Entries Tagged as: workshop

Weekend Linkage

July 10th, 2009, Comments (1)

fishing for the moon

The sun! Hooray! We're finally getting a stretch of sun here in New England and oh my, I just love it. I've got a busy weekend ahead with some traveling and then some visitors at home, so I shall leave with you some lovely linkage to entertain you while I'm away.

First off, Jamie Ridler's beautiful new site is up and running. Yay! Congrats, Jamie! To celebrate, Jamie is offering a special on the Your Creative Spark package which is filled with 12 inspiring interviews from creatives including myself, Goddess Leonie, Jennifer Lee, Andrea Scher, Jessie Marianiello and many more plus some fabulous bonuses. Through midnight today, you can get $10 off Your Creative Spark by entering the coupon code: "champagne" at checkout. Click here to check it out and get your copy.

Secondly, I'm offering free shipping on my artwork through the end of July! Pick out art to fill your space with inspiration and then enter "freeship09" at checkout! Bingo-bango-easy.

Third, The next Art Picnic is scheduled for Saturday, August 22nd, from 1-3 pm EST and I'd love to play and create with you! Check out all the details and sign up here.

And I feel like there's more, but all the rest and my journal wrecking will have to wait til later because I need to get a move on!

Wishing you all a wonderfully creative weekend!

Meeting Yourself Where You’re At With Art

July 2nd, 2009, Comments (16)

elephant night
elephant night

Art is one of the most soothing things I can do when I'm feeling cruddy. And yet, I still forget or I putter around without picking up the paintbrushes. It's a fairly simple task to pick up your pen and write or pick up your paintbrush and paint, but the starting can be hard. Especially if you have any voices in your head saying, "I want to make something good."

Phooey, I say. Let go of the making-something-good or making-something-special voices and meet yourself where you are, right now, in this moment.

It's true, it might not be pretty. It might not be what you expect.

elephant night detail

Allow yourself to be surprised.

Simply show up and begin. Begin with simple tools. A few colors, a piece of a paper, a pen. Leave your fears of failure at the door. For just this moment, it doesn't matter if what you create is "good" or "bad." Just let something flow out. A few brushstrokes. A few lines. Where does that take you?

Last night, I started with a scrap of paper that I'd done some playful marks on previously. I wet part of the paper and grabbed a bottle of ink that my cats had playfull rolled down the hall earlier. I squirted some ink on the wet paper and delighted in how it spread and curled and formed fantastic shapes. I then squirted blue paint directly onto the paper, shapes began to develop. Orange came next, a field. And ink spots looked like houses. A figure appeared on the right side. I stepped back, looked from a distance, then peered closer. One of the house shapes looked like an elephant, so I made it appear. The sky was lit with stars.

Before I started painting I was feeling some angst about a variety of things, including the weather. But afterwards, I felt light and alive and more free. That's some of what expressing yourself can do for you. When you allow yourself to create, not what you might wish you were creating, but what you need to create now, in this moment, you'll feel more alive, more connected, more at peace.

This is what I aim for when I'm creating, this connection to where I'm at in the moment. It's the way I found myself creating in the art picnics I developed and it continues to be a magical experience that I just adore having.

How can you meet yourself where you're at in your art?

p.s. The next Art Picnic workshop has been scheduled for Saturday, August 22nd, from 1-3 pm EST. You can get all the details and sign up here!

Close Your Eyes and Create

June 11th, 2009, Comments (12)

Creating to music can be a wonderful thing. It can be especially interesting when you allow yourself to be moved by the music, to respond to what you hear.

The following exercise is a wonderful way play with sound and creating intuitively. I share a similar exercise in the Art Picnic workshops and the next one is coming up Wednesday, June 17th, 8pm EST. Get all the details and sign up here! I would love to create with you!

