Inspired Art and Living with Fiona Stolze

Time for Change – Heralding in the New

When the New Moon arrives, it’s the perfect time for heralding in the new. Time for releasing the old with gratitude and welcoming new projects. Definitely a time for taking a step in the direction you want to move in.

And that is exactly what has been happening today, with the new moon. I stood and watched the sun setting from the lounge window. It was a flaming, vibrant orb, almost like wet dye on one of my silks. Unbelievably beautiful. Quite spectacular. And as it slipped below the outline of rooftops on the horizon, the sky darkened and remained completely dark. The dark of the moon.

Such an exciting time, pregnant with potential. And I knew that today was the moment to make changes.

I had a few changes lined up and had been eying them with intrepidation as they represented a large step towards realising goals of mine which were due for fulfilment. So what did I undertake?

The first thing I did was to bring my 30 day video challenge to completion. I had taken on a commitment to produce and upload a video every day to document what was going on for me in my life and to share my insights with the viewers. I decided to publish these on my current Facebook page which was dedicated to my artwork. But having no other platform to share them on, I decided that this was the best option I had.

I was delighted with the reception they got as they were being exposed to people who had actually signed up to share my artwork with me. Daily support and feedback came flooding back to me in many forms and I was very touched by the general response, confirming that doing video was indeed something I should continue to do.

So when I reached the last day today, I had very mixed feelings. I had gathered momentum and come to love the daily ritual of putting myself out there, irrespective of what response I got. And I had been told that my videos would be missed… I knew that they couldn’t stay on the art page as they were out of alignment with the general themes. I had to take a decision and open a new page.

This page would bring focus to my work as a spiritual teacher and coach and allow me to explore all sorts of topics relating to self help, spirituality and personal power. It would allow this aspect of my work to come to the fore and no longer be overshadowed by my artwork. Now art and spiritual power would stand side by side as partners.

Tonight I launched the new page and it felt quite exhilirating to do so.

And the change continues as I put the finishing touches to the new blog, meaning I will be stepping away from wordpress.com and expanding my horizons.

With every new change I feel the rush of excitement, knowing that anything I am leaving behind is making space for the new. It feels as if this is the new path I am on – one of taking the steps I know intuitively will lead me to where I want to be.

March 4, 2011 Posted by | INSPIRATIONS | , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Hurrah! We’re Going to be Moving over to a New Blog Any Day Now!

I’ve been working on creating a new blog on WordPress.org and the great news is that I will be making the changeover any day now. It should happen quite smoothly and for the first while I will continue to have this one in place so that you can be forwarded to the new one.

When it happens I will make the announcement and encourage all of you lovely people who have subscribed to my blog to come over to the new one and resubscribe so that you continue to be kept up to date.

The new site will give me quite a bit more flexibility so I am doing this for professional reasons.

I so hope you’ll make the move with me and look forward to seeing you over there very soon.

Thanks for reading.

March 3, 2011 Posted by | ANNOUNCEMENTS | , , , , | Leave a comment

What do You do While You’re Waiting?

We’re in a bit of a strange position in our present house. You see it doesn’t belong to us, we only have a rental contract and the landlord is wanting to sell, which means that there are regular viewings by potential buyers.

Now this means that we’re in a bit of a no-man’s land as we have no idea how long it will take for a sale to happen and we are keeping an eye out for a new home. Some of you will remember the article I posted a few months back regarding me putting my foot down during one rather intrusive viewing and since then there hasn’t been any real momentum – Bringing thoughts, words and actions into alignment.

But now I’m beginning to feel very strongly how detached we have become from this house. Since we don’t know how much longer we’ll be here, there is no incentive at all to do anything in or to the house, particularly since it doesn’t belong to us. And if I’m really honest, it’s beginning to affect me quite a bit, since I do like to put my roots down and feel at home where I am. A lovely interior decorator friend of mine, Jen Duchene the Makeover Mixtress, has been asking all sorts of stimulating questions about what we all do to make our homes beautiful places to live in, and this stirs up such a yearning in me to have a place I can really call my own again.

