Entries in creativity (20)


INSPIRED BY THE GODDESS (and my beloved sister) 

My Goddess Inspirations Yearbook is back for 2014!

If you follow my blog or my work on Instagram and Facebook, then you will, of course, know that I am inspired by the goddess. With the release of my 2014 Yearbook, I thought it was timely that I say a little bit more about my inspiration.

The goddess energy first inspired my life and art work in the mid 1980's. I was a few years out of university and my paintings then were large abstracts based on landscapes. It's difficult to pin down one event that changed my work and invited in the goddess but my dear sister, Jacky (12 years my senior and who sadly passed over in 2000) was a big influence on me.

Here we are circa 1982, I was 25 and Jacky 36.  We look so young!  I so wish she was here now to share these Goddess goings on.

Jacky was active in the Women's Movement in the late 70's and 80's; she ran assertiveness training workshops for women and wrote two books on this. She introduced me to femininism and women's consciousness raising. I loved her and looked up to her  because she was my big sister, but I also knew intrinsically that what she was teaching and talking about was right. Not just logically but with my heart; women needed (and still very much need) to take their rightful place in the world.

Around the same time I discovered the work of Georgia O'Keeffe and also went to see Judy Chicago's 'Dinner Party' in London. O'Keeffe's beautiful paintings and Chicago's celebration of the feminine spoke to me in a way other art had not done before. My own art work started to change.  Female imagery started to come into my work. I found that I wanted to make paintings about myself as a woman. I made large paintings using myself as a life size motif.

But then another element came into my paintings. One evening, working late in the studio, I felt that another energy was guiding my hand and my paintbrush. The painting was nothing I had planned to create. It was coming onto the canvas with almost a life of its own.  The Goddess had stepped into my painting.  This was the 'Bird Goddess', the first of a series of huge paintings about the goddess which I now know were painted 'intuitively' rather than based on drawings and sketches.  

These paintings celebrated the goddess or the Divine Feminine within me. I also wanted to reach out to other women through my art and let them know that they could celebrate their own goddess within. I loved those paintings, I still love them - the ones that survive - I have two left out of six. What I didn't bargain for was the reaction I got from the then predominantly male art world. They didn't like them. I took this rejection totally to heart and started painting landscapes again. Then I stopped painting altogether. Until 18 months ago...

When I started painting again after so many years of drought, the goddess wasted no time in leaping straight back onto my canvases and journal pages. In February 2012, I took Flora Bowley's first round of her course Bloom True. Her intuitive, heart centred method gave me permission to paint again and her imagery and motifs the permission to paint the goddess again. Artemis had returned...

Last year, I was guided to write my yearbook, 'Goddess Inspirations', combining the seasonal journey through the rhythms of the year with the goddess energy, creative activity and my own artwork.

It is now available again for you to enjoy through 2014. To buy, just hop over here

If you're not sure, this year you can 'try before you buy'. Sign up for my newsletter and as a gift, you will receive a booklet for the month of January completely free with no obligation to buy the full yearbook. Try now

There is also a chance to win a copy of Goddess Inspirations 2014!!  My lovely friend Julie Gibbons is hosting a giveaway for her birthday and to celebrate her Mama. Join in the big birthday blessings giveaway over at juliegibbons.com today. A circle of creative women, including me, is offering prizes galore, one of which is a copy of Goddess Inspirations 2014. Go to http://bit.ly/birthdayblessings to join the party...

I have so much to thank Jacky for. So grateful to my big sis...for her part in putting me where I am now. Today I'm remembering her with great fondness and love.   I know she's loving these goddess gals and the joining in circles with other women.

From my goddess heart to yours

Rachel xox


writing v. painting 

Writing versus painting - do you have this kind of dilemma?

For me it's no contest really - painting always wins hands down.

But I'm writing a lot at the moment - a lot.

I'm writing: 

  • more regular blog posts  
  • a couple of guest posts
  • a course for someone else
  • my own online art courses

The ideas seem to be pouring in at the moment and I have to get them down on paper as soon as I can before they disappear.

I like writing - and I love writing courses.  But it's taking up a big part of my time that I would normally use for painting.

So, which do I do - writing or painting?   I don't want to have to make a choice.

So how to fit it all in?

I'm having to be much more organised with my time than usual - and I'm really not good with this.  I'm more of a 'go with the flow and see how things pan out' sort of person.  However, I'm beginning to see that scheduling time for writing is the only way I can get it done AND fit in my painting time (not to mention my therapy business).

