The Wheel

 The Wheel

Wheel of Fortune
What will you do with this one wild and precious life. Mary Oliver

There are two things I’ve learnt to rely on in this world- one is change and the other is contradiction and this card embodies both.

This card may throw up questions of destiny and fate vs free will, it may question your existential beliefs, it may have you wondering where your free will fits in and about your dharma and whether you have any control at all or whether it is all an illusion. You could chase your tail for a life time on those questions, many have, but what you can’t question is the cyclic nature of it all- of the days, the months, the seasons, the life times.

This card has such a feminine quality to it- the energy of divine timing. What this card embodies, women too embody. The ability to cycle and change and to let go is part of what it means to inhabit a woman’s body which ebbs and flows with the moon, which creates and nurtures life and then releases it into the world and which eventually ceases to release that monthly life force to turn it inwards towards sovereignty and wisdom, the stillness at the centre.

The wheel turns and what was is no more, there’s no stopping it, there’s no freezing those precious moments, those full to exploding moments you would like to inhabit forever like that moment when your baby girl, wet from being lifted out of the birthing pool and laid to rest on your bare and expectant chest, looks up at you with dark eyes as deep as lakes holding all the wisdom of the universe. You can’t hold onto that moment, you can only embody it and tuck it away in your heart just as it slips away. You let it go because this precious baby in your arms is destined to become herself.

So the wheel turns and sometimes you hold on so tight and sometimes you just allow it, going with the flow. That’s where you come in, choosing how you will live this change, these cycles, gracefully allowing or fighting, or both at once. Will you slip into the expansive calmness of the center or will you try to hold onto something which is already gone just as it arrives?
How will you walk your own medicine wheel? How do you embody your cycles?
What I learnt today is that even the act of writing itself is an act of letting go.

Round and round she goes, where she stops nobody knows.

Fever Ladies- Trail Blazers

Frida Kahlo, Maya Angelo, Virginia Woolfe, Dorothy Parker, Anais Nin, Georgia O'Keefe, Billie Holiday Painting Galia Alena

 These are my fever ladies. I call them such because I was running a temperature while I painted them. For the last 2 weeks or so, I've been unwell with a flu like thing. Since I'm not very good at resting I decided that I would stay out of the studio and do a few quick sketches with paint. That was the compromise to bed rest- to take over the dining room table, and to paint these. I did one of these a day and after that, still not getting any better, I decided to take rest a bit more seriously.
When my children are sick, rest and sleep is my go to remedy yet not a gift I find easy to give myself. As a few friends pointed out, it was fitting to include Frida Kahlo in the collection as bed rest never kept her down. So, without any further ado, let me introduce you to some HERos:

The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.

Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolfe, Mixed Media Painting Galia Alena

A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.

Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou, Painting Galia Alena

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure , the process is its own reward.

Amelia Earhart

Dorothy Parker, Painting Galia Alena

The cure for boredom is curiosity.
There is no cure for curiosity.

Dorothy Parker

 I am my own muse, I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to know better.

  Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo, Painting Galia Alena

 Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.

 Anaïs Nin

Anais NIn Painting Galia Alena

 Nobody sees a flower - really - it is so small it takes time - we haven't time - and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.

  Georgia O'Keeffe

Georgia O'Keefe Painting Galia Alena

If I'm going to sing like someone else, then I don't need to sing at all.

  Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday Painting Galia Alena

I made a little frame for Frida, out of plaster and Christmas baubles shattered thanks to my cat. She will serve as a reminder of all that can be achieved and expressed no matter what. Thank you Frida you are truly inspiring. A couple of the ladies have been snagged but if there is one here that interests you please let me know in the comments (they are roughly 5x7", I don't think they will get listed in Etsy.

Frida Kahlo Painting Galia Alena
Who are your HERos?

