A Cure for January Blues

A Cure for January Blues

It’s 4.40 pm so I’m struggling. It’s the dark you see, when it closes in it closes me.

What to do about January? I love all weather, all seasons but the dark and me don’t agree. Go to bed early? Cheat on living with housework? I’m not good at that, I like to breathe and I can’t breathe with the dark on me, country air, specifically, is darker.

But last night, last night I went to bed happy.

This year an unfamiliar feature of Christmas was staying in bed of a morning, reading, writing, thinking, chatting, dreaming. It was bliss.

I’d say it’s about twenty years since I did this. Maybe I never did this, I’m not sure.

We had people (under three foot of course) shouting at us for tv and biscuits.

‘After coffee’ we said, ‘After coffee’…Just how many cups we didn’t specify 🙂

We filled the bed with lego and castles (ouch!) and with books on food, war, mindfulness and ‘Brave Intuitive Painting’ by Flora Bowley. Click HERE for some brilliant inspiration from her!

Thank you Laura (my sister)

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Since I started painting in June 2014 I have wanted to go LARGE SCALE and to ‘Let go’ I suppose. It’s hard, I have no experience and I’m an oldest child!

Am I cheating on writing with art? Maybe, but I didn’t get really brave until yesterday…

After months of thinking, I found a way, wallpaper, old wallpaper was my friend. Paper in general is scary but if I went wrong it would be ok right? Right? Why is a blank page so filled with fright?

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I spent an hour just trying to find a pencil with everyone swinging out of me. Then with a lot of wrangling and rubbing out I managed a basic drawing, a figure, a woman of course, infinitely interesting are women.

And then the wallpaper said no to paint. By that I mean it just sat on it in globules – seems the right word. I hadn’t high hopes if I’m honest.

I consulted the people who know, Emily from www.theNest.ie and her group I’m a member of ‘The Nest’s Weekday Art Challenge.’  ‘Put wash up liquid in the water’, ‘do an acrylic wash’ they said,’ who am I to argue? I did both and I did something else, something important, I moved the table to the window, to catch the last shreds of light.

I did it all but dammit – 4.40 o’clock

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The frustration, the pressure but then it started to, emerge might be the word and I started to enjoy it. An instinct or something took over and…


I know it’s not perfect, it’s not even finished, plus the paint started to ‘bleed’ into the woman, but all that’s fine! #everydaycreativity remember? And, it’s the largest painting I’ve done so far, about 3ft by 2ft, so a great start to the year.

My cure for January? Do something new…

“Just slap anything on when you see a blank canvas staring you in the face like some imbecile. You don’t know how paralyzing that is, that stare of a blank canvas is, which says to the painter, ‘You can’t do a thing’. The canvas has an idiotic stare and mesmerizes some painters so much that they turn into idiots themselves. Many painters are afraid in front of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the real, passionate painter who dares and who has broken the spell of `you can’t’ once and for all.”

Vincent van Gogh



9 thoughts on “A Cure for January Blues”

  • Hi Jane – I think your painting is perfect and when you frame it (and you should) – you will see. All artists struggle with the issue of a work being ‘not perfect’ – I think anyway. Your painting reminds me of Matisse.
    I always read and enjoy your blog (tho’ you would never know, because I never take the time to comment!) but my new years resolution is to let people know when I like something they write.
    One other thing – I am not sure where you live in Leitrim, but I know Ballinamore and surrounding places – a beautiful and inspiring landscape and the perfect place for an artist to live. Keep painting and writing!
    Happy New Year – Kate

    • Hi Kate! Thank you so much for ‘de-lurking’!!! It feels great to meet a regular reader so I really appreciate your new year resolution 🙂 Thank you for your kind words too, I do actually live in Ballinamore, I grew up here. I hope this resolution will stick, keep in touch and Happy New Year to you too 🙂

  • Hi Jane, did you always want to paint or write? I’m a 41 year old housewife (such an old fashioned word but I don’t like the alternatives). I have a real itching to explore my creative side but I absolutely do not know where to start, it’s like it’s almost building inside of me looking for an outlet. How did you know where to start? It’s not painting for me though I envy the joy you get from it, even in school I didn’t enjoy it ….. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks, Martina x

    • We are the same age and I too am a ‘housewife’ oh dear! 🙂 I always knew I wanted to write and paint but I didn’t know where or how to start. For most of my life my creativity came out in things like the food I cooked, the clothes I wore, the way I’d decorate any place I ever lived in, my thoughts and conversation, my ideas about things. Have you found this? That your creativity gets expressed in everyday life? You may not have fully realised that.

      I was also drawn to interiors and style magazines, profiles of bohemian lifestyles, ‘artsy’ programmes/books etc and like you I felt it building inside me, the need for something more, something concrete, but as you say HOW!!!

      For it was starting the blog two years ago, that kick started everything and the good news is I think it would have even if I’d had no idea that I wanted to write and paint. Would you consider starting a blog? No one would have to know if you didn’t want to, you can start a blog under any name and not link it to fb and all those things if you don’t want to, but it would be your space to explore your creativity and make a commitment to it.

      You might say you wouldn’t know what to write but believe me once you start you surprise yourself, it’s inevitable. Just write about everyday life or childhood memories, recipes, about movies you like, anything. You would completely surprise yourself, and take photographs to go with your posts. It’s one of my favourite things about the blog now, I never expected or knew that. I think that’s the thing, you don’t know where blogging will take you but it will take you somewhere, one step leads to another.

      If your’re not ready for that, though I don’t really believe in being ‘ready’ I think it’s much better to scare the living daylights out of yourself, then maybe start with a journal. Again, even if writing’s not your thing it’s more the exploration that counts rather than what you start with. I did this before starting the blog it just wasn’t enough in the end.

      The important thing is you have the longing, I had it too. It won’t go away but at least you recognise it, maybe you do know deep down what it is you want to do? Are there any clues from your childhood? Could you ask your parents? Have you tried mind-mapping your interests and skills? That can throw up some surprises. Do you like taking photographs with your phone? Could you challenge yourself to take a photo every day for x amount of days, aim for lots of variety, stage some using things in your house, go outside for others, look at things differently. Look at blogs, join instagram and pinterest for ideas on photo styling.

      What do you think? I hope that helps. I could probably go on and on but no doubt I should do a post on it. I wish you the very best of luck whatever you decide, one thing for sure whatever you do you will never regret it. Keep in touch, Jane

      PS Here’s an article I shared on the blog fb page recently you might find helpful http://www.thejournal.ie/find-hobby-passion-mental-health-1838413-Dec2014/?utm_source=twitter_self

      • Jane, thank you so much for your reply, I have read & re-read it and my mind is buzzing. I will let you know very soon what I get up too. Thanks again, Martina.

    • Thank you Candi, I know what you mean about just the planning giving you a lift, I love that myself. Looking forward to hearing what you get up to, I really enjoyed your piece today 🙂

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