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Art & Craft Courses

Book Of Days Giveaway!

Lovely art friends, I’m so excited to be back on Book of Days hosted by Effy Wild for another year. This course is close to my heart. It’s for those of you who want to express yourselves through art, those who are not afraid to go further and look deeper, who won’t shy away from what comes up and who will embrace making raw art that expresses the pain and joys of life.

AND I GET TO GIVE AWAY A SPOT!!!

Woohooo! I secretly really hope the spot will go to someone who hasn’t done the course before and really needs it, so they can discover the magic for themselves =)

I’ve already got plenty of ideas for my lesson on Book of Days 2020 and you bet it will be incorporating raw art journaling.

Registration opens on 15 October, so please put that date in your diary! I really hope you will join us, and can I ask you a personal request? If you join the course, please consider signing up through my link. It means I get paid for teaching on the course and that support is really important to me!

To enter the giveaway I simply ask you do the following things:

1. Click the link to the Book of Days registration page and bookmark it

2. Leave a comment below

The winner will be randomly selected on 15 October and will be contacted via email.

Categories
Art & Craft Courses

Life Book Giveaway!

Hey lovely art friends, I’m so excited to be part of Life Book 2020! This will be my second year teaching on Life Book and it’s going to be amazing. I’ve got so many ideas already for my lessons, there’s definitely going to be a yummy in-depth lesson by me on making your own junk journal! I really hope you will join the course.

Registration opens on 1 October, so please put that date in your diary! You’ll be able to use discount code LOVEBOMB2020 for a very special 20% early bird discount.

Win a Spot on Life BookFor now, I’m here to tell you I am giving away ONE FREE SPOT on Life Book 2020!

To enter the giveaway please do the following 2 things:

1. Click the link to the Life Book registration page and bookmark it

2. Leave a comment below

The winner will be picked on 30 September and will be contacted via email.

Categories
Art & Craft

DIY Decor Perfect For Expressing Yourself Through Your Home

The components of a house’s interior design have a significant effect on a person’s health and well-being, but what makes up a home can be difficult to put into words. Home is a place of personal and physical security that should be cherished and given personal character. There’s no better way to care for the well-being of yourself and your home than through decorating your living space with some personalised DIY decor. Add a bit of yourself in every room through crafting some easy decorations that are sure to let your personality shine through.

Decorative Candle Holders

Good for any room in need of ambient lighting, candle holders are a simple and practical addition to any space in need of a bit of warmth. The wide range of natural scents available in candles can trigger an infinite variety of personal memories. Maybe pair your favourite memories with some pleasant scents by constructing some DIY candle holders, using old photo negatives and some empty glasses. Make your home a place of unforgettable moments with this simple decor piece.

Simple DIY Wall Decor

The walls of a room speak volumes about its mood and energy. Simple colours are typically the norm for most indoor spaces, but livening things up with some custom designs and patterns can add a whole new level of expressive depth to your home. By taking the time to prepare and execute a repaint of your room of choice, intimacy is established between you and your now personalised room, which is completely unique to your own pursuit for personal expression.

Floating Bookshelf 

A personal library does a great deal to communicate what a person finds important in their life. Coming up with a creative way to expand on a book’s expressive nature only brings a homeowner closer to the value of their homely possessions. Building a floating bookshelf is a fantastic way to let your library become a seamless part of the home. A bookshelf acts as more than furniture. Make your mind a part of your home through designing a stylish means to display your most personal and beloved literature.

The decor of a home says a great deal about its owner. For those looking to make their house an extension of their person, taking the time to personalise your home with hand-crafted decor is an excellent way to make a living space entirely your own.

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/iKHXbvNHXPQ

Categories
Art & Craft Musings

When creativity is absent

Art friend, we often see the results of inspiration & creativity online, the darker flip-side seems to not be talked about so often. I’m hoping that sharing the following vulnerable musings will help you not feel so alone when sometimes the inspiration doesn’t come.

The way I approach making art comes from within, and at times it simply doesn’t come. Does that ever happen to you?

When I notice this happening, I feel several things:

  • Pressure. Why can’t I create? Why can’t I be consistent?
  • Guilt. Will people who expect to see my art be disappointed? What if I can’t deliver what I promised?
  • Fear. Will it ever come back? Am I just kidding myself thinking I’m an artist?

I start thinking that maybe I should approach art in the results focussed way. I’m a fairly competent painter; I could paint cute animals or watercolour landscapes or just do crafty things like bookbinding. I could just produce and focus on creating a massive output. But when I sit down to try I can’t. The heaviness comes tenfold, because on some level I know that I am avoiding something.

