Layered Inspiration

June’s Artist Date was another special experience for me. I decided a couple of months ago that I would take Flora Bowley’s Bloom True course on the process she calls intuitive painting. It complimented The Artist’s Way theory quite perfectly. Each week the course followed a theme like play or bravery and each day you were given a task to complete. 2 days per week you were to paint. The bigger the canvases, the better as far as she was concerned. I went through so many emotions over the past 5 weeks, and today my Artist Date brought my painting to a conclusion.

Funny enough, this month’s chapter focused on abundance and treating yourself with luxury intentionally. What this means is that you pay attention all month how you are spending your money (no judgement), and then seeing how you are stingy with yourself in areas that would actually matter more. I found this to be true. I found myself being reluctant to buy the canvases, but in the end found coupons and my unspent birthday gift which helped me purchase my first 36 x 48 inch canvas for only $12. It’s original price of $79 felt like a lot of pressure to make something spectacular. I also had several 12 x 12s laying around and decided to do a grouping of 6 for my living room.

Each week I added new layers of paint to my canvases and started feeling a little more performance anxiety with the last 4 layers. In her course, she teaches a style that is very free flowing and without pre contemplation for the final outcome. You put on music and paint layers in warm colors, then cool colors, then blacks and whites etc. In the end, you start seeing images emerge and go out seeking inspiration on walks or in books.

This month, in The Artist Way, you were to go for a walk and collect leaves and rocks. This was also an exercise in Flora’s course. Yesterday after working on my painting I felt that the colors were just not coming together and I began feeling stuck. So this morning, I took my final Artist’s Date by going to the park with my camera, a big plastic baggie, a sketch book, my Artist’s Way journal and a pencil.

I wandered up the riverbed and calmed myself with the water’s flow and began taking pictures and sketched a rock. I then walked back up toward the trail when a big orange butterfly almost flew into me. I watched as other butterflies danced through the clearing. I wished I could have gotten a picture before a crow upset the magic. I walked up the trail and found a clearing on the path with huge trees and hundreds of ferns and realized those were the final elements missing in my painting. I collected my leaves, moss, bark, and pine cones before making my own little forest offering (another assignment for the class). As I arranged the wildflowers, moss, twigs, and leaves a woman stopped to watch. I had to wonder what she thought I must be doing.

I went home and worked on my painting with my new pieces of inspiration surrounding it, AND I finished it and loved how it turned out. I felt the most excited that it really reflected my family. Every bit of the painting was symbolic of what inspires us and our spirit. Next up, I will be working on the last few layers of my huge canvas, but as for today, I celebrate. I felt like a real painter. Something that I hadn’t quite owned yet.

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Peace Realized

Week 23: Honouring your Feelings with Tamara Laporte

This lesson took several steps to create. First, you were to sit with yourself quietly and feel what you were experiencing at that moment within your body. You were to then journal your sensations and emotions on the page. By doing this, you acknowledge those feelings (even if they are negative) by doing this, you give them freedom to release. Next, you may take some breaths and just relax and feel what it is to be in that space as well. All the while taking moments to journal this to your page.

The figure you draw is a representation of your feelings of well being and you were to choose an animal to be the gardian of your feelings. The background is whimsical and fun (I would say this is true to Tamara’s artistic style).

While I believe recognizing and honoring feelings is vital, creating the guardian was my favorite part of the lesson. Imagining a protecting and comforting presence will remind the journaler long after the page is put away that we have sources of love surrounding us ready for us to beckon.

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Time Out

May was a great month for my Artist Dates, but tough for my Morning Pages. In the previous chapter of The Artist’s Way, you were challenged to stretch your Artist Dates out a little. So, when my husband had a business trip to Florida, I jumped at the opportunity (something that I have passed on for the last two years). I have been excited to explore new territory & it had been too long since I took a break. I took the month off from lots of stuff, and unfortunately, I also let my Morning Pages slide. By the end of the month, I felt really out of sorts and that could have been a contributing factor.

Fort Lauderdale and Miami are favorite spots for my husband & I, so going back would be good for couple time, yet when he would be at all of his business stuff, I would have time for adventures of my own. With the reading deprivation exercise of April, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a book. I found The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh at the airport prior to departure and blazed though it by the next morning. Image

The whole trip was magical & I felt tuned into beauty where ever I went. On the plane, even though I couldn’t sit next to husband (due to our boarding order and limited seating left), I sat by a chatty lady who reminded me of a book character in the making.

While in Florida, I limited my internet time and spent the majority of my time soaking up the sun and relaxing (that is, when it wasn’t pouring rain and storming). The up and down weather amazed me because one minute it was 90 degrees and the next you were receiving tornado or flash flood warnings. The tropical climate with its distinctive personality draws me back again and again.

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I came back refreshed and feeling creative. As we landed back in Portland, Belinda Underwood, a beautiful, young musician was playing folk music in the airport and I bought both of her available albums as souvenirs of the trip.