From the studio…notes on creativity gone…out and about and back and forth and bigger better slower more

The withdrawal process is seemingly unpredictable and requires a good measure of “go with the flow”, do what you need to do RIGHT NOW, stay in the MOMENT.

I have been infamously rubbish at it. Learning. Bear with me.

I have been running away from the now, the feelings, the e-motions and physical sensations, allowing my mind either to roam the vast range of regrets in the past or indulge in the promises of the future.

Bugger that. HEEEERE and NOW, my body, mind and spirit require me, to be. Right here, right now, keeping calm, keeping on keeping on….and CHILLing.

Art, i.e. in my case what I call arting has been really helpful. It really is art, I am just still too selfconscious to call it Art with capital A, let alone myself an artist, after thirteen years and counting…when is it gonna finish??? or click?!…, AND/BUT more importantly I really enjoy the processuality of that word ARTING. Bit like playing, messing about, goofing with…whatever.

Anyway…my art…arting has proved a saving grace once again. Above a couple of snapshots from the studio as it is at the moment.

#seemetoseeyourself portraits #couloringbooksforbiggirlswhodontcry, mess on my picture board (how did Nicole Kidman and reinterpretation of Origine du Monde with a butterfly get on there???) and my nest, with the aforementioned affirmative chilling cushion.

What I am trying to say…when I chill, like proper…stop harassing myself for being in recovery, in withdrawal, not in a (proper) job (DOH!!!), being a fake and all the associated nonsense my negative mind churns up on a second to second basis…I can actually just enjoy the peace that is within. AND THAT…is SOMEHING ELSE…then I can create from a place of joy, as in “radost” in Czech, and as we know there is never enough joy…not enough joy in enjoy and “radosti neni snad nikdy dosti”. Only there is more and more…when I allow myself to notice it.

So…I wish you a merry rest of the holiday season, and check out #premrawat if you get a minute. It is SOOO worth it. I just keep forgetting…and need to be reminded…all the time. Honest.

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Drawn to do more #seemetoseeyourself portrait sessions

/Self/ portraits have been an important part of my recovery process…monitoring, connecting and keeping in touch with myself…while staring into the mirror with a brush, felt tip or a pencil in my hand.

 

More recently I have been creating #seemetoseeyourself portraits for other women in transition or recovery too. Been drawn to them…and vice versa…pun intended.

The portrait sessions are a space to be seen and witnessed, to honour the healing process and our place in it. The resulting acrylic and mixed media artworks a witness to and a celebration of a turning point, or a particular stretch of the journey.

Feeling allowed….even…especially…onto the canvas. And the space in between.

If you feel drawn to this, or know of someone who might be,  or who is in need of this, please pass this post on and let them know I am ready to arrange a sitting, either online or in my SE London studio.

Please do share and spread the word…for more women aware of and proud of their /captured/ moments of healing.

 

Art Of Withdrawal Continues

This is a snapshot of a picture board from my studio…pretty eclectic at the moment, trying to piece it all together seeing where it all takes me, keeping on keeping on.

Nastenka

These days I am keeping myself to myself…mostly. It does me good. And I keep on tracing the process of withdrawal. Tracing small joys and pleasures. Like a cup of tea, dance to a favourite song or a blackberry from the overgrown garden.

Most of the time I enjoy this solitary confinement, this time self imposed, as I know I am getting better, stronger and readier for the world “out there”. Learning to enjoy, because I can, not just because I deserve it….that too, thinking about it now ❤ :-).

Learning to enjoy the moment called now. Not getting lost in the memories of the past and not planning for the future too much though I do have dreams…about a basement community art studio, failing that a studio in the garden…anyways…more on that to come…it might already be happening…in its own ways. Who knows?

It should take about another year of tapering safely and I have things I would like to do in the meantime. Like that book, or the arting box for children…or my arting heroines portrait series…having said that…I might need to just keep calm and chill for most of that time, my brain permitting. The main thing…is…to enjoy the ride. And the NOW. Still learning. Bear with me.

Keep Calm

 

Traced solitary…

Most of the time I need to create in order to see what it is.

As in the case of these nudes.

I just had an urge to paint them.

I had to.

 

 

Later on, sitting in my studio, looking at them…I realized what they were.

Traces of memories….memories of solitary confinement.

I could have known.

The way they came about was hurling myself, body painted in black, up against the wall of paper. Then I worked with the traces, expressively, and then felt like covering them in a layer of expressive white.

Memories of hurling myself up against walls in a clinic all those years ago came back. Something certainly had to be processed this way. It wanted out.

These ones are certainly making it to the #artofwithdrawal show that is planned for next year. ❤

 

 

 

 

Lighting up Traces of Touch and Memories

Recently I have been playing and arting with my #tracingmyself process some more. I have been capturing touches and then boxing them up or sewing them into transparent lit up objects that conjure up all sorts of things, memories of the night, memories of the touch…memories…of…

 

 

I wonder what these boxes and objects evoke in you?

Let me know. For more pieces see my instagram profile.

Arting Book and Box…under way

cropped-win_20180404_15_46_18_pro.jpgI have been quiet, taking things easy and plotting behind the scenes.

Working on several projects. One of them the long conceived and intended Arting book for children.

