creativity

Notes from my journals

I've always loved journaling but until beginning of this year haven't been very consistent at it. However in early January I decided to start writing every single day hoping to get over a writer's creative block that has been with me basically since high school. To help myself get through the block I'd get up an hour earlier than usual every morning and write my "morning pages", Julia Cameron Artist's Way style. Every morning I would write down three longhand pages of random ideas and thoughts, stream of consciousness style. I fell in love with the process not only because I already enjoyed journaling but also because it helped me de-cluttter overly active mind and start the day fresh and less stressed. The process also brought me a lot of insights and helped me get more connected with my creative process as an artist. At just a few week into my journaling adventure, in early February I made my first awkward attempts at "actual writing".

My writing was messy, fragmented, lacking in structure and it made me think that intuitive painting I've been practicing for years had somehow rewired my brain and that I was writing in the very same way I paint: freely, spontaneously, letting things to happen, stream of consciousness style and always in the flow. But I enjoyed writing anyways and kept on doing it every day regardless of objectively sucking at it, I simply fell in love with the process itself not expecting any meaningful or interesting results. I just kept on writing not even reading what I have put down to paper afterwards.

However, this weekend I thought it would be nice to finally read journals written over the last four months. As I begun to go through one of the notebooks from early January I noticed I still had two pieces of big paper up on the wall that I forgot to take down. I put them up to protect the wall from getting stained with ink while painting.

 wall being nice and protected while working on the painting...

wall being nice and protected while working on the painting...

So, completely spontaneously I started to write down random notes from my journal, taken out of context, it just felt like a fun thing to down. I also set up my camera and begun to take pictures of the process (later I made a short stop-motion clip of it), it was amusing to layer random sentences, phrases and words on top of each other creating an abstract texture (hey, I really do write the way I paint!). It was also interesting to take notice of which thoughts I was choosing to put down on paper, I kept repeating a lot of same ideas and notions. The whole thing turned out to be an insightful experiment and exercise in creativity for sure. I ended the experiment by writing down: But if I let my heart win it will lead me to you.

Variations of those words kept popping up in my journals over and over again (I even illustrated something similar few weeks ago) so it felt fitting to write them in capital letters over the rest of the text.

All in all it was a fun exercise and even though I will probably never be a writer I'd love to continue experimenting with words and somehow incorporating them into my paintings.

 notes from my journal: a list of paintings to be made :)

notes from my journal: a list of paintings to be made :)

How to paint love (painting from the heart)

Today I'd like to share something I do when I feel like panting from my heart, when I feel like expressing love and compassion and sweetness and sharing it through my paintings. It's a very simple and enjoyable exercise of connecting to my heart and feeling of unconditional, free flowing love and then painting that feeling.

Before I start to paint I take a moment to connect to my heart: I sit down in silence, I close my eyes and take a few deep breathes. I shift my focus from my mind, from my head down to my chest, to my heart area and I allow myself to feel it. Sometimes I also put both of the palms of my hands on my chest since I noticed it helps to connect to my heart and how I'm feeling at the moment. I keep on breathing and very soon after that I start feeling soft, warm sensation around my heart area. Then I ask my heart to show me how its love feels like and how it looks like (I say: Dear heart please show me how your love feels like right now.) Then I allow my heart to open up and I observe whatever comes up.

How does love feel like right now? Is it soft and pink and sweet like cotton candy or is it like a festival of colorful, joyful fireworks? Is it delicious and juicy like golden nectar overflowing from an open vessel? Does it feel more mature and serious like, does it feel like sitting in the shade of an old oak tree feeling protected and safe?  Or maybe it feels like million bright red roses blossoming at once?

Whatever feels the best, the most accurate I accept it, then stay in that energy for another moment, after that i open my eyes and begin to paint. For example if I experienced love as soft and pink then I begin to paint with pink and white ink and see what happens next, again using my intuition to guide me while painting. Whatever other colors or shapes or patterns I feel like creating I just go ahead and create them trusting in the process and trusting that this imagery I'm creating is the most genuine and honest expression of love at that moment.

This exercise, this way of painting also feels really, really good because all the while I'm painting I feel connected to this energy of unconditional love flowing from my heart through my body and expressing itself on paper and of course it also makes a very rewarding, energizing and very fulfilling experience. If you decide to give it a go I wish you wonderful painting (and if you don't I still wish you a wonderful, fulfilling painting experience :))!

  Heartbeat , ink and gelly rolls on 35.5x51cm paper.

