‘Aha Moment’ came – tree planting!

A tremendous rest of a lifetime project waiting to be explored and grown.


So, with that aim in mind, I have made a colouring and story book called The Daily Ease – A Walk in the Woods. Hopefully it will appeal to children and adults alike.


The exciting bit – all profits will go to planting trees. The time spent quietly drawing these past few weeks will hopefully see a woodland habitat growing in the future. I want to plant trees! Trees for life on our beautiful planet.


A Walk in the Woods is a story and colouring book with a message – kind of Alexander Technique thinking meets eco-warrior meets animal lover meets tree hugger with a couple of unicorns thrown in for luck! Get the picture?

It is a walk with a black pen over white paper with a good intention.


Buying The Daily Ease – A Walk in the Woods, you will be part of this artist’s tree planting project. Together we can do a bit for the planet.

If you are interested  please email me …

Colouring book pre-orders being taken (or should that say tree-orders!)


It will be available to post in the next couple of weeks with a link on my website.

A Walk in the Woods is for sale at £10 per copy (plus p&P) – which is the projected cost of planting one tree.

Pre-order now

Let’s plant trees!

Love Kirsten x


Contact me –

UK 07711 903537


(When you buy a painting directly from an artist, support an art project, comment on an art work or give feedback, please be assured it is worth its weight in gold. Artists have no paid holidays, no line managers, no work reviews, or promotions, no bonuses or incentives. You do that job by being supportive. So a big thank you for all past and previous support.)






What a Nun Taught Me

Sister Marie Therese, an ancient French nun, was the art teacher at our convent school.


She was very keen on us copying and seemed to have a large supply of chocolate boxy 1930’s style pretty pictures for us to chose from, which is odd considering her own art work. (See blog The Nun, Picasso and Me.)


One day whilst happily copying an idyllic thatched cottage featuring a little cat beside a bowl of milk, Sr Marie Therese did her rounds of our desks and declared


‘Zat painting eez finished.’

‘But Sister, the cat is terrible!’ I replied.

‘No Kirsten, it eez finished. Only God is perfect. Ze cat must be bad to make the rest of the painting good. Stop now’


My fourteen year old brain was rather confused by this odd statement and horrified by the cats spindly legs and tail, but dutifully packed away my paints.


Now having just ruined a very large canvas of four cheetah in my search for perfection, her words came back to me. Why did I think the painting was not good enough? I had liked it for a year and then suddenly changed it dramatically because something was not quite right. Maybe that something was just my own thinking!


Today I will have another ‘go’ at the said painting and by the end, if I can resolve the mess, it will be a totally different painting to the one that I tried to perfect. Dah!


So Sister’s lesson is perhaps to beware perfectionism and not good enoughism to allow a channel to flow through. Accept your painting will never be perfect and let go to humbly enjoy the fun of painting in the perfect moment now.








The White Elephant and Treasure

The White Elephant, Oil on Canvas, 150 x 100 cm


I remember as a 5 years old at a village fete being totally fascinated by something called The White Elephant Stall. Where was the white elephant? And why a white elephant? It was the best stall as it was full of interesting stuff and weird objects.


I have just googled the origins of the expression and so it goes – the Kings of Siam gave such animals as a gift to courtiers they disliked, in order to ruin the recipient by the great expense incurred in maintaining the animal.


The title The White Elephant came to me towards the end of painting this huge canvas when I added a tiny calf. Despite the fact that the painting is mainly magenta, purple and cerulean blue, the focal point of the painting is the tiny white elephant lit by the moon and the river.


I have painted the theme of elephants at a water hole before (see blog ‘Why Do Artists Repeat Themselves?’) inspired by seeing a huge herd at the river in Chobe, Botswana on a camping trip with mum and dad. An amazing wonderful never to be forgotten sight that I love returning to in my imagination.


So to collecting treasure – art and stuff …

Art is subjective. As well as elephants, you would definitely have to love magenta and want to make a big statement in a room to own The White Elephant. A painting you love may not appeal to someone else. One person’s treasure is another persons white elephant. Exciting.


Car booting is a favourite Sunday morning expedition. Treasure hunting in a field, Maisie gets lots of attention and dog biscuits from kindly fellow treasure hunters, who like me are gleefully clutching their new white elephants.


This summer I seem to have been making a collection of wooden boxes, I even found one with an elephant carved onto the lid. I don’t know why I am drawn to collecting boxes at the moment and I don’t really care, stables for white elephants perhaps, new treasures yet to be found.


Time to get up and go to the car boot, a walk at the Falls of Clyde then back to the studio for the rest of the day to work on a huge waterfall painting ….


Link to The White Elephant painting here


Punctuation and Painting

I am lucky to have a friend who is punctuation and spelling goddess. Or as she would describe herself, a pedant. My ability at both p. and s. is OK but I always seem to make silly mistakes: often the same one. Habitual grammar gaffes. Dah!


Looking through a piece of writing and finding your own apostrophe catastrophe is like searching for a needle in a haystack. Impossible to see. Fiendishly good grammar pals are a blogger’s godsend, although she tells me that writing about punctuation is bound to invoke Muphry’s Law: that’s the one where you will inevitably make a punctuation mistake.


Today I have been going over seascape paintings with fresh eyes looking for the missing brush strokes, the tiny blob of paint that can make the painting flow and sing. Punctuation for painters!


My question to myself as I look for completion is ‘Can I add brilliance?’  Highlights and lowlights to add meaning and drama; black and white paint are on my palette.


This is a very different and more considered process in comparison to the one described in my blog: ‘How to do a Truly Terrible Painting and Have a Totally Terrific Time’.


Before every exhibition I set aside several days to look at my paintings and ask whether I can add an apostrophe-like dot or dash of paint in just the right place to complete the painting’s flow or link a passage of paint. A painterly full stop. Sometimes the full stop might be just a completely random contrasting flick of colour, or simply realising I’d forgotten to sign the painting.


Historically, the Royal Academy of Arts in London had a day called Varnishing Day. The artists would climb ladders, brushes in hand, to their already framed and hung paintings, and make these tiny finishing touches.


Framed and signed paintings on a clean wall look different from unframed canvases in the studio. The frame and space reveal another dimension to the artwork.


A painting is never really finished until someone buys it and takes it away. Until then there is always the chance that I will see another missing comma, which can lead to a whole new passage of painting – even a total repaint. Looking for grammar mistakes can be a dangerous business!


If you miss the full stop because you didn’t listen to the voice that said ‘Stop Now’ but instead keep going enthusiastically, you then have to keep on painting until another one reveals itself. That can be quite frustrating. It’s easy to miss the ‘Aha’ moment: that moment of completion.


So, here are some thoughts on painting and punctuation. If you too need a proofreader then I highly recommend you employ wordsmith Woodstock Taylor. You can find her on Facebook. I will be asking her to check my punctuation for this blog, so any mistakes you spot are indeed Muphry’s Law in action!


Below are some seascapes that have been checked for visual punctuation today.


I always have small framed paintings available on my website for £100, plus p&p worldwide – a great way to start collecting original art or a fabulous gift.

I love doing my small oil paintings and as for a gift –  who doesn’t love the sea?




Make Art Not War – Weapons of Mass Creation

At art school a tutor commented that my brushes looked like they had been at war. A comment that stuck with me, but I did not really understand.


Twenty years later whilst painting I was listening to a Radio 4 programme on post traumatic stress disorder, previously known as shell shock and realised that I had grown up with a father with shell shock. A man blown up in Cyprus working for Special Forces. It came as a shock to me. A revelation – of course why had I not seen it before!? It was so totally obvious. The programme went on to talk about secondary PTSD, that growing up with someone suffering these conditions the child could/would inherit a version of the condition.


Another ten years have passed, I have done nothing with this knowledge apart from to consider it and be utterly grateful that I discovered Alexander Technique at the age of 24 beginning the process of letting go of holding within my system and understanding the incredible power of transformation that our thinking and awareness holds for us. The past thirty years without Alexander Technique seems totally unimaginable!


My dad died a year past, and I have been painting solidly as a way of coping with my grief and the shock and the freezing of my surface emotions that came with his revelation of cancer and painful passing. The only way I have been able to let go is to paint, unable to cry and with no-one about to hold me or comfort me, I channelled my whole self into art, painting and writing. (Having been a person who cries at Lassie movies my entire life this inability to cry really surprised me.)


It came to me the other day whilst painting that what I have been doing since a little girl, when I would hide in my bedroom and paint, is channelling war – channelling the aftermath, turning destruction into creativity, finding a way to stay me and hold my course, be in my life line, despite the reverberations, the echo waves, the explosions, the untransformed shock that these soldiers hold within, past war scenes and battle fields that would leak into a suburban household.


I stopped painting last week, suddenly utterly exhausted. I come out of this phase with the thought that my paintbrushes are my weapons of mass creation and that artists are totally necessary for our beautiful planet right now.


Please create –  find ways of expressing your self, your ideas and inspirations, making connections – channeling what comes through you, listening deeply. Our job as artists I believe is to allow beauty, inspiration, truth, light, hope, healing, power, passion, the good stuff to shine through us.


So my war cry is – art warriors of the world rise up!

I truly believe your unique contribution is needed right now!

Enough of this nonsense about artists being mad or self indulgent or your art not being good enough. Art is healing on many many levels and this planet could do with some of that, the more the better methinks …


(written with love and tears)


Alexander Technique link

Artists Statement

As a painter my interest lies primarily in the process of painting – brush strokes, mark making, colour – the surface texture of paint, the flow of a line, the feel …


However, what lies behind the feel, flow and joy of painting is something I have started blogging about this year. That is, how my training as an Alexander Technique teacher influences my artwork. An influence much like the wind over the water that creates a wave … the breeze rustling the leaves of a tree … that invisible influence that changed my life and art. The awareness that the direction of my thinking influences me as I paint.


I am becoming more and more interested in what blocks and what allows creativity – yours and mine. I have been writing about it in my blogs on my website. The blogging becoming an important part of my art process this past year.


How does our thinking and sense of ‘self’ affect our artwork and creative minds?
I am sure the world needs unblocked creative thinkers right now!


An open flowing in the moment awareness and conscious balancing psycho-physical presence at the easel reveals something that is both palpable and recognisable to the viewer but at the same time mysterious and somewhat undefinable.You know ‘it is there’ but can’t quite put your finger on ‘it’ …


That mysterious thing was pointed out to me many years ago at an exhibition. Most of my paintings had ‘it’ a few didn’t. The visitor took me around my own exhibition and asked me what I had been thinking about and it struck me that she was absolutely right, the ones where I was truly present, without trying hard or thinking about the end result had a quality that was missing in others. They had it factor!


Since training as an Alexander Technique teacher in 1993 with the late Don Burton, my artwork has flowed. The unblocking of my ‘self’ and return to an easier balance allowed art to move through me, without me getting in my own way all the time. It is of course an ongoing challenge that keeps me going into the studio day after day. Life can be tricky and unhelpful habits can re – emerge. The question, how to stay in the flow, keeps the process of painting interesting and engaging.


As well as ‘presence’, another theme running through much of my work is portraying movement. I am moving at the easel, the natural world I am portraying is moving too! Kinaesthetic awareness in a ‘static’ painting. Seascapes have become the latest challenge to express this interest. The ephemeral quality of the sea and sky provides a huge challenge.

The sea is constant yet moving, light changing and influencing the vision and moment.
The body of water a metaphor for my own body, the light – the living soul.

How can I express the beauty and magnificence of what I see and feel?
A question that I will be working on for a long time.


Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Kirsten – art blog, free creativity e-course – alexander technique blog – the daily ease





Writing a blog is better than talking to yourself!

Cartoon of negative chatter that gets in the way of creativity


I have been writing blogs! And it is interesting to me because it has now become part of the creative process. A bit of a revelation really and something I would recommend to any artist. Totally vulnerable making for sure, but it moves you through your ‘not good enough’ stuff and other unhelpful habits the moment you press PUBLISH. You move forward, learn about your process and despite blogging being solitary, as is painting, it is a fantastic way of connecting with people and the feedback is incredibly useful. Blogging has become part of my creative flow. I would never have thought in a million years that I would become a blogger! Blog on!


I am a painter and an Alexander Technique teacher, not a writer, but the challenge was set about a year ago to see if I could write about how AT influences and impacts on my art. It does for sure but writing about it?


So the title of this blog – well AT people and painters talk to themselves!

As an Alexander Technique passionista I am using my conscious thinking to maintain an easy upright stance. An internal and external present moment engagement. Helpful thinking that brings me to an easier loving sense of balanced self which is turn helps my painting!


As a painter there is a dialogue about which colour next, which mark, which brush to use … following the journey in something I am loving doing. The more I am loving the moment in paint and really comfortable in and with myself (thank you AT for changing my life) the better the result. People see something that they relate to.

Talking to myself in an AT way as I paint causes something to flow that works much better for me AND the artwork.

A line becomes an image becomes a day engaged in the present moment being creative and balancing in the ‘tension’ of it.


A bit like learning to drive … at first it is exhausting being so aware and concentrating on the road, but as you become proficient it becomes an easy habit. Painting with AT thinking driving the creative process is a habit for me. Folk come and visit and say ‘You have so much work!’ … as though it is not right! But what interests me is how artists get into the creative flow – unblock and become prolific.


I look at my paintbrushes( which do look as though I have ‘been at war’ as a tutor remarked way back at art school, nothing has changed there then!) and think – these are my weapons of mass creation! Surely that is what the world needs right now MASS CREATION. Individuals who are in the creative flow. Not locked up tight slumped in front of the TV thinking they are not good enough, not talented, not an artist in any way, filling in time with other peoples creative production instead of bringing their unique creativity out into the world!


So I will continue to talk to myself in my art stream and enjoy the moments of shared positive up flowing connection that the blogging brings too. Another creative layer, the writing informing the art from within and without.

It can be lonely being an artist … blogging connects.

Amazing world!


(Interestingly the more I write about art and AT, the more crazy it seems that I have two separate websites, one for the art and one for the AT! and




Light Waves


I have just been offered another solo show. It will be my fourth this year and I have said yes.

Solo – alone! Yup, that is true! Me, my paints and my animals. But somehow when I am working I am not alone. Painting definitely bridges the gap between here and there and keeps me present moment present tense aware and in the flow. And so I work. No point being addicted to worrying about the future. Best just enjoy the journey as I have no idea where I am going, but it is probably to the studio!


Filling four galleries, plus organising a group exhibition and doing an open studio event has made me think of the expression ‘rising to the challenge’, as I crawl into bed for an hour with my computer before going out to teach an Alexander Technique group class this evening!  Rising?Perhaps a bit of sinking for now!


Alexander Technique –  Forward and Up! FUP! Why not rise to the challenge? FUP It!

Life wouldn’t present the opportunity if I couldn’t do it surely! So just show up and paint. Let the challenge rise me!


The breath breathes itself, we can consciously control it, but we don’t have to think about our every breath.  My breath breathes me, why should the art not paint itself? Flowing like the breath onto the canvas. If I get out of my own way enough something interesting happens and the strange thing is that the more present I am to allowing painting, the more other people can recognise an undefinable but palpable quality. It sounds pretentious I know. But the reverse is also true, we can worry the paint to becoming an ugly muddy mess.

Allow painting, allow breathing, allow flow, allow solo …  or resist – think the work is not good enough, that there is not enough time, hold the breath, lose trust, worry about lonliness …

Choices …

Do I live life or does life live me?


Solo! So High!

Can’t wait to start painting again tomorrow …






‘Art and Anatomy’

Does lying on your back make you a better painter?

Michelangelo (1475 – 1564) – Self Portrait as Skin from the Sistine Chapel


We all famously know that Michelangelo lay on his back to paint the magnificent Sistine Chapel. This has always intrigued me – how did he do that? As an Alexander Technique teacher it is appealing to think that he found some sort of blissful connection to his back, his lengthening and releasing spine, allowing his genius to pour out. Some kind of High Renaissance version of semi-supine, aka constructive rest, that allowed him to paint with ease.


As a painter I have always been dubious. It turns out that the fact that he lay on his back to paint is a myth. Michelangelo was not comfortable in his skin at all, as this fascinating poem shows and the Self Portrait as Skin also seems to reveal –

Michelangelo: To Giovanni da Pistoia
“When the Author Was Painting the Vault of the Sistine Chapel” 1509


I’ve already grown a goiter from this torture,
hunched up here like a cat in Lombardy
(or anywhere else where the stagnant water’s poison).
My stomach’s squashed under my chin, my beard’s
pointing at heaven, my brain’s crushed in a casket,
my breast twists like a harpy’s. My brush,
above me all the time, dribbles paint
so my face makes a fine floor for droppings!

My haunches are grinding into my guts,
my poor ass strains to work as a counterweight,
every gesture I make is blind and aimless.
My skin hangs loose below me, my spine’s
all knotted from folding over itself.
I’m bent taut as a Syrian bow.

Because I’m stuck like this, my thoughts
are crazy, perfidious tripe:
anyone shoots badly through a crooked blowpipe.

My painting is dead.
Defend it for me, Giovanni, protect my honor.
I am not in the right place—I am not a painter.


Michaelangelo describes in great detail the physical discomfort he was in, not lying on his back but squashed into a crazy distortion to do the work. It really does make more sense that he had to contort himself to create such an extraordinary feat on a ceiling.


He says being physically stuck is affecting his thoughts, that he doesn’t feel right, that he has lost his confidence as a painter – ‘anyone shoots badly through a crooked blowpipe.’


I find this utterly fascinating and can relate to the lack of confidence that comes from being or feeing ‘screwed up!’ Simply put slumping and holding tension in the body effects the thinking processes and emotions.

Pyscho-physical unity of poise leads to more confidence and better thinking, as Michelangelo says – being in a bent  stuck body leads to thinking that is ‘crazy, perdifious tripe!’


Learning Alexander Technique certainly released my creativity. During my training with the late Don Burton I would regularly go into the movement studio in an evening and paint and paint filling the walls with artwork overnight.  The art had started to flow as the Alexander work released my ‘knotted and folded’ self.


I would suggest that anyone interested in developing their own creative process would do well to learn some Alexander Technique ‘Body Magic’ and lie on the floor and use the thinking like a magic paint brush. Learn to paint your own anatomy from the inside – exploring the shapes and contours, landscapes and places of your body with your mind to free into your unique creativity.


So does lying on your back makes you a better painter?


When I first came up with the blog idea title it made me titter in a very silly British humour kind of way! However, thinking about the question and discovering the poem by Michelangelo, I think it is a really useful question for painters and other creatives to think about. Maybe we don’t have the extraordinary genius and talent of Michaelangelo, but we can learn from him and recognise the truth in his words that being ‘stuck’ (tense, slumped, held, in pain, sore, physically contorted and out of balance) really does affect our thinking and our creativity and leave you, as he says, ‘not in the right place.’

Cartoon ‘The Zone’

Lying in semi supine to free up your creativity …


If you feel ‘a crooked blowpipe’ here is a link to a media download, BODY MAGIC, to be listened to lying down for you to work with  – CLICK HERE 

‘The Hallmarks of the Alexander Technique are creativity, spontaneity and adaptability to change.’ A.R. Alexander


Cartoon ‘Art and Anatomy’

(Me screwed up at art school!)

How to do a Truly Terrible Painting and Have a Totally Terrific Time …

To do a good painting you have to be prepared to do a really, really shit one.

So here is how to do a truly terrible painting in oil paint and have a totally terrific time


  1. Put on some rubber gloves, yup a bit kinky this ‘art thing’ darling, and if your lungs are sensitive like mine you can don a face mask too. Sexy, not!
  2.  Squeeze a good worm of scrumptious oil paint directly onto the canvas
  3.  Smear the paint on with your fingers – give it a good old enthusiastic rub and enjoy the sensation of colour and the tactile give of the canvas, add a few more colours and play
  4.  Sprinkle sand onto the painting. ‘Sand should surely look like sand in a seascape’ you think to yourself.
  5.  Get a palette knife and push the oil paint and sand around – crusty!
  6.  Blob some thinner over the crusty, lumpy oily paste, ‘oh heck it can’t get any worse!’
  7.  Mess about with a brush and realise using sand on a paint brush is going to wreck it really quickly …


Your painting should have gone through several truly terrible stages by now


8.  Keep thinking about the thing you want to paint (seascapes for me) and imagine being on the beach and wonder why you are working in the studio today? Promise yourself a trip to the beach asap, you need a holiday! Art is a tough business!

9.  Scrape paint off, squeeze more paint on. Repeat process. Repeat again. Try to forget how expensive oil paint is.

10. Start to wonder what the heck you are doing?! How on earth can you make such a terrible painting and wonder how this is ever going to come together? Totally embarrassing!

11. Be appalled by the fact that the horizon isn’t even straight!

12. Beat yourself up mentally a bit more and wonder if Van Gogh had such problems and then remember that he did and feel a bit better.

13. By now you have probably got oil paint on your face, your arms and your bum if you have been for a pee during the process.

14.  Oh well ‘keep calm and carry on’ and then you think ‘What calm?!’ Art is about suffering and passion!’ Suffer baby suffer, feel the passion, go for it and paint some more.

15. Somewhat desperately you wonder if you could call on the dead for help and try psychically channeling Turner and Rembrandt to paint for you …

15. ‘Oh! Maybe that worked’ …. suddenly something starts to emerge from the flotsam and jetsam of smeary colour, a beautiful brush stroke, a delightful colour combo that is ‘talking’ to you and then suddenly – AHA there is a seascape!

16. Feeling really rather proud of your masterpiece you reward yourself with a sink full of washing up, because your hands are now so covered in paint, despite the rubber gloves, that they need a jolly good soaking even after several scrubbings. This is no problem for you as you have a terrible habit of using a new mug every time you have a cuppa so there is a tsunami of crockery waiting for your attention …

17. You go to the kitchen, feel appalled and uninspired by the total chaos at the sink, (I thought I washed up this morning) make another cuppa, decide not to wash up and go do another painting instead!


She paints seascapes …



Dreaming of Love

Oil and Sand on Canvas

23 x 30 cm


Beautiful Old Grey North Sea

Oil and Sand on Canvas

23 x 30 cm



How Far to the Other Side?

Oil and Sand on Canvas

23 x 30 cm



The Moon is Falling

Oil and Sand on Canvas

23 x 30 cm




The Light

Oil and Sand on Canvas

23 x 30 cm


Fire Ball

Oil and Sand on Canvas

23 x 30 cm

Early Light, Oil and Sand on Canvas, 23 x 30 cm


Oil on Canvas

40 x 50 cm

Rain on the Beach

Oil and Sand on Canvas


Rain, Oil and Sand on Canvas, 40 x 50 cm


A Strange and Beautiful Place

Oil on Canvas


Stealing Clouds

Oil on Canvas

40 x 50 cm


Life is Beautiful

Oil on Canvas

40 x 40 cm


Early Evening

Oil on Canvas

40 x 50 cm


Light Rain

Oil on Canvas

40 x 40 cm





The Field

Tinto and Stone Walls 23×30 cm Oil on Canvas


‘Paint the field of intention’.

The words ‘the field of intention’ were with me all day. A weird instruction from my ‘higher self’ if you want to call it that.  Words to override the blues and feeling that I might be a tad mad, that I woke up with. Too much time spent alone no doubt!

‘Paint the field of intention!’ …

Ok! I will paint the field … plein air paintings and see what happens … positive action. If in doubt .. Paint!


Always assisted by Maisie the day goes like this …. paint, throw the ball, paint, throw the ball … all day!

She makes it very easy and ensures the ball is in reach …

Both obsessively doing our own thing and keeping each other company.

Crazy Maisie and Me!