This means we are in a permanent state of waiting.  And waiting in itself isn’t terribly productive. So what could we do instead? Well, I like to talk about taking the waiting out of waiting. This means coming back into the present moment and accepting what is. Finding gratitude for our present situation and making the most of it.

I’m a Cancerian which means that I love to have a cosy, secure haven to retreat to and right now I don’t have that, particularly since there is also a huge noisy building site right across the road from us which makes it a bit hard for me to switch off and find time for solitude. So instead of allowing my thoughts to constantly wander away into some fictional future where we find an ideal home to move to, it would be much more beneficial for me to bring my awareness back to where I am right now.

This is our home. It gives us a roof over our heads. It keeps us warm and dry. And for that I am very thankful. There are also benefits to the noise from the builders opposite. It means that we get up and get busy doing other things in other parts of the house. Since our front room and bedroom are on full display, it means that we make that extra effort to keep them neat and tidy. And the noisiness also means that our minds are much more open to lots of other possibilities of places to move to, whereas before we had fixed ideas of where a new house might be.

For years I have dreamt of living in a beautifully warm and relaxing place and the intrusive noise has now helped to bring my focus back a bit to the vision I have held. Who knows, it may even be instrumental in helping me to take that leap of faith when an opportunity arises.

So what concrete steps can I take to reduce the waiting? Putting nice fresh flowers in vases on the table, clearing out clutter (which we wouldn’t want to pack up and take with us anyway), drawing lovely mindmaps to free up my creativity and just taking each day as it comes.

And who knows when our ideal house will manifest? I will certainly keep you posted.

How do you manage to take the waiting out of waiting? Are there any particular things that you do to keep you in a productive frame of mind while waiting for changes to take place? I’d love to hear your comments.

March 2, 2011 Posted by | INSPIRATIONS | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What do You do While You're Waiting?

We’re in a bit of a strange position in our present house. You see it doesn’t belong to us, we only have a rental contract and the landlord is wanting to sell, which means that there are regular viewings by potential buyers.

Now this means that we’re in a bit of a no-man’s land as we have no idea how long it will take for a sale to happen and we are keeping an eye out for a new home. Some of you will remember the article I posted a few months back regarding me putting my foot down during one rather intrusive viewing and since then there hasn’t been any real momentum – Bringing thoughts, words and actions into alignment.

But now I’m beginning to feel very strongly how detached we have become from this house. Since we don’t know how much longer we’ll be here, there is no incentive at all to do anything in or to the house, particularly since it doesn’t belong to us. And if I’m really honest, it’s beginning to affect me quite a bit, since I do like to put my roots down and feel at home where I am. A lovely interior decorator friend of mine, Jen Duchene the Makeover Mixtress, has been asking all sorts of stimulating questions about what we all do to make our homes beautiful places to live in, and this stirs up such a yearning in me to have a place I can really call my own again.

This means we are in a permanent state of waiting.  And waiting in itself isn’t terribly productive. So what could we do instead? Well, I like to talk about taking the waiting out of waiting. This means coming back into the present moment and accepting what is. Finding gratitude for our present situation and making the most of it.

I’m a Cancerian which means that I love to have a cosy, secure haven to retreat to and right now I don’t have that, particularly since there is also a huge noisy building site right across the road from us which makes it a bit hard for me to switch off and find time for solitude. So instead of allowing my thoughts to constantly wander away into some fictional future where we find an ideal home to move to, it would be much more beneficial for me to bring my awareness back to where I am right now.

This is our home. It gives us a roof over our heads. It keeps us warm and dry. And for that I am very thankful. There are also benefits to the noise from the builders opposite. It means that we get up and get busy doing other things in other parts of the house. Since our front room and bedroom are on full display, it means that we make that extra effort to keep them neat and tidy. And the noisiness also means that our minds are much more open to lots of other possibilities of places to move to, whereas before we had fixed ideas of where a new house might be.

For years I have dreamt of living in a beautifully warm and relaxing place and the intrusive noise has now helped to bring my focus back a bit to the vision I have held. Who knows, it may even be instrumental in helping me to take that leap of faith when an opportunity arises.

