Tag Archives: creativity

Winter Day Dream

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Detail of one of my recent paintings Elaine Clayton copyright 2015

Snow changes the acoustics, making a sanctuary of the surroundings. There is a hushed, majestic quality. As I stand on the snow, there is something present within it, spiritually intrinsic and obvious to me–it is an extraordinary something– might be that each flash of light from each crystal snowflake (though we cannot see that beauty without a microscope) reaches the psyche, the heart in winter. After snow has been on the ground for many weeks or months, there is a formidable sense of endurance that comes with each step taken across the cool whiteness. Wanting the bitter cold to subside, the shadows across snowy mounds that have known us for a while whisper that Spring is not too far away.

Remember the Future: Dreaming Forward


IMG_7116Detail of a recent painting series Midrash Painting: Eve’s Dreams

Often, memories of the past surface; small or quick scenes of all kinds of past events or experiences flash into the mind’s eye (accompanied with a lot of emotion, too, if we notice). A fun thing to do is to try to flash on future events–it is a mind game in a way, of course, because the future has not happened yet and therefore we have no knowledge of it stored in the subconscious. But what if it were possible to see the future in flickers of awareness just as it is possible to experience the past? It too, is no more–only an illusion. All we have is “now”, but if you feel like seeing yourself in new ways, if you have wishes or dreams you’d like to realize, why not picture them into being?  There are all kinds of dreams: dreams we have when we sleep, where we process all we have unconsciously absorbed and dreams that are day dreams, where we imagine what might be.

 

Eve’s Dreams

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“Eve in a Shift Dress”,  from my new series, Painting Midrash: Eve’s Dreams

This weekend at Congregation B’nai Israel in Bridgeport, CT, we are having an art show. Tomorrow we have a reception and conversation with the artists, if you’re local, please come by around 4:30! 
Tonight is a Shabbat dinner with special guest, Bella Meyer, the granddaughter of Marc Chagall, one of my absolute favorite artists. I am thrilled about it. 

I have been working on a series, Painting Midrash: Eve’s Dreams. Dreams and intuitive sensing are such major themes in my life, and I have been learning to chant Jacob’s Ladder in Hebrew. It got me wondering what about the dreams of women, and are there any in Torah? I imagined the first woman, Eve, and thought about what her dreams would be. I had a sudden realization that her dreams are the same as ours: longing for Paradise. We long for something we cannot quite capture, or we do in glimpses, but there is always “trouble in Paradise” in one way or another. We live in a world of shadows and light, it is not perfect, it can be very painful. These paintings in this series represent that longing for harmony, self fulfillment, love and bliss in general, or even just basic safety and comfort.

An Angel with You in Your Grief

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This is a section of a recent intuitive stream drawing reading I did for a client. At the root chakra, from hips to feet in this case, I saw an image of one doubled over in grief, holding a heart, wearing a turban. An angel below holds all of this emotional activity, safely. It turned out that the client had a lot of grief, two deaths in one 3 month period, and one was unexpected and devastating. Yet, this turban with a dripping jewel (a tear?) seemed to me to say that this person will have many dreams come true. And love is so big, her ability to love, her desire to keep on loving life even during such sadness, is worthy of angels. I really do feel that we each have our spiritual protectors to help us through all the emotions we go through in life. The emotions teach us, shape us. I don’t think we go through life struggles alone.

Dimension of Being

IMG_6865Detail from a recent painting

I had a dream where there was a very frightened woman, so much so that she jumped face-up into a creek, shrieking as she looked up at something very terrifying in the sky. But when I looked up, all I saw was a shower of yellow-gold leaves streaming down into my hands, all over my head and filling me with a feeling of love. At that moment I woke up, and still in the hypnogogic state, I saw the face of a spooky ghost. Eyes seething, teeth rotten and gnashing. I felt sorry for him and said, “God bless you.” I repeated this several times. Then, as though this image of the spooky ghost were on a screen, the screen tilted back and I saw that it was only paper-thin. This negative apparition was only a projection, it was not “real”. I then seemed filled with an understanding that all of our emotions, thoughts and intentions are also like projections which we send out, and each one is like an area or plane of existence that are all stacked up like paper in the Universe: the angry area, the fear-filled area, the revenge area, the love area, the joy area, etc.. We play out or actions and reactions based on life events. If the negative ghost which seemed to be angry, mean, full of fear, was  actually on a paper-thin type of area or screen or plane, then there would be many more such areas, all filled with other kinds of emotions and thoughts and intentions. Which one are you in right now? I’m at this moment feeling a mixture (can we be in more than one area at a time?). I feel expectation of a big blizzard coming, I feel creative bliss, I feel slightly uncomfortable in my body because I am sore from painting for so many hours.

