Today I have an amazingly talented lady as my guest. Author, artist, and inspiration to all those who know her and her works, I asked Elaine McKenna to take us on a journey through her life so far.
Elaine McKenna is a creative artist and writer from Northumberland, England. Having studied Science and fiction writing, she gained her Certificate in Natural sciences in July, 2007, passed her Start Writing Fiction course in 2009 and her NVQ in Arts & Crafts in 2010. Elaine has continued her passion for art and writing ever since, incorporating her love for the imagination in everything she does.
Elaine finds her inspiration for stories, poetry and art in the landscape and people that surround her. Learning about the wonders of nature, and how everything is connected, she is diverse in her way of thinking – enjoying the beauty of everything that makes up our unique world as it is. Following gratitude, attraction, vibration and spirituality in her everyday life, she finds it a great comfort through difficult times. Her work has been published in local newspapers, magazines and national poetry anthologies.
Ignite Your Inner Desire was her first poetry, proverb and quotations book. A culmination of two years work, the book draws together poetry and proverbs with the intention of bringing inner peace, connection and hope. In November 2011, Elaine participated in the worldwide NaNoWriMo challenge for the first time and succeeded in reaching the target goal of 50,000 words in a month. As a result of this she has been researching and planning her first children’s fantasy novel and hopes to finish this for publication by December 2013.
After leaving school, Elaine drew only as a personal hobby; small pictures of friend’s pets, children or landscape scenes, but decided to push her artwork further and introduce her talent to others and in 2012, Elaine created I.Y.I.D. Artwork; a collection of Spiritual and Intuitive artwork.
Elaine said this about her work:
‘I enjoy every part of being creative. It allows you to push the boundaries of your imaginative mind, sometimes taking reality into new areas of mystery and beyond. I love to take pictures of scenery from unusual angles and turn them into magical places that make people want to explore from within. My spiritual artwork collection takes the emotional concept of the human mind into the forefront, offering imagery which hopefully reflects an inner spiritual message to the viewer. These tend to be more personal and intimate from thought through to creation; meditation and reflection being key elements in their production. To sum it all up, regardless of whether it is my writing or my artwork, it’s that feeling when you step back from that ‘once’ blank piece of paper, and slowly, before your eyes, you see this wonderful structure starting to appear.’
In her spare time, Elaine likes to volunteer at Dilston Physic Garden near Corbridge, England, where she enjoys the tranquil atmosphere and fully appreciates the magic of nature. Her own reading interests are in both non-fiction and fiction, having a deep interest in ancient history and religion. Fascinated by the Old Testament, and with the stories told within the chapters, this led her to her interest in ancient aliens and the encounters of ‘so called’ angels. She describes it as her guilty pleasure. One book remains close to her heart; Sefer Raziel, The Book of the Angel Raziel. She says; ‘I still have no recollection of what it is all about as it is written in such a way that it would need intense study to decipher it, yet its fascination to me also lies in its myth and magic – the reason behind it all. One day I may come to understand a little more about it – until then, it will to me, remain one of life’s remarkable unsolved mysteries… don’t you just love the thirst to discover? I know I do!’
Here Elaine shares some of her inspirational and spiritual artworks as well as some thoughts on each of them.
Available on Elaine’s website only :-
The Silver Ghost – This one is very special, not just to me, but also to a few other people who now have the pleasure of his picture hanging on their wall. The Silver Ghost is an ex-racehorse who ended up at the same yard as my eldest daughter – my daughter eventually loaning him. They both grew an immense affinity to each other; one teaching the other valuable lessons. Never before have I seen a horse so graceful when he is being ridden. They became very close, and still are – think mysterious unicorns crossed with old fashioned rocking horses and children’s fairytales – well that’s the Silver Ghost! He was my first ever chalk portrait, and hopefully in the picture, I captured the beauty and grace of his being in a wonderfully magical way. The real life photo is of Swinton; born in 2002, who is the Silver Ghost. Unlike his sire, Grey Desire; who won many races, Swinton only ran a few races in his entire career; always to the back, and only ever racing at Rippon, Newcastle and York – nothing major. He was then sold as a three year old in the horse sales and retrained as a riding horse (bought for the purpose of event). His lack of confidence in the show jumping ring didn’t help him, so he was re-sold, to where he currently resides, as a lady’s hack. Standing at 15.3hh, my daughter had this to say about him…
‘Oh, he’s grumpy, yes, but once on his back he is totally different. He excels more to dressage than jumping and really benefits from hard work. I love his attitude to it all. He’s a real character!’
