Frida is an Emotion

I have a review on the new Distress Stain Sprays over at the Cloth Paper Scissors blog today. Do you really need more sprays? Probably not, I know I don’t! But I have Rainbowitis, and the distress colour range is just so beautiful ( hello Tea dye, Antique Linen), so I’m willing to risk too much of a good thing.

When I sit down to create, I rarely know what is going to happen. I have a general idea, and maybe a feeling for what colour or art materials I want to use. first. And life just goes from there.

I am thinking about Frida a lot ( part of my brain has a little Frida shrine set up with flowers and candles) so it’s little wonder that she keeps making appearances in my artwork. Mr. Angus refers to her as ” the lady with the eyebrows.” Yes. the eyebrows. But so much more. So, so much more…

she represents a feeling to me… an emotion.

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The Art Lessons are here.

Click here for the blog post.


Art Journal HALL OF FAME

I traveled A LOT this year. It was wonderful! And I learned so, so much. About Art. About myself. About life. I also discovered what my absolute favourite new art journal tools are.

1. My favourite new pen.

I took my Escape Artist groups to one of the oldest artist materials stores in the world, Sennelier,  just over the Seine from the Louvre. On the top floor, if you dare risk the stuffy, squeezy, creaky stairs, is pen heaven. The poor assistant up there was trying not to get frazzled as 15 of us squeezed into the small space and proceeded to touch every single item on display. Oohing and aaaaahing like kids in a lolly shop. Loud, over-excited kids with octopus arms. That was us.

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Mr Pen Man was wearing the white Sennelier lab coat, full of information on pens and patiently answered all of our questions and packaged up our goodies. epic pen 114When there was breathing space, I asked him “Mmonsieur, what is your favourite pen ?”. His face lit up! He dug into his apron pockets and flourished three pens. The first two I got when I was in Paris last time. They were nifty, but are in a box somewhere with all my other pens. But the third one. It was a fountain pen from Japan with special ink. I knew it was a magic-like-a-unicorn the second I test drove it.

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Ooh la-la…. It comes with special waterproof, carbon black that dries very quickly. The ink comes in an easily replaced cartridge system. The nib is incredibly fine, and yet robust enough to go over gesso. It can’t go over {everything}, it’s a fountain pen after all, but it tries! Impressive.

The quality of line I can get and the fine, fine detail. give that pure joy of drawing and writing.
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The balance of the pen is beautiful. It is truly epic. It makes me draw more.

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As soon as I realised just how epic the pen was, I had a mild panic. What happens if I lost it? Part of my brain had to be devoted to pen patrol. I knew I needed more.  So, I hunted the Epic Pen down like a panther, and we now stock them in my store! I now have one in every pencil case, on every desk and by the bed.

Click on the image below to get one:




2. Journal Covers.

Seriously, these Japanese journal covers are best things for an art journaler ever.


  • The inside covers form a pocket which is such a handy way to keep tickets, loose drawings, postcards etc until you need them.
  • I love collecting stickers from buildings and street signs when I am about and about. Groovy street art ones were everywhere in Paris and Bali. There’s a real technique to getting them off in one go. I call these acts of tidying up public property (a-hem), ‘Timmonsing‘ ( named after Sherri Timmons who was one of my Escape Artists in Paris. It’s a story that needs to be acted out, so I can’t go into it right now, but if you meet me out in the world, ask to hear about it.). The Journal covers are perfect for Timmonsed ephemera. Just whack them on the plastic cover until later!
  • The Journal covers offer protection. I use vintage, altered books for my travel journals, and the covers can be delicate. They need a bodyguard.
  • The Journal covers are a raincoat for your book.
    Why would a book need a raincoat?
    Well, as part of the Escape Artist Retreat, we went to Monet’s Garden at Giverny. We caught the train from Paris, went to the markets in Vernon to get a picnic lunch, and then cycled to wonderland. Well that was the plan. But on our lovely cycle through the French countryside, we were all caught in a downpour that went straight past cats-and-dogs and on to elephants-and-blue-whales. There was nothing to be done except keep going. Monstrous. Hilarious. I will never forget Bexs pulling of a shoe and pouring water out of it. You would think a thing like that could ruin the day, right? No way! Not my group! It bonded us. We survived and as soon as we walked into the garden (slosh, slosh, slosh), the sun came out in the merriest of French ways, and dried us out. We wandered with the ghost of Monet’s amongst his magnificent waterlilies and Japanese bridges.
    That’s why a journal needs a raincoat.
  • And the glossy, thick, crystal clear plastic looks coooool. It just does.

clear-cover-B5I first found one of these in a store in Hong Kong about 5 years ago… then a year later in Singapore I saw them again and bought a bunch. So rare! I needed more, so I got sleuthing and with the help of a Japanese friend, we found them, and I imported them into Australia. clear-cover-ABThere are different sizes , and I cut them and restick with clear tape to make a perfect fit. Every journal I have wears one. You can get them here.