So what dimension would we want to be in? We all know what it is like to have emotions like anger and fear, to feel as though we cannot forgive one who wronged and hurt us. These are human emotions. But we also know that when consumed by those, it feels like we are “in a bad place” as they say. And we want out of it. I think it is true, the only way out of those emotions is to be conscious of them and our response to them, and to practice compassion where we are able to, to love in each moment as best we are able to. Forgiveness often comes in time. Being free of anger is such a great feeling. When we hold positive feelings, thoughts and intentions, cultivating love and calmness, we must then be in an area or dimension of being. I want to stay under the shower of light-filled leaves, catching them in my hands.

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.

Cultivate Your Dreams in 2015

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A recent Spirit Painting/ copyright Elaine Clayton 2014

I started a new dream journal so I can use the scenes, symbols and signs that come through in dreams to help guide me toward deeper consciousness this New Year. Conscious awareness will help me make choices that will truly be good for me, and will show me what I am doing to hold myself back. I think dreams do give us clues and, like intuitive stream drawing, dreams allow us to be on the river of our flowing unconscious knowledge. Some of the knowledge is mysteriously present (a small thing recently is that I dreamed a good friend from college days loves the candy known as Pop Rocks, and when I sent him a message about the dream, he told me in fact he does love Pop Rock candy–this may seem trivial, but why would I even dream that detail, and why was the information correct?). Some of the content is obvious, and I think we live somewhere in-between the mysterious and spiritual and the physical, psychological obviousness. With both aspects, we create our future and respond to events as they unfold.

I wish you a fantastic 2015!

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.

Creating Yourself Into a New Year Through Stream Drawing

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Drawing freely, in that flowing and open practice that I call “stream drawing” or “intuitive stream drawing” feels so good. It allows us to be with our thoughts and feelings in a way that is as easy as breathing. While creating stream drawings (by drawing what feels good to draw, by closing your eyes or using your non-dominant hand because that helps loosen you up), the unconscious is allowed to arrive before you on the surface of the paper, through lines and shapes (which are very emotive to draw!), and feelings get worked out. Impressions and associations about life based on personal experience become more than just impressions we carry within, they become artfully expressed and may be the beginning of good new ideas, changes or resolutions. Sometimes we are not even aware of this happening, we simply enjoy the time we had drawing, it shifts the mood or enhances the feeling of empowerment. That’s because drawing is an act of self-will, it is a very powerful tool to use while you create yourself into a new year. Just draw what you like, draw what feels fun and easy for you and enjoy it!

An Intuitive Stream Drawing that Changed My Consciousness

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This past weekend I was lucky enough to travel to Virginia to do readings and an intuitive stream drawing workshop (based on the intuitive method in my new book, MAKING MARKS: Discover the Art of Intuitive Drawing). At one point in the workshop, we broke into teams of two and did stream drawings for one another. I’d like to share what happened in my one-on-one with a partner. I told him I’d hold a concern in my mind and heart, but would not tell him what it was. He promised me he’d close his eyes and using his non-dominant hand, would draw in my honor, to help me (even though he didn’t know my concern, or know me at all). The drawing was very meaningful to me!  My partner showed me his drawing and then shared with me what he saw in it, while gazing at it. He saw a mountain peak right away. It immediately spoke to me. He didn’t know it, but the concern I had was that of worry as a mother having a high school senior about to graduate to move on in life. I dreaded the mountain peak, which my partner said, “Has a snowcap.” Could it be that my son would go to a college very  far away in the Northwest (I would prefer he not go so far away!)? This had been a worry of mine! see below, upper right snow cap image I validated that he was on the right track. Excited, I began to show him other things that I saw that was validation– we got into a fun and easy-going conversation about his stream drawing. We saw various things such as “a strong arm” and he helped me realize that I’d have to “let go, don’t hold on so tight” to my young adult son.  (Wise words!). And then I saw, to my amazement, that the entire stream drawing had a shape of a bear, in a dress. This is significant because my life lesson with my sons was to learn to advocate for them, like a “mother bear”. The bear has a tight grip (gulp–learn to let go now) and seems to have a little surrender flag up near it’s head. see above image Should I surrender control and instead let my son’s life take the course that he wants it to take, rather than holding on so tight? I think so. THANK YOU for the insight! I have learned something. I faced that this was a new time, with new lessons in life and parenting ahead. And that drawing really helped me change my viewpoint,  I was not even fully conscious of the need to acknowledge that I was perhaps unwilling to let go. (And these drawings are to be read “multi-dimensionally”, like a dream, they never stop offering new perspectives, new ways of perceiving. There is no absolute here, it’s about discovery and seeing what you see and embracing it, keeping an open mind to possible other views.)

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