landscape painting course

Parting of the ways


Parting of the ways
30×30 €950
available from Art Loves, Belfast
I don’t often do landscapes. This one came to mind because it features one of the little borreens that feature in the Escape to the West video below.

Escape to the west

Life is busy but when the sun shines here, it’s worth downing tools and taking a weekend away from the madding crowd. So I took advantage of the weather last weekend and headed to the west of Ireland. And in case you couldn’t get away yourself…I took the video camera with me. Well, the phone anyway!

Click on the image below to view the video


9 steps to a more contented, imperfect life

Are you not a bit sick of people talking about finding this elusive perfect balance?

Does your aproach to finding balance look a bit like chasing spinning plates, trying to keep them all in the air before they crash spectacularily to the floor. Stress!

Even if we manage to find that balance sweet spot for a day or a week, sure enough life happens, it’s always in flux, but isn’t that the nature of a rich and varied life. So for me it’s not about this static idea of finding the perfect balance but something more forgiving.

Accept that we can’t do it all.

Much an’ all as I denied it for many years IT”S A FACT. We can’t do it all. It follows then that some stuff won’t, can’t, get done. The trick is choosing what’s important (and no it’s not all important) and what you can let go or ease back on.

Not everything needs your full attention all the time.
Most things in our lives can continue along for a little while with a little less attention while you focus on something that needs your attention. So long as over time, everything gets the attention needed, it all works out.

Got an important work commitment coming up? Then that needs your attention but maybe it won’t kill the kids to be fed from the freezer for that week.

Beg, borrow or steal

Even with the important stuff. You don’t necessarily have to do it yourself. Consider asking for help (shocker I know), bartering favours or even paying for help.

It’s about constantly making a series of small adjustments.
It’s ok for you to move your attention around, more focus here, a little less there in a conscious, focused way. If things get a bit out of whack. It’s OK you can fix it. Take a deep breath and make some adjustments.

You get to decide

You’re top dog in your life. You get to decide what things you need to focus on. Not anyone else and not just whatever is shouting the loudest. What we don’t want to do is put our head in the sand and ignore areas of our life (usually ourselves) while we’re chasing the stuff that shouts the loudest because sooner or later those plates will hit the floor, hard.

No need for guilt!

Say I have a weekend of teaching. My kids hardly see me. The fridge can get dangerously near to ’empty’ (i.e. half full) and I might miss the chats with them but I usually make sure I cook dinner or we do something together the weekend after.

The point is I decide… this work thing is something I need to do… the consequence is the girls get less attention…. but hey, they can survive and I will purposely do something to right the balance after the weekend.

So, I don’t need to feel guilty because I’ve worked it out that it all comes out OK in the the wash.

Be kind to yourself

Listen to your own needs and factor them in. We often forget that we need attention too.

Accept there’s no such thing as a perfect life or prefect balance

Try not to compare your life to other’s lives. We all have the annoying friend who seems to be on top of everything (you know who I mean) but as my mother says “we don’t know what goes on in their kitchen”. Maybe they have it all sussed, maybe they’re killing themselves. It doesn’t matter, leave them to it. Embrace the fact that a contented, well rounded life is never a perfect one and that imperfection is what the best of humanity is all about.

Forgive yourself

I used to have a lot of flowers and vegetables in my garden. It was beautiful. I don’t now. No veg at all and just a few flowering shrubs and pots of flowers. Yes I do miss the flowers but somethings got to give. It’s just too much for me now so I’m OK with letting that go or at least I’ve made my piece with the decision and I can live with that choice.

I forgive myself for not having as much beauty in my garden right now.



Last chance to catch the early bird!

So far, the US painting workshop is filling up well. Once again we have folks coming from all over the states. It’s shaping up to be a fantastic trip!

September is still a long way off but I’m already super excited. There’s a lot of planning done but what I’m most looking forward to is heading out to dinner on the first night and getting to know everybody.

If you have booked already, well done, you are the early bird that got the worm. If you are planning to join us and haven’t booked yet, don’t worry, there’s still time to book by April 30th and save on your workshop fee.

We would be happy to help with information on accommodation for those of you who might be thinking of making a trip of it to the beautiful Marshfield.

I will be flying in a little before so I’ll be well settled in to welcome everyone for the workshop starting the Friday the 16th. (September)

For more information on the workshops and to book just click here.

Would you like to join me in Massachuetts this September? If so, catch the early bird deal before April 30th.

Painting workshop – what’s it all about?

Click on image to view video.


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