I watched a documentary recently about the Japanese artist Hokusai 1760-1849 – who in later life called himself Old Man Crazy to Paint. He did a famous series of woodblocks called 36 views of Mount Fuji. It came to mind as a bit of artistic license crept in – Tinto Hill started to appear in some of the landscapes.  Not quite Mount Fuji, but I can feel a series of paintings coming on with views of Tinto! I can see Tinto Hill, with it’s distinctive profile, from the other side of my house.

Ideas come when you paint …


I have mainly avoided landscape painting for a long time but was encouraged back to it the other day by a neighbour. Thank you! I enjoyed my day doing these small oil paintings, studies in the field of the field. A blue start got colourful.






Hay Field and Scots Pines, 23×30 cm, Oil on Canvas



Field with Sheep, 23×30 cm, Oil on Canvas



Tinto and Stone Walls, 23x30cm, Oil on Canvas



Rain Clouds, 23x30cm, Oil on Canvas



Enclosures 23×30 cms Oil on Canvas



Rain Clouds and Cows, 35x35cm,Oil on Canvas



Grass Field, 23 x 30cm, Oil on Canvas



The Field of Intention, 23 x 30cm, Oil on Canvas


Summer Clouds, 23 x 30cm, Oil on Canvas







Form and the Formless

Cartoon of me at art school


In contemporary art anything goes! Artists have ultimate freedom! No rules! Break rules! Push boundaries! Explore! Create! Be original! Be daring! Be courageous! Be bold!


There is no paradigm, no truth that holds art together.  Unlike music which has an agreed set of notes and scales, a form from which to create from and from which to break the rules.  Artists can do anything and call it art! Any medium goes. The formless – well that sounds easy! Just let go and make art ….


Alexander Technique – I prefer the name Alexander Principle –  has a paradigm at the core of it. That is why I love it so much. It is reliable, interesting, illuminating. A technique implies something one learns, practices and imposes.  A principle is the truth. True for all. Something to uncover and reveal, something to understand. The head neck back relationship governs the functioning of the body, our thinking effects our functioning.  How does your head balance on your neck? Posture and poise – posture an imposition, poise a truth!


I am thinking that the reason Alexander Technique is taught to actors, riders and musicians, for example, rather than regularly to artists and at art school is because the head neck back relationship more obviously improves performance in music or riding. Don’t pull your head back and your voice will sound better.  Find balance and your horse is free to balance and move. Is this true in art where there is no agreed form from which to observe from?


I know as an artist that my ability to stay in the core of not knowing, the freedom to create, is vastly enhanced by learning Alexander’s principles. I know I have only dipped the surface of what is possible allowing freedom as an artist. One can so easily get caught up in technique – how to apply oil to canvas for example or simply paying one’s own way. One can be limited by other peoples taste and judgement and by our own.


Having no boundaries can create a muddy puddle, energy simply seeping and disappearing – a river is channelled by its sides and flows forward. Form containing the formless. Water directed by structure.

So as an artist what is the channel?

The channel your intention, your focus, your desire to create, your passion?

Forward and up in focus feeling your way forward not knowing?

An understanding of how the channels of flow in the body work?

An ability to be freely balancing and notice when you are not?


Artists and anatomists worked together historically, dissecting and drawing to understand the human body. Science and Art. Anatomy is at the core of art. The bones of it. I believe that knowing how to draw the human body is a key to freedom. A license to do what you want. I am a bit old fashioned that way perhaps. Life drawing classes have been at the heart of art training for centuries. Drawing from the body giving a framework to a body of art –  both the form and formless.  The artist and the artwork. Drawing the skeleton, muscles and person to enhance inner and outer knowing. Alexander’s ‘directions’ an art form, an anatomical skeleton of awareness. Paintbrushes of thought drawing our whole self to its poised potential within and without – our key to freedom in creativity.


I wish I had been taught Alexander’s principles and actual anatomy at art school rather than just sitting in front of a naked body hour after hour and drawing it without any understanding of the balance of the human form, mine or the model.


Is learning about balance a way of understanding both form and the formless and freeing our creativity? The art of art!



If you are interested in learning more about Alexander Technique you may be interested in my media download Body Magic – here is a link.




Head Up, Head Down

It’s a strange thing … I was mulling how the brilliance of Alexander Technique could be summed as ‘head up’, yet somehow it has given me the ability to keep my ‘head down’ and focus. Just get on with things.


Well the neck is a flexible mobile thing, so perhaps it is not so strange.


I was also mulling how being an artist is at the same time a lonely pursuit yet a place to find oneself and a connection with something greater and so never lonely.

At one or alone?

Or all one –  like the body.


Thoughts whilst walking waterfalls …


A waterfall is about constant flow, power, being in one’s power, being free to move yet in cold conditions a waterfall can freeze, unlike the sea which is about ebb and flow and much less likely to freeze.


I found my way into Alexander Technique because my neck froze, became immobile and painful. The best thing that could have happened in retrospect because it was an invitation to self discovery and the flow and gave me a second career and ‘backbone’ for my art.


My last exhibition was all about the sea, this one is about the river and waterfall … and both are giving me an opportunity to explore and merge my art and Alexander Technique thinking. Which one informs which?


A painting can be a bit like a waterfall. Go with it and it takes you into flow, its journey, listening for what to do, breathing and freeing yourself to it …

Judging the process is like hitting a rock, it is going to hurt …

Your thinking can hurt you or free you …

Let your neck be free and paint, flow with the tides of breath and inspiration …


Letting a painting take your energy over the waterfall into the unknown is like the metaphor sounds both scary – a potential neck tightening experience and exciting.


Why sit on the banks of a painting … be prepared to drown …

Why know what is going to happen next?


The Alexander Technique journey is a like that too – move out of the known into the unknown and into the flow …

Where is it going to take you?


Painting the first waterfall yesterday already feels like an invitation to further abstraction, from form to the formless.

Water flowing, paint moving, an invitation to let go more …

Head up to flow downstream …


I revisited the waterfall today and it is so interesting that even after one painting the relationship with the place has changed.

The image seen has altered, the noticing increasing …


One waterfall, renewing constantly … like the body


I am enjoying this new subject matter and have no idea where it is going to take me …

Just heading downstream …



Flow, Oil on Canvas, 100 x 150 cm


Upcoming exhibitions –


Edinburgh Festival

Glass and Thompson

4 Dundas Street



4th August – 5 October

Moray Arts Centre

Findhorn Foundation,


August 30 – October 4th


Romance of the Falls Exhibition

The Tollbooth

4 High Street


12 October – 12 November 2017

Waterfalls – Symbol of Abundance


Waterfalls – Symbol of Abundance


I love a good symbol!


In the Chinese art of Feng Shui (Feng meaning wind, Shui meaning water) waterfalls and images of waterfalls, in the form of photographs or paintings, symbolise an abundant flow of wealth, prosperity and good fortune.

Feng Shui is described as a system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relationship to the flow of energy (chi) and how it effects us in our environment. It is 3000 years old. Applying Feng Shui helps to balance your home and health and creates abundance!


In order to attract a flow of money into the home, Feng Shui experts advise that waterfall paintings should be hung in corridors, offices and living spaces.

A space that you move through where every time you see this symbol of abundance you activate your good fortune! In other words waterfalls paintings are wonderful things to have in your home.


This all sounds very good to me as an artist currently painting waterfalls and organising a group art exhibiton called Romance of the Falls drawing inspiration from the spectacular Falls of Clyde near my home in South Lanarkshire.


Feng Shui experts also suggest carrying a photo of a waterfall in your purse to ensure that money always flows into it.

I have currently taken hundreds of photos of the four Falls of Clyde on my iPhone – Bonnington Linn, Corra Linn, Dundaff Linn and Stonebyres Linn, I wonder if that works too!? : )


Whether Feng Shui is correct or not (it is an ancient system so why not) one thing seems abundantly clear to me – the idea to organise this art exhibition  has come at a very auspicious time …

The Falls of Clyde, which has attracted artists and visitors for the past 300 years is running at full force for the next ten weeks.

Water is abundant!

Who knew that the Scottish Hydro would be doing repairs for ten glorious weeks? Not me. I am absolutely delighted!


The Falls are a power place …Energising
The noise of the Falls is exhilarating
The walks beautiful

I totally recommend a visit ….


During the Napoleonic wars when trips to Europe on the Grand Tour were not possible, The Falls of Clyde were on the route of Le Petit Tour …


I am so happy to go be able to go there as often as I can over the next few weeks and walk and look, be inspired and paint the area. Following in the footsteps of JMW Turner, Wordsworth, Robbie Burns, Sir Walter Scott, Samuel Taylor Coleridge to name a few …
I am loving learning more about the amazing history of the area and connecting with new people locally.

Feeling abundant just being in the idea of the Falls of Clyde and very happy with this new adventure and exhibition to work towards and today I painted my first waterfall painting so am embracing the new theme.

Happy Summer!


Romance of the Falls

Contemporary Art Exhibition

The Tolbooth

4 High Street


12th October – 12 November

Link to Romance of the Falls Facebook page here – please LIKE to see the work of other artists as they make it over the next weeks …



Oil on Canvas

100 x 150 cm



The Drama of Art

Recently a friend suggested I like drama …I do!

As Shakespeare put it  ‘All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances and one man in his time plays many parts.’ (As You Like It)

I used to teach Alexander Technique to actors too – I loved that job and the drama students that I worked with.

So, guilty as charged, give me a good drama with great dialogue and I am happily entertained, especially if it has a joyful, illuminating or interesting ending.


Up until painting in the studio today, I have always seen myself as enthusiastic audience for stage or screen production. Today I recast myself as star of my own production – the drama of art.  Well why not … funny thoughts come to you when you are painting.


Today as I worked on a huge very colourful painting of a running cheetah that I started about 15 months ago and abandoned for as long, it came to me that being an artist really isn’t so different to being in theatre … creativity in all its forms is full of drama, pathos, tragedy, comedy, adventure, surprises …


As an artist you are of course the producer and director of your own scene aka a painting, but also the hero or villain of the piece depending on how it plays out.

Your painting can become a stage set for life in someone’s home.

A great painting invites you to look at it over and over and allows a dialogue of thoughts to unfold in the viewers mind over time. A great painting holds the viewer in front of it and even changes a persons breathing. Watch people at an exhibition – you will see it –  captured and entranced, the breathing deepens and slows, perhaps something akin to love.


Some paintings are like action movies, in production they unfold rapidly. It is exciting. The excitement and movement recognisable to the viewer.  Energy transmitted. When I am the producer of that kind of painting I can say that my direction has been clear. I knew exactly what I wanted, was organised and focussed. I allowed the painting to emerge and enjoyed myself hugely.  The painting itself becomes the hero of the action.


Other paintings are like soaps – they go on for months, sometimes years. I did some work on a painting that is at least ten years old today, it is still not finished. It is definitely a soap opera kind of painting – a creation scene with lots of animals swirling in a vortex.  These soap opera paintings teach you lessons about art along the way. These paintings are problems waiting to resolve. Every time you spend time at a soap opera painting you leave dissatisfied – oh well next episode I might find out what happens. You rarely do! But it is great fun making all those bits of story line –  painting over and over, reworking the same image in a slightly different way.


Other paintings are episodes in a long running series of paintings, complete stories in themselves but starring the same cast, for example Vincent Van Gogh’s sunflowers, Munch’s the scream series or Monet’s garden scenes.


And of course there are cartoons and animations. Simply narratives where anything can happen. The madder or more exaggerated the better. Drawings can be just a rough or scratchy stick person,  it doesn’t matter – just a  great idea played out.


Now to the villain – sometimes paintings are simply bad!

They have to be painted over, destroyed, abandoned, discarded. After you have tried to nurture, coax, reform and bargain with the painting and failed miserably several times, you only have one option – to just give up and put it down to experience.  Chucking away all that time can feel like failure.


So before you give up on a painting –  fight the good fight with all thy might –  with your sword – your pen, crayon, chalk or brush,  and use these paintings to make a right old mess of things. It is liberating and something interesting might happen!


Hope it helps thinking about art as a drama?

What dramas are you having with your creativity?



‘Be More Maisie!’

Maisie photo bombing with ball …


Ever since I was given Maisie, my Cockerpoo, as a 3 month old ‘please have her we can’t cope’ pup,  I have been saying to myself ‘Be More Maisie!’


She was wild!

She still is highly energetic and completely obsessed with catching her ball and making sure it is as easy as possible to reach. She is the queen of anticipating your next move. Extraordinary, as she really does seem to be ahead of my thinking. (‘Dull humans – not very bright’ she no doubt thinks!)


So my motto is ‘Be More Maisie!’ Because Maisie was never going to be more me!


Maisie needs a lot of freedom, a difficult dog to hand over to someone else to look after, so I stay at home more than ever. No holidays just Maisie appropriate trips like the beach, which led to a decision to do an entire seascape exhibition over winter. Good decision, thank you Maisie!


‘Be More Maisie’ has led me to focus even more deeply on what is important to me and made me realise what ‘ball’ has been my absolute underlying motivation with regards all decisions and my desire to work hard since the age of 15. That is owning and riding my own horse at home. I had a moment of absolute realisation this week that painting and teaching Alexander Technique has been very good to me and allowed my dreams to come true! A long route to a goal but achieved nonetheless.


I am not from a horsy background and I forgot to marry a wealthy man (actually I forgot to get married … Whoops!  Ha Ha!) so I have painted my way towards my goals. Each exhibition achieving another step in direction of my teenage vision.  A house, some land, a stable, a horse, who turned out to be a messed up horse who needed a lot of patience, a companion who turned out pregnant, so now 2 mini shetlands! A studio overlooking it all …


I have just kept painting for years. Self motivated and self disciplined. No you don’t have to be in the right mood to paint, you just have to do it!


My motto prior to ‘Be More Maisie’ was ‘If in doubt Paint!.’

I guess there has been a lot of doubt over the years because I seem to have done a huge amount of paintings!  Smiling.


My next goal is saving up money to build an arena. Meantime this summer I have decided to forgo my garden, the only flat area I have and turn it into a mini arena. I have been training Angus on sloping ground but it makes the job of balance a lot harder for both of us. So as long as it is not too wet I will hopefully avoid turning the lawn into a mud bath.


This decision has reminded of another thing I say to activate my creativity –


‘Everything I need is already here, I just need to line up with it!’ It is a useful saying as it eliminates all excuses and gets me thinking …


So I have lined up with riding peacefully in balance on my lawn which is a great idea! I could have done it years ago, but had to let go of some old fashioned thought about lawns being mowed and pristine. OMG really! The Shetland ponies taught me that there is no need to mow the grass they were more than happy to be gardeners. Years of relentless pushing a mower no more! Less is definitely more …



Wee Walter and Lettie


Painting is a solitary activity by its very nature and latterly more so. But rather than resisting aloneness and thinking I am missing out on ‘the party’ I endeavour to remind myself to  ‘Be More Maisie’ and keep my eye on the ball. There is a huge massive pleasure in being present. Really present to one place for a prolonged amount of time.


‘Being More Maisie’ is helping me say ‘No’ and stay focussed because I simply can’t say ‘Yes’ as much as I might other wise with her in my life.

Maisie is no people pleaser … Maisie is a Maisie pleaser!

Maisie knows what she wants to the exclusion of nearly everything else – no snoozing, bug hunting, sniffing and other doggy pleasures for Maisie. She wants to catch a ball.  If she has a ball in her mouth she is not going to be distracted from her mission of getting someone to throw it for her to catch again and again. Focussed and happy, crazy Maisie has become my teacher ….


Knowing what you want is often the hardest thing in life.

It seems a stupid and simplistic thing to say but I think it is true.

In Alexander Technique terms I would call it ‘finding and maintaining your direction in activity.’


Once you have that figured out it is just a matter of keeping your eye on the ball and practice. Success coming from a clear focus on your goals, even if it takes decades.


So the lesson from one small hyper active Cockerpoo – stay focussed and ‘Be More Maisie’ – in other words do what you LOVE with commitment and passion and enjoy yourself … A little bit of dogged determination goes a long way and brings joy.



What are you doing on that laptop – here is a ball!


For more Maisie inspiration – click here for ‘101 Life Lessons from my Dog!’


Thanks for reading


Forward and Up!


Slow Cooked Art!

When you have been painting for years you, the artist, are inevitably left with a pile of ‘also ran’ paintings …

The ones that were just not that good, the ones that no-one snapped up, or the ones that you turned to the wall because you couldn’t resolve the problem you set yourself by starting!


It is part of the process …


Last week I decided to go through the pile of  ‘iffy’ paintings and see if I could finish any and find the magic wow factor.


There was a bit of logic in my decision to do this …

I have two one woman shows coming up and need a lot of work …

I am also curating a group show locally …


Revisiting the also ran paintings is smart art, as the majority of work is already done … it is just the illusive finishing point that needs to be found.


I got into the flow of reworking and achieved a lot …  thoroughly enjoying myself, I think it shows …


It is almost as though some paintings have to cook in the oven of your mind before you can see the way to resolution. This cooking process can sometimes take years! This batch of paintings are the slow cookers and I am really pleased with the result.


All currently available on my website from £100 upwards, click on titles … I hope you like the results?

A visual feast of African heat … animals poised in the sun or on the run …




Pink Puddles






In the Same Direction



Listening into the Depth












Zebra Crossing



Leopard Grass


Upcoming Exhibitions 2017

Edinburgh Festival Exhibition, Glass and Thompson, 2 Dundas Street Edinburgh. Starts 4th August …

Romance of the Falls, Group Exhibition, The Tollbooth, Lanark, Starts 12th October

Open Studio at my house – weekend of 28-29th October

Planting Seeds and Heavy Boots

A quote from Elie Weisel author and holocaust survivor came to my attention this week, it was exactly what I needed to hear.


‘The most generous thing you can do is receive everything’ Elie Wiesel


Do you receive everything?

Ideas, compliments, different opinions, criticism, questions, gifts, love, inspiration, attention …?

I learned this week I definitely have more work to do on learning to receive.


This week I have been working on a colouring book. I seem to be incredibly slow at the drawing. Putting in long hours figuring out each one. It is a challenge.

My idea is to find a way to illustrate Alexander Technique concepts with simple line drawings and verse …

Something children will enjoy!

Something that might plant some seeds of good advise and direction to last a lifetime.

Something that if I had owned and loved as a child might have prevented me slumping and putting my back out at the age of 24. This is a ‘gift to the universe’ type project. The kind of project that I hope will make a difference to someone somewhere – a butterfly effect book with transformation within.


A second piece of advise came to me this week – to seek sponsors and patrons.

Again the message about receiving. Ask and receive … Wow a new concept, thinking about that one.

I was told that there are people out there who want to be angels to the arts and help artists realise there dreams, especially ones that improve the world. Maybe you are one of those people? Certainly art patronage has a long tradition historically.


So to the heavy boots …

New seeds in art taking root can feel like being an explorer in a dark cavern …

You have the germ of an idea that is planted in your mind and then the seed starts to push through the ‘mud’ to find its way to the light like a little plant.

The creative act is a seed being born.

If you don’t protect, nourish and cherish the sapling plant heavy boots can trample it without realising. Ideas are a bit like that. We have to be tenacious as artists – sensitive enough to do the work yet strong enough to keep nurturing our art and let it grow. A balance. And not tread on our own ideas with our own heavy boots.


Ideas for The Daily Ease colouring book were emerging this week and I blogged about the process, I was feeling excited like a child. Then someone asked me a perfect legitimate and probably loving question asking for more … I heard it as criticism!

My stuff coming from that child place! The wounded child rather than the creative child emerged and had an internal reaction and so instead of looking at my stuff and turning it around Byron Katie style I reacted and deleted my blog from the page thereby losing the opportunity to respond. I know it is idiotic, but wow I have learned a lot from my daft behaviour of thinking what I had offered wasn’t good enough rather than receiving the comment which was helpful if I had allowed it to be!


That is what Alexander Technique is about, learning to change habitual reactions to give us the chance to make better choices.


My reaction showed me how important this particular art seed is to me, and that this colouring book has growth in it for me as an artist and a human being as well as the potential for growth that I hope to share with the world.

This fact of course must be true for how can it be a genuinely helpful ‘gift to the universe’ if I don’t learn and grow in the process of making it?


So I finish this blog with more ideas for images –  seeds and big boots and butterflies!

Back to the drawing board aka garden of creative endeavour …


Oh, and if you have a creative seed remember that with a little light – the is your attention – seeds can grow and thrive. If you think you are not good enough then think of the plants growing out of cracks in the pavement in the most impossible conditions! It is often just our own not good enough habits that stop us from being creative.

Seeds want to find the light.


Thanks for reading.

Forward and up!




The Daily Ease Colouring Book – Dog Ease

This page is a variation of a drawing I did to illustrate my blog 101 life lessons from my dog. I hope to turn that blog into a a wee book at some point as it makes me smile. (link here)


So to the colouring book – how does one introduce the concept of a free neck, prone, supine, whispered ah and other Alexander Technique goodies to kids in a fun way?

Animals are such wonderful teachers … so it’s doggies or dog ease!

These drawings are relatively simple but I am liking the simplicity.

I think I could add more words such as poise, awareness, rest, letting go etc but I will leave that to whoever is working with the book …

Hopefully this page says enough?

I am sure that as an older child and teenager, if I had been encouraged to roll about and rest on the floor as I had as a very young child, I would have avoided the pain I found myself in by the time I hit my early 20’s!

It was the Alexander Technique that was my life saver!


So I guess this colouring book is a bit of a mission …

Hope I am rising to the challenge?


Ok! Back to the drawing board!


To order email –



The Daily Ease Colouring Book – Alexander’s Story

A few years ago to entertain the school children that I teach, I wrote Alexander’s story in verse.  Mad I know but they love it and it is a fun way of sharing the history of the technique.

I usually wait until one asks ‘Who was Alexander?’ and then the verses comes out!

They lie in semi supine and I read them the story.

The children are usually hugely impressed that the whole thing rhymes and very complimentary … They are well brought up children!!


I loved rhyme as a kid and think it is a memorable way to learn.

Perhaps we listen in a different way anticipating the rhyme?

So today I started illustrating the Alexander story verse for the Daily Ease colouring book. My plan is that each illustration has a rhyming teaching aid to go with it.


About 3 years ago a very strange thing happened …

Rhyming verses started ‘downloading’ into my head. I literally couldn’t write them down fast enough.The result is a huge file of Alexander Technique inspired verse. They are a great resource for my teaching but I have also felt a bit guilty not doing more with them as it felt like something I was given. (Weird but true!) … But a huge book of poems? Hmmm!

I got stuck and they have sat in my drawer!

By the way I had never written anything like it before nor since! So all a bit strangely wonderful.


I am delighted to be making a colouring book. It’s a challenge and will take me a bit of time but I am UP for it!

I can cherry pick some verses and illustrate them and make a resource for kids and adults too. It feels right.
Work in progress … should be ready by September at the latest.


Hope you like the idea? Your feedback and ideas hugely appreciated!

Ok, back to the drawing board ….. literally!


I am taking pre-orders click here …

or message me






The Daily Ease – Colouring Book

The Daily Ease – Colouring Book


I have been working on the front cover of an Alexander Technique inspired colouring book today ….

A few weeks a friend who was feeling low commented that she wished she could draw as it might help her with her anxiety. I suggested she buy a colouring book and it has been a great success for her.

Of course a seed was planted …

An Alexander Technique colouring book, teaching some anatomy, the principles of balance and the brilliance of Alexander’s discoveries in a fun way that the children I teach would enjoy …

So it is underway. Hooray!  Feeling excited and motivated by the project and seeing if I can realise some of the ideas I have in the form of a colouring book.


Also today I had a mad incident with colour!

I was asked to paint an oil painting of elephants in greens and blues. I delivered it to the gallery who had commissioned it earlier in the week. This morning I woke to a message saying that the elephants were ‘Too green for Glasgow!’

It is a painting of elephants for goodness sake  … Crazy!


