Everyday Courages

1_Everyday CouragesBack in 2011, second time I met Dion McInnis, an American photographer, in Pilsen I created a series of Everyday Courages photographs.

Back then, after I had run a marathon to lose excess weight, gained after being medicated…and not getting back into my own skin despite six months training the previous year, and being in intensive psychotherapy, I had reached a place of up and down, unpredictability and emotional upheaval, to a point of losing my long term relationship later that year…the waves were just too much for us.

That summer, I was looking around me, that week in Dion’s workshop, and came up with these images to remind myself that if there is courage, there is hope. Everyday.

Here they are in a simple fb video. Courage to get up, courage to get lost, to find oneself again, to get hurt,  to create, to hang loose, to grow, to smile, to touch…they all added up to my #EverydayCourages, then, as they do now.

Nine years later Dion has written about it in his National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library newsletter to encourage people to share the stories of courage that have affected their lives. I am honoured. Thank you.

What are your everyday courages? Let me know.






On Art of Withdrawal MindMaps and Drawing Cups

Been creating mindmaps. And thinking about all the relationships between stuff on them and drawing conclusions from it, pun intended.

See, art as in a recording, process and a way of being.  Withdrawal (from psychiatric drugs and the world for some time in the process of thereof) as means of attaining freedom, peace of mind and heart and thus full health.

The search for true connection to oneSelf, while in the and from the world can be draining sometimes. And futile, oftentimes. Perhaps always. I had been practicing.

Here a lill’ something as a token from the search party. A souvenir from the journey inside and out.

My cuppa. There is a difference between drawing and a drawing. I think I prefer drawing as a process no matter what drawing it results in.

Photo on 19-02-2016 at 08.06

On the Art of Withdrawal in the making

Since my last post, I have been not working much. As in producing. However a lot of percolating, thinking and ordering has been taking place. As can be seen in some of my insta posts for example.

Also, as I have claimed my stake at the exhibition venue for NEXT year 02/2020 I have started sifting through the older material and seeing where I want to take it from here.

The working title of my show is The Art of Withdrawal. Covering the past five years: moving to London, falling and picking myself up, struggling with and in recovery and my new place in the world, in a relationship, in myself. The political Withdrawal being a backdrop to my personal path.

I have decided to gather the material from the past five years, from the little pencil scribbles from a closed ward, to cup drawings over breakfasts,  to photographs and paintings more recent.

Now, I am in the process of withdrawal from my medication, have been over the past three months. It is an unpredictable and crucial journey for me. I have already started seeing my body and face reemerge from the metabolic straightjacket to name just a few of the upsides. Yet, it is not always easy. Striking the balance in staying true and connected to myself and being in the world, with others.

I have been documenting this process through my arting. Next year, I am going to self-curate it on the walls of Goldsmiths College corridor gallery. Watch this space. I will keep you posted.





Happy 2019

Festive season is always a time to look back on the past year. So I did. Over Christmas, and came up to a conclusion that 2018 was a pretty good year, given my visuals. Painted lot more than before, exhibited, got commissions, sold art and last but not least made important personal and business connections. See for yourselves below. 47691032_2293162634296916_7444940273422216160_nSo PF 2019, pour felicite, to good luck in 2019!

Facebook said that the word for my new year was HOPE. I hope it was right. It also said that I will start pursuing my dreams more actively…I am.

First one of them is a solo show in London. In the making as we speak. Hopefully just before my birthday in April. Working title is Surfacing: Recovery. Venue about to be confirmed. Paintings from the past five years, from the mad scribbles to reflective paintings of a recovering soul. Butterflies included. The whole design came down to me this morning, venue permitting. It is gonna be fab. So looking forward to it.

Watch this space as I am developing it.

What have you been up to and how is your arting going, and where this year?


Chasing the Shadows

…like literally. Oh, sorry, I meant tracing. Tracing.

I have gone out in the garden. Waited for the sunlight to come through the clouds…and traced the shadows cast by the golden spruce bush.

In pencil.

In feltip.

In my sketchbook.

Then I went back into the studio, and painted.

Carefully translating the sketch onto the canvas. So this could be a painting of a drawing of a shadow cast by the real thing.  What do you think about it, or rather, how do you like it?


There is someting to that tracing process of mine. Cannot get to the bottom of it, but am drawn to it. Pun intended.

Let me know how you feel about it. How it makes you feel.



Trying to sort out the mess…(which is my website and my life in arting)…catching up a bit…

Trying to catch up on ten plus years of arting has not been easy. Especially as most of the time I had not considered myself to be an artist, and did not write much down, oftentimes faulted in the photographic documentation too. See, I have always been more into doing the thing. Whatever the thing was. At the time. As well as working as a gallery educator and more recently recovering.

