Art

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.

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
life

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 www.galiaalena.com   Pop on by :)

Ferocious beauty, New Year and a Giveaway

Mama Bear mixed media painting Galia Alena
Mama Bear
Belonging,
held,
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.

Bisous                               

La Folle- all who wander are not lost

La Folle, Galia Alena mixed media painting
La Folle- all who wander are not lost...
 "In the middle of the journey of our life, I found myself within in a dark wood where the straight road had been lost." Dante 
This one took awhile to finish as I had started her before I broke my arm and then, appropriately, I did a bit of my own wandering...

This painting speaks of the journey and the possibilities when we risk getting lost, when we take a leap of faith into the unknown and allow ourselves to fly on wings of imagination. She is homage to the tarot's Fool.

She's available here in my Etsy
La Folle, Galia Alena mixed media painting

Sacred Marks- Personalised Art for you Altar

Galia Alena- Sacred Marks for your Altar
Your altar is a sacred and precious place in both your home and your life. It is both personal and steeped with meaning and sacredness, perhaps a feather or two, a gift from nature, a keepsake from your ancestors, embodiment of the stone people, plant people.
Perhaps you are working with an animal totem, perhaps a goddess or deity keeps watch over you.
Perhaps your altar is fluid and ongoing or maybe you set up a dedicated new altar for the new moon cycle or a particular thing you are working on, either way, altar art can embody and call forth, ask, declare your intentions or whisper messages to your soul.
Galia Alena- Sacred Marks for your Altar, word of the year

I will work with what you have, whether you know what you wish to call into your life or whether you want me to intuit some magic on your behalf.

Available here: ETSY

Perfect for:
Setting a new intention
Honouring something
Word of the Year
Manifestation
  Your piece will act as a touchstone, a talisman of sorts, for the magic you wish to surround yourself with, a visual reminder of your intentions, of your allies, of your work. A physical representation of your guides and the work you are doing, of your daily practice, of your bigger picture.


Whatever I intuit your piece will be customised and very particular to you at this time in your journey.

Galia Alena- Sacred Marks for your Altar
What you will receive:
Within 4 weeks (depending upon how the moon shines) I will pop your altar piece in the mail for you. It will be roughly 20x13 cm or 20x26cm (depending upon which option you select) on fabric and plaster (both organic and homage to the frescoes of altar paintings) and will be a mixed media piece using whatever the muses whisper to me while I consult your guides and listen to spirit. This could include collage, ephermera, acrylics, water colours, silver or gold leafing, inks, pastels, pencil, crayon, words, quotes, symbols, sacred marks and often encased in encaustics (bee medicine) to hold the magic for you. You may also receive a suggestion or two for your altar such as a crystal that might want to be on your altar or a piece of poetry or any other tidbit that comes to me in the process of creating your unique piece.

Please note that because of the nature of this work I will only be doing limited pieces at any one time and only while spirit wishes to play in this way.
This is an intuitive process where I will open and hold space for you and your intentions and allow spirit to guide me on your behalf. The result will be alchemical magic of one sort or another and most definitely the right magic for you at this time.

Galia Alena- Sacred Marks for your Altar, word of the year
 
Once you have decided that your altar needs some of this Sacred Mark magic to honour it and treat yourself in this way, I will send you some brief questions which will be up to you how much detail you wish to give or not i.e. if you have a particular intention or whether you are working with a particular guide or whether you feel to leave it to me to intuit on your behalf.

This will be a collaboration between you, me, spirit and both our guides, and as collaborations go, it will be truly transformational and magical.

Galia Alena- Sacred Marks for your Altar

Please note these pieces can take up to a month to complete as sometimes, depending upon your intentions, the cycles of the moon may be consulted in the creation of your piece.

I may also draw an oracle card or consult the tarot when tapping into your piece and you may receive some suggestions for which stone people may like to work with your altar.

Galia Alena- Sacred Marks for your Altar

Once you receive your piece you may like to create a symbolic ceremony around placing it on your altar, imbuing it with your own magic and intentions.