I've set this post up, so that you can use the song here (if you're reading this in rss or email, click through to the blog to listen) or use your own music.

sketchbook hummingbirds

The Exercise: Have a pen and piece of paper ready and get into a comfortable position. Take a few deep breaths to center and ground yourself, then begin the music. Let the music play for a moment, then put pen to paper and close your eyes. As the music plays, let your pen move freely across the paper. Move it in response to the music and let your hand move whichever way it wants to go. Don't think about the end result, just let go.

You can do this for the whole music piece or just for 30 seconds, depending on how much time you have to play with. Letting the drawing go for the whole song can be a wonderful exercise, but do as much as you can.

When the music has stopped, take a deep cleansing breath and open your eyes. Take a moment to look at what you've scribbled. Do you see anything there? Maybe a face? A monster? A house? A fish? Or maybe a tree? Whatever you see there, take a moment to bring it out. You can color it in or just make it more clear. The image here is an example of what happened when I developed the image with colored pencil.

Often the symbols that pop up through an exercise like this relate to something going on in our lives or have some kind of message for us. Sometimes they don't. But either way, it's fun to play with. You could do some journal writing or dialoguing with the symbols that come up for you and see what they have to say or develop your doodle further with some paint.

This is a fabulous way to get started if you're feeling particularly stuck creatively. It takes all the pressure off of performing (your eyes are closed, so what can you do?) and allows a more intuitive response to come forward. Plus, it's just fun!

p.s. The fabulous Jamie has written about her experience of turning business meetings into Art Picnics right here. So cool! Love that idea!

p.p.s. Christine at BlissChick has posted a great interview with me at her blog, which you can check out over here.

p.p.p.s. (That's way too many p's! Be sure to stop by tomorrow for the featured Creative Every Day Challenge Participants post!! I've got some wonderful work to share with you!)

Click below to expand post and view music player.


No More Creative Constipation! Art Picnic: June 17th

June 3rd, 2009, Comments (6)

It's nearly time for another Art Picnic adventure. Yay! I'm super excited to share this class with you!

fly fly fly
fly fly fly, created at recent art picnic

I have a confession to make.

I get a bit nervous about talking on the phone. I've done a bunch of phone interviews in the last year, a few calls and classes, and they've all gone smoothly, but each time I've had a wave of anxiety wash over me before I spoke. It's getting easier, the anxiety is less each time, but speaking, for this introvert, can be a bit unnerving.

I could simply stop doing this sort of thing, but I really love sharing this work. I feel that it's powerful and important. Yes, it's simple, but the most powerful stuff is often the simplest. And the things I share in the Art Picnic class are essential parts of what helped me though my worst creative blocks, stuff I wish someone had shared with me when I was going through it.

My worst creative stuckage happened after I graduated from art school. My head was literally bursting with the voices of all the teachers I had and unfortunately, the loudest ones were the negative voices. Teamed up with my inner critic, these voices had me way too scared to create anything at all. I went months without painting or drawing and a full year without creating much at all.

If you're a creative person (and I know you are), then you know that creative stuck can lead to the feeling of build-up, like a dam that's over-extended and ready to burst. It affects all parts of your life, leading you to feel on edge,  frustrated, and not so fun to be around. Well, it's like being creatively constipated! Heh. Not pleasant!

No more creative constipation!

The way out for me was scheduling some time with myself to be playful, to give myself permission to fail wildly, and to create from my heart. In the Art Picnic class, I share the main tools to help you get started, get playing, and keep that momentum going. It's a gentle approach and I think that's the best way to get back to your creativity. Even if you're not blocked, scheduling some special time for you and your creative muse is a beautiful thing. Why not come play?

The next Art Picnic is happening Wednesday, June 17th from 8 - 10 p.m. EST (find out what time that is in your neck of the woods here.) It's only $25 and you can sign yourself up right over here.

An Art Picnic is all about quieting your gremlins and moving past your creative blocks so you can create freely. I'll be teaching you how to let your intuition guide you as you work, how to get playful with your art, and how to create from a place of joy, freedom, and authenticity.