However the incident of the green elephants has made me think that I will blog a bit about colour as I create my colouring book.

Colour IS emotive!

And colouring in is enjoyable! I love it!

And the Alexander Technique is wonderful and I think everyone should learn it, especially children and teenagers!

So hopefully my colouring book will combine some of my passions ….


(To pre-order whilst I am making the colouring book, click here, between now and September 1st you will receive a free colouring book for every 3 ordered, great Xmas presents and teaching aids in the making!)




Here is the painting that was ‘Too Green for Glasgow!’



Water falls

From heaven to earth




Symbol of transformation

Release of energy

Power to harness

Infinite possibility


Fluid yet immutable

Ancient yet brand new


Sound of water


Flowing life force, subtle energies within


Ever changing yet permanent

Each drop gathering force

Making the whole


Illusionary manifestation

Paradoxical like life itself


Waterfall, an entity

Yet never the same

A continuous evolution

Changing its mind moment by moment


Down flow of water

Upthrust of earth

A body in movement

A living impermanence


Waterfall –  healer of mystic tradition

Teaching place for spirit renewed

River falling, bending, moving, flowing


I learn to change my mind too!



Anti Art!

Walter Yawing… Animals have no problem being exactly who they are!


These last two weeks I have been like a bee in a bottle, buzzing but not flying!


A few years ago a friend told me I had a bad habit of going from one art project to the next without stopping to take time out to celebrate my successes. I took the advice to heart and changed my behaviour.


This time round I have come to the conclusion that it was not good advice for me!

By stopping to celebrate and recuperate I lose the flow …

I am lost and frustrated …

The kindly advice was anti what art is to me and it’s time to let it go!

Funny how we can take on ideas that are not a good fit for us!


Not being in the flow of creativity/painting is like being in some kind of weird ante chamber waiting room with lots of doors in it, wandering up to a door, hesitating and going to another door but not entering …

Not committing is torture for me!


Art is my honey and without it nourishing me I am a bee in a bottle, buzzing but not flying, seeing the field but not being free in the field.


Today I started to paint again and I am smiling.

My eyes are smiling again … contemplating colour, the feel of brush on canvas.

Well being cascades …

It’s science … the eyes smile and the entire physiology responds positivity. It really is all about how you see things!


Not painting puts me into a mini startle pattern! I get tense, tetchy, tired …

I paint and life flows!


It is a beautiful day – bluebells and crab apple blossom. The swallows have returned to nest in the stable. Angus is droopy lipped and wanting scratched.

No car noise, no humans, just nature humming … and the thought that I am in paradise.


Today I embrace my ‘paintaholic’, and no longer need to stop to celebrate successes!

Instead I allow every day to be successful, everyday to be a celebration of all that is wonderful that is our Planet Earth and happy to feel happy again because I am playing and writing and painting….elephants!

The Field of Intention – What is it?

Maisie and Me in the Field!


What is The Field of Intention, other than the name of my next  painting exhibition and workshop that I will be giving at The Findhorn Foundation’s Moray Art Centre later this year.


The Field of Intention is my name for the magical creative IT!
It is not only an internal direction – that is a psycho-physical direction that profoundly effects all of you – bringing you into ease but also a simple clear focus.


The Field of Intention is to do with time, amongst other things. Time is magical – infinite, limited, cyclical. The Field of Intention is a magical place that creatives inhabit. Being in it is part of what drives artists to create. We want to be there, because it feels great, mysterious, exciting and wonderful …. and the results are surprising. The creative buzz lives in the Field of Intention.


You can inhabit it too …
Because I completely believe that EVERY BODY IS CREATIVE.
You live in a miraculous creative body and any lack of creativity is just caused by blocks, habits, old stuff. Simply put if you are not feeling creative you have got in your own way!


My 30 years experience as an explorer and teacher of FM Alexander’s discoveries and career as a selling artist has led me to being asked to bring the two together and teach how Alexander Technique and the flow of creativity work together. I have began writing about creativity and my own creative process over this last year. This is a work in progress, challenging and exciting!


Simply put, to activate the Field of Intention, first you set your direction then you cast your attention forward in time like a spell and allow things to start to line up. Time opens out and the space of The Field is available to you. Then you just show up and get on with it. You give yourself a spell of time to be creative.


It is so simple yet difficult too!
A dichotomy and a bit of a conundrum that takes skill and awareness.
On the one hand it is a lifetime practise and on the other totally available to you right now! It is intriguing, beguiling, bewitching and bemusing and befuddling at times too but totally worth exploring and activating.


Deciding what you want to do can be tricky. We have so many choices that sometimes we simply forget to choose or can’t decide or won’t commit or are scared to.


Another problem is that many people are not living in a way that they can line up with the flow. The psycho-physical mechanism of creativity is out of balance and they have no idea how to activate it.
The magic wand of manifestation, the spine, is out of tune …
Not functioning correctly …
This is where deeply understanding the brilliance of Alexander’s discoveries comes in and why training in the Alexander Technique helped me.


Alexander Teachers can help you tune up your ‘magic wand’ and things start to work again. For me the creative tap completely turned on during my three year Alexander Technique training course with the late great Don Burton. It has not turned off since. Learning Alexander Technique activated my art.


By learning to trust your Field of Intention you open to being a visionary, a seer – a focused flowing creative thinker.


The world needs creative thinkers right now  ….


Forward and Up!

Field of Intention

All winter Crazy Maisie Cockerpoo and I have walked around the field behind my house. I walked, she ran and ran and tirelessly chased her ball.


‘Be more Maisie!’ My new motto since she came into my life!


All winter I have had the thought that I could do an entire exhibition based on this one field. Every day it changes – the sky, the clouds, weather, light conditions, plant growth, colour. I love the trees – old beech trees, gnarled scots pines, a little stream running down the side, sometimes deer, hare – old land.


Today I was meditating on ‘father time’ before my walk.

Have I enough time to do all the paintings I want to do in the amount of time I have? Of course … I decided!

Time is magical … set your direction, cast your intention forward in time like a spell and it will all line up. Time opens out and the space is available.

Then you just do it, show up. A spell of time to paint.


In the field this morning seeing the first dandelion clocks of the year I remembered I was walking amongst them last year when mum phoned to say dad had died in hospital in Portugal.

Time passes …  Ethereal clocks.


The just completed seascape exhibition has been an incredible healing journey.

An emotional voyage.

The emotion palpable in the paintings.

I know it and visitors to the exhibition commented on it.


Today I have decided that I will base my new work for my next exhibition on the field and call it Field of Intention. It will be an exhibition of landscapes and seascapes.

Perhaps metaphorically I have landed on earth again after the voyage of grief.


Intention set, the new work can begin … time to see what happens next!


Field of Intention

Exhibition of Landscapes and Seascapes

Moray Art Centre

Findhorn Foundation



Exhibition runs from 29th August – 1 October






Travelling the Seven Seas for £100

Directions, Oil on Canvas, 21 x 26 cm, framed.


Below are some oil paintings that I love that are available for £100 each!


I don’t know about you, but I love to travel and so do my paintings …. they are adventurous creatures!


Here is my choice of little gems who want to launch themselves onto planet earth and travel the seven seas for a few hundred years!


The beauty of the internet and wold wide shipping is that art can travel in search of new homes easily …


Anyone who knows me will know that I love selling original oil paintings at affordable prices …

As well as being unique, originals have endurance and longevity …

They have a life force of there own …

In fact I have a bit of a bee in my proverbial bonnet about the joy of owning real art rather than commercial prints!


And if you are looking for something bigger to make a statement and create some wow factor in your home please follow the link here …




Ice Cream Seaside, Oil on Canvas, 21 x 26 cm





Mysterious Forces, Oil on Canvas, 21 x 26 cm




Tidal, Oil on Canvas, 21 x 26 cm, Framed



The Rock and the Sea, Oil on Canvas, 21 x 26 cm




Directions, Oil on Canvas, 21 x 26 cm, Framed



The Moon Cometh, Oil and Sand on Canvas, 21 x 26 cm




Fire and Water, Oil and Sand on Canvas, 21 x 26 cm




Morning Mood, Oil and Sand on Canvas, 21 x 26 cm




Tidal, Oil and Sand on Canvas, 21 x 26 cm



For more £100 paintings CLICK HERE

These paintings can travel world wide and are only £100 each. (with a little additional cost for shipping)



Diary of an Exhibition – Arty Farty Party!

Me age 19 (hair and photo by Kevin Dalton Johnston) 



When I was younger I was accused of being ARTY FARTY!

Who me?

It was the 80’s for goodness sake, you were MEANT to be Arty Farty!


Now the night before my exhibition I am wondering whatever happened to Miss Arty Farty?

Why …because she has a party to go to aka her own art exhibition and a wooly hat and jeans ain’t going to cut it!


Time to  think about what I am going to wear …

A rare opportunity to dress up … (country bumpkin goes to town)

Time to get out of the studio and into glamorous beautiful Edinburgh!


So, I am sitting here this evening wondering what the hell happened to the Arty Farty girl who loved …  loved …  loved dressing up?


Oh! That’s right! I wanted to be an actual artist, not just a poser!

And actual art, painting in oils, is not the most glamorous job in the world, in fact grimy would be a good description.


Today teaching Alexander Technique at school, before finishing hanging the exhibition,  one of the 15 year old girls burst into class and announced –


‘I am going to be on The Voice! It is meant to be a secret, but I am rubbish at keeping secrets. I am so excited! Live your dreams, that’s my motto, and my dreams are coming true!’


We all clapped.

Her excitement was joyous.


Well I guess I have been living my dream too.

When I was 15 I wanted a horse and I wanted to be an artist.

That was it.


I have worked hard painting seascapes for this exhibition with the big hope I can improve the conditions for my horse.

My dream – I want to build an arena  …

My field of dreams …

So that we have somewhere safe to ride …

Somehow I have lost my desire to ride on the road – too many cars with too little consideration for animals!


So roll on tomorrow, it is time to dress up and sell some art ….

I am excited and as I was reminded by my pupil today – I am living my dream.


The exhibition is looking good, Jenny’s and my work compliment each other beautifully.


Hope to see you at Sea and the City!

Love Kirsten


Original oil paintings from £100 at the exhibition and via website – World wide shipping by arrangement.)







Golden Firefly and Red Dots

Golden Firefly, Oil on Canvas, 120 x 150 cm


Many years ago the famous Zimbabwean silversmith Patrick Mavros gave me some advice …


‘When you hang an exhibition take everything you could possibly need with you! Don’t arrive and then ask the gallery to borrow a hammer or a ladder or a pair of scissors. It is really unprofessional. Turn up and hang your exhibition with minimum fuss. It sounds obvious but the advice will stand you in good stead.’


It has!


Today I am going to rent a van and take my seascapes exhibition to town – beautiful Edinburgh.

I AM organised –


Paintings painted and framed

Labels printed

Tools packed

Music system loaded

Bubble wrap on stand by

Wine bought! …. One of the few jobs where throwing a party IS part of the job!


The only thing left to do is buy more red dots!

The red dot, the joyful symbol that a painting is SOLD!

I love red dots!


I am feeling happy and optomistic today as I sold 4 paintings from my website yesterday … unexpectedly!


And even better they are paintings that I was not taking to the exhibition including Golden Firefly. A beautiful leopard looking at a red dot! Ok, it’s a firefly really!


(I am fascinated by the implied movement and poise between the firefly and leopard and have painted three different versions over the years. Blog link here ‘Why do artists repeat themselves?’)


I hope you will come to our exhibition  … I am celebrating already!



There is real joy when someone loves your work and wants to hang it in their home.


I am excited about the long day ahead hanging paintings …


And delighted that Golden Firefly is off to the picture framers on my way into town, it is a very big painting and I can utilise the van …


Collecting Treasures

I have been painting a series of small paintings

Small treasures  … I love my small paintings.


Small paintings are a place where an artist develops and works out ideas …

A chance to really experiment and play …

Creating a depth of field in a limited space …

A place for the imagination to linger ….


One buyer of my work who owns a couple of small paintings, told me she often sits with a glass of wine in the evening and stares at the paintings, letting her imagination journey.

She told me it amazes her that she never gets bored looking.


Another collector told me he hung a small painting bought at another exhibition at the end of his bath and meditates in its space as his body floats out in the warm water. Again he said he never tires of drifting in the painting, and that fact kind of baffles him. How can the same image continue to reveal ideas and inspiration? The magic of art!


I am selling small framed seascapes and shell paintings for £100 each at my forthcoming exhibition in Edinburgh next week.

I always have £100 paintings for sale on my website.

Why don’t you start collecting small treasures?


Intimate small paintings are a great way of starting an art collection and discover why owning a real and original piece of art is different from owning a print … Why a real painting in the house does something for your imagination, your soul,  on a daily basis.


Actually I could have a rant about why real art is better, but will save that for another blog. Tee he.


I hope you like these small treasures as much as I do.


I can ship world wide by arrangement.


Look forward to seeing you in Edinburgh if you can make it, or get in touch with me the website. I will be putting up more examples of £100 treasures later this week …


Here are a few from the treasure trove ….



‘Movement’, Oil and Sand on Canvas



‘Directions’ Oil and Sand on Canvas



‘Transparency’ Oil on Canvas



‘The Rock and the Sea’ Oil on Canvas



‘Fire and Water’, Oil and Sand on Canvas, Framed




‘Iridescence’, Oil and Sand on Canvas, Framed




‘Three Sisters’, Acrylic on Canvas, Framed




The Space Between Sounds, Acrylic on Canvas, Framed







Cracked! Going Round in Circles – The Circle and The Dot

I started wondering why the expression going round in circles is seen as a negative, a frustrating state of being, rather than being seen as wonderful art form, a metaphor for life in a positive way?


Art history tells us the story of the Italian painter Giotto di Bondone (1266-1337) being asked by a messenger to send an example of his work to Pope Bonniface V111 for a commission for St Peters. Giotto quickly formed a perfect circle in red paint to send to the pope, much to the messengers shock. The pope recognised the genius of the perfect circle and awarded Giotto the commission.


In Japanese brush painting one is taught to practise the Zen Circle – repeating the flow of brush on paper. True presence in the moment shown by the whiteness of the paper and the blackness of the ink – they both become truer by your intention, your ‘warmed heart’.


Riding circles on a horse, truthfully and in balance is a high art form. It takes awareness, thought, physical balance, practise, for both horse and rider.

A ‘still’ point of togetherness is sought. At its best the practise becomes invisible. I think circles and Angus, my horse, moves in the thought. So many images for paintings yet unpainted when I ride.


On Easter Sunday as I cracked open my boiled egg with friends, old and new, I asked for transformation. I got it. I rode Angus for the first time in months and my back cracked up. Ouch, but good, it needed to! Transformation can be uncomfortable! We can’t change and stay the same.


Despite hurting for a few hours, the release and contraction my body experiences is an invitation for me to perfect my own circle. My circle is not a good circle at the moment. I am tired from an intense period of painting in the cold. My circle has become small, my muscle spirals tight over the winter. Time to expand.


So where to start? I start by finding the dot, the still point, the centre of the circle and practice spiralling out from there. In my thought, then my movement.

I lie in semi supine, constructive rest, then flow forward into the movement that is life. Let myself move in spirals and circles, not in straight lines. Too much linear thinking and movement is not a good thing!


About a year ago I was teaching Alexander Technique to another rider, who had done exactly the same thing to her lower back riding her horse. We released her back quickly. My back has released quickly. I was reminded of my pupil as I had said to her a year ago – ‘This is a portal, drop in through the pain and you will come out in another place.’

I have.


So my questions?

Can I/you draw a perfect circle?

Can I/you walk a perfect circle?

Can I/you think a perfect circle?

It is high art!


This week I fell through a crack in my physicality –  tension contracting the whole. Now I must let myself fall onto the ground, perfect planet earth, to re seek the dot, the starting point for all creation, out of which the whole is born.


The dot, my infinite ‘still’ point, the balance of my head atop my spine.


Thank you back for cracking up and inviting me to stop and find the radius of a new circle, a wider field of depth and attention for my new intention and my new creativity.


I am looking forward to the continuing going round in circles in life and thinking up to keep re finding the centre of it all.

It’s art!

It’s difficult and it is so simple too. A dot and a circle. That is all!

Inspired by Giotto!


Forward and Up!



(More information and a recorded talk through on letting go of back pain, click here

More information on Alexander Technique and horse riding click here)


Diary of an Exhibition – My Motivation and Intention

‘Stress Puppy’ by Kirsten Harris


I chose to paint seascapes for my upcoming exhibition partly because I have sold every seascape I have ever made and I hope to increase my chance of success!


The reason I desire to sell well is to fund my next project, which is likely to take many months to complete and be a ‘gift to the universe life mission’ project.


The project is to finish illustrating an Alexander Technique book for children and teenagers that literally downloaded into my head about three years ago.

Strange but true!


It is a monster, fun, quirky, piece of writing.


The high school kids I teach love it. (I don’t think they are just being polite and kind!)

I have tried it out on them, and they are determined for me to ‘get it out there’ as they are sure it will help other kids get through school and life as the Alexander Technique has helped them.


My next art job is to hone my inner cartoonist!

All about letting the line flow simply to tell a story ….



I am writing about my motivation behind my up coming exhibition to boost my confidence and strength of intention to sell and so the ‘angels of abundance’ know what the plan is!!


And because, to be honest, I am feeling a bit like this cartoon at the moment. A Stress Puppy Artist!

A bit of fear creeping in at the last minute. Not helpful, but human!


Time to transform fear to excitement. To be confident having put my heart and soul into painting all winter.


I keep waking up in the morning thinking maybe the big paintings are all too grey and blue, and then the next thought is that grey and blue are bang on trend for interior design and I loved painting them so TRUST! TRUST! TRUST!


Time to let it go and focus on THE BOOK manifesting after the exhibition ….

Let it Flow …


Original seascape oil paintings from £100 – £2000

Many are available to view on my website Click Here


Please email me for more information or come to the exhibition, it would be wonderful to see you.

Sea and the City, 26 – 30 April 2017, Dundas Gallery, 6 Dundas Street, Edinburgh.









Diary of an Exhibition – Sailor Tattoo Symbols

I have been hand painting wooden boxes and furniture using sailor tattoo imagery as the source of inspiration, in particular referencing the work of the American tattoo artist Norman Keith Collins (January 14, 1911 – June 12, 1973) known as Sailor Jerry.


So here is the symbolism behind the sailor tattoo imagery I have been slowly painting onto boxes, sea chests and small pieces of furniture …. A contrast in activity to the frenzy of oil painting seascapes.


Swalllow – that a sailor has sailed 5000 nautical miles for each swallow tattooed

Anchor – stability and security

Rope – hold fast, a deck hand

Rigged Sailing Ship – sailed around the Cape of Good Horn

Heart – love, dagger through the heart – broken heart

Mermaid – the dangers of the sea and life, potent female energy

Compass – Making way safely home, direction, protection, getting through rough waters

Octopus – Complexity, diversity, mystery, vision, camouflage, illusion

Sea Horse – Symbol of strength and power, connected to Posiedon and Neptune

Red Rose – love

Key – luck, knowledge and success, freedom and liberation

Shells – love and fertility































All pieces and more will be for sale at my upcoming exhibition Dundas Gallery, 6 Dundas Street, Edinburgh 26 – 30 April 10 – 6pm




Finding my ‘Fuck It’ by painting the sea

Last October when I committed to painting a seascape exhibition I was in two minds as to whether it was a terrible idea adding so much potential stress on top of the grief of losing dad to cancer in June.


Anyone who met my dad knows he was a force of nature much like the sea itself. Irrepressible and indestructible, or so we thought. Ex para and special forces, Dad called himself Chamanooka, the Rain Maker, a name he was given in Zimbabwe. My dad was highly intuitive and psychic, though he would never willingly reveal that side of himself being a product of his age. I cheekily called him Radio Francis, because you could turn him onto any subject.


One of the last things I remember dad saying to me was ‘Don’t forget you are fire proof!’ Military training for his daughter!


So, I decided that a focus of seascapes was not only a good idea because it was a great excuse to go the beach often over the long cold winter months, but also a positive focus and direction was better than being unfocused during the darkness of a Scottish winter, alone in Middle Earth, as my friends call rural South Lanarkshire.


So I have painted about 70 paintings and written many blogs and I am sitting in the garden feeling somewhat unwell this sunny spring afternoon thinking that perhaps this virus thing that feels like it is trying to get a hold of me is in fact grief pushing its way out of my system. Another layer letting go. Two weeks to the exhibition, the journey of healing from the sea still underway.


I committed to a process wholeheartedly and I have tried to be honest and truthful with the journey, and if truth be told I would love my dad to be proud of me what ever dimension he is now on.


And why did I call this blog finding my ‘fuck it’. Because ‘fuck it’ there is nothing you can do when people die apart from find your way forward the best you can.


I have used painting as my vehicle for the journey of loss and grief and although very tired from the craziness of painting in an unheated studio in minus conditions all winter I do feel that the tide is shifting somewhere deep inside.


Although I am writing this in tears thinking about dad I am hoping the sea will wash me up on a different shore as I let go into the vulnerability of hanging an exhibition.

And hopefully the virus thing will clear out of my system too!


Tears like rain, healing and life giving!


Strangely feeling better already just writing these words.


Love Kirsten





Surviving Art School and Constructive Criticism

Cartoon self portrait of me at art school in the 80’s!



One of the things you learn at art school is how to survive constructive criticism and turn a negative into a positive, a creative solution!


This is why for many art school is an ‘abusive’ environment and many art school graduates never paint again. Or give up for years … It is a challenging path!


At art school in the 80’s you were ‘deconstructed’, but the tutors often forgot to ‘reconstruct’ you at the end of the process. (My Alexander Technique teacher training later did that for me!)


However, artists become creative thinkers because of the rigours of constructive criticism.  They look for alternatives, they become truth seekers, they can turn a heap of junk into something beautiful. They look beyond the ‘hurtful’ words and move forward. You learn to stop taking criticism personally and carve out a new path.


So, you are sitting at your easel and a tutor creeps up behind you and says stuff like


  • That’s not good enough
  • Have you considered doing it another way
  • Rip it up and start again! (a classic 80’s anthem from the band Orange Juice)
  • The proportions are all wrong
  • It’s too tight, unexpressive, muddy …
  • It’s derivative, find your own style
  • You will never make it as an artist
  • Or just puff a bit of fag smoke over you and walk away ….


You feel anger, annoyance, despair, disheartened, but you never give up. Somehow in this clumsy but honest process the brain starts to seek new solutions, creativity is hatched. Determination is born. A ‘fuck it’ attitude of ‘I am doing it anyway’ starts to emerge.  ‘I am going to trust my own process’, develops inside you.


Art is not ‘wanky’ as I was recently informed, but an intense road to self discovery that demands vulnerability, determination and guts. Finding creative solutions to sticky problems and disagreement is what you are trained to do. A development of your creative brain in order to survive the assault course of constructive criticism that is art school. The constructive criticism is not personal – it is another artists attempt to get you to think by challenging your perspective. Being good at art is not the most important thing to be an artist, developing the ‘fuck it there must be a way to do this’ attitude probably is!


Any one think creative solutions might be useful right now?


Perhaps one day artists will not be seen as ‘self indulgent’ and ‘mad’ but having something out of the ordinary to say …


May artists rule the world!


Check out my free creativity e-course link below


Feel free to come and give me your constructive criticism at my up coming exhibition ‘Sea and the City’ with Jennifer Court at the Dundas Gallery, 6 Dundas Gallery, Edinburgh 26 – 30 April 2017 10 – 6 pm


Forward and Up!

Love Kirsten

Diary of an Exhibition – Love Guides Me Forward and Up!

I took this photograph driving home over the Lang Wang from Edinburgh on Saturday, April !st.


April Fools Day!


