I had a small melt down this week (in great company.. inside a mastermind group I am blessed to meet with) about this smash book teaching thing… because it seems to be counter to creating art/painting/whatever (this is very likely the voice of my inner critic.. because it’s never happy, never thinks I do enough, or am good enough, or paint enough, or sell enough *&^*%*&* the list could go ON)
… but… on deeper probing… I discovered.. that for me. my Smashbook is a self created safe space.. and it is this Opportunity that I feel compelled to share (that is.. HOLD SPACE for) ... it has the potential to be a self created safe space… and that is quite intrinsic to a life of an artist. (or human BEING for that matter)
As I went into my beliefs around my creative process.. my self as ‘artist’... the thought also flitted past... that I wish I had been shown this as a child.. growing up... I recall some really harsh teachers.. and how rubbish they made me feel... they didn’t realise (or care?) at the time the turmoil I had going on inside me.
So, in my workshops I always hope that I can create circles in which artists, mums, friends, sisters, daughters, sons, dads, people who are grieving, people who are healing, anyone's really.. can come and through the gentle process of intentional creativitea ….. enjoy a restorative space in time.
The picture above is from my art table on Sunday.. I'm creating a smashbook called 'MOTHER LOVE'.. so I am putting in anything that reminds me of my Mum… and some things that relate to me as a Mother myself… when you create your own alchemical container.. you can decide whatever you like that will go in it.. and it's perfect. Perfect for you.
I'm having a competition? no.. I hate that word.. I currently have a delightful opportunity.. for one dear person to win an Intentional Creativitea Session with me via Skype.. and a personally created Smashbook for them. You can find out all about that here. Entries close 1 Sept 2014.
And… if you want to find out more about smashbooking with me… (visit info page here) I have two workshops open for registration being held at Doonan - up near Noosa..(Qld, Australia) on Thursday 11 Sept.. and another on Saturday 13th Sept. These will be held at LuluArt .. at a gorgeous super sized art table with seating for 8… and windows overlooking a beautiful dam.. and birds singing.. and water lily's floating. It's very retreat like… and as always.. there will be plenty of tea. #smashbookdd is what I'm using on my instagram to share pics relating to this.
love Denise x
if you can't be bothered moving to another page to read What is a Smashbook
… I'll write it here too:
What is a Smash Book?
Is this my 'poor neglected blog' .. or just been waiting til I had something artful to say. I have another blog space I use for my 'anything-i-want-to-say-at-all' wonderings… (A Sip of My Tea . com) but I think I've designated this one to be … just art… as it's on my 'Artist website' … allowing for a variety of personality options is also fun for me :)
So today… I am sharing something that began yesterday… and I desire to bring in through all of June… and I'm not promising anything further than that, it only creates too much angst for me. I am joining in a little collective project, thanks to one of the lovely artists I met in Christchurch New Zealand earlier this month. Ruth Reid is instumental in the creative project called JOIN US IN JUNE FOR 30:30 that's a link to the facebook page. The idea is to create something each day for the 30 days of June. Anything… a painting, a page, a cake, a quilt square… anything creative … I'm going to focus on painting, whether that is large or small, or in my art journal, anything so long as I paint every day in June, and try my best to complete something every day in June too.
"Create something each day for the 30 days of June"
So… why do I think it takes courage to create?
Well it's one of my primary ways of expressing myself - and thereby there has been many 'strings' I have attached to it for some years… but THIS WEEK… thanks to a dear friend I had some help, clearing some of those attachments that no longer serve me, and this allowed me a way in that was seemingly difficult / nigh impossible for me to bridge before. I can tell the truth loudly in the pages of my art journal, but to be loud and open on my canvas (when the need arises, inside of myself that is) maybe for the world to see.. feel.. judge… can take courage.
The thing (think / thought) I have to remember :
It doesn't matter what other people think of me …
It matters what I think of me.
It matters what you think of you.
So… here's what happened yesterday… when I asked for couage to create inside just this one day
(taking it one day at a time was also very sage wisdom from my healing session the other day)
thanks whole heartedly to you Raelene Byrne. (Medicine for your Spirit)
I love the difference it made when I opened her eyes… that took courage from her too.
We're a team.. 'my wise inner self, my artist self, inner child, muse… ' it's take a bunch.
This painting will be going to an exhibition in Brisbane in June 'Celebration of the Female Form' you can find out about tickets to that here.
That's it for today… I better be off, to gather the 'Courage to create inside this one day'.
love Denise xo
You know there's only a little difference in the placement of letters between sacred and scared . . . creating and sharing something this close to my heart is both/and.
Gypsy Rose by Denise Daffara
Painted using the Color of Woman Method.
