Tulips Continued, and me too

Tulips Again

The two artificial tulips hanging in my studio have become a starting point for exploration of or a metaphor for my inner states of being while in withdrawal from prescription drugs. Definitely on the feeling side kind of paintings. Felt lot better for having painted them. Pain, doubt, loss…all transmuted into something else. Hopefully!

What feelings do they evoke in you?

Prints available, get in touch.

Tulips and Tea Cups


This week culminated in these two paintings while listening to bbc6 and dancing myself out of whatever is inside.

I am learning that truly all of my art is art as therapy. At the moment I seem not to be able to paint otherwise.

So…sharing, from the deep life to darkness to a teapot for two. Enjoy.

Tea for Two

For more go to my insta feed. Prints abailable, contact me for more.

Meanwhile have a great and restful weekend!

Slow Down, Pleasure Up, for the Time Being

from The Tao of a Butterfly, Gallery Chapel, Zalesi, Rychleby mountains, Czech Republic, 2013

No, I have not been smoking Galoises, or anything else, for that matter, but, to stick with the tabacco advertisement theme…life has been marleyvous (that is an even older one, sorry sorry) this past week as I allowed my body and mind to rest this time of the month. Yes, that time of the month…and we are nearing the full moon too.

I have been following the work on female cyclicality for quite some time and dipping in and out of it. This time round I really feel I have cracked it though, or rather, gone deeper another notch. Miranda Gray’s book has been re-dusted and reopened at exactly the right time and with the right message.

Also, on the female body theme, have been dusting up some Sweating my Prayers by late Gabrielle Roth. That and her The Wave. Early in the morning, have been waking up with the sun, the circadian cycle syncing this time of the year. I have been usually up and dancing in the garden by six (don’t tell the neighbours)…following a practice and morning pages writing.

This week, when slowing down, pleasuring up I have re-read the morning pages from this past month…and made a note of all the ideas and thoughts I had not acted upon…boy, am I clear in the morning and then forgetting all about it…perhaps the dance should come before the writing? I wonder. Have tried inking the daily most important thing on my fingers, have not done this since year five…. as been struggling mentally at times, as I prepare for the taper…one day at a time.

As you can see, I have been getting back to my body and tweaking my morning routine. I have one for the evening too, in a kind of a bujo (bullet journal) format, when I am counting my gratitudes, gifts and gains. That and five to follow. If intrigued and want to know more or if you have particularly good bracketing routines that work for you, let me know. Just drop a line at irena.ellis.arting@gmail.com. Looking forward to sharing.

More on arting, writing and dreams in the making next week…then I will have gone through the dynamic phase and have something to show for them again, in a natural flow…literally.

Meantime, enjoy the summer, if you can…sending my support to the floods in Germany, tornado in Moravia, The Prem Rawat Foundation Covid-19 Relief Support and Extinction Rebellion in London while digging the garden and feeling extremely grateful for being this fortunate, for the time being, anyway.

To follow my studio and study flow for more a/musings, why not go to the insta feed here: http://www.instagram.com/arting.me.

Opening the Arting Advent Calendar this year

Arting Advent Calendar 2020

Opening calendar in the run up to Christmas is one of my child-like joys. This year I have created one for me and my art/friends reflecting on the downs and hopes of this unusual and probably in many ways a very hard year.

As we near its close, I reveal what messages each of the lill’ boxes held. Heere we go.

#1 Picture of/from creation: Keep going…and I hope you are keeping some kind of record.

#2 Teddy in Lockdown: probably self-explanatory

#3 Butterflies of Hope: hope is a fluttery thing, cherish it and look after it

#4 Morning Pages Dream: Keep writing and going

#5 Reaching to/growing: On your own or connected, look after yourself

#6 Beyond the Mirror: Naked, in your vulnerability, no shame, blame or guilt

#7 Memory Boxes, Touch: Cherish it.

#8 Tracing Shadows, Meditation on the Nature of Reality: Practice to see and feel beyond

#9 Teddy Lost, Trafalgar: Empty streets, not our hearts

#10 Birch in autumn shine: Shine, Do

#11 Staying Alive, cuppa messages: Return to yourself and enjoy your tea/coffee

#12 Tracing Shadows, Colour In Book: All failing do some colour in outside the lines

#13 See me to see yourself self portrait, 2000: Cherish where you and how far you have come

#14 Hands: Bluest mood does not throw me, put it into painting or writing

#15 Birchrain: Enjoy the daily

#16 Cuppa: Even when out of it, daily rituals save me

#17 See me: See others, speak to them, listen, share, be with

#18 Arting 2020: Keep arting, it keeps you sane

#19 Open Up: Don’t be afraid of what is inside and beyond

#20 Tracing Shadows, Autumn: Add colour, to everything…

#21 Manifesto: What is yours?

#22 Nest: Create your own.

#23 Christmas Tree: Do I really need one? Christmas spirit all year round.

#24 and #25 are reserved for your creations and art. Feel free to share along with your 2020 christmas/realizations.

This year has been a “just being” year for myself. Having woken up sometime in February and in recovery since, isolating in the pandemic, staying at home, saving life/lives. I have only been in touch with people online, really. Blessed be the technology despite its shortcomings…

Despite tier 4, over here in London, I do hope we all have a wonderful Christmas, a reminder of goodwill to men and their true spirit. It is in the air. Enjoy. Truly, from the bottom of my heart.

P.S. More on 2020 reflection and 2021 hopes process next time…i.e. soon.

Why not sign up to get the news meantime!

Those butterflies…of hope…again

They have made it back into my studio…first as affirmatory messages on my mirror, flutterring their tracing paper wings, then landing in my paintings and getting trapped there.

Butterflies, of hope.

Feeling lot better this week, having started another minitaper round: on 55% of my prescribed dosage now. After almost ten months. Another ten or so ahead. Midway point? Definitely if I count in the sertraline taper last year too: Slowly slowly catch a monkey…and the precision digital scales the #teddylost paintings have paid for have been of great help. Art of withdrawal indeed.

Butterflies of Hope

It is a strange and not always easy position to be in: I have always considered myself and been more of a community and participatory artist…working with people…now by the nature of the withdrawal process being pushed into a solitary confinement of the studio…being grounded…and grounding in the withdrawal process.

Following my #becometheartistyouare process meantime.

If you want to join me virtually at least, head over to the link.

To stay in touch, subscribe to my Arting newsletter here.

In the meantime…butterflies…of hope.




Challenge myself and you! TODAY

Arting Challenge This SeptemberEnd of summer has that kind of back to school and renewed energy feel, don’t you think? Hence the upcoming arting challenge.

Are you joining me this September? See more here.

Starting this coming weekend, so sign up TODAY  and get a f*r*e*e* access to the closed Arting FB group for a third of the regular price. Yay! No brainer right? Yes, that is option COURSE with COMMUNITY thrown in. Are you in?

I am waiting on the other side with a month-worth of creativity renewed.

See you there,

Irena, @arting.me




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.

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

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.



Merry and Happy

Wishing you a merry festive season and a happy new year. May all our creative seeds sprout and grow!


If you want to get an arting start in the new year, why not join me on the Arting webinar on 28th December at 6 pm GMT. Just let me know on irena.ellis.arting@gmail.com that you want to join.

#becometheartistyouare (1)

I shall be teaching overcoming arting fear and inhibitions and finding inspiration within and outside. A kind of arting kickstarter. Hop on! Looking forward to seeing you there.