Tag Archives: Books

“Now” is a Sacred Moment

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Elaine Clayton copyright 2014 Spirit Painting

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 Stream Draw with Me at Fairfield University Bookstore

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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.

Negative Space: Create Something in the Space Between

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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!

Stream Drawing and Dream Journaling for Happiness

IMG_7047Recent paitning  Elaine Clayton copyright 2015

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.

 

Stream Drawing Companions

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This beautiful drawing was done by Varoujan Froundjian, who contacted me after using my new book MAKING MARKS: Discover the Art of Intuitive Drawing and has been using the visual-intuitve techniques to explore his creative stream of consciousness. I am so enjoying everything Varoujan draws, and am so delighted he shares it with me. We have a little dialogue going on about drawing, gazing, interpreting and in general feeling ecstatic about drawing, I also love the way Varoujan plays with the background colors and textures, gives a deep, rich feeling to the linear activity on top. Thank you thank you, Varoujan!

Daydreamer’s Guide to Life

IMG_6852A detail from a recent painting/ Daydreaming 2015

Daydreams–I think they make the world go ’round, or at least the daydreamer seems to notice the world in a way that being “on task” can block–we are so on task, we forget to sense, to truly see and feel. Stream drawing is one way to slip into your zone of creative, intuitive and empathic sensing. It’s an expressive, active way of “being still” rather than passively waiting for the beingness or stillness to arrive. Daydreams come and go, ideas, thoughts and feelings surface, all while you’re drawing as long as you draw with complete freedom and playfulness. Looking out the window and seeing the shapes and lines in the trees, sensing the mood in the light are also transportive and I think some of the best things happen when we daydream. It is a form of learning, one we don’t nurture in each other very much because we are conditioned to be more “useful”.  At least if you’re daydreaming while drawing, you’ll be doing something. Not only the practice of drawing but the impact a simple act can have on our world strikes us all as very evident after the recent massacre of artists in Paris. Stream drawing does not require you, however, to do or be anything but just yourself, in that inner-realm place where the essence of the real you thrives. There are powerfully positive effects stream drawing can have on us. Draw for your sense of peace and creative sprightliness, and know that it is indeed a very, very powerful practice to do so, often in ways that will heal us and delightfully surprise us.

Get Ready for the New Year: Intuitive Stream Drawing Self Reflection

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This is an intuitive stream drawing I have just started, so there are barely any notes on it yet. This is one of 4 views, a life experience view.

I am reflecting on this past year, as many of you are also, I’m sure. What was good about? What was hard about it? What were the highs and lows? How can I use everything that happened this past year (or at least those experiences which stand out for me) to help me grow stronger, wiser, more empowered and more forgiving and loving?

I did an intuitive stream drawing to see what would come up for me, and you can create one, too. Below is an example of an intuitive stream drawing I am in the process of seeing into, with a few notes on insights I got that surprised me and gave me new ways to look at some things. I want to be able to move forward into 2015 without anything holding me back, and being conscious of that which may, to my best ability, is essential for me now. The stream drawing’s life experience views (from left to right) showed that it is time to “wipe away tears of the past”–to consciously stop carrying whatever I may not have been aware of even carrying in the way of sadness (there will be a few things I will name to myself). A new doorway of opportunity ahead (an arch) also looks like the head of a puppy–for me dog signifies loyalty, companionship, protection, so I ask myself, “what/who am I loyal to and who/what deserves my loyalty?” amongst other questions, as I move forward into some new experiences. A heart stretching in to a new shape at the center is partially submerged, so becoming more conscious of flexibility in relationships is very, very important. There are specifics that relate to this that I am aware of and which are meaningful to me. I have yet to look at the two chakra chart views, that will be a lot of fun!

These are just some insights, there is no limit to the ways in which these symbols or shapes and lines can be interpreted, like dreams, they are multi-dimensional. I find it a fascinating way to explore self knowledge as a path to empathy and compassion toward others. If you create your own intuitive stream drawing for 2015, what might come up for you?!

To get a copy of the MAKING MARKS: Discover the Art of Intuitive Drawing book, click here.

Summer Streaming and Dreaming

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I had a synchronistic event this morning, posting this detail from a painted stream drawing, I saw a rabbit there with a carrot (rabbit symbolizing for me fears and getting over fears, as well as a sense of prolific fertility) and one of the first messages I received in my email as I was posting was a message from a much beloved friend with a work of art depicting a rabbit with a crown of carrot, parsnip and turnip. I was very delighted also to look out my studio window to see a RABBIT hopping up the hill!  I love life when things connect like this!

Summer time is good for dreaming and streaming. Start keeping a dream journal if you have not, or pick up the habit of journaling if you’ve stopped (I tend to go in and out of cycles where I record every morning and then stop for some reason, getting back to it as soon as I can). The value in stream drawing during the day, is it 1.) Gets you into a stream of consciousness flow so that you can tap into the knowings you have but may not be aware of, and 2.) Gets you into a playful place where dreams, aspirations and a sense of joy can be cultivated. As sculptor Maria Artemis says, it can shift you into the “realm of the possible”. Go there!  Just take a few moments to close your eyes and draw with the non-dominant hand and then gaze it the drawing to see what it may hold for you in terms of meaning, associations, etc. For more info on how to do this, get a copy of MAKING MARKS and let me know what you discover!  http://www.illuminara.com/books/making-marks-discover-the-art-of-intuitive-drawing/

 

 

Stream Drawing for Wellbeing and Creative Bliss

 

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At my recent book event for MAKING MARKS at Barnes and Noble, participants practiced intuitive stream drawing

Stream drawing is a great way to relax and create all at once, to be passive yet active, to receive yet give. Drawing, mark making, is so naturally compelling for humans, it feels good. The techniques in MAKING MARKS: Discover the Art of Intuitive Drawing help get to that place we used to go to with complete joy. As children we didn’t have to be reminded to experiment and express, we just did it. Gradually, our mark making became centered on created letters, numbers, words and the occasional work of art for an assignment. We need to make marks freely and reclaim that natural, exciting form of expression that we literally have just at our fingertips.

Why is Creativity Connected to Intuition?

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Have you noticed that when you get a great idea, there is this enthralling feeling of, “How did I get that idea?” We often even have such a great idea, that we say, “It’s so obvious, why didn’t I think of a long time ago?” or something similar.

I have found that the same feeling of elation comes to me when I open myself up to my intuitive impressions. There is a sense of wonder, even in the moment of feeling a “gut feeling” that something isn’t right, or having a hunch to try something one way or another. Usually when I do not follow those gut feelings or hunches, I have some regret. I have read that the vagus vein in the stomach has a way of sending signals to the brain, so often we do have literally a gut feeling that has something figured out before our rational and logical mind has it figured out. With intuitive sensing, as well as with creative sensing, things arrive in the way of knowings or ideas without our truly being able to necessarily establish how or why we got the information.  We can retrace all the steps leading up to the moment an idea came, but we still cannot totally explain how it came to be.

 

With this book, MAKING MARKS, I have put together drawing freely, in a stream of consciousness way, something I call “intuitive stream drawing” or simply “stream drawing” along with intuitive sensing–exploring the knowings that we get seemingly out of the blue. We can use stream drawing to open up to creative inspiration, to intuitive, empathic sensing, and we can make great shifts in our lives while experiencing the joy of imagination and the feeling that all good things are possible!

This week at Westport Barnes and Noble I am having a book event 7-8 pm and I hope you’ll join me for some drawing (with eyes closed–totally freely!) and discussion.