Driving towards this angelic cloud was so amazing I had to stop … a watery formation, an energy shifting…

A moment to listen for the message from The Fool!


It is time for an energy shift for me  … time to let go …

Time to put down the paintbrushes, let the oil paints dry and do other aspects of the job of hanging an exhibition i.e. marketing!


I used to find marketing relatively easy, but with the advent of social media have found it increasingly difficult. Weird but true!


I have had to learn to overcome my shyness and fear of Facebook and put myself out there. Be prepared to make a fool of myself …

That is what this ongoing blog has been about …

Letting social media be part of the art process …

Widening the creativity …

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing. A revelation!


I haven’t written about art since art school, and I have loved the start of this new journey.

First writing my free creativity course – link at bottom of this page

and then keeping a diary of an exhibition …


So April – time to let a new energy guide me forward and up …

Spring up and out of the dark cold winter months …

The exhibition will be of wintery waves, grey and cold … dramatic and stormy …


The benefit of painting in freezing conditions is that the oil fumes have not effected my lungs! Thank god!

Now it is warming up, the fumes are becoming harder for me.

It would be foolish to continue …

Time to STOP …. let my bones warm up, my energy increase, my body spring up into spring and BREATHE!


I have worked hard over the winter …

I have enough paintings!


(Anyone who knows me will know that is a very difficult sentence for me to believe, as an artist never gets it done … an inner drive always pushing, pushing, pushing!)


Time to look forward to five days at the end of this month meeting real people in the real world at my exhibition.


When another person looks at my artwork, I see the painting differently …


I look through your eyes …

You teach me and I move forward ….

When you love a painting the painting transforms …

We become connected in a magical way …

It is a strange thing …

That is why I like hosting an exhibition in person, meeting people is a huge part of the process for me. The audience informs the work. I love the connection.


I paint with love and passion, I never know what the work will look like.

When you find something you love in the work it always amazes me.

Passion connects us.


Love Guides Me Forward and Up!


I give myself permission to stop … to let go!

Art – a state of trusting the process – no matter how weird!


I have started previewing some of the paintings for sale in the landscape and seascape section of this website. Click here



Kirsten x


Hopefully see you at  the Dundas Gallery, 6 Dundas Street, Edinburgh

April 26 – 30th

10am  – 6pm


Diary of an Exhibition – Spring


‘Rainbow Wave’ Oil on Canvas, 40 x 50 cm


Spring is Spinging – Hooray!


The warmth of the sun is reaching Scotland …

Welcome welcome golden yellow rays!

The palette changes immediately …  Warmer, brighter, the days have colour again.



The change of light heralded by a rainbow being caught in a wave at Dunbar, East Lothian … Instead of a grey sea the sea was green as the brighter light filtered through it.



Rainbow Wave

Oil and Sand on Canvas

40 x 50 cms


I am so glad to see the warm sun again as was thinking my up coming exhibition was going to be too many shades of grey with only the blue light of a Scottish winter.


However grey is a very ‘on trend’ colour for interiors at the moment.


Hopefully the winter palette has hit the Zeitgeist as I have thoroughly enjoyed the subtleties and lessons of grey all winter.


Now a new colour phase begins …


A different palette – a light less filtered by clouds, by water in the atmosphere!


Long days to paint ON the beach

New adventures …






26 – 30 APRIL 2017. ALL WORK FOR SALE. Price on Application


Stay in touch here …..

(Link to my free creativity e-course below the first form …)


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Diary of an Exhibition – I’m in Two Minds!

How come some days I paint well, easily, in the flow… some days I surprise myself and paintings show up, arrive into life and other days painting is clunky, the paint goes muddy, the image unformed, lack lustre?


I have been thinking about it as I am running out of time to paint this exhibition and this is what I have come up with… I recognise that it is when I am in two minds about something that art struggles!


I took yesterday afternoon off to stop and tune in to myself Alexander Technique style as carrying on painting rubbish is not an option!


We have our everyday habitual chitter chatter mind and we have inspiration, a higher state of conscious flow … (for want of a better description).


If there is something bothering me in my everyday thinking it clouds the inspirational mind, it clogs the flow … just as much as a sore neck might ruin the day, a nagging annoyance does so too, and if we keep ignoring the white noise of our chitter chatter we lose the flow and become uptight anyway!


We have to deal with stuff, and that takes courage!
The artist as warrior not worrier!


This is harder than we may think … it takes self awareness, listening skills, honesty, vulnerability, trust …


We dismiss the background noise as unimportant –
‘I am just being silly’ …
‘There is no need for me to get worked up by that nonsense’ …
‘It will go away if I ignore it!’.
‘So and so will think badly of me if I make a fuss!’ ….
‘I can’t decide whether it is a good idea or not … I am in two minds’


Yet it persists, like an annoying tune, the persistent irritation sticks in our head for days, it gets louder and more distracting, more disturbing …
The art, whatever the form it takes, does not come through as a clear signal …
We are trying to paint when the mental receiver is out of tune …
An old fashioned image, but we become like a radio picking up two radio stations at once, the thoughts of our two minds come in and out of focus …
It is exhausting, confusing and uninspiring …
I get grumpy when I am like this!


No wonder the poor paint gets muddy, the image ugly!

No wonder I can’t find completion of the piece!


Learning to paint, or any other creative endeavour, I truly believe calls for us to listen deeply, not only to our higher self but to the sometimes white noise, chalk on a black board, chitter chatter of our thinking.


When we become consciously aware of the background noise, we come into tune and can decide whether we want to listen to that station and respond accordingly or chose something else …

Now we have choice!

Now we have action!


When we truly listen to the everyday mind and get clear, then the inspirational mind seems to tune in and delight …
Creativity as one mind …
Yup, I don’t mind that … That is work in progress!




‘Fire and Water’

Oil and Sand on Canvas
A little painting that arrived quickly, in he flow and took me by surprise!


Free Creativity course – link below ….

Diary of an Exhibition – Size Matters

(A small and large painting framed, wrapped and ready to go!)


It turns out size matters …


I can do big

Big excites me

Big is a challenge to be enjoyed

Something to build up to and explore

Big is fun

Big is an experience

Big demands your attention


And I get thrilling intimate pleasure from a small size


But that in-between size is just not doing it for me


Something about scale and intent …

Big and I have to really open up and out, spread out my intention, really use my legs and arms and eyes to move across the scale …


Small and I can use my imagination and dive into the space and discover interesting moments

Pleasurable details

Find delicacy and finesse

Small is an invitation to come in and savour exquisite moments in time

Small is beautiful


But that inbetweeny size seems less exciting

Too predictable perhaps?

Or perhaps just too habitual, too normal, too everyday …

Too much what we are used to seeing …


The trouble is most people want medium, people understand medium


People seem to have a problem with housing big, goodness knows why!

Big makes a statement

Creates a sensation

Big has wow factor


Small is interesting, an invitation to envision and contemplate a private space …

Small is a meditation …


However I am going to really have to get to grips with medium to get this show on the road!


(The crazy things that occur to me when struggling with a medium size painting!)



Diary of an Exhibition – Painting, Stress and Death

Somehow I have to find a way through the grinding pressure I am feeling today and get myself out into the cold and paint …


I don’t have – to I want to …

I have committed to paint an exhibition by the end of April …

It is a clear intention!


I can’t let blinding, distracting, deathly boring, unfulfilling, monstrous stress get in the way – all that pressure can F**K off!

There is plenty of everything, including time, and I am claiming it for art.


I remember after surgery nice people telling me I would be able to paint while I recovered. ‘You’re having a laugh’ I thought as I smiled sweetly back.


Painting in oils is not a polite activity, a genteel pursuit. It is demanding, grimy and difficult.


If you want to fast track to self awareness, warts and all, pick up a paintbrush and let it be your magical wand of transformation! I am not kidding, give it a go – paint!


Today I am simply tired, yet I have the space and time to paint. I have freedom to paint. It is a gift. All that is required is that I stretch my energetic direction and find the wave that will take me forward…

The flow thrown up by the sea that I can surf for the rest of the day without having to do any more than show up, be present, balance on the wave and allow ….


How difficult can that be?


Die stress!

I choose to paint … watch this space!




Oil and Sand on Canvas




Diary of an Exhibition – Despite Myself I Paint the Sea

Painting the sea … It all comes back to flow


This watery world we live in

Surrounded by water … in the air, the ground, our bodies …

Little Britain, our island


We are destroying our clean waters, our clean seas

We are destroying our bodies

Beguiling sea – you are destructive and dangerous … beautifully calm


The theme of the sea for art gets bigger, and more overwhelming, like the sea itself


Despite my fears and inadequacies I will paint the sea

Even the word ‘despite’ has it’s roots in water – spit, bile …

Green water, jealous of other artists brilliance …

Harmful thoughts, totally unhelpful

I fall over on the rocks, slip on the seaweed and jar my back thinking that thought!


Despite myself I paint the sea

The wave of my life has value too!


How to capture a wave, a drop in the ocean?

It feels impossible.

Wave upon wave as my arm freely swings up to the canvas

Brush reaching the shore of the image

A sweep of intention, of colour

Free like the sea

Or not?

Be the ocean not a rock!


The sea just keeps rolling in, flowing, does the sea get tired?


Each wave different, inspiring, gone …

Each wave like a heart beat … precious

Just show up … get up and go out to the cold studio …

Let the wave of desire for the sea roll over you and carry you forward


Despite myself I paint the sea …




‘Morning Mood’

Oil and Sand on Canvas

8.5 x 10 inches (framed)



Diary of an Exhibition – Love on the Beach!

Love on the beach … What does that say to you?


Feeling high from the salt air and the great vibe

Eating fish and chips and ice-cream

Romantic images hand in hand

Your dog or kids going mental with joy


Sand in your smalls?


A few years ago it was sand all over my nearly completed oil painting …


Lucky, my darling dog at the time, ran up to me at high speed and sand skidded all over the image nearly obliterating it.


Disaster or a very happy accident?


Making art is often about the happy accident …

Turning disaster to your advantage …

Realising that perhaps there are no accidents.


So I have been having fun with sand in my smalls!

(My apologies,  I love a ‘Carry On’ type pun, British humour and all that!)


Here are some examples …

Small paintings that l I will be selling framed at £100 each at my exhibition.

Affordable works of original art …

I am loving painting these small paintings with sand.


Love on the beach!



‘Fire and Water’

Oil and Sand on Canvas

8.5 x 10 inches




‘The Sands are Shifting’

Oil and Sand on Canvas

8.5 x 10 inches





‘Morning Mood’

Oil and Sand on Canvas

8.5 x 10 inches




‘The Moon Cometh’

Oil and Sand on Canvas

8.5 x 10 inches




‘Man and the Moon’

Oil and Sand on Canvas

8.5 x 10 inches





Oil and Sand on Canvas

8.5 x 10 inches





Oil and Sand on Canvas

8.5 x 10 inches




The framing I am using …


(If you see anything you like please message me to reserve … all paintings currently for sale)


Diary of an Exhibition – Paint Over



Oil on Canvas

80 x 100 cms


Yesterday I decided to look at old unresolved canvases and see if I could do a paint over.


This canvas has two under paintings – hidden ghosts.


First incarnation was a kind of fantasy landscape done about 3 years ago, with hare filled fields and hares flying in the sky! Um, no it did not work!


Paint over number two – I attempted turning the crazy green harescape into a seascape a few weeks ago, at the same time using up what ever old paint was on my palettes.


The result was no more landscape and the beginning of some sort of seascape, inspired by my trip to Catterline and visit to the Joan Eardley exhibition at Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh.


I wanted texture and looseness. Old drying colour is good for getting lumps, bumps and crusty surfaces. I also threw sand onto some areas of the foreground.


The result was quite messy but with some interesting bits emerging.


I then dumped the painting in the pony field shelter and forgot all about it for weeks. I wanted it out of the way as there was a lot of paint on the surface and did not want to be breathing the fumes as they cured and had no idea how to proceed.


A couple of days ago I spotted the canvas again, amazed that Walter hadn’t knocked it over and trampled it under hoof. He is a very curious and fearless mini shetland pony! But obviously respects art! (Check out link –  Angus and Walt Horse Artists on FB!)


Yesterday I wondered if I could resolve the image.


I cut open the remains of a big tube of buff oil paint and decided to pull the image together with one colour whilst using up the dregs of paint.

Waste not want not …  So my granny told me!


Then I scratched into the paint and wiped away to reveal bits of the under painting and added a bit more colour and detail.


The result is a  textural surface and a fairly abstract image.

Today I feel happy with it.

Will I do more?

Who knows…


I am blogging about over painting as encouragement to not throw the crappy paintings away. You never know what they will become if you have the courage to do a seemingly destructive thing and paint over!


(The title – Influence – the moons influence over the sea and the tides in our bodies and our influence over each other, often positive, sometimes destructive.)

Postscript –

And then a couple of weeks later, I painted over it again – and it became this



‘The Old Man and the Sea’

The new title that came to me today








Diary of an Exhibition – Releasing Art Flow


Releasing art flow

Muscles as water

I paint the sea and become the ocean

Body 70 percent water

Frozen body freeing to a flowing tidal wave of art


The heart my art

Muscles releasing – contracting to release again


Finally bouncing like the brush on the stretched canvas


Spring is springing

Warming my heart, earth

Love and art


Flexing art’s muscle

Tight or toned?

Held or free?


Lengthening muscles into the art

Releasing art muscle into the flow

The heart of all that is matter


Muscles flowing as spirals

Tight muscles tight art!


Long free ecstatic muscles flowing into art

Paint brush spiralling freely from my back

From the energising out breath


Loving the feel

The way I feel

A tidal wave through my body onto canvas

Energy in motion



Given away, no expectation of return, just explored right now

I am free to dance the paint

Luxury …



Egg Morning on the Beach

Oil on Canvas

40 x 50 cms


Diary of an Exhibition – Everyone Else is Taken

‘Sometimes there are Rainbows’

Oil on Canvas

40 x 50 cms


‘Be yourself everyone else is taken.’ Oscar Wilde


This is great advise for any artist and I found myself saying words to that effect out loud in the studio a couple of days ago.

‘This is MY painting’ I exclaimed!


The reason for my outburst was that other artists had got into my head and it was NOT helpful.


Looking at art is great, being inspired is fantastic, but when it comes down to it we need to turn up in the moment and be ourselves.

Just let go and make art!

How hard can that be?


So simple yet a work of conscious awareness.


I know when I am making art and when I am just making pictures – there is a difference, it is a lot to do with my thinking.

Am I right here right now responding to the colour and canvas?

Or am I interfering by ‘watching’ myself doing the painting, trying hard to do something good rather than simply enjoying painting, feeling it, being it, judgement and everything else suspended for now.


This painting caused the outburst ‘It is my painting!’ and that outburst was me claiming me.

The painting arrived.

I wanted to paint a rainbow seen at the beach at North Berwick on Sunday.

Could I paint a rainbow without it being naff or cutesy?

The title came too …

‘Sometimes there are Rainbows.’


Sometimes there are rainbows in our thinking …

In other words like the clouds, rain and sun that creates rainbows, a combinations of emotion, flow and energy creates gaps in our habitual thinking that allows something magical and unexpected to happen … rainbows out of the blue, delightful always.

This is a painting that seemed to paint itself because I got out of the way and let it happen.

No matter what we think of our creative results – these rainbow moments of surprise in our creativity methinks are to be honoured and cherished.


As Edgar Degas said

‘Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.’



Try letting go to make art … just be you!

You might surprise yourself with some rainbow moments in your creative passion.

Find a link to a free 8 day based creativity e-course –  Let Go Make Art –  Link below.

Written to free up your creative thinking combining art and Alexander Technique. It’s fun …

Diary of an Exhibition – Not Good Enough for What?

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.’

Pablo Picasso


I have been struggling with that ‘not good enough’ habit!

A habit that I am convinced for many of us started at school when we were told, as some kind of weird encouragement, that our work was ‘not good enough’ or to ‘try harder.’

Words that for many of us result in instant neck tightening tension habits.

Can you feel tension or tightening right now if you think about being ‘not good enough’ or ‘trying harder’?


My up-coming exhibition in April is in the ‘best’ street in Edinburgh for art, the Edinburgh version of Cork Street in London, and because of this daft value judgement a nasty little insidious voice in me has been taunting –


‘Your work’s not good enough!’

‘Who do you think you are?’

‘You are going to make a giant fool of yourself.’…  and other horrible scary jibes.


Do you recognise any of these getting in the way of your art making fun, destroying your creativity?


So I have been asking the question – not good enough for what?

Not good enough to play with paint on canvas or paper?

Is that true?

Obviously NO!



Little children don’t worry about paintings being ‘not good enough!’

It is when ‘grown ups’ start to teach them to ‘keep paint within the lines’ and ‘be neat not messy’ that the ‘not good enough’ starts to set in.


‘If you find a voice within you that says you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.’

Vincent Van Gogh


So my thought for silencing the ‘not good enough’ habit is to paint paint paint …

Cover canvas as fast as I can …

Any way I like …

Music on, dancing with colour …

Playing with feel and pressure of brush stroke …

That is all …

Like a child!


Picasso again ….

‘It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.’


To paint like a child!


Art is a worthwhile journey – we can get out of our own way, let go of thinking habits that do not serve us and paint like a child.

Simple joy!

So easy and yet so challenging with our ego based comparative habits rearing there ugly little heads and ruining the fun.


So my question now, when I hear that creepy ‘not good enough’ thought form, is to ask the rebellious childlike question – Not good enough for what?!



photo – Yes, I am a very messy painter!

Hmmm, good enough or not good enough? Who cares! It is the way I work! : )


Perhaps you would like to try me free Alexander Technique inspired 8 day creativity e-course? It’s fun. Link below …

Diary of an Exhibition – Stealing Clouds

‘Good artist copy, great artists steal!’
Pablo Picasso


I want to steal the clouds, capture them, own them, trap them on canvas …
I am obsessed by clouds.


My friend it turns out is jealous …

‘I wish the the clouds did it for me like they do it for you. I don’t even notice them.’


There was silence between us for a while as we drove along contemplating each others experience of life – mine wowing and ooo-ing at the clouds, each journey or day experienced through the sky, her assurance that most people don’t bother noticing!


It is my new obsession … to learn to paint the clouds … and my head has felt cloudy and foggy for days thinking unhelpful thoughts such as I don’t know how to do this … how is it even possible …how on earth can I express what I feel and see?


I must let go of any thoughts about not good enough for how can the clouds be wrong – they are all about change.
Time for me to change my thinking …


So I think about Picasso’s wisdom – “Good artists copy, great artists steal!’


I will learn to steal the clouds –


  • Learn the rules and tricks of the cloud painting, such as clouds get smaller as they get further away – a great metaphor!
  • Look at artists I admire and study them …
  • Take even more photographs …
  • Be grateful for cloudy old steely wintry Scotland …
  • Draw little cloud thumbnails from my kitchen window, set up a mini kitchen studio today for gathering morning clouds.
  • Play and play with the clouds in paint
  • Think up up up – head in the clouds, feet on the ground, heart open – stay free! It follows the art will freely billow in like a fantastic clouds formation too!


When I expressed my cloudy thinking and doubts about my ability to paint the clouds a dancer friend suggested I reread my own free creativity e-course – Let Go Make Art! That it would unblock me as it had unblocked her. I love my friends who won’t let me get away with foggy thinking! (link below)


I know what I want – a clear intention is a good start.


I am on a cloud stealing mission …
I will be like an art thief planing to steal a masterpiece …
Strategising, preparing, pouring over books and plans, trying out different versions until I have the perfect crime …

Despicable me I am planning to steal the clouds!

Do It Now!

Painting is a quick route into learning about wonderful brilliant you – your thinking, your emotions, your body, your self image, in short who you are today.


Pick up a paintbrush and some colour and you will soon discover interesting things about yourself – your hopes and dreams, the things that worry, your ego, frustration and habits, the things that inspire and interest you, your inner brilliance and radiance.


Painting allows us to let go, to unwind, to be present to ourselves –

The higher self, the lower self and the mundane everyday me!


No distraction!


Just you facing yourself in a magic mirror … the blandness of a blank sheet of paper, a canvas or lump of clay … calling out inner beauty, fabulous ideas, unknown as yet insights and destinies …


Give paint a go today ….As Cezanne says it may be  ‘your salvation.’


To kick start your own unique creative process – here is a free 8 day e-course …


Written with love form the perspective of a painter, applicable to all budding creatives whatever your preferred medium, writing, photography, art …


Enjoy! Link below …

Diary of an Exhibition – Let Go Make Art

On my website I have a free creativity e-course called Let Go Make Art.

I have had good feedback about it’s benefits, but today I feel like I need to dig deeper into what Let Go Make Art means, for my own benefit …


I have just had a week of not letting go and not making any art.


And that frustration potentially a downward spiral … ever diminishing unless I stop it!


Why have I made no art?


  • I have been trying too hard
  • Putting time pressure on myself
  • Thinking I need to be ‘brilliant and amazing’, startle pattern provoking thoughts, and thus doing nothing and even doing nothing badly!
  • Having thoughts about how good other artists are and letting that inhibit my own process. Comparison sucks!
  • Letting all sorts of other problems and urgencies of life get in the way of making art
  • Still feeling out of sorts and tired from being poorly
  • Even using the snow as an excuse!


Yesterday I decided to get right back to basics and go and lie on my back, in Alexander Technique constructive rest.

To let go, stop trying so hard and do nothing well.


Doing nothing well!  There is an interesting concept …


How easy it is to get stuck in a non productive state of thinking about doing …or trying to do or make something happen rather than allowing … or  fiddling about on stupid things and getting stressed and cross with yourself for being useless in this half hearted state, instead of just stopping.


Permission to stop!


For goodness sake I know how to stop! Why am I not letting go?

I have even produced an audio about it –  Body Magic.

Right now for me to let go into the process of making art – body magic indeed is needed!


I am painting the sea – the sea doesn’t get stuck!


It ebbs and flows – sometimes calm and still like a mill pond and other times fierce and powerful. a rampant raging energy. People’s energy changes too, it is natural.


What moves the sea?

The moon (a symbol for the feminine and emotions) effecting the tides and currents in monthly cycles …

The wind  (symbol of the mind thinking) …

and I am guessing the lay of the land (earth, the body)….


My mind has been tired yet overactive, I have been pushing myself.

The moon has been full –  emotional woman in the house!

And it’s the middle of winter, apparently the most depressing dangerous week of the year just gone … For me the lack of daylight forcing a kind of creative shutting down.


Result no art….


Yet …. Ideas are drifting in on these still low tides and cold currents.


Ideas about spirals and water …


Everything that lives and moves and breathes lives and moves and breathes in spirals

Even raindrops fall in spirals to the earth

How beautiful.


Spiralling water down the plug hole

Spirals as a force of nature

A Universal Law

Something to explore in painting …

No straight lines!


My last series of small paintings are spirals within seashells – thoughts about the inner ear,  listening and balance …





Listen to the sea shells to move forward and up into the spiralling flow of art as yet unmade …




Lying in constructive rest thinking spiralling thoughts in and through my body …

Allow muscles to release into spirally mobile length, free to paint …

Allow my mind to be present to the ebb and flow of my liquid energy …

Allow myself to float for a day or two aimlessly, soon I will be in new waters …

Allow myself to be part of nature, influenced by the moon, the weather and time …


Let go,

Let the mind spiral around the bare bones of ideas

Muscle wrap around bone in spirals

The body moves in spirals

Dance spirals

Draw spirals

Think spirals

Explore the curves and spirals of form

Let the body spirals unwind, the art will flow …

Blood and nerves flow around the body in spirals

Energetic spirals – increasing, decreasing …


Ideas start to drift in …


Drawing the shells in pencil – ideas emerging from the depths

See if you can understand the structure of the wave …

Spiralling waves

Is there form in the formless?

