Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist. Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Monday, 22 February 2016

Exploring your creative side in retirement

Retirement years are a wonderful opportunity to explore pursuits that you didn’t have time for when you were working.  There are so many avenues out there for taking up new hobbies, exploring your creative side, volunteering, learning a new skill, enrolling in higher education, going to workshops or just getting out there exploring.  With so much on offer there shouldn't be any time sitting at home with nothing to do. Just get our there!  Even if you live in an isolated area far from services there are many courses on offer via the internet or by correspondence that you could try.

In January I attended a number of summer school workshops with the Bunbury Summer School program at the Stirling Street Arts Centre. I wanted to explore a few new artistic genres and I found that the Bunbury Summer School was a wonderful way to do that. There were so many short workshops on offer that I actually had a hard time narrowing down what I wanted to try.

To find out about the Stirling Street Arts Centre and Summer School, please go to their website by clicking here - Stirling Street Arts Centre.

First off for me was “Find your Thing” with artist Jenni Doherty. Jenni says that “A creative life can seem like a bit of a pipe dream when there are so many demands on our time. Sometimes creative energy dissipates and gets lost for a variety of reasons”.  
Jenni shared a few strategies to encourage it back. Here are a few of my “doodlings” from that day.  I really need to make time to stretch my drawing wings.

The circles you see below was an exercise we did while Jenni read, we did some collage work, and the drawing of leaves was sparked by a few lines from a poem by Peter Boyd, called “Nine Words to Make a Poem”.
Verse 1 – Leaves – because each year they tear away an abolished world, green witness to summer and beauty on windswept avenues of rain.

Jenni's studio is nestled in the South West's beautiful Ferguson Valley. Please click here to see Jenni's work - Jenni Doherty

My next workshop was a free workshop - “Telling True Text Tales OnLine” with Ruslan Kulski from ABC Open Tales. This was about learning to plan, write and share stories online in 500 words.  My writer’s group regularly writes stories in 200-300 words for our monthly “homework”, but this was an interesting workshop particularly listening to other participants. (sorry, no pics for this one) But I did write something that came out of that workshop here - Reading on the cold lino floor

ABC Open runs in all Australian states. Please click here to learn more  - ABC Open


 Next was “Acrylics for Beginners” with Julie Oakley. This workshop ran over two evenings, and whilst I produced a couple of pieces, overall I was very disappointed with this workshop as we weren’t given the tuition as “beginners” that I, and other participants, were expecting. The main plus was meeting and chatting to the lovely lady sitting next to me. 

The two canvasses on the right were done with cut-out templates. This was the only instruction we were given..... The painting on the left I did on the second night with a wide house painting brush. It is supposed to be a forest. I don't think I will be taking up acrylics any time soon.....

My next class was all day Saturday “Exploring Eco-Print” with Jane Flower. I have known Jane for a number of years and I knew this workshop was going to deliver, which it absolutely did. Thanks Jane! We learnt about using natural dyes from plant matter, leaves etc, and came home with a selection of swatches of dyed fabric. I loved the serendipitous nature of this process. You never know quite how your piece of fabric will turn out. I also loved that I shared this workshop with my watercolour painter friend, Marguerite. 

Below is the basics - collected leaves. Brown leaves go into a pot of water. Fresh leaves are laid on the cloth. The cloth and leaves are then bound around a stick. They go into the pot and are boiled for a couple of hours. Then unrolled. It is better to leave a few days before unrolling, but we were keen to see our results.  

You can find out more about Jane's work at her Folios and Fibre Facebook page by clicking here - Folios & Fibre

I also attended a second workshop with Jane Flower “Bookmaking”. In this workshop we learnt how to hand-make a book without the need for expensive bookbinding equipment.  This was a fascinating process, and opens the way for using all sorts of handmade papers and individually decorating your books.

Below here you can see the cover being glued to the card, the press, stitching the pages in, and my completed book. 

My final workshop with “Fun with Flowers” with Eileen Wenn and Jean Shine.  Unfortunately this workshop was cancelled, as was two of the other workshops I had booked into, due to lack of numbers. 

However I was thrilled to be invited by my friend Eileen, who I met through Spanish dancing classes, to attend a flower design workshop with the Flower Designers Club of Bunbury.  This workshop was with the creative and talented Annita Bokobli, Australian Florist of the Year 2014, partner at Floral Army, Fremantle and Floristry lecturer for Challenger Institute of Technology, Murdoch. 

What a joy Annita was – such a delightful and generous presenter. Thank you so much Flower Designers Club for allowing me to come join your group for this workshop. 
Below you can see Annita demonstrating during the workshop, and my completed piece.  Usually I just put flowers in a vase, so this is the first time I have done anything like this

You can find out more about the Flower Designers Club of Bunbury by going to their Facebook page here - Flower Designers Club of Bunbury 

A couple of weeks ago I spent a lovely afternoon playing with paints with my artist friend, Marguerite Aberle.  Recently I took Marguerite’s portrait, so this was a return favour. We had a lovely afternoon pushing paints around the page, experimenting using acrylic paints as if they were watercolours, and talking about life.  It seems that I am not the only one that is searching for something.

These "dabblings" will eventually be cut up to make greeting cards.

You can see some of Marguerite's work by clicking here - Marguerite Aberle
or find out about her workshops, and other workshops on offer at Lyndendale Gallery, Dardanup by going to their Facebook page here - Lyndendale Gallery Workshops 

Last week I went to a free workshop at the Eaton Library who have a program of free workshops on each month. This workshop with “Book Sculpting” with Kerry Glemi.  In this workshop we learnt how to up-cycle old books into amazing sculptures.  So easy and lots of fun! I completed my project and did another one over the next couple of days. I am now collecting old books. Evidently older editions of Reader’s Digest condensed books are the best to use because of the quality of the binding and the thickness of the paper.   

