daily creative practice

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: www.galiaalena.com
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

Homage to Picasso & Field Notes

Galia Alena mixed media artist Picasso homage
Time for a quick check in with what's been going on here in this luscious corner of the world. I was happily working at my  One Watercolor a Day which you can see here when, having the watercolours out, I got sidetracked by my homage to Klee mini journal (here). Before I knew it I was back playing in my Picasso homage mini journal, my watercolour a day abandoned as I explored Picasso further. It worked in rather well with the four weeks of solid rain we had overlapping the beginning of spring. 
Galia Alena mixed media artist Picasso homageSuch a rich and varied body of work to sink into and I was lucky to be given this fabulous book: Je Suis Le Cahier: The Sketchbooks of Picasso to explore his work.


Galia Alena mixed media artist Picasso homage

Galia Alena mixed media artist Picasso homage

I had planned to start my fieldnotes journal with the beginning of spring. Of course the beginning of spring was covered with clouds and sprinkled with constant rain for a few weeks and sitting in the garden sketching was impossible. However I delighted in quick and magical strolls between showers. Then when spring finally burst to life through the clouds it was heart breakingly beautiful, overwhelming and intense. For a least two weeks I walked around in a melancholic daze of amazement and wonder. 

Galia Alena mixed media artist field notes

Every time I walked into the garden it was like walking through a thick haze of hum and buzz as the bees busily demolished whatever blossoms they could find, as if they knew of the temporary and fleeting beauty that visited with sweet nectar, they devoured and made drunk on the delicate blooms. There is not a single time that I go into the garden and don't discover some new bloom I've never seen before to the sound track of birdsong. Each visit is miraculous and full of wonder.

Galia Alena mixed media artist field notes


Galia Alena mixed media artist field notesEventually I picked up a little watercolour book and started to make some sketch notes. Of course it's turned out to look nothing like I had imagined and planned but that's okay, it just is. More special is the wonder and the cracks that Spring creates in my heart for this place I now call home. So for now I am just soaking it in. On Saturday, chasing shiny butterflies, and collecting blossom, I fell on a sleeper that gave way and broke my wrist. Sketching has been halted as the fates conspire to have me slow down and just absorb. Perhaps next year, when the garden and I have gotten to know each other better, I will begin the Field Guide, nature study I had planned :)
Galia Alena mixed media artist field notes

In Print and life

Galia Alena Artful Blogging

I'm delighted to have a copy of Artful Blogging in my hands, in which there is an article featuring my work and words. We don't get the Stampington range here unless you order it and have it shipped so it is brilliant to hold one in my hands old skool style. I was also featured in the last issue of Memories but my artist's copy never made it across the oceans sadly- I am scrounging for a copy headed for the recycle bins since the issue sold out (if this is you it is the copy in the sidebar and I would be ever so grateful). It is a beautiful issue and I am honoured to be featured with all the other wonderful artists. It is strange holding it though, even though I wrote the words I didn't think anyone would be reading them. Sure I write words here too, but they disappear into the cyber world and who knows if anyone reads them. In print though, it feels so much more tangible.

Galia Alena water colouring in the gardenWhat else is going on over here: I've been trying to keep up the water colour a day challenge but a sick child (including a trip to ER) has thrown a curve ball at that as things tend to go with children- c'est la vie. All in the right time. I did get a few more in but while the water  colour palette has been out I decided to start working in my Klee homage book (a peek into my Matisse one here). Love his work.

Galia Alena- Klee inspired journal
Klee homage journal
We've also loved getting out and exploring some of the amazing bush walks in our local area- so many gorgeous ones and we've only just scratched the tip of what is on our doorstep.

Galia Alena Leura Falls
Leura Falls

A Watercolour a Day

I've been so busy marking other people's photos (work) that I barely get time to make it into the studio these days, especially with the cold days and the sun fading early. So to keep my hand at creative play I am following along with One Watercolor a Day: A 6-Week Course Exploring Creativity Using Watercolor, Pattern, and Design (One A Day). This keeps me doing a little creative painting everyday.
Day 1 through to 6
So how does it work?
  • Firstly- no rules (so if I miss a day or stop altogether the art police wont come and cart me away and better still, I wont guilt myself).
  • Quick and loose- no attachments, no trying to make "art"
  • Exploration of the medium
  • Keep it fun and playful- no mistakes possible
  • Follow the books prompts but with my own twist as it unfolds :)
Day 7 through to 12
How does that look for me- well since we have recently acquired a fabulous eggshell blue dining table made of old Balmain wharf sleepers (I love it can you tell) I don't feel so guilty taking over the kitchen table (despite the fact I also take over the dining table- which is right now covered in beautiful sea glass waiting to be strung up and hung in the windows to dance with the light). I sit on one side of the table, mark a few photos, then pop over to the over side and lay down some more colour. While that dries I flit back to the other side and mark a few more photos. The effect is that at the end I feel like I've painted rather than worked and, since my patience for allowing watercolours to dry between layers is short, the work helps that. Its a win win (unless you want to use a table in our house to say eat at ;) ).
View from here (that's my studio through the window that I wish I was in)
The book and its prompts will take me through until Spring (or close enough, I think Spring will be early this year) when I plan to start a Field Guide or Nature Study to explore my new backyard and all the delights which I keep discovering out my backdoor. The daily watercolours are like a warm up for the Field Guide (with the added bonus that I will fill my current Fabriano Venezia Art Book and have an excuse to buy a new one fresh for my Field Guide, I love these books). The Field Guide will also be a lovely little break in my working day, wandering slowly through my garden, soak up some sun, bathing in fresh air and really noticing. The Field Guide will also be both research and a warm up for a couple of other projects in the dream/create stage (more on that later).


If you want to play along, here is the book along with two other inspiring watercolour books I love (click on the images for a look inside).