How would you or/AND your children like to read about and try these things out:

  • write a here and now haiku
  • follow the “inspired by” process of learning from some interesting and fun artists
  • explore nothingness, and then somethingness with drawing, painting, constructing…
  • learn about and to use all the different tools in the artist’s box and mind
  • create your own art of course!!!
  • write your own artist’s manifesto
  • show and share your art with others?

These are just a few things the book covers in 30 “lessons”, “dips” or  perhaps afternoons or days of arting play while we become the artists we already are.

The book is designed to be accompanied by a box with arting tools, resources and surprises.

Stirring well behind the scenes, I would like to invite you to ask your most burning arting questions. Answers in the book ;-). Why not pop them here?

I am looking forward to them.

 

 

 

 

What is behind my arting…where is it coming from? And what is behind yours?

Today I watched a video by Alexis Fedor of Artists in Business that talked about core values…for myself, my art and my work with clients.

Connection
Courage and Healing
and Inspiration with Encouragement

came up for me, after a brief thought, almost by impulse.

And that brought me down to my knees and back to where it all began…back in 2006, in a psychiatric clinic in Kromeriz, in Czech. Not the best place to be, and art about the only solace and connection to be had.

So for me, the outpour of arting then came after about ten years of having not allowed myself to art, because, as I had been fed and told I was not good at it. See, only talented enough individuals were allowed extra art classes when I was a child in the then communist Czechoslovakia.

Since then, mapping my recovery journey of twelve years, I have worked in (the National) gallery in Prague, studied learning through art and art therapy and experiential learning methodologies. I have created along the way – with people, on my own…knowing that art has a special way of connecting us to who we are, and build those connections between us. By allowing ourselves to art we heal ourselves, and thus the/our worlds.

Now based in London, I have taken my work online, put what I know about overcoming those “not good enough” resistance and fear and doubts in your art into an e-course. It has been my labour of love. If you so feel inclined check it out, but most of all, hit comment/reply and tell us, what is the why behind your arting! I really want to know.

 

 

#Seemetoseeyourself Portraits

There is something about being seen, being witnessed for who you truly are.

The portrait session is a way to sit with it. With yourself and connect. To yourself. I am there to witness that process. The resulting portrait painting in acrylics is a document of that.

IMG_0838.JPG

Lila, portrait preparatory sketch in acrylics, 2018.

I love doing these, as usually the true spark of a person (I paint women) comes through. How can it not? And I get a chance to glimpse it and paint it. That is the most thrilling part of it all.

Women often tell me I have captured how they feel on the inside, which is what always comes through, beyond the surface of your face, or the canvas.

The way I approach painting the portrait is quite intuitive based on my sensitivity, yet is informed by painterly and drawing techniques and training. I love to map out your face, personality and beyond in bold brushstrokes and meaningful colours.

The seeing and the knowing come together.

The portrait session takes about ninety minutes in my London studio, while we sit with it,  and I take visual notes and reference photographs. When you leave I stay with the material and work with it. The process works online, via skype too.

To book your portrait session to #seemetoseeyourself get in touch.

For the duration of September I am putting on a special offer – you can get your unique portrait for the price of your three working days (minimum GBP 150). That is how long it takes me to finish one piece. For further information, get in touch.

I look forward for you to #seemetoseeyourself.

 

 

 

10 Arting Books to read/have a look at over Christmas to get arting in 2018

PCTG7500
Arting Manifesto, photograph, 2017

Christmas as you would probably agree is one of the best times for reading. So before it finishes, why not check out these books, even if you may not have got them (there is Amazon, oh no, I did not say that! or the local library). So which books should you read/have a look at to get arting (more serously or with more fun) in the new year?

Here are my top ten

  1. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, I know, I know… if you are really feeling stuck and combating those inner demons and blocks this will help.
  2. How to Become an Artist by Michael Atavar if you are already taking it “seriously” and need a bit of pep talk.
  3. Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp if you need to rock your creative habits, obviously
  4. LifeLines by Dion McInnis if you need some more interesting ways to dig biographical inspiration.
  5. Foundations of Art and Design by Adrian Piper to revisit the basics of visual language, even if you are only looking at the illustrations and consider the headings of each chapter.
  6. Make Mess by Keri Smith to get a bit more playful and irreverent, any of her books, really.
  7. Women, Art and Society by Whitney Chadwick to appreciate, even if  not that perfect, gender relations in the field.
  8. The Tate Guide to Modern Art Terms by Simon Wilson and Jessica Lack to get your head around some of the art books, magazines and art gallery labels. Or approach it dada style – pick a random term and create around that.
  9. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon, check it out really really, if you have not already.
  10. 100 Artists’ Manifestos: From the Futurists to the Stuckists as selected by Alex Danchev to get inspired (or steal like an artist) to pen your own one.

These are my top ten for artists at any stage, shape or form, plus of course…read anything AND everything BY your favourite artists. No harm in that. Not necessarily ON them, but BY them, says I as an also trained art historian.

What would you add up to the list? To help your arting itch? Let me know

And if you want to take it more seriously (arting itch) with a bit of fun (a lot actually), why not join me on the #becometheartistyouare course in February or take the self-study option anytime? Let’s get arting in 2018!

Irena Ellis is an artist/educator living in London, running her own Arting online and offline workshops and art practice aimed at photography, painting and butterflies.