Available on Elaine’s website only :-
Enter the Unknown & Step Outside – These pictures were photographs I took at Lambley Viaduct in Northumberland, England. It’s a disused rail line that runs across the River South Tyne, (http://www.bridgesonthetyne.co.uk/lambrw.html) it’s a rather impressive sight, especially when you walk along the top – but be warned, a head for heights is a MUST! After I managed to ‘crawl’ to the other side I had to face another fear – some very steep, narrow steps leading back down to ground level. This brought me to a lovely woodland area. The Step Outside photograph was taken from here as I looked up at the viaduct from within the darkness of the trees. It made you feel that although you, yourself, were small against this huge structure that towered above, all you wanted to do was ‘Step Outside’, into the brightness of the day. Further around the corner is the footbridge that leads across the River Allen. To get to the other side you have to cross this bridge. Again, another of my fears was in need of conquering, so after many screams, laughs and eventually meeting the banks on the opposite side, the picture for Enter the Unknown was taken showing the beautiful covering of woodland that I had just Stepped Outside from. See, each piece I do holds something magical; I’d like to think I bring it alive again – whether it is showing courage or strength, a journey or maybe just a beautiful architecture that lies dormant, unused and sometimes – forgotten.
Available on Elaine’s website only :-
Fear Nothing – This beautiful creation is rather special. I’m not quite sure what it was trying to tell me other than to go with the gut instinct and trust in one’s judgement. It sort of makes a little sense to me, as if it’s trying to say – don’t worry, it will be alright – fear nothing. That’s the thing with the spiritual pictures, they come with confusing messages, or should I say a message that only those that understand them will read them. They may mean one thing to one person, but another to another, that’s what fascinates me about them – Beautiful aren’t they! My mum is the proud owner of this one but she has allowed seven limited editions to be printed as I’ve already had quite a few enquiries about it. (Thank you, Mum x)
Find Elaine’s inspirational, mystical, and magical proverbs in her Ignite Your Inner Desire at any of the links below :-
Ignite Your Inner Desire. .COM link: http://amzn.com/1471673790
Ignite Your Inner Desire. .CO.UK link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1471673790
Ignite Your Inner Desire. Lulu link: http://www.lulu.com/shop/e-mckenna/ignite-your-inner-desire/paperback/product-20071219.html
I asked Elaine to tell us about her upcoming exhibitions and art tours for friends who would like to view her work “in the flesh”. Here’s where she’ll be :-
The Art tour is in its 18th year. It involves artists from all over the North East showcasing their work in a number of different venues. Some artists participate from their own homes or studios, whilst others choose venues allocated across the area. This is my first year showcasing in an exhibition and where better to display my work than a beautiful Abbey that is steeped in so much history and spirituality.
Hexham Abbey, Hexham. Northumberland. England. NE46 3NB.
http://www.hexhamabbey.org.uk/ Dates for the exhibition are the 8th June, 2013 until 30th June, 2013. The artist is in residence each weekend offering demonstrations, answering questions and meeting members of the public. This year it also coincides with the Festival of the North, which makes it even more exciting.
- The Art Tour weekend dates (artist in residence) – 8/9, 15/16, 22/23, 29/30 of June, 2013. * Sunday opening – after morning worship.
Before I get nosy and ask some questions, here are the links that will take you to Elaine McKenna and her amazing work :-
Website link: www.elainemckenna.com
Twitter link: https://twitter.com/IYID_Artwork
Face book link: https://www.facebook.com/I.Y.I.D.Artwork
Network artist member’s link: http://www.networkartists.org.uk/members.php http://www.networkartists.org.uk/more_info.php?id=612
Allendale Forge studio link: http://www.allendaleforgestudios.co.uk/studios/studio-5/
Where do you find the inspiration for your spiritual art works?
As mentioned in my bio, I like to think that I am gaining an affectionate interest in nature and my surroundings: my place in this world and the Universe. I feel it, see it – how everything is a whole – connected. My spiritual work takes emotions such as fear, hurt, pain, strength and belief (to name a few) and through its creation, a message is hopefully drawn within the picture. The artwork may end up looking rather bizarre, or it may be natural and pleasing to the eye, but the aim is to make a connection, to reflect a message back to the person viewing. I’d like to think my writing did the same – revealing a message that people can relate to. It’s a bit like nature and the Universe – we are all connected whether we choose to see it or not.
Where do you like to do your work?
I work from both home and the studio. In fact I have just finished writing my part in a collaborated novel with six other great authors. It has been a fantastic journey and as a team, I think we worked rather well together. A lot of our correspondence has been by telephone or via the internet, but our main objective was to comply with the request of the project manager and produce a fictitious story from the use of old Victorian postcards and pictures. After a good six months of writing we have finally got our first manuscript together. It has us rather excited knowing how well each and every story has fallen into place – exciting times ahead, and if people wish to keep up to date and follow our progress, they can do so by visiting the Springbok Publications website (http://www.springbokpublications.com/isabella-captured-souls.html) where details of our publishing date will be given in the next few months. Alternatively, if anyone is interested in following the journey via my face book page, please feel free to like and be kept updated. This is where I share my art and writing journey with others.
