Nurturing our Creative Cycles

Nothing grows without nourishment and replenishment.

Nurturing your Creative Cycles- Art is Magic

Somebody asked me the other day how I handle creative blocks.

Naturally the synchronicity of this question ties in beautifully with what I’ve been contemplating lately as we’ve been diving into the Creative Cycle and processes this month in Sacred Arts, 13 mOOns. I’ve been thinking about creative cycles a lot. I think creative blocks are for the most part misunderstood. Absolutely there are times and circumstances when creativity can really be blocked or stifled by something deeper, perhaps a careless comment from a parent or teacher, or maybe some trauma or wounding. Yet this isn’t usually what people are referring to when talking about creative blocks, usually they are referring to the natural ebb and flow of the creative cycle.

 
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Like any natural cycle of growth, which creativity surely is, it goes through many phases, from inception and gestation, to birth, growth, decline, release, death and rebirth (not unlike the phases that Clarissa Pinkola Estes describes in Creative Fire)- there are times and phases for all. It is the expansion (inhalation), contraction (exhalation) and the beautiful pause between. When people are lamenting their creative blocks they are usually referring to these times when the process needs to rest, to replenish, to gestate- so much creative work is done when externally it seems like nothing is happening-

in the darkness,

in the stillness,

in the quiet,

in the dream time.

It is part of the creative flow, and as artists, as creatives, as earth angels, we get to choose to flow with it, to ride the currents of its gifts, or push against it.

I’ve learnt to ride the currents as best I can. It takes practice. Our culture indoctrinates us into this idea of forward movement, of linear progress, of producing, of work ethic. And yet I know how “productive” my down time is, my rest, my fallow time. It feeds the part of the cycle that is more visibly “productive”. It primes me to be ready for inspiration. So I practice listening and allowing the fallowness to be. It is a practice which requires so much space and permission.

 
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In Sacred Arts we are making a creative oracle deck, a portal into the process when we are “stuck” with prompts that might help us nudge the cycle or sink into it. Sometimes what is needed is to step away. They say the muses like to find you at work when they visit but creative work can look like many things. For me stepping away while still working might look like doing something different, perhaps working in a different medium, learning something new, organising my materials, sometimes it might look like taking a nap.

Don’t get me wrong- I still have to work when I don’t feel like it, when I’m spent and tired, or when the muses are pulling in different directions- there’s bills to pay, children to raise, deadlines to meet and life to take care of, but I don’t show up to my “work” from this place.

I invite you to sink in to gracious space and permission around your own creative practice, I invite you to allow it to flow as it will, I invite you to ride the natural ebb and flow and I offer you these suggestions to support your own creative cycle and process.

Tips for working with Creative Cycles

  • Take a nap- some times we are just tired. I look to Mistress Willow Sage Locket, my master teacher in all things curious and restful for this- she shows me how to drop and rest, not drop and fret, not drop and toss and turn, not drop and worry over this or that, not drop and feel guilty about not being “productive” just drop and rest in any position. Even a 20 minute sleep is said to really lift your overall energy for the day.

 
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  • Rest, Dream, allow the quiet nothing- it is amazing what shows up when we create space. So many of my paintings or ideas come to me in dreams or when I’m just sitting in the garden staring into space. Trust this time.

  • Try a different medium. I’ve been delighting myself by playing with both ceramics and silversmithing the last few months. Trying something new has inspired and energised me and I know that each medium I work in cross-pollinates with the others influencing expansion in all.

 
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  • Shake things up- add some spice to your process, do things in a different way somehow, take a risk, do something bold, create an opportunity for happy accidents or new things. Even just take your office outside for a change, anything to interupt the usual.

 
 My office for in the garden for I N THE GARDEN- FLOWER STUDIES WITH THE MASTERS

My office for in the garden for IN THE GARDEN- FLOWER STUDIES WITH THE MASTERS

 
  • Draw for the meditative pleasure of it. You don’t have to be good at drawing to do this (although practice will certainly change that) or have an agenda- just draw for the pure contemplative pleasure f drawing- it will switch off certain parts of your brain, focus others and allow your subconscious to work on other things ready for intuitive creative practice.

 
 My piece created from Jeanne Marie Webb’s lesson in the  CREATIVE RETREAT

My piece created from Jeanne Marie Webb’s lesson in the CREATIVE RETREAT

 
  • Learn something new- Perhaps a new technique or a new process, either in your medium or another.

  • Go on an artists date. Visit a museum, take your sketchbook to a cafe or wander your surrounds with your camera.

  • Be with nature. Ahhhh Pacha Mama is full of such gifts for our creative process from modelling the cycles of ebb and flow to inspiring us with her wonder and variety to recharging us with ions, sunlight and beauty.