Paris- Travel Journaling Pt 2

Galia Alena  Parisian travel journal
Walking in the Silage of Stories Past
Whispering through the alleyways
Written in the stones carved soft with moss,
Across oceans, through centuries,
The echoes of lives
and the layering of stories.
I can almost hear them.
Just beyond a corner
a hint of movement
a scent familiar and strange;
Stories collapsed in time
I feel them brush up against me,
Unhinged shadows.

Sacre Coeur Paris, Galia Alena travel photography
Months later and I'm still sorting through the thoughts of the trip. I didn't take many photographs on this time, partly because I broke my arm just weeks before the trip and the cast came off a week early so that I could fly without it. To lighten the load I left my SLR and lenses at home and took only baby and my iphone. I took some photos, but the trip was not about the photography, but more about the sketching and the art. There are some photos to add in, impressions, but the journal is filled with sketches and paraphernalia that I barely feel the need to add photos (and apart from a few spaces, there is no room for them anyway so I am going to have to get creative on how to add them).

Galia Alena  Parisian travel journal
The plethora of galleries in Paris is overwhelming- so much to gorge on in such a short period and now, sitting amongst the clouds and trees, listening to birdsong instead of the harmonies of church bells and sirens, I can only dream of those details- the colours, the brush strokes, the risks, each of those artists teaching something different. These paintings come to life in a way you can only imagine when you stand if front of them and let their energy speak to you. Oh that I could wander the galleries with my morning coffee before I head to my own studio.

Eiffel Tower Paris, Galia Alena travel photographyMum likes to tell the story of the man who hated the Eiffel Tower but continued to eat lunch there everyday. When asked why he answered "it is the only place in Paris you can't see it from" -boom boom.

Next stop: London where I head off on my own to meet a dear dear friend for the first time.

Part 1 of my Parisian Travel Journal is here

Galia Alena  Parisian travel journal

Some thoughts on travel journaling and pilgrimage (from the new website):
A journey to a new place or a journey through a journal page will both take you on a pilgrimage to the center of your own heart, to an understanding of your own truths, to a knowing and comfort with yourself. Both will bring you closer to the peace of home and still that wyld spirit that wants to fly freely on the winds of desires, of greener grasses and the whispers of dreams.
Journaling and traveling can both be a journey on which, if you are receptive, you discover a deeper connection with yourself and the conversation with life. Both can act as a pilgrimage from which you are forever changed, giving you both new awareness and knowledge of yourself and the world, journeying simultaneously out into the outer world and deep within the inner world.
There are as many ways and reasons to travel and to journal as there are people. For me the two are similar in that they both are a way for me to embody the journey. The journey to align with my inner world as well as my outer, a journey in trust, a journey in which on the middle of the path one is expanded and changed forever, a journey in which you can meet yourself. A pilgrimage.
Both require me to stay open and curious, to watch and notice attentively, to respond with trust and wonder at unexpected opportunities. Both allow me to engage fully in  the conversation of life with wonder and amazement. Both gift me with myself.

Galia Alena  Parisian travel journal
"Sometimes it takes a great sky to find thatfirst, bright and indescribable wedge of freedom in your own heart.” David Whyte
There are many ways to travel but when a woman travels alone there is a certain amount of trust that is required, especially when details have been left open to chance, serendipity and faith. A window is left open for spirit to enter and the unique state of wonder and awareness that traveling puts you in enhances your awareness of these moments.
A pilgrimage can take many forms, some structured and religious, some based on tradition. Sometimes one is not even aware that they are on a pilgrimage yet the journey they take will change them forever as they find themselves touched by things they didn’t even realise they were seeking.

