Angela's Art Blog

Thoughts on Art and Spirituality

June 10, 2014
by Angela
1 Comment

Discomfort is a compass

Discomfort sometimes points the way…

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In intuitive process painting, you find that there are all sorts of ways that your intuition/inner wisdom communicates with you. Sometimes it’s through curiosity, desire, joy, & inspiration – and sometimes, it’s through discomfort. When learning to trust your intuition, one of the challenges is that it never gives you the full picture. Each prompting, each next step usually comes without a clue as to what will come after that, and that can make the discomfort even harder to bear and the prompting even harder to trust. And the inner critic (or Mr. Judgy) loves this because it’s an opening to insert doubt and fear into your thoughts so you’ll keep playing small. (Mr. Judgy thinks small is safe, so he’s really just trying to help, but small is really just small.)

And as I make plans for Painted Crow, this is coming up a lot. You see I’ve got ideas percolating – BIG ideas percolating for me and you and Painted Crow.

And Mr. Judgy is getting all up in my face about it, going from aggressive to wheedling and back again in seconds. Asking me who the hell I think I am? You can’t do that! You’re an introvert – how can you possibly reach out and touch people’s lives?! And then comes the pleading. Wouldn’t you be happier just painting? You could just stay safe and alone in your ivory studio, and not have to worry about getting overwhelmed or failing and feeling the pain of broken dreams.

This is uncomfortable to say the least. And it’s often very tempting to give in to the illusion of safety that it’s promising. Oh, the rest, the quiet, the relief – the LIE! Because this is the same voice that when I am actually painting, tells me that the act of painting itself is too risky.

So this kind of discomfort actually serves as a compass. When all these voices start speaking so loudly, I know they’re trying to drown out my heart, my intuition, so I know I must be doing something right.

Because I know that if I give in to those voices, if I let them drown out my true desire, what they will actually deliver is continuing smallness, confinement, and boredom. And the despair of lost dreams and lost purpose. And that’s a whole different kind of discomfort.

In your life, is discomfort being a compass for you?

May 21, 2014
by Angela
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Studio Notes: Recovering a Piece of My Soul

detail of current work in progress, acrylic & charcoal on canvas

detail of current work in progress, acrylic & charcoal on canvas

Studio Notes, May 20, 2014:

I am most definitely in the process with this painting. It’s been on my easel for months now, and it keeps changing – it was all swirls of bright colors, then it was a lot of white, then it was more solid swaths of primary colors – who knows what’s next. But it’s the same painting from the same inspiration that moved me to begin it. I’ve been working on it much longer than I would have given myself in the past before simply wiping it out and starting all over, convinced it wasn’t working. But I’m not going there this time because, as I said, I’m in the process with it. I’m better able to access the quiet place that accepts the process, even when I get frustrated that it doesn’t seem any closer to being done than when I started it. Staring at it now I wondered how this could be? Why am I still in it? Why not just move on and please that voice in my head demanding results, demanding product?

Because when I’m painting, it feels so ALIVE! It feels like why I fell in love with art making in the first place. And it has been soooooo long since I truly felt that. I am so grateful every day that I found intuitive process painting, the practice of process and that I allowed myself to embrace it fully. I feel like I’ve recovered and reclaimed a piece of my soul.

 

PS – I can help you to do the same. Visit www.paintedcrowstudio.com for more information.

May 13, 2014
by Angela
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Jodorowsky’s Dune and the importance of saying YES!

Movie poster for Jodorowsky's Dune

Movie poster for Jodorowsky’s Dune

This past weekend I went to our local art film house with my husband to see “Jodorowsky’s Dune”. It’s a documentary about Alejandro Jodorowsky’s huge undertaking back in the 70s to make the epic science fiction novel “Dune” into a movie. Before this I had never heard of Alejandro Jodorowsky, nor had I ever managed to finish reading, or see the “Dune” movie that was eventually made, but the book’s author Frank Herbert grew up here in Tacoma so is a local star, and my husband really wanted to see it. I was on board because the preview made it look really interesting, but nothing prepared me for the experience, or for what I rather surprisingly took away from it. (More than I could possible write about in one post, so I suspect there might be more on this in the future.)

At first glance, this could be seen as a film about failure and frustration. After all, Jodorowsky gave years of his life to the project only to have it rejected by and never fully realized as the movie he had envisioned. He had even managed to get such people as Mick Jagger and Salvador Dali and H.R. Giger and Chris Foss and Moebius to commit to the project. Jodorowsky dubbed them his “spiritual warriors” and empowered them with his total belief in their creative abilities. (It’s a really great documentary – it’s kinda crazy how it all came together – and then didn’t. See it if you get the chance.)