So what should I be writing about a woodoopuppet of Milan Knizak from 2008? It was called Is it necessary to kill Knizak? Raising the question about the looming presence of the then National Gallery in Prague director figure by paraphrasing a title of a Czech film from set in WW2. And asking the viewers to take action into their own hands by potentially inflicting a woodoo pain on Mr. Knizak. I have created the piece as an employee of the gallery (worked in the education department) and entered it into art competition organized by the gallery that year. It did not get through. However it was exhibited at Containers of Art a year later at a Piazetta of the National Theatre where it was stolen by a passersby, allegedly a mentally ill woman, who tool the puppet home before the disaffected exhibiting artists could inflict any damage. All is well that ends well.


What should I write about the Psychogeography of Pilsen happening from 2010? Standing on a bridge in the centre of the city during a street festival collecting statements Here I… from passersby and matching them with places on the map. Later creating posters and placing them in public space. There were such as Here I have started my new life…at the door of the old people’s home. A way of me connecting with a place and people.

Or the Seeds of Culture happening at Svetovareni festival. People planted seeds of unknown herbs, given instructions how to look after them, and decided what it is that they are growing. Given that Pilsen was trying for the European Capital of Culture title in 2015. See, the word culture comes from the Latin “colere”, which means “what is to be grown”. Thus the seeds, the pots and planting. What was it that the people of Pilsen wished or needed to grow?

What should I write about the Christmas Tree happening and installation with the then  friend Petra, in 2011, when we collected the christmas trees from around the neighbourhood piles and hung them from a bridge over Radbuza, the trees becoming decorations themselves?

What should I write about Gift for Passersby happening in Klatovy, where in local cafe people were encouraged to leave something of of themselves as a gift for a random presentee. A kind of a secret Santa game for locals. As far as I know, horse rides and repotting plants have been presented, to name a few.


What should I write about the Tao of a Butterfly exhibition at Galerie Kaplicka in Rychleby mountains in 2013? I decorated a sideway shrine with paper butterflies, remembering the story of a buddhist monk, who dreamt of being a butterfly and upon waking up from the dream could not decide which was a dream and which a reality. Now I know  they both were, a dream.

What should I write about the happening Thus Spoke the Cobbled Stone in which I have with the help of passersby made the Pilsener and Klatovy squares speak, every bench, lamppost, indeed a cobbled stone. A kind of emotional map of the public space. c402c-img_5827

What should I write about the Butterflies among Walls site specific installation for Amnesty International in 2014? Set at a site of a former prison, I created four hundred paper butterflies carrying the names of people on the AI campaign list, in invisible ink, all the prisoners of conscience in their database, and let them perch on the walls and bars. Once you have shone the UV light torch on a butterfly in the dark, it has revealed its shape and name. You could also create your own butterflies of hope and sign current petitions in a separate cell.

Moving to London, I have struggled to find my own place, recovering from health issues. I have been spending most of my time at home, exhibiting the outcomes of my private arting at the Open Art Exhibition at the Telegraph Hill Festival each year since I have been here. The #seemetoseeyourself portraits, the Butterflies of Courage and Hope and Everyday Courages back from 2011, a photographic series of things that keep me going. As well as creating an online Arting course for developing your creativity.

My dream is ultimately to open an arting space, with materials and tools and create with people in the community. However I have managed to almost talk myself into leaving so many times, it has been difficult thinking ahead, Brexit and stuff. Life has been getting in the way. So far. However…now it really looks like I am staying. For good. Life.

Latest have been these Lost Teddies, as I got more into painting. Watch this space. Let’s see how I go…forward…onward.

Thank you for reading all the way here…let me know which of the above pieces speaks to you most. And why…Looking forward to hearing back.








Teddy the Tourist Lost in London

My Mum has visited over the past week. Tracking along with her in London has lead onto a new series of work: Teddy the Tourist.


Lost in London. An oversized Teddy the Tourist looming by the in-famous sights in the autumnal afternoon light.


There is more coming, developing into a series. If you want to follow it in more detail, see my instagram handle @arting.me or hashtag #teddythetourist. So far he has visited St. Paul’s, Trafalgar Square and Kew Gardens.

In the meantime, happy autumning. And don’t get too lost, wherever you are.

Arting Sunday Afternoon…on Monday

It was raining yesterday…all the more reason to stay in the studio and paint. So I did.

To start with I was lost…what is it that I see? Am drawn to? I flipped through my sketchbook. In it I discovered a very rough sketch from the cafe up the Hill from where I live, of an armchair.

So I turned it into a painting. I was happy with it, its forlorn qualities and then painted the feelings it conjured up in me over it. I call it Feeling Forlorn. It is the first painting below.


As it was still raining, I took some notes on the rain with my newly found abstractifying freedom. Second painting below. Notes on Rain, is the title.


And finally, I really enjoyed remembering the cup from the cafe from the previous day. Painterly meditation on fleetingness of memory. Third painting below. Notes on a cup.


What feelings, memories and thoughts do they conjure up in you? Let me know.

Also, all of the above are acrylics on paper, 42×30 cm and are for sale at £75 a piece. Free shipping in the UK and Europe. Let me know, if interested.

In the meantime, enjoy Monday afternoon.

Irena @arting.me

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.

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.