Galia Alena  Parisian travel journal
“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber
Traveling allows one to strip away the usual masks that daily life demands which can bury the true self, it becomes an opportunity to get to know yourself without all the usual baggage. When you travel the normal linear day to day time is suspended and you step into a time where routine has been suspended in favour of the fullness of the moment. When you art journal there too is a suspension of time. Your hands set to work busy moving paint about, making marks, selecting papers while your monkey brain watches and hopefully is quiet and distracted long enough for deeper thoughts and awareness to come forward- a moving meditation where the heart and hand is aligned.
“and turning the corner at what you thought was athe end
of the road, you found just a simple reflection,
and a clear revelation beneath the face looking back
and beneath it another invitation, all in one glimpse:”
  David Whyte

The Year so far

Galia Alena visual poet

I spent most of January not painting nearly as much as I had planned but rather re-conceptualising and re-designing my website - a rabbit hole I slipped into (or perhaps fell flat on my face into) and wasn't released from until the labyrinth had been traversed and all the cyber dragons slayed. I did come up for air and have these 3 paintings to show for it (and there was some wonderful school holidays adventures with the little peeps too).

Galia Alena Dream Catcher Keepr of the Dreams
Keeper of Dreams
 We are all blood and bone, 
delicate as petals
and held together by stars

Galia Alena Earth Queen, Empress
Earth Queen

She who holds and releases
Portal and vessel
That sex which is not one.
Always full to exploding
Ever empty and ready

Gateway of creation
Red lips, blood, womb,
tall grass, bare foot,
toes in the mud,
not afraid to bleed,
to let go,
to give

I've popped some  little mini classes on the new site (including a few free ones)  and below is a glimpse of what my new virtual digs look like- doors now open   Pop on by :)

Meeting myself on the Page

Galia Alena Mixed Media Art journal
To celebrate putting my new website together, I thought I'd try to "define" Art Journaling in words- no easy feat. The new site is here:
Art journaling is a sacred vessel, a container which willingly and lovingly holds all I wish to give it. It is a vessel for my brightest and darkest thoughts, for what I wish to shout and what I am barely able to whisper.
Art journaling is a gift I give myself, time to quietly be, to play, explore, make marks, move colour and shapes, collect words, to hide and reveal. Here process reigns. I am free from outcome, from the opinion of others, from the need to make it a certain way, to make it pretty, from the need to please anyone but myself. I can play and play and play and in doing so I give myself permission, I allow it to be enough.
Art journaling is a playground where I can play with new materials, new techniques and new ideas. It gently nurtures these young babies allowing them to grow and expand, to develop and to blossom.
Galia Alena Mixed Media Art journalArt journaling is a moving meditation connecting heart and hand in a joyous dance which allows one to breathe, witness, to silence monkey mind, to listen and to follow the threads.
Art journaling is a safe haven, a sanctuary from making mistakes- in the journal there are no mistakes, only lessons and layers of the journey to unfold. It is the freedom to fully express, in a tangible way, all that needs to be said. It is ever forgiving.
Art journaling is a bridge, connecting my inner world, heart, soul and spirit with my outer worlds, hands, body and cognitive processes. It is a bridge between my dreamstate and my awake time, a path through my shadows and a way into myself.
Galia Alena Mixed Media Art journal
Art journaling is a key to getting to know myself better, unlocking the stories inscribed on my bones.
Art journaling is contradiction, a place to empty out and to fill up, a place of light and shadow, a place of knowing and mystery.
Art journaling is a practice, and like any practice, the practice itself, the showing up, allows me to go deeper and becomes ever richer.

Galia Alena Mixed Media Art journal
The outcome is not found on the page but within- expansiveness, freedom, self knowledge, connection, discovery, release, completion, growth. It is the joy of expression, creativity and new wisdom.
You can scream and rage between the pages, it will take it all, or you can fall softly into its gentle and eager embrace. A way home to yourself.On the journal page I meet myself.

I would love love love to hear how you define art journaling or what it means to you- please share in the comments. Xx


 Live Workshops:


Finally I'm all settled into the beautiful Blue Mountains where a rainbow of winged ones visit my studio daily, the skinks scurry as I walk through the garden and the lorikeets spit gumnuts down from the top of the tees. Here in this beautiful setting, I'm excited to be able to begin my live art journaling classes and workshops, and surround myself with kindred spirits and creative souls. Are you called to express yourself between the pages.

These are weekly, “how to” classes, covering a range of topics such as Overcoming the Blank Page, Backgrounds, Collage, the use of Text, Exploring mediums, mark making and so on. A great way to get started if you are new to art journaling or a wonderful way to pick up some new techniques if you are seasoned.

