Category Archives: process art

Bench Marks

Continuing the story of the ‘Bench of Gratitude’ Installation at West Dean College.

As I sat on the bench and looked out across the park, the focus of my gaze became the clump of trees in the middle distance.Dan, our tutor, would come round and chat with each of us about what we were creating. He asked if I was thinking of creating something under those trees to link to two places. Hmm … I wandered up there to have a look.

Near to the trees and just behind them is an installation by Andy Goldsworthy ( whom I have found inspiring for a very long time). It is a chalk boulder, surrounded by small chalk stones. You can just see a white dot under the branches of the clump.

This is a photo of the Chalk Boulder I took in December 2021 when I went on a Helen Turner, Wabi Sabi art course.

I picked up a small chalk stone and went back under the clump of trees to look back towards the bench and ponder the next step.

As I stood there it became clear to me that a) I did not want to create something under these trees and b) I could invite others to add to what I was doing at the bench if they would like to.

I do love creative collaboration.

When I got back to the bench, I still had the piece of chalk in my hand and wrote MEMORY        GRATITUDE       CONNECTION


Californian Nutmeg Tree

Unrelated to the true Nutmeg, this Yew had dropped its needles on the path.

Apparently (from searching the internet) the seeds are purple and the kernel is edible after cooking, tasting somewhat like peanuts. They were highly prized by Native Americans.

Material just asking for a second meandering path

I thought of getting a brush to sweep the line of the path clear, but decided to leave the subtlety of the path left by the rake.

Black Feathers, White Flowers

Continuing my account of the Land Art Course with Dan Lobb at West Dean College:

The walk from the bench, to gather the cut grass, took just over 5 minutes each way. The walking and the raking became a beautifully satisfying daily practice, allowing my body to be well exercised and fully part of the installation.

Dan remarked that seeing me raking and trundling backwards and forwards with my wheelbarrow, reminded him of people raking in Japanese gardens. I realised that the same thought had been at the back of my mind and I was so pleased that he had brought it to the forefront.

As you may know, I love most things Japanese and was lucky enough to spend 15 glorious days on a textile tour in 2015. This photograph from that trip came to mind. (If you type ‘Japan’ into the SEARCH box you can see lots of posts about my trip, but here is a link to the first post about it. )

I found I would take one route to the hay and a different route back. Each day and each time of day, offering new things to notice in the garden

There seemed to be an unusual amount of feathers on the ground.

Were the birds moulting in the heat, or were the feathers more noticeable because the grass was so parched, yellow and short? A couple of us began collecting them.

Walking back past this clump of Annabelle Hydrangeas, I couldn’t resist popping a black feather into a few of the white frothy balls.

A little breeze was blowing and the birds who had gifted the feathers were calling in the trees above:

At the time, this was my favourite ‘installation’, if installation it was.

It felt very Japanese – Dan had pressed the Japan button, and I was off!

The video feels to me like a visual haiku. I went to Google translate.

Seeing the words written and hearing how they are spoken,  the title

‘Black Feathers, White Flowers’

seems like poetry to me

Photo Challenge: Yellow

Welcome!!! It’s the Monthly Meet-Up Photo Challenge, which happens on the first Tuesday of each Month.

I had a happy time looking through my files to find archive photos featuring


This is Miss E with her Dad enjoying a bouncy castle a few years ago

A friend in a yellow silk dress at my daughter’s wedding, 2006

A postcard made for iHanna’s Postcard Swap 2016Collage waiting to be turned into a greetings cardPainted garden potsCandlelight at a wonderful surprise party thrown for me by my lovely kids and their partnersBig Sis at playgroup when she was 3 (she will be 8 this month)Swiss chard stalks from the gardens at Esalen, California – such happy memories from November/December 2008I was there for 6 amazing life-changing weeks on a Workstudy Course, working in the gardens and doing Creative Expression and Process Artacrylic paintHave you ever tattooed a banana? No – really? See here how to do ittattoo a banana

A plasterer’s bucket from when I was having my fabulous new bedroom createdmixing plaster

A happy sunny yellow trip down memory lane for me – I hope you enjoyed coming along.