But at the end I realized it’s a film about creativity, and being fully in the process, and being fully alive. It’s about the importance of letting go of the outcome in service to the creative process itself, so that what needs to come about comes about. Even if it doesn’t take the form you’d been planning on.

Even though his film project could be seen as a failure, without all the vision and work he put into it, without his bringing together such huge talents, and his unwavering belief in those talents, and his faith in his own vision of a film that could change the world, in the end without the passion and creative energy he brought forth into the world, we might never have had such major films as “Star Wars” or “Alien” or “The Matrix” or “Blade Runner” or “Raiders of the Lost Ark” or sooooo many others.

That’s not to say that he was happy about it not working out. Nearly 40 years later you can feel the soul crushing heartbreak and frustration he experienced when he talks about the loss of this project.

But he didn’t let it stop him. He’s in his mid-80s now and he’s still creating every day. And you can see in him more aliveness and alertness and energy than can be found in most people half his age.

He’s such a great example, showing that engaging fully with your creativity has that power, the power to create life – the energy and enthusiasm for living fully in a state of aliveness!

I can only paraphrase this, but he spoke about how important it is to say YES!

“I am going to make this movie! YES! This movie isn’t going to be made. YES!”

Instead of asking “why me?” he said “what next?”

April 28, 2014
by Angela
7 Comments

Slow start

 

morning contemplations

morning contemplations

Notes from my studio yesterday:

Getting a slow start. My body and mind just won’t be rushed into activity.

And as I feel the beginnings of self-judgment and recriminations queuing up to have a shot at me, I take a breath and remind myself that a slow start doesn’t have to mean a no start. And a slow day is okay, with slow actions, slow thoughts, slow transitions. I don’t need to finish everything I begin today. I just need to take steps, even small, slow steps, beginning where and how I am now because I can’t begin anywhere else. I just need to take steps toward where I want to be.

The ego, trained over the years by society’s expectations, wants me to get moving, and get moving fast. And if I can’t do that then I should just give up until and wait to try again that vague someday when everything is lined up perfectly. Then all will go well because I’ll be getting something DONE.

The ego hates the PROCESS, and it can’t accept where you are, as you are, as not only acceptable but perfect as and where you are. Surely, change is needed. Surely, a finish line needs to be crossed, a measurable result needs to be achieved. Otherwise, how do you know you have the right to keep moving forward? The ego can really only think in black and white, and it misses all the beautiful subtle grays in between. It doesn’t understand or trust or appreciate the beauty of being in the process, whatever that process looks like, whatever that moment looks like, whatever that painting looks like.

Being present to the process, to the moment is where the ALIVENESS is! Not in the checking off of the to do list – in the doing of the to do list!

And by embracing each moment, no matter its appearance, and living from that place where you are, new energy, new breath, new inspiration, new vitality can then be allowed into your life.

So, as I sit in my studio feeling a little slower than I’d like, a little more tired than I thought I would, a little less driven than I “should” be if the day is to look the way I (my ego) had planned, as I listen to my ego/my inner critic throwing up resistance and barricades and stop signs, and nattering on about how I can’t work like this, I can’t take action like this, I started badly so I need to give up until I can get it right… I breathe. I remember my lessons from intuitive painting and I look for the place of true aliveness in this quiet moment and I quietly take that next slow step. And it brings me into the expansion and flow of creating and living from where and who I am and away from the contracted and blocked space of “should”.  And I breathe again.

 

 

April 23, 2014
by Angela
0 comments

Dandelion Pieces – Noticing the details

Dandelion Pieces, sketchbook page, ink on paper

Dandelion Pieces, sketchbook page, ink on paper

“Nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small it takes time – we haven’t time – and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”  ~ Georgia O’Keeffe

It’s so easy to get caught up in all the to-dos. All the shoulds. All the busyness.

It can be so easy to forget to notice.

And once again drawing in my sketchbook has reminded me to notice. It has reminded me of the beauty all around me, even in these lovely little “weeds” that so many spend so much effort trying to eradicate. I’m very happy that I’m letting them be, and they in return are inspiring me.

It feels so good to take the time.

March 7, 2014
by Angela
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I see YOU!

“I See YOU”

Powerful words. An even more powerful act.

This is the action created in a circle of tribe members that meet for an extended period of time, such as that created in our expanded Chakra Experience for 2014. Exploring each of the chakras in-depth through intuitive art, movement, journaling, meditation and more is a very powerful journey. And it’s the chakra we create together as a sacred circle of connected hearts that makes it a PROFOUND journey.

