the shape of a decade, part one

So much changes and evolves in the span of a decade. Curiosity lead me to look back at where my creative path has wandered since 2009.

In the last 3 days of this decade I’m taking a stroll back along the timeline that brought me to where I am now, and share some of the sketchbooks that came and went along the way!

So much changes and evolves in the span of a decade. Curiosity lead me to look back at where my creative path has wandered since 2009.

In the last 3 days of this decade I’m taking a stroll back along the timeline that brought me to where I am now, and share some of the sketchbooks that came and went along the way.


Digital Photography – Photoshop Collage – DeviantArt – Open University.

At the start of 2009 I began an undergraduate degree in Computing & Design the Open University. I’d been doing freelance web design for a couple years and wanted a qualification to give my self-taught-ness some legitimacy.

Meanwhile the thing that was really making my heart sing was digital art.

Photoshop found its way into my life almost a decade earlier when I was living in a small space and messy art wasn’t a practical option.

By 2009 I was getting back into drawing and watercolors. I’d spend my evenings doodling these intricate squiggles which I’d scan and add to my digital collages.

I got my first digital camera around this time, so wherever I went I gathered photos as ingredients for art – pictures of textures and shapes and colors, buildings and backgrounds, to layer up and ‘shop together into these dreamscape images. Around this time I was really active over in deviantart – it was the first time I felt like I’d found my tribe with other creatives.


Art School – – – a world of discovery.

Although Open University is almost all distance learning, there were a couple of evening tutorials held in at a local uni. The first time I went the entrance hall to the Uni building was filled with displays made by the fine art students.

I was utterly entranced.

While I love the tech side of things – I was devouring all the finely granulated minutiae of computing, and a degree was a solid addition to my adulting repertoire – none of it gave me butterflies the way that all the swirls of color that art exhibit did.

In September 2010 I went to school for real and began a foundation course in art & design,

I took on classes in drawing, painting with acrylics, ceramics, art history and print making. I started visiting galleries and museums, I started seeing with brand new eyes. After years of aimless drifting I stepped into the beginning of my current life.

I took my digital art and began adding paint, stitching, print and collage to it. My eyes were opened to a new world of possibility.


Screen Printing – Exhibitions – Daily Practice – Life turned upside down.

The first half of 2011 was taken up with college, taking classes in drawing, 3D design, graphics, I learned how to set up an exhibition space, and I fell utterly in love with screen printing.

The day after I finished at art school, I bought myself this sketchbook and a set of Brusho inks. It was to begin an almost daily practice of moving colors around, playing, experimenting, and letting my imagination wander about into the pages of a sketchbook.

Meanwhile, life as I knew it began falling apart around me. I lost my best friend – Queen of all Cats – Mooly.

Then in a few short weeks, the second year course at college was cancelled. I lost my mum. My car got written off. Father-in-law got really ill.

Life was a free fall into chaos.

I fell into making art.

Remember when selfies meant standing in front of the mirror and guessing if you were in shot?
This was me & Queen Moo back in 2009.


Blogging – 12 colors in 12 months – paper dying – daily practice – mixed media – back to school again.

With all the change and chaos surrounding, I needed to make shape to my days, so early in 2012 I began a blog to document my art making.

I photographed and documented what I was making, playing with, experimenting, learning. I set myself the challenge to fill an art journal through the course of the year, each month focused on using just one color.

I just looked back – my very first post was all about this new project – little did I know where that was gonna lead me!

I was diving deep into the world of mixed media now and I tasked myself with spending some time each day exploring. Cue: the ‘page a day’ project.

In September my college classes resumed and I threw myself in. Our first project was entitled Memento Mori. Bittersweet but timely, one year to the day of losing mum I presented my first video project, which I made in her memory.

to be continued ….

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Author: Mixy

artist, thing maker & idea magpie. I am making it all up, one bit at a time.

6 thoughts on “the shape of a decade, part one”

  1. Utterly fascinating – both your artwork and your story as an artist. As I was winding through the years, I was reminded that something has to ‘die’ for something else to be born and you have certainly proven that to be true. We sometimes seem to spend too much time mourning what was lost rather than marching forward, right? Thank you for sharing your path and your beautiful artwork Mixy/Penn. it seems as if we all have more than just one story that gave birth to our love of art.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Carol. You are so right – I think creativity is a wonderful metaphor for so many things – the cycle of life especially. Yes, let’s march forward into an exciting new decade! wishing all good things to you and yours for this next trip around the sun 🙂


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