From Art Journaling

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So Far This Year

I’ve grown quiet here on my blog – but it’s for a good reason . . .

I’ve been diving deep into the creative well!

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve hosted the Creative Nomad Art Journaling Adventure, attended Flora Bowley’s painting retreat in Portland, refreshed the warehouse art studio I share with my Mom, started a major renovation on our kitchen (what a mess!) and have been following the muse’s call towards LOTS MORE abstract painting.   Woof.  It’s a lot.

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Our clean and renewed studio has really inspired me! 

I can hardly wait to get there and begin making messes of the place.

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Look!

I’ve been painting lots of “mini’s” lately – it’s totally challenging for me.

Bigger is definitely easier!  

Weird huh?  You’d think the opposite.  But not for me.

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These last three are what I’d call “medium sized” canvases.

(It’s hard to see scale on these closeups.)

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Next week, a few “Fearless Painters” arrive for a reunion at my studio.

We’ve all met through the years at Connie Solera’s art retreats.

It’s so good to have tribe to run a bit wild with.

You know it’s good when they come from as far as EUROPE to gather!

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I can’t promise I’ll be more any more frequent with my posts than I have been.

I’m actually incubating a complete overhaul of this site too.  

Suddenly, I just want everything cleaner, clearer, simpler.  

“White space” in my life seems to lead to more color on the canvas!

See ya when I see ya!

 

 

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Why My “Vision Board” Is Blank

For the past 9 months I’ve planned and prepped for hosting my first art retreat, The Creative Nomad in Palm Springs.  The event itself was held a few days ago and now, I’m back home and unpacked.

 Although the retreat certainly didn’t require daily work for that length of time, I can tell you it never left my heart or mind.  It was an energy-filled-gestation and birth!

Over those months, the vision board in my home studio was an ever evolving display of imagery.  Traveling nomads, wild horses, colorful artwork, circles of women, laughter, photos of the teachers and the venue, and many a depiction of “calling forth”, “open hands” and “abundance” filled my cork board!

When I arrived home after the retreat, one of the first things I did was clear the vision board of everything.  I fully intended to fill it the very next day with images of “what’s next”.

Yet, it’s been 5 days and still . . . nothing.

Even though I wake with plans every morning to begin cutting and pinning my next adventure, it just doesn’t happen.

I have finally realized, what I need now is space.  Duh.  That’s a good thing and an important part of the process I often forget to include.  One needs time to absorb, reflect and celebrate after any such important project!

T i m e   t o   b e.

B r e a t h i n g   s p a c e .

R e s t .

A n   e m p t y   c a l e n d a r .

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So, the Bolsa Chica Wetlands, is where I found myself today.

There, in my nearby sacred space, I had nowhere else to be – no schedule to keep.

A h h h h h .

D e e p   b r e a t h   t a k i n g .

The clearest of blue skies and the warmest pre-Spring breezes were a welcome balm for the soul.

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Normally the wetlands is a very quiet place – and it was – but first there was this . . .

Not far down the entrance trail, I was greeted by at least 200 teenage boys from a nearby military academy.  They were there training and as I approached, they formed a straight line to my left as their (pretty female) leader shouted commands,

” M a k e   w a y . “

” C l e a r   t h e   p a t h . “

” M a k e   s p a c e   f o r   t h e   l a d y ! “

“Thank you,” I whispered to the handsome-young-boys-to-men as I passed with blushing embarrassment.

(Yes.  Space is just what I’m here for.  Thank you very much!)

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some of the boys leaving the area after my hike (note their fearless leader)

I returned from my morning hike feeling quite refreshed.  It’s tempting to begin filling the vision board now.  Still, I think it’s best to let it remain clear for a spell.  Don’t you?

For now, dreams of spending time with family and friends, painting a lot, writing even more, hiking often and doing more yoga sounds divine.  A dream board of “what’s next” will surface soon enough!

Namaste.

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Tales From The Creative Nomad Retreat

Whew!  I’m back from hosting my first art retreat – The Creative Nomad Art Journaling Adventure!

It’s been so long since I last posted here – but now you’ll know why. I’ve been WAY busy prepping for the retreat.  All my “free time” has been devoted to it.

And what an incredible ride it’s been!

The retreat was for four days with colorful, friendly and creative people in one incredible location.  

What?  THIS is my job?  I’m one lucky girl!  Dreams do come true.

Artist (and fellow art journaler) Sabrina Ward Harrison once famously wrote “Don’t take a job, make a job.”  I took that advice to heart and I’m so so glad I did.

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Our “studio” was at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs.

Nearly everyone stayed at the hotel as well.  So yeah, we kind of took over.

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So here’s the “calm before the storm” – a clean workspace laid with goodies.

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But before long, it looked like this.  Creative chaos.  Yum.

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To stretch our legs and breathe in the warm desert breezes, we had a large balcony all to ourselves.  An extra 1000 square feet overlooking the Ace’s main pool.  Magical.