What is it about the sea that is calling?


Feel the energy of the sea pulsing through my watery body …


Let creativity swell up inside and then it can flow forward

Creativity comes in waves too

I am more than 70 percent water … be watery


Trust the process of making an exhibition –

Plenty of time for the art to emerge, for the tide in me to change, to become full again.


Let go and feel the tides of breath washing through me releasing my aching lower back, (too much driving), invigorating the creativity centres of the body.


Let go … to allow creativity to rise and flow  …

Let my breath breathe me, let the inspiration come, stop trying to force art …

The waves will get bigger again


Allow rest … Stop  …

The tide will change direction, it is inevitable,  it just takes a few hours and then a new direction will emerge

The timing of the tides come at a different times of the day as the weeks progress.


Note to self –

Let Go Make Art!

It is a great title

There is a process in that simple sentence.


Remember to re – member ourselves …

To take time to let the whole self put itself back together again –  rejuvenated, restored by simply stopping, and in order to find our body of art…

It is the art of body …

Which ever way your creativity flows…. let go make art is body magic.


To learn more about Body Magic click here

Link to free creativity e- course below…


A.R.T. – The Sweet Spot of Creativity

(link to free 8 day e-course at end of this blog)


How do we find our creative sweet spot, our zone, that magical place where our creativity flows?


It is the thing that all creatives – artists, musicians, horse riders, meditators, dancers  – have in common.  The knowledge that the sweet spot is indeed SWEET and that returning to it, renewing it, replenishing it, is a joy –  nourishing, fulfilling, inspiring, invigorating … In short the reason that we peruse our passion!


Here is an Alexander Technique inspired take on the art of finding the sweet spot – A.R.T


A attention, awareness, arriving in the present moment. The intention and ability to really show up right now to allow something to appear before us.

The appearance, the apparition, the manifestation, our art, can only arrive when we attend fully to what we are doing now – allowing it to happen. Asking for it, the magical, to awaken.


R – respecting our selves and what we receive when we open our creative antenna into the space around us. The space that we have created that we are giving our full present moment attention to in order to allow the sweet spot of art.

Respecting our creativity and rolling with it, flowing with it, going with it.

Rejecting any thoughts of not good enough as those thoughts mean we are rejecting our creative self. Respect rather than reject as you respond to the moment.

Rejoice in what you have made, honouring your creativity, your art. It is replenishing you. It is a gift.


T – Time – giving ourselves the gift of precious time to devote to our creativity. Decide to take time for the creative self often no matter what! Time to develop skills. Time to listen to the guidance of our thoughts. Time to humbly allow art to move through us. To be a creative is to be a transformer of thoughts and ideas, inspirations and dreams into action.

Trust the process of creativity. Really trust yourself and what you make as valuable.

Our creativity has something to tell us and teach us as it moves through us and out into the world.

Be thankful for and treasure your creative self.


If I am to pick 3 words to sum up ART it would be Allow – Respect – Time!

What 3 would you pick or add to the list?


More on creativity?

You may like my 8 day free creativity course – find a sign up below to have it delivered straight to your in-box now …

The Diary of an Exhibition – Listening to Seashells


Yesterday I didn’t listen to my own wisdom … and painted in oils  despite not having found a mask that makes this possible ….. YET!


I coughed a lot and felt pretty rough after an hours work. I had also ignored my intention to paint in acrylic, deferring instead to my habit!


It is so much easier to DO our habits than to BE open to something new…. Alexander Technique teaches it over and over again… do the same thing in the same way and get the same result! So simple and yet so challenging to change.


After a mini strop with myself and a really helpful phone call with a friend,  I decided to go LEARN to paint with acrylics and be excited by and open to the challenge.



I have been picking up shells on the beach –

Shells remind me of the inner ear, and my thought has been about listening…


Expanded awareness and balance can come just from opening our ears to sounds and sounds between sounds, layers of sound … shells as reminders …


  • to listen to what we are being told
  • to listen to your intuition
  • to listen for the mystery
  • to listen out for the path and the journey
  • to listen to the space between
  • to listen to our heart
  • to listen to other people, 2 ears one mouth!
  • to listen to the deep oceanic wisdom within …





Symbolism and the shells painted yesterday –


Cockles – warming the cockles of my heart – attracting love, feeling love, the food of love

Conch type shells – The  human journey of life, spirals, the Golden Mean

Limpets – courage, confidence, strength to endure, strength to be yourself despite forces

Moon snails – the moon, tides, planetary forces, the feminine, psychic awareness, purification, peace

Scallops – travel, sharing, holding

Spirals – ‘Everything that lives and breathes and moves, lives and breathes and moves in spirals’ (Don Burton),  the mystery of life, DNA

Shells – protection, the home, containers of life, treasures being thrown up from the deep …




I painted a quick series of ‘shell-scapes’ in acrylic … very small canvas sketches … here they are … ideas in motion … just where I left off, some finished some not.

I had fun, when I got out of my own way, my oily art habit, and allowed something new!


By listening to the seashells I found form within the formless and the unformed – seashells to draw upon within the formless sea – an idea to play with.




Today I am going to see the JMW Turner watercolours at the National Gallery in Edinburgh which are only on show once a year to protect them from the light.

Excited to be inspired by watercolours from one of my art heroes!



Diary of an Exhibition – The Joy of Stuff and Clutter

Diary of an Exhibition – The Joy of Stuff and Clutter


The last couple of days  I have been thinking I want to write something about the joy of clutter and stuff, in response to the many articles around that are advocating clearing out and living in empty spaces as some kind of new years resolution!


I am an artist  – I make stuff!

Stuff to last into the future, hopefully investments into and for the future.


I love rummaging in charity shops and car boot sales finding interesting and inspiring stuff…

My philosophy is that all my stuff is only ever borrowed, loaned to me for a while, until it finds another home either in my lifetime or after I die  …. so why not enjoy your stuff while you are here, instead of feeling like you are less spiritual or less evolved than those who have fengshui-ed their environment to live in a white space!


Lovely – give me your white space to fill with paintings!


Stuff and clutter are ideas made manifest, mine or other peoples … how wonderful!




I want to live a life where ideas are inspiring me on a daily basis, not one that is sanitised and empty …


Nature abhors a vacuum anyway … Bring on the stuff and clutter!


Buy it … make it … enjoy it … give it away … sell it … give to charity shops … support other peoples needs …buy some more … let the stuff and clutter flow … transform it .. up-cycle it … recycle it… it has a life force too!


Enriching, enlivening, enjoyable stuff!


One of the interests I have in my painting is how to make a busy surface unified …

Creating chaos and clutter is part of the process  of finding the image, the way forward…


The painting surfaces are full of stuff … paint stuff, pigments from all over the world –

scratched and dabbed

scumbled and brushed

flicked and poured

applied in impasto smears with a palette knife or finger or back of a fist


I am having fun playing with stuff, making stuff, creating stuff, making a mess and making some kind of order at the same time.


Anyhow there are only 2 ways to make a living either

  • create something – make more clutter and stuff in the world
  • provide a service

I do both, I make stuff and I teach Alexander Technique.


But back to stuff and clutter –


For a start an artist can NEVER have enough brushes  – bring on the clutter, bring on the brushes!

Make me joyful and buy me brushes, any shape or size or quality will do, they all have

stories to tell!



The word clutter, comes from the medieval root word clot as in blood clot …


Clutter and flow belong together, they are linked!


Paint in a tube or even squeezed onto a palette is like a clot waiting to flow…

Add enough medium and it will flow …

The medium is your intention, your thinking, your action plus water or other carriers …


Your blood life force energy, your heart, is revealed in your painting.

I learned that in Japan – the more present you are the more present your paining is.

‘Unclotting’ a painting has nothing to do with physical stuff and clutter and everything to do with present attention.

Can you be present despite …. ? Despite a less than pristine clutter free environment .. despite ideas about perfection?


I guess everything comes back to water in the end …  A blog about clutter and stuff and I am thinking about water … the carrier of my watery ‘un – formed’ feeling onto paper and canvas … manifesting seascapes …


Today a day of creating more clutter and stuff for the world  – I set my intention to paint small seascapes in gouache and acrylic paint.

Minimalistic clutter free living?

No thanks, I am going to paint!



Detail – ‘Energy Vortex at Sea’ Oil on Canvas, 100 x 120 cm




‘Energy Vortex at Sea’ Oil on Canvas, 100 x 120 cm


Diary of an Exhibition – The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Painting yesterday I was thinking about the stories we tell ourselves or the things we have been told and taken on as THE TRUTH, which may be unexamined and therefore NOT TRUE.


In terms of art here are a few stories that I have had to examine or am in the process of examining


  • Story 1 – Never use black paint! I was told this at art school. About 10 years ago I had an exhibition at Phoenix 369 Gallery in Edinburgh. When Andrew Brown the gallery owner came to my studio to discuss the exhibition, the paintings he liked were the ones where (in my mind) I had cheated and had used black paint. ‘You like the ones with black paint in best.’ I exclaimed. Never use black paint was not true!


  • Story 2 – Oil paint is better than acrylic because acrylic is a modern medium and not a traditional one! Messing about with acrylic paint today I realised that acrylic paint is different to oil paint. It is not a question of better or worse. I might prefer oil but that is different. My lungs have gone off oil paint so my revelation today was ‘Oh Wow! I am enjoying myself with acrylic!’ It has some qualities that are maybe different in a better way to oil, i.e. quick drying, can build up layers more quickly, no odour, non toxic, can hang on the wall at end of day and not have to wait for weeks to bring the painting into the house. My unexamined story has been a big hurdle for me to overcome. As anyone who has suggested acrylic paint to me over the past 2 or 3 years will know. Stubborn, resistant artist in the house!


  • Story 3 – Working from photographs in the studio is cheating!  A couple of days ago  I came to the conclusion that if one of my hero’s JMW Turner was alive in the days of photography, he would have definitely have worked from photographs as reference. Instead he created snapshot mini sketches and notes as reference in his sketchbook to then build up his big canvases in the studio. Using whatever aid is necessary to develop observation, memory, feeling and ultimately the painting… is not cheating! Much as I want to drag my canvas and paints to the beach everyday, middle of winter, Scotland, it is just not feasible. Using reference is not cheating.


  • Story 4 – The work is not good enough. I am including this one as I think it is an ongoing struggle for artists or creatives and definitely is a story that needs examining. The work is not good enough …. the work is good enough. Which one is true? Here are a few things to do to work it out. …. Take a photograph of the work – seeing it as a photo is revealing, step back, come back to it another day, write about it and the feelings that are coming up, note any ideas or inspiration, do another painting, look at the work in the mirror, again revealing…. Is it good enough? Good enough for what? What story are you telling yourself?  The large painting I made in acrylic paint yesterday is, at the moment, not good enough for my exhibition but it it has certainly been good enough as an experience as I have decided that THERE IS HOPE FOR ME AND ACRLIC PAINT! Painting is a journey. Your journey with your creativity IS GOOD ENOUGH.


As we go into 2017 I am going to pay attention to the stories I tell myself and ask the simple question ‘Is it true?’.



Happy New Year

Love Kirsten x



‘Wave Goodbye’

Acrylic sketch on Canvas

23 x 30 cms



Diary of an Exhibition – Dreams and Symbols


‘Homeward Bound’ Sea Chest


On Boxing Day after finishing painting and writing about ‘Homeward Bound’ I texted this photo to an extraordinary man I know who has been diagnosed with cancer for the second time.  I knew he was spending Xmas alone in quiet contemplation. It felt important to send it to him.


His reply – ‘Christ almighty!’. and shortly after a second text …


‘Dreamt last year was exploring a huge attic – I found an old chest and opened it. Was full of old embroidered cloths, gold brocades and gold chains – that is the chest in my dream. I especially remember the picture.’


I phoned him.


What followed was an amazing conversation about the symbols of the gold and jewels and the incredible embroidered patterned textiles that he described in further detail, being a metaphor for the music he still has to compose.

His unrealised, unfinished creativity. That the dream was a gift.


‘Your reminder of that dream is perfect timing’, he said, ‘literally half an hour before I came to know that the time left here on planet earth, and unknown but finite time, is to be creative. I am scared, but I am excited too. This has made me certain of what I have to do.’


‘I saw this quote today from Isaac Asimov, the great scientist and writer’ he continued

‘Asimov was asked what would you do if you only had a year to live.’

His reply – ‘Type faster.’


The symbol of the ship was traditionally a tattooed badge of honour that sailors would get after sailing round the notoriously dangerous waters of the Cape of Good Hope.


‘You have already sailed the Cape of Good Hope defeating illness once, the stormy dangerous sea. Now you are called to sail again, this time with a treasure chest of golden cloth…’
‘Kirsten, I want you to be my magic seeing mirror for this next journey…when I hold it up and look at myself in the mirror, I see you … keeping me moving forward in creativity.’
‘Yes!’ (Finding it hard to write what I feel about this. Yes is a powerful word!)


The ship  represents passage – our life journey

From one life to another

Earth bound to spirit (a gift for my dad)

For my friend, the passage from teacher, to which his life has been devoted, to composer – a different energy, a different voyage.

The beginning of new journey … an exciting one, but one on a stormy dangerous sea.


Clouds – emotions, change, problems, drama.

The stars – guides, hope, the cosmic up, thinking up, inner strength. 9 stars representing an ending,  a completion of 2016.


Water represents emotion. But it is also our planet and our body.

Water is everywhere – the clouds and vapours in the air, the water held in earth, water composing the majority of all living things. And water transmits vibration and stores memory. The body is 70 percent water. Healing, life giving water.

Water is flow, water is the vehicle for the painting

Without water the tree that became the chest would not have grown …


The sails – Harnessing the power of the wind, our thoughts, our inspiration, to move forward

The waves – Energy and movement, change, fear, depth and surface, form and the formless, undercurrents

The angels guides, the unseen, the unknown, the mysterious, hope, trust, faith and love, history and time, flights of fancy

Two angels The number 2  – union, mother father, two hands, symmetry

The circle – represents wholeness, birth, nothing and everything, eternity

The rope around the circle – ties, binds, the things that hold us safe but also stop us, connections, strength, weaving, creating


The treasure chest – our unique gifts and talents, our individual creativity, totally unique to us … our gold …

The Chest also represents the body as a container for our heart and soul …

keeping our treasures or our emotions close to our chest, hidden or opening our abundant treasure chest and releasing them fearlessly into the world.


None of us are getting out of here alive, how we spend our time is of the essence…


When we create something we never know who or how is is going to inspire or move another person forward… and move ourselves forward to in the process … dreams turning to gold … trust the creative flow …


There is treasure in store, me hearties!





Diary of an Exhibition – ‘Homeward Bound’ Sea Chest

img_4008 img_3997img_3989


‘Homeward Bound’


I painted the inside image on the old sailors sea chest on Xmas Day and today, Boxing Day. I am home alone with a throat and chest infection. Painting a box, when my voice box is not functioning seems apt.


The title is ‘Homeward Bound’ and is in memory of dad, it would have been his birthday today. A memory box on Boxing Day.


As I painted I also started to remember my tutor at Epsom School of Art, in 1982,  the infamous performance artist, Kerry Trengove (1946 – 1991). Kerry once said to me ‘You will know that art IS your life when you paint on Christmas day.’ I remember being quite shocked by his statement. Who paints on Christmas day my 18 year old self wondered.


I thought about Kerrys influence too … How small moments in time, single sentences even, can have  a huge impact. Losing your voice makes you think about having one.  In 1977 Kerry created an endurance work ‘Eight Day Passage’ where he was buried in a small cell under the Acme Gallery in London and had to dig his way out. Buried alive… a rebirth…


The second angel on the lid was painted this morning, listening to the radio – memories and music of George Michael who died on Xmas day. Wham was definitely one of the soundtracks of art school days in the 80’s.


And so this box lid IS about death …

I had a dream a couple of nights ago that dad needed help to get ‘home’. He was very sick before he died in June, and the transit to fully embody as a spirit has been slow, the dream told me. The angels on the box are to help him on his passage. Homeward Bound we will all be one day… We don’t know when. May our passage be smooth.


This box has been here longer than me and hopefully will last longer too. It has already seen many lives, losing it’s own life as a tree, to become a sea chest.


Someone asked me a few days ago,  why are you wanting to paint on the inside, no-one can see the painting.

That to me is the point – a surprise, a secret, a hidden something…

A metaphor for the mystery of life …

The body as a container of life …

The mysterious workings under the lid …

The journey everyday to be at home inside ourselves …


This may all sound gloomy and odd to you, but really despite physically being unwell over this festive period my spirit has been peaceful and serene and painting the image gave me a feeling of joy, hope and renewal for the coming new year.






(The Chest  when I bought it, painted in blue gloss paint! I distressed it with several layers of chalk paint and wax and lots of elbow grease sanding a few days ago. Under the blue gloss was white gloss and under that yellow! I think the finish I have given it looks antique now. In keeping with the actual age of the chest, revealing some of the antique pine. I will probably sand back some of the image inside when I am well. I like the way the surface of the chest echoes the surface of the sea in the oil painting.)

Diary of an Exhibition – Memory Box – Forget Me Not

Work in progress ….


Having fun painting this, with a nod and a wink to saucy art of the past, often, as with this, discreetly hidden.


Loving the retro sexy mermaid!


I want to find a padlock and key for the box.  As yet I am not entirely happy with the outside.


I think I probably just have to rough up the bird a bit to make it look older. Argh, what a terrible sentence!


I love the idea of having a place to store memories. A real physical object that is solid and sturdy and will last. Not just memories popping up on face book, but a proper time capsule.


I found the box in a pop up junk shop, it is not antique, so am not sure what it has been made for, maybe a stage prop. But it is goodly and solid and I pounced on it.


The lady in the shop said lots of people had looked but no-one could see a use for it! Mad!


In some ways I wish I had just painted the inside… but that is art for you.. an experiment.


At least I know that the antique sea chest that I am in the middle of restoring from the coat of blue gloss paint that someone slapped on it,  I will just paint an image on the inside of the lid.








Why is it that people seem to think it is OK to call artists ‘MAD!?’
Or ‘Not normal!’

Honestly, I am fed up with it!
To be an artist means being a highly functioning person –


  • artists create objects of desire
  • artists have to have an ear to the zeitgeist, the spirit of the age, to do this
  • artists put their ideas into practise, they are motivated self starters
  • artists have to sell which means being a marketeer and a salesperson, both in person and online these days
  • artists have to maintain a website and compete in a global market
  • artists have to be able to cold call a gallery or think out of the box to find a venue
  • artists have to be events organiser par excellence, to host private views and exhibitions
  • artists also have to be caterers, what other job involves throwing a party to make a sale?
  • artists have to be good networkers, to be able to find new markets for their work
  • artists have to be able to write about their work and them selves
  • artists have to be accountants, book keepers, do mail shots, general office stuff
  • artists have to be organised enough to commit a lot of time to their work
  • artists have to be resourceful and be prepared for feast or famine
  • artists have to be risk takers and gamblers (unless someone else is paying the bills) as there is absolutely no guarantee anyone is going to buy your work, you have to develop trust in your own ability
  • artists often have to work more than one job, to pay the bills, whilst producing their real work
  • artists have to have self belief, commitment, drive, motivation
  • artists often have to overcome years of rejection and failure and still keep producing work
  • artists have to be finishers, commit to an idea and see it to completion to succeed

This list is not exhaustive….
Being an artist is running a business like any other business.


Which bit of that is MAD?


I suspect the cultural ‘mad artist’ view was born with Kirk Douglas portrayal of Vincent Van Gogh in the 1956 movie ‘Lust for Life’. Vincent is seen as a raving howling lunatic his madness culminating with cutting off his ear. The ear event is not entirely factual as a recent fascinating BBC documentary ‘Vincent’s Ear’ proved.


In earlier times artists have worked in courts and palaces, been commissioned by the church, employed by patrons …. been respected for the talented individuals they are.

I am not a great artist by any means, but I am a good artist, a selling artist.
I have paid my way as an artist for a long time. And I am really truly fed up with being called mad.
Even as a joke!
I promise you I am not humourless, I will laugh with you, but seriously – enough!


Passionate yes, mad no!
I don’t go round calling other people mad!


Artists are magicians, transformers, sensitives, creatives, idealists, enthusiasts, skilled observers, experimenters, insightful individuals, artisans, questioners, visionaries, believers, lovers of life, communicators, alchemists, idea-mongers, inspirational beings, inspirers, energisers of culture, path finders, commentators, enhancers, leaders, self starters, free thinkers, truth seekers, often extraordinary ….


But not mad!


Look at that list!


Artists have a LOT to offer in this current mad world!



‘Perpetuating the Myth’

Cartoon by Kirsten Harris

Diary of an Exhibition – Sea Chest Restoration Project

I went out yesterday to the seaside searching for a treasure chest, as you do…

And yay, I found one, a genuine sea chest!


Unfortunately someone has painted it in pale blue gloss on the outsideimg_3939


and brown emulsion on the inside of the lid… badly!


The maritime rope handles are amazingly skilfully constructed and I suspect irreplaceable because of that.


The worse thing for me is that the rope handles have been painted blue too!

A clumsy insensitive paint job.

I have no idea how to get gloss paint off rope… Any ideas?

Am going to try sand paper and wire wool, but suspect it may be impossible to get off!


If this chest wasn’t already painted I wouldn’t be thinking about painting it, as it would be gorgeous in its original antique pine condition.


However, as it has been, ahem, ‘up-cycled’ or rather vandalised in my opinion, it is therefore an ideal and genuine restoration project.


Luckily the interior is in it’s original condition and will remain so. I just need to sand out some drips of blue gloss. The candle box is still there! Precious candles, precious light!


So, this leads me to a theory I have about flow … being in the flow.


I went out to find a treasure chest one Monday morning in December and I found one, my words when I saw it were ‘that is exactly what I am looking for!’


But it was a little more than I wanted to pay and painted blue gloss. The rope being my biggest hurdle.


But if I didn’t buy it I would be taking myself out of the flow …

What were the chances of finding exactly what I was looking for?


The chap said it had just come in.

As it was sat at the front of a huge barn full of nikkanakkynoos next to an open van that was being unloaded, there was no reason to disbelieve him.


My treasure chest and I had arrived at the same time!


I wonder what voyages this salty old sea chest has made?

In the days of sea mail not email…


I am looking forward to repainting it ….

(Flow… the best justification for buying a sea chest ever!)



Diary of an Exhibition – Sea Chest

I am painting treasure chests –  sea chests to go with my seascapes for the exhibition in April.


Here is the first one….

It is a lovely old pine box that was painted in horrible black gloss paint, and had obviously spent it’s life in a shed somewhere.


I have let some of the age and history of the box shine through – the old pine and the black paint, by knocking back my painting  and giving it an aged look in keeping with its age,  but more importantly hopefully I have given it a whole new lease of life and it can continue gathering a history and not end up thrown into the dump or burnt, which may well have been its fate otherwise.


I like the idea of drawing with sand paper on painted wood, a bit like drawing with and eraser on pencil on paper.


I am using Danish painted furniture, antique sea chests and retro sailor tattoos as the inspiration for the imagery.


Am looking forward to setting up some photos of the treasure chests together when the oil paintings are properly dry.







I still want to ‘weather beat’ the inside of the box, but am loving the red.

LET GO MAKE ART – It’s Body Magic! – Free Creativity Course

I have consistently produced artwork over the past twenty years …


I have not only paid my living expenses, but I have bought a house, some land, a horse  –  from selling my art. I am an independent artist!


Despite the fact that as a child I heard at school and from the adults around me  –


‘You will never make it as an artist’

‘You are not good enough’

‘Artists are crazy!’

‘It is too difficult to make your living as an artist’

‘Do something sensible with your life!’ ….


And despite being rejected from 5 art schools!


I have proved them all wrong!