With great serendipity (I love the way the Universe works) the Artizen Coaching Newsletter from Jennifer Lee -writer of the 'Right Brain Business Plan' - dropped into my inbox this week with 'Writing tips to help you with your book or other creative projects'.  

Jennifer's tips are: 

  • Schedule time - block out time in your diary for writing - then show up to the laptop/journal/notebook
  • Say 'no' to 'yes' - have boundaries, say 'no' more often, delegate where you can
  • Brain dump - get those ideas onto paper - mind map, journal, notebook, open a Word doc, email yourself
  • Repurpose - istead of staring at a blank page, use existing materials to build on - ie the ideas you've 'dumped', journals, scribbles, old blog posts etc etc
  • Put placeholders - if you get stuck on a section, make yourself a note about what will go in there and come back to it - this helps to keep moving forward
  • Go where there's flow - kinda related to putting placeholders - write the section that's flowing just now
  • Have an external deadline - there's nothing like a due date to hand in a finished product - if you're writing for yourself and you don't trust yourself to hit that deadline, get an accountability buddy and set a date
  • Trust - trust that you have something to say and that someone wants to read it.  Jen says, 'In the end, it comes down to simply trusting. Trusting that I have something to say. Trusting that I can say it. Trusting that what I have to say will have a positive impact. How will you remember to trust your own voice and creative process?'

These tips aren't just about scheduling time; they're about moving your creative project forward.  It's good to know that I am already doing some of these.  I already write down my ideas as soon as I can before they get lost.  I'm quite good at setting deadlines (though not perfect). I already repurpose, use placeholders and go where there's flow.  (And I realise, I do these things in my painting process too.)

But it was also interesting to note that these 'tips' for moving a project forward highlighted my issues. The biggies for me are scheduling time, saying 'no to yes' and 'trust'.  Now I know they are issues, I can work on them in my journal (more writing!).

Writing v. painting?   It's still painting - painting wins everytime. 

Are you a painter and/or a writer?  A journaler and/or a quilter?  Which of your creative projects claim more of your time?

Do you schedule time for your creative projects?

Do you trust that your voice will be heard and your art work be seen?

Have you got some tips that I could add to this list???

I'd love to hear from you.  Please leave your comments below!!

From my heart to yours

Rachel xox

ps don't forget to sign up for my newsletter to receive my blog updates, inspiring ideas, new artwork and workshop news direct to your inbox.


Art Every day month #aedm2013

It's Friday and for me that means a day in the studio painting.  It's also November and that means it's Art Every Day Month.  We're already a week in, but if you haven't started yet you can start anytime.

I've been working in my journal in preparation for my Glorious Goddess workshop on 21 Secrets 2014. And I've been posting on IG and FB with the hashtag #goddessjournal so if you like, you can see all the goddess pages together.  

You can join in #AEDM any way you like - a page a day in your art journal, a painting a day if you feel so inspired, making art with your kids, baking a cake, knitting, a photo for IG, writing a poem - whatever you have time for in your busy schedule.  And if you miss a day (I missed a couple this week) it really doesn't matter.  It's just a gentle reminder that we can be creative every day even for just 10 minutes to doodle in the coffee shop or while you're on the phone to your friend or like today, spending a good chunk of time with the paint.

AEDM links in nicely with my last post about Maintaining Creativity - if you're looking for some peer support and a creative tribe to join for a few weeks, this could be it.

Five ways you might be creative every day: 

  • Junk mail journalling once the mail arrives
  • a doodle with your morning coffee (journaling in the coffee shop seems to be a trend)
  • blind contour drawing your workmates at lunchtime
  • a scheduled art date - gallery visit, art material shopping (one of my favourites) or getting together with friends to make art
  • full on journaling in the evening 

Once you've created your piece  of art, you can share online on your blog, on IG, FB and Twitter using the hashtags #aedm and #aedm2013 - or don't share at all, just know that you have honoured your creativity for another day.

Art Every Day Month is hosted by lovely Leah Piken Kolidas over at Creative Every Day - for more info just follow the link.

There's been a bit of a blue and green theme going on the last couple of days - seems like lots of healing on the green ray for the heart and general balancing is what's needed around here.  Are you interested in the effect colour has on us? On our physical and emotional being?  

Would you like to know more about colour for healing through art?  Using your journal as a safe and sacred space to do this?

I am putting together ideas for online courses for next year and would love to know what you think.  

Please leave me a note in the comments box below or contact me  and let me know.

