Monday 24 June 2019

New Work Alert - What's New in Paperless Post

Pastel Painting by artist Amanda Trought, and invitation to look at her website to see her new work.
Pastel Painting - Amanda Trought

Welcome to the blog, so glad you could stop by.  I did a blog post review earlier this year on a company called Paperless Post - You can check out the review HERE

They have a new feature which is worth while trying out - their Flyer Option. What is new is that you can now create Flyers using GIFs and stickers and share via email or text.  So the above image was created on their platform and it could also be shared on different social media platforms and still have the writing animated - so you can see the image above.  I shared an image on my Instagram  as a mini video.

They have a wide range of templates for you to use and you can also upload your own images, which you can check out HERE

Remember that you can also send  the flyers out, if you wanted to receive RSVPs to your event you can add this to your flyer, and they have a variety of free templates that you can use, and it is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family around the world.  

New Work
Pastel Prints and More
Pastel painting framed
Prints, posters and cards 
I completed my 100 Days of Pastel Paintings and have the selection available as Prints on my RedBubble site, you can also get the prints on bags, journals and more

Tote Bags and other accessories available
You can even get some of the designs on some lovely summer dresses, t-shirts and other accessories!  Check them out HERE

Art Designs by Amanda Trought on Red Bubble

Designs on Masks - by Amanda Trought

If you would like to see the new work that I have you can visit my Website and for videos go to my YouTube channel, you are also most welcome to subscribe!

Join me on Patreon for art and tutorials not shown anywhere else and behind the scenes, chats and insights just for you!

Check me out HERE

Why not give Paperless Post a try and let me know how you get on.

Stay blessed and be a blessing.

Saturday 22 June 2019

100 Day Project - Playing with Pastels - 65 - 72

Playing with Pastels

As part of the 100 Days of Pastels I have been creating a daily painting with pastels.  I am amazed at how far I have come and that is just through being consistent and trying to have some organisation.

I have been saying all along that you don't have to do 100 days you can do 3 if you want and build up, it is all about what you want to do in your creative practice.  It is a practice to be able to do something consistently, so you have to remember not to measure yourself with anyone else.

Here are days 65 to 72

If you would like to follow the daily images you can do so on my Instagram

Friday 21 June 2019

Episode 97 - Inspirational Shorts - Progress

Inspirational Shorts are to lift and encourage you, in today's recording the title is progress. 

Listen to this short recording and get out your art journal and ponder over the words and see how they may apply to you and your circumstances

Reflection - Progress

When we feel ourselves making progress we should feel satisfied with the momentum of movement that takes us to and understanding of lives. Our progress cannot be the one that is based on the views of others as they do not see the work taking place in the still of the night or the early morning. 

As you make progress and do the things that you love doing and the things that you don’t, you do that the things that can challenge you and take you to the very brink of what you feel is your sanity, don’t let the judgement of others sway you from your course. Live life to the full every day, don’t take anything for granted and every now and again look back at the progress you are making.
Stay blessed and be a blessing

Wednesday 19 June 2019

Podcast Episode 96 - Arts and Wellness

In today's show I share with you my work in the field of Arts and Health.

As a mixed media artist I work with a variety of mediums and tools to express myself in my work.  I completed my degree in Complimentary Therapy, at the University of Westminster specializing in Nutrition and Massage Therapy, and saw the benefits of improving diet and the use of different forms of massage and essential oils. I could see clearly the link between diet, health and well-being. Alongside this I painted and wrote about art and creativity, and wanted to further explore the impact of creative activities on our health and well-being.

My journey into Art and Health started to take shape after my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I was making the transition to a self-employed artist and I was driven to look at meaningful ways that art could impact on others and enable me to share my passion. By chance I asked my mum if she wanted to do some art she would normally say no, this time asked what I wanted her to draw. I gave her a picture and paper and some art supplies and said, try this and she didn’t look back. I was shocked that an hour and a half later my mother was still engaged and enjoying drawing her version of the image I had given her.

As the years went by I gave my mum more and more creative things to do. I realized that Art could play a big part in working with those who had physical or mental health challenges, including those whose illness caused mental distress for themselves and those who cared for them. Art could impact and benefit people from all walks of life and act as a preventative measure.

My Mother Mavis enjoying her art activity

I started to do my own research and training, looking at ways to develop workshops that could impact on the health and well-being of the participants whether they presented with a health challenge or not. I ran art and creativity workshops for a special Dementia Day Care Center in London for those with varying degrees of Dementia and other conditions for over 3 years and alongside this presented on a local radio show talking about creativity and the positive health benefits that can be gained and I collaborated with other artists and spoke at seminars and conferences on the benefits of creative activity.

