Create JOY!

Joy does not simply happen to us.
We have to choose Joy,
and keep choosing it every day.

Henri Nouwen (Author)

The above quote was brought to my attention this weekend, just as I was uploading the images of my days away at the sea. It puts perfectly into words what I was trying to express in the above image which I had created only days early on the beach near where I had been staying. Yes, it is words too, but sometimes, in my art, what I wish to express is so much more than words alone can say. There, in that very moment, I was choosing Joy. I was creating my own Joy with each shell I picked up; every pebble I selected; every little scrap of driftwood or piece of seaglass I held in my hand and placed on the sand.

How do you create joy in your life? What is it about those moments when your heart is full that makes you feel so joyful? What are you doing? How can you create more of that joy in your life?

For me, the answer lies in my creativity. I feel happy and at one with the world when I can create freely. The world feels right when I have materials close at hand and I can express what is in my head, letting it spill out in shapes and colours and images. A camera in hand can allow me to do it as well… let me capture and connect with a feeling, a place or just a moment in some way and I am happy. In doing so, I connect with myself.

Why then, did I neglect my creativity for so long?
Other things took over… work; life; family; Fear. I chose other priorities… I told myself I didn’t have time. I lost my inspiration. I allowed my creativity to take a back seat and in doing so lost that vital connection to my authentic self… the one who was always creating… always processing the world in words and images.

I am glad to say that soon after inviting creativity back in, it began to be a habit again. When I committed to my creative self and made art a priority in my life, it was like meeting with an old dear friend… we had lots to say to each other and it was as though we had never lost touch. Now, I create joy on a regular basis by fitting art into my life whenever I can.

If you are at that in-between place… stuck between feeling creative and being creative, may I suggest that you just begin? Now! Start small. Don’t plan anything wild or elaborate just yet… pick up a pen or a pencil, start putting some marks down and see where they go. How does it feel? Really let go!

If you were able to do that every day, even for just ten minutes, how would that feel for you? It may lead you somewhere exciting! Creative freedom can be yours… you just have to let go of outcome, choose to create Joy, commit and begin.

If you are ready to commit to creativity and the joy it brings, I have created an online course especially for you… 21 Days of Creative Freedom begins April 28. Don’t delay your Creative Freedom a moment longer. Create Joy now!

What is your WHY?

Today, I re-watched a talk that had inspired me, a few weeks ago, to examine my why?

In case you were wondering, this was it…

When I first took a serious look at my why? a few weeks back, the answer I came up with was this…

What is my WHY?

I LOVE ART!
I have seen, first hand, how art can change lives.
Creativity is a gift that I would like everyone to experience and enJOY!
For me, art is all about self-expression. It is not about creating something beautiful, it is about delving deep inside ourselves and letting all of our feelings and emotions spill out. I use art to explore and express the joys and the challenges in life and seek to enable others to step away from a desire to create something perfect and immerse themselves in the pure joy of the art-making process.
I want to help women reconnect with their creative selves after having children. As mothers, it can be easy to lose ourselves, focussing on the needs of our family and neglecting our own, but in looking after our own needs, we are better equipped to attend to the needs of others, making for a happier family life. By cultivating a creative practice, we can reconnect with, and powerfully express our true selves, and in doing so, encourage our children to do the same.
Art has always been at the centre of my life, but in reconnecting with my own artist’s journey after many years of concentrating on other people’s art, I found my way back to my own true, creative self.
I want to encourage every single person who feels the pull, but also the fear, to welcome art into their life.

And that, dear friends, is why I am doing this.

So tell me… what is your why?
And if you feel tempted by the pull of art, but frozen by the fear… join me for a day of playful creativity.

I will hold your hand as you let go… and let out a big cheer as you welcome creativity in. You have nothing to lose… and so much to win!

With love,
Julia x

I’m smiling

The scent of jasmine outside the back door is divine… totally intoxicating.
A little frog is sitting silently on the edge of the grass. Waiting. Watching.
I have been painting most of the afternoon and into the evening, under the wisteria.
Painting not finished, but happy with what I have started…
I feel I am finally finding my voice.
In the ups and downs, tonight I feel incredibly optimistic.
I have filthy fingers and happy heart.
Plans to go into town early tomorrow may now be abandoned in favour of another day with a brush in my hand or my fingers in paint.
Time for a long bath…
I hope you are smiling too, wherever you are, whatever you are doing.
What joy can you share with me today?