 
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  • Watch a movie or documentary about an artist. I love to do this when my energy is low but I still wish to be inspired, to learn, to stay engaged. And I get to curl up and rest at the same time. Perhaps this one, or this or maybe this.

  • Follow you curiousities. There is so much energy in what piques your own personal curiosities and following these can feel effortless at times and completely engaging and who knows how they might feed into your future practices.

  • Follow your energy. Listen in, check in with yourself, what do you need, which cycle are you in, how can you support yourself?

  • Take a nap :)- see 1, it is a cycle after all.

Exploring the Down Deep

As I’ve talked about the Down Deep I keep referring to it as the Beloved Down Deep because truly to hear what past participants are saying about it is to really know how beloved it is. Don’t take my word for it, see for yourself, we made a short video:

Best online class I’ve ever taken!!! I can’t say enough about Fonda and her classes. Her Down Deep class not only was full of yummy techniques, but as a teacher she is one of the most nurturing and supportive and really gives so much of herself not only on her art but in the students journey in her classes. She is able to tap into places in your art that you may have never explored and she helps you push it even further. I can’t say enough about how much her class meant to me.
— Leslie Wood

And here is a little glimpse into the over 2000 pieces of art that were created during the first session of The Down Deep ( you can find more HERE)

Join us, the next session begins on the 24th of September (learn more HERE)

 
 

Giveaway- the Down Deep

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This Giveaway is now closed.


Thank you to all who shared about this course, we are so grateful that we have chosen two winners!! 💕🌸"Rose Ketring and Charissa van der Vlies who said “Thank you for this opportunity. Deep Down for me means delving deep into that hidden part of ourselves. That part we may not even be aware of. Our deep subconscious or that part that we have swept under the carpet. Those parts of us that need to be seen and loved. Creativity is a beautiful and healing way to nudge this part to show itself, to be seen and felt. To be balanced with the whole. Time to become whole, and get rid of the carpet. Let us paint on bare floors! Thank you for this inspiration.”


Woot woot- it's Give Away Time- and this time it is a place in the beloved class the Down Deep- take a look at these testimonials from past participants to see just how beloved it is.

To Enter just share this Giveaway on Facebook

& be sure to tell me in the comments here on the blog

We will announce the winners on the 15th of September

For extra entries (be sure to let us know in the comments):

     ☆ share this competition on other social media places such as your blog, twitter, pinterest, google, or other social network platform & leave me a comment.

    ☆ comment on this post HERE (and like our facebook page while you are there :) ).

☆Tell us what the Down Deep means to you.

 Good luck ☆☆

Freedom lies in BOLDNESS

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Emma Petitt's lesson in the Creative Retreat was such a fabulous and loved lesson that we've been chatting about her creating her own workshop and, Woot Woot, she has not only agreed but is so excited to do so.

If you want to go on the waiting list for when her workshop is ready you can do so HERE

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It will take Emma a bit of time to weave together her magic, a lot of work goes into these workshops behind the scenes but it will be well worth the wait. In the meantime there are two lesson's by Emma in the Creative Retreat, along with 17 other artists and here is a video where you get to watch one of her paintings come to life- it might look easy, but this is hours of painting condensed down to less than 4 minutes.

The Creative Practice- always exploring, always learning

I am seeking. I am striving. I am in it with all my heart.
— Vincent van Gogh
 Galia Alena's take on the lessons by Micki Wilde, Andrea Gomoll, Toni Burt, Jeanne-Marie Webb and Mystele Kirkeeng

Galia Alena's take on the lessons by Micki Wilde, Andrea Gomoll, Toni Burt, Jeanne-Marie Webb and Mystele Kirkeeng

One of the joys of a creative practice is exploring new ideas and trying new things, especially as a mixed media artist. So, of course, I'm was not surprised to see many of the teachers from the Creative Retreat weekend, also showing up as students and diving into the lessons from the other artists. Its part of the practice- taking inspiration, learning new things and incoroporating new things into your own practice and style.

 Kimberley Heil's take on the lessons by Shiloh Sophia, Mystele Kirkeeng and Micki Wilde

Kimberley Heil's take on the lessons by Shiloh Sophia, Mystele Kirkeeng and Micki Wilde

Naturally I couldn't resist sharing some of those here- perhaps they'll inspire you to continue to always be a student, perhaps they'll inspire you to continue again with the lessons, perhaps they'll inspire you to show up to your own creative practice, after all, it is a practice, and it requires practicing :)

 Fonda Clark Haight's take on a few lessons combined, Jeanette House and Pia Rom

Fonda Clark Haight's take on a few lessons combined, Jeanette House and Pia Rom

And I've loved seeing all the work that continues to be shared in our Facebook group, along with the wonderful aha moments, the break throughs- its so good when something you've been struggling with finally falls into place, or you discover something new that opens up new avenues to explore in your practice, or that creative block is smashed. Lots of these moments were shared in our group and we applauded each one.