The call consists of a half hour of sharing the essential parts having your own Art Picnic, 1 hour of creating on your own (with the ability to get in touch with me if you get stuck), and a final half hour of checking-in, sharing, and a few final tips to help you continue on the creative path. Check out all the details about the class here.

I loved what Teri wrote about her Art Picnic experience from the last workshop I gave. In the process, she learned that she could schedule some time for her creativity. And I love how she noted that it was a picnic with no ants! Ha! Very true!

It's so vital to schedule time for our creativity. Signing up for a class like this can be a huge help in making a commitment to yourself. It's fabulous self-care, so nurturing, and healing to set aside this kind of time.

If you have any questions, feel free to let me know. I hope to see you there!


May 23rd, 2009, Comments (21)


I thought I'd have two pieces to share with you today, but after staring at one of them for a long time today, something is bugging me, so I'm going to tweak it a bit more. But this one is done. I've tweaked it enough and I'm happy with the result. It's called "Listening" and it's about 16"x20" with collage, acrylic and ink on canvas. It also fits in so nicely with the Nature theme this month for the Creative Every Day Challenge, so I'm glad I was able to complete it in May.

The piece also reminds me a bit of a grounding exercise that I do during the Art Picnic workshop where you imagine roots growing from the base of your spine into the earth. Roots are a powerful image for me. The make me think of the veins in the body, the passageways of the lungs, and upside down trees.

In this piece, there is listening to the earth happening. Quiet, thoughtful listening. But it also relates to listening to yourself, to your own still, small, inner voice. Our inner worlds can be so rich, so complex, that it's important to take time to slow down, be still and listen in to what they have to say.

What happens when you get quiet? What comes up for you?

A wonderful way to get quiet, is to be out in nature. Taking a walk in the woods or sitting by a nearby river are two of my favorite ways to reconnect with my environment and with myself. Something in me automatically slows when I get in amongst the trees or sit by moving water. Do you have a place like that? Or could you create one for yourself?

Do Art Not Dishes: How to Stop Avoiding Your Art Supplies in Four Steps

May 20th, 2009, Comments (17)

Three Muses

One of the biggest clues I get that I'm avoiding my art, is when I have some time to create, but all of the sudden I have an incredible urge to do the dishes, mop the kitchen floor, re-fold my laundry, or clean the litter box.

Now, if you love cleaning, doing dishes, or scooping out kitty poo, this may not be your clue. But anytime you're filling your art-time with things that don't really need doing in that moment, stop, take a breath and ask yourself, "Hey, what's happening here? Why am I avoiding my art?"

Doing distasteful chores is my clue that I'm in major avoidance mode, but there are sneakier ways I avoid. They're easy to fall into and oh, so time-consuming. For me, these sneaky avoidance tools include reading blogs, surfing online, and Twitter. Now, there's nothing wrong with doing any of those things, but you have to stay aware of when you're doing these things not just for fun, but as a way to stay just busy enough that you have no time to create.

O.k., so I've noticed myself avoiding. Now what?

First step: Do not beat yourself up

Beating yourself up over not creating will only lead to, you guessed it, more avoidance and less creating (followed by more beating yourself up.) Ouch. It's a vicious cycle and it's painful, so let's sidestep the berating yourself and move into the space of being gentle.

Second step: Gentle Noticing

Take a deep breath and gently notice the inner pulls that want to lead you into an activity of avoidance and then take a peek at why you're avoiding. There's usually some kind of fear there. A fear of not being good enough. A fear of making bad art. A fear of failure. (All totally normal, by the way.)

This may be enough for now. To just notice. You can then go on and do whatever avoidance tactic you were about to do (maybe you really do need to do those dishes!), but you'll do it in a conscious way. There's a big difference between choosing to do this activity instead of making art and doing an activity while unconsciously avoiding.

Step Three: You're Not Your Fear

After you've taken a gentle look at your fear, you may want to do some journaling about where this fear stems from. Ask yourself what is scariest to you and then see if you can determine some playful ways to work through them. 