If you would like to see last month’s entries you can see them in the Comments in this Post.

Couldn’t resist including another blast from the past

To join in please post a link to your photos of YELLOW in the Comments. Archive, or current, all are welcome.

You can see all the prompts for the year on my Photo Challenge Page

For May the prompt is



Wednesday Walk-Along in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Let me take you back to November 2008 when I arrived in Carmel-by-the-Sea, in California.

I stayed at The Colonial Terrace, just a short walk from the beach. It was a perfect place to rest and adjust to the time difference before heading for the most blissful 6 weeks of my life at Esalen, Big Sur.
001carmelHaving left a cold dark November England, that first morning sitting on the terrace eating breakfast and looking at the glimpse of the sea was a health giving tonic.

I was escaping Christmas! I can only face a UK Christmas every other year, it is mainly the commercialism I have to escape from. So every other year I go on an adventure and this was my 2008 escape.

I had a couple of days to wander along the beachbeach

discover some quaint caféscafe

and look at some really lovely houses.gate house house1 porch

I did take absolutely masses of photos and was enthralled by Carmel. I’ve deleted many of the photos over the years, but these happy reminders remain.wreath wreath2

Clint Eastwood was once Mayor of Carmel.

It was a beautifully peaceful, unhurried place to be, which set me up perfectly for my 6 week stay at Esalen, doing a Creative Expression course followed by 5 days of Process Arts.

The drive from Carmel was full of twists and turns and I was feeling a bit queasy when I arrived at Esalen, but the scene that met me took my breath away

esalen 023 and a look around the gardens gdn gdnpermahvn

made me feel fine again and right at home.home

this gorgeous wooden cabin was to be my home during my stay


which I shared with the most wonderful woman – we got on so well and I’m glad to say we remain  friends despite the distance between us.1stnite

the evenings looking out to sea were special,nite

well, there was so much that was special about that trip.

This sign was up in the Art Space

esalen 070If only I could remember that advice!!!

I hope you have enjoyed my walk down memory lane, I’ve really enjoyed sharing these happy memories with you.

And staying in the US:

Beachcombing with Alisa Burke 

And then, closer to home:

A Walk around London

Please leave a link to one of your walks in the comments below, I’d love to walk along with you. Stroll on!


This was posted on Facebook by The Painting Experience forwarded from Julian Lennon’s post apparently.


the fitted suit

A post on the Process Art journal reminded me if this fable told to us by our tutor when I was training to be a Counsellor:

The Fitted Suit

A man went to tailor to have a suit made for him. He chose the very best cloth.

When it was made, he returned to collect the suit, it looked wonderful, he put it on.

He looked at himself in the mirror and noticed that the left side was slightly higher than the right, he told the tailor.

The tailor said, ‘Oh, that’s ok sir, if you just hold it down with your left hand it will look fine.’

The man held it down with his left hand.Then the man noticed that the right collar stuck up a bit.

‘Oh that will look fine, sir, if you just push it down slightly with your chin.’

The man pushed it down with his chin.

The man looked in the mirror and saw that the suit looked fabulous, the cloth was very fine, but he noticed that the right leg was slightly longer than the left.

‘You can remedy that by holding up the right leg of the suit very slightly’ said the tailor.

The man looked at the suit and it looked great.

The man left the shop in his new suit, and walked across the park.

Two people were sitting on a bench and saw him. ‘Look at that poor crippled man,’ said one.

‘Yes, but he has a wonderful suit,’ said the other.

process art 3

Turning the paper to ‘landscape’ seemed to have a marked effect on what happened next.

I started with the sweeping rocking movement in the bottom lefthand corner which developed into a circle.

Was it an eye, a void, a whirlpool?

A large flat brush created zig-zags, i filled in the gap between with black and then when the point on the end appeared the atmosphere changed completely.

It has remained on the wall for over a week and although a few thoughts on what to paint next have occured to me, there has been no really strong impulse to pick up a brush or a colour, so i guess its done.