From my heart to yours

Rachel xox


maintaining creativity

There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time this expression is unique. and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it! It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.' 

 Martha Graham

Did you keep your creative channel open this week? Life got in the way for me; some of it was good stuff - catching up with friends, writing a new holistic therapy course .... some of it routine - admin for the business, running errands - but somehow it transpired that four days passed without my getting into the studio :-(  By day four I was feeling a bit desperate and determined that I would spend a good chunk of my next day painting.  

Yes, desperate... I recently attended a workshop about developing my practice and we had to do a 'speed dating' exercise.  We had to introduce ourselves by saying who we were, what we did and WHY we did it.  I found myself saying over and over again that the reason I made art was because I had to and that if I didn't I got depressed.  I said that making art is a fundamental part of me and that to not make art is to deny that part of my self.  (I should know, I denied it for over 25 years - you can read more about that here.)  What was interesting (although not surprising) is that most people were saying pretty much the same thing. 

So how do we maintain creativity?  If we have other lives to lead, jobs to go to, businesses to run - how do we maintain our commitment to our creative soul? 

I know other people have written about this but one of my favourite writers is Austin Kleon in his little book 'Steal Like an Artist'.  He recommends keeping a calendar and a logbook.  The calendar means that you book your creative time in with yourself and the logbook records what you've achieved.  I have my own version of this; it's my 'to do list'. I log in that I want to 'paint every day' when I set my objectives for the week.  Sometimes it doesn't happen, most times it does.  A good week has lots of ticks :-)  (I like to walk every day too - looks like it didn't happen this week...)

Austin Kleon also says 'Writing a page a day doesn't seem like much, but if you do it for 365 days you have enough to fill a novel.'  It's the same with my painting - maybe I can only do an hour or two a day, and on some lucky days I can be there for 3 or 4 hours but those hours add up and this routine maintains my creativity.

So after my four days away, I made a commitment to myself to get back in there.  The little paintings in this post are the result of a great afternoon in the studio.  They're not finished - they're works in progress - but I feel full, I feel fed and satisfied.  My soul feels replete.

I have to show up, I have to turn up every day I can at my desk and do the work.  At the beginning of the day, I earmark the studio time.  Book an hour in your day, book a day in your week - whatever works for you.  Don'f feel guilty about it if you don't turn up, but ask yourself this - if you booked a lunch date with your best friend and you didn't show, how would she feel?  If you book your art date with your creative self and you don't turn up, how is she feeling right now? (Sorry, that is pretty guilt loaded, but I just know so well what happened and what happens if I do this to myself.)

How do you maintain your creativity? Does it feel like hard work, or is it a necessity? What strategies do you use? Do you show up every day, once a week? I'd love to hear from you.

From my creative heart to yours

Rachel xox

ps just a little reminder that I am teaching on 21 Secrets 2014.  You can read more about my Glorious Goddess workshop here


Transformation and transmutation 

I've been journaling about letting go. Again. All this year it seems, I've been letting go of fear; letting go of old, deep seated anxieties of not being good enough; letting go of the fear of being my true self.

But in the letting go there is always something new ready to rush in. If we let go of something we create a vacuum and a vacuum cannot exist; nature abhors a vacuum - it needs to be filled. So, my journaling is not just about the letting go, it's about the new states of my being that are flowing in to replace the old skin I am shedding, the skin that no longer fits.

As I journal on my pages, the positive energy comes in on a gentle wave. The process is one of marvellous transformation. The writing transmutes the dark feelings as fear becomes excitement, the uncertainty a knowing and the hidden emerging into the light.

This is a process which works for me every time. Sure, I need to come back to it again and again. My patterns are old and I need time to change them (and the opportunity to work on them again and again) - there are layers and layers of change to sift through. But each time I sit with my paint and pens I find that joy, I find that light.

As I write my Glorious Goddess course for 21 Secrets 2014 I have to face my dread of seeing myself on video (eek!) and hearing my own voice (meh). Connie's invitation has forced me to confront these issues of self acceptance. It's big stuff...and requires lots of journaling...

Are you transmuting some dark matter as we move towards the winter months? How are you dealing with your own transformation? Perhaps the shifts are gentle, maybe they're pretty seismic like mine :-)

Whatever is in your alchemist's crucible, let it be there, let it transform, let yourself transform dear one...

From my heart to yours
Rachel xox

ps there are two more days of my Etsy birthday sale and you can sign up for 21 Secrets 2014 here