Available here: ETSY

Paris- Travel Journaling Pt 1

Travel Journal Paris- Galia Alena

Walking the streets worn smooth with stories
Leaves slipping to the earth
I feel a crack in my life open,
It's always this way with travel...
Something pulses through
wants more
I hear the stories dance with mine
"Where do you belong on this tiny blue planet"
Impossible seed
Soft and longing
Demanding more and less
Precious seed
When and how you'll bloom I couldn't say
Nor what kind of fruit you'll offer,
Only that you'll stir the stardust in my well
And whisper to my soul...

Travel Journal Paris- Galia Alena

Paris first appears as both quaint and familiar, a cliche on every corner but soon I am walking in step with the rhythms of her stories. I feel the stones beneath my feet and glimpse the flicker of a past disappear around the corner ahead.
Our apartment is on Île de Saint Louis, right next to Île de la Cité, where Notre Dame sits regally, and a short walk to a fabulous food market where the quiches and pastries call me back. Through the night I am kept awake by the christmas lights that flicker outside my bedroom window as the Boulangerie directly across the way prepares croissants for my morning coffee. 

Every day we walk. Miles and miles through the streets where there is ever the sensation that not only do I walk through the city but also through the centuries. Lives past whisper to me between the constant sirens. Ghosts surround me with their tales of revolution, of poetry, of commerce, of art, of wars, of occupation, of liberty, fraternity, equality. I feel as if I could slip through a portal to another time (Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris feels totally plausible). The stories tease me, perhaps because they are in French, perhaps because I am not here long enough to grasp their fleeting breathe, perhaps because they are meant only to taunt as is often the way with ghosts- a reminder of the speck of sand that is our time, our lives. Raven is ever present, in case I should ever forget, reminding me of magic and voice, of story and song- you never know what you'll find when you travel, an element of lost which opens doors to finding, seeing, hearing. "Are you listening? Are you ready to sing" she caws.

Travel Journal Paris- Galia Alena

I've been back for less than a week now, shaking the mist of surrealism that travel can bring from living outside normal reality, settling back into routine, snuggling with my babies (one of whom managed to get herself sick so she could have a whole day of snuggling on the couch with me and movies) and marking the end of year portfolios for my photography students.                  Grateful to have the cast removed from my arm days before flying out, it healed enough that I was able to journal while I traveled. How magical to slip into a rhythm of walking, eating, browsing, shooting, looking, absorbing, listening and journaling. The days filled with sights, inspiring galleries, stone stories, weary feet and then collapsing by night to good food, company, wine and the blank page only to rest up long enough to do it all again the next day. And the company I kept- Gogh, Picasso, Nin, Rodin, Monet, Cezanne, too many to list, too many to even begin to absorb, I just have to trust that somewhere my subconscious is holding tight to what they shared with me. Only time will tell.
Travel Journal Paris- Galia Alena






I still have photos to download (having only looked at the ones I took with my phone so far) and more journal pages to share over the coming weeks as well as my time in London. Until then I will sit with the memories as they wish to unfold. 

Travel Journal Paris- Galia Alena

Shape Shifters and a Blog Hop

Shape shifters Galia Alena painting
Shape Shifters

 Out beyond ideas of right doing and wrongdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there. ~Rumi
I was asked by an artist friend to join her in a blog hop, so here goes. First some questions about my work and process and then I will introduce you to a few friends on this blog hop whose work you should check out :)
 

What am I working on?
Creativity is not a replica of life but rather a tool for insight. Carnwaith
At the moment most of my creating time is going into a series of mixed media paintings, some  of which you can see in this post (and there are more in previous posts). The work is coming faster than I can keep up and I have to steal as much time as possible to get into the studio and lay the paint down as the paintings demand. Other projects which I thought I would be working on have all be shoved aside or abandoned for now as my energy is demanding to be given over to these pieces.


How does my work differ from others of its genre?

  
The dream of your life is to make beautiful art.”
― Miguel Ruiz
 
I’m not sure what “genre” per se we would be speaking of here but in general after struggling with the postmodern conundrum of “its all been said and done before” I’ve come to realise that that doesn’t really matter. I have to say and produce what I have to say and produce, I have to repeat it for myself, something within demands I do. I’m constantly struggling with the grasp of the language i.e. my skills and techniques are still learning and the results never quite land where I want them to but the process itself is paramount and each attempt gets closer to articulating what I’m trying to convey. The work is an intersection of all my experiences and perceptions of them at a certain space in time, that is how I process my unique experiences through my own eyes and my experiences, all the little things and the way that I perceive them are at once universal and yet unique to me, unique and ever so precious. That we each have a unique voice, and that if we allow them all to sing truly, then we have something beautiful.