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We had two guides for our “art journaling adventure”.  They each led a two day workshop.

First up was the (adorable) gifted teacher Brian Kasstle.

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And the (uber-badass) talented guide Roxanne Coble.

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These two were soooooo passionate and generous.

I loved that their workshops were so different yet played so well with one another.

(I definitely did a GREAT job recruiting them if I do say so myself!  Uh huh.)

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As for the attendees…..wow!

It was incredible to finally meet some long time “online friends” and several of my creative “she-roes”.  You may recognize a few from the art journaling world.

The crowd also included a hand full of first time art journalers.  This thing could catch on ya know!  LOL.

Just look at the beauties that gathered.

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Above is my mom (life long painter/never before art journaler) Caroline Bell, my bestie Deby Scatchell (our retreat assistant/art journaling virgin) and yeah, happy me!  

Somehow, I found time to art journal while hosting the retreat!  Ah the power of pre-planning and great assistance!

(But the works in progress below ain’t mine….)

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above art journal spread in progress by Dawn DeVries Sokol

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above art journal spread in progress is by Carrie Todd

Below is a collaborative piece in progress . . . we all put something into this one!

I won’t tell you what we did with it after!  What happens in Palm Springs stays in Palm Springs.

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So here’s the class picture from Brian’s class called “Totem”.

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And here’s Roxanne’s class pic – her class was called “Adaptations”.

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We’re one happy bunch of creatives!  I loved loved loved every minute.

And while I’m still lingering in the afterglow, my heart is already dreaming of what will come next.

I’ll be sure to let you know – the ideas are a’swirling!

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Creative Living With Jamie – Her Chat With Me!

Recently, I had the pleasure of being featured on Jamie Ridler’s podcast.  In it we talk about everything from my relatively recent journey to discovering I was an artist, to the various types of journals I keep, to making time and space for your own artistic adventures!

I hope you’ll take a listen.

The interview is right here!

I hope you’ll find it useful and inspiring for your own creative life – do let me your thoughts!

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Stacking Up (aka The Making of 2 Series)

I generally paint with no plan whatsoever.  Which means I have no idea of what subject I’ll paint.  I think the only time I’ve ever done that was for a class.

My plan is simple.  Choose 3 colors I’m drawn to, and add black and white.  That’s it.  Next, I begin smooshing the color onto the canvas in any way that feels good (expressive) in the moment.

I also try to keep my body moving and my head out of the game! Eventually a direction reveals itself and I go with that – until, and unless, it changes – and it often does.

So when I’ve stacked up a few paintings, it’s always a surprise to find similarities among them.  That’s how my “series” come to be.

I do recall painting the one below.  It was a dark and grey summer afternoon – a BIG storm was blowing in.  I had all the windows in my studio open to enjoy the breezes and tingly electric atmosphere.

It rarely rains in Southern California, so when it does it’s an event!

Newscasters excitedly repeated their “storm warnings” and bragged about their modern (but seldom needed) radar system.  No wonder “Storm Chaser” came into being.

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“Storm Chaser”

I remember feeling in my bones that my next way to paint was revealing itself as I blended the many shades of blue.

I was “in it” – the flow, that is.

That doesn’t always happen, but I always pray for it.

There’s no more joy-full feeling!

“Storm Chaser” framed (SOLD)

Since then, a few paintings have the same aerial feel.  As I paint, land and seascapes emerge from under my brush or fingers.  Hence, the “Bird’s Eye View” series is born.

(The painting below was four-different-paintings before this finally came!  I’m learning patience y’all.  Really – painting teaches you stuff.)

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“Thunder Island”

 

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“Indigo Harbour”

 

During this same time period (since June) another series is taking shape…..one probably influenced by my daily walks – during which I’m amazed by the beautiful vegetation in my neighborhood, or in the wetlands and beaches I frequent.

I’ve taken so many photos of flowers lately, I’m sure it is the inspiration that’s become visible on my canvases.

This series, I’m calling “My Secret Garden”.

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“Under the Willow”

 

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“Honeycomb & Fae”

 

Even my art journal pages seem to fall somewhere between the two series now.

It’s all a mystery to me.

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I never know what’ll show up!

If I’m not in love with a painting or page, I simply add another layer of paint the next day or flip the page.

Non-attachment is necessary, or I’ll make myself crazy – which is so NOT the point of creative expression.

“No worries,” I repeat under my breath.

“Breathe,” I tell myself.

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No worries.

It’s just paint.  

Let it go.  

Let it go.

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Tomorrow, I’ll share something new and exciting – I’ve been interviewed by Creative Life Coach, Jamie Ridler, for her weekly podcast!  OMGosh she’s about the most supportive and creative person I know!!

And guys – there’s 1 seat open for the upcoming art journaling retreat I’m hosting in Palm Springs in January.  I KNOW it’s waiting for just the right person…..if it’s calling to you,

Snag it here!