effynowMy name is Effy, and I'm a journal artist, on line teacher, and creativity coach. I like to write about art journaling, intentional creativity, creative business, and my personal and ever evolving brand of 'woo woo magpie' spirituality. I also tend to write a lot about my very ordinary life in an attempt to foster a sense of appreciation, mindfulness, and reverence for what IS. I overshare. :) You have been warned!

There is a full blown article and interview about me  by Tamara LaPorte over here on Willowing and another one here on DirtyFootPrints.Com.

Find me on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and in my on line community. You can also sign up for my newsletter here.

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Mirrors Of The Soul

Mirrors Of The Soul

When I started art journaling back in late 2009, I went straight for faces as one of the first things I wanted to learn how to do. I didn't come right out of gate making faces I liked. Most of the faces I made initially made me quite frustrated. Proportions were always wonky. There was always (still is) one eye bigger than the other. I wasn't happy with how similarly my faces were turning out to the ones being demonstrated by my chosen artist teachers (Tamara Laporte, Shiloh McCloud). I wanted to make faces that felt like *mine*. I didn't want people to tell me how much my faces reminded them of someone else. But when you are a beginner, the only way to learn is to mimic. That's how we *all* learn. You copy. And as you continue to practice, your own voice begins to shine through. I might have given up if I didn't know that. I might have thrown in the towel if I didn't have a very intrinsic understanding that practice makes progress. I knew that from my writing practice and I very much approached journaling in much the same way as I had formerly approached writing. If you write, and keep writing, you will improve. If you art, and keep arting, you will improve. As you practice, as you approach *anything* as a practice, you will make progress toward (eventual) mastery. It is *inevitable*. It wasn't faith. It was awareness that came from experience. But WHY faces? What was it about them? Because, when I work with faces, especially intuitively, like I tend to... read more
This One Was Just For Me

This One Was Just For Me

This one was just for me, and it was epic. Last week was all about everyone else. There was a birthday party to prepare for (my step-daughter's 19th) and family in from out of town. There was stuff with one of my kids - big stuff that is still unresolved! There's big stuff with another one of my kids - not as bat shit inducing, but still big. There were all the feels about beginning the process of reclaiming my former home out from under a year of neglect. There were all the feels about what it will mean when we move back into together (slowly, slowly, slowly). There was my own work and needing to show up for that despite feeling like I needed to find a cave somewhere to hide out in for a few years. So, on Monday, I begged off my evening plans with the Manfingy and I opted to relish my solitude. Not just relish it. Mark it as territory, as sacred. I will fail to express how epic this was, but dudes. It was epic. I built myself a fire. I know. It sounds so simple. It's so not a big deal, right? Except that in all the years I've lived, I've never built a fire *just for me*. I have always needed to justify the indulgence of a crackling fire by including other people. Otherwise, a fire was a 'waste of wood' because, apparently, I am not worthy of the time or effort. Building a fire was up there with busting out the fine china and linens. It was reserved, in my... read more
Learning To Let Go

Learning To Let Go

Last Wednesday, I spent an entire day cleaning the kitchen in the house I lived in for eleven years. After I moved out, the remaining inhabitants, all very busy with full lives, kind of let it go. For a year. Yeah. And in the meantime, there have been renovations happening which meant plaster dust EVERYWHERE. Like, everywhere. IN the drawers. ON everything. It sounds horrible, but it wasn't. Let me explain. This house has been the first house I have ever felt at home in. I was rooted so deeply in this house that I swear, if I died and you wanted to invoke my spirit, all you would have to do is stand in a particular spot in the livingroom and say my name three times and POOF. I'd appear. I started my business in this house. I loved and lost fiercely in this house. I grew balls in this house. I found myself in this house. And then I had to leave because staying was no longer tenable, so I packed up a small portion of my belongings and I settled in here on Old Carriage Drive. My cocoon. My sanctuary. My hobbit hole. The house I left behind did not change at all while I was away. All the things I left remained exactly where I'd left them. Though people were living in the house, it was like a museum to the death of my marriage. It was like time stood still. Things got added to the various piles (especially dust and dog hair), but it was like a tomb. No one disturbed my leavings. In... read more
Remembering Your Edges

