Art and creativity

About Tove Jansson and the book Work and love



How do you come across new books? Somebody recommends them to you or do you simply allow your intuition to take you to that special shelf and your hand stops at that particular book that actually has been waiting for you? I am definitely in the second category and this is how I came across Tove Jansson in the first place. I had no idea who she was, I have never heard of the Mumins but I was attracted by the cover of the book, the fact that it was the biography of a female artist, and that the book was peppered with lots and lots of images of her paintings, illustrations, on top of biographical images. I was in the gift shop area of  De la Warr  Pavilion in Bexhill and bought the book there and then. 


The book proved to be a success …. I have not only learned about the fascinating life of a woman artist born in 1914, I’ve learned about life in Finland, about the ups and downs of being a working artist, about living a life aligned to what mattered to her most … love and work, about her  timeless children’s classic characters, about the many facets of her as a mortal soul. Her views on life and non conformism reminded me of the Bloomsbury group you will also notice the similarities.  Reading “Work and love” by Tuula Karjalainen  will  be  a rich and wonderful experience as it will make you cry, laugh, be amazed and of course fall in love again with memorable characters like the Mumins as well as I am sure it will  be an opportunity to enter another person’s reality through her paintings and in such way, it help you connect to a free spirit of a different era. 

An introduction to intuitive painting ... through a book!


Life, paint and passion 


Are you an artist?  Do you paint. What do you paint - a house, a portrait of a loved one, your pet, the sea - Is this it? Are you doing your best to follow other people’s rules, do you watch lots of tutorials, copy other artists, are you striving for the perfect painting?


What would it be like to paint without your internal critic whispering in your ear, without it passing judgement on your techniques, or your choice of the perfect brush, or the perfect colour combination? What would it be like … for a change … to learn by allowing art to take you where it will through uncontrolled discovery?


What if I tell you that there are other ways to create art by simply allowing what is within you to emerge and to speak through shapes and colours? 


If you have an inner critic, I would really recommend you read “Life, paint and passion” by Michell Cassou and Steward Cubley. The book comes with a warning from me … a happy warning … this book might, just might, help you to paint like never before - with a new found feeling of freedom. Get the book, read it, start painting! 



Introduction to the cold pressed process of making soaps



I've been making cold pressed soaps for the last 6 months ... it all started out of the blue, after I bought a very interesting and colourful magazine called "Sage and willow". It took me a while to get enough courage to try this technique but once I did my first batch ... I was hooked ...and I still am. It is exciting to create new combinations, to try new recipes and to wait full of trepidation to see the result of your efforts. For this first short blog about the cosmetics I am busily creating in the Beehive Arts Studio I would like to tell you a bit about what is this process all about. So, here we go .... 



First of all you need to know that the soaps I am offering are handcrafted in the true traditional cold press method where I  use no heat during production. This means that all the precious, beneficial qualities of the oils are kept intact. During this cold method of soap making, vegetable glycerine [a humectant] is produced naturally during saponification, to enable us to offer the moisturising qualities of naturally produced glycerine soap.



I  do not use petro-chemical substances, preservatives or detergents. 


Some of the basic ingredients are: 

Coconut oil Naturally antibacterial, moisturising, cleansing, nourishes the skin, adds creamy lather to soaps

Olive oil 

Skin friendly, generally well tolerated by the majority of people

Sweet almond oil 

High in vitamin E, helps to nourish and moisturise dry skin 

Cocoa butter 

Adds hardness and creamy lather to soaps, nourishes the skin

Castor oil 

Added to help boost bubbles.

More about this interesting process, the soaps, the properties in future blogs. 

Reconnect with your creativity


Do you lack a deep connection with your creativity? Do you sense how much creativity could enrich your life? You are not the only one! This is how I was a few years ago ... this is how I get from time to time. Yep....... it happens to all of us at various point ... we simply disconnect from the stream of creativity ... life ... gets in the way ... 

Whenever I have moment of slow connection with my creative side ... whenever I am way too tired or way to sad or when suddenly i realise that optimism ... has left the building ... I get back to my ... gelli plate or any other form of creating mono prints .. 


Many people connect the notion of mono prints to ... a big press ... lots of money .... big investment ... oh well ... it doesn't have to be like that ... you can create beautiful mono prints by using a gelli plate. 