Recently I noticed something that I do, or maybe something I experience is a better way of putting it. When I’m in a creative period, I feel like I’ve cracked the code, I’ve unlocked something in myself, I’ll never have to worry again about not feeling creative! Then, sometimes gradually, sometimes suddenly, the feeling disappears and I’m in a creative dry spell. During the dry spell I feel like it will never change. I have run out of ideas, run out of motivation and this is it, the inspiration will never come back.

It’s curious to experience these extremes, especially when my memory tells me that I’ve been through both phases many times, so I can always trust that the current phase doesn’t last forever. It’s as if what I’m experiencing is the immutable Truth and no reasoning or logical thinking changes how I feel. As someone who has used logic to override feelings for the best part of my life, this is simultaneously frustrating and a marker of progress. I’m hoping it will change over time, where I might be able to experience both at the same time.

I wish for a future where I might be able to experience the feelings that I’m currently protecting myself from by not making art (because I do think this avoidance is borne out of self-protection). It also makes me wonder about when to let things rest and be soft to myself or when to push through and force myself to create. I don’t have a definitive answer for what is ‘the right thing’, but I do think ruminating on these questions is useful in and of itself.

Right now I’m trying to listen to little sparks of creativity. They don’t yet translate to actually making art again yet, but it’s little things like seeing someone’s painting and feeling inspired, or feeling excited to try something I’ve seen (a technique or colour combination) or a general feeling of “maybe I’d like to…”. Yesterday I all of a sudden felt that I might want to try an expressive self-portrait.

We’ll see. For now I am going to try to keep listening.

Dear art friend, if this sounds familiar to you, I hope you will be able to find within you a gentleness towards yourself. We’re in this together, figuring out this thing called life & creativity.

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Art & Craft Courses

Year-Long Online Art Retreat – Art Walk Alchemy 2019

In 2019 I’m super excited to be part of the team that will bring you Art Walk Alchemy! This course is a little bit different than you’re used to. There is a big range of different projects, styles and techniques that will be covered on the course. And everything will come under the theme of ‘Totems and Talismans’. Such a juicy and exciting topic!

Below you’ll find some sneak peeks of my lesson and project for Art Walk Alchemy. I had fun considering what my personal symbols are and in my lesson you will explore your own visual language and create a very personal art journal page full of symbolism.

Whenever I teach, my objective is not for you to make the same thing I made, but to give you the tools to create your own meaningful art.

I really hope you’ll join and I can’t wait to see what you create!

Lots of love, encouragement & tips included in my lesson

I’ll be teaching you all about how I create my colourful backgrounds so you can learn these techniques too.

Our final project will be an art journal spread that incorporates all the symbols that are important to you and speak to you. We’ll be setting our intentions for the new year through art. My lesson goes live at the start of January so you won’t have to wait long!

When you sign up for this course you will receive:

  • access to 24 professional artists. Each one will be available to answer questions and support your creativity during their lesson.
  • 24 in-depth video lessons (plus some!) in our favorite six art forms: paper art, clay, mixed media, fiber, jewelry, and painting.
  • a creative community of fellow artists with whom you can exchange comments, share your projects, and interact throughout the entire year.
  • downloadable video lessons.
  • a list of supplies for each lesson.
  • surprises and unexpected freebies throughout the year. (Who doesn’t love those?!)

I can’t wait to get started! Register your place here.

Categories
Art & Craft Interviews

Nat Kalbach interviewed me for CJS – watch it here

The lovely Nat Kalbach interviewed me as part of the Creative JumpStart interview series. It was so much fun, I really enjoyed chatting to her. You can watch the interview below!

A funny behind the scenes tidbit, before we started recording whilst Nat and I were having a preliminary chat, my husband came into the room, accidentally brushed against the my easel (you can see the corner of it in the right hand side of the video) and the painting fell down on top of me!!! It was HILARIOUS. We couldn’t stop laughing for about 10 minutes hahaha.

The course is open for registration, and if you sign up by 30 November you will get a 25% discount!

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Art & Craft Courses

Do you need a Creative Jump Start?

Have you heard of Creative Jump Start?

It’s 31 inspirational tutorial videos released one by one, each day, from 1-31 January. It’s absolutely the BEST way to kickstart your creativity at the beginning of the year (hence the name, Creative Jump Start!).

I’m excited to be participating as an artist in Creative JumpStart (CJS) 2019, run for the 8th year by Nathalie Kalbach.

Through the videos you’ll be able to:

  • learn techniques
  • discover new materials
  • feel super inspired
  • create lots of fun arty projects
  • connect with other artists and crafters

Throughout January participants get access to 31 downloadable videos from 31 featured artists. I’m proud to be one of those artists, called “JumpStarters.”

What I especially love about CJS is that the videos are short and well edited. This means maximum inspiration and more time to actually spend doing art!