Remembering Your Edges

The house I lived in for eleven years is in the process of being renovated. Everything is being torn out and replaced - walls, floors, furniture, fixtures. It is getting a complete overhaul, and once it is complete, I will begin a slow return to this house, bit by bit, easing myself back into sharing space with the Manfingy and his daughter (mine have all moved out) and the dogs. These renovations are long overdue and I'm very grateful that it's happening. The dining room that once served as my home studio, dining room, dog room, etc. is now completely self-contained - walls, a door - and no longer attached to the living room by way of an open archway. It has edges, which means that when I move back in and start to work in that space, I will never have to worry about whether or not someone else wants to watch t.v. or have friends over or do their own thing in the formerly adjoining space. I can work at will without having to accommodate my schedule to someone else's schedule. This is massively important to me. I need my work life to have edges so that I can slip into and out of it. I need to open the door to 'work' and then close it again behind me when I want to enter 'not work'. I suck at this. The way I live right now, four living spaces are contained within one small room. My bedroom is in the east corner. My 'office' is in the south corner. My temple/canvas space is in the west... read more
The Ugly Duckling – A Post Fest Write Up

The Ugly Duckling – A Post Fest Write Up

There are footnotes in this post because I am a nerd. If you've ever read "Women Who Run With The Wolves" you will remember that the book includes an exploration of The Ugly Duckling, whose story is essentially that she was a swan who was accidentally hatched to a family of ducks, and because she didn't look like or act like or sound like her family, she was considered ugly. It wasn't until she found her own kind that she recognized her own beauty. This week was about that. So much of what I experienced this week is ineffable; words will not come, and even when I try to eke them out of a bubbling soup of emotions and memories, they don't do the experience any kind of justice. Fest experiences are very often this way. It takes days to integrate what it meant to be out of what we pagans lovingly call 'the muggle world' for a while and immersed in a world in which we are surrounded and supported by our own kind, and once the wisdom, the experiences, the energy is integrated, it can be very difficult to say exactly what happened. I danced. I drummed. I bartered tarot readings for lovely things. I hung out with fantastic people in my enclave* I floated in the Bonnechere river for hours and did not check my phone. I ate breakfast poutine* at the YAG*. I wandered. And wandered. And loved on the land and let it love on me. My ankles swelled up to 3x their size and I didn't care. I spent an outrageous amount of... read more
Book Of Days: Facing Forward

Book Of Days: Facing Forward

Book Of Days is a regularly offered immersion in the practice of keeping an art journal. Chock full of technique and skills building, it is also a tribe of like minded journalers who come together session after session to imbue their journals with beauty and meaning. The next session is going to be a short one - six weeks - and we will explore faces in all their emotive beauty. I want to do faces in as many different ways as possible throughout the session as a kind of immersion. Faces matter to me because I know that when I want to express something, a face is going to let me do that. It is a 'go to' symbol in my visual language and one I really love to teach and share. You can see my progress with faces since I began art journaling in this post here, where there is a gallery of 111 of the faces I have created since 2009. I create faces using Coloured pencils + clear gesso + white paint Copic Markers Tombow Markers Just paint Stabilo All pencil + paint Gesso transfer + any of the above Paint over collage Charcoal + paint So you can expect me to use some or all of those techniques during our upcoming six week session. I think it will be fun and informative, but I also expect it to be introspective and deep as we delve into expressing our emotions as they come up in the course of a week. This upcoming session is a 'pay what you can' with a minimum payment of $25. I... read more
Art Is A Portal

Art Is A Portal

I believe with all my heart that art is a portal in to our most tender places. It is a direct channel to the 'little' in us and this is magic because the little in us has a lot she wants to say but this self is non-verbal, non-linear, and non-logical. She really can't say what she knows. She can only feel it and express it through non-logical means. Art is her jam. The stirrings within us that are inexplicable - the knowing that makes no logical sense, the coincidence that feels like a God Wink, the things we are moved to choose - these can be frustratingly obscure if we have no way 'in' to the place where these stirrings originate. Art is the way in, and when you make 'getting in' a practice like I have, your trust in those stirrings grows and grows and grows (along with your body of work! Yeah!). Soulful work comes from getting the fuck out of your own way. I really believe this. Our rational minds, our verbal selves, are so full of stories that have very little to do with reality. We can't see what really is with that mind. That mind looks at the sky and immediately labels it BLUE. It sees a tree a immediately labels it TREE and GREEN and LEAF. It condenses everything into words, and as soon as we've wrangled everything into words, the experience is closed to us. We can't access the magic anymore. It's set in stone. It is what we've called it. There is no opportunity for more. When the little in... read more
Studio News + A Video Playlist