So what concrete steps can I take to reduce the waiting? Putting nice fresh flowers in vases on the table, clearing out clutter (which we wouldn’t want to pack up and take with us anyway), drawing lovely mindmaps to free up my creativity and just taking each day as it comes.

And who knows when our ideal house will manifest? I will certainly keep you posted.

How do you manage to take the waiting out of waiting? Are there any particular things that you do to keep you in a productive frame of mind while waiting for changes to take place? I’d love to hear your comments.

March 2, 2011 Posted by | INSPIRATIONS | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Colour Therapy: wearing green clothing (Part 2)

I wrote a little while back about the significance of wearing green clothing and promised to get back with some further thoughts on the subject.

Colour is such a fascinating subject isn’t it and I’m sure I could write a list as long as my arm of all the keywords linked with green but what I really wanted to do was give a bit more insight into how wearing this colour can affect your energy levels and what subtle effects it can have on those around you.

Green shades with fuchsia, pink, yellow, salmon and co.

Many years ago when I trained as a colour therapist we learned how to channel the different colour vibrations through hands on healing and spring green was one of the central colours we worked with. Chlorophyl is truly the juice of life and represents a potent energiser and balancer of all dis-ease. And although the other colours are categorized as either magnetic (the warming reds, oranges and yellows) or electric (all the blues and purples), green is neutral and can be used to bring things back to centre.

For this reason, many people report feeling very safe and comfortable in green as it is in a way the protector. It is a good choice for people who are recovering from illness or who have been feeling down and need a bit of a helping hand.

Some of you reading this will know a bit about the Eastern chakra system, the 7 main energy centres in our bodies. It is interesting to note that green is associated with the heart chakra, the central one and the key to higher realms as it is linked with compassion and unconditional love. But did you know that the colour pink is also linked with the heart chakra? Soft greens and pinks have similar vibrations and so you can either combine them or interchange them when choosing clothing. These shades are perfect for people who are seriously ill, maybe even terminally, as they have a very soft, soothing, heart-opening energy. For the same reason you can dress your younger children in these shades as they help them to feel safe and protected.

Generally a person wearing green clothing is likely to instill trust and confidence in the people he or she is dealing with as it is non-threatening and induces a feeling of calm.

I’ve found through my silk painting that all sorts of green shades do indeed harmonise with all sorts of other shades. There don’t seem to be any hard and fast rules.  I personally love touches of pink and fuchsia intermingled with soft greens. I know from feedback from many of you that you also like to experiment and have favourite green/other colour combinations ranging from peaches, pinks, salmon, blues, purples and many more. Your own colouring and personality will determine what you can carry off and what you need to avoid.

And there’s one last thing I wanted to share with you on this topic. Various shades of green are  linked with wealth and affluence. So if you tend to wear a lot of green, it could be a sign that you feel comfortable handling and managing your money or indeed are a good manifester of wealth. Maybe this is something to think about next time you want to go and ask your bank manager for a loan. Instil a bit of confidence in him by wearing a smart green blouse or shirt. Definitely worth a try.

I was wondering if you had had any experiences of using green in any particular way and had noticed clear results. I’d love to hear about it so do leave your comments in the box below.

February 28, 2011 Posted by | COLOURS | , , , , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

Giving up the Struggle and Connecting with Source

I’ve been inspired to write this post by my experiences of having the flu for the past two weeks. It was the first time ever and I must admit, I got quite a shock at the severity of it because I always thought it was just a bad cold. Not so.

I think the most difficult part to deal with was the coming and going of the flu symptoms and each time I thought things were beginning to improve, the next day I was flat on my back again. The whole thing was just so unpredictable and it was a big lesson in letting go and just going with what is.

Looking back on it I was really grateful for the oppportunity to spend so much time in bed and allow my thoughts to slow down and partially stop.  Because that’s a really big one for a lot of us, isn’t it? Slowing down all the chatter that’s going on in there 24/7 and finding that still space that’s underneath it all.

We’re all so busy working out thousands of things in our heads, reliving past experiences and worrying about future events that may well not happen,  that we lose sight of our real presence in the now. It’s when we slow down and make that connection in the present moment that we tune into something so much greater than ourselves. Call it what you will, your Higher Self, God, the Source of all creation. It doesn’t matter what name you give it. The important thing is that you breathe out and feel that connection. A beautiful feeling of peace and stillness.