May you find
not scared enough to
not take action.
love Denise xo
In December 2013, I donated this painting to a Women's Shelter as a token of love and hope for them.
Over the weekend I had several paintings in an exhibition "ART FROM THE HEART" for The Lady Musgrave Trust. Even though my exhibited pieces didn't sell. I am happy to say my donated painted sold, raising $1,000 which will go towards accommodation and support for young women in need.
A message from the President to those attending the auction and exhibition.
Your contribution to this weekend event will enable us to further our work in providing accommodation and support for young women who are homeless or at risk of being homeless..
I LOVE this message in the catalogue by the Arts Minister
Art has the power to transform lives and bring positive change to individuals and communities . . .
I wholeheartedly believe this to be true. I am also donating a painting to a local Women's Shelter on the Sunshine Coast, because I believe in the power and love behind the art. I'll share more on that in another post.
This has been unearthed.. or stirred up during the Color of Woman course... I can't even recall if I've already shared this here on the blog (sorry for repetition if I have... maybe I better get some more iron suppliments to assist memory)
I've left it in an 'interview like format' because I really liked answering it in that way.. and editing down to a succint, slick, paragraph just is NOT my current happy place forte!
One of the most interesting things for me to note when spending time with these questions.. was my subject choice and the feeling I desire to evoke in my paintings... I didn't know it at the time, but perhaps each one was healing a little part of me.... and I guess it goes without saying.. why there may be a tinge or more than a tinge of sadness in some of the faces that have showed up on my canvas's. It's a curious path.
WHY YOU MAKE YOUR ART,
I make art to ease the agitation I feel when I am not creating something. I make art to free a part of myself that needs this to be alive. For over a decade I made art as a celebration of fun and freedom, now I am learning to explore other avenues into my creative expression and not just when I am feeling happy.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE IT,
I have been inspired by my teachers and other artists who have gone before me, there is something in me that positively lights up when I visit a gallery or exhibition, some artworks take me to a place of pure bliss and even a natural high at the energy and beauty I sense and feel in their presence. The fact that an image can come through an artist onto a blank canvas is still a mystery for me and I love that. I have been drawn to images of feminine figures long before I started learning to paint in 1999. Some I have been inspired by include : Chagall, Klimt, Matisse, Modigliani, Picasso, Whitely, fashion designer Valentino, and icon Audrey Hepburn.
WHAT IT SIGNIFIES OR REPRESENTS,
I would say most of my artwork at least in the first decade signified or represented a light and happy side of life, celebratory of feminine fun and freedom. It was in contrast to all of the negativity I had experienced in the preceding years before painting became such an integral and wonderful part of my life. Things such as alcoholism in a parent, domestic violence, hideously low self esteem, an abusive relationship, a cult-like church experience for many years, and the absolutely life shattering event of my sister being murdered. I made no place to paint any of this. I did not know how to approach it creatively.
WHAT ABOUT FORMAL STUDY,
I have not engaged in traditional university study of art. Partly due to fear of not meeting the standards they require and partly due to just plain not wanting to fit into the deemed worthy parameters of academic artistic value and expression. To be judged and moulded and critiqued...(my inner critic has done a pretty savage job of that already) my fragile self just wasn't up for that. As I write and contemplate this, my current leaning is that my arrogant or bold self just won’t have it. Maybe one day when I grow up I might venture in to that, maybe not.
HOW YOU MAKE IT,
I make my art mostly by a process of many layers, it undergoes fine tuning and transformations along the way until it reaches a place that I am satisfied to let it be. (I have had to adopt a sense of the 80/20 rule... if I can’t be 100% happy with it, then 80% is workable, and there is always another opportunity on the next canvas/board/paper). Perfectionism is a harsh master, and I cannot let her rule entirely because I would never deem anything as done or enough.
In 2013 I have been studying under Artist Shiloh Sophia McCloud who has introduced me to her Color of Woman Method, which is based heavily in Contemporary Symbolism. It is a welcome extension to my previous style and subject - still working with the feminine, but in a richer, deeper, more soulful context I feel.
WHAT IT'S MADE OUT OF,
I began by exclusively using acrylic on canvas, guided for 4 years with lessons from talented artist Peter Hales, in recent times I have been introduced to the wild wonderful world of art journaling by Effy Wild, thereby giving way to working on paper. Another new medium I am exploring and enjoying is working on wood.
WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU
Painting has become my sacred practice, it connects me to Source and celebrates all of my feelings and emotions. My passion is to connect with others in ways that have us both feeling nurtured, energised, validated and liberated. It means I have found my place in the world, creative expression is home to me, it’s not always easy and comfortable, but it’s where I feel drawn to, time and time again.
