creative process

Fractured Portraits- 21 Secrets

I'm teaching for 21 Secrets, Woo hoo
This session of 21 Secrets is designed around tools and techniques and when Connie asked me to contribute a lesson based around my photographic work it pushed me out of that comfort zone... to the magic.

Pointing the camera at myself is not easy, yet every now and then it is a demon I have to face, and with facing it  comes a new layer of healing as I strive to clear away old stories. This page did that for me. I believe that art journaling is one way of to find myself, Meeting Myself on the Page and this page of Fractured Portraits was not exception. There is magic in this process, and I really love the results, (which is  a side benefit and not the aim in my art journaling practice).



http://tinyurl.com/21secrets-galia
21 Secrets has 21 artists all offering up a wonderful lesson on art journaling technique as well as an opportunity to Meet Yourself on the Page. Come and see... I'm really excited about getting to be a student with the other 20 teachers!!


And there's an Early Bird Special when you use the code "springsecrets" (but only until the 19th).
http://tinyurl.com/21secrets-galia

I made it- 30 Faces in 30 Days Challenge

Galia Alena- 30 Faces in 30 Days Challenge

 I did it, I made it through the 30 Faces in 30 Days challenge. All finished, and many of them winging their way across the oceans to their new homes. I have a few people asking when I'm going to do this again, but for right now that is furthest from my mind. I love doing it, and I learnt a lot, but right now I am ready to dive back into my other paintings, the ones that take days, weeks, to actualise, the ones that are dreamy and not on a deadline ;) as well as other things like my 13 Moons Readings, and a few other things in the work (teaser here).

Galia Alena- 30 Faces in 30 Days Challenge
Day 28
There are still some available here

Galia Alena- 30 Faces in 30 Days Challenge
Days 24, 22, 29

I loved the freedom to try new things that doing it this way offered, like the day I did a dot like painting (day 12)- I had been wanting to play with that idea for awhile, and like days 11 & 17 where I wanted to try different colour palettes with the same idea. I also enjoyed playing with colour, texture, mediums and brush strokes. In this way it was quite liberating. On top of which I had to mix it up each day to keep myself interested, I didn't want to repeat the painting from the day before.
Galia Alena- 30 Faces in 30 Days Challenge
Day 25
 There's also a few I would have got precious with, either not pushing or going in the next day to rework and fix things. The one a day freed me of that attachment, paint and move on to the next the next day with only a limited amount of time for each, what with life going on as well. There's a release in perfectionism with that, and it helped with the dance of knowing when to stop and when to push further, the limitations dictated and took my head out of it.
Galia Alena- 30 Faces in 30 Days Challenge
Days 21, 27, 23

 If I do it again, I think I won't share as I go. Even though there was a certain amount of holding myself to the task that comes with making it public, there is also  a certain constraint to the pushing and experimenting as I knew that at the end I would have to share it. There will be a different freedom in not sharing that will also be fun to explore.

Galia Alena- 30 Faces in 30 Days Challenge
Day 26
It did serve its purpose (as did my sketch a day earlier) in keeping me painting (or sketching) while I was holding space for Camera Craft- I knew that  I would be able to disappear down the rabbit hole of a painting while Camera Craft was in session.
Galia Alena- 30 Faces in 30 Days Challenge
Lucky last- Day 30
That's all my sweets, now I am off to disappear down the rabbit hole of a few larger paintings that have been whispering and calling to me. Xx

30 Faces in 30 Days- Pt 2


Galia Alena- 30 Faces in 30 Days Challenge
Day 14
 Well apart from feeling pretty pleased that I've made it this far I'm not sure what else I want to say. I am learning things as I go, things that I do consistently that I need to be aware of. I'm also noticing how much I'm loving playing with colour as tonal value and I'm loving the freedom of trying different things and the surprise of just what shows up (for example, day 15 below was in response to Paris).
Galia Alena- 30 Faces in 30 Days Challenge
Day 13
 On top of that I am loving that these are resonating with people, either for themselves or as gifts for others for Christmas- many are winging their way across the seas.
Galia Alena- 30 Faces in 30 Days Challenge
Day 11 & 12
 The two above were painted from the same reference image- I love how many different directions you can go from the same reference and essentially the same palette. The image below is a similar painting to Day 7 only I wanted to play with a softer palette.
Galia Alena- 30 Faces in 30 Days Challenge
Day 17
Galia Alena- 30 Faces in 30 Days Challenge
Day 19
 Some are still available here in my shop
Galia Alena- 30 Faces in 30 Days Challenge
Days 16 15 & 18



I'm on the home stretch now, 10 faces to go. Curious to see whats next? Me too :)