If you live in Eastbourne or in the surrounding areas you can definitely join one of my workshops.

This is what Karen, one of the participants in my previous workshops had to say about her experience: 

"I don't have any experience in painting or art but you made us all feel relaxed & able to experiment and learn in a fun way. I was amazed with the results from just a mornings class. I'm sure my more artistic friends would love the class too and have already recommended it to them."

Here are a few bits of information about my upcoming events in MARCH 2017

Gelli printing is an adventurous and experimental process. It is unpredictable, playful and yet serious.  

You will learn to: 

  • print with natural objects
  • negative painting on a print 
  • how to use acrylic paints and block printing inks 
  • create your own stencils
  • create your unique designs for wrapping paper 

 Dates: March 8th, 10th, 16th

No of places / session:3

Time: 9.30 a.m - 12.30 a.m

Location: Eastbourne 

Investment /session: 35£

All materials are included. Tea, coffee and home made sweets will be available. 

In order to secure your place, send me a private message on Facebook or email me at



We are many people helps you relax and de stress


From my Baccalaureate and a degree in engineering, to guiding English and Russian speaking tourists and a group of talented Russian dancers; from helping a British company to navigate a licence to operate a new tv channel in a country new to them, to helping clients of Romania's first advertising agency to reach my country's new consumers; from launching my country's first colour magazine for just us women, to launching my own ad agency; from marketing condoms and staging rock concerts at home and in Lesotho and Swaziland to raise awareness in young people of HIV/Aids, to promoting the farming of plants for supply to a new organic perfumery sector as a way of helping our disadvantaged communities; from improving my understanding of the workings of the mind, to becoming a civil servant in London working to influence the attitudes of Britain's young muslims; and from intuitive painting to now illustrating my own books  ...... yes ... I think I can claim to have reinvented myself many, many times. 

It is my strong belief that we all have a mission ... a mission to help and to support each other, a mission to help other people to discover and to connect with their unique voices, to help them to find their path, to cheer their efforts and to support them along their way. 


This is my underlying message ......the message  I want to send through my colouring books and journals ..... to see life as a journey ... totally unpredictable, always imperfect ... yet perfectly imperfect. 

To find out more about my books please follow the link 

To be continued ..... 



This is my underlying message ......the message  I want to send through my colouring books and journals ..... to see life as a journey ... totally unpredictable, always imperfect ... yet perfectly imperfect. 

Flamenco and the spirit of the ancient grandmothers


There are times in our life when one simply cannot find the energy to write ... when words are kidnapped by a particular somehting that holds them as hostages. .... no ransom is required ... they are simply gone behind a veil .... this is when images replace the words ... images and movement .... 

Painting and flamenco seemed to have been my loyal companions over the last few months .... allowing my tears and joy to be expressed freely.  

I feel the need to share 2 things today .... one connected to flamenco and another connected to painting from the soul. 

Ever since i've started the flamenco classes I felt it is something that will have a big influence in my life.  And it was. It still is. It all started 4 years ago,  thanks to a book called Duende ... yes this book was the catalyst ... and although i loved flamenco for many years, i never dared to believe i could try and take some classes and start learning this beautiful dance myself. So here i am ready to start my year 4 with a talented teacher, Helena. You can find out more about her at 

Why flamenco appealed to me besides the rhythm, colour, music, passion is the fact that it requires discipline, dedication, commitment, repetition. This is what I'm used to, this is what i respond positively to  as the Communist system I grow up in imprinted those elements in my DNA. In my mind if one wants to be good at anything one needs to dedicate one's energy, spare time, everything to that particular "it" and do it again and again and again. 


Flamenco is not for the lighthearted .. not at all ... 


One of the things i've struggled a lot with is ... having an attitude ...:) being able to express emotions through movement, being able to become vulnerable in front of other people ... because this is what is all about ..., when you need to dance in front of other people, even your colleagues it takes hips of courage to do that ... it takes hips of courage to push through the panic attacks, crippling anxiety ...this year something has changed and I am able to just be in the dance ..... 



One of Helena's prompts in helping us express emotions is the image of our grandmothers ... our grandmothers ... hmmm she is thinking about the grandmothers of the flamenco clans of course .... 