This will be a group of women committed to coming together once a week to explore and support each other’s practice in a safe and sacred container. Together we will use our journals to explore such things as our chakras, moving around the medicine wheel and through the seasons and elements, exploring our personal symbology and other rich and delicious tools. 
For the next session of journaling circle we will work our way up and through the chakras. For more information please email me

The workshops are day long intensives where we explore a particular themes, such as Nature Journal, Mapping the Interior, Collage Jumpstart, Fire & Water, Beneath my Feet.
Perfect if you are coming up to the Blue Mountains for a weekend or day trip. 
For more information on either the live workshops or online classes please subscribe to my newsletter in the sidebar (selecting which you are interested in) or email me.
There are more examples of art journaling on the Journal Page in the menu bar.

 Art Journaling in the beautiful Blue Mountains

Current Online Workhops:

A Visual Journaling Experience celebrating your Art~Body~Nature!
Spectrum is a collective of 30+ holistic-minded artists, healers and visionaries
that have come together to offer a 10 month online workshop
in which you will create a visual field guide
devoted to awakening, exploring, deepening & celebrating the innate wisdom within YOU. 

All you need is the willingness to play and the courage to explore your creativity to fully experience the joy and healing art journaling has to offer.

Join 21 SECRETS Spring now and receive instant access to the 170+ page downloadable eBook that contains 25+ hours of videos, full color photos, and loads of inspiring content!
Click Here to join. 

In this class we will be Calling in the Elements to deepen our connection with both our artistic practice, the elements and ourselves. Through some intentional sacred journaling we will be accessing a deeper level of consciousness and bringing some of our personal symbolism to the fore.
Using collage, painting, doodling, free associative writing you will learn one method to use your art journal practice as both sacred play and personal exploration.

  Of the Heart
Gather * Reflect * Celebrate * Scribe
Bless * Make * Give
This is a mixed media workshop, making a special book to gift, a love letter from the heart and soul and will touch on many different techniques.

It is also going to be a treasured keepsake with lots of writing prompts, art techniques, crafting, poetry, and lots and lots of ideas about what to include.

Past Workshops:

Collaborative Workshop exploring notions around Wisdom from various angles including creativity, body, intuition and nature.

A magical retreat held in Virginia, US on the beach, with journaling, circling, tarot and creative play.  2013

Spectrum- the year's wrap up

 Last year I had the pleasure and honour of being asked to be one of the contributors for Hali's Spectrum, which in Hali's words is a:

Holistic Creative Circle celebrating your Mind~Body~Spirit~Nature
through the living expression of art and awareness.

Here's a peek into my Spectrum journal with work I did playing along with some of the other contributors. It is filled with so much goodness, I know my journal will continue to fill as I keep revisiting the rich and soulfilled lessons. At the bottom of this post are photos of the page I did in my module which was on "OPEN".

Spectrum 2015 is now being offered with a whole new set of contributors, but if you are feeling drawn to 2014's work, Hali is now offering it as an instant access e-book with so much to get your creative juices flowing.
Galia Alena mixed media art journal Spectrum

Galia Alena mixed media art journal SpectrumGalia Alena mixed media art journal Spectrum
Galia Alena mixed media art journal Spectrum

Galia Alena mixed media art journal SpectrumGalia Alena mixed media art journal Spectrum
Galia Alena mixed media art journal SpectrumGalia Alena mixed media art journal Spectrum

Galia Alena mixed media art journal Spectrum

Galia Alena mixed media art journal Spectrum

Galia Alena mixed media art journal SpectrumGalia Alena mixed media art journal Spectrum

Galia Alena mixed media art journal Spectrum
Galia Alena mixed media art journal Spectrum
Page from my lesson :)

Drum roll:...

And the name that my sing bowl tossed forward: Lynne, I'll be sending you some questions to make your Sacred Marks piece .
Thank you to all who entered, I loved reading all your comments.