ART from the HEART

ART from the HEART

This month, I am creating art from the heart.
As those of you who follow the blog will know, I have been exploring emotions on paper and creating work using my feelings and my body as a starting point for my art. I am being mindful and engaging in more of the activities that make me feel most alive. It has been a thrilling journey of one transformative experience after another.

Making art brings me such joy and what greater joy is there than sharing what you love with others? So, my latest offering is an afternoon art workshop, ART from the HEART. I love to share my passion for art and so this creative workshop is for you if you would like to connect through art… connect with yourself, your body and other people whilst making art.

Would you like to explore your creativity in a supportive environment, connect with others whilst creating a beautiful piece of art with YOU at the very centre? If so, please come and join me… it would be such a pleasure to make art with you. I promise it will be a playful occasion with plenty of smiles. You don’t have to have any art-making experience… just come and play.

Oh, and if the sun is out, the garden will be our studio! If you would like to join me, just click on the button below… there’s a special offer if you book before Sunday.

With love,
Julia x

Book Online

My June art adventures


June 1, when I committed to:
Doing something creative every day for the next 30 days
Sharing on the blog at least once a week
Being open to any direction my creativity may take me
Being open to any outcome
Sharing my feelings, learnings and realisations as I go through the process
seems like a lifetime away.

How is it possible for time to go so fast, yet for a mere month to feel like so long ago?
At the moment, I feel this way because I did so much more than I expected in the month just gone and in the doing, the time has flown. It has truly been a joyful, art-filled month of exciting discoveries, allowing myself to be free and get in flow.

I started the month sharing videos of my progress, but as June went on and paid work rolled in, there was less time to sit in front of the webcam and the journey became more of an action-based learning than the sharing I had initially intended. In writing this now though, I feel compelled to make a video of my learnings this month, as I realise that I am sharing very few of the details. To do so in a written blog post feels impossible right now, so… watch this space!

I made art almost every day. Some days a simple doodle or sketch; others a finished, framed piece. One of my simplest pieces was an emptying of my head before bed (above). It was a lipstick print of my mouth (representing me talking about what I love) enclosed in a heart (all the things I love) and a tracing around my hand (representing me making my art). The following morning, one of the simplest and most important pieces of advice from my coach summed up my previous night’s art-making in one sentence: “You’ve got to get out there and talk to people about doing what you love”. Yes!

And this is how the month has been.

June was truly a month of getting back to the heart of why I am here; delving deeply into my art and allowing it to flow in all areas of my life. The subtle shifts that have happened; the discoveries and realisations; all of these things, are becoming regular occurrences as I allow myself to do what I love; allow myself to be the artist I want to be; create and live the artist’s life I have longed for. It may seem, to my impatient self, like slow progress in terms of making a sustainable living from this artist’s life, but I feel optimistic that I am on the right path…

This week I created my first Birthday Art Experience for a friend’s 9 year old son. He made a beautiful work of art, way beyond his expectations. His Mum, a designer, is currently working on Art Experience Gift Vouchers for me to offer out to the world – the perfect solution for anyone wishing to give their loved ones the Gift of Art. Last week, I checked out the spaces to hire at Jacksons Lane and am working towards offering a workshop in one of their studios in September (if not before). I know now, that I want to help women connect with their true selves through the creative process.

In terms of personal satisfaction; in filling my daily life with more of what I love; in feeling closer to my true self and living the life of the Play Map in my previous post, this is fast progress indeed. I have spent a day at the coast with the kids, enjoyed other people’s workshops and spent a whole weekend immersing myself in art on a last-minute adventure. I wonder how much of this has to do with the fact that much of my art this month has involved body mapping (above), putting more of myself into my work and exploring my emotions through art. Perhaps the natural outcome is that I step closer to what matters to me. More of that in my next post… I have some wonderful images to share of my indulgent, art-filled weekend away, but for now, I just wanted to let you know that I am still here, working away on my art, finding new ways of sharing.

With love,
Julia x


Let everything happen to you

“Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final”

Rainer Maria Rilke

What came when I let go... Flower hands

And so I am reminded, again and again, to let go of outcome.

Tonight, I picked up my brushes to paint my hands. I had spent the day imagining this work I wanted to create. I had honed the vision over several hours of work, errands and school runs. I had plotted the colours; planned the method; pictured the end result in detail. Was it any wonder then that what I had imagined did not come. Why was it a surprise that in this creating of perfection in my mind, something would be lost in the making? Because I forget; we all forget. I think I know better; think it will be different this time. It was not. It never is… and this is what I am learning. That this pattern of perfection is an illusion that I have to let go of time and time again in order to release; let go; create freely from the starting point of an empty mind.