By learning the art of Body Magic…inspired by the wonderful Alexander principle…



  • By learning how to bring my whole self into the process of making art – body mindfulness!
  • By learning how to let go of unhelpful and often unconscious habits that block the flow of creativity
  • By developing a reliable understanding of my anatomy and how my thinking effects my movement, which in turn effects the art I make…
  • By learning how to make things easier!


This free 8 day e-course will help you do the same …

Learning Body Magic is all about finding EASE…


If you are interested in letting go to make art and finding out about the art of Body Magic at the same time this course is for you!


And it is FREE!


If you are interested in finding inspiration for your creativity why not give yourself a present and SIGN UP NOW at end of blog.


If you are already a creative person but feel you are stuck or need a creative jump start, a different perspective, then this free course may be just what you need…

Why not give it a go?


Being an artist or creative person of any kind is, in many ways,  being an alchemist or  magician –


  • Taking materials and transforming them into something wonderful…
  • Taking a piece of cheap paper, for example, and transforming it into something of high value by adding your unique presence to it!
  • It is so simple really and anything goes in art!


Success in art is available to anyone these days! Magical you, you can do it too!


It is just that so often we get in our own way by not having the confidence to let go and make art, by not believing in ourselves and our own unique perspective ..




Your art may lead you to riches… you never know… you + art = pure gold.


Being an artist is all about creating a better future for yourself and others …

The world needs artists and creative thinkers right now.


So why not Let Go and Make Art?  It is Body Magic indeed.


Sign up below and 8 lessons will arrive magically into your in-box for the next 8 days and ease you into your art and your creative process.


More about Body Magic on the course.


See you there!


It’s fun!


Diary of an Exhibition – A Line in the Sand


A day at the the beach

Walking the spine

Drawing a line in the sand

Sea air


Shifts in energy patterns


I have been looking at the wave patterns on the beach seeing bodies … body consciousness … body maps on the beach …


I am lying in semi-supine a lot

Coming back to my back

For inspiration, release, rest, renewal and because it is cold and dark and winter and my Alexander Technique table is warm and rejuvenating

I can imagine lying on a warm beach, letting go, feeling good …


When I lie in semi supine, my realising muscles let go like grains of shifting sand, changing my perceptions and my feel …


Waves of my breath and the waves of my thinking effecting my muscles

Allowing change …

Expansion …

Allowing shifts in form and consciousness …


There is time to find freedom …



Angels, dancing being


Ribs, a spine, connective tissue…


Female forms, a circle dance, rhythms



The embrace – a madonna and child



Walking the ribcage..

Diary of an Exhibition – When you are Dead…

When you are an artist people regularly joke ‘You will be rich when you are dead’ or

‘I have to wait until you die, then my painting will be worth a fortune!’


Is there any other job where folk anticipate your death for monetary gain, even if it is in a jocular fashion. I guess it is quite flattering really!


I painted this seascape today, in oils, wearing my new vapour mask, and my lungs still hurt.


I don’t know whether it is spending the day breathing in condensation from the inside of the mask, or the fact that it is practically impossible to completely avoid fumes in the course of a day, but I realise that I have to STOP painting in oils.


It’s 33 years since art college and I have painted hundreds and hundreds of oil paintings. I can’t say I haven’t followed through. I have. But enough is enough..

I get the message…

NO MORE FUMES or it will be an earlier than necessary demise for me and all the jokers will be cashing in!


I didn’t expect this blog to turn into some sort of bad soap opera…. but there it is, my apologies!


I accept that the time has come to give up being an ‘oilpaintaholic’  and I want to swear a lot about it!


Going to battle with oil paints and brush has been challenging, exciting, interesting and fun and oil painting has been my love but I get the message…STOP HURTING YOURSELF!


So, if you own one of my oil paintings….look after it!

Looks like there’s not going to be any more!


One door closes, another door opens…



‘Sea Air’

50 x 60 cms

Oil on Canvas


Diary of an Exhibition – Ego Gets In The Way

I have had the intention of writing a follow up to my free creativity e-course experiment – Any Body Can Paint, whilst working towards my exhibition. It has been bubbling under the surface.


On Monday i decided to get up early, 5am, and wait for daylight 8am, to go into the studio to be brilliant! Yes rational behaviour on a freezing cold late November morning I know…..but I was excited as my new water soluble oil paints had arrived.


Things did NOT go according to plan AT ALL!

The water soluble oil paints do NOT behave like ordinary oil paints. I couldn’t work them…

The paints are NOT odourless, they had a horrible smell that made me feel distinctly queasy..

and my feet got freezing cold – mid winter Scotland, unheated studio – durr!


I was back in the house by 10am feeling miserable as sin and wondering what on earth am I doing?

I climbed back into bed to get warm and watched art documentaries on I-player, feeling really unwell – big sob for the suffering artist!

Later i lay in Alexander Technique semi-supine on my fabulous new infrared heat mat, a gift from a pupil.

The thought came to me  to doodle with no need of the end result…no ego… not to make anything finished…. just play….just dream a bit on paper…


More semi supine….the infrared heat is great

More doodling….

and looking at this photo of sand… meditating on the way it looks a bit brain-like…

The way it shows tide and flow, yet is not regular…


Gradually I was gettng in a better mood…

I had returned to present moment, present time….not ego time!



And then it struck me – a great big light bulb moment!

I was going through the process I want to teach in my body of art –  Alexander Technique and Art book.

Meeting my ego, my frustration, my resistance, my judgement, my desire to be good, failing…and working my way through it…


I have been typing furiously ever since and have got the first chapter and an outline of the book sketched out….


Art has a funny way of teaching us…

Showing up to paint is facing yourself in many unexpected ways.

My ego got in the way because I was excited to paint another big painting, to repeat the fun I had with ‘Wind and Sea’.

Trying to repeat something NEVER works.

‘Wind and Sea’ arrived out of the moment.


Somehow we have to bring ourselves fresh to each canvas and sometimes we get in the way by thinking it is going to flow in a certain way at a certain time.

By trying to control the outcome…

My outcome for Monday was unexpected and exciting and absolutely NOT what I thought it was going to be!


(Yesterday my new vapour mask  arrived so I can get the PROPER oils out

again! Yippee!



‘Wind and Sea’

Oil on Canvas

122 x 92 cms

Diary of an Exhibition – Boundaries


The incident of the mask has made me think about boundaries

I thought I had a strong boundary in place by wearing a mask

Yet I still got hurt…


How often do I think my boundaries are strong when they are not?

How often do I think I am doing the right thing but in reality I am doing it in the wrong way?

How do I know?


Wise friends are needed

Filters on reality…


The shore is a boundary

The boundary shifts with the tide

Out and in breathing the moon

Eternal rhythm washing

The boundary can be shallow deep

Cold warm

Safe dangerous

Harsh gentle

Undercurrents pull

Storms bring debris and treasures


The boundary between life and death


Breathe the wind


My dad died this year and sometimes I feel like I am drowning


I have time

Let go

Allow feel again


Boundary less




Trust depth breath thought … the direction of the tide

Go go go, float away, let go … be brave – glide

The water is too cold for me to swim!


Once I was held upside down in water

I drowned and was reborn

My body flowed like never before

I was grateful to be guided there

The water was warm

I loved the people who showed me the water


Little by little I let go

The sea helps


I chose to paint the place where sea meets land

To really see the edge of the world

My island


Painters paint not because they want to

But because they have to

To understand

It sounds pretentious right? But it is true

Why would you do it other wise?


‘Painting is with me but another word for feeling.’ John Constable




Diary of an Exhibition – Flow is a Wavy Line

Diary of an Exhibition – Flow is a Wavy Line


I walked on the beach yesterday thinking about painting seascapes and really hoping the sea air would clear my lungs

I was in a great flow of painting these last two weeks, then I messed up my lungs by having the wrong filter in the mask
A high followed by a low
Flow disrupted


But it has got me thinking about breathing again – to breathe, to be inspired




Breathe out, breathe out, breathe out, let go….
I have been doing lots of Alexander Technique whispered ah’s and it has helped a lot


I started to think about flow as a wavy line, the ups and downs of it
Flow is certainly not linear
Trying to control flow doesn’t work (well not for me)
But in such a linear wold it is easy to forget that, and bang our head against a hard wall


Flow, as in inspiration, being in the flow and letting artwork flow, just happens…
Like breathing
We don’t have to think about every breath
Yet we can bring our breath under our conscious control


Painting or drawing is like that
We make a conscious decision to show up to paint
To organise the art materials
To be present
Yet we don’t have to think about every brush stroke
We can let it flow
Not know where the next line is gong to go to
Be surprised by the journey of hand and eye on paper or canvas
Arrive at a new place, a new painting


Breathe and draw
Breathe and flow
Breathe and be delighted


Moments in time
Moments of breath


Flow surprises us
Flow is changeable
Ever changing


Flow is shifting and shifts
Present moment present time
Flow is present to oneself and more
Flow is getting out of the way
Flow allows…


Flow is a gift
Whispers of intuition
Barely heard ideas murmmering in the back of our mind take us there
Ignoring what comes in as intuition on the breath stops or limits the flow
When flow arrives it feels great
Flow is timeless
Flow is unpredictable
Flow is interesting
Flow cannot be contained…


‘Flow take me over and bring grace’ – a prayer, a meditation….


I visited the bridge in the sea yesterday
The starting place for this exhibition
The tide was out again
I will keep going back until the tide is in…


Breathe out, breathe out, breathe out, the tide is out
Just keep breathing out
Allow it out
Take your time
Release slowly, softly, calmly, consciously
Waves come in groups of seven I believe… the seventh wave the biggest…
Breathe out…the in breath will simply flow in


Someone had graffited a message onto the bridge
Scrawled the words EASY on it’s structure


Flow is easy
Yet finding flow can seem tricky
In reality it is never more than a few breaths away
Maybe it is always there, just our perception is clouded, our breath held, fear masking the flow… breathing can be the bridge…


Flow and courage
A brave heart to be that vulnerable
Breath massages the heart


This week I chose not to worry or nag the flow but to let it take me….
Breathing my heart

A few conscious inspired out breaths are all I need to bring to the drawing board
Awakening tides
Awakening the feel
Awakening drawings with my breath
Drawing breath


Let flow take me up or down, into light or shade, let flow be a wavy line
A wavering line
Uncertainty is Ok

Show up


This week I choose to flow into drawing with no expectation of outcome, which is just as well as I have only ever painted the sea in oils so far…

‘Forward and up and over the bridge’….
A title for a painting perhaps


For more about breath and inspiration CLICK HEREimg_3650

Diary of an Exhibition – Vapours, The Incident of the Mask!

Diary of an Exhibition – Vapours, The Incident of the Mask


GOOD NEWS! I am more an idiot than a lunatic!


Turns out that the mask I have been wearing had a dust filter and not a vapour filter in it! Who knew? Not me!


But my brilliant 80 year old retired biochemist friend, listened to my woes and thought something was odd, so took down the details, researched the mask and told me of my mistake.


No wonder my lungs have been hurting!

An artist with the vapours, Victorian melodrama scenario, light headed damsel in distress. and my very own Miss Marple… plot solved.


However, I AM going to experiment with other mediums for a while, and a couple of wonderful folk have pointed me in the direction of water soluble oil paints which I have NEVER tried. So something new waiting to be discovered.


I have been thinking about relationships – lungs, air, the sea, breathing, waves, Alexander Technique, wind, form… and getting ideas for paintings. So am turning a depressing blip of a few days into something positive in my mental sketchbook.


Meantime AHA, the incident of the mask over and note to self lots of Whispered AHHHHH’s – releasing out breaths to clear my lungs deeply.


I keep mentioning the whispered ah – if you want to find out more and why the school kids I teach call them ‘get out of jail free cards’…Click here


to a go to media download BREATHE, lessons in the Alexander Technique


Today am feeling a huge sigh of relief and blessed to have the Alexander Technique and clever problem solving caring friends in my life!





Detail from ‘Luna Sea’

Oil on Canvas

80 x 100 cms



Diary of an Exhibition – Luna Sea

Diary of an Exhibition – Luna Sea


A grumpy two days of thinking oils and me are OVER! Not because I am not totally in love with oils, but because my lungs don’t like them anymore


This morning I decided to go into the studio and pack my oil paints away for now and let the atmosphere detox

The drying paintings can be locked into a contained space where the door can stay firmly shut until they have dried out!


I couldn’t help it…. once I was in there I just had to attempt to finish the painting started 2 days ago ‘Luna Sea’, painted over the couple of days of this super moon


A girl can’t help herself….Oil paint addict or something?


Here it is unfinished and finished

Waves and wind and rain


They photographs look like 2 different paintings, begging the question is a painting a physical object or in this digital era just an image?


I HAVE packed my paints up for now, to let my lungs recover, and am sitting wondering how to move forward with my seascape exhibition


Draw, draw, draw – the anatomy of a wave – seems to be the answer


I have no idea what kind of drawings I will make or what they will look like but it will be interesting to get clearer about the anatomy, if that is the right word, of wave energy, chaos or structure?


So that when I have a sneaky paint in oils sometime in the future….






‘Luna Sea’

Oil on Canvas

80 x 100 cms

Diary of an Exhibition – Lunatic

Diary of an Exhibition – Lunatic


I have been busy – painting like a crazy loon

Well it is a super lune

Super moon


This painting has been hanging around my studio all summer – unfinished, unsure how I was going to move forward with it…


Today I started working on a seascape and as I did my usual, madly attempt to cover the white canvas as quickly as possible, I had an idea to work on this canvas too. That the super moon had awoken a new horse power….sea charged!


As I painted the words ‘The Moon Woke Me’ rattled around my head, a title…





‘The Moon Woke Me’

Oil on Canvas

152 x 100 cms






It is a huge painting…


Then I went back to the seascape… thinking about how the moon affects the sea, affects bodies, waves of energy emerging and subsiding..

Wishing I lived closer to the sea to go there tonight..




Oil on Canvas 100 x 80 cms – unfinished (?)


So why lunatic?

Because my lungs hurt, even though I have been wearing the crazy spectacle steaming mask!


I feel like an utter crazy lunatic – a super loon indeed!


I know I have breathed too many fumes from oil paint over 30 years of painting

I am sensitive to the fumes…. worse luck!

Yet because I love oil paint best, like a loony, I persist for it’s feel


I am feeling mega cheesed off and wheezy

Maybe the super moon is illuminating my super stupidity!


So tonight I keep going outside to breathe fresh air, working my lungs, hoping for the prickly feeling to GO AWAY!


Lots of Alexander Technique Whispered Ah’s…..

Waves of life

Breathe out, breathe out,  breathe out – let go…

Allow the fresh and new in…


And out there – not a super moon in sight

Just a dank dark cloudy Scottish night and a lunatic stubborn artist who probably had better give up oil paints!


So, what happens next? I don’t know…A new moon!?


But one way or another, I am going to have to pack up my oils for now, to clear out the gunk of fumes that is hurting me and experiment with other mediums for a while…


(William Blake has come into my life in weird ways twice in two days – so maybe it’s a signpost forward… Time to look at William Blake again… I love his work… tomorrow….)






Diary of an Exhibition – Lost Moments in Paint

Diary of an Exhibition – Lost Moments in Paint


As soon as you start a painting it becomes an attempt to find resolution to a problem

An ending
A visual solution

An idea unformed trying to find form
Each start is a commitment to the relationship
You are undertaking a journey
There is no turning back


The dialogue between colour and canvas, paint brush and intention


It’s no good stopping a painting before it is finished, no matter how hard the journey

If, by it’s completion, it is not your best painting, there are lessons to be learned

The next one will be better


I love oil paint because along the way you can change, change, change
Oil paint allows change in a way no other medium does


However lost moments in oil paint are the result
Sad sacrifices
Brave goodbyes (hankie moment coming up – sob sob..)


These images are some of the lost moments this week
Paintings that have emerged briefly

Moments of thought

Moments of almost resolution
The paintings that lie beneath are waiting to emerge another day
Glimpses of potential


I learned a word this week form my singer songwriter friend Woodstock Taylor – palimpsest
– a manuscript or piece of writing material on which later writing has been superimposed
– something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form


These images are some of the painting that lies underneath



The painting hidden within my paintings this week




The moments that existed – were enjoyed and now are gone




Paintings surfacing briefly now hidden under the surface



Thank goodness for a camera!


The sacrificed teaches – You have got to be brave, be prepared to lose and still move forward

You have to be prepared to change
So, my palimpsest paintings are starting places for the next paintings to be made


Ideas to come back to and reclaim

Diary of an Exhibition – Triptych





40 x 40 cms




40 x 40 cms



40 x 40 cms






‘Hope at Sea’

by Kirsten Harris

Triptych 120 x 40 cms

Oil on Canvas


I woke up this morning brooding on my triptych and whether I could resolve the problem of bridging the three images or not…
So I have been working on it…


The painting needs to dry now, the oil is so thick it is becoming unworkable and then I will decide if I have made 3 separate paintings or a triptych.


Hanging them on a big wall with space between each picture is the next step when the paint dries. But I am happy to leave the painting alone for now, and maybe I will decide it is complete.





Diary of an Exhibition – Triptych or Not?

I have been working on a triptych


The triptych started colourfully but the snowy light of the day seemed to influence the paint robbing the colour to a more subtle scheme


A triptych – 3 individual paintings becoming one

They have to work alone and together


I started to think of the painting in terms of relationship




And the thing between us – the relationship


Alone and connected, all of us


The thing between, in this case the middle painting, has to connect from both sides and make sense of the other paintings

The middle painting is a bridge

From one place to another


With this thought the painting started to develop a narrative…


Two boats on the horizon

The viewer is seperated

Hope lies far out to sea…


A heavy cloud has gathered over the small boats

Light is needed

A way to reach the boats…


The boats are alone

Connected only by waves and sky

Are the boats going away or coming towards?









For me, the painting works as 3 individual images


Do I stop here?

Or sacrifice the individual to make a cohesive whole?

Is it possible in this painting?


Finishing a painting is a little bit like correcting spelling mistakes and punctuation in a piece of writing

It doesn’t necessarily need much to bring it all together

To make sense of the structure

But often we need to look for a long time to find the missing comma

The missing brush stroke


Finishing a painting is finding a full stop.


Perhaps the full stop for now is the separated triptych

The bridge may not be possible in this work this time

A problem to solve another day



















Diary of an Exhibition – Wind and Sea


‘Wind and Sea’

by Kirsten Harris

Oil on Canvas

122 x 92 cms



On the way….to a painting..




Sometimes interesting paint appears…





Only to disappear again…





Paintings hidden within paintings

Every brush stroke a thought

Like the wind changing the sea and sky

Our form changed by our thinking


Moments in paint



On the way to itself



Diary of an Exhibition – Mask

Diary of an Exhibition – Mask


I allow myself to fail…. it’s a good strategy for success with oil paint, oil paint allows change

I am wearing a mask in the studio thinking about choices

Wear the mask and paint, or chose another medium?

I love to paint in oils


So today I chose to paint, and I will paint big and go for it


I will put my mask on and paint for the day….I will be disciplined and not breathe in any fumes


Painting the sea, I decide that it is easier to paint form than the formless

Painting the sea and the wind and the feeling of the beach is a challenge

Painting a horse or a lion feels easier

I stand at my easel and stay with it


The job is to feel – feel the movement, feel the space, feel the wind, feel myself there

A photograph is always going to be 2d and flat, no matter how beautiful

A painting has a chance of expressing something of the multi dimensional experience of being on the beach

Painting might seem old hat, but it does it for me!


When painting, it is best not to judge the progress of the painting

Stay present to every brush mark

Be in the painting


I am painting a large seascape

Evoking the beach

Disciplined about wearing my mask

The day is cold and sunny and bright, the door is open

Maisie dog is being undemanding


I woke this morning thinking about chalk pastels

The perfect medium to take to the beach

Instant colour

A solution for sketching

I am happy with that thought


I must make every brush mark count today

I can’t afford to waste my lungs –  too many years painting in oils and breathing in toxic fumes

Now I have to limit the amount of oil paintings I make


Today I painted the sea




Wind and Sea

Oil on Canvas

80 x 100 cms





Tools of the trade

The aftermath

I am a very messy painter!



Diary of an Exhibition – Chasing Light

Diary of an Exhibition – Chasing Light – Day 2


I am chasing light

Obsessed with clouds

Tormented by the sky


I visited the bridge again today

The tide was out


Driving towards him  – a weather front

Torrential rain for the last few miles

But I could see clear sky in the direction of the bridge

I was excited


These are painterly clouds


The stream was bigger today, much bigger

She had a new energy, the rain had filled her


I painted the bridge before I left for the sea, getting to know him

He interested me more than I thought he would

I thought I would be scared of his structure, but I am not

Though I don’t yet know how to describe him


The oil sketch was terrible

My lungs started to hurt even though I was wearing a mask

I think the culprit was a ‘fast drying white oil paint’

I have thrown it away


But I have started

Better to start than to be scared of starting

Scared of making a fool of oneself

Who cares about that – only me –  and that is a hindrance

Let it go – be the fool


There were more rainbows over the sea today

I ran towards them


I took many photographs and wondered why I would need to paint

But a photograph is always inadequate

The grandeur is lost

No-one would chose a photograph over a Turner sea, a Constable sky…


The sky and sea of the last two days –  the paintings of August Strindberg


Homeward a grey sky with greyer pig clouds – they really did look like pigs, lots of them

Should I just continue painting animals?

i can paint animals!

Why am I wanting to paint the ethereal…the not there?


The sky is incredible today

The sky has wow factor


A giant leopard sky accompanied me home across the moor stretching her orange light body across the horizon, small clouds her spots

A horse appears next to the moon

The sky is mocking me

I should be painting animals

Another doubt thought

Who am I kidding.. wanting to paint like the great masters of paint


An expanding circular rainbow opens around the crescent moon lighting a lonely hill… Samuel Palmer would know how to paint this mystical, yet very British landscape..

I want to paint the night


Paintings in words


I had a strange vision of light and colour at the harbour

Steely graphite grey sea contained by the harbour wall

A richer deeper coloured sea beyond the limitations

I have set myself up to fail

Is it safe to leave the harbour?

The sea is rough


A moored red fishing boat

The horizon turns pink

Singing steel grey and pink – it’s a great look

The harbour sucks in the pink light energy

The rose tinted ease of sunset glows

The enclosure is suddenly circled by a large flight of spiralling white gulls

A painted vortex of light moving

Everything will be alright

Hunger is making me strangely visionary


It changes fast

It all changes too fast


I am questioning mediums…

My love is oils

How can I paint an entire exhibition in oils if my lungs hurt after an hour?


A painting is an object as well as an image

My lungs object to oils!

What kind of object am I making?




Diary of an Exhibition – The Bridge in the Sea

Diary of an Exhibition – Day 1

The Bridge in the Sea


A bridge on a beach crosses a stream
When the tide comes in the stream is immersed by the sea
The bridge is stranded in the middle of the ocean
No one can cross to him
He is useless… a bridge from nowhere to nowhere


Little stream flowing out to sea, you will become changed forever
You will become salty


Today the bridge is useful –
A crossing place from one shifting sand to another
A connector


The tide rises and the stream disappears
The little stream is consumed by an energy bigger than herself
There is nothing she can do
She merges and becomes one with the sea
She hasn’t reached her destination but the sea has claimed her


Is she lost?


Incoming sea,  my emotions rise high, I too must wait
There is no bridge for me
The bridge is unreachable

I am at sea
Wait for the tide to go out, there is nothing to do
Wait –  the flow of the little stream will reappear


Little stream will you take me forward into my flow?