The Need for Research

There has been quite a lot of research done on the impact of the arts and health across the board especially in the UK and the USA, and wider afield not only visual art, but dance, theatre, music, storytelling and more;

  • The arts are being used in different health environments hospitals, homes, centers, waiting rooms where both for staff, visitors and patients were being impacted in a positive way, both as active and passive participants;
  • Stroke, Children’s, geriatric and cancer wards found that art and creative activities helped patients deal with the emotional stress that was a result of their illness and the proceeding isolation;
  • Art and colour is often used to design interior and public outdoor health spaces, across communities and there seem to be whole movement of people who could give positive feedback to the work they had been doing in the creative field;
  • It has been identified with providing solutions and as a means of prevention, to those who previously would have been prescribed antidepressants, or it has been shown as an outlet for people who are isolated or feel lonely;
  • Where arts and creative activity were being promoted in the local community it got individuals out of the house, and programs were developed which also impacted on their physical health and nutrition.
Art on Prescription?

I further enhanced my training with a series of courses that led me look at how to setup a social enterprise that supported, engaged and encouraged the community.  I also looked at the ways in which you could to use reminiscence in a creative way, and measure the impact of the work done.

I created a series of creative reminiscence programs that included music, art, and discussion in a relaxed atmosphere, and followed on not only working with those with dementia, but their carers and others working in a health care environment. I also had the opportunity to do a series of training seminars in France and Norway and give presentations on my work with the elderly in the UK. 

I was also involved in a project called Community Health Lab - ‘Art on Prescription’ with a remit to show how effective a creative activity could be on improving the lives of the ‘hard to reach’ communities. Included on the program was dance, movement, horticulture and art therapy. We received funding to work with artists and creatives across the board to deliver a program where individuals could either self-refer or be referred by their GP to take part in a series of 6 workshops.

We were able to show through monitoring their blood pressure, and weight, and a general mental health questionnaire at the beginning and end of the program that taking part in the workshops had a specific impact on the participant’s health and well-being and they also showed improvement in any feelings of isolation. Art Therapists have been recognized by the NHS and work in all areas of health, combined with a large number of artists who use art as a therapeutic tool.

Realityarts – Creativity for Change

I set up Realityarts – Creativity for Change, which seeks to engage, encourage and inspire individuals in the use of art and creativity and bring about change in their health. I feel that it is important that we connect and impact communities with inter-generational arts projects so we get people across generations sharing their experience and learning from each other. I am passionate about creativity, and getting people involved in some way, looking at ways in which we can use art to communicate, tell our stories and share these stories that tell of our own journeys.

Art as a therapeutic tool

I believe that the creative process is very important and everyone one can get involved in some way – even if it is just to visit an art exhibition or go and see a play or open air event. When we have access to the arts across all levels of society we can see the positive impact on communities and lives, we hear about the stories and traditions, the old wives tales and the ‘stories ‘granny’ used to tell’. It helps bring together the different generations of a community, it passes on the history and is captured through the creative activity.

Developing art programs can have several benefits:

· Arts programs have powerful results that can have a positive effect on physical health, mental health, and it also helps improve social functioning.

· Arts and Creativity activity is important for our development. For the older adults it is vitally important that there is a continued emphasis on helping them to keep active and mentally stimulated.

· Involvement in programs that calls on older adults to participate, sharing their knowledge, wisdom and stories has been shown to impact on their health and encourages older adults in maintaining their independence and decrease feelings of depression and loneliness. 

Reminiscence is a way of calling the past to mind, particularly positive events, people, or places, to improve older adults' outlook on the present by increasing socialization and self-esteem, improving communication skills, and reducing isolation and anxiety. Listening to music and telling stories stimulate participants to resurrect these memories and focus on what remains. 

The arts contribute to communicating, building a sense of identity, and strengthening social networks in communities.
The arts help create elder-friendly communities in which older adults are able to thrive and function regardless of their ability.

Art in the Environment

There are so many ways in which art and creativity can impact on the health of an individual not just in an art session, but also within the environment. Health organisations and departments in the UK continually look at ways to improve the working environment that also benefits the patients with initiatives such as Paintings in Hospitals, Hospital waiting area exhibitions, and music recitals all which go to lifting up the spirits of those who work or who are being treated. There are many other initiatives that have been promoted.