Galia Alena- 30 Faces in 30 Days Challenge
Day 20

30 Faces in 30 Days- a new challenge

Galia Alena 30 Faces in 30 Days Challenge, mixed media portraits
Day 1 & 2
I'm here, again, knee deep in the middle of another daily challenge/practice. I didn't plan to be here so quickly, but there it is, the energy drew me in and I began. I'm a third of the way through, learning lots, making mistakes and growing from them and wondering how to sustain the energy that kick starts these challenges- a practice needs to be a marathon not a sprint in order to build the muscles needed to sustain a practice and the growth beyond the challenge- because none of it is about the challenge, its about stretching, pushing edges, and sustaining that growth into a real challenge.

Galia Alena 30 Faces in 30 Days Challenge, mixed media portraits
Day 3
So the Rules:
  • Rule 1- there are no rules ;), only guidelines, an opening, an opportunity, a container for mark making and growth
  • Guideline 2- Paint a face a day
  • Guideline 3- Try new things, different ways, different palettes, different brush strokes, different feels.
  • Guideline 4- Try the same painting again, this time pushing it further, past that point you stopped at last time out of fear of losing it.
  • Guideline 5- Stayed aware and observant but detached.
  • Guideline 6- Offer them up daily (facebook & and in my shop) as part of the detachment practice, all of them and at a reduced price- release them, let them go.
  • Guideline 7- be kind to yourself, some days will be harder to show up, and then, of course, there is life, allow for life.
That's it- want to play- #30facesin30days  -I'd love to see Xx

Galia Alena 30 Faces in 30 Days Challenge, mixed media portraits
Day 4

I'm loving playing with colour, under painting and accents and glows, using colours which don't usually make it onto my palette like the magenta below, so I want to play with that some more. It is the brush strokes that I really want to get more comfortable with- being more confident with their application and just leaving them, not blending,




Galia Alena 30 Faces in 30 Days Challenge, mixed media portraits
Day 5 & 7
They are all available here, in my shop, $45 each, perfect if one is calling you or if you are after a unique and original artwork for Chissy presents.

And a big shout out to inspiration from Flowrsinherhair, who is on the home stretch for a Face A Day for a Year challenge, I can't even begin to imagine, and Gillian, who is always inspiring but specifically did her own challenge a few months back and planted the seed for my own. Thank you ladies for shining brightly Xx

Galia Alena 30 Faces in 30 Days Challenge, mixed media portraits
Day 6
Let's see where the next ten take me- back in a week and a half :) Xx

Galia Alena 30 Faces in 30 Days Challenge, mixed media portraits
Day 8, 9 & 10

Sketch a Day, week 3 and I'm still here

Sketch a day, mixed media Galia Alena

There's a constant pushing through that comes with the practice of daily showing up to these sketches. It's not necessarily that they are getting better but there is this space and freedom created which means that new things are tried, techniques, marks, mediums are all expanded out. Maybe it just comes from the sheer boredom that would come from doing the same thing for 30 days, maybe its from the accomplishment of having created "X" already so why not move on.

There's also an intimacy with oneself and process that comes from the daily practice, an exploration of themes and marks in a way that seems random until the daily practice stacks them on top of one another.

Sketch a day, mixed media Galia Alena

The preciousness is also removed. If I'm only doing one sketch every blue moon then there is this desire for it to be "good". When I do one everyday, that pressure is removed and replace with curiousity and experimentation. In a way the intensity of the challenge like this, one a day for an extend period, brings gifts that the spread out regular practice can not. I am keen to see this challenge through and then start the next one I have planned for later in November.

Sketch a day, mixed media Galia Alena

Week 2- Sketch a Day Challenge

Sketch a day, Galia Alena, mixed media
Week 2 and I'm managing a drawing/sketch a day, although I am not keeping up with Gillian and all her wonderful exercises. As you can see we are mixing it up with a variety of mediums, subjects and methods, although it is the face that draws me in again and again. I'm loving that these are just sketches, exercises and explorations- in letting go, in mark making, in form and tone, in looking, including and leaving out and on and on. No pressure to make anything, just an opportunity to grow, to watch and see. Already I can feel the growth from the daily practice.