Why do I create what I do?


The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create -Ben Okri

The simple answer is because I have to. When I try to create something different, or nothing, it doesn’t work for me. If I set out wanting to do a different style, a more intentional piece or try other colours I like, or make work along the lines of others' work I am drawn to, then I get stuck, it feels wrong, it’s not me, it’s not “authentic”. I can practice other styles and techniques to train my eyes and hands, to hone my craft but then I have to produce the particular work that I do and often that just means getting out of the way and knowing that it is not up to me to judge the work.


How does my writing process work?

“I dream my painting and I paint my dream.”  Vincent van Gogh
This quote is exactly what my process feels like at the moment- the images that I’m painting are coming to me in dreams and visions, I get the images down quickly and then begin to work with them, painting the layers, listening and watching what else wants to comes through. The paintings change from the first vision as new things show up in the process and dreamtime works with them by night. For me they are full of meaning and symbolism, some of which is surprising and yet obvious. For example, Butterfly Song had first been visualised with a different sort of butterfly, more like a flower unfurling from the throat and I knew the image would have a lot of blue in it for the throat chakra. When I started painting it, orange also wanted to be part of the image, orange which is representative of the sacral chakra, where our creative urges stir. Once I thought about it, it made perfect sense that liberating the throat chakra, from where we speak our sacred truths, that our sacral chakra would also be liberated. The butterfly itself also has strong feminine imagery in it with the valva but you can also see very clearly the hands in the peace sign, Namaste…
So I guess you could say that this group of work is an exploration of dreamtime.





Now let me introduce a few friends:
Laly Mille is a French artist who lives near Tours, in the Loire Valley of France. Her soulful paintings and poetic assemblage pieces invite you to listen to your dreams. Laly is also currently working at a nursing home where she facilitates creativity and art workshops for the elderly. You can find her on Facebook or visit her blog at www.lalymille.com. Her beautiful artwork is featured in the July/August edition of Somerset Studio, the popular artist’s magazine.


My work as a fiber artist working with fabric and fiber to create abstract 3-dimensional forms was my focus for many years. I started painting full time in 2009 focusing on portrait/figure work painting in acrylics, watercolors and mixed media. Fractured Angels is the continuous thread throughout my work. My art parallels my spiritual journey and I identify with the flawed, cracked and fractured human yearning for peace and fulfillment.
The older I get the stronger the pull to explore and express this theme in my work. Along the way I discovered I loved teaching. I find the creative process so incredibly interesting. My energy lies in that process and to share that with others has been the most fulfilling role of my life. The spiritual nature of the creative process is something that I think about a lot. The idea of constant practicing of my craft along with allowing myself to let go in moments of creating is the key to authentic art. 


Becky Cavender is a writer, relationship coach, artist, and single mom living in the Pacific Northwest. Becky has several articles published on Huffington Post and she has lived in five countries on four continents -- including Myanmar, where she published a guidebook for expats moving there. When she’s not writing poetry, traveling, interviewing inspiring creative types, or working on her novel, you can find her at any of the best local coffee joints sucking up her caffeine.
You can read more of her work and learn about her coaching services on her website:
http://beckycavender.blogspot.com/

Veronica Funk was raised in Northern Manitoba, studied art & design in Alberta, apprenticed with potters, stone sculptors and painters and spent a year painting on a farm in Saskatchewan. She is inspired by the changing colours of the Rocky Mountains and prairies which surround her foothills home.  She has been painting professionally since 1999 and is currently continuing her education towards completion of her Bachelor of Fine Arts designation.  Despite forays into mixed media, altered books and pottery, she has always returned to the medium that got her career started: painting. Over the years she has been the subject of numerous newspaper articles and her work and writing have been published in a number of art books and magazines.  Her goal is to create a visual story.  She combines symbols, imagery and vibrant color through the use of opaque and transparent acrylic glazes, stamping, utilizing her hands as tools and drawing with her brush. Her images are an endeavor to capture the essence of Canada. http://www.veronicafunk.com/