Studio News + A Video Playlist

Hola, sweet taters! First, I want to thank you for your lovely comments on yesterday's post. You all sure do know how to make space for a woman's healing. I appreciate you. <3 This is an 'update' post of the studio variety, by which I mean that I intend to let you know what's going on in my creative network, where I'm teaching, and what's upcoming. In return for your kind and loving attention, I have embedded a mixed tape collection of some of the videos I've created lately. I hope you enjoy it! Here's the Mixed Tape Here's a Peek at my latest BOD spread STUDIO NEWS Member Only Classes There is a new tab in Artfully Wild entitled 'Member Only Classes'. This is a perk for members of Artfully Wild that allows you to purchase archived classes at a steep discount. Currently, there are two editions of Book Of Days waiting for you to dive in to for as little as $25.00 each. While you *can* pay more if you want to, I have opened these classes up for registration at a 'what you want' rate. Skip your Starbucks for five days and you can take a class. Woot! Click here for details. Upcoming under this tab is a planner class that I am creating for members only that will walk you through my own Ultimate Planner. I expect to have this done in time for January 2016, if not earlier, so do stay tuned! Moon Journaling Continues On and On and On... This is my favourite free offering at Artfully Wild and it will continue, though... read more
There are no words for this. (I didn’t mean to make you cry).

There are no words for this. (I didn’t mean to make you cry).

I have been in an intense period of personal growth and the phrase that kept coming up for me as I (for weeks) considered how best to express everything that's in my heart to express is 'there are no words for this.'. As those of you who have been tagging along with me on my artful journey these past few years probably know, it was this kind of 'bereft of words' experience that led me to art journaling in the first place, and after a few years of expressing myself in a very uncharacteristically visual way, I found my voice again. Now I am, once again, finding myself in a 'bereft of words' space, but there's a subtle difference. Before art journaling, 'bereft of words' meant extreme frustration, blockage, no way out of my own muddled mind. After art journaling, and art in general, 'bereft of words' leads to this: Colour. Symbol. Shape. Line. Layer. Dig. Excavate. Go there. Move the body with paintbrush in hand. Dance it out. Let it bloom. Be open. Trust. There may be no words for this yet, but there are dragonflies and there is transparent red iron oxide and there are feathers and there is Payne's Gray, and there are dreamtime dots, and there is green gold, and that's enough for now. This painting was the second in as many weeks that I started an finished in a matter of days. When I finished it, I knew it was finished in a very visceral way. It felt 'finished' in my bones and I put my paintbrush down and stepped back and felt this... read more
Slip Sliding Back To Life

Slip Sliding Back To Life

Yesterday, the nieghbours pulled out the "Slip 'N Slide" for their kids, and since I was out there, and since one of the kids was really unhappy about the mud at the bottom of the slide, I threw myself into 'being a good example'. Ahem. Because I'm a 'grown up'. Ahem. *Grin* It was awesome. The kids continued to balk at getting dirty, but they did have a really wonderful time aiming the spray at me so I could wash off the mud that was all over every part of my body, including my face. I swear, they had more fun watching me get dirty and then helping me sluice off than they did slipping and sliding themselves! After the parents thanked me for totally ruining their lawn with my fat arse (I kid!) and the kids got wrangled indoors to shower and change into dry clothes, the rain came pouring down (perfect timing!). Since I was already soaked to the bone, I spread my towel out on the grass and sat in the lotus position for a good twenty minutes, just letting the rain cascade over me. It was glorious - a warm rain, thank goodness - and so cleansing. I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude, and though the rain was pouring down like it was fit never to ever stop, I felt, internally, like the sun was coming out for the first time in a long time. It's been a rough few weeks. There was a break up in the family, and I'm all kinds of heartsick for them both. My meds stopped helping me feel... read more
Home Is Where The Art Is {With Video}