The more time you can spend in this space during the day, the more likely you are to create space in both your mind and your life. Space for new ideas, new things, new people. And you can be sure that these inspirations you receive are coming from an inspired place.

A great starting place is to simply find somewhere quiet where you can sit or lie undisturbed. Gently cup your hands in your lap or if you are lying, fold your hands over your heart. Close your eyes and bring your awareness to your breath. Feel your breath entering and leaving your body. Allow this all to happen without trying to change it in any way. Simply be in acceptance. And enjoy the relaxation that builds with every breath.

This anchors you in the present moment. And in this state you give up all struggle and let go of distractions and worries.

This is your natural state of being. And it is an extremely powerful place to be in because nothing of your outside world can touch you in any way.

So the next time you find yourself struggling with what is happening, take a moment to bring your awareness back to the present moment. Make that inner connection and release the distractions that are creating the illusion of difficulty and struggle.

When you do this simple practice regularly, you will be amazed at how your connection with Source grows. It will enable you to slowly gain control over the runaway nature of your mind and help put you back in control. And remember that any illnesses are a golden opportunity to do this. Embrace the time you can be still and enjoy the benefits it brings you.

Have you had any illnesses where you were able to tune in and gain clarity on what was going on in your life? How do you experience the time-outs in your life? I’d love you to share your stories here.

 

February 25, 2011 Posted by | INSPIRATIONS | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Take Action and Make it Happen

Everything begins life as a thought. All those amazing ideas we give birth to that float around in the ether are just waiting there, in seed form, not knowing whether or not we’re going to take them all the way. And indeed, many of them will remain there. In fact, the vast majority of them do.

A single snowdrop

How many times have you been completely relaxed in a total right-brain, creative space and suddenly you’ve had the most amazing idea? One that gets you so excited, you just can’t wait to share it with someone else or at least write it down on paper so that you don’t forget it. Everything else gets forgotten and this one idea just seems to consume you, pushing everything else to one side.

And then you get on with life, you sleep on it and in the morning, you get on with all the other pressing things that are in your life and need to be seen to first. What appeared to be so world-shattering the day before is now sitting there with a completely mundane air about it. So what happened?

Well first of all, let’s just get really clear on one thing. You are not alone. This happens to the majority of us.

A lack of follow-through on even the most world-shattering idea means that it’s not worth the paper it’s written on. Ideas alone are simply fairy-tale castles, without substance.

It’s when you take action and make it happen that the magic begins.

So what do I mean by taking action?

This is not about putting a huge plan into place and working through it in a fixed space of time. It’s much simpler and much more powerful than that. It’s about making a firm commitment to taking the very first step.  And this needn’t be huge. The importance in taking the first step, no matter how small, is that you are signalling to the universe that you truly want this to happen and that you are willing to do what it takes.

So how does this look in practical terms? Break it down into bite-sized chunks and do the smallest possible piece that you are willing

The Dream Grows

to and capable of doing right away. If you’ve had a fabulous idea for a book, then write this down on a piece of paper and commit to spending 5 mins minimum that very day on expanding the idea further.

Some of you may smile at this as it may seem over simple. However, if you can break things down into steps that are very doable for you, then there is absolutely no chance that you will sabotage yourself. If I don’t want to do the ironing, but say I am committed to doing a minimum of 5 mins, I laugh with delight when I manage half an hour and pat myself on the back.

Set your 5 mins, achieve this and much more if you want. If not, that’s okay too. Then reward yourself for doing it. For doing it straight away and getting the momentum going. Because that’s what’s going to breathe life into your dream. And that is true inspiration.

Don’t let another day slip away without doing anything, because that’s when the life force drains out of your dreams. And then, even the best idea in the world, slips away and is worth nothing.

What first, tiny step could you take today to get the momentum going on a great new idea you’ve had? Please share your ideas here. I’d love to hear what you are planning.

February 21, 2011 Posted by | INSPIRATIONS | , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Competitors? What Competitors? It’s All a Question of Resonance.