I currently run an online network for NHS organisations who want to connect with other like-minded organisations developing work in Arts and Health. I work online with other artists creating and developing art workshops which look at the way in which we can encourage the community, using art, art journalling, and art as a therapeutic tool to working on a deeper level that will improve health and well-being. I also run art and creativity workshops and seminars helping organisation’s develop their own programs for staff and the local community and look at the impact of art and creativity on our health. I also create videos of art processes, health, gardening on my YouTube channel. This has also extended over social media where I work with artists and small businesses and offer consultations helping them to develop creative ways to improve their social media presence. 

I have worked with the the Barbados Alzheimer’s Association, giving talks at their conferences, Seminars and Participation program about my role as a carer to those affected by dementia and those working in health care and how you can use creative activities.  You need to equip yourself with information and knowledge, more and more people are affected - the whole community, and it is important to attend some of the sessions that are run and get involved in the work they are doing.

I would love you to be able to access more things without breaking the bank that you can use as a creative activity.  If you would like to work with me or looking for some encouragement to undertake your creative activity you can schedule 2 Free Sessions of  Creative Encouragement

Creative Encourager 
I would love to hear from you, what are you working on at the moment, where do you get your creative inspiration from.

Check out some of the links - Arts and Health NHS Network
Remember to book your free sessions for some Creative Encouragement and be on your way to an amazing creative adventure!
Stay blessed and be a blessing.

Tuesday 18 June 2019

Creativity - 5 Minutes Every Day

Is Being Creative Every Day achievable?

When you look at the time that you have to be creative, what is it that you constantly find yourself saying.  My words would be I don't have enough time, or I want to create for a whole day, but I will never get a whole day so what is the point!.  When I started Caring for my mother who is living with Dementia I didn't think there was any chance of me finding the time to be creative, but I was wrong.  I realized that I needed to see my creativity from a different perspective. 

 It is important to keep creating every day, especially if you have limited time.  When you say 'oh I will do something tomorrow', it never comes  so you need to find ways to  create some quick activities that are your 'go to' ones, that enable you to spend some valuable creative time on yourself.

Those 5/10 minute slots that come up need to be looked at as valuable resources that can add to your health and well-being, and over time make up those hour slots that you want so badly - just broken up.  Think - if you took two 10 minute slots a day to be creative over 7 days that is 2.5 hours of creating!!  Think about the other things that you do with that time say when you are flicking the channels to find something to watch, why not have a art journal beside you to do some sketching, papers to create a collage - or sort through your collage papers - that's being creative, and you can do longer activities when you have more time.

What I have found is useful is to have a selection of activities that I can do, don't think about activities that you have to finish but ones that you can dip into when you get the chance.

Here are some of my 'go to' activities that I can do when time is limited.

You can also check out some of the videos below that may help spark your creativity and give you some ideas for what you can do with your limited time.

Creating with your Non-Dominant Hand

I always have an art journal handy, and I do a range of activities depending on the time - A great exercise is also to create with your non-dominant hand, doing everything with your non dominant hand gets you to just focus on play and will take your mind off things if only for a moment.  

If you need to break it down you might decide to create the background with the time just laying down colours, another activity might be creating a figure, finding words or encouraging phrases to add to the journal, and just spend 10 minutes at a time.

Creating a Mini Art Journal

Having a mini art journal means that you don't have to worry about filling a large page, but you can do a series of mini pages in 10 minutes, these really do lend themselves to working with limited time.


Who doesn't like doodling, OK I guess there are a few, but this is also another great way to spend some time being creative.  In this Video I broke this activity down, I had spent the initial time creating the bird and using the bird to add some journalling.  I then added some paint and colours in my session of the video, and I still left room to be able to come back and do some more work.

I hope that you will have found some ideas to get you going on your creative journey, remember treat those minutes as precious and see how you can take a creative activity to fill them for nurturing yourself.

Check out some of the classes on CreativeLive they have a series of Free online and on air classes that will spark your creativity and give you even more tips to get going!  Let me know how you get on with your time

Stay blessed and be a blessing.

Monday 17 June 2019

Creating in Faith - Pots of Clay

Pots made of clay don’t always look that spectacular until they have been through the glazing and firing process.  When they are first molded and shaped they are dull in colour, still quite fragile.  Each pot is made for a different purpose, some that are filled with water, others filled with wine, some go to be filled with compost to hold plants and there are still a variety of other uses, each with its own purpose and plan for its’ existence.

We too are like these pots of clay that God has formed, molded, pressed in at the sides and fashioned to be fit for a particular purpose, having then His love, grace and wisdom poured into us. We are not to be afraid of what God has called us to do as his children because the purpose he has instilled within us is to bring life, be a blessing, minister to others and show others his love and grace through our thoughts, words and actions.