Home Is Where The Art Is {With Video}

I have been loving mark making lately. Especially when I can put on my Bluetooth headphones and trance out to something dreamy, like Kyrstyn Pixton. Dayum, that woman sings my internal landscape like no other. I've learned some things about home over the last year since I moved out on my own after ten years in a domestic partnership. I used to cry for home - yearn for it like I was an orphaned child. Even when I *was* at home, I felt homeless, cut adrift, an infant with a useless, dangling umbilical cord, starving, desperate... This, I think, is the result of a childhood full of abuse and neglect. There was never a 'home'. Not really. And when I needed, as we sometimes do, to 'go home', there was no such place to go. I have cried out, like a frightened little one, more than once over the last few years these words: "I just want to be HOME...." Home. The word makes me cry sometimes. It has been such a dream to find it, to possess it. I searched high and low in lovers and friendships, in other's eyes... It isn't out there, though. I know that now. This year, I've created my own sense of home and it is in the center of my chest. It is where my heart pumps steadily, with certainty. It is within me. It is in my ability to choose. It is in my paid rent and full fridge - the security I made for myself by the work of my own hands. It is in the continued effort to nurture... read more
And you? How are you? Tell me everything. xo

And you? How are you? Tell me everything. xo

In case I haven't mentioned it lately, let me just tell you that I have been up to my earrings in creating Radiant II and everything has taken a back seat to that act of conception, gestation, and impending birth. I have been living, breathing, sweating, fretting, dreaming, conspiring, and loving it into being. Please accept this as my reason for letting my blog collect a very sneeze-inducing layer of dust. *Blows the dust off and hands you a hankie* I have also been living. Hard. With passion and gusto. All of May and this first 10 days of June have been *intense*. Reacquainting myself with being someone's partner after a year of being my own. Basking in the glory that is my little hobbit hole on Old Carriage Drive. Walking the creek. Watching it overflow its banks. Stepping quietly through my patio doors so that I don't disturb the robin who took up residence in the eaves and is hard at work feeding and caring for her brood of nestlings. I had family in town this past weekend - family I hadn't seen in something like almost a decade, and though we had hardly spoken, we entered one another's company like one might step into a perfectly drawn, scented bath. My sister-in-law and soul sister, Ayesha, with whom I feel completely at home in my own skin, indulged her brother and I in all the things we love to do - drives in the country, fires in the backyard that burn until four in the morning, chilly midnight walks by the creek, Tim Horton's by the gallon, St.... read more
Listicles Are Fun aka Five Things

Listicles Are Fun aka Five Things

There is so much happening in my life that the only way to wrangle it is to round it up in a listicle style post. I find listicles fun because they suit my short attention SQUIRREL! *Giggles* Thing One I am guest teaching in Art Journal Summer School and I am very excited about it BECAUSE summer means the last thing anyone wants to do is sit in the studio and AJSS will facilitate arting on vacation and/or on the go. A small toiletry bag/cosmetic bag full of very basic supplies and a mobile phone/iPad full of awesome teachers providing quick lessons of 15 minutes or less all summer long? YES PLEASE! Details here. Stay tuned for a giveaway, coming soon!   Thing Two I am working very hard on creating the look and feel of the next Radiant, which will be all art journaling all the time. I have lined up 15 of my very favourite mixed media art journaling teachers and we will be diving into learning about their process with the intention of further developing our own processes. Everyone has their own reasons for taking on art journaling as a hobby or spiritual practice. I love exploring those reasons, being surprised by them, learning new techniques, and discovering some 'out of the box' uses for supplies/ways of doing things. This class is going to be so chock full of that kind of thing that we will find ourselves inspired for years to come. Why do I say we? As your hostess, I will be taking the class right alongside you, filming my own interpretation of each... read more
Book Of Days Preview! It’s on me, so enjoy! xo