It's funny how one word can inspire you or it can leave you empty ... one word brings lots of stories to the surface ... my grandmothers were anything but strong and confident ..... on the contrary ... they were pushed while very young in difficult marriages, born and living in small villages where the male figure was everything and was destroying the soul and lives of the women. 

Flamenco came to my mind when i was deeply involved in an online course delivered by the very talented Jassy ... a course exploring .. the Ancient Mother .... while following the course for a few weeks .. suddenly ... i understood that .. although i do not have the example of a strong, confident, powerful grandmother figure in my life, and i have never had .. i can connect to times long gone .... i can connect to the ancient grandmothers .... it feels more natural to me .. i can imagine them being the pillars of their tribe, i can imagine them being strong and loving, and supportive and inspiring. 





Fusions of colour an exhibition


What appears on a painted canvass, what you speak of, the words you write, the fragrances of the spices that rise from what you cook, are all reflections of a past spent somewhere, sometime, a past spent in a buried context.  Colours have differing connotations for me......... red can mimic drama but not always, green a life among beautiful hills, blue and white a life lived near the sea. My work is based on untold life stories, a fusion of colours with meanings that can only be worked out by looking at them, by thinking about what they are saying to you. 


I took part in my first exhibition 4 years ago, very soon after leaving a soul destroying job in London. I was exhausted, the newest member in an established semi professional art group and everything was exciting to me. It was a new world, with new rules, new expectations, new battles, new challenges and a very, very naive me. 


This is my first exhibition where I exhibit with only one other artist. It feels so different, so exhilarating, so liberating. Funnily enough I can breath with ease, no unexpected dramas, no ego battles. Oh boy it feels different ... it feels good. Sometimes, in order to find yourself .. you need to go your own way, you need to take a leap of faith.


The exhibition starts on April 23rd until May 5th.

Private view: Saturday, 25th of April from 2pm-6pm. 

I will share my passion for intuitive painting and will speak a bit about how painting arrived :) in my life through 2 taster demonstrations on Friday, April 24th from 11-1pm and April 30th from 11-1pm. 

You can find out more about Orna and her work at and you can see more of my work at

I hope to see you at The Grange Gallery in Rottingdean


You can change your mind

Phase 6

A few days ago I had a lovely time painting a few random shapes on an old canvas. It made me feel so good, filled me with so much positive energy that I wanted to create another painting with the same approach. I have started by changing an old intuitive painting but somehow things didn't seem to go in the right direction and suddenly ... while watching a documentary on Arthur Conan Doyle and his famous detective Sherlock Holmes ....  2 shapes arrived on my canvas ....out of the blue ....  and I've started to smile .... years ago my best friend in Romania used to call me Sherlock and I called her Watson .... she is my soul sister and this painting represents our connection .... soul to soul. The idea is .... if your painting doesn't seem right ...........change directions.


I hope that you will enjoy the visual step by step process :) 

Phase 1

Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 5

Phase 4


Brinjali moli on a February afternoon



There are days when I feel like putting the brushes aside, letting them rest and turning to .. the pots and pans in the kitchen. Today was one of those days .... cooking always spoke to me ... cooking new recipes ... colourful ones ....... 

I love cooking curries ... and this is exactly what I cooked today ..... Brinjal moli with spinach. 

And because cooking and music are the perfect combination for me, this is what I listened to today........ 


So here is the recipe 

1 ground turmeric

1tbsp flour (i used rye) 

salt, pepper

1 aubergine cut into slices (not very large)

oil for frying

cinnamon stick 

1 tbsp of chopped ginger

2 garlic cloves 

dried chilli

1 bay leaf

1 onion finely chopped

1 can of chopped tomatoes or passata 

1-2 tsp garam masala

Combine the turmeric, flour, salt in a large freezer bag. Add the aubergine slices and shake the bag so that the slices get coated nicely. 

Heat a few tbsp of oil in a frying pan and cook the aubergine slices until browned. Once cooked put them aside. 

When the aubergine is cooked wipe out the frying pan, fry the onion, cinnamon stick, ginger, garlic, chilli and bay leaf. Add the chopped tomatoes, boil for 10 minutes. Add the fried aubergines, spinach and garam masala and boil for 10-15 minutes. Chop some coriander, sprinkle it on top and ... done! 

You can enjoy it with rice or spaghetti while hot. Alternatively you can eat is as a cold dish on a slice of bread.