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  1. Imperfection is pure gold!

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    Theodore Roosevelt once argued that 'comparison is the thief of joy' and I have to say that for a large part, I agree with him! The internet and social media can be a wonderful thing, but they also bombard us with so much 'stuff', that it is easy to find ourselves under so much pressure to have the perfect career, at the same time as being the perfect parent, also at the same time as being the perfect partner and friend!

    We feel the need to simultaneously boast about having to work overtime to get all our important work done, whilst baking cupcakes that Mary Berry would be proud of at the same time as drinking G&T at the new bar in town with friends on a Friday night.

    And if we can't reach this crazy idea of perfection, if we can't keep all these plates constantly spinning and unbroken, and without feeling overwhelmed, or losing our tempers or eating our bodyweight in chocolate (ok, that might just be me!) then we feel like we've failed. 

    Well, my mission is to encourage us all to welcome more joy into our lives, so as well as believing we all need to make more mistakes I also strongly believe that we need to embrace imperfection, in others but mainly in ourselves. And this is why I love the concept of Kintsugi (or Kintsukuroi) which is the Japanese Art of mending broken ceramics with precious metals, usually gold.


    This Art celebrates the broken, the scars, the imperfections - and makes the resulting object even more beautiful and precious than the original. I love this and I love all it represents. None of us are perfect, but all of us are precious. None of us get through life without a few breaks, but these just make us even more beautiful than before.

    diamond with a flaw

    So, instead of trying to compare ourselves to others, we need to celebrate the utterly wonderful imperfection that makes us all so precious. The days you forget an important birthday, turn up for an appointment on the wrong day, have a freak out with the kids that's so off the scale it even gets the neighbours cleaning their bedrooms or simply feel so exhausted that you want to hide from everyone for a little while - well these are the days that add more gold. These are the times that make us even more precious. 

    There is life in imperfection. There is joy in imperfection. There is pure gold in imperfection. 

    (and I will show you mine if you show me yours ;))

    Helen x

  2. Be a flamingo...

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    When I turned 40 last Summer, it did have a bit of an impact on me. Not a major one as I have never been particularly hung up on age, but it did seem a moment to reflect and make decisions - I suppose I went into a mid-life non-crisis - no major worries or panics, but just a quiet move into the next phase of my life, not just drifting along but being firmly at the steering wheel.

    So, it is no coincidence that this was the time that I went 'all in' to my fine art work, and indeed in starting to build a business with my work, full-time. This shift showed that I not only made the decision to commit to my ambitions, it also showed that I was finally going to attempt to commit to myself.

    I have struggled with low self esteem for most of my life, and I think it is only now as I get older that I am starting to cheer myself on and be proud of who I am - with all my quirks and imperfections to boot. Which is why I love this clip of Ed Sheeran, which is definitely worth a watch if you've never seen it before (or indeed another watch if you have! Just be warned - there is a couple of sweary bits!) He is speaking with specific reference to having a stutter, but it's overall message is important for us all I believe...

    embrace your weirdness

    So, a big part of my journey towards not only building a success of my art work but also of leading the more joyful life it advocates, is embracing my own weirdness. It is the quirks that we have that set us apart from everybody else and give us the individuality to put our stamp on the world - so we should celebrate them, not try to iron them out.

    Let us all go out there and be ourselves - not with a whisper, but with a roar!

    be a flamingo


    Go forth, and be yourself :)

    Helen x

  3. Make More Mistakes

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    The inspiration for this painting was quite straightforward, but as the idea for the piece progressed the meaning behind it became much deeper for me.

    My studio is jam packed with paintbrushes and paints but you wouldn't believe how much trouble I have when I need a pencil (my 2 daughters are very efficient at 'borrowing' things off my desk!). So, I recently stocked up on a big bulk pack of pencils in the hope they would last me a while, and as I was putting them away, the repetition of the pencils, all standing to attention pleased me, and immediately I thought there was a painting in there somewhere.

    As I started doodling, I felt there was more to be said with this piece as I was reminded of the saying, 'No-one is perfect, that's why pencils have erasers' and this became the inspiration for the final piece that highlights the eraser and which I have titled 'Make More Mistakes'.

    einstein quote

    Part of the journey I have taken over the last few years, as I took the leap away from teaching and employment is understanding that making mistakes is an important part of the process. We can never learn new things or grow as people if we are not willing to do things wrong, and even welcome mistakes as a sign we are developing. This was (and still is) a struggle for me. Even as a child I remember putting incredible pressure on myself not to be seen doing something wrong, and as I grew into a 'high achiever' at school, it didn't seem long before I felt pressure from all round to not put a foot wrong (never my family though, which I am eternally grateful for!).

    I remember when I picked my A Level results up (quite a long time ago!) - I got 3 As (in my option subjects) and a B in General Studies and I was met with a wave of comments like 'ah what a shame' because I'd 'only got a B' in the subject I wasn't even bothered about. What a shame!! I had just achieved amazing A Level results yet somehow felt I should be disappointed.

    So, to be here now, trying to build a new business (and life!) and to be quite frank, making a whole load of mistakes doing it, right in view of a whole lot of people does not come naturally to me! But I am doing it, and have learnt so much and grown so much from doing it. The temptation we all feel to avoid mistakes is to stick with what we know, stay in the safe, familiar zone. And we can do that, and we possibly will make few, if any mistakes. But, we are only here once - in this life full of things to try and new opportunities to embrace - so a few mistakes on the road to somewhere new seems more than acceptable to me.

    I think it is driven in to us from an early age to always try our hardest to get things right, and as we get older we seem to be surrounded by social media showing us the perfect this and the perfect that - because obviously no-one posts about their failures. But one thing I have learnt is that most success stories are peppered with 'failure' - times when things have gone wrong, sometimes massively. But, a mistake or a 'failure' isn't the end of the journey - it is an important part of the journey that gets us to new places and new opportunities.

    So this piece is my call out to us all to be ok about making mistakes, to encourage our children to make mistakes and to even get to the point when we can celebrate them. As both my children will hopefully tell you if they make a mistake or 'fail' at something - 'it's ok, because it shows we're trying!'





    This painting was a real challenge for me in terms of technique and battling to get the realism I was looking for, but I finally got there (although I think the painting definitely won most of the battles!).

    Make More Mistakes
    Acrylic on Canvas, 50cm x 60cm