What mediums do you use to create your art?
Chalk pastels and chalk pencils are my medium. I like to feel the connection of my hands against the chalk, the same as any artist and their medium, but somehow chalk and I seem to connect. With chalks I am learning something new every day and I like nothing better than a challenge!
When did you start painting and writing?
I started doing art at a very young age – I think I was about six and I was drawing on peoples paths with chalk! That was until I was told to wash it all off with a bucket of soapy water and a brush. Since then I did art only at school. I remember my final exam piece was an oil painting of an Osprey gracefully flying over mountain tops. I don’t think at that point in my life I appreciated what it was all about and left school, falling into the normal mainstream of society. I dabbled every now and again, picking up pencils or chalks when the passion took me, but it hasn’t been until lately that my inner desire has been reignited and I find my art work is a great way to unwind and de-stress. My writing is the same. I won a competition in a local newspaper when I was ten years old – a short story about a greedy friend – the top ten prizes; pac-man watches. I won… I was ecstatic and played that watch game every night I went to bed. I think it took me two years to complete the full game, and numerous amounts of batteries! It wasn’t until about three years ago that I took up my writing seriously.
Please give us a little history on your proverbs, and Precious – one of the poems in Ignite Your Inner Desire.
Precious is a poem that came to me one day. I had been feeling really down and low and feared that my depression was hitting me again. I had not long moved to where I live now and as I sat in the porch way I looked across the moors where the lambs were playing in the fields. Something just clicked and Precious was born. It reminds me of Life taking hold of your hand, listening to your worries and your fears, talking to you and reassuring you when you feel there is no hope to go on. Precious reflects how life really is ‘precious’ and what we make of it is how we learn to look at life itself. I still get a lump in my throat each time I read this poem out aloud – I dedicated it personally to all those who do or who have at some point suffered mental illness.
The proverbs are different. There is no history to them other than they just come into my thoughts; I write them down and the rest if self explanatory – well at least I hope they are! Sometime the words can come to you at the most awkward of moments and it really is good advice to carry around a note pad and pencil for situations like these, otherwise you might find yourself rummaging through your handbag, looking for the nearest implement to scribble down the words on a wall!
What do you like to read?
I love reading both non-fiction and fiction so I don’t really have any particular reading preference. If it’s a good read, I’m satisfied. I’ve read some utter trash in my time and sadly to say it was an unknown author, but unfortunately the imagery it gave me; that visualization you’re meant to achieve whilst reading the piece, somehow didn’t sit well within my head – hence to say I stopped reading it after the first four chapters. But some things I can pick up and can’t wait to turn the page to see what’s happening next. I love ancient alien history and the theories behind them – I’m all for a good bit of mystery and the unknown so I keep reading Zecharia Sitchin’s Earth Chronicles which led me to my interest in Ancient aliens. My reading preferences range from Superbugs by Pete Moore, to The Other Side of the Dale by Gervase Phinn, which is a good humorous read and I found myself chuckling quietly on a night time in bed whilst perusing the pages.
What do you love?
My writing, my art and my family of course. I get to have the best of both worlds as my family are always involved in everything I do and my close friends are always riding the journey with me, so my world is pretty good at the moment.
What don’t you like?
At the moment, snow! But a serious answer – I’d have to say being judgemental. Everyone has the capability of being judgemental but things occur in life that sometimes we have no control over; you never know what another person’s life is like until you walk their shoes, so what right would I ever have to judge a situation I knew nothing about. Another is the greed that occurs in this world today. It saddens me to think that we, as a species, have the capability to destroy anything through an emotional persona – The thirst for power has a lot to answer for.
Tell us about your future writing plans?
I have a few things in the pipeline for this year; my own novel, which has been in the planning stage for the last two years, and has had me down that many rabbit holes researching and finding inspiration that I tend to refer to it as, ‘my good wine’ – some things just can’t be rushed! But I do aim to have my first edited draft complete by September this year. (2013). I’ve also just completed my part in the collaborated novel Isabella; Captured Souls, and I’ve just finished writing a short story and poem that are being included in an anthology which is for a very good cause. Details of this will follow at a later date but again, if people wish to follow the progress they can be kept up to date on either my own information pages or Springbok’s web page.
I would like to thank the lovely Elaine McKenna once again for sharing her time and amazing talent with us, and for the insights into her world. I am really looking forward to seeing all her new work.