A smash book is an energetic
Container for our ideas, hopes, dreams
Anything we intend for it to
Hold, nurture, grow, enliven
Contain, bless, flourish.
The one pictured below.. for example I have called "Beloveds" ... and my intention for it is to be a portable altar... each time I have a client/workshop booked in.. I can make a page dedicated to our time together. I believe very much in setting intentions.. 'Intentional Creativity' is part of what I have been learning through the Color of Woman course I did this year. Allowing our hearts desires, longings, and questions to come up and then to give them space to be is a powerful tool for real change/growth/enrichment and transformation in our lives.
I am grateful to Catt Geller for teaching me how to make and teach 'Cosmic Smash Booking' you can find her blog here : http://streetlightpeopledotorg.wordpress.com
I will be introducing some Smash Booking Workshops soon. Join the mailing list if you'd like to hear about when and where workshops are coming up.
If you have a group already who would like me to come and teach a Painting workshop or Smash Booking session, email your information and I'll see if we can make it happen in 2014.
love Denise xo
.. “Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing there is a field. I'll meet you there” Rumi
As I embark on the newest little part of my creative ventures... mixed media works on wood and paper ... I hear 'those' voices... "Oh this isn't real art.. you should be painting every bit of it" ... "What... you're using cut out pictures in there" ... "this is crap... this really will not do" .... "grow up" .... Oh the list could go onnnnn and on.
But with the strengthening of my Muse voice... or my listening to her... I'm hearing other whispers too... really quickly.... following on from the mean bitch voice... like,
"This is a new adventure"... "we're here to have fun"... "if it's bringing you joy... then... hello... do.. it" ... "this little piece of art you're making.. is not going to hurt anyone.. and if you're filling it with such enjoyment then maybe someone else might actually love it too" ... "try it and see" ... "experiment" ... I'm taking a new bunch to the framer this week... and they'll make their debut up at the gorgeous gallery that has my work.. and if anyone has a critical comment to make about them... well... let them say it to my face and hear about the 2 years of being blocked and depressed about it.. hahaha.. that'll learn them!
I'll post pics of the new ones once they've been revealed at the gallery. ... I can maybe show some snippets . . .
I am returning to a place of play as much as I can when making these pieces... and that feels like a really good place to start.
ps. They'll be on display at Tiffany Jones Fine Art Gallery later this month.
This was the scene in the spare room of my parents home this time last year... I set this up to be like an alter right next to where I'd be art journaling for the month.. Mum had one of my prints hanging on the wall... and a picture of Mary.. or more than one in every room actually. I felt somewhat comforted by this Mary picture with her bunch of angels hanging out... so I gave her pride of place overlooking my artful adventure... little did I know... I would be joining the likes of Shiloh Sophia McCloud and Jenafer Joy, and Stella Mac and Effy Wild... and be part of a wild and wonderful bunch called the Cosmic Cowgirls ... and just over one year later I will be meeting many of them in California!
and Helllloooo... running a "Paint Mary with me" retreat/workshop this month too
Today... my Muse must have been with me.. along with my daughter.. I found this gorgeous luggage tag that has so many visual messages that have meaning for me...
The colour 'limoncello' is a favourite of my dear mentor/teacher/inspirer Shiloh... I feel like I'm flying from a cage... that's metaphorical.. I did a mixed media piece a couple of years ago..and it's been profound the many layers of crappola I've been leaving behind sometimes daily.. but you know.. on the whole.. I'm in a much better place :)... and the crown!!! well Sovereign.. and I painted Queen of My Own Heart this year.. so that's a gorgeous little addition... this trip is an adventure... a loooong adventure.. and the crossing of the San Francisco... Golden Gate Bridge is part of it too.
That's about it..a short sweet post for tonight.. there are only 2 spaces left for the Paint Mary with Me retreat.. so if you are wanting to come... register at your earliest convenience.
bye for now,
Oh my goodness... I just hit send... if you're on my newsletter list you'll be the first to receive the invitation to join me on a very special one day retreat/workshop.
It's less than 2 weeks away... and I can't believe I'm offering it before I head off overseas on 18th July ... but these paintings have quite a mind of their own.. and I felt so moved by the creation of my Magdalene.. that I wanted to share that with a creativitea class as soon as I could.
Below is a picture of the flyer... but if you'd like more information visit the webpage here.
I'm excited.. and even a little nervous.. this is leaping out in faith in a direction I've never gone before... but it feels like a warm summer day to me... perfect.
love Denise xo
I was inspired to write this as I was heading to sleep last night.
off to pick up the brush,
love Denise xo
Books I Love
“There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.”