Book Of Days: Facing Forward

I just wrapped up a glorious twelve week session of Book Of Days, and now I am heading out camping until August 3th, but before I go, I wanted to tell you how much I have enjoyed hanging out with the most amazing bunch of mixed media ladies EVER this past twelve weeks, and how much I'm looking forward to hanging out with them for six weeks starting September 4th.

This is what a few of them had to say about this session:

Julie Clay: Just signed up for the September class. I appreciate the work you do in the world. #artheals

Dawn Zichko: This session has been an enjoyable challenge (still is as I've a few pages yet to do). It's a scavenger's hunt seeking out the poem that pings and asks to be included in art. Music might have been easier because so many songs come to mind, but poetry has been the "song" lately. As always, I found your wit and integrity engaging in the videos, especially the Bed Head Diaries when we get to hear how your week has been going. We can celebrate the good times and commiserate in the bad. It gives me a real sense of community. Thank you for all the good work you do.

Lloydene Cook: I have loved every minute of this session, Effy , and have done every one of them. (It helps that I am retired, so I have plenty of time for art.) I am so inspired by your teaching style and your videos are great. Because of all this, I have also signed up for your earlier BOD sessions, Self Love and Sovereignty, and am doing them as well. Plus am signed up for the September session and Radiant Faces II. So, if that is not a glowing testimonial, I don't know what is....lol. Thanks for all you artful inspiration.

Diana Schmidt: I enjoyed this session and mingling music with painting. Looking back to the first weeks, I can see growth in my skills as I became more comfortable with acrylics and mediums.

Phiona Jackson: This session was perfect for me - IS perfect for me. I adore music and combining it with my other favourite pastime makes such sense. I've created several paintings during Mixed Tape that I know I would never have done if I hadn't done the session, and that would be a huge pity as there are 3 that are now among my all time favourite creations. Thank you for a great 12 weeks, Effy!

Jacqualine Hart: I thought the session was great! Enjoyed the mixing of music and art and would love to do it again or continue on my own with these theme. Also appreciate learning some new techniques and critiquing my own. Thought the 12 week legnth was fine - it gave me something to look forward to that was just for me (and the group). I'll miss the weekly bed head diaries - these were AWESOME. Thank you Effy!

Carolyn Myles: The class really got me motivated to try some new things. If you're feeling stuck with your journaling just think of a song and use it as a prompt! I'm recycling my original journal into a junk journal with a music theme. Rather tedious but worth it. I've gathered photos, art, ticket stubs etc to put in the junk journal. It will be awesome and unique. Thanks Effy!

Shinjini Mehrotra: This was my first ever BOD session - and boy! It beat my wildest expectations! I joined in late so I haven't finished all the lessons yet, but the ones that I have, I've learnt so, so much! Effy, you've been an amazing teacher - appreciative, supportive, and willing to make suggestions to help us improve when we didn't like our own work while still being positive, which is immensely valuable. I love the group - y'all are so supportive! - and the office hours and of course, the bed head diaries!! I look forward to more BOD sessions in the future!

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.

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 would normally charge $60 for a six week session, so this is a smokin' hot dealio! It's for members only, however, but all that means is that you have to be a member in my creativity network at http://effywild.ning.com. Signing up makes you a member in good standing and not only will you have access to all the members only classes (there are three available so far), but you will also have access to all the lovely free stuff going on there, like The Rumi Project, The Wildly Inspired archives, and Moon Journaling.

I hope you'll join me.

bod2015v3You'll get six weekly lessons that include

In depth video instruction lasting between an hour and two hours

Supplies lists + suggestions for alternatives

Printable PDF walkthroughs with full colour photographs and step by step instructions

Weekly office hours in which I spend the day in the Facebook Group answering your questions and commenting on your work

Weekly "Bed Head Diaries", which are honest commentaries on the week, the spread, the process, and tidbits about intentional creativity, practice, and building a relationship with the spirit of inspiration

You'll also get:

An amazing community of mixed media artists to lean on in hard times and crow with in good times

Access to Book Of Days Boot Camp that includes four lessons packed full of mixed media technique and demonstration including bookbinding 101 + Faces Boot Camp, which will get you started in the art of sketching faces and establishing where your lights and darks are, + Colour Mixing Boot Camp, which will help you get more out of your paint, use colour in ways that are pleasing to the eye, and avoid newbie mistakes that result in mud-making.

Lifetime Membership in The BOD Squad Facebook Group

Unlimited, indefinite, downloadable access to all content

Alumni status, which equals discounts on future classes

GO GET IT!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art Is A Portal

I believe with all my heart that art is a portal in to our most tender places.

IMG_1674It 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 us faces a blank canvas and we get the hell out of her way, she will, tentatively at first, emote through colour. We may not even know what is being expressed (and that's totally my experience) but if we let her continue, she will follow colour with shape and shape with symbol and symbol will reveal to us what's going on in our inner landscape.

I trust this. I trust it because this is what I experience every time I face a blank substrate and let the little in me go wild.

