Julia Barnickle: Taking Life As It Comes

photographer, blogger and coach, helping Introverts, Scanners and recovering creatives to connect with their creative passion, get clarity about their values and find flow

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Chelsea – Project 52 – 6/52

Chelsea Town Hall

This week I met up with a group of friends for the first time in months, discovered Instagram, and also visited Chelsea with my friend, Elaine Hopkins, whose grandmother used to live there in the 1960s – before it became fashionable.

This is the first of my “London Cameos” video projects – and, to be honest, I wasn’t quite sure how it was going to pan out. The idea behind London Cameos is to film an area of London which has some special meaning to the friend I’m visiting with – and to get their unique story about why this area is special.

Sir Thomas More statue, Chelsea

Ideally, I’d like to photograph and film the area, and also film and/or interview the individual on camera. Unfortunately, the weather was cold and grey when Elaine and I went to Chelsea, and it turned into a bit of a route march, trying to keep warm!

So I’ll go back to take some more pictures on a sunnier day – which means the video will take a little longer to complete. As Elaine said, though, it’s another opportunity for us to get together for a chat – which is something I always look forward to! :-)

Albert Bridge, Chelsea

Embrace Fear – Project 52 – 5/52

Embrace Fear - #ayearofpainting

This week I signed up for Alena Hennessy‘s on-line course “A Year Of Painting” – the picture above is my first assignment.

I had originally intended to enroll on Flora Bowley‘s “Bloom True” e-course, but I was a little daunted by the prospect of 5 weeks of daily e-mails, and only having 6 months access to the materials.

As I looked through the details of Flora’s course, I discovered that she would be interviewing other artists she likes – and Alena Hennessy was one of them. So I took a peek at Alena’s website and discovered that she runs a year-long course. Perfect!

As I’ve already signed up for “A Year Of Creating Time Capsules” with Xanthe Berkeley, A Year Of Painting will be a perfect accompaniment – I’d even like to make some videos of my painting process, once I feel a little more confident.

Talking of which… When I was painting the picture above, I had no idea where it was going – I didn’t even have the phrase in mind at first – I was simply slapping paint on the paper. Then I reached a point where I felt “I am never going to get the hang of this” – and I felt like giving up.

That was probably because of an exercise I did last summer, from Flora Bowley’s book “Brave Intuitive Painting” – the end result of which was hideous!

That picture has been hanging on my wall ever since, taunting me and daring me to try to fix it – which, of course, I haven’t.

So when I got stuck on my first painting on Alena’s course, I thought: “here we go again.” But this time I managed to work through it. I simply kept painting – which is where the phrase “Embrace Fear” came from.

I’m actually quite pleased with the results. OK, so it might not win any awards, but I like the colours, and it makes me feel happy, to look at it. :-)

I have no doubt that I’ll get “stuck” again on subsequent painting assignments – but at least now I know what it feels like on the other side.

Walton-on-Thames – Project 52 – 4/52


It was my birthday during week 4, and we celebrated with a very tasty lunch at the Anglers pub in Walton-on-Thames, with a real fire and a view of the river.

I often wish that my birthday were in the middle of summer, so we could celebrate outside in the sunshine. One year, we went to Gibraltar for my birthday week – it was heavenly!

I’ve even considered having an “official” birthday, like the Queen – perhaps this year I’ll actually do that. :-)

In the meantime, I enjoyed the cozy warmth of the pub – even though someone else had bagged the seat right by the fire!

London Docklands Video + Project 52 – 3/52

culpture in Canary Wharf, London Docklands - Project 52 2015 - 3/52

One of my creative adventures took me to Canary Wharf, London Docklands, where I spent the day taking photographs and filming. I had been there a couple of times before, for business meetings, but I’d never had the time to have a look round.

It’s a strange place. The glass and concrete termite mounds and the underground shopping mall and food halls are a hive of activity – but outside, there’s hardly anyone to be seen. Mind you, it was a very cold day.

There’s a plaque in the floor of the shopping mall which reads: “London used to be known as the City of Ships. A thousand vessels a week passed through the docks.” In the 1960s the docks fell into disuse. In the 1990s the land was re-developed to house London’s financial sector.

Canary Wharf is like a city within a city – with its own creche and hospital, and the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) weaving its way through and connecting it with the outside world.

I did enjoy photographing and filming the shiny, reflective buildings – but I have to admit I would have felt much happier if the old Victorian warehouses had still been around, and not simply relegated to the role of museum.

The photographs above are of one of many sculptures and other art works on display in Canary Wharf.

Trading On Being A Scanner

Shantanu Starick

I found out about this video, of a talk by Australian photographer Shantanu Starick, through Eli Trier, and I just had to share it.

It’s good news for Scanners…

Basically, through his website Pixeltrade, Shantanu has been travelling the world for free, for the past two years, in return for taking photographs – and trading on his willingness to photograph pretty much anything, rather than being a specialist.

What a wonderful idea – to be able to do what you love, for people who appreciate you, without having to worry about how much to charge or how you’re going to be able to get to where you need to be.

I would definitely be happy to trade my creative talents in return for some exciting adventures – albeit on a much smaller scale. :-)

Shantanu Starick: How I Went Two Years Without Spending Any Money from 99U on Vimeo.