A Questioning Mind


Today’s IGNITE Peer Mentor Mixy Gregory shares how an art journal prompted healing in the most peculiar of ways.  Every Wednesday one of my beloved IGNITE Peer Mentors is sharing their creative wisdom and insight as a guest blogger.

IGNITE Peer Mentors are women who successfully completed my IGNITE Online Intensive and are eager to deepen their own skills and intentions as heart guided artists by mentoring a new circle of women in IGNITE. You can check out past Peer Mentor posts by CLICKING HERE.

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My newest art journal is an accounting book from a charity shop.

Brand new and still dressed in its cellophane, it caught my eye from the back of a shelf. It’s big and square, and emblazoned in gold lettering on the vivid red cover it calls itself an ‘Analysis Book’.


(This amuses me more and more as my purpose for buying it transpired, and these thoughts were elicited.)

My backstory is not unusual: as a small kid I knew my purpose in life was to be an artist, a creator, an inventor and maker of things.

The only uncertainty I had about this was brought about by the determination of all the grown ups that this was not a ‘real’ thing to be. They all seemed to think I was wrong. Wrong about what I am? For real?

The more years passed, the more serious grew the intent of those around me: I’d have to think up something else. Something else to be. Something solid, reliable, something dull.

So, reluctantly I wandered away from my path into the established set up. I used my brain instead of my heart, channelling my spirit into other people’s hopes. For a long time my dampened spirit bumbled along.


These pages are a little thin for my purposes and there’s going to be some hefty collage and paint to come, so I’ve torn out about 1/3 of the pages to make space, and I’m gluing the remainder together two at a time as I go along to make a more stable substrate. Then I can go all out with paint and ink and water soaking I need to do.

Back in that previous life I used books just like this for lists of numbers and sums, tracking data in the established fashion. Barely any colour. No collage at all… I look back and I feel sorry for those books and their dry colourless lives.

I’m reminded how lovely this paper is to write on, but I’m also discovering it stretches and crunkles on contact with wet paint or glue.



I’ve embraced the inevitability of the crunkles in these pages – that’s where the rivulets of ink form branching lines to contrast the rigid printed grids. This is the contrast that harmonises yin with yang.


Of course if previous-me could see what I’m doing now she’d be eyeing it quizzically. She might ask “Why, though? Why not draw on drawing paper?”

…. And now she has me wondering too.


I appreciate the appeal of an altered book, giving new life to a tired volume of printed text, or a vintage version of a book like this, adding layers of new character to a forgotten past time. But that’s not what this is.

Puzzled, I dwelt further on this as I played.

In a strange way, this book is both old and new, and as unwanted as a book could be. After all, who goes shopping for office supplies in a charity shop? Like it was a three legged puppy, or the limp looking salad in the marked-down section of the supermarket, my rescuer instinct took over decision making.


Many artists speak of a trepidation attached to the aching white blankness of a new page, the overwhelm of all the choice and possibility, a precious silence too special to break. But that isn’t my truth, I rarely feel this. I’m happy to jump in, start splashing the colour, making the marks. So that wasn’t the driving purpose behind this exercise. I pondered on…


As I was colouring in the spaces between the scribbled words and neatly printed columns with rich juicy paint, as curiosity fuelled my thoughts, I realised….


These books are intended for recording and calculating the mundane, serious minutiae, the proper business of grown up work. I remember living in that world, and the rebel in my mind still needs to fill colour in the spaces and doodle down those margins of the many books that filled those previous years. I’m redressing the balance of a misspent youth.

Follow my progress through this book over at ephemeralgecko.com

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PennGregoryToday’s Guest Post was written by Mixy Gregory, Peer Mentor for IGNITE 2016.  Here is a little about Mixy…

I love giving new life to recycled and found materials, the challenge of re-invention, discovering new ways of combining and contrasting. Whether I’m painting or filming, sewing or sculpting, most of all, I love to play.

I’m endlessly fascinated by theories of consciousness and thought and I’m driven by the need to find ways to create and visually interpret my thoughts. Creativity is a meditation, my expression, my purpose, it’s the way I make sense of the world.

I get inspiration from music, from nature, books, the wonderful wealth of treasure online, and from my friends. I always have a few different projects running in parallel. This keeps my energy levels high, and ideas can bounce freely between them.  My latest projects have involved collage, 3d sculpture and video – I’m always looking for new combinations and new ways of playing. 

Mixy resides in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom and can be found online HERE.

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