Thursday 26 May 2016

A long overdue Hello...

(The Magical Garden)

Is it really May?  Has it really been this long since I wrote a blog post?  It seems so.  This year is meandering and winding along in its own sweet way, it seems a time of growing and learning and slowing down to appreciate and accept things.

I don't know if I mentioned it but I had a tricky few months where I didn't want to paint.  I'd go as far as to say that I didn't know what to do with myself at all, I had ground to something of a full stop and my mind was full of questions and panic.

If I don't do this, then what?

I had become tired of my style, tired of painting the same thing.  I was fed up of feeling flat and lifeless, and truth be told I was also scared.  I realised that I had let my work define me, I had given myself a label and didn't know what to do without it.  
So, I let myself wander a bit.  I walked around with those lost feelings and wondered how to heal them, and how to find my way again.  In the end, I just gave in and let go.  What will be, will be.

One day, I went down to my studio, I unlocked the door and wandered over to my desk.  I didn't have a clue what I was going to do.  I was an empty vessel of possibility, and surprisingly this felt ok.  I squeezed out some paint, filled up my jam jar with fresh water and took out a wooden panel.  And then I sat there for a while, just thinking.

(The beginnings of the Magical Garden)

I decided not to inspire myself online.  I decided not to do what I had always done (which was lose hours of my life on Pinterest, blogs and websites being inspired), but just sit there and let it flow.  And like some celestial miracle from above, that is what happened.  I kid you not, I just let the brush do the talking and watched in something akin to astonishment as I began to fill that panel with colour, and then began to fill it with blooms and flowers working right to left (which in itself is strange, as I always work left to right across a canvas).  I felt the stirrings of something exciting happening.  I utterly lost myself in that painting and the hours melted away.  It was fortuitous that I happened to look at the clock on the studio wall to discover it was slightly past three in the afternoon, and I needed to be collecting my daughter from school, or I fear I may well have sat there painting until bedtime.

I couldn't stop thinking about what had happened in my studio.  I went in the next day and sat for a while, looking at what I had done before picking up the brush and with no effort at all filling the spaces with colour and life.  I didn't have to think, it appeared as if someone else were doing the work and I were merely a bystander.

And so, the Magical Garden was created.  It embodied the quiet mystery of those days in my studio where magic had actually happened.  People seemed to like it very much, and yet I couldn't explain where it had come from, this image, this change of style from seawashed beaches to enchanted gardens twinkling with fairy lights.

But I liked it.

And since then, I have worked on a few more like it.  And just like the first one, they seem to happen all by themselves, my brushes take on a life of their own and breathe their magic into the artwork.  I sit there, and let it come.  I know this may seem slightly woo-woo to some of you reading this, but it's the best way I can explain it to you.

(A corner of Twilight Magic)


Some of these works are now living in happy new homes, and limited editions are being enjoyed in various homes around the globe.  Newer pieces are with a publishing company and are being considered as art prints and cards.  I feel astonished and amazed.  And in the middle of this amazement, I am conscious that this is what happens when we let it be, when we just surrender into the moment and let the magic come.  We can't force it, we can't be anyone else and if we just stop and pause, be mindful and let the panic and the fear ebb comes.

(a work in progress)

This art journey of mine ties in with other things I've been experiencing of late.  As I move forward into my early forties I notice subtle changes.  I seem to have gained some extra weight which has crept on insidiously without me noticing, and have been prone to some roller coaster mood swings and low times.  These have been hard to bear at times, and I have felt at a loss, even a sense of grief as I realised I needed to let go of certain things in order to move forward.  I struggled to accept my expanding waistline and would look on in horror as yet another outfit refused to fit.  It seems, as some of you will wisely know, to be just a part of getting a bit older.  I have done my homework though, and I understand this phase much better now, I'm no longer 25 and cannot eat pudding and cake as often as I might like.  It seems one needs to adhere to the idea of smaller portions but also to be mindful that nothing is prohibited.  I have found that this way works for me far better than any quick fix diet, and have been gradually losing a few of those unwanted pounds while at the same time accepting the new curvier version of myself and investing in a few bits of clothing that actually fit which feels great!

  I have also found a wonderful herbalist who I see every few weeks and I feel much more relaxed and happy.  I am devouring many healing books (Susun Weed and Marilyn Glenville) and working with mindfulness CDs (try Sandy C Newbigging, his recordings and books are amazing) as well as practising it in day to day life.  I have started to go on bike rides along the trans Pennine trail, a beautiful car free route through countryside and woodland which is close to my home, and I continue with my yoga and trying to eat healthier (well, most of the time!)  I like to think that I am supporting my mind, body and soul as well as I can by doing these new things, and it all feels postitive. 
There are still some days which are tough, but as I accumulate a new tool kit to help me navigate this part of my life, I feel stronger and better able to understand what I really need, to be healthy and well.

(Enchanted Cove)

I look forward to sharing more new art work with you all soon.  I am also pleased to tell you that Twilight Magic will soon be available in the gallery shop as a limited edition print (in a run of 25).  Why not sign up to my mailing list to find out when they are here? 

Thanks so much for reading.

Have a beautiful day.
Julia x

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