Check out what’s included and who’s involved in the fun video below:

Click here to sign up or to read more details

You get 31 videos – over 5 hours worth of video content –  for just $40 (USD) if you sign up by November 26 2018 11:59 pm EST. Afterwards it will be $45USD until November 30th 2018, and $50USD until December 31st 2018, before it goes to its normal sale price of $60USD on January 1st 2019.

I’ve put together a super fun video tutorial for the course in which I teach you a lot of my signature art journaling techniques. I really hope you will join us!

Full disclosure: the links in this post are ‘affiliate links’. This means that if you sign up to Creative Jump Start 2019 via my link, I will get paid a percentage. This doesn’t cost you anything extra and is how I get paid for teaching on the course. It means a lot to me when you sign up through my link, thank you for your support!

Categories
Art & Craft Musings

Letting Go Of The Outcome

I often talk about how great it is if you can let go of the outcome when creating art, but what does that actually mean and how do you do it?

Let’s start with the flipside of letting go: being attached to the outcome. With this comes a feeling of pressure. For example wanting to create pretty or aesthetically pleasing art, creating something that will make you feel good about yourself, or creating in order to get loads of likes & comments (i.e. to feel loved and accepted).

Or even when you take that away, there’s still the issue of how you look at your own work. When you are attached to the outcome there is pressure, whether it comes from yourself or from outside.

At a certain point in my journey I noticed this pressure and realised what it was doing to my process. Instead of enjoying this wonderful art time that I was making for myself (and you’ll agree that in our busy lives, the time you make for art is precious and certainly not a given!), I was feeling icky about it. I might have created paintings I liked or felt good about, but at the same time I was so focussed on creating a certain outcome that I wasn’t able to enjoy the actual creation process.

And when you’re not enjoying the process, why bother? If you have a hobby (something you specifically do because you want to enjoy yourself) and you find yourself not enjoying yourself, then you have to change something. Once I started pondering on that I had the insight that it was about enjoying the process. And how could I enjoy the process? The most important step was to not worry so much about what the result would be.

It’s definitely not easy and it’s a journey, rather than something you simply ‘decide’ and put into practice forever more. Since my discovery I have started incorporating this into my classes. My work and my classes are never about becoming the greatest artist or mastering a certain technique. Rather, I try to help you to embrace the process and let go of the outcome.

When people tell me they’ve enjoyed a class of mine that they’ve taken, it’s rarely about whether they liked the artwork they created. The focus is usually about the process or how it made them feel.

I’ve realised that often people haven’t really discovered yet that there is something additional that you can add to the process. When you let go of the outcome, you can still make art that is satisfying as an end result, but there are also these things you can add so it becomes more transformative.

So it becomes more about self-expression, or self-discovery, or about switching off, or processing your feelings, or journaling something that happened to you that you need to work through (a therapy like process). When you focus only on the outcome, that stands in the way of all of those things. Being conscious of it allows you to be more deliberate in your purpose for doing art. You can start examining what the things are that trip you up, and what those things are that makes it less fun for you.

What my hope and wish is for you that you can bring in a bit of that consciousness that allows you to let go of the outcome and enjoy the process. So at the end of your art session you’ve had a nourishing journey, rather than just a pretty piece to show for it.

So my question and challenge to you is: What can you do in your process, next time you sit down to make art, to focus a little bit less on the outcome?

PS if you enjoyed this article you might like to check out Life Book 2019, an online art course that I’m teaching on which is all about making art and how the process can help you live a more positive and fulfilling life. Use coupon code LOVEBOMB2019 to get 20% off

Categories
Art & Craft Musings

Art For Self-Expression And Why It’s Different

I often talk about doing art for self-expression and I’m aware it can sound a bit intangible. What does that mean, art for self-expression?

For me it is the crux of why I do art and what I want to put out into the world: to help people do art for self-expression rather than for result.

In our education system you’re often learning by doing a project or mastering a technique. The media we see online is usually of an end product, not necessarily the journey. That can give you a skewed view of what art can be. It all feels very results focussed.

It can be really difficult, because we are so focussed on results in our lives, education and careers. We are often concerned with the end of the journey and how to get there efficiently and quickly, rather than the journey itself. Of course there is nothing wrong with knowing what you want and going for it, like wanting to make beautiful or pretty art. I love making art where I enjoy the result. But if that is all there is, we’re missing out on a big part of what art can offer.

Recently there has been a shift:

It’s becoming more popular to talk about mindfulness, the journey, being in the moment

What I like to do with art for self-expression is for it to have less focus on the result. This has been the red thread through my journey: moving from a more results focussed artistic practice to a more self-expressive artistic practice.