Now you are here again… up and over the bridge I can go


Up and over the bridge…a whisper to my ankles… up and over the bridge… a whisper to my legs …. up and over the bridge….my hips… many bridges…


The tide has risen, there is nothing to do, be present
I cannot swim out to you I will drown
The current will consume me


There is nowhere for me to be but here alone


The winter’s night is long
Only the ocean is available
Merge and become one
I have done it before


The stream has been eaten by the tide
The sea has devoured her
She has lost her own path
Her course is invisible
She accepts and waits


The moon pushes and pulls
Days and nights will pass
The tide comes in, the tide goes out
I breathe… I must remember to breathe
Ahhhh… I whisper to the wind
Arghhh… the wind screams back
The gust is so strong, but the stream is not altered


I look to you, the bridge in the sea today
You with your strange metaphors
A bridge from this non place to that non place
My unmade image is in the ocean, my seascape
Help me bridge!
You are solid and structured, but strange too


When the tide comes in – you bridge the present invisible
When the tide is out –  you bridge the flow


I cannot see the flow but it is here
I wait for my flow to emerge thinking the wind
Little stream I am here…waiting for YOU
I know YOU will appear


I am lost staring out

The sea of uncertain change becomes a dark streak of power on the horizon
I watch white horses
I want to capture the power you have over me, but I know I never can
I am awash with choppy emotions
I will paint you to the best of my ability
It is all I can do


You are a very little stream but you seem confident and tireless
You are strong resolute bridge for such a little stream…the sea must really bash you up sometimes


My paintbrush you are a bridge
My intention another bridge

Today we are separated – the sea, the paint, the desire


I am clear I will paint seascapes all winter…and the spring will come again
I will paint the colour of love into the captured tide….I will let you obsess me

No-one can help me to the other side…the painting done


The tide goes out at a certain time, there is a rhythm to it
I paint, but I can only paint at certain times… there is a rhythm to that too…time….wait for me…I need you


Today I visited the bridge in the sea
The wind was high and cold
Exhilarating and freezing
The tide was out
The bridge let me glimpse the stream below to pass to the other side

I visited the sea who had pulled away from the shore
I was glad


The wind was in control of the day


‘I am here and I want to paint!’ I said
‘NO!’ said the wind ‘You may not!’
You can not capture the sea today
I am too strong for you
My force is penetrating
I will blow you away
You who are nothing’






Transforming Stuff

Transforming Stuff

Kirsten Harris

I can transform stuff with a thought!


Oh, what a wonderful sentence!
The one I so wanted to be true when I was a ittle girl. I’d watch Bewitched and twiddle my nose and nothing would happen. I’d climb into the wardrobe and go absolutely no-where. No Narnia in the back of my bedroom cupboard. Worse luck!


How I yearned to be able to transform stuff.

Perhaps we all do?
Perhaps that’s the reason Harry Potter is so popular!?

We want to transform stuff with a thought – to be magicians!


And we can!
I learned how to transform stuff when I started having Alexander lessons age 24. The light bulb switched on in my befuddled brain in that first lesson in Edinburgh with Astrid Cox. The heavenly choirs sang, cartoon birds flew around my head. It was amazing! It was magical transformation, and I was in charge of it. My life changed for ever in that first lesson. I was being shown the way to finding my inner power, to being the magician I so longed to be!


So, I can transform stuff!
I pick up my paintbrush and make a mark on paper or canvas. It is transformed. Creatively or destructively… that’s up to me, but the transformation is…


I send a thought through my neck, my shoulder, my armpit down my long arm and out of my fingers – my arm releases, lengthens. Transformed by my magical thinking…


The transformed thinking transforms my painting. Win Win, Think Think. Body Magic! (click) 


I have choice, masses and masses or transforming choices, moment by moment, day by day..


But I am human! So what do I do?
I get stuck on the things I have no control over!
Batter my head against walls I cannot climb…
Try to push heavy rocks up hills…..


I can’t change you!
I can’t make you think or act differently…
I can’t make you speak to me…
I can’t make you see my point of view….

I can’t bring you back from the dead….


But I can change me…
Can I think differently?
Can I speak to me?
Can I see your point of view?
Can I bring me back from the dead?


This year has been hard, cancer – death in the family.
I have carried on making art, but my art has become smaller, tighter, controlled, safe.


It is time again for me to transform my stuff.
Stand up and face myself in the studio.
Let go and transform the death stuff into the stuff of life…
Not worry about what is going to happen next. Trust!
Come back to creation…
Squeeze vibrant oil colour onto my glass palette and be present to the materials that speak to me…
Let the colour tell me what to do…
Feel my way forward with oil on brush again…(my wand)
Show up and let my transformation happen…
Allow myself not to know what the painting is going to look like, where it is going to take me…
Let my life appear on canvas…


Only my fear has kept me away form my beloved oil paints.
Death got in the way.


Painting calls on us to show up, really show up and be open to the transformation that we will discover when we let go of fear, release ourselves from old stuff, bad stuff to let ourselves transform.
Making any art is an act of transformation.
It requires a certain boldness and a certain devil may care attitude to stand in our own presence, to allow vulnerability. To let our stuffiness out…
We become magicians for a short while.
We become extra-ordinary.
And people recognise it, instinctively, intuitively…
They offer you money for your work!

A thought becomes the sea… thought upon thought building up to become moving waves of energy…the energy becomes a horse… becomes breath.. a diaphragm…space…



I am processing my life as I paint, meditating in colour, feeling my way forward, listening to shades of blue, white light…


It is work and it is play. It is serious and it is fun! Thought after thought. Alexander Technique’s conscious control….
Art has presence
Spirit contained on canvas
Life transformed into colour
Thought speaking through visual image…


And yes, sometimes we get stuck.
We can’t face ourselves in this way because life has got horrible and scary.
Life has become too much…We might go wrong. Paint something ghastly…

I can’t be bothered! Can I hide in the cupboard?
Transformation? No thanks!…. I want to be safe.

Quite OK stuck in my habit, thanks awfully!


Standing in a cold studio on a bleak day in Scotland meeting my true self or watching crap TV on a squashy warm sofa? Hmmmmm….


Can I transform stuff?



At the end of this blog is a link to a free 8 day course ‘Any Body Can Paint.’
Exploring ideas around creativity and Alexander Technique….

I’m Stuck!


I’m Stuck!

by Kirsten Harris


Do you ever get stuck – physically, mentally, emotionally?

Stuck in your work?

Stuck with your creativity?

Stuck in your relationships?

Stuck in your thinking?….

I do! For sure!


Pondering my present ‘stuck-ness’ I decided I would use the notion of being stuck as a subject for teaching my high school teenagers, as the sentence ‘I’m stuck’ reminded me of being at school….


Here are some answers from the children from yesterdays class-


What happens when you think ‘I am stuck?’


My shoulders tighten

I get frustrated

I get a headache

My breathing goes weird

I feel stupid

I stop trying

I feel defeated

I feel frozen

I don’t know how to move forward

I feel anger, annoyance or irritation

I feel worried


What solutions could we find when we feel stuck?




See the bigger picture.

Know when to stop – noticing when I feel tiredness, sore or achey.

Notice when I have stopped being productive.

Notice when I am practising my mistakes.

Notice when I am losing focus.

Notice that I am creating obstacles.

Need to think about how to get around the obstacle.

Notice I can’t do it as I am trying to do it.

Think about how I am, how my body is.

Ask for help, but that’s difficult because of fear of being wrong especially in class and my stubbornness or pride!

Sometimes I feel stuck before I give it a go. I think I can’t do it.

I don’t want to do the things that are tricky so I put them off until last, then I spend more time feeling stuck.

I need to prioritise, because sometimes I feel there is not enough time, and that makes me feel stuck.

Notice that when I am all tight and bunched up it gets harder.


Aren’t kids insightful and brilliant!


What really struck me about the conversations is – are we taught how to ‘deal’ with being stuck or being wrong or making a mistake?  Do we just fear being wrong and get defensive instead of welcoming not knowing or our mistakes as a chance to learn, grow and create better connections?


What is your strategy for being stuck?

The skills that Alexander Technique provide consistently surprise me as a ‘fool proof’ paradigm for working through my stuck-ness.

Good job I find Alexander Technique consistency foolproof as I am so often a fool!

I love that the principles consistently move me to seeking truth.


Are children who are naturally questioning taught the art of questioning?

Or does asking a question become something to be ashamed of?

I remember a school report saying ‘Kirsten asks too many questions why!’ I thought it was a crazy report when I was 9 years old, and I still do!


The kids that I teach Alexander Technique to know how to access poise and the inner strength that it gives them. They know how to think and change instantly. However they informed me yesterday that they do not like to be forward and up in poise and direction in general class situations for fear of ‘being seen to be the teachers pet!’ They prefer to slump!


The school culture is slump.

Culturally we are allowing kids to become stuck!

Physically stuck and therefore inevitably mentally and emotionally stuck.

A class room of kids with the consensus downward pull of gravity being the major unconscious influence on the growing bodies.  School education is not teaching an understanding of up or buoyancy or balance.

The kids want to be seen as normal. Slump is the norm!


The lucky few who get Alexander lessons as part of education at this state high school, constantly ask –

‘Why doesn’t everyone at school get Alexander Technique? School would be better!’

They know they are lucky…

They know they are being taught skills that they can apply to all sorts of situations…

They know they are getting an advantage….


I remember the late Don Burton saying during our training – ‘As Alexander Technique teachers we will know our job is done when the world no longer needs us!’

In schools our job has not even begun!


And so yesterday we ended the class discussion on being stuck with the kids choosing to stop and constructively rest. A bit of semi-supine in the middle of a hectic school day.


But first the children decided to do the mathematics and see if there really is enough time to stop in a day.

They worked out (I was stuck with the maths) that if we take the ubiquitous seventeen minutes for semi supine, in a 24 hour period there are 84.7 seventeen minute slots available!


Insightful teenagers who are great at maths. I love my job!




I am currently writing about unsticking creatively, see link below or

If you would like to find out more about the benefits of  constructive rest click the links below to take you to my media downloads.

Body Magic







What’s nagging away at you?


What’s nagging away at you?
Kirsten Harris


I am chewing the cud with regard those thoughts that nag away at me. What are they saying and what they are about? Why are they so persistent?
I have decided to call these nagging thoughts horse power thoughts, as I am realising that they are important messengers.

These are the kind of thoughts that I intuitively know are going to take me forward in life.  However I so often ignore them!

Do you know the ones I mean?

Does it happen to you?

The really good idea that feels difficult. The brilliant intuition that calls on you to move out of the so called ‘comfort’ zone, that to be honest with the nagging horse power thoughts in the background is more of a ‘discomfort zone.’


So why do I so often ignore these useful thoughts, ideas and inspirations? Those little whinnies from my stable brain that are not going to go away.
I ignore and they nag, nag, nag….For days, weeks, months and even years. And I carry on with the ‘donkey’ work, chained to the known and the should and oughts that I think I have to do..


Low level guilt accompanies my mule like resistance, as I plough through life’s duties.


So today my thought is that those nag thoughts are a call of my creative flow…
They are horse power thoughts…. and like a lively magnificent steed pawing the ground, inviting me to climb aboard, exciting and unnerving…

Horse power thoughts scare us because they are going to move us forward.
They are going to transform us.
Lift us out of the mundane, give us wings, help us charge forward in life.  In short, horse power thoughts may just change us to become the magical mystical creatures we really are.

Perhaps it is an inbred herd mentality that choses to stay safe rather than run wild and free with the horses of our creative mind.
We want to change yet stay exactly the same! Change means confronting our ‘true’ self? Yes,  that can be a little unnerving for sure!
And so I plod along in life instead of galloping forward.


Just like our equestrian counterparts I can tighten my neck when frightened…a horse power thought, hmmm, not today! Not enough time! Not enough money!
I  freeze and fix myself, hold my breathe or run away, pulling in the opposite direction or work even harder on what I already know.


So what is going to encourage me to move forward? The carrot or the stick? Probably neither….


I am called to tune into and listen to what my ‘horses’ are saying… to show up and be really present to that nagging, see it as whispers from my intuition, my higher self…and follow the impulses.

Follow the float.

Allow myself a little time each day to BE my horse power thoughts.

Those nagging voices are not going to shut up, I might as well listen, for perhaps they really are encouraging me gently to let go into the creative flow. To giddy up and enjoy the ride!img_0437

Get Out Of My Way!

Get Out of My Way!
by Kirsten Harris


Get out of my way I want to create


Who or what is in the way?
Me of course!
It is only ever me, my thinking, that gets in the way of my creativity. Like a rabbit caught in the headlights I let fear, ‘excusitis’, laziness, procrastination, not good enough, no time, startle pattern trapped in my body – and another large dose and dollop of fear get in my way. Get out of my way you lot!


If it’s not love, it’s fear…..The two states are a choice, simple. I chose love! Not scared rabbit.


Creativity, be it painting or any other art form, is a work of love.
It feels vulnerable. We are falling in love…with ourselves…with our work, and we have absolutely no idea what the outcome will be. It is scary.


To be creative we have to allow the vulnerability and just go for it. Let go of the reasons why we can’t. Turn up and allow ourselves to love in the moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing is guaranteed! But it will NEVER be a waste of time.

Creativity may feel vulnerable but it is also powerful and safe.
Your feet are on the ground…. you are not going to fly off planet earth.
Your breath nourishes the work… inspiration.
Your head in the air….. let it soar, up up up to your wildest imaginations, dreaming in cosmic space.
Your heart is open …. allowing love to pour through you and out of you, onto paper, canvas, as painting, writing, music….

Being creative is a work in the present continuous…. you will never get it done.
It is an experiment with being alive. Being present to the freedom available to you, listening for your freedom.

And of course the startled rabbits are going to pop out of their holes, suddenly, unexpectedly. So what! Ignore them! Ignore the fear thoughts, you don’t need to stare back. They will flee back underground just as quickly. Magically disappear into the invisible dark warren.


Recently I wrote a creativity course – Any Body Can Paint. I wrote it in the flow, an outpouring of love.
My thinking is already developing about it…It now comes with a fun disclaimer!
I am not going to teach you to paint! You are going to teach yourself to paint….


Here is Vincent Van Gogh –
“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”
Substitute the word paint for create if you are not a painter.


My creativity course is a work in progress. It is where my creative flow is at the moment.
It is for anyone who needs some encouragement, who has resistance or fear they would like to let go of.
I aim to keep writing about my experiences with art and Alexander Technique, and yes, the rabbits are popping out of the holes, trying to distract me, get me to chase them. I am on a new journey. I would love you to join me.

Let’s make our lives more creative….No more startled creative rabbits caught in the headlights of fear.
The world NEEDS creative people right now!
The world needs your creativity. Your unique perspective. We need all sorts of creative solutions.

So my question is – do you need a little help turning your creative tap on?
In my opinion creativity is the FLOW.
When I get out of my own way it just happens.
The ‘art’ then is about getting out of my own way.
Why not give my 8 day course a go (see below)… It’s a start… art is in start…
You never know what your creative bunny might produce.You’ve read this far, maybe some bunny loves you….img_0518

I am Successful!

I Am Successful!

by Kirsten Harris


I am successful, and that makes me feel good.

Does it shock you, me saying that?

It’s true! I am successful and so are you!


To be honest, I think I had forgotten the simple, fundamental fact – success is a state of mind!

It is pretty easy to lose a sense of success, with so many self-help programmes around, promising better health, more money, improved relationships….. if you buy this course, follow that programme, do this, do that! Let alone the consumer society.


I think I had let a whole set of confused, partially examined values, judgements, comparisons and fears make me feel unsuccessful!

All the ‘not enough’ thoughts had blinded me to my own absolute success. My thinking had got out of balance. I don’t need more money, better health, a nicer car, a husband.. to be a success. The fact that I am alive today proves that I am successful. It is so simple it makes me laugh!


I am successful right here, right now.

All the shoulds, try hards, I must improve and do, do, do thoughts simply slip away. Success is as easy as letting my neck be free!


My success and my sense of humour seem to be totally linked together. Inseparable friends in the kingdom of ease. Or in my case, the queendom of ease! I am a successful woman after all, and I love it.


As Einstein is quoted saying ‘Try not to become a man of success, but rather a man of value.’


How successful do you feel right now? Are you defining success or is an idea of success defining you?

I have been letting go of all the definitions of success that society shoves at me all day long and remembered that I am already successful. I am finding that it really is a much easier way to be. A fun, funny, inspiring freedom to be creative within.




The Nun, Picasso and Me

First day of school, age 11 – knock knees, straw boater and white gloves!


The Nun, Picasso and Me


Kirsten Harris


I have recently started writing about art and the process of making art.

It has led me to the question, why did I chose art as a route in life in the first place?

Believe me, I was discouraged the whole way –


‘No-one ever makes a living from art!’ ‘

‘Only mad people become artists!’

‘Kirsten! You’re not THAT good!’

‘You’ll end up being an artist for the government, drawing the dole!’

That helpful comment was usually accompanied by guffaws of laughter followed closely by the quip ‘Ha Ha Ha, A piss artist!’


Proof that all the nay-sayers were correct came when I was rejected from 5 art schools. Uptight, slumped, angry teenager I was lost for words when the art schools asked about my process.

What process? I didn’t have one!

I completely froze at the interviews.


Yet I persisted..and persisted….something has always kept me going…


Looking back I realise that Sr Marie Therese, the ancient, diminutive, French nun who was my art teacher at school (yup, convent girl) had planted a seed that endured. It is only now I fully realise what she did. She encouraged! She helped us find a beauty that we were capable of revealing.


Every girl at the school, year after year, passed art O’level. There were no failures in her class.


Sr Marie Therese would always find something of merit in our endeavours and help us build from there. A use of colour, an excellent brush mark, a tiny bit of the paper that we had managed to make look beautiful with our pots of poster paints. She spotted something good in us all as she went round the room inspecting our work. She applauded. She was genuinely delighted.


‘Look, Zat bit eez good!’


By drawing our attention to the good bits and ignoring the rest, we made progress.

So simple, so effective, yet so completely stand alone in my school education that art became my calling.

The glimpse of light that I felt I could work towards. A seed of encouragement dropping into the murky waters of my teenage mind.


But what of Picasso?


One day Sr Marie Therese showed me a portfolio of her exquisitely painted gouaches of circus scenes – performers, horses, acrobats, clowns, monkeys, crowds of people and fabulous Parisian street scenes. Painting after painting full of adventure and drama, colour and comedy, observation and exageration. I had never seen anything like them before and never have since. The closest I can think of are Seurat’s circus scenes, but these were smaller, more complex and infinitely more jewel like.

They were incredible…Alive! Still burning in my mind’s eye more than 35 years later.


And then she told me she had been a friend of Picasso as young woman in Paris.


‘Wow you knew Picasso!’ I enthused in my excited 15 year old way.

‘Sister these are amazing! You are a brilliant artist! Wow! Look at that! Wow!’


Something in her clammed up.

‘Zat eez enough now. Go! Go!’ She hastened me out of the art room.


I found out that not long after Sister destroyed all her paintings! She said she had exhibited a terrible ego to show me and that was wrong. What a huge loss to the art world!


Why had Marie Therese become a nun? What had happened in Paris that had led her to the convent? I will never know


But I will never forget her amazing paintings. Or that she taught me we learn best through encouragement – having our own beauty shown to us through our endeavours, so we can follow its path.


As Picasso said – ‘I start with an idea, and it becomes something else.’


I started with an idea of being an artist, a light was lit, though only dimly burning for many years. It wasn’t until learning Alexander Technique that my work was truly ignited and started to sell. Alexander Technique encouraged. The lesson had come full circle. I learned to work with what was working, and let go of the rest.







Any Body Can Paint – Free Online Art Course

My free online art course based on Alexander’s discoveries is now ready to send out, so hopefully the techno side of things will be done tomorrow, and it will be with you by Friday at the latest….


Learning the Alexander Technique was a game changer for my art.


It gave me a confidence and freedom that I had been unable to find.

I started to really enjoy painting.

It turned me into a selling artist.


I have written this course for several reasons


  • I believe Any Body can Paint. The phrase anybody can paint might bring up all sorts of resistance in you, but you have a body, therefore any body can paint.  You can make images. I hope the course will set you on a new path to freedom.
  • Developing body awareness whilst you paint is key. Musicians know that body awareness drastically improve performance, so do actors. Horse riders too! I have taught Alexander Technique in these disciplines . But how about artists and people wanting to learn to paint and draw?
  • A couple of colleagues challenged me to draw from my 20 years experience as a selling artist, and my 20 years experience as an Alexander Technique to create a course for artists.


I am offering this foundation course free as it is a way for me to learn if I can indeed draw my two passions together. I have loved writing it. The only thing I ask is that you will send me an email at some point during or after the course and tell me how it went for you…


What you got out of it and what you would like in the future?

Where you are now with your art and if anything changed?


Fill out your email below and you will receive the course from me very soon.

I will be sending the lessons out over 8 days.





Art and Alexander Technique – Free online course

Just a quick update to say my ANY BODY CAN PAINT – LET GO MAKE ART

Foundation Course is very nearly finished.


It comprises of 7 complete lessons coupling both art and Alexander Technique.


I have designed it for anyone who

  • would like to free up as an artist
  • wants to paint but is daunted by the white piece of paper or blank canvas
  • has a stack of unused art materials
  • feels they are not good enough to be an artist, despite enjoying art at school
  • was put off art at school
  • feels that their art work never improves
  • feels that they try to hard when painting and drawing but always get the same result
  • feels there is a budding artist waiting to get out
  • went to art school but has never painted since
  • gets aches and pains when they draw or paint
  • wants to paint bigger, bolder paintings
  • would like a different approach to art


As far as I am aware this is the first ever online art and Alexander Technique course!

Will it work? Only you will be able to tell me..


Sign up here to receive your free course straight into your in-box very soon.


See you then




by Kirsten Harris



Can you relate to my sketch?


Do you want to paint or draw but don’t know how or where to start and just think you are rubbish at art? Or love painting and think you need to loosen up?

Then this course is for you.


I am exploring my creativity in a new way by writing an online art course based on Art and the Alexander Technique.


It is a totally new venture for me.


When my mentor suggested I do this I was extremely sceptical. In fact I remained sceptical for about 4 months, until the penny finally dropped! I could do it!


I have almost finished writing it, and I am LOVING the process.


For 20 years I have painted and sold my work consistently and I have taught the Alexander Technique to lots of different types of people – horse riders, musicians, actors, people with back pain… But I have never taught artists or art! It now seems crazy that I have never done this as I am finding I have masses to teach. I am excited.


I am offering this 7 day FOUNDATION COURSE FREE, as it is a learning curve for me too.

I want to find out if there is an interest.

I want to find out whether people like my ideas.

I want to find out whether they help you to let go and make art.


So let me know. And just now if you have time, perhaps you could let me know what your Number 1 challenge with your artwork is?


My goal is to write a year long course – Wow I can’t believe I have just said that!


If you are interested in learning more about Art and how Alexander Technique can transform your art, then sign up,  the course will be delivered to you FREE in the next few days. I am just going through a massive learning curve on the computer too! So please bear with me as I learn the technology.


I totally believe that any body can paint and that the combination of art and Alexander Technique together will help you. It certainly helped me!….The course is coming really soon!



Art and Alexander lessons by me, for you, sent with my love and passion for both subjects.


In the meantime –


To find out more about Alexander Technique

LIKE my Facebook page The Daily Ease Alexander Technique


To find out more about my artwork

LIKE my Facebook page Kirsten Harris Artist Click Here


OK, back to finishing off the course. See you soon.


Forward and Up




The Artist’s Wobble

The Artist’s Wobble

by Kirsten Harris


I recently had a wobble….a big flood gate opening one….I wobbled and wobbled and wobbled, and I thought I was going to fall…. do you get the pretty picture? A mad artist in a storm having a major mini crisis!


I had been on a 5 day out pouring of creativity.