As you make the time to experience this journey together, the eyes of the circle become your believing mirrors, seeing in you that power and beauty which perhaps you have become blinded to as you look at yourself with your own eyes. Their compassionate hearts become nourishment and support for your roots so that you might grow and transform exponentially on the way.

Plant yourself in this believing circle and dig your roots deep. Join us on this amazing journey and let us say, “We see YOU.”

You’ll be amazed at the power of a Circle.

In light and love,

Angela & Angi

Chakra Circle 2013

Chakra Circle 2013

PS – The journey begins on March 21st at the studio of Painted Crow Expressive Arts and culminates in a 3-day Chakra Fusion Retreat in October. Registration closes on March 15th. We’ve only got a few spots left so reserve your space in the circle today!

For more information, dates and costs, please click here for the website of the Creative Lotus Tribe.

March 5, 2014
by Angela
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Creating a Sweet Rebellion

My amazing teaching partner Angi Donovan wrote this about our upcoming Chakra Experience. Give it a ready – you’ll be glad you did.

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Hello Beloved Souls,

A GREAT revolution is happening right NOW, except it is not the typical variety of take back the city and revolt. This great revolution is actually happening within, at our pure essence of being.

Energetically (in the realm of the subtle) there is a deep pull right now towards the authentic self, a releasing of what has conformed and held us back, a sweet and thirst-quenching rebellion from the TALL tales that have been told and sold to us about who we are, and especially here in the northwest, the energy of this transformation is full and abundant.

I have seen this sweet inner rebellion evolving within me and around me for years and the time here has never been more potent and ready for us to step into our truest selves. We are being called to move even more away from the drone of society and into the real presence, magic and power of life. And all we have to do is catch the wave.

Simple right? In some sense yes and in some sense no.

Even though the wind is now at our backs giving us extra vigor, it is still up to us to pick up our feet and fearlessly move in the direction of what we truly want. It is not for the half-hearted but for those ready and willing to make a full commitment in regaining what has been theirs since the beginning.

The Expanded Chakra Experience is not just a series of amazing workshops, culminating with an incredible three day Chakra Fusion Retreat, it is full-life-heart-mind blowing catalyst for reclaiming the power of being you. And I’m not just talking about the personality that is you, I am talking about the light and life of your very soul and what better way to do that than through the intriguing, fun, deep and enlightening wisdom of your seven chakras.

Each chakra open us up to insights of ourselves that are just waiting to be discovered, meet and utilized. For example the sixth chakra, Ajna, is at the third eye point and opens our layers of intuition, dreams and our ability to see the truth. In the sixth weekend we will unfold this wisdom by learning how to draw, paint, move, breathe and witness not from the place of thinking but from the place of inner sensing. You will learn how to leave your inner critic at the door and live from the place of your higher knowing.

Do something BIG this year and experience the taste of sweet rebellion!! Registration ends March 15th!!!

www.creativelotustribe.com

 

February 11, 2014
by Angela
1 Comment

Is making art really just for kids?

Last night I received a message on my voicemail inquiring about my children’s art classes.

The interesting thing is, I don’t teach children’s art classes. Even more interesting to me, this is not the first time this has happened. Further, when people find out that I teach adults, almost universally they respond with, “oh, you SHOULD teach children’s art classes.” And my response is always, “But they don’t need to learn what I teach – they already know it. It’s adults who have forgotten the feel and power of tapping in to their own creativity.”

I’ve got nothing against teaching art to children. In fact I believe it’s imperative that we do if we want our lives and our culture to be at all vibrant and to have lasting meaning. It’s just not my calling at the moment. My calling is to remind adults that their creativity is still alive and by learning to access it and to trust it, they can be more alive too! I’ve seen it happen, again and again, in myself and in my students. I’ve watched as my students physically began to truly BREATHE again. I’ve seen tension just melt from their bodies as they paint. I’ve seen and experienced psychological and mental breakthroughs and healing. I’ve watched myself grow and transform into a happier, more fulfilled person as well as a more creative, authentic artist. All from the practice of playing with a little paint and paper. And listening to the resulting conversation between color, form and intuition (and maybe even a little glitter).

It’s been my experience that in our culture we don’t truly value creativity and art. Oh, it’s fine for kids, but when we grow up we have to be serious. And if we somehow go against that cultural prejudice and follow our passions to become artists, well, we’d better be serious about that too. Art can’t be seen as fun and playful when we’re adults because then it’s just frivolous. And I can tell you from experience that is a very limiting and painful road.

But it’s only when I began to allow myself experience it as fun that I began to feel its full power, to express myself fully and authentically. And that I recaptured the passion of creating that drove me to be an artist in the first place, and found true meaning in creating my art (yes, even my “serious” art). The real heart opening surprise was I that I’ve found this also applies in creating my life.