 Jeanette House's take on lessons by Fonda Clark Haight, Galia Alena and Toni Burt

Jeanette House's take on lessons by Fonda Clark Haight, Galia Alena and Toni Burt

You can also check out some of the other work created by students over HERE & HERE  on Instagram.

 Pia Rom's take on the lessons by Mystele Kirkeeng, Galia Alena, Fonda Clark Haight and Kimberley Heil

Pia Rom's take on the lessons by Mystele Kirkeeng, Galia Alena, Fonda Clark Haight and Kimberley Heil

& you can still join us for the Ongoing Retreat if you wish to keep going with this creative practice.

Give Away Time

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Woot woot- it's Give Away Time- we are less than 2 weeks out from the {Free} Online Creative Retreat Weekend and to celebrate I'm giving away 2 spaces in the Ongoing Creative Retreat!!

To Enter just share this Giveaway on Facebook

& be sure to tell me in the comments here on the blog

I will announce the winners on the 3rd of July

For extra entries (be sure to let me know in the comments):

     ☆ share this competition on other social media places such as your blog, twitter, pinterest, google, or other social network platform & leave me a comment.

    ☆ comment on this post HERE (and like our facebook page while you are there :) ).

 Good luck ☆☆

And don't forget to join us for the

Free Online Creative Retreat Weekend Event

{GIVEAWAY} Botanical Mandalas

Combine the Healing Power of Nature with the Meditative Process of Mandala Making

Louise Gale was one of our inspiring Art Is Magic teachers in 2017 and taught our community how to draw flower motifs and turn them into clay mandala blooms! I am so excited to share this interview with her as she launches her new book ‘Botanical Mandalas’ which is all about Creating Expressive Mandala Art Inspired by Nature! We also have a special giveaway at the bottom of this post!

Louise Gale Botanical Mandalas

GA. Louise, so lovely to have this opportunity to chat to you.…congratulations on your book being published. Can you tell us about it?

LG: Hi Galia, great to be here and thank you! My new book ‘Botanical Mandalas’ \ is essentially a guidebook that is part-inspiration and part-art instruction. Inside the book, I talk a lot about the healing power of nature and why it is so important for us to reconnect back to the natural world, so there are a lot of exercises and inspirational tips on looking at the world around you, observing the beauty in nature and capturing it through your camera or sketchbook.

We then use the inspiration we find in nature to draw what I call Botanical motifs, these can be flowers, leaves, seedpods and all sorts of botanical items we may discover in our local area. Once we have drawn out our motifs, I teach you how to use mandala frameworks to then design beautiful botanical mandalas in watercolor, pen, inks and mixed media!

Louise Gale Botanical Mandalas

 

The process really is so beautiful and I have already received so many emails from people saying how the book has helped them relax, spend more time in nature and open up a whole new world of creativity for them!

GA: That sounds so magical, and you know we are all about the transformational magic of art and creative play over here! What inspired you to write it?

LG: The book has been a few years in the making for sure! I had been creating mandalas for a few years as I found it was a great way to relax and I just loved the meditative feeling I got from drawing and painting them. I had been on a healing journey when I first moved to Spain and I found that combining what I would call the healing powers of nature with drawing mandalas really helped me and so this is essentially what inspired me to write this book. I also felt a pull to inspire others to spend more time in nature and use this amazing process as a creative practice so this is how the idea of the Botanical Mandalas book was born!

Louise Gale Botanical Mandalas

GA: I’d love to hear more about your healing journey….

LG: Well, I lived in New York City for 8 years, which was a fantastic experience, but I certainly felt the effects of spending too much time on technology and craved a more quiet, simple life by the sea! A few serendipitous stories later….. I found myself moving to Southern Spain!

So when I first moved to this new life by the sea, I felt a huge shift and after a short while of feeling quite unwell, I found that I was essentially detoxing from being around so much electricity and technology for many years! In Spain, I did not have wifi or any mobile technology at all, very rare these days! So I found myself walking on the beach everyday with my barefeet in the ground. I would then sit with my journal doodling mandala designs and also created mandalas out of found objects on the sand.

I soon found that this was making me feel so much better each day and the ‘charged’ feeling I was having was dissipating. It was a process that took several months, but it really made me realise just how powerful being in nature everyday was. So I dedicated a whole chapter in this book on reconnecting to nature, being inspired by it and why it is so important for us to spend time grounding ourself to the energy of mother earth.