Loads of new ideas were coming to me, and I was getting them down as fast as I could. I was feeling high. I sat with the work and the work came. I was in the flow. Alone, enjoying it, inspired, feeling alive, surprising myself. It seemed to have it’s own life force.  It felt great and I was excited.


I had an idea for something that could potentially be my next phase of work and after this 5 day outpouring I decided I wanted to share my new beginning.

I sent it to a friend.

My friend unwittingly trampled all over the my work.

I know he absolutely did not intend to hurt me but my confidence was knocked and I had a big wobble.


I cried, felt despair, felt inconsolable and eventually felt anger and indignation too. Crazy lady artist in the house having a major wobble!

Why had I not just stayed true to myself and the process that I was allowing to happen? Why had I shared it? Why did I need approval?


Of course it was a learning curve for me…. The wobble was part of the process.


I started to understand that I would not have been so upset if the work wasn’t really important to me. I had opened myself up in a new way and had poured my heart and soul into it. I was having a reaction.


I has just gone through a ‘birthing’ process…I know the beginning of dreams are vulnerable. Why didn’t I  protect my new ‘baby?’

Creativity is to be cherished, nourished, watered, given the right light conditions to grow…

New ideas are potential gold….

No matter how small, they are precious jewels in a mundane world….

I had forgotten to treasure and protect the seeds I had just found.


I had been in my poise, a fine golden thread was appearing that I was loving. Instead of honouring the delicate balance of ideas spinning before me into a bright new interesting cloth, my impatience and ego got in the way and I shared. My little germinating sapling did not have enough life force to stand up alone no matter what.


So I let someone else’s words knock me off balance. As I understood what had happened I had another wobble. How could I be so stupid? So needy? So ridiculously enthusiastic? I was a loony!


Then it came to me –


Poise has a wobble inherent within it.


My art has always been at it’s best when I am poised.  Poise is not a very on-trend word but my goodness it is an important one..


Poised in the wobble. My sense of humour was resurfacing.  I was coming back into balance, the self-righting mechanism returning.


Alexander Technique has always been the key to unlocking my creative flow and it releases the energy that flows within my work. It has also aways been my way home to myself.


Poise, balance and flow allow movement and have a wobble inherent within. Aha!


The wobble, a delicate teeter totter that comes when we don’t fix or hold ourselves into a position – physically, mentally, emotionally or creatively.


Being wobbly is allowing our vulnerability. It goes with the territory.


So maybe not so much the crazy, mad artist, but the artist who allows the wobble in order to stay in a flow of creativity.


An artistic wobble….a new art movement …











Anybody can paint – Any body can paint

Anybody can paint –  Any body can paint

by Kirsten Harris


Two similar statements, the first one you may or may not agree with.


The second one is definitely true.


Anybody can paint is a statement which is often overloaded with negative voices –


I’m no good at art! I can’t even paint a straight line. I definitely can’t paint. I wish I could paint but I am rubbish. My teacher at school told me I had no talent. I don’t have the time to paint even though I was quite good at school. I’d love to paint but I don’t know where to start…


Any body can paint is true. You have a body and a brain that flows to a skilled hand. Yes YOU have incredible skill and talent. You just might not know how to use it in a way that you think of as art.


As an Alexander Technique teacher and artist I am interested in what blocks the flow of your inner artist (yes you do have one!) and how to free up this skilled creative talented self to enjoy painting and drawing.


What gets in the way of you enjoying expressing yourself freely on paper or canvas? Those excuses, thoughts or reasons that may not even be yours.


How does one let go to make art? You could start by picking a name for the unexpressed artist in you. Perhaps name your inner artist after your favourite artist. I call mine Picasso! It’s not very original but it makes me smile and smiling definitely helps me loosen up and not take myself too seriously so I can have fun.


Painting is fantastic fun!

What stops you from experiencing the tactile sensual delight of mark making or colours on a surface?


As a little kid you had no blocks as an artist.  Children love to paint.


When did you stop enjoying painting? Or do you paint and enjoy it but feel that you need to let go more, loosen up?


If you have read this far you are probably interested in art.

I am curious  – does art flow through you or do you get stuck? Do you feel dissatisfied with what you make?


I have met many people who have a collection of unused paints, sketch books and pristine brushes, that have been bought from a desire to paint. Faced with the blank paper, the expensive paints, they then become unable to express themselves. Anxiously they paint a tight little picture of a cat, or a tree or a landscape. Disappointed with the result they declare that they were never any good at art and put the art materials back in the cupboard.


Is this you?

Or do you have paintings that you are too embarrassed to show anyone?

Would you like help to free up as an artist?

Would you like to make art that you love?


I have written a free introductory online course ‘LET GO MAKE ART!’ –

Why don’t you JOIN my mailing list to be one of the first to receive it.


I am interested to hear your story so if you have time, do send me an email and let me know what you would like help with.


I promise to reply







Listen! I’m an Artist

Listen! I’m an Artist

by Kirsten Harris


The other day I heard a great bit of wisdom.

‘Most people listen to reply not to hear’


It resonated with me.

I have been mulling on my listening skills and often time lack of!


For musicians, listening seems to be an obvious skill set but maybe not so much so for a painter.


I teach specialist music children at the Edinburgh School of Music. We do wonderful Alexander Technique awareness listening sessions.

Listening for space between sound

The depth and direction of sound

The internal and external sounds….

Our sense of hearing and listening to each other deepening and opening. Our poise easily manifesting as we listen consciously with interest to ourselves in the world. Skills the children become interested in applying to their instruments and friendships.


But what about painting and drawing?

I believe it is really important to listen to hear when you paint. Listening as part of creativity.


I am listening for my own poise. Listening to be present to the moment by moment internal and external conversation between brush and arm, fingers and brain, back and canvas. Listening that I am not in the way with negative judgemental thinking or poor body use. Listening to my body as I allow myself to paint, to push colour around, to let something appear that surprises me.


I am listening to allow myself to hear  the whispers of guidance – do this colour, paint here, step back, breathe out, faster, slower…. stop, walk away…see… hear.. now here, here, here the next brush stroke, colour, place to put my hand, my brush.


Listening I hear my thoughts change.

My thoughts are processing thoughts.

I am listening to the sound of ‘the zone.’

Painting becomes an exciting mysterious journey that is leading to some place new. Teaching me. The resulting paintings are a surprise.


When I don’t listen I go wrong! I was ‘told’ to stop, but I did more. I heard the instruction ‘to leave that bit of paint alone’ yet I interfere. I judge and the judgement makes the painting mean and cold.


Listening I become fast, flowing, instinctive, clear, loose.
So what is it I am hearing? Guidance? The wisdom of my higher self? The mystery? The creative impulse? The brilliant idea that comes from nowhere? A better version of me?

Breathe out.. It doesn’t matter what it is.


Showing up and listening to paint is inspiring.

Approaching a painting as though a pupil, using my Alexander skills, I paint well.

The opposite is also true. When I lose myself, get pulled into the painting, let my ego lead the way, hear the messy thoughts of my judgemental mind, the paintings inevitably get overly controlled and tight. I make mistakes that I then have to fix, to work through. The colours becomes grubby losing their light. I lose my lightness of touch.


My listening skills show up in the paint.





Wasting the Blank Canvas

A few years ago the wife of a local picture framer, who was teaching himself to paint, suggested to her husband that he spend a day painting with me. As soon as she made the suggestion he noticeably froze.

‘Um, I don’t think I have the time!’ he said.

‘Ridiculous, of course you do!’ his wife scolded  ‘What’s s the problem? Kirsten could really help you!’


‘Well……um…. to be honest, I would be frightened to paint with Kirsten , she uses too much paint!’


I was shocked. Yes I am a messy painter but his fear of wasting paint was standing in the way of spending time with a professional artist. I was more than willing to help him with no payment. But his resistance was way too big. He was visibly scared and I backed off.


Driving home I felt completely surprised at his reaction and have thought about it over the years. He had the potential to do something good but was standing in his own way. His work was tight, held, controlled. You could sense his fear on his canvases.


Maybe you have a fear of the blank canvas, are scared of wasting a piece of paper, going wrong?


A big canvas like the one that I worked on yesterday is expensive, so is oil paint, but I am not going to let that stand in my way. I am willing to go wrong, to waste paint. And guess what? Because I am not scared of wasting paint, I hardly ever do. Nearly every painting I make sells. The so called ‘wasted paintings’ are my learning curve and often end up as a surface in another painting, or cut down and created into something else. A layer of interest.


My secret to selling is not that I am an amazing artist, I got rejected from 5 art schools! It’s that I have learnt to listen to my fear and resistance and let it go. That fear usually turns up in the body somewhere. My training as an Alexander Technique teacher has taught me to notice what stands in the way of a successful painting. It is always me. My faulty thinking.


As I start to write about art and Alexander Technique I am beginning to think that success in art is about getting out of the way to allow art, the totally natural creative impulse, to flow through you. It is not about technique.


There are no external walls with regards technique in art. Artists of the past have cleared the way, they have taken down all the walls of tradition. Anything goes. Anything can be art. Therefore is no such thing as bad art.


The only walls are within. There is plenty of art where the person is missing!

Where the ego, the try hard, the not good enough habits, the voices of the restless mind, stand in the way of the wonderful potential energetic flow of the persons presence. A presence that can be portrayed on paper or canvas or whatever medium you chose.


‘Flow of Life’

Oil on Canvas

120 x 150 cms


(photos a bit dark as too wet to take off easel)

This is yesterdays work, done with my fingers and a little bit of brush work.

I  had an intention to paint horses galloping. What it came to be about whilst journeying the painting was the flow of life –  that we are all coming from somewhere unknown and going to somewhere unknown. It became about life and death. The painting became a process for me coming to terms with recently losing dad. I didn’t expect that layer of meaning to be there when I started. When I get out of the way the unexpected happens. Responding to the paint and canvas rather than trying to paint a picture frees the art up.


So, is it finished? For now – Yes. The conversation between me and the paint has stopped, so that is a sign that it is complete.  Now no judgement. The painting has to just be left alone to dry, to gather energy, to speak back.


Making a start


painting fast




the finished piece







What is IT?

What is IT?

by Kirsten Harris


“The hallmarks of the Alexander Technique are creativity, spontaneity and freedom to change.” A.R Alexander


The Alexander Technique has been a huge influence in my life for over 25 years, but it is only recently that I have started writing about it in relationship to my artwork.


Recently my colleague and mentor, Japan based Alexander Technique teacher Jeremy Chance, likened the Alexander Technique in relationship to my artwork as being like the wind rustling through a tree.


The wind – undefinable changeable, spontaneous, invisible yet sculpting and shaping the environment, bringing energy and influence to the form.


The tree, the form that the wind touches, shapes, bends and sculpts, the change, the daily presence, the artwork made.


The metaphor really resonated with me.


I know that the Alexander Technique and my art are totally linked and bound with each other within me. Yet I have two websites, and have for some strange reason kept them separate entities in my outside life, the one that I present to the world. Yet I know that the the success of a individual artwork has always been in exact relation to the quality of my physical and mental attention in the creation of my work. My understanding of the whole self gained from training in the wonderful Alexander Technique. A quality both definable and undefinable. The wind and the tree.


I first became alerted to the fact that other people can notice this undefinable energy at my exhibition ‘African Rhythms’ about 15 years ago.


A customer had spent many hours looking at this large exhibition of oil paintings and drawings before finally deciding to buy a small dark chiaroscuro oil painting of a leopard.


‘This has IT’ She exclaimed.

‘Kirsten there is something in many of your paintings, I don’t know if you know it is there. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. It’s a kind of mystery energy. I want you to come with me round your exhibition so i can show you what you have done!’


She then took me on a tour of my own exhibition.

‘Look! This one has IT, and this one has IT, and so does this one. But this one does not have IT!’


I realised that what she was noticing was my present moment spontaneity, my total absorption in the moment of the artwork, my exploration into the unknown, my willingness to be totally present int the act of painting, my poise as a painter. (Yup, that sounds totally pretentious I know)


The paintings that had NOT got IT were paintings that I had struggled with – perhaps not had a clarity of intention, been distracted, let my ego get in the way, not completely shown up for, doubted myself, tried too hard, tried to make a good painting that other people would like …my insecurities.


I knew it myself but hadn’t known that anyone else could see it, could see how I am, my well being through the paint. She was reading me through my paintings as though looking into a crystal ball.



1Lion King




Pursue – Woo – Follow Through!


by Kirsten Harris


I am beginning to notice when people don’t follow through and am asking why.
I include myself in that statement.

It seems the world has gone in mad pursuit. Of what? If you ask people what they want, they seem unable to answer. It is like a dog chasing it’s tail. Exhausting. Fun but pointless.

The thrill of the chase it’s called – chasing money, chasing success, chasing love, chasing possessions, chasing followers… addictive stuff.

And the woo? Well we all know that’s addictive. It is lovely to be wooed, to be sold to, to be desired.

But the follow through … that’s a little trickier. We now own, have won or won over the object of our pursuit with our wonderful woo, and here comes the snag… there is involvement.

The adorable puppy becomes a 14 year commitment that needs to be walked and fed every day, doesn’t come when your in a hurry to go out, that has needs.

The horse has behavioural problems, he wasn’t what you thought he would be. But now you own him, he is your responsibility.

And how many men have I met full of pursue and woo, but with no follow through, but that’s another story!

The great idea needs follow through to come into fruition.

The behaviours that are needed for follow through are not of the addictive, high emotional, exciting arousal state type.

The behaviours are quiet behaviours – patience, loyalty, observation, awareness of ones own self, reliable thought, commitment, self reflection, physical hands-on work, appreciation, trust, listening, care, consideration, being present, courage.

When I don’t follow through I can usually find an excuse, which if I am honest is a half lie. I am pretty good at convincing myself that it is the truth, until it becomes a habit. Those habits are limiting beliefs that cause real physical tension in my body. They literally harm me.

‘I am too busy, too unwell, not good enough, don’t have enough time, people won’t like me, I am too old, I don’t have enough energy, I can’t be bothered, it’s not important, it can wait, they won’t mind…’ (add your own version of the excuse to the list)

Writing those words I feel my neck tighten, my breath becoming constricted. Those thoughts create body tension. My anatomy is affected by my excuses. A constricted body effects the quality of my life. Tension instead of appreciation of abundance. Tightness instead of flow. I am restricting my self.

We live in an age of poor self responsibility, the blame culture. And it’s a greedy culture, comparing our lack with others riches We want bigger, richer, better, more beautiful.

So I ask what do I want? When I get what I want from my action (my pursue and woo) is it followed by willing reliable response ability (follow through)? If I pursue and woo will I enjoy the follow through?
When is enough enough for me?
Why don’t I follow through?
When, where and why do I disconnect, physically and mentally?

Here’s my point –
I believe follow through is where the abundance is!
Follow through is the magic and creates magic.
Follow through is the land of riches and unlimited potential.
Follow through is full of surprises.
Everything starts to connect. The mind and body connects. The balance of the head neck back become one flowing comfortable easy attractive magnet for the good stuff in life.
Synchronicity’s occur
Opportunities emerge
Follow through is flow
Follow through is energy (so is money, that’s another blog)
Follow through is the unknown adventure

Perhaps we have to be a little braver to follow through?

Following through I am involved and I am evolving

I follow through and I feel better.

Free riches!

When I fully show up in life I am never disappointed.
When I let my excuses dominate me I hold low levels pain and anxiety in my body.
Staying in tight control.

So I am listening now to my excuses.
It is my belief that if we live a life of woo and pursue and forget to follow through we are missing out big time. We are not letting life teach us, lying to ourselves and to others, cutting ourselves off unnecessarily.

We short circuit the big picture, the anatomy of abundance, by staying in a limited loop of woo pursue woo pursue woo pursue. How exhausting! Mentally, emotionally and physically.

The abundant behaviour? Follow through to something new…
I’m going to….





I’ve been up-cycling!
Painting furniture in an antique Scandinavian style, inspired by an inherited table and long case clock from my Danish grandmother.
Up-cycling  has been an exploration into my heritage, my maternal roots. It has been fun and and it has been grounding for me. A satisfying learning curve when life’s got a bit tricky. Finding pieces of ugly, unwanted furniture to rescue has been reassuring. A place for me to meditate quietly on life and death, age and ageing and  quality.
Up-cycling is trendy. It has a positive buzz to it. A bit green, a bit creative, a bit arty.
Up is one of my favourite words!
I am always thinking and  talking about up. The up that’s up there! The big up, that takes us up!

Understanding the power of up strengthens my structure, thinking up, my body follows. Up makes me feel good.
I have one rule for my up-cycled furniture, the piece must be well made. It must have a solid structure. It doesn’t matter what it looks like as long as it is well built. If it is well built it will last. The piece of furniture will have a useful future. I will give it new life. I will make it beautiful again, desirable. I will add value.
It is the same for my body, I must have a solid structure, a supportive skeleton to have a useful future. Being balanced adds value to my life.  I don’t want to collapse like a cheap chair that doesn’t have good joints. I want joints that dovetail seamlessly in my life. Not joints that hurt. I don’t want my upholstery to be straining under my weight. A saggy body in a saggy chair.
So I am up-cycling my life as well as brown furniture. Thinking about the shape of my legs as I paint the shapely legs of a nest of tables. Thinking about my supportive back as I decorate the backs of old farmhouse style chairs with hearts and flowers, birds and leaves, my interpretation of the traditional peasant style.
Why did my Scandinavian ancestors traditionally paint pine furniture in bright colours? To cheer themselves up during the long dark nordic nights. To feel better. Well made solid cheerful furniture for a well supported  up-flowing body.











I Bought a Picasso

I Bought a Picasso


Yesterday I realised that my car didn’t just have car flu, it was terminal! I went to find a new one. My only demand to the dealer was ‘I need a big boot to carry paintings.’


‘I think we have the perfect car for you..a Picasso, low mileage, big boot, diesel.’


Ha Ha, Picasso, that does sounds perfect I’ll have a look.’

I was always going to be an easy customer – I had to buy a car.

The Picasso had a sticker of a giraffe on it from Blair Drummond Safari Park. A sign! It definitely had my name on it, I have lost count of how many giraffes I have drawn or painted.


‘Great! I’lll have it!’


Driving home, the last drive in my unsafe feeling old car, I started thinking about Pablo Picasso. Specifically his brilliant one line drawings.

Simplicity and control combined.


One line drawing is going to be my project today

Taking a line for a walk……..

Allowing hand eye coordination to find its way

Lots of paper and NO judgement

Observation and trust

Not controlling outcome, just allowing flow


Driving is a little bit like taking a line for a walk, so is mowing the lawn.

Driving and mowing, drawing in a different forms.


Today is a beautiful day.

My one liners are going to be of my ponies

The ponies can do the mowing

But first I will go and pick up my Picasso!







I worked on a game reserve in Zimbabwe after finishing my Alexander Technique training. (I know! Lucky Me) An artist shaman called Bowen arrived at the camp, the kind of man who saw through you. Tall, unusual looking, he had an unnerving honest presence as though he was seeing into your soul. There was no hiding. He arrived in a fantastic all singing all dancing Land Rover that actor Val Kilmer (Batman) had given him as a gift for the experience he had with Bowen in the wild African bush.


My boss, Barbara Travers showed Bowen some sketches I had been making of Black Rhino and he gave me two pieces of advise that I have followed ever since.


The first piece of advise is to finish everything. This is deceptively simple. By finishing I commit myself. I commit to the canvas or piece of paper or canvas. . But 3 of the things that can get in the way of finishing are


negative voices

body tension



The second piece of advise was the life is in the eyes’. Get the eyes right and you can do anything with the rest of the surface.



‘Mark Making Lion’ 90 x 90 cms


This image of a lion had been hanging framed on my wall for several months. And it had annoyed me, which means I probably framed it before it was finished. I had probably got bored or fed up and thought it was good enough! That never works!


(I am sorry but I haven’t got a before image).


By adding more marks and working it up I am now satisfied. It is less of a polite drawing and I have solved the problem I started by committing.

I wanted it to be about scratchy scribbly pencil marks as well as a lion. Every rapid line a thought. Speed and energy of drawing. This an intense spontaneous way to draw, no outline keeping you safe!


I love pencil, the shades of grey. The way grey can portray colour and light imaginatively. The lion can go back in its frame now. I have finished making my mark on this piece of paper.



1000 Days Hence

1000 Days Hence

by Kirsten Harris


I woke up very early this morning feeling sad. Life changes when people die. My heart is so heavy. I don’t know how to get used to it.


Then I felt a bit curmudgeonly and frustrated that things seem to be stuck in my life……..Yet I AM HERE. I am healthy and I have energy. I decided to get up and pull nettles in my garden. I have been letting the weeds grow. Distracted by loss.


It’s a midge laden Scottish morning and I have quickly retreated inside again, being bitten by tiny annoying bugs is horrible. But I have retreated inside with an idea. It is swilling round my mind, where will I be a 1000 days from now?


A few years ago I did a project called 100 paintings in 100 days. It was a huge success and when it came to an end I really regretted that I hadn’t set myself a 1000 day challenge.

So I wonder today could I commit to a 1000 creative days? Maybe even write about art. Would I come unstuck, stay interested? Have I the time? Would it be successful or irritating to me and others like the midges?


These are both good and stupid questions but one thing is for sure I very much hope to be alive and creative in 1000 days time. i know that i will be creative for the next 1000 days though I don’t know what the from will be. I can’t help myself, I think about art all the time even when I am not making paintings.  A 1000 days hence –  hope comes in my grief. Commitment to my creativity. It is non negotiable. I will be here. I chose to allow spontaneity in the days that come. Improvising my life through art. So here goes…I have today where will it take me?

Why do artists repeat themselves?


Why do artists paint multiple paintings of the same image?

This question that came up recently,  I have been mulling it.

Van Gogh obsessed with painting Sunflowers. Munch’s Scream over and over….


For me repeated paintings show it is not the image that is important.

It is the idea contained within the image. It is what the artist is exploring and learning that is important.


Here are versions of the same image that I have drawn and painted many times. An elephant moving head on.


What is it that interests me?

Elephants have the most amazing ability to shape shift into the landscape. To merge into the bush. One moment you see them the next they are gone, a great big elephant camouflaged.

How do I portray the power and size yet gentleness and mystery of an elephant?

How do I portray movement coming towards me? The blending of landscape with subject transparency and colour, movement with form.

How far can I push colour and shape with abstract loose brush stroke and still portray moving elephant.

As I write that last question I know I will paint the subject again. There is further for me to go with that exploration.


So, if you see me or any other artist paint an image more than once, it is not because we have run out of ideas. it is because the image is full of ideas. You have spotted or bought a good one!


To sum up you wouldn’t ask a musician why they play the same piece over and over again. You would understand that the practice and repetition is the musicians journey to mastery. It is the same with painters.


This is the first of a new series of art blogs which will look at such ideas as why artists paint, how to let go to make art, how to get into the flow of painting.


I have a mailing list, which will deliver the posts straight to your in box, so sign up if you are interested in making art or want to find out more about what artists think.


I look forward to hearing from you.








Pheonix 369 Gallery Edinburgh

Pop Up Exhibition


Study of Racing

Me and Mr Li, The Chinese Consul of Edinburgh

On the arrival of the Giant Pandas to Edinburgh Zoo.


Old Course St Andrews Exhibition

Me with the Chinese Ambassador

Painting being presented to the Chinese Ambassador at the Arrival of the Giant Pandas, yang Guang and Tian Tian, Sunshine and Sweetie,  to Edinburgh Zoo

A thank you gift from Royal Zoological Society Edinburgh to the Chinese Government

Michael Douglas at The Old Course Hotel with Planet Long Neck

Chefs Looking at Firefly Painting

Old Course Hotel

St Andrews


Dunhill International Exhibition

Kirsten at gallery

Coming Through



Studio Visits  1

Please email me to arrange a visit to my studio in South Lanarkshire, Scotland.