This is a New Spirit Painting commission, created for Heather Strauch for A Different Approach PT / Elaine Clayton copyright 2015
How often do you have a personal springtime, a time of conscious renewal or even unwanted change which forces new ways and different approaches? I found Heather Strauch years ago when I was in a process of change both physically and spiritually. I sought help healing and found that “a different approach” was available, thank God. I had previously received excellent treatment, but then relocated and found a new practice that seemed unconcerned with the whole body, or with meaningful alignment and treatment which reflects true care. I searched alternatives hoping I’d find what was “right” for me and found it. Heather’s practice, A Different Approach PT, is “the real deal”, she is a true healer and I have trusted her for almost a decade with myself and my family members.
I have found often that in the process of seeking healing, we align with people and situations that are optimal for us as we unfold anew, creating the life we seek. At our core we are spiritually renewed even as we age and even as we experience illness. A personal spring time is necessary now and then, time for brining in the new, to heal and re-emerge with a different vision and healthy start. Spring into action, spring cleaning, spring has sprung. Eternal spring–our true essence!
How can “free handed drawing” (I like to call it “stream drawing”) connect you to empathy, to feeling for others? Drawing freely directly and immediately opens you to feeling, to sensation, to the momentum of emotions as they come and go. When you begin to feel, you begin a conversation with self, a conscious awareness of how you feel gives volume to your thought process and experiences. You aren’t just reacting anymore, you’re feeling and thinking and then choosing how to respond. This same conscious awareness is what opens us up to feeling for others—if we know our feelings, we are more likely to have empathy and compassion for others. We don’t have to understand all our feelings, just be in touch with them.
The same stream drawing once I start playing with it, gazing at it and drawing into it to find meaning, to feel more deeply, to increase creative exploration and visual-intuitive language. I come away feeling very open to the feelings of those around me.
Learn the basic steps to this enlightening and creative practice, the method shared in MAKING MARKS: DISCOVER THE ART OF INTUITIVE DRAWING.
The same stream drawing once I start gazing into and playing with it visually.
Are we captives of time and space, and our perception of ourselves in relation to time and space, as Abraham Joshua Heschel asserts: “The higher goal of spiritual living is not to amass a wealth of information, but to face sacred moments.”
Come recapture drawing in a free-style way I call ” stream drawing” and allow your unconscious, creative, imagination flow into your hands and onto paper. This drawing event is at Fairfield University Bookstore on April 25th at 11 a.m.
This is from one of my many, many sketchbooks circa 1980s– that space between drawn figures asks to be played with
All through high school I was obsessed with the visual wonders seen in the space between things–known as “negative space”. I didn’t speak of this to anyone, but just watched the beauty of the contour of prople and how the shapes between people or people and things looked. Later, I’d draw people and apply what I had seen and use what I had stored up inside of my mind all day. The gentle gesture of a hand against a chair, with another person leaning beside the chair, for example, could create a wondrous harmony or even indicate a dynamic of emotion (do the figures move away from each other or lean in toward one another comfortably?). And people never knew this about themselves. They might look triumphant standing under a great arch, yet they may have even been having a rotten day, and feel utterly diminished when I’d want to tell them they were royal. The spaces between people and objects helped set up stages where things happened and do happen. My first day in art school, Maria Artemis (sculptor, teacher) spoke of this visual study, “negative space” and I knew I was home, it felt like I was in heaven, finally getting to study in-depth the thing I was interested in and not only that, others out there were also just as interested in this!
My quick study of the moment the Magician swan enters, stirring the tranquility of the sleeping swans
Elaine Clayton copyright 2015
My favorite part of Swan Lake is the dramatically dangerous moment the Magician enters, his dark and powerful wings triumphantly fan out in his menacing approach, fluttering the delicate feathers of the innocent.
Swan Lake is so archetypal, it reminds us and speaks to us of what we know to be true in life: It ain’t Paradise. We live in this world of shadow and light, positive and negative, where sweet guileless trust meets cunning and cruel manipulation.
Swans get ready. Don’t relinquish peace and grace because of evil deeds and intentions. Be a swan in your placid environment, and know that in the end, the magician gets caught in his own brokenness, his wing crushed and his flight permanently damaged ( Swan Lake Part 2: Broken winged Magician is sent to a nature preserve where 3rd graders get to pet him and this rehab softens his sickness and propensity for harming others before he dies a less bitter agent of ruin).