I cannot spend a day without the soles of my feet touching the soul of the earth wherever I may find myself around the world.

Louise Gale Botanical Mandalas- Leaf Sunset

GA: That sounds so inspiring! What are some of the creative practices you teach in the book?

LG: There are so many! In the connecting with nature chapter, I inspire the reader to slow down, spend time in nature and observe its beauty. This means taking the time to look at a single flower, its shapes, colors and how different it appears when you hold it at various angles. This is what inspires our motif drawing. I also include exercises on keeping a sketchbook, collecting natural found objects, flower pressing and then chapters on motifs, drawing mandalas and then using mixed media to create mandalas too!

Louise Gale Botanical Mandalas- Spring Bouquet

GA: Sounds like the book is jam packed with so much goodness!

LG: It is! I really wanted to include so much so this book can be referenced for many years! I also have a Book Club that comes with the purchase of the book. So everyone who buys the books can also get access to a members area on my website which includes video companions to many of the projects inside the book, downloads, coupons for online classes to dive deeper into botanical mandalas and lots more!

GA: Beautiful Louise! Thanks so much for sharing more about your beautiful book.

LG: Thank you so much dear Galia!

So lets do the giveaway!

This Giveaway is now closed. The Winner is Tracey who said: "Louise, the book looks beautiful! It would be perfect for me right now as I am seeking my path to reigniting my creative practice in alignment with my love and awe of Nature and her healing power. Thank you for the opportunity! 💕🌸"

Louise is giving away one copy of her beautiful book Botanical Mandalas, so here is how to enter:

  1. Visit Botanical Mandalas HERE to watch the video about the book and have a peek inside.
  2. Follow Botanical Mandalas on Facebook HERE: or on Instagram HERE
  3. Share this giveaway- Facebook, Instagram, Google+ Pinterest
  4. Come back to this blog post and leave a comment letting us know you have followed the social media accounts and shared the giveaway then let Louise know why this book would be perfect for you right now (click here to leave a comment).

The lucky winner will be announced on the 12th of June, '18

Thanks so much everyone!

Connect with Louise here:

Websites: louisegale.com | botanicalmandalas.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LouiseGaleArtandDesign/  | https://www.facebook.com/botanicalmandalas/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/louisegale/ | https://www.instagram.com/botanicalmandalas/

Sacred Arts- Gather

 
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Life is sacred. Life is art. Life is sacred art.
— Gabrielle Roth

When I got the first whispers of in*Spiration to create this workshop Sacred Arts, Mixed Media Dialogues with the Divine Feminine, I had no real idea how it would unfold, what form it would take and what it would offer. What I did know is that I was being called to create something at the intersection of my art making, my mixed media practices and my work as a mist walker with the Goddess Circles. And I knew that I wanted to be just as much a participant in this as a teacher/guide, so I invited some Sister Keepers to join me bringing the gifts of their own magic and I invited the Muses to lead the way, allowing things to unfold in process, as given, and to allow it to be a circle, a creative circle.

 

Participant Work

Now that we are a few mOOns into our 13 mOOn journey together, it feels more like the painting at the top here,
a gathering,
a creative circle,
a sacred space,
a blessing,

than a mixed media workshop. And yet, as you can tell by the gorgeous participant's work being shared here it is that as well- so much beauty is being created so much deepening and listening, so much support.

It is Both & And...

And the "work" being created and shared in the group just blows my mind, fills my soul with beauty and makes me smile. It is good medicine,
 

 

Participant Work

 
 

Each mOOn we gather to explore a new theme, a new dialogue, a new conversation with the Divine Feminine and I show up to the work with all my particular conversations and try to present as the hollow bone as best I can.
And I listen.
And I lean into the Creative Process.
And I listen.
What comes through is unplanned, nonlinear, highly synchronicitic and completely supported by life and the Sister Keepers who help hold this creative space of exploration along with the women who are drawn to the circle, who create the circle with me. In this way it is true creation- allowing the universe to dream through us. It is a merging with and a partnership. It is more than anyone of us is alone. It is the inhalation and the exhalation and it is the pause between. It is the creation that comes through the stillness and the listening. It is the place of true creation.

And what we can see if we look deep within is that the authentic self is the Soul made visible. Do not try to remake yourself into something you’re not. Just try making the best of what God(ess) made. The sacred art and craft of nurturing our souls and the souls of those we love is Simple Abundance soulcraft.
— Sarah Ban Breathnach

And what I know now, is that I still don't know, but what I do know is that it is needed, we needed it, I needed it. And so I allow it to continue to unfold as given.

You can see more of the beauty and wonder being created in this workshop here #sacredartsworkshop