I was inspired to write this blog post by the silk painting community that I interact actively with online. It was founded by the lovely Francine Dufour Jones and is a wonderful place for silk painters to connect, share and ask questions. And it has struck me how so many people have been worried about how to market themselves in the face of so much competition.

Well, it’s my honest opinion that we are all so totally unique as artists and that we are not in competition with each other. Your state of being will determine what energy you radiate as you interact with others and the best way to see what that is, is to look at the people and situations that are prevalent in your life right now.

If you are letting your shoulders hang and using negative self-talk then that is what you are sending out and that is exactly what you are receiving back from the universe.

It’s always a question of resonance. There’s always a marriage of energies.

And this is very significant for artists. Because the clients that get attracted to you want to buy your artwork as it represents the energy you express. They have a piece of you in their home, whether or not they are consciously aware of it.

There are some who might argue that you do some competitor research, which of course you can do. When I did a business course a few years back when I lived in Malahide, County Dublin, part of the requirements were that we submitted a completed business plan. And of course, this involved doing competitor research.  So I set off joyfully researching potential products that were similar to my silk mandala cushions. The bottom line of it was that I didn’t find anything remotely like mine, most companies were just mass-producing in China and the prices were throwaways.

It left me seeing that artwork is simply in a class of its own and you can’t really put a price on it. The value of a piece is something that is decided between the artist and the buyer and cannot be nailed down to specifics. What it means is that if a client or artcollector decided they loved your artwork, the energy it emitted and the energy you emitted as an artist (which are normally the same) and  knew without a doubt that it would hang beautifully in their home, the price is not of the essence.

So start looking at your artwork with fresh eyes. See it as an extension of you. Learn to value it and cherish it. See it through the eyes of potential customers and treat it as though it were highly valuable. Because you certainly are. Your artwork reflects this. And when you do that your artwork will start to send out new messages.

Whether or not you are an artist, I’d love to hear from you about your personal experiences. Have you found this to be true for yourself? Please leave any comments below. Thanks.

February 13, 2011 Posted by | INSPIRATIONS | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 51 Comments

How to Enrich Your Life with Mindfulness Meditation

I love to maintain many spiritual practices in my everyday life as I can tangibly feel the benefits they bring me and thoroughly enjoy the process of doing them too. I’m convinced that my daily meditations are a real anchor for me in that they slow my mind and my pulse down, pulling a brake on the racing that is happening within me so that I can make real sense of everything that is happening.

But I also know how taking the time to sit down and be in the stillness and tune in completely to my inner wisdom, my Higher Self, I can access something so much greater than when I am rushing around  trying to do everything in my head.

I wanted to share this with you as I really believe that cultivating this practice can make a massive difference in your life too,

Mindfulness Meditation

enriching it with more focus and well-being. Research has pointed towards meditators enjoying improved health and enhanced creativity as well as it slowing down the aging process of the brain as it appears to thicken the grey matter of the brain.

It’s such a bonus in my life that I just wouldn’t want to be without it any more.

And for those of you reading this who have never meditated before, let me just share with you that you can begin with something as simple as mindfulness meditation. This involves you bringing your awareness to one particular thing. It could be a physical object in the room or simply your breath. Your mind naturally wanders at will, busying itself with all sorts of random distractions which take you away from being centred. So what you do is bring your awareness to say, your breath, whenever you remember to. Be there totally. Simply observe your breath entering and leaving your body. Make no attempt to change it in any way. Simply allow .

Your mind will just start to wander again but you will lovingly bring it back whenever you can, without any blame or judgment, just gently redirecting your focus to your breath. And just be with your breath, feeling whatever is happening for you.

This practise, when used regularly, will help you to feel more centred. Your brain function becomes slower so that the beta waves are replaced with alpha waves, inducing a feeling of deep relaxation within you. And this is what stimulates natural healing within your body, regenerating you and reducing stress and anxiety. It also completely brings you back to the present moment.

When you start to take control of the state of your mind and health in this way, it can have far-reaching consequences for your life in general, creating deeper and more meaningful experiences for you.

I’d love it if you were to try this for yourself if you haven’t already. Have you tried meditation techniques like this before and what difference have they made in your life?