Once the pots have been fired at exceedingly high temperatures and come out of the kiln they are ready to go and do what they have been called to do, and so must we whatever processes, experiences that we are going through it is to equip us, strengthen us, show us our purpose and beauty and, seeing the richness that lay within us all we have to – as the clay is molded let our lives be molded to his will.
What aspects of your life do you take for granted?  How can you shine a spotlight on those areas of your life that have been overlooked, - journal, write, create some art as your response.

Here are some of the links I mentioned.  My Cousins daughter Melissa's company called Grey Remedy check out her link HERE  You can also check her out on her Instagram Page

Part of Melissa's Range of potter

I love the Raku style of pottery and I have put together a Pinterest board for you to check out, there are some beautiful designs for you to appreciate.  I covered a workshop that artist Juliana Inniss did building coil pots below.  

She is part of a collective of Ceramic artists who exhibited together recently at the Form and Function exhibition below at the Argentina Embassy in Barbados, who have also by the way promised to host a monthly exhibition of local artists.

You can check out some of the sculptures I create HERE, I would love to see how I could incorporate the Raku effect, so a lot of experimenting is needed as my pieces are not fired in a kiln.  

Island Keeper - Mixed Media Art Sculpture, Manifesto Exhibition at Parliament

Disconnect - Mixed Media Art Sculpture, Manifesto Exhibition at Parliament

Amazon have a selection of books on Raku if you are interested in trying yourself  I have compiled list on my Amazon Storefront and check out some of the other books and resources available

Stay blessed and be a blessing!

Wednesday 12 June 2019

100 Days of Pastels - Day 49 - 64

Welcome to blog today, I have officially passed the 50 pastels and as it stands today I am on painting number 65, so you are in for a treat today if you haven't managed to keep up on the daily posts.

As I look back I can definitely see my growth, and affection for working with pastels, it has become part of my routine now and it will be interesting to see how I feel at the 100 day mark.  Here is an overview of the first 50 pastels

Here are images 49 64

Day 49 - 56

Video 49

Day 57 - 64

Here is video 57

Check out some of the videos produced so far on the Video Playlist of the process on my YouTube channel which I hope will inspire and encourage you.  Remember to subscribe to the channel!

You can also check out my Pastel Ideas list on Amazon, with a range of pastels for you to choose from.

Creative Live are running some Free Live and On-air courses. They have over 1,500 curated classes in Photography & Video, Money & Life, Craft & Maker, Art & Design, and Music & Audio, there is something for everyone. You can watch on-air broadcasts for free or buy a class and own the content for life.  You can check out the courses HERE

Stay blessed and be a blessing!

Saturday 8 June 2019

50 Pastel Drawings in 50 Days!

Glad you could join me today, I have been busying getting on with the pastel paintings as part of the 100 Day Project as well as getting myself a bit more organised with all the other projects that I want to bring to fruition.

Here is a video of the first half of the series and me talking about the journey so far.

The Video

It has definitely amazed me how much time has passed, 50 days from the time I committed to doing a pastel painting each day and I have seen the growth in my confidence in using pastels, they are like old friends.  Honestly, they have been sitting in my supplies/studio space for the past 10 years.

But if you have been with me from the start of the Project you will have seen the images change.  I had decided to do faces to begin with as I felt that I had to have something that I was comfortable with and then branch out to a few land/seacapes.

The pastels took me out of my comfort zone and got me just playing with the supplies and not trying to create a specific image.

I already have my favorites and will go on to do other things with them.  A lot of people have been asking for prints, so I will be making them available.

I was also glad that I started to video the process, I really enjoyed watching them myself, and I have definitely come a long way in my application of pastels and what I go for in a finished piece.

If you want to look at some of the process videos that I have done so far on my playlist you can see them HERE

You will find resources for Pastels HERE

On to the next 50, I will be doing some more videos of the process and sharing with you the weekly images here on the blog.  Blessings for now.

Monday 3 June 2019

Realityarts Podcast - Episode 89 - Celebration

What is it that you have done that you can celebrate, it doesn't have to be the usual things like birthdays, Christmas and such, but you can go right back to the simple things that often get over looked, like our lives, being able to take in the beauty around us.

As you are listening to the episode think of things that you are able to celebrate and see how it can keep your momentum up as you move from strength to strength and shine your light and be an encouragement in the world.

Let me know what you are celebrating in your life at the moment, share and see how your small actions can open the way for someone else who thought they were on their own.

Please share the podcast, and sign up for the mailing list and receive some of the free downloads that are available.  Stay blessed and be a blessing.
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