Book Of Days Preview! It’s on me, so enjoy! xo

Please enjoy this free preview of Book Of Days: Mixed Tape! If you love what you see, and you want to join in, please do so here! coupon code: audacious KERMIT FLAILS! Hello, lovely awesome peoples!! I have your opening ceremonies for you! Please enjoy the content in the order in which it is provided for best results and an amazing session! OPENING CEREMONIES Face Time direct view + download link   PDF (Every PDF in this session contains valuable and necessary information created to enhance your enjoyment of the program. In other words, PLEASE READ ME! :)) {right click on Windows or ctrl+click on a Mac to 'save as'} INTENTION SPREAD Part One {19:33} direct view + download link   Part Two {25:16}   direct view + download link Part Three {21:19} direct view + download link   Did you love it? Want in? Sign up here!!... read more
Spiritual Tech

Spiritual Tech

One of Manfingy's best friends calls all the various religious beliefs, practices, and rituals that he's encountered in India "Spiritual Tech". I love that, because what it does for me is demystify all those practices that we may not have ever encountered, that we may not understand, and puts them in the realm of 'tool' rather than 'dogma'. I love tools. I have a very wary and uncomfortable relationship with dogma. Mala beads and rosaries. Community feast days and holy days. Full moons, new moons, solstices and equinoxes. Reverence for earth, air, water, fire. Deities that are emblems of things we encounter in our lives - rites of passage, experiences, phases, life, sex, birth, death. Blessing hearth and home with fire. Sweeping as a way of banishing negative energy. Prayer. Mantras. Physical postures that are meant to imbue us with their powers. Food laws. Purification of self and environment. Meditation. Contemplation. Myths, legends, stories. Songs. Drums. Fire to create and destroy. Wooing the muse. Mandalas. Iconic paintings. Carvings and fetishes. Statuary. Herbal lore. Tribal ways of being. These are universal. These are, if you're a mystic like me, merely tools we use to seek and find ease in a life that is fraught with unease, peace in the struggle, order in the chaos, the divine in the mundane. Spiritual tech. As a seeker, I have always been fascinated by all the ways we, as human creatures, pattern seek and apply meaning to those patterns we identify. Because I'm a mystic, I am not a 'believer', by which I mean to say that there is no one spiritual modality that... read more
Learning To Trust w/Bonus Peek At Some Of My Early Spreads

Learning To Trust w/Bonus Peek At Some Of My Early Spreads

Trust is a huge topic of conversation between myself and my Self. It tends to go something like this: "But I'm shit scared!" "Trust that whatever happens, you can handle it." "But things could go wrong!" "And things have gone wrong before, and yet, here you are. Alive and well." "But he might/she could/they are..." "Who's the boss of you? You're the boss of you. Trust you. You've got this." Maybe this sounds familiar. Maybe as soon as that voice pipes up with "But I'm shit scared!", that's it. You freeze, or veer right or left, and go under. I get it. That was me for a long time. But freezing, or veering, or going under never got me any closer to where I wanted to be, to what I wanted to feel. I am nothing if not brave because lately, when confronted with terror, I rush in headlong - within reason, of course. I mean, if I'm terrified to walk down a dark alley at night when I'm alone, I will probably heed that terror and seek the light. That's just common sense. But if I'm afraid to try something because I might fail, well, that fear gets put in its place and I pull up my boot straps and gird my loins and strap on the helmet of REASON and I go in like a badass. Most of the time. But usually not until I've grappled for a good long time. Because UNCERTAINTY. *Laughs* Trust, for me, is very much related to uncertainty. I crave certainty like a seed craves good soil, clean rain, and sunshine. I... read more
Moon Journaling – New Moon In Aries

Moon Journaling – New Moon In Aries

This month's edition of Moon Journaling is live in my creative community, which you can join here. Some months, I offer free lessons in mixed media portrait making, art journaling, and general holy mess making. This month, we're gathering up and sharing all of our favourite mixed media and art journaling videos so that we may build a library of inspiration. I share one of my all time favourite videos - a visual meditation I created with accompaniment by Michael Beckwith. Come on over! If you're not yet a member, please join us! It's free! <3 This freely offered gift of my heart is meant to create a safe space to explore the New Moon in community with other people who find it useful, inspiring, and fun to pay attention to what's happening in our sky. Though my spiritual leanings are pagan and mystic, we all live under the same moon, and you are welcome to interpret your response to the New Moon any way you like. <3 You can click here to invite your Twitter friends to join us!: I'm moon journaling with Effy! http://tinyurl.com/lpbfcj7 Click To Tweet Or simply copy and paste this link to share on social media: http://tinyurl.com/lpbfcj7 xo Effy P.S. For more in depth mixed media and intentional creativity training, please join me for Book of... read more
The State Of My Union