Don’t you deserve to reconnect with your creative power too?!

intuitive painting, tempera on paper, 48" x 36"

intuitive painting, tempera on paper, 48″ x 36″

February 3, 2014
by Angela
4 Comments

Let’s talk about Fear

True confessions time.

I’ve been dealing with a lot of FEAR lately. It’s been stressing out my capacitors and bringing me down. It’s causing stress-induced eczema, anxiety, self-doubt, general moodiness, muscle clenchiness, and sleep-deprivation. A true mess.

What’s all that fear about? My goodness, is there a tiger stalking me?

Nope. It’s all about me stepping into something new. Something that feels HUGE for me. I just created a brand new class. I’m claiming I can teach something. And not just any old something. It’s my new Process AND Product class. I’m claiming that I can teach something that I truly feel is life-changing and life-expanding. This isn’t a class that I’ve taken, that somebody else already created. Nobody taught me how to teach it. I put the pieces together myself out of years of education and experience, and now I’m going to teach it. Simply because it FEELS right, like it’s what I need to do.

Okay, so I feel that way, but what does my thinking mind have to say about it? “Hell no.”

My thoughts are doing their utmost to get me to run far far away in the most opposite possible direction!

That’s where the fear is. That’s where the stress is.

It’s not in the big new thing that my inner wisdom, my intuition created that asks me to step into my own power and be seen there.

It’s in the thoughts of my inner critic – AKA: “Mr. Judgy”. It’s in Mr. Judgy’s Resistance to the new, to being seen. It’s in what Mr. Judgy perceives as risky and downright dangerous. So he’s screaming, “you can’t do this!” “you don’t know anything” “you’re going to fail!” “who do you think you are, anyway?!”, etc, etc.

The same thing happens while practicing intuitive painting. You follow your brush, your intuition to bring about your truest, most authentic expression in that moment. Your painting says orange, here, and you go to get orange and put it there, and Mr. Judgy starts yelling at you “that’s TOO MUCH orange” “you’ll ruin it!” “you don’t know what you’re doing!” “shouldn’t you really learn more about how to make a painting look good before you even try to put color on paper again?” and worse.

And by ignoring that voice while painting, by ignoring that fear that holds you back, and by tuning back into that intuitive prompting, you find that it’s not just about the painting. You discover that you’ve been building that muscle so you can expand your life too! You’re learning to trust yourself, to trust your innate wisdom.

Oh, and I’ve gone ahead and ignored Mr. Judgy started teaching that class anyway. And you know what? It’s AWESOME! And my fear symptoms? Gone.

IMG_1018(I don’t know who said this, but it sure rings true.)

January 27, 2014
by Angela
2 Comments

Are you on a Quest?

taking time for my own intuitive painting practice

taking time for my own intuitive painting practice

I was reading a marketing book the other day (yup, even we “artsy types” need to crack a business book every once in a while, and now that I’ve started my Painted Crow Expressive Arts studio, I’m doing it more often). The author asked me to think about what my leading defining characteristic is, and by extension, how I express that in my business.

So, I gave it some thought and came up with words that you might expect from an artist, like creative, artistic, and spiritual. All true, but my leading characteristic? Hmmmm… so I asked my husband. He’s a writer and always seems to have the best words just sitting there ready to use (while I tend to think in pictures). He got thoughtful for a few moments then said, “Questing. You are on a spiritual quest. Ever since I’ve known you, you’ve been seeking depth and meaning and authenticity in life, in everything you do.”

I could immediately feel the rightness of his statement. (He knows me so well – I suppose he should after 19 years of marriage :))

I AM on a quest, a spiritual quest, a creative quest. Among other things, that quest has led me (and is still leading me) to be an artist, to explore spirituality, meditation, and yoga. And it led me to discover the practice of intuitive process painting. Through the simplest tools of paper and paint, my world began to truly open up! I learned how to listen deeply, to hear my intuition, and to trust my inner wisdom and to act on it, in painting and in life.

The creativity, depth and meaning I crave are all here. And the biggest surprise of all is that my journey has brought me full circle because it is all already in ME! And once I realized that, I realized my quest had expanded to SHARING it too, because it’s also all in YOU TOO! Until that realization, I had never wanted to teach. I just never felt how it fit into my quest. But now I do, and my quest is manifesting in my Painted Crow studio, a safe place where others can quest along with me.

So, are you on a quest? Come join me at Painted Crow and see how magical and heart opening paint and paper can be. 

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” ~ T. S. Eliot