3. My favourite bag.

Packing for an international trip puts a lot of pressure on decision making. And I am not talking about flights, hotels and sightseeing lists. I’m talking about the important stuff like what art supplies to bring! I usually pack way to much stuff. And then I take a bag that can carry it all. and guess what? It gets heavy after 5 minutes and each day through the holiday I carry less and less until I don’t even take my journal with me.  Until suddenly I am home with a part filled journal. No more.

Earlier in the year I created a tote bag with Society 6. The bag comes in 3 sizes. I got the 13 x 13 inch.

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At 13 x 13 inch it’s just roomy enough to fit my journal, and small pencil case, wallet, phone, tissues and a muesli bar. I throw it in the washing machine if it needs a spruce up. It is a simple tote. No pockets. Light, easy and cute.

It is a simple tote. No pockets. Light, easy and cute. I dragged it with me EVERYWHERE! And as a direct result I journaled so much more than usual.

I always travel with great expectations. But my bag gets heavy and I stop taking things out and about with me, until suddenly I am home with a part filled journal.

No more. My Paris and Bali journals are FULL because I cracked the journal bag code. So as a reward for scanning all my artwork from this year ( 160 scans!) I treated myself to one of every tote bag I created for Society 6!

society 6 totesI can’t wait to carry more of my my artwork around with me!



As a special treat for you too, I am going to give-away one of my totes awesome Totes!

All you need to do is go to my Society 6 store and then come back here, let me know in a comment that you  which is your favourite Jane Davenport design!

If you are a Society 6 member, or join up, you could double your chance in the give-away by hitting the ‘Promote’ heart for the artwork you like.  And to triple your chances give it a a Facebook like as well, All appreciated!



It goes without saying, that the white ex-fine sharpie paint pen and Peerless watercolors are faves too – but you already knew that! This post is about the more mundane, less colorful items that can rock your next vacation!

It feels so good to share these journaling discoveries with you!

Which brings me to a point about my store. It only has things in it that I actually use, adore and swear by. Essentials for life! It’s not a run-of-the-mill art supply/ mixed media shop. Its a den of delights for art journal afficionados! I find things from all around the world, test and if I fall in love and use them, they go in the store. I retire things that I stop using because I found something better.



Bali Escape Artist Retreat

bali-2014-2 I love Bali. We have our retreat perched about a world-class surf break, so Angus has a wonderful time “getting shacked off his tits” – it sounds awful – but its surfer lingo for AWESOME. So while Angus is paddling for 6 hours a day, I am relaxing as much as humanly possible, and then some.

bali 2104 5Well that is until all my Escape Artists arrive! Is this the best classroom in the Universe? Well, that’s hard to answer because this year I have had Tam Laporte’s apple-tree strewn garden in Brighton, Donna Downey’s Inspired Studios, my own Verandah at The Nest, the whole of Paris and Claude Monet’s Garden as classrooms this year.  So there is some fierce competition for that title! (But a temple and the occassional monkey in the classroom is pretty unique.)

bali-2014and the lessons commence!bali 2104 138bali 2104 139 and the artwork starts pouring forth from the group… it’s magic!


bali 2104 130 bali 2104 128 bali 2104 122  bali 2104 119 bali 2104 112 bali 2104 109 bali 2104 110 bali 2104 111 bali 2104 104 bali 2104 105 bali 2104 107

bali 2104 115 bali 2104 106 bali 2104 117 bali 2104 118 bali 2104 120 bali 2104 126 bali 2104 135 bali 2104 134Mid retreat we always have a free day. On this trip some off us venture into town and go to ‘Motel Mexicola’.  Three of the girls are coming to Mexico City with me next year too, so we treated this as a little taste of what may be to come! I can recommend the ‘Unidentified’ Mocktail – look at the ingredient list – the surprise addition gave that drink a little kick – deeeeeeelicious!bali 2104 4

Art flows every day from magic fingers.

bali 2104 131 bali 2104 124 bali 2104 120 bali 2104 114 bali 2104 113 bali 2104 116 bali 2104 123And after many epiphanies, laughs, stories and swims later, we are sharing our artwork from a magic week that seems to be adrift from the ‘real world’.  bali 2104 3

bali-2014-finale I can’t wait to get back to Bali next year for more magic making in Paradise with fantastic women from around the world.




A positive influence.

Christy Tomlinson is a Mixed Media super-star. I met her in April when I was lucky enough to go to a She Matters retreat at her house in Idaho. I had such a wonderful time and we really bonded. So having her come to my house a few months later was like a dream.  Christy Tomlinson at Jane Davenport 057

We organised two retreats at my place and they sold out within 20 minutes! ( The funny thing is, Christy and I decided all of this when I was in the States. We casually announced the workshop on Facebook, and my Angus, sleeping away in Australia woke up to a million emails from people wanting to get on the wait list. He had no idea what was going on lol!)

