water colour

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).

Course Correcting

 On Christmas Eve, my family and I flew home after a few years living abroad. We bought a house on line and were waiting to move into it. Many said it was a brave move, buying a house off the internet. I had heard that before, that it was brave to pack up your family and move to a new country with no real plans. For me it didn't feel brave, it felt like the only thing to do when that itch to break out of one life and try another, to jump- not jumping wasn't really an option. Buying a house on line wasn't brave either. What was brave was admitting that the move wasn't working, that the children were not happy. What was brave was releasing a dream (sometimes we hold them too tight and dreams are fragile things) and doing what needed to be done to bring harmony and make room for new dreams. What was brave was risking failing, and leaping anyway, and then doing it again. Course correcting.

Luminous Mandala word of the year journal page, Galia Alena
Luminous Mandala- word of the year page
We didn't go back, there is no going back, as the saying goes "you can not step into the same river twice". So we didn't go back- we made a conscious choice to go forward, to find a place where we could all flourish. Course correcting.

View from Couch Surfing
 So on Christmas Eve we flew out of the land of the Long White Cloud and returned to the land of OZ. We arrived, with no plans but in time to spend Christmas with family and friends. After a few days couch surfing with family and then at a friends place near the beach luck dropped a little boat shed to rent for a month and we spent a few weeks with the ocean lapping at our feet.

Travel journaling Galia Alena sketching boat shed
Scenes from the Boat Shed
 Literally an old boat shed which was down several flights of stairs into the rocks, the old boat shed had been converted into a studio flat right on the water, so much so that if you were a sleep walker you would be in dire trouble in the night. In the mornings I was woken by the wake of the passing ferries and would then dangle my feet down into the water at the end of the bed while nursing my morning coffee. We reacquainted ourselves with old stomping grounds, caught up with friends, enjoyed the warm weather and outdoor concerts while waiting until our new house would be available for us.

Travel journaling Galia Alena sketching boat shed

 When the month was up, it was time to move up the mountains so the children could start their new year, and a little furnished house serendipitously fell into our laps until we could finally move into our new house.

Picasso Inspired Journal Galia Alena
Picasso Inspired Journal
 So many elements of luck and trust were at work in our move home. I made the decision to bring my family home sitting in a sweat lodge at Esalen surrounded by my beautiful sisters all supporting one another in our truths. In the dark hot tent, to the singing voice of Pixie and others I knew what needed to be done. It took awhile from the initial knowing, to the later hearing and then the final breaking of the camel's back at which point having none of the details sorted or the means to do it, I threw myself at the mercy of the universe, opened myself to trusting and declaring the intention of going home and left so many of the details open. In so many ways I/we were supported by friends, family, chance, luck and serendipity and while all the details are still unfolding it has been a pleasure to watch the pieces fall magically into place. With gratitude I sit here and type from my new home where my children are again happy (I will share more on the new home in another post, although if you follow me on Instagram you would already have had some sneak peeks).

Fleeting Altered Book Galia Alena, mixed media journal
Fleeting Altered Book
Of course, while in between lands and homes, there was light sketching and playing in little journals, a different way of working for different circumstance, an extended travel kit and inspiration from Misty (fleeting altered book and Picasso homage journal) and Jeanne (pattern journal). I hugged my children, worked in my books, listened to the whispers of the muses and let things fall where they would.

Pattern journal, Galia Alena, art journal sketches
Pattern Journal
A word on course correcting, we should all always be doing it, looking at our lives and seeing what is working, what isn't and what is missing (what's still needed as my friend Maya says), risking mistakes to find our own way, making glorious and brave mistakes, and being brave enough to course correct, sometimes a few degrees, sometimes 180, always with quiet listening and fierce abandon for life.

With Gratitude

Journals, journals, journals

Galia Alena mixed media art journal

Galia Alena mixed media art journal

Galia Alena mixed media art journal
Here are some recent journal pages from my journal that sadly has only one page left in it. It won't be coming with me as I head off on my adventures in a day. As I finished the coffee pot page above, I felt a sadness not to have this journal with me even as I am excited to be switching gears to be working in a travel journal and so looking forward to seeing what goodness emerges there.
Travel journal, water colours, Galia Alena
 I've made my new travel journal, although the signatures are loose. Unlike when I made my Bali journal (which I knew was going to have a Batik cover, just wasn't sure how the stars were going to align to make that happen) this journal has absolutely no ideas about how its cover might develop. I guess I'll just have to watch and see.
The trickiest part of packing is working out which supplies to take. I'm taking my Polaroid camera as I can't imagine an American road trip without a Polaroid or two and thanks to the Impossible Project that is still possible. Still haven't decided which other camera to take, and as for art supplies, today I decided that despite the fact that I'll be buying supplies as I go I still had to chuck out a pair of shoes or two so as to get in some extra supplies.

First stop Sydney where I get to be a tourist in my home town, hug some girlfriends, and enjoy a gallery crawl.

Water Colour Notes from Bali


Galia Alena, water colour, Bali
Cafe Lotus View
Galia Alena, water colour, Bali
Arma Museum
Galia Alena, water colour, Bali
Temples & Mopeds

Bali is full of so much eye candy, no matter where your eyes settle their is inspiration, rich craftsmanship, luscious foliage, offerings to the many gods and goddesses and ripe fruits hanging heavy. The place is dense with detail and life bustling everywhere. There's a sense of being in a sacred temple everywhere in Bali, even outside, where the very sky itself seems to descend and complete this island temple with its rain bearing clouds.
You can find a photo of the temple in the first painting here.