Of the Heart

Of the Heart, mixed media e-course, menarche, journal making, Galia Alena

Of the Heart, mixed media e-course, menarche, journal making, Galia Alena
This is a mixed media workshop, making a special book to gift, a love letter from the heart and soul and will touch on many different techniques.

It is also going to be a treasured keepsake with lots of writing prompts, poetry, and lots and lots of ideas about what to include.

Of the Heart e-course workshop. Galia Alena mixed media hearts journal

Here is some of the feedback I've gotten already from the participants:
"This is the very best online class I have ever taken, She keeps it moving and the video's are awesome for newbies like me. I read all the info on this class and I've gotten some great idea that I'm working on for a cloth/pieced page. Galia I can not thank you enough for the quality of this class and for holding me while I leapt." Sheila
" Every lesson has been a beautiful source of inspiration. Just loving this! It is just so crazy gorgeous. I can't wait to do mine!" Jane

My daughter is 10, and with a teenage son I feel them pulling away from me and moving into new phases in their lives. My daughter will soon get her moon time and I want to celebrate this auspicious occasion and welcome her into the beginning of her womanhood journey. As part of this I am putting together a Red Box with gifts and wisdom from her female tribe and I’ve decided to make her a very special and unique book, an heirloom, a keepsake, a treasure and a treasury of love from me. And so this course and this project was birthed.

 Each week there will be both videos and written instructions and prompts covering many different mixed media projects and pages. We will touch on a bit of book binding (and some alternatives), photo treatments (including a couple of downloadable textures, actions and images to use), image transfer, gold leafing, some painting, background techniques, antiquing, collaging, use of paper, fabrics, plaster, photos to name a few. We will be gathering, digging deep, reflecting, and getting our hands dirty in the wonderful act of creating when our hands and hearts are aligned. There will also be a facebook group where we can discuss what we are doing, share and inspire each other.

Of the Heart, mixed media e-course, menarche, journal making, Galia Alena
A rough overview of the weeks, although we will be weaving in and out of these topics throughout.

Week 1: The pages- making the pages, materials.
Week 2: Photos & Text
Week 3: Tribe
Week 4: Break week (Bonus Menarche week)
Week 5: Letters
Week 6: Themes, feathers, maps
Week 7: Assembling your book (binding), covers, what’s next ...

Of the Heart, mixed media e-course, menarche, journal making, Galia Alena

Of the Heart, mixed media e-course, menarche, journal making, Galia AlenaThe whole reason that this project came into being was that I have been putting a Red Box together for my daughter, collecting words of wisdom and gifts from the women in her life and wondering what precious gift I might put in the box. And then it hit me, I would make her a special book, filled with love and beauty and wisdom. The idea grew and grew with all the delicious things to include and at some point the need to share with the world became apparent. I believe that our daughters need to be empowered around their bodies, they need their female support tribe around them, they need to learn from the wisdom we have gleaned, that is often not  spoken, that is often taboo, that they need to know that there is no such thing as "normal" and that stepping into this phase of life should be celebrated with the lost art of ritual and initiation. I see this as an opportunity to connect her to her roots and her female ancestry and to guide her to step forward confidently and bravely into her life. I want her to be her own heroine.
Of the Heart, mixed media e-course, menarche, journal making, Galia Alena
 "I want to create something beautiful for my girls when it's their time. I am so excited for your course because I can start now (as in while they are still quite young) and create a journey around this, collecting bits here and there and will have something beautiful for them when it's time. It will be such a different experience than I had walking into my own womanhood. I am literally teary thinking about it. Thank you for such an offering. With two girls I am a definite IN. I want to give them something they will cherish forever." Stacy De La Rosa
Of the Heart, mixed media e-course, menarche, journal making, Galia Alena

Who can sign up for this course?
Anyone who feels inspired or called to whether you are a complete novice at mixed media, an experienced artist, a journaller or scrapbooker or just a person who loves someone and wants to express that deeply.