And so I go on… delving deeper, moving away from the desire to create something “pretty” and moving towards a truer something… a creation that reflects my inner world; my battles and my victories; my challenges and joys; my darkness and my light.

And so I go on…
And I will remind myself again (and again)…

“Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final”

Working through emotions

Dissolving emotions from Be Creative Daily on Vimeo.

After making the last film which expressed all that I was going through over the weekend, I felt cleansed, I felt stronger.

It was a very vulnerable experience sharing such raw emotions, but the responses I received confirmed that I was doing the right thing in sharing… opening doors for others to express how they feel.

This morning I felt compelled to experiment further with the film, cut it, reverse it, speed it up, to express the fact that sharing the emotions had been a healing experience and had enabled me to confront them, make friends with them, conquer them and move on. (This new film can be seen above.)

It is a long and winding path we travel, but if we acknowledge our feelings and allow ourselves to feel them deeply, we can learn from them also and in doing this, we enable ourselves to feel JOY more deeply too.

This morning, I created a piece of art (see below) which, I hope, illustrates the transformation we make when we embrace our darker, more difficult emotions, work through them and come out the other side shining.

I would love to hear of your own experiences if you feel like sharing.
With love,
Julia x

To be Lonely / To be Loved

I embarked on the 30 Day Challenge on March 1. My mission was to Share JOY through ART. As often happens, the path took unexpected twists and turns. I had not expected this so soon. All sorts of deep-seated feelings and emotions have been unearthed. I am learning to embrace them, feel them, learn from them. 

It seems so strange to be sharing these emotions and feelings when my challenge was to share JOY, but this is part of the process and I firmly believe it will come full circle as I do here. Already, having explored those feelings, I am stronger, they have less power.

In my attempts to share JOY, I have also been reconsidering how important it is to examine the way in which we experience other, darker emotions and rather than hide them, just be with them and let them do their work.

Today, I was moved by the work of Marina Abramovic. I feel am in a very important period of transition and transformation. Discovering her performance art inspired me to make this video.

To Be Lonely / To Be Loved from Be Creative Daily on Vimeo.

“In the deeper sense, it’s about hospitality. It’s that you actually open yourself to the public and show your vulnerability, your contradictions and be there in the full sense for them.”
Marina Abramovic

Sharing JOY. This is my mission. How do YOU do it?


I have been away from the blog for a little while now. My focus for the past month has been on gratitude. In forming my regular gratitude practice, I felt the desire to capture some of the things I was thankful for and share with others that happy feeling. I posted gratitude notes, I took more photographs, I connected with a small group of women in 4 different countries as we posted our daily gratitude in a closed Facebook group and followed the prompts I was sending by email to encourage creative expressions of gratitude as we built our daily practice. I came to realise that whilst a solo gratitude practice can be good, how much better it is when shared.

My exploration for March is expressions of JOY. Joy is something I feel on a regular basis. I am struck by it from time to time and it always goes hand in hand with gratitude. I am working on how I can capture it… seeking new ways to express joy creatively and becoming more aware of such creative outbursts when they occur naturally. It is an exciting journey, especially as I am on a path to sharing it.

If you would like to find out more about this little mission of mine, you can take a look at the video I created at the start of my 30 Day Challenge. The challenge is to Share JOY through ART. I hope it is something you can connect to as I hope, over the coming months, to spread this feeling far and wide. There will be more on how I intend to do this shortly, but in the mean time, please leave a little comment and tell me the ways in which you share joy creatively… or how someone you know does.

30 Day Challenge 2013… Share JOY through ART from Be Creative Daily on Vimeo.

Share joy through art

Share joy through artAfter a break from posting of exactly one month, I am back with a clear intention for the year ahead… to SHARE JOY THROUGH ART!

The mind map above was the result of a brain storming session this afternoon, with a focus on what I want to achieve this year. I am sure I will return to the map… add words, thoughts, feelings and more… but for now, just looking at it makes me excited. I am raring to go and I can almost feel how doing all of this wonderful stuff will energise and inspire me (and hopefully others too) over the months ahead.

So, with the idea of sharing joy through art, I would like to invite you to sign up for my monthly newsletter, the first edition of which will be with subscribers by the end of January and will include new creations, inspirations and news of upcoming workshops.

And whilst we are on the subject of sharing… please let me know what your own intention is for this New Year. I would love to hear of your creative projects and if you have created your own map or vision board, please let me know… I would love to share it here!

Here’s to a colourful, creative, inspiring 2013 for everyone!
Happy New Year!
With love,
Julia x