I spiral alllllllll the way out with no idea where it's leading me, but I trust that it is leading me somewhere worth going, and so I go. If she wants spirals, I give her spirals. If she wants to pull something forward, we do that. If she wants to let go of a thing, we let go of it, and in time, something that was meant to come through COMES THROUGH.

I never even really have to understand it. I just have to allow it.

Trust it.

Let it be.

I didn't come at art from the perspective of a mystic. I came at it from the perspective of a blocked writer who just needed a way to vent the build up of stuff that she had no way to release. In time, though, the practice (as most practices do) led me to my innards, wherein the little lay in wait, caged by words and conditioning, to be set free with colour and shape and symbol.

I didn't know why I picked the name 'Wild' when I first began this journey, but now I totally get it. Art, for me, is an invocation to the wild child within me - the child who holds all my memories, all my conditioning, all my energy, all my access to wonder, joy, amazement, and reverence. When I found her, the heroine's journey began in earnest and we've been very busy over here slaying dragons and rescuing princes. We've been, hand in hand, writing our story in colour and shape and symbol and by virtue of the trust we have grown between us, we are growing free.

Trust is essential. It is the foundation of everything I am striving for. It allows me to love what is even when I don't understand it. It allows me to push on bravely away from a known shore for an undisclosed location.

It looks from the outside looking in like all I'm doing is playing with paper and glue and paint and glitter, but if you look a little closer, what I'm doing, what we're all doing, is The Great Work of excavating our true selves from the mortar of conditioning.

What we do with our journals and our paintbrushes and our devotion to our craft sets our feet upon the path that will lead us all home.

 

 

 

 

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

bod2015v2.10 - 1 (1)

STUDIO NEWS

Member Only Classes

Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 1.00.43 PM

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...

moonjournalingThis is my favourite free offering at Artfully Wild and it will continue, though with a tweak: Some months, I will want to work with the New Moon. Some months, I will want to work with the Full Moon. Some months, I will want to work with the waxing crescent and sometimes I will want to work with the waning crescent. I will always email you when there is a new lesson up, and there will be one a month. For those who are wondering, Moonshine will be returning in 2016, and previous sessions of moonshine will be released as member only offerings, so stay tuned for that as well.

P.S. Staying tuned means ensure that you are a member in my on line creative community AND that you are subscribed to my newsletter. If you unsubscribe from the newsletter, you will not get updates and you'll miss out and that would suck. :)

Radiant II is coming!

radianttogether300The guest teachers are already uploading their video lessons and, omgsquee, they are amazeballs. I am so looking forward to this class! Please click here for details and if you are a newsletter subscriber, check today's email for your coupon code.

We recently added Wyanne Thompson to the roster, and you all know how much I love her! Dyan just messaged to say that her class has been filmed and it is in the process of edits!

To get the skinny on all the teachers and what you can expect from this class, please click here.

Wildly Inspired is ON HIATUS

Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 12.39.52 PMWildly Inspired is one of my 'as-often-as-I-can' free offerings hosted at Artfully Wild (my on line creativity network), and it is ON HIATUS for the summer. HOWEVER, there are twenty episodes just waiting to be enjoyed, so please feel free to join. I will be focusing my attention on Moon Journaling, and a planner offering that I'm currently working on for members only, so I don't know when I'm going to reopen it.

This offering was inspired by Donna Downey Studios Inspiration Wednesday, which she put on temporary sabbatical. It has reopened! YAY!! Such search for it in her shop listings. I am paid a small commission when you purchase the class (or anything else, for that matter) through this link.

The Self Love Retreat is in the works.

selfloveThis class is kicking my butt because it is the one I most need to take right now. Creating it is a labour of love and if you've ever actually BEEN in labour, then you know that there's some blood, sweat, and tears involved. I hope to have it ready before the end of this year, but honestly babes? This thing is going to take time. I am totally NOT INTERESTED in delivering the same old same old 'take a bath and watch what you eat' tired old bullshit. I want to create something that is TRULY useful to you in your endeavour to love yourself as well as you deserve to be loved. Again. Stay tuned.

And that's it for now.

Thank you for your presence in my life. You make me so grateful and happy. <3

 

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.

macro1

macro2

dragonfly

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 overwhelming sense of rightness and wellbeing.

There were no words for that. It was a state that I'd never experienced before. Even though I finish art journal spreads all the time, and even though my work has led me to finish session after session of Book Of Days, finish filming, finish editing, finish creating one thing or another on a very regular basis, the message that I was capable of finishing things hadn't quite reached me in the place where one Knows.

This painting hit me there. Hard.

'You,' this painting said, 'are someone who finishes things. You are someone who knows when a thing is finished. You know how to full stop.'

It's about boundaries.

Which is a weird thing to conclude after finishing a painting, but after sitting with the 'bereft of words' place for a long time and painting it out, that's the wisdom that came whistling into my cave of bone. Boundaries. I have them. I know where you end and I begin. I know where my edges are and even when they feel a little bit squishy, my edges are very much there, very much defined. I am framed in dreamtime dots like my paintings. I'm not completely closed off or shut down. There is room for life to move freely into and out of me. But there are limits to what I will take in, and there are limits to what I will put out.