I’ve never done any art or anything like this before, can I still sign up?
Perfect, what a wonderful way to start.

What if I don’t have a daughter?
Galia Alena Mixed Media Art e-courseMost of the projects in this class will be able to be adapted to any situation that you feel called to honour with a treasure book. I know women with sons will be signing up, as well as some with grown daughters. I'm hoping each of you  will be inspired to adapt this process to your own needs and make a personal keepsake. The facebook group will also be invaluable in this regards in terms of inspiring each other and giving each other ideas on how to make your book truely and uniquely your own. Essentially it is a book of love “of the heart”, it would even be perfect to make one just for yourself ;)

There will be plenty of techniques and resources that you can use in other projects if you didn’t want to make a book.

(Other ideas are, rite of passage for your son, gift when a child has their own child, a baby or childhood keepsake, engagement/wedding gift - you get the idea, so many opportunities to celebrate).

My daughter is only very young?
Perfect, you can start putting together your book now and have years to add special things to it as you have time, as you find or feel them, as she grows. Or you could adapt the course to make a baby/childhood keepsake.

I’ve never done any art or anything like this before, can I still sign up?
Perfect, what a wonderful way to start.

I’m not on Facebook, can I still do the class?
You don’t need to be on facebook to do the class, you can just work from the classroom if you like. I resisted signing up for facebook for a long time and I am so glad that I finally did- the benefits of being in community with so many like minded people who are willing to share far out weighs any reservations I had. If you are on facebook and you join the group, we will all benefit from the shared experiences, lessons and inspirations, including me (I can’t wait to be inspired by you all). It is totally your choice how you want to do this workshop.

Can I share the class with others?
I am pouring as much of this process and my heart into this project and class and I would really appreciate it if you didn’t share it with anyone who hasn’t signed up for it. It is both good Karma and good manners :)

Can I share what I do in the course?
Absolutely, of course, I would love a mention and a link back and there is a button you can pop up on your blog if you would like (I would be so grateful).

Can I sell what I make in the class?
This is up to you. I'm hoping you will make a special gift from you heart to give, but there will be many mixed media techniques and inspirations that I'm sure you will use in your other projects as well.

How long will the class be ?
Galia Alena Mixed Media Art e-course
This class has already run as a live class (it was 7 weeks) and is now available as a self-paced course with access to all of the lessons and videos once you have signed up. There is an element of ongoing to this project depending on how you decide to approach it.

How long will I have access to the class?
You will have access to the classroom for a minimum of a year so that you have plenty of time to work on your keepsake (no stress). I may leave it up longer.

Galia Alena Mixed Media Art e-course

Please note that once you have signed up I will be adding you to the classroom manually (so within 24 hours ;). Please also not that because of the digital nature of this product all sales are final, thank you.

Ferocious beauty, New Year and a Giveaway

Mama Bear mixed media painting Galia Alena
Mama Bear
to the ferocious beauty
of this wild world,
This is the last painting finished in 2014, although there are several WIP floating around both the studio and the rest of the house. It feels like it sums up 2014 in many ways (as does the painting I'm working on today sums up the feelings for 2015 which will be the first of the new year).

Mama bear is available here

Galia Alena Photography Do you believe in magic

2014 has been a good year, seeing us ensconced back home in OZ, nestled into the mountains, a delight of natural wonder and a gorgeous community. (Some highlights: Notes from the Garden, Paris and Course Correcting).  Babies are happy. The muses are singing. The mangoes are plentiful. Life is good.

Thank you 2014
And 2015 is going to be better (after all it will be filled with EASE).

Galia Alena PhotographyTo celebrate I am having a little giveaway- A Word of the Year Sacred Marks customised painting for your altar.
Galia Alena altar piece giveaway
To enter :
∞  tell me how your year is going to be fabulous or about your word of the year is.
For additional entries please share this around (facebook, instagram, blog, google etc etc and be sure to let me know in the comments).
If you purchase one extra extra entries and a refund if you win.

I'll be pulling a name from the singing bowl in a week.