February 10, 2011 Posted by | SPIRITUAL PRACTICES | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Featured Facebook Fan on Friday with LouLovesLearning

What a lovely surprise. At the end of last week my very lovely friend Louise Edington contacted me and told me that I was her Facebook Fan of the Week and that she would like to do an interview feature with me.

Louise Edington of LouLovesLearning

Well, I couldn’t say no, could I? In fact, I was totally delighted. I took a bit of time out to sit down and pen my responses to her questions and send them back over to her. It’s always an interesting process to create a story about yourself for others to read, for the most part total strangers. But it’s lovely because it leads to all sorts of unexpected connections.

You can have a read at the interview on LouLovesLearning right here. And when you’ve finished reading it, you might like to browse a bit on her website as she does interviews like this every week with all sorts of fascinating people. But you’ll also  find all sorts of other inspirational articles and vlogs documenting Louise’s journey of exploration.

Louise is currently the blogging coach on the SNCC with Ann Evanston (Warrior-Preneur) and is the lovely woman who guides you through the sections on getting to grips with the ins and outs of creating blog posts that are going to really grab your audience. She also works as a childcare coordinator for the International Aupair Finder.

But Louise is truly in her element blogging about life’s challenges and all the amazing things she is learning on the way. She has come on quite a journey, working her way into the world of social media and finding her niche online. I also happen to know she is an avid reader and has piles of books at her bedside just waiting to be delved into. A very like-minded soul!

So I hope you will go over and make friends with Louise and find out more about what she does. I think you’ll have fun.

As always I’d love to have feedback from you. Please leave any comments you have here or why not leave a comment on Louise’s page. I know she’d be happy to hear from you.

February 7, 2011 Posted by | INSPIRATIONS | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blue and Green Should Never be Seen…or was it Red and Green?

I had actually been planning to write a second part to my post on wearing green clothing, however things have taken a different turn and although I’m still on the topic of green, I have decided to explore a slightly different question than what clothing you wear.

Red and green or blue and green

Most of us grew up learning all those delightful little ditties that we sang or chanted while playing or doing our homework. And there were always a few inbetween that sounded a little odd but then our grandmother or one of our teachers had taught us them and so we took them on board without questioning them.

The one that sticks in my mind is ‘Red and green should never be seen except upon an Irish Queen‘. I remember my grandmother saying that one again and again. Now up until recently I was perfectly happy using it even though I knew that it didn’t hold any water. I loved seeing vibrant red roses with contrasting green leaves in the garden. They went perfectly together, didn’t they?

But wait…”That’s wrong!” I hear you say. “It should be ‘Blue and green should never be seen except with something inbetween’.”

Now that’s very odd. I began to ask around and found opinions hugely divided on what the correct version should be. So I started digging to see if I could shed any light on the origin of the phrase. And that’s when it got really colourful.

One comment from an ex-marine stated that it referred to ships in the  night. If you see a red light on your ship and red on the other, the ships are travelling in opposite directions. If one is green and the other is red,  both ships are travelling in the same direction and if at an angle to each other, possibly in danger of colliding. Even worse is if you can see both red and green on the oncoming ship. Then you are headed for collision.

But here’s a fascinating suggestion. There was a film  in 1957 with Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn called “Funny Face” and a female fashion editor was supposed to have said ‘Red and green should never be seen except with something inbetween’. Was that the US fashion rule in those days? The funny bit for me is that this film is in a boxed set of Audrey Hepburn films I gave my husband for Christmas and I haven’t seen it yet. Time to watch it.

And yet that doesn’t really make sense when you look at how all shades of green go fabulous with blue jeans.

Personally I think  both versions of this saying are  nonsense because I believe that any colour can harmonise with any other one depending on how you use them.  And nature doesn’t seem to have heard of this rule at all.

Here’s a parting shot though. The Irish word for girl is cailin (with an fadda accent over the last i and it’s pronounced colleen). Is this then a slip of the tongue that makes colleen sound like Queen? This topic is turning out to be far more extensive than I originally thought and is giving me lots of new inspirations for further blogs.