One of my biggest fears is of not being good enough. When this fear comes up, I work through it by getting playful. Play can help quiet your inner critic to a whisper. Heck, you might even get your inner critic to play along with you. At a time in my life when my inner critic was particularly loud, I started having art picnics on my bedroom floor. I created a safe space in which to create freely and gave myself permission to make complete and utter crap. Lo and behold, this totally worked for me.

Once I got playing, I got into a creative flow, my confidence began to build, and I was creating freely again. The hardest part is often starting. If you can get through that, you'll be on your way.

Step Four: Commit to Your Creativity

If you find yourself getting into avoidance mode on a regular basis, it's extremely helpful to create a regular date with your creativity. You can do this on your own by scheduling time and putting it in your calendar (every day at 3 p.m. for the next month, I'll create for 30 minutes or every Saturday from 12 - 1, I'll work on my writing), you could make a date with an art pal or group of friends to create together on a regular basis, or you could take a class (I know when I pay for a class, it helps me keep my commitment to showing up.)

A student in my last Art Picnic class mentioned that if she hadn't been signed up for the class, she would have decided her day was too busy to create. But because she'd signed up, she showed up, and was so glad she'd taken the time for herself.

It's so easy to feel like we're just too busy, but creativity doesn't need wide expanses of time to flourish, it can come in little bits. And when we make time for our art, whatever that may be, we feel so much more alive.

So for today, forget the dishes and get creating.

p.s. The next Art Picnic class has been scheduled for Wednesday, June 17th from 8 - 10 pm EST. I'll be posting more details soon, but in the meantime, you can learn all about it and sign up right here.

Art Picnic Class is this Saturday!

April 21st, 2009, Comments (0)

intuitive art blue in red detail

Are you looking to experience a gremlin-quieting, art-making, creative-block-busting good time?

Yes, you say? Well, then I'd like to invite you to join me on an Art Picnic adventure, this Saturday, April 25th from 1 - 3 pm E.S.T. for only $25! (Find out what time that is in your area here.)

On an Art Picnic you will:

* Get grounded and connect with your intuition.

* Let go and get playful with your art.

* Get creative support from me to help you unblock and create freely.

* Have a blast creating your own, unique Art Picnic experience!

* Leave with all the tools you need to continue creating your own Art Picnics.

* Take excellent care of yourself by scheduling in some all-important creativity time.


I started Art Picnics out of a need to get unstuck creatively in a fun, no-pressure way. I was frozen in the fear of not being good enough and all the inner critic voices were keeping me from enjoying my creativity.

With a few simple tools, which I'll share with you in this class, I learned how to move beyond my fears and create from a place of joy, freedom, and authenticity.

The class takes place on the phone, so you can attend from wherever you are! During the first half hour, we will meet, discuss the tools you need to get started, and do a grounding exercise. We will then get off the phone and have our individual art picnic experiences. I will be playing and creating too, but I will also stay on the bridge line, so if you get stuck, you can call in and I will help you through it. In the final half hour, we will meet to discuss what we created, share what came up for us, and learn some tools to keep our creative energy flowing.

You do not need to consider yourself an artist to join in, everyone is welcome. You don't need loads of art supplies either. I enjoyed my first art picnic with just a blanket to sit on, some paper, magazines, and a glue stick. Simply bring whatever art, craft, or journaling supplies you have available and be prepared to have fun!

*As a special bonus, if you sign up for your Saturday's Art Picnic, I will send you a free mp3 recording of a grounding exercise I use that will help you get connected with your intuition before you start creating!

I am so excited to share this process with you, so sign up here and join me on Saturday for some Art Picnic fun!! Sign up by clicking the Add to cart button below:


Intuitive Art and Committing to your Creativity

April 7th, 2009, Comments (26)

intuitive art blue in red

Last night I attended the first of a series of Intuitive Painting classes I signed up for. Before the class started, I received an email from the teacher saying that the first class was going to be all about color. I laughed at the synchronicity of it, considering this month's theme for the Creative Every Day Challenge is color!