This adorable, talented girl doesn’t wait around – she’s like me, if something feels right, then off we go!

So for the last week and a bit, I have had not just Christy, but her hubby Ben and two of her 6 kiddos staying with me. It’s been full of art, laughs, shopping and the occasional snake!

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Christy and I are both at home with a ‘Selfie’! These are some of my faves from the last week ( there were many!).Christy Tomlinson at Jane Davenport 068Unfortunately we both have the same ‘ good side’, so there was always a little tussling on who got to stand where lol! Christy Tomlinson at Jane Davenport 056

After a day to acclimatise, Christy started the first workshop. It was full of lovely ladies. I had a ball creating this ‘Quilt girl.’Christy Tomlinson at Jane Davenport 061Christy Tomlinson at Jane Davenport 060  and here is our first She Matters at the Nest group! Christy Tomlinson at Jane Davenport 062 Christy Tomlinson at Jane Davenport 063

And with the first workshop wrapped up, our week long art fest commenced! We went down to my Studio and collected up a bunch of lovely papers and made journals. I was rocking my jumbo-sized Gelli plate and  Christy made some giant foam stamps!

Christy Tomlinson at Jane Davenport 069( that feather is made from paper – I bought it at the Bangalow markets and painted it)
Christy Tomlinson at Jane Davenport 071We worked in our journals all week in amongst outings to markets, Byron Bay and the best Nachos in the Universe ( Miss Margaritas in Byron Bay – wow!).Christy Tomlinson at Jane Davenport 084I applied some of the techniques from Christy’s class into my journal , pushed the boundaries this way and that. Sometimes we talked each others ears off. Sometimes we sang to music, sometimes we just created quietly in each others company. It was MAGIC!!!! Real food for the soul.

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We had an unwelcome visitor! Ben named him ‘Pete the Python’. He was around 2m long, and quite beautiful as far as snakes go. I was so impressed when Christy kept on creating, while the big python slept above our heads. Christy Tomlinson at Jane Davenport 066We also had welcome visitors! Allie and Preston Tomlinson joined  the art tables from time to time – in between trips to trapeze lessons and water parks! (Here is Miss Allie looking super cool – love this girl!):Christy Tomlinson at Jane Davenport 067Sometimes Ben would even paint with us – in between golf and mowing lawns with Angus. When Christy calls him a ‘goofball’, believe her. You should have seen him trying to herd the snake away from us when it woke up in the evening… hilarious!

Christy Tomlinson at Jane Davenport 083  And my dear little Miss Sophie dropped in to visit her Aunty Jane. What a joy she is! Christy Tomlinson at Jane Davenport 072Of course the doglettes were never far away. Tinsel made friends with Christy, but Moo was a favourite with the kids. Moo is going to miss them!Christy-and-Tinsel

Christy Tomlinson at Jane Davenport 074The week flew past so quickly! And before I knew it, our guests were arriving for the next workshop. This one was 2 days and most of the girls have become wonderful art friends with each other and with me. So I knew Christy was in for a treat!

Heidy, Mons and Anne all came to my first Escape Artist Retreat in Bali and have remained friends. I love seeing their faces!

Christy Tomlinson at Jane Davenport 081Monika and I hamming it up in between talking about our weird doll collections!

Christy Tomlinson at Jane Davenport 093 Robyn and Di photo-bombing my sunshine selfies! lol! Christy Tomlinson at Jane Davenport 079The ever-adorable Christy enthralling us with her story and accent. Christy Tomlinson at Jane Davenport 085

Works in progress drying in the sun…Christy Tomlinson at Jane Davenport 077

Beauties were everywhere!Christy Tomlinson at Jane Davenport 090

I created my Flower Girl straight into my journal… I love her!

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And on to day 2! Quilt girls!Christy Tomlinson at Jane Davenport 091Look at my cute friend! Christy Tomlinson at Jane Davenport 092

I was so lucky to sit in on all the classes. Angus and Fiona did all the work in the kitchen and hospitality areas, and I just got to be the Hostess with the Mostess! And make art, art, art…plus talk everyone’s ears off… and sneak away with their spare pretty papers….Christy Tomlinson at Jane Davenport 088

Christy Tomlinson at Jane Davenport 089 This girl went home with Christy!Jane Davenport quilt girl

And Christy’s girls stayed with me:

Christy art

Yes, I am a lucky, lucky girl!

And I just know all of these girls feel the same way. Having Christy with us was just a total joy.

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And the best news? She had such a great time, she is already committed to coming back next year.  AWESOME!

OK one more Selfie just to show you how I felt about the whole experience!

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Thank goodness, I am back in Idaho with Christy in April. I’ll be teaching an that retreat sold out in 10 minutes!

Life is wonderful and I’m sending all my spare sunshine to you!



p.s how flaming CUTE is my hat!

Christy Tomlinson at Jane Davenport 073pp.s ok – one more SELFIE… heh it’s my blog and I’ll Selfie if I want to lol!!!!