But anyway, I wanted to throw this question out to you and see if you know any more about this. Which version were you taught and do you have any idea where the phrase came from? And do you flout the rule or do you find yourself avoiding green combinations as a result? Thanks for taking the time to share.

February 6, 2011 Posted by | COLOURS | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

My 30 Day Video Challenge: a great way to build self confidence

Some of you will know that I am currently working my way through a challenging social media bootcamp with Ann Evanston learning skills that are already bringing many benefits to my business online as well as lots of other things which I will be telling you all about very soon. It’s fun and hard work at the same time.

Now I’ve just been doing the video section and saw that my lovely new online friend Sharon Hiebing had done a 30 day video challenge and had been looking at getting over all sorts of issues in the process. That really inspired me and so I decided to have a go myself as it would be great to break down my personal barriers and dissolve my limiting beliefs surrounding this. I see this challenge as a great tool for self empowerment as it can really help you to get out there and be authentic.

Well, as luck would have it, yesterday was the New Moon, the perfect time for starting up new ventures, so I decided to literally grab the bull by the horns and get started. I’m a triple Cancerian born on the New Moon so really love to tap into this energy.

I won’t be editing these videos. They’ll just go up as they come. And I will have the opportunity to look less than fabulous, feel tired, have a messy room and just get over it all. When I filmed this first part I already had to ‘get over’ myself because I had wanted to do it outside in the sun but by the time I was ready, it had become cloudy with a vengeance and a strong wind was blowing. So inside it had to be. I’m looking forward to experiencing being in the flow and going with what is and generally just enjoying being in front of the camera as a new way of communicating with you all.

I won’t be publishing all of these on my blog as there will be 30 0f them, but you will be able to see them all on my YouTube channel, so I’d love you to come on over and subscribe so you can keep up with what I’m doing and have a dialogue with me.

Thanks for joining me on my journey as I take the challenge. I look forward to hearing from you. And if you decide to build your self confidence in front of the camera, I’d love you to share here too.

February 4, 2011 Posted by | INSPIRATIONS | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Colour therapy: wearing green clothing (Part One)

If you’ve been reading my posts in the last few weeks, you’ll know I’ve been discussing the impact we make on others when we choose to wear certain colours. So far we’ve been looking at the warm magnetic colours and seen how wearing red clothes puts you in the driver’s seat, wearing orange enhances the feel-good factor and wearing yellow clothes puts you in the limelight, attracting lots of attention to you.

Me in my new green jacket

Today we’re putting the spotlight on green. Now green is in the middle of the visible colour spectrum and is neither magnetic nor electric (cooling colours). It has a very neutral effect and is definitely the choice you want to make to bring balance into your life.It might interest you to know that our eyes can only perceive of a very tiny portion of the electro-magnetic spectrum and these waves are what we know as colour.

Let’s have a look then at what the colour green signifies to people you interact with. Most importantly people are likely to feel safe around you and at the same time the colour  helps you feel more protected and at ease with others. This colour takes the bite out of other more dominant colours in play, restoring a calmness and a restorative element.

Wearing green clothing you are likely to be more successful in negotiating and mediating and children respond favourably to adults wearing this colour. If you were wearing lots of cold blue tones, you could add a green accessory to take away that coolness and others might find you more approachable.

It’s also a colour that is linked with the heart, as is pink, oddly enough. I’m going to be taking a look at chakra colours at some later point but for now suffice to say that wearing natural spring green shades can have a very healing effect on you.

The other correlation that is fascinating is green being symbolic of wealth. Taking that a step further, we can talk of green symbolising our self-worth, the extent to which we love and accept ourselves. So all in all this is a very interesting colour to reflect on.

Now interestingly, I never usually wear green clothes a lot. Again, because I believe I don’t look very good in it. My complexion comes alive when I wear bright, vibrant colours. However….just recently I was at the January sales and picked up a dark green jacket. Or rather, my son asked me to try it on. It fitted and looked good, so I just had to bring it home. And I’m sure you’ll agree that it doesn’t look that shabby on me either.

I believe very strongly that the colours you need at any particular point migrate towards you, so right now, green is definitely doing it’s work, helping me find balance and breaking down my limiting beliefs around money. Watch out for the next post on green, where I’ll have a look at some of these points in more detail and discuss some of the different shades.