The first class was a feast for the senses. Each student was given a packet with a scent in it and then we were asked to create a color based on that scent. Mine was a yummy spice and the color I created was a warm reddish-brown. We all shared our colors and then used our color, along with the color of a classmate, to simply play with paint. I let my paint drip and run at first. We painted very quickly, so each of these pieces could be developed with further (all except the one directly below are 18"x24") or used as the beginning of a painting later on. The idea in moving quickly is to kick out the inner-judge and get painting, to try new things, to experiment. The first piece (below), created something that looked a bit like a face.

intuitive art face

In the next piece, we used the first two colors, plus one more. The result of that one is the first image in this post. It was fun to play, to splatter, spray, scrape, and smoosh paint and just see what happens. In the next piece, we added one more color, using something a little unusual for us. I don't use a lot of yellow, I tried adding that to the piece below.

intuitive art drips

We quickly moved on to the next, where the teacher encouraged us to paint with colors that we have a strong feeling for (like or dislike). I'm not a big fan of pink (I paint with it pretty rarely, so I just went nuts with the pink paint and added some yellow too.) As you can see, Emma especially liked that one.

intuitive art pink emma

It was a fun class and I'm looking forward to doing some more playing next week!

One thing that's great about signing up for a class like this, is that it gives you a set time each week, when rain or shine, you're going to honor your commitment to create. And yes, signing up and paying for it is helpful in getting me to actually show up at the specified time and place. How do you make commitments to your creativity? Here are some of the things I do:

*I participate in challenges (like the Creative Every Day Challenge) to help keep me focused.

*I get support (like my wonderful coach, Kathy who just started her own blog!).

*I take classes, online and in-person.

*I show up to create even when I'm not feeling inspired.

*I schedule time for creative projects I want to see fulfilled (literally picking days and times and putting them in my calendar!)

*I take time off to rest and re-fill the well. (We all have creative cycles.)

*I ask for help when I need it. (This one can be hard for me, but I'm working on it.)

*I find inspiration everywhere.

*I use a theme word for the year (Leap!) and keep it posted in front of my desk to remind me.

How do you commit to your creativity?

p.s. One of the reasons I started offering Art Picnic teleclasses was because I know that having a set time on your calendar to focus on creating is incredibly helpful in maintaining a creative practice. Want to make a date with your creativity? Join us on the 25th for the next Art Picnic workshop!

Free Dream Call! Thursday, April 2nd 8 pm EST

March 26th, 2009, Comments (11)

To celebrate wrapping up this month of dreams, I'm so excited to invite you to participate in this free call about dream interpretation with Lianne Raymond! Lianne is a Certified Martha Beck Life Coach and she has trained with Dr. Christopher Shelley in Adlerian Dream Interpretation.

On the call, we'll discuss:

*How you can begin to interpret your own dreams
*How to cultivate your creativity through dream analysis
*Lianne will do some one-on-one dream work (bring your dreams to the call if you're interested in sharing!)
*And we'll be giving away a special gift, a Martha Beck dream journal, to someone on the call!

Sign up for the call using the form below and I'll send you the call in information. The call will be recorded, but you need to sign up below to receive the recording.

I've always had vivid dreams, but never did much with analyzing them until I found the work of Robert Moss and Martha Beck. I truly love how Beck encourages you to see each part of your dream as a part of your wiser self that has something to teach you.

Here's what Lianne has to say about dream interpretation:

Many people treat dreams as some obscure secret with the thought that there is one correct interpretation and if only they can decipher them correctly, then all shall be revealed. I see this in my psychology students every year. When we start our dream unit it never fails that there is a flurry of questions along these lines:

"What does it mean when you dream about horses?"

"I always dream about falling - what does that mean?"

"If a cigar is not really a cigar in my dream, what is it?"