My friend Amy who is an avid reader was not happy about the fact that we were cutting up books, so I tried to soothe her by saying they were being up-cycled and given a new, decorative and rejuvenated existence instead of being thrown on the tip! What do you think? 

To find out about free workshops at Eaton and Dardanup Libraries, please go to the Shire of Dardanup website by clicking here - Shire of Dardanup Library and then go to "what's on".  

I enjoyed these workshops immensely and they have opened up so many more creative paths I could follow. 

But I think I need to think on Jenni’s advice - “Listen to your heart and watch what you are drawn to”.  
My friend Marguerite thinks I should publish a wildflower photo book. Perhaps I will. 
Have you taken up a new pursuit since your retirement or in your spare time? Perhaps you would like to tell us in the comments. 
Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week.

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday

Travel Photo Mondays


  1. Would love to have you create a wildflower photo book. One of the things that I did when I came in the Spring time was to get out and photo wildflowers. Since I am coming from the States, I had no idea what the flowers were that I was taking pictures of. I made the beginners MISTAKE and took pictures of what I thought was a wildflower only later at a Garden Club botanical display to find out that it was a NOXIOUS WEED! I was able to identify some of the pictures that I had and get suggestions where to find the orchids and other wildflowers to take pictures of.

    I couldn't find a local Bunbury/ Western Australia guide that would give me images and names of what I was looking at. I did find a botanical garden in Perth, but that was later. I just needed a guide to what I was looking at, both in Bunbury and all the way down to Albany. Your picture are both beautiful and illustrative of the wildflower beauty in Australia. Sign me up. I'll buy the first copy!


    1. Thanks Lucy. Let me know when you are over next and I will show you a couple of great books you can buy locally which will probably have all you need. ha ha...my blogging friend has also made the same mistake photographing weeds so don't feel bad - our wild flowers are very different to those in the USA.

  2. You sure have been busy! I always enjoy trying a variety of arts and crafts. It is fun! Then you can narrow to what you really enjoy after dipping your feet in. I have so many ideas of things I want to do bookmarked or pinned or in my computer. I am 63 and not sure I can ever get them all done! LOL

    1. I really enjoyed the classes and come away so enthused to do more, but now maybe I have too many choices!

  3. What a lot there is to explore where you are. I am sure that there are opportunities to learn something new - about a form of art/craft and about oneself - here as well. I just have to look. I think that a Wildflower book could be something really good - could you combine it somehow with a handmade book? Perhaps you could make the first one and a publisher could copy it. Just dreaming big on your behalf!

    1. thankyou for the big dreams Pondside. You certainly have me thinking. Lovely to hear from you. I'm going to pop over to your blog straight away and see what you have been up to. Sorry for not stopping by for such a long time. I hope all is well with you.

  4. Hello Jill, you seem to be keeping very busy with all the workshops. Do you miss working since being retired? It is always nice to learn new things, I like the paintings, Eco-prints and the flower arrangements. If only I was more creative, lol! Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day!

    1. I haven't missed working for one minute Eileen. I have been doing an occasional day as a relief teacher's aid in the pre-school where my husband taught. Getting paid to play with little ones! Fun and smiles!

  5. You've been a busy lady attending workshops Jill. I like to try different things too to stretch my creativity and besides, they're good social events.

  6. Wow! You have certainly drenched yourself in creative activity ~ I wonder which one you might focus on ~ I dabbled for several years when I retired in my late fifties and it has taken a few years to decide what I would like to pursue besides photography ~ Glad you are exploring and having fun!

    Happy Week to you ~ ^_^

    1. so I shouldn't worry then that I haven't get decided Carol! Thank you!

  7. Nice work - very pretty! Glad you shared your photos at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/02/every-10-minutes-someone-in-us-dies-of.html

  8. wow wow wow!!!! you´ve been busy!! congrats.. really I admire your for having so much enthusiasm, that´s the way to retire!!! love it!
    I think my favorite workshop was the one with the flowers!!!
    keep having fun!!

  9. I knew you'd been busy, but not quite this busy, and what a lot you've got out of these workshops. I also love Jane Flower's workshops, and I'd really like to do something with Marguerite and Jenni too. You've produced some really interesting pieces too. I love how we can start exploring our different creative sides as we get older. I've pinned your beautiful photo of leaves to my Pinterest board, A Writer's Life. I hope it gets some clicks for you :)

  10. Photography is where my creative self lays.... I love the whole process from planning, to shooting and the editing and finally the sharing. my camera has bought me so much happiness that I can not imagine a life without it


  11. Thanks for sharing your post with "Through My Lens"

    Mersad Donko Photography

  12. What lovely ways - to fill your days. I agree Jill, so many things to do when work no longer beckons and you certainly live in a community with a lively spirit and have taken advantage of the arts and craft workshops available.

  13. you find a wonderful way to enjoy your days! and you are really talented in many artistic forms! good for you!

  14. The thing I find so interesting about you Jill is your open-mindedness to all genres of artistic creativity, whether it be photography, painting, dancing, craft or writing. You are certainly one very gifted and talented lady! I wish I had one ounce of your creative streak! I think once we have more time on our hands we do tend to explore our more creative side. :)


I hope you have enjoyed your visit to my blog. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. I read and very much appreciate every comment and love hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return.