And I have good news! In this process there is no bad art, but there is also no good art. That concept of bad or good art can really hold you back. With self-expression it is no longer about bad or good, but it’s about you. It’s important to remember that it’s a process and a journey. Once you’ve decided to make art for self-expression you might be surprised when you still encounter your inner critic or still feel very attached to the outcome. It’s good to start with the intellectual understanding that you can only ever make the art that you’re meant to make.

You are always expressing that which you need to express in the moment.

It’s important to be mindful of what being creative during the natural phases of your daily life is like. Sometimes you are on fire and everything comes easily, and other times all the energy has gone out of you like a mini burnout. I believe this is a normal part of life, but sometimes it can feel like it’s not fine. As if you’re ‘doing it wrong’ and you have to be ‘on’ and creative all the time. Sometimes you feel in the flow and make amazing art and the next day it doesn’t feel good. That’s part of the process. It requires courage to allow that to be part of the process and not get discouraged.

I really value what art can bring you if you focus on the process and the self-expression.

The beautiful thing is that doing art this way doesn’t require any specific skills or expensive art supplies.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can become a really nice part of your life where you are supporting yourself with your art. Instead of doing art to create something pretty or fixed, it’s about connecting with what you need to express. Sometimes that’s heavy and difficult, sometimes it’s light, but in my eyes it’s always perfect.

Categories
Art & Craft Musings

My Story and Why I Do What I Do

You see my art as a finished thing but it comes from somewhere. It is part of my story, my past and my journey.

My story with creativity goes back a long way, I’ve always been attracted to being creative, painting, writing stories. But in the past I felt held back, usually by fear of failure or due to a harsh inner critic.

The seed of creativity was there all along, but it wasn’t a straight line to where I am now.

altered board book with colourful art journaling showing a feminine face with eyes closed

I stumbled upon mixed media in 2008 and really wanted to do it but couldn’t stick with it. I’d make a good effort, but hate the result and then not create for months. I kept buying more and more art supplies thinking they were the key to creativity, but none of them were the magical solution I was looking for. I got stuck.

A few years later I was really struggling with depression (something I have experienced on and off my whole life). Getting help through therapy led me on a journey of self-discovery which wasn’t necessarily about creativity initially.

When I picked up art again around 2014 initially I just wanted to make something pretty. I enjoyed what other people were doing and I wanted to do that too. I followed a lot of art courses and experimented taking on other people’s styles.

At that point in time art & creativity were separate from self-discovery, but then through the therapy slowly art became something natural to reach for as an extension of what therapy was helping me uncover.

Therapy and art started to meet (even if they were separate in terms of place and practice). I realised they were the same, they could serve the same purpose.

The way I grew up there wasn’t much room for my feelings. Showing or experiencing feelings wasn’t modelled. I grew up not knowing or understanding or expressing my feelings. Which then turned into adult me who couldn’t do anything with feelings. But I had an inkling, I realised I was struggling with things and that there was a bigger range of feelings ‘out there’ (or rather ‘in here’).

That is how I came towards using art for self-expression and also for self-discovery.  The art started informing me about what I felt. The art allowed me to see what I felt unable to feel to initially create an intellectual understanding, and over time also an emotional understanding.

Now that I’ve been doing art for self-expression for a while and also therapy, it is becoming easier. Both the making of the art but also understanding and feeling my feelings.

I credit both therapy and art with helping me so much with my feelings. They go hand in hand.

I’m still on this journey of self-discovery and I’m not done (I mean, are we ever done?).  I feel like I have a relationship with art now which is a mirroring of my relationship with my feelings. I can’t walk away from that, nor would I want to.

Coming from no feelings and being on this journey towards feelings is something that goes into my art. This is why you see a lot of graphic expression in my art and a lot of darkness. They might be current feelings, but I also often say that the art I make now is the art I would’ve made when I was a teenager if I had only known how.

board book with colourful art journaling showing three feminine whimsical faces

The expressive art I make is not necessarily a conscious action where I ‘sit down to work through a certain feeling’. Rather, I sit down, make art, try to let things flow and then afterwards (sometimes a few days later) I might look at it and try to understand what feelings I expressed in a piece. It gives me an entry point into my feelings and understanding myself that might be completely opaque to me without art.

This is also why I love working in journals. It’s really a personal practice, like diary keeping, but in a visual way rather than with words.

I try to be kind to myself. My work doesn’t always need to have meaning, it can just be. I can close the book and be happy I made something. I don’t need to be some therapy miracle.

Art helps me with my feelings. I do what I do because I want other people who feel they don’t have a voice for what they feel or don’t have understanding of their feelings to know that art and self-expression can be so helpful with that. Especially in this world that seems to shoo away feelings.

I want to be a voice in the world that says: “yes have all your feelings and express them”.