In this intuitive stream drawing for a client, a very poignant and emotionally rich life memory surfaced. In the meditation I did prior to meeting with the client, I created an intuitive stream drawing in her honor. In the meditation while gazing at the drawing I had made (with eyes closed, using non-dominant hand), there appeared a girl petting a baby calf, possibly feeling it with the other hand. The calf looked relaxed and gentle. The girl looked so very attentive. (I colored this part of the image in here so you can see it more clearly). I asked the client if there was any reason why a calf might be present in the stream drawing I had done for her, and shared it with her. It turned out that indeed this client had a great love of animals and had raised a calf when she was quite young. She raised it beautifully, only to have to see it win a prize (for her great grooming and nurturing of it) and then be sold at the fair as a result. The problem is that animals sold at the fair usually end up slaughtered. This was a crushing blow to her, for a young person to be so dedicated as to responsibly raise a tender young animal, only to have to face the shock that it could no longer be under her care and would or did meet a terrible fate.
After doing so many of these intuitive stream drawings over the years for so many, I trust that if an image presents itself, there is a powerful or significant reason for it. During the reading we were able to talk about how much this time in her life (even with the awful reality of losing the life of the animal after raising it so lovingly) meant in terms of her development of her personality and motivations in her own career choice, a people doctor. And how her love of this animal is still felt in some universal way (which I believe the drawing spiritually showed– that a kindness done is never forgotten–it felt like spiritual acknowledgment that this client had been so kind to this innocent beast of burden, and that kindness was not ever a waste!). In fact, the time the client spent with the animal helped shape and mold her dedication and resolve to “do no harm” in her current work, which she does also so lovingly. The calf helped her realize her healing gift, and she helped this little beast of burden to feel loved and cared for as it grew.
This was such a powerful moment in a reading. I can’t stop thinking about it! To learn more about intuitive stream drawing, click here.
How did such a happy, vibrant color end up being the way people describe sadness, as in, “I’m feeling so blue”? For me, blue is peace, calm, cool, heaven, sky, ocean. Blue makes green possible (with the help of yellow). Blue is mystical, a little mysterious, dynamic and makes purple possible (yes, with the help of red). I can never stop loving every subtle shade of blue from cobalt to “Robin’s Egg”–I even love the names of the shades of blue people have given over time. Blue gives me synesthesia sensations, such as, for me the number 5 is blue. It is the color blue in my mind. It triggers the masculine animus within–bold, confident, intelligent yet it triggers the feminine, too–receptive, creative, imaginative. Another synesthesia experience I have though is when I see written, or say the word, “azure” I see the color red in many shades–the word “azure” itself is red to me for some reason, even though it represents a dashing and stunning shade of blue). Blue and getting the blues—maybe ideally blue connects us to a point of spiritual arrival within, and when we feel “blue” we are saying we long for that return to completion, to feeling whole and as though we are where we need to be.
This is one of my sketchbook entries from 1989, when I was teaching at The Paideia School in Atlanta, GA. (a most fantastic progressive, independent school ). I was concerned about a young student who was having a hard time getting going in his creative writing and drawing assignment. Even way, way back then, I was trying to pass on the power of mark-making–drawing as a way to thrive, and it was simple: drawing freely helps break barriers to the self, opens the creative, imaginative flow and unlocks all the potential for discovery, exploration and learning. I know from experience that if this student, Michael, and so many others, did not have that time to create while being relaxed, mindful (that meditative state of the feeling of happy fullness and wellbeing) they would not have blossomed so well as they did. Drawing in an environment that is accepting, enlightening and embraces potential (the unexpected and the innovative) changes young lives.
Stream drawing is drawing with such a feeling of freedom that you begin to be in a dream-like state, you begin to tap into your unconscious while awake. I urge clients and friends to not only stream draw every day (we do a type of stream drawing most commonly referred to by a non-word “doodling”–often while on the phone for example) and to consider keeping a dream journal. What begins to happen is the information, wisdom and insights you can receive in a multitude of ways from your dreams (and if you don’t remember your dreams, you can train yourself to remember them) begin to be on your mind in a very powerful way during the day. And you become more aware, more insightful, more intuitively intelligent–things start to feel whole and aligned. This is a great feeling. The same is true with stream drawing, once you start doing it as a practice, you literally slip into that zone where everything good is possible, and your entire day unfolds with more love for others, more appreciation and alertness to your environment in ways that guide and support.