contemplative art

simple mood-shifting visual journal practice (video) | Something From the Studio 13

In this short video, I muse and paint in an altered book art journal, sharing a very simple and uplifting Creative Practice approach… a sort of meditation, where I let the thoughts, pressures or agenda of my day roll on by for a little while.

This practice is not about making grand fine art or even an exemplary, layered art journaling spread.

It’s not about refining skill or challenging yourself or setting and meeting an intention even.

This approach is just about showing up to your practice, as you are - maybe even when you are likely to find a million excuses not to - but doing it anyway, because you know you feel better when you take that time to just breathe and let go.

It’s a pressure-free way to relax into a very simple approach - in my case, in an altered book.

Despite its simplicity, though, it can still spark inspiration, form and develop how you see and express in your visual language, bring a little beauty into your day, and shift your mood or focus from worries, tension or stress into the peace of the present moment.

At least that’s what I find. Even though that’s not the point. ;-)

This approach works well in altered landscape, nature or geographical books (like mine in the video), or you could easily do this with a magazine image - loose or adhered into another art journal or sketchbook.

Like in the video, try first finding and filling the negative spaces on your image with colors that delight you.

Try going thick with your paints or medium.

Or maybe fall into the flow of making a repetitive pattern for a bit.

See where that leads your interest or aesthetic desire on the page.

But most importantly, just move color and play around on the page for the sheer sake of enjoying yourself.

 
video demo of a simple art journal creative practice that can uplift and inspire | Hali Karla Arts
 

to create is to invite vulnerability

diatom and portrait, art journal page, Hali Karla Arts

Every time I hit send to invite folks to an offering, I find myself navigating tender waters within.

How will it be received? Will folks accept the invitation? Will my readers be interested? Did I adequately express the heart and inspiration behind the creation or offering? Will that resonate beyond me?

It's not unfamiliar territory to an artist at all, but interesting how it is consistent in the process and experience, no matter how many years you move through the cycle.

I suppose the audacity - for those of us lit by undeniable creative fires - is that we have to keep trying... whether a thing is received in the way we hope or not.

There is a creative spirit that gives us the insight to see something that wants form, and the breath to try to give it the attention it calls for, and learn something in the process of offering it up. This is true for humans, not just humans who identify as artists, of course.

The past few days have been one of these all-too-familiar work-waves in my creative process, culminating with this morning - when I opened doors for my next offering, the Creative Practice Circle, and shared it with my subscribers.

It is not flashy or full of big promises and strategic pre-launch hype. Instead, it comes from a place of deep joy, percolating intuition and a tinge of rebellious realness - the kind that tries to listen to the voice that says, 'not the way everyone else is doing it. no, not that way. try this way. follow the connections you sense; it’s about more than you. ok - now, it’s ready, imperfect and true and ready to share.’

Painting can be like that, too. And writing, and sketching, and making a song… creating anything at all from an inspired, honest place within, really.

This new live-online Creative Practice Circle won't be for everyone - but seats are already being claimed today, and that fills my heart - as I know the circle and time together in Creative Practice will fill those who show up.

The mysterious gift of it all becoming something I merely initiate and hold space for, makes my own tender process of visioning, tending details, and sharing an invitation, come what may, all worthwhile.

Where my Spirited muse calls, I follow - to see what can happen, beyond me.

Is there an invitation, idea or offering imprinted on your creative heart, that you’ve felt called to make, explore, express, or accept and show up to? I hope you’ll trust that call and follow where it leads you.

If you like, learn more and join the Creative Practice Circle


also… diatoms are most amazing, don’t you think? (that’s what you see on the left side of my art journal spread above). they have a huge impact on our climate for such mysterious little things. i’ve been fascinated by them for decades... they’ve inspired my clay and paint creations in the past, and i seem to circle back to them periodically in a contemplative sort of way. they’re like a mysterious key i haven’t figured out yet in my visual language. good stuff.

why does art even matter on days like today

15mar-wipx2.jpg

There are some days when you wonder what good is art and art-making for. Why does it even matter? Really. How does it help this world be a better place, in this time?

A normal day can have this question floating around on the periphery anyway, thanks to a culture with backwards values or families/friends who don't get art, can't relate and think you should have chosen something different/more financially sound/more clearly of service or 'helpful' or understandable to society (whether they say that out loud or not).

And then there are those days when, on top of that, the hate and bigotry of the world comes crashing in loudly, when the suffering just lands a little more palpably on your heart, for whatever reason.

Picking up a paintbrush to make something can feel deeply insignificant on days like that. Days like today for me, with news of the New Zealand shooting.

I am an artist who paints and prays most every day, and yet how does that really matter in the face of religious bigotry and murder… an issue that enrages my mind and completely breaks my heart…?

Ultimately, though, I believe this unsettledness and questioning as an artist is a good and necessary thing.

Here are a few reasons…

It can move us to the action and connection that we are able to take and make, to learn more than we knew yesterday about 'others,' using the voice we do have to speak up and out and for the causes that break our hearts in the world.

Also, we get the privilege to choose to pick up the paintbrush (or what-have-you) anyway, because there is still This, Now, Right Here for Now... and to feel our smallness in that, and our sense of helplessness moving us into the life before us, and the complete blessing of that breathing, living moment to choose to do what we have been called to do.

And because art gives hope and beauty and expression to the despair AND the interconnectedness of our souls. Sometimes in process, sometimes on our wall, or on a doodle we kept from 20 years ago to help us remember who we are.

Sometimes the art is for the artist, sometimes for the {audience}.

This is the Mystery of Creative Spirit and the creative process moving through our lives, if we let it have time and space to be seen, to bring perspective to the precious moments.

As long as we are not using our creative activities to bypass or just numb-dumb out to what needs to be felt and given attention, but rather as a means to feel whole, to re-activate, to feel more deeply all that We are… then maybe it is not so insignificant after all, to pick up a paintbrush and move into heightened states of processing and awareness, witness and focus, at the altar of Being.

Being part of this messy human family.

It can all feel so utterly destructive and hopeless some days, like today - or any day you stay tuned in to the news lately, it seems… but after picking up my paintbrush anyway this afternoon, I remembered something else.

I believe art and creative expression are part of the ancient lineage of medicine for all of that.

Some of us are called to it, even though its place in the healing and function of this world is not always clear or ‘productively’ measurable.

It’s even part of how we can connect more deeply to the suffering, loss and the inconceivable, to what is needed or missing moving forward, to our part in it all… while keeping our channels open to what is sacred, beautiful, hopeful, connective and healing.

And that is the kind of creative energy that gives momentum to meaningful change, perspective and relationships in our lives.


Update: You can see the process video and musing for the painting I worked on, on this day, right here.

 
why art matters on those days when it seems like it just doesn’t (Hali Karla Arts)