Heartbeat, ink and gelly rolls on 35.5x51cm paper.

Nothing to prove, nothing to gain (how to push through creative blocks fast)

Today I'd like to share a little tip with you, something that helps me in pushing through creative blocks fast and in efficient way. I've noticed that I encounter creative blocks or lack of motivation to make art when I put myself under a lot of pressure and when I put an emphasis on what I want to prove with my art or when I expect to gain something from my art.

For example, when I start to paint while thinking I have something to prove with my work I automatically stop the natural flow of creativity and ideas and instantly deprive myself of any pleasure in painting. And it doesn't matter whether I have something to prove to myself or to others just this need to make a point, to prove something holds me back. Often I need to prove to myself that I am good enough, skilled enough artist who makes interesting images and that puts a lot of pressure on me, prevents me to experiment and to be playful. So, to release this limiting state of mind when I'm about to start painting I stop for a moment to remind myself I have nothing to prove. Sometimes I even go ahead and say out loud: I got nothing to prove. With that I let go of expectations and allow free flow of creative energy.

Other thing I've noticed that puts a lot of pressure on me and produces blocks is focusing too much on what I could gain from my art. Maybe it's just approval, recognition, maybe it's some opportunity or money, it doesn't matter. If I go into the creative process with an idea of what I could gain from it I limit my freedom of expression. For example, if I want to get approval I'm mostly likely to create works I believe others might like even though it might not be the most satisfying thing for me. So, if I'm in that particular mindset I have to remind myself that I have nothing to gain. By doing that I set myself free and allow myself to create more authentic, heartfelt and genuine art and ultimately that's what others react to best.

So, in the end I've learned that reminding myself that I have nothing to prove and nothing to gain helps me push though creative blocks, liberates me, unleashes my natural creativity and playfulness and helps me to create more honest art which is very important to me. I hope that this little insight of mine can also help you in some way :)

On intuitive painting (art as therapy)

Today I'd like to share my approach to painting with you which can be described as intuitive painting. When I make art I strive to get in touch with my emotions and then to express those emotions through creative process of painting freely and without any restrictions.
I almost never plan my art ahead but usually just before I start a new piece I take a moment to get in touch with myself and to pose some questions. I literally ask myself what do you need to express today? or how are are you feeling right now, are you sad, angry or are you happy are you joyful or perhaps indifferent or bored? Usually, intuitively I do get some kind of answer like oh I'm feeling a bit melancholic or maybe I'm slightly nervous or perhaps I'm feeling excited about something. Whatever it is I accept it and then I move on to the next step which is going a little bit deeper inward. If, for example the answer was oh I'm slightly nervous and edgy, then I continue to ask myself: ok how does this nervousness feel like? and I try to describe it in as much detail as possible.  I will go on by asking something like, does this nervousness feel like being bitten by a swarm of pesky mosquitoes, or does it feel like being stuck in a traffic jam on a hot summer's day in a car without air conditioning? or maybe it feels like wanting to scratch my own skin or not being able to sit still longer than 30 sec? I do that to get the most accurate description of how I'm feeling in order to fully connect to the mood or emotion so that I can eventually release it through painting, so I can paint it out. So after I answer those questions and intuitively get answers that feel accurate and right and after I have fully embraced my mood or feeling then I go further and ask specifically what is the color of this feeling, for example is this nervousness muted, sickly yellow of being sick to my stomach or is it bright electric blue of being super-high strung? If the answer is blue then I dip my brush into blue ink and start to paint. Sometimes I ask what is the texture of this feeling? Is it smooth or is it rough? Or can this emotion be represented by a pattern? What is this pattern, is it thousands of tiny bubbles about to burst or is it a forest of tall triangles that feel like sharp knifes? Whatever answer comes to mind first, I accept it and proceed to paint. So, if the feeling can be depicted by thousand tiny bubbles I will go on and paint them. I don't overthink the answers I just go ahead and paint them.
This practice is also very therapeutic because it helps me to get in touch with my emotions, to process them and eventually release them though painting. I found this to be very healthy and effective way of dealing with stress but also it helps in dealing with some more serious issues like some deep emotional pain or irrational fears or anxiety.  This approach to painting also has helped me greatly in getting to know myself better and it helped me in process of recovery after I have experienced some traumatic events in my life. Since this kind of painting is an intuitive and not so much a mental process and I am very intuitive, emotional person I find it very energizing and rewarding and almost effortless. It helped me a lot and I hope that if you choose to give this approach a go, it would help you as well or that you would at least have fun with it :)