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Prayer and Paint Workshop Afterglow

Photo slideshow from the workshop...

Below are some photos from the Prayer and Paint workshop that I held on Saturday at Summerbridge (take a look at the new website---->) church that we are a part of.  I was thrilled that so many came and in the end we had around 20 people approx.! 

The workshop's aim was to explore the idea of using the medium of paint with prayer and reflection.  This is really close to my heart and has been so for some time now.  I really care about this aspect of my personal creative/reflective time and so wanted to offer this personally as a 'way in' for people that wouldn't necessarily paint or consider themselves 'creative'.  

I began by encouraging everyone to write out in pencil, without censoring, their worries, fears, anxieties; however small and to let them just pour out (side note: I ran out of paper).  I absolutely love this process and find it cleansing and such a relief to 'get it all out'. 

We then covered over our writing with gesso (white primer) and let that dry.  The idea being that by covering over our 'junk', we can 'start again', refresh and re-boot with Jesus' help.  We continued with another layer; this time with willow charcoal sticks.  I like to sketch out imperfect faces and encouraged others to do that or, to find their own way.  Some examples of what came out of this stage were: flowers, portraits, buildings, pattern, a wall, shapes and lots of mark making.

My piece from the workshop - a bit psychedelic, I think...

My piece from the workshop - a bit psychedelic, I think...

I really enjoyed having people of all ages present.  We had a few men, younger children, teenagers, mid-life and older adults and it felt lovely to combine this experience with them all.

Next, we got out paint and began to add colour - it was akin to bringing light, warmth and 'nourishment' to our pieces.  Again, this idea of covering over the heartache/worries and lighting everything up with technicolour - so great.

Some people covered over their charcoal layer with something new, whilst others 'coloured-in' with the paint and added lots of vibrancy to the charcoal underdrawing.  All of it was just right.

I recognised that this could be challenging for people because putting the 'logical' side of the brain to one side is foreign to so many of us and can feel counterintuitive.  However, as the workshop went on, I sensed that more people were managing to do this and to appreciate the process rather than the end result.

We then finished the workshop by eating together and enjoying our shared buffet that everyone had contributed to.  A perfect way to spend a few hours on a Saturday. 

I think in a smaller setting it would have been lovely to have had a mutual time of prayer and reflection in a way that felt right for that individual.  I also think doing this at home would be fabulous with a few additions: lighting a candle, putting on some soft music, making a pot of tea and lastly, opening up your bible. 

Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening.
— Mahatma Gandhi

Lastly, I think this would be a beautiful practice to do as a family, with your children, your church, with a special friend, prayer partner or perhaps your spouse (maybe??? lol).  

Anyway, I hope this inspires you to give this a go and please let me know how you get on... 

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Spring Into Your Creativity Tips + Daffodils

fairy-cakes-and-daffodils-orig-24-Mar-2014-12-05.57.jpg

Spring Into Your Creativity

So are you ready to answer the call and spring into your creativity - I certainly am.  I'm always so happy to come out the other side of winter.

Don't you just relish the realisation that Spring has finally 'sprung'?  It always brings me such joy and renewed love for nature and all things new and bright.

It feels fantastic to be able to dust off the old cobwebs and get out into the fresh air and feel that warm embrace of a little bit of sunshine on my back, well, in between the rain and some fleeting sleet/snow. I adore seeing colour sprouting up here, there and everywhere.

It's like the daffodils, crocuses and soon to be tulips, flower each year but it always feels like the first time - don't you find that too?

Spring into your creativity
Spring into your creativity

We had a little snow this week but that's not stopping me from being inspired by the bright yellow, purples and oranges of the crocuses, not to forget the spring lambs of course.  How about you, what do you love best about Spring (or Autumn if you're on the other side of the world?).

daffodils - spring into your creativity
daffodils - spring into your creativity

For me, it's almost like there's a different light even and whilst I might be noticing cobwebs and dust more, I'm soaking up the new season with all I've got.

Fairy Cakes and Daffodils - Spring into your creativity
Fairy Cakes and Daffodils - Spring into your creativity

I've been snipping daffodils that have succumbed to the wind and rain and gazing at them whilst I wash dirty pans at the kitchen sink.  I have them sitting in a pretty pink vase and the pleasure I get from just having them there is such a blessing.  What could you do that brings you joy this Spring?

Spring into your creativity
Spring into your creativity
daffodils - Spring into your creativity
daffodils - Spring into your creativity
Spring into your creativity
Spring into your creativity

I've been looking at some other daffodil themed art that I adore too - I'm always interested in art history. Some of you might have seen some of these pieces of artwork already but hopefully they will bring a touch of beauty to your day.

Berth Morisot. Spring into your creativity
Berth Morisot. Spring into your creativity
Spring into your creativity.
Spring into your creativity.
Daffodils, William Henry Margetson. Spring into your creativity
Daffodils, William Henry Margetson. Spring into your creativity
Spring into your creativity
Spring into your creativity

So, if you're wanting to shrug off the winter blues, here are some suggestions, starting off points for 'springing' into your creativity:

    1. Nature - like I've been saying, there's so much blooming at the moment, why not start by picking a daffodil and sketch it.
    2. Take a walk and stop and listen to the birds singing, a stream flowing or notice fast moving clouds skimming over your head - perhaps this could inspire you to write a poem, write in your journal or create an abstract art piece.
    3. Put on a piece of music and paint your response to it using only your intuition.
    4. Take your pencil 'for a walk' and draw something that inspires you.  Draw without lifting your pencil/pen off the paper - this is called continuous line drawing (see the video below).

5. Look out of a window and paint what the sky looks like and then pick various points in the day to paint the differences - you'll be surprised as to just how much your view does change.

6. Use colour to describe how you're feeling.

7. Paint with a child and just. let. go.

8. Make a Spring inspired collage using some photos or magazine images.

9. Prepare a meal that consists of lots of colour and relish the health benefits for your body.

10. Wake up early and watch the sunrise.

11. Take a bike ride, fly a kite or grab a blanket, lie down and watch the stars.

Oh and in case the above suggestions aren't doing it for you, here is a blog post by the highly talented and likeable, Emily P Freeman entitled, 8 Things Whole-Hearted Creative Women Do Differently.

However you choose to spring into your creativity, may it enable you to be your wonderful, true self.  I do hope this season finds you feeling invigorated, inspired and rejuvenated.

Lastly, this weekend it's Mothers Day in the UK, so for all you mothers, have a beautiful day.

Much love,

PS. I have a couple spots left on my upcoming Spring painting workshop of 6th April - please click for more info. or to book a place.  We'll get to shake off the cobwebs of winter together and welcome in Spring.

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