The State Of My Union

It's Friday, and in two sleeps, I will get to hang out with Manfingy, who's been gone since March 25th. I am all kinds of excited and also anxious. There's a smidgeon of 'what if the tenderness and affection we expressed over the wires while he was away evaporates when he's here in the flesh?'. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that jazz. Those of you who are new to me will need a bit of context: Manfingy and I lived together for ten years. We broke up in February of 2014 (his choice) and I moved out in June of 2014. We spent the first few months afterwards trying to get over one another and move on. We've spent the last half year or so resting in the knowledge that, at the end of the day, we really love one another. Now, we're just trying to work out what the hell we are to one another. Joint therapy, lots of drives and talks and dinners, lots of come here/go away on both our parts. The past few months have seen us saying 'come here' a lot more often. We say things like "I'm not done with you yet.", and "You're my person." We have dinner together every Wednesday. We snuggle. Once a week or so, he spends the night. We text daily. It's a thing. But what it is is unclear. Where it's going is equally unclear. The uncertainty of it all is pretty heavy, and if you read yesterday's post, you'll know that I have a very complicated relationship with uncertainty. *** My knees want... read more
The Gift Of Uncertainty & Impulse

The Gift Of Uncertainty & Impulse

When I first began art journaling, I was very invested in being certain of what it was I was trying to create. Because I didn't know I was an artist (I really didn't), I approached art journaling as a craft. I wanted a pattern. A predetermined palette. Composition. The rule of thirds. Without some idea of where I was heading, I felt like I was bound to fail. Over time, though, I moved into working intuitively. I started to push myself to begin without knowing where I was going to end. This was a natural progression for me, since my writing practice was very much based on this kind of 'stream of consciousness' practice. I eased in to uncertainty in the art journal as well, and now, I never really know where I'm heading when I begin. Uncertainty in the journal has become easy. I don't have to know for certain where a spread is going to end up because I know with 100% certainty that I don't have to stop until I'm happy. I can have multiple failures, make eleventy billion mistakes, use the wrong thing at the wrong time, put something in there that doesn't quite fit - and it's all okay. It's all fixable. It's all good. I have no idea where this is going. The end result is completely uncertain. It is admittedly a little like standing on the edge of a cliff and peering over into a vast, thick, foggy soup of nothingness. Do I dare leap? Always. And I am absolutely certain that I will end up with something that makes sense to... read more
How To Begin

How To Begin

One of the questions I hear most often is "How do you start a journal page?" I sit down, pick up the first thing that attracts me, and I make a mark. Sometimes, though, my page is all gross and manky because I am not very mindful of what's happening to the other pages when I'm working on a spread, so if the gross and manky bothers me, I collage or gesso. And then I pick up the first thing that attracts me, and I make a mark. Composing a piece beforehand, doing preliminary sketches, choosing a colour palette - all these ways that one might prepare to create art - have their place in my practice, but generally, they don't have a place in my art journal practice. Preparation of that variety isn't useful to me when I am simply wanting to meet myself on the page. Too much preparation can actually block authentic expression. Click To Tweet It can interfere with the operation of my intuition. It can interrupt the flow of inspiration. So, when I want to art journal, I just begin. Morning pages (as taught by Julia Cameron in The Artist's Way) have been a huge influence on the way I art journal. Like Natalie Goldberg, who advocates stream of consciousness writing practice for its own sake rather than for the sake of the end result, Julia Cameron advocates writing three long hand pages of brain dump every morning to prime the artistic pump. While art journaling is my 'primary' artistic practice with forays into canvas and other visual art forms (digital and hybrid journaling,... read more

Book Of Days: Facing Foward

BOD2015v3

Six week art journaling and life documentation class begins September 4th

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