The Martha Beck approach (derived from the work of Carl Jung)  treats the dream like a divination tool.  Divination simply means an inspired (to be "in spirit") discovery of what is hidden. Many of us have done our own forms of divination - have you ever done the trick where you feel stuck in some way so you go open the dictionary to a random page and put down your finger? And the word you just happened to land on gives you a whole new perspective? Dream analysis is like that, but even more powerful as the new perspective is internally generated and custom made just for you from your imaginal world.

Martha Beck's method has the dreamer become each item in the dream and answer questions about it's purpose, intention and lesson for the dreamer. Sometimes this can be challenging to do alone without slipping back into cynical, rational left-brain land.  That's when it can be helpful to have a friend, partner or coach to take you through the process.  (Martha has a great breakdown of her dream analysis method in Chapter 5 of her book Steering by Starlight.)

I have used Martha's approach with numerous students in my psychology classes and also with many of my life coaching clients.  I have noticed, though, that my students rarely state that they don't dream (in fact they have extremely vivid dreams) whereas the adults who come to me for coaching often have the "I don't dream" syndrome.  Of course they do dream, it has just been relegated to the 'that's not important' part of their brain. Often along with their imagination. I believe dreaming is a vital sign for the creative life. Leah has demonstrated here how her dreams have become springboards for her artwork. That springboard can be come even more interesting after a dream analysis.  This is a painting one of my students did that combines elements from her dream with insights she gained from the dream analysis.

lianne dreamphoto

If you feel like you don't dream it is just a matter of creating the space and intention to let your dreams become known to you again. A great way to do this is by keeping a dream journal beside your bed and making an intention every night that you will allow your subconscious to communicate with you through dreams. Or just simply request that you have a dream and remember it.  Keep with the practice even if nothing seems to be happening at first - maintain the space and the intention and write down even the shimmeriest of dream memories whenever you have them. Over time you will find that your dreams with become more frequent and memorable.

The truth is all the answers are within you and they are not secret. What dream analysis does is take the left, rational brain out of the driver's seat for a time and allows the right brain to make itself known.  It takes us to the deeper place of knowing that I call the arational. And of course the arational is also the spring of creativity. To cultivate dreams is to cultivate creativity and connection to our wisdom.

You will be amazed at the insights into your own life that you will uncover through dream analysis.

Sound interesting? Want to learn more? Come join us on the call on Thursday, April 2nd at 8 pm EST (find out what time this is in your time zone here). The call will be free, but long distance charges may apply. In the meantime, sweet dreams!

Sign Up for the Free Dream Call Here!

* required



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Moon Collector

March 24th, 2009, Comments (12)

moon collector
Moon Collector, 9"x12", acrylic on paper

More moon art and more blue. Two of my favorite things at the moment. This piece, Moon Collector, came together intuitively. I was about to add the red strings attaching the moons to the bucket, but found myself hesitating. After stepping back from it a bit, I got the sense that it was about something rather personal and I wasn't sure I wanted to reveal it in the paint, but I went ahead and put them in there.

So what's up with the moons here? Can you guess? Perhaps you could make up your own story about what they mean.

I think my internal dialogue about becoming a mother sometime in the near future is coming out here. The moons with their red strings make me think of ovaries. Not all my art is so deeply personal, but letting your intuition guide you, often leads to artwork that expresses what's going on underneath all the layers. It can be scary sometimes, but it's always fascinating when approached with a bit of curiosity.

One of the places I first learned to play with my intuition is through Art Picnics. Feel free to join me on my first Virtual Art Picnic this Thursday from 1 - 3 p.m. Eastern time for $25! We'll be talking about how to get playful in your art, how this playful attitude can help connect you to your intuition, and we'll be spending a whole hour creating joyfully! You can sign up for the class or get on the Virtual Art Picnic mailing list here. I plan on doing a Saturday workshop next month for those who can't make it on a weekday. And I'm planning to offer an Art-Picnic-To-Go kit in the near future!

Tomorrow, I'll be sharing what the totally optional monthly theme will be for the Creative Every Day Challenge in April! Wee! I love sharing these themes with you and I think you'll love this one!