Sketch a day, Galia Alena, Drawn to Expression


One of the sketches found its way onto a page in my journal tarot, my favourite book to work in lately. How I  just love to while away the hours working and exploring in here:

Tarot Journal, Galia Alena, mixed media

And I thought I'd share a little out take from shooting for Camera Craft- Into the Light, the blossoms are just so pretty...
"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." - Marcel Proust
Cherry Blossom, Galia Alena, Camera Craft, e-course, online photography workshop

Knocking down the walls of the Labyrinth

Through the Thinning Veils, Galia Alena, mixed media painting
Through the Thinning Veil
I disappeared into the labyrinth of this painting. It is one I started ages ago, last year sometime. Perhaps it was about the second or third in this series. As often happens when I start more than one painting at a time, one pulls forward with stories to tell, paths to follow and I have naught else to do but to obediently follow. The result is that the others get abandoned, left to go stale. Quietly they taunt me from the corner of the studio. Several times I look at them in an attempt to find my way back in. Never to any avail.

WIP- Through the Thinning Veils, Galia Alena, mixed media painting

The thing is that I'm no longer the same person that started this painting so trying to find the thread of where I was originally heading is no longer possible, like trying to step into the same river twice. The person who started this one had a child in primary school, and hadn't been to Paris or London for decades. She also hadn't painted the other dozen or so in the same series, a series which took an unexpected turn of its own. I thought I'm never going to finish this and that's ok, if I don't finish it, don't resolve it, I could leave it a question.

WIP- Through the Thinning Veils, Galia Alena, mixed media painting

Contemplating this, I decide just to paint, to risk all, to cover bits I like in order to find others I liked better. To just watch and see. So the painting becomes a labyrinth, one which one must enter deeper, risking getting totally lost in the hopes of finding treasure and the way out. I also learned that sometimes the only way through a labyrinth is to knock down and rebuild the walls entirely.

And so I paint- layering and layering, burying and uncovering, risking and finding, detached and curious- just watching. Practicing the Practice.

Detail- Through the Thinning Veils, Galia Alena, mixed media painting

In other news, registration for Camera Craft is now open. If you would love to hone your Camera Craft skills and be inspired by some amazing photographers, pop over here for the details: www.galiaalena.com/cameracraft

Camera Craft- Online Photography Workshop, e-course, Galia Alena

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

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

Butterfly Song

Butterfly Song- Galia Alena painting, butterfly medicine and throat chakra
Butterfly Song
"When you do not speak, the thousand stars that lay upon your tongue slide back down your throat only to be swallowed one by one, jagged, pointed and weighing more than planets. When we swallow the truth, we turn our bodies into graveyards." Tama Kieves

Butterfly medicine is about transformation but also about joyfulness and here the lightness around speaking your truths and the transformation that those truths can herald. This painting speaks of the voice chakra and its connection to creativity when we find our sacred voice and the inner peace from allowing our sacred voice and creativity to merge.


This original painting is available in my Etsy :)

Making rainbows out of lemons- Journal as Metaphor

 The creative process is a process of surrender, not control. Julie Cameron

Galia Alena Spectrum mixed media journal page
It wasn't the journal page itself I was pushing against, it was myself, it was life. All  I could see was ugly, I wanted to screw the whole thing up, I wanted to toss it in the bin. I didn't have a clue what I was doing. I layered and layered, more and more layers of ugly, not the ugly teenage stage, just plain butt ugly and I didn't see any way to escape it. I hated it, it showed me up as a failure who had not a clue what she was doing. I had no control over it. Disheartened, I did my Scarlet O'hara and decided that tomorrow would be another day.

The next day I went back in determined to make things work, lemonade out of lemons. Usually I love the opportunities that mistakes give you, threads for the imagination to tug on until something gives. I tell my son that I set myself up for accidents, and his face struggles with the concept "oh, no, that's just not logical". Accidents are opportunities, ugly means I'm not attached, not attached means freedom, freedom to push against my edges, freedom to try something new, freedom to discover.

When I journal I don't need to make "pretty" pictures, I don't need to make "art", there's a sense of journey and discovery, and while pages are never really "finished" there is a sense of that is how it should be, completion, almost fulfillment. Equally there is also this sense of not done, more to discover, not authentic and other such indicators which let me know to keep going, that the messages aren't complete, that the work is not authentic, that I have to dig deeper.

I know that life is beyond my control, but on most days there is a general illusion that I have some control over my life, that I steer my own ship. On this day I didn't feel this, I felt all was beyond my control, out of control, out of my hands. Life was in the air, free falling and I just didn't know how to juggle any of it. I felt helpless and lost. This is what showed up on my page. I didn't know what I was doing.


And as in life, the next day I picked myself and kept going, pushing through and squeezing those lemons, showing up, pushing though, risking. Is the page pretty, no, is it art, no, but what it is is LIFE, my life and I squeezed those lemons and got myself a rainbow.

“The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.” ― Mary Oliver

To learn more about Spectrum, which inspired this page, or to join on this journaling journey with some truly amazing guidess pop over here: SPECTRUM