Boundaries are beautiful. And powerful.

A fire without boundaries is a destructive conflagration instead of a warm hearth. Without boundaries, life acts upon us, happens to us, and we are left with no other choice but to spill out all over the place in an urgent response. With boundaries, we are free to allow our own power to build. We are free to choose to release our power in ways that foster a life we create. We can, then, act upon life in a manner that helps us to manifest our desired feelings and experiences.

This was news to me.

I grew up without boundaries. I existed as a kind of repository for the sickness and dysfunction in my family of origin. I was the toy they played with for their own perverse pleasure. I was the punching bag, the dog they kicked when the day went downhill, the scapegoat, the squeaky wheel that allowed everyone around me to deny what was wrong with *them* while they assigned all the blame to a blonde-haired, green-eyed, little girl of 5, 9, 12 who was labeled provocative, stupid, pathological, worthless, a non-starter, a non-finisher, a failure, a train wreck, difficult, a problem, a burden, too much, too loud, too needy, too big for her britches, and ultimately, disposable.

Those were their words for me.

The only positive affirmation I ever got was from the people who were violating me and their praise was always about how I pleased them in my boundary-less, helpless, powerless state.

There are no words for this. None that satisfy me, anyway.

So I'm painting. I'm sinking deeply into the muck and mire of my history. I'm digging up bones. I'm befriending my demons. I'm learning new words.

Blooming, bright-eyed, soul fire incarnate,

she who dances with paintbrush,

her own,

beloved,

true.

Some of you have been following me on Facebook and you know that the work I'm doing sometimes causes me to post things that are really heavy. I want you to know that the way you witness me is intensely beautiful to me. I didn't mean to make you cry, but my loves, it is a healing balm on my soul to know that I'm not crying alone.

Thanks for reading. xo

Effy

 

 

Slip Sliding Back To Life

IMG_1789

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 better and started making me feel apathetic and hostile. Joint therapy kept erupting into all kinds of painful stuff to untangle. Personal therapy kept erupting into all kinds of painful stuff to untangle. The dog I look after had a seizure and scared the crap out of me. My will to paint for myself disappeared into a foggy fog of fuggedaboutit, and creating for any reason felt like climbing mount Everest. I knew I had to do something. I knew that I was in a spiral down and I was not eager to revisit the cave of omgdoom again, thanks very much.

I went off the Welbutrin.

I had only been on it for three months, but after the initial stimulant effect wore off (it's well known for inducing get-up-and-go in the initial stages), it wasn't doing me any good and it felt like it was doing me some major harm. It's been six days since my last does now and while I do have a few withdrawal symptoms (mostly brain zaps that feel a little like my frontal lobe is being electrified and some vertigo), I feel like *myself* again.

I spent most of yesterday in a state of creative catch up - working on a spread for BOD, painting on canvas, dreaming up new paintings to get started on, and the day before was spent catching up on the pile of laundry I'd accumulated, and reorganizing my space a bit to emphasis NON WORK art creation so that at any given moment, I can easily get off my ass and throw a few layers on canvas.

1480651_865742393475039_8691357315782964398_n

Folding table? $30.00. The ability to get up and paint at a moment's notice? Priceless.

Little changes. Teensy tiny, non-overwhelming changes. Every little step adds up to big, awesome, goodness.

I made you a video!

I've been doing Book Of Days: Mixed Tape since the beginning of May and since theme is exploring our life's soundtrack, there's been plenty of opportunity for creating fun, musical, time lapse videos of my art journal spreads in progress. Last week I worked with Inanna by The Tea Party and created this:

IMG_1750

 

This was a three hour extravaganza of embellishment and 'making sacred' in a process I like to call 'effort as offering'. She is mixed media in my art journal. The video doesn't even begin to capture all the work that went into her creation, since it is time lapsed to the nth degree, but I hope it gives you some sense of how much effort went into it. You can view it here:

Work continues apace on this:

button300And in case you missed the announcement, Wyanne has joined us as a guest teacher!! Yay!

It is going to be an amazing journey with so much delving into the hows and whys of each teacher's process. There's such a lovely mixture of emerging and veteran teachers that everyone from the absolute beginner to the advanced journal artist will find new tips, techniques, and ways of meeting the page that will be new to them.

I can't wait to create a brand new Ultimate Notebook to take notes in and dive into each lesson! There's a huge challenge included, too, that has a fantastic prize package. You can get all the details on the class over here!

I'm also teaching in this:

artsummerschool

I created a mini accordian fold journal and then took it out into the field to do contour drawings that morph into zen doodles for this class. The lesson is very short - 16 minutes - but so packed full of info that you will find yourself inspired and ready to take a little bag of art supply goodies on vacation with you!

We start on July 1st, and the other teachers are totally awesome, so you can expect to find yourself up to your earrings in I MUST TRY THAT throughout the course of the class!

I hope you join me. :)

Alrighty, that's it for me for now, loves. I hope you are having a beautiful summer full of rich experiences that you can explore in your art journals! I know I'm loving chasing sunsets, sitting out in my garden, walking the creek with the pup, and soaking up the summer starlight. xo