In the meantime I’d love to hear how you feel about wearing green clothes. Is it a colour you are naturally drawn to, or does it not any place in your wardrobe?

January 28, 2011 Posted by | COLOURS | , , , , , | 24 Comments

Buying Silk Painting Supplies at Low Cost

I recently posted an article about how to do silk painting on a shoe-string budget and not long after that a friend asked for some help on how cheap this whole thing can be.

Well, I had a look into this and came to the conclusion that you really can do it for very little money if you are prepared to just start with the absolute basics and not invest in lots of fancy equipment. Why spend a lot if you don’t really know if silk painting is going to be up your street. Wait until you are hooked (which will happen very quickly) and then think about spending on some of the more specialist products.

Okay, back to the silk painting supplies.

When you are starting out, I would recommend you buy the silk paints, not the dyes. The paints are fixed into the silk using your household iron whereas for the dyes you’ll need a steamer of some sort and it can be a bit trickier. There is one exception and that’s silkpainting with the microwave which I wrote about a few weeks ago.

Get yourself 3 small jars in red, blue and yellow so that you can mix whatever shades you need. If you’re in the USA the store to contact is Dharma Trading. And if you’re in Europe, try out Rainbow Silks. These will cost around $3.99 or £3.95 per jar.

The next item is a square blank silk scarf which you can tear up into 4 smaller pieces. If you buy a 90cm x 90cm one made of habotai or pongee 5mm, you might pay around $5.19 or £6.00, so each piece costs a quarter of that. This is the thinnest quality shops sell, but it’s perfect to get started with.You can get these at the stores I mentioned above.

Next you’ll need some pins or tacks which you’re bound to have lying around the house. And finally, instead of a frame, you can stretch the silk over the top of a cardboard box. There is a delightful little video by Yanghaiying which shows this silk painting technique.

Use any watercolour brushes you may have in the house and if you need to buy some, you can pick up a couple at very low cost from any hobby or craft store.  Old mugs or empty jam jars are perfect as mixing pots or water jars.

And finally you might want a tube of water-based resist to draw some lines with, but it’s not essential. This will cost around $2.89 or £3.75.

So adding all of that up we come to a figure of around $12.00 or £22.00. That’s enough for four  45cm x 45cm pictures, which makes each one cost $3 or £5.50. Oddly enough the US prices are much lower than the UK ones,

I hope this price list helps. It is just an approximation so you’ll need to check things out for yourself. And if you have, how did your calculations go? I’d love to hear if you managed to kit yourself out for this or less.

Oh, and don’t forget to let me now if you got hooked after the first go.

January 22, 2011 Posted by | INSPIRATIONS | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

New Mandala Silk Painting Workshop Date in February 2011

There’s good news for those of you who’d like to try out silk painting  in the cosy atmosphere of a small workshop. I’d love it if you could come along and join in. And here are the details:

Day: Saturday, 12th February

Time: 10am – 4pm

Where: private address in Bristol. Details on registration

Cost: £50.00

Here’s a link to the FB event page where you can find a bit more info about what we’ll be doing:

Silk & Art Silk Painting  Event

I have posted some more detailed information about these Mandala Silk Painting Workshops here on this site, so be sure to check it out.

January 21, 2011 Posted by | MANDALA ART | , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to do Silk Painting on a Shoestring Budget

How many of you sigh when you hear the words “silk painting” and think that it’s something that you’re going to have to dig deep into your pocket for? Well, in a way you could be right but actually you might be quite relieved to hear that it’s possible to create some fabulous work without having to break the bank. This article is going to talk you through how to do silk painting on a shoe string budget.

And this is what you need to do:

Buy yourself a piece of silk yardage  that you can paint on. One quite good way to do this is to buy a large blank square scarf and divide it into four so that you can make 4 smaller pictures. You might be lucky enough to have a bridal outfitter’s near you that you can visit and barter with for lovely silk off-cuts.

You’re going to need some sort of frame to stretch the silk on. Special frames for silk painting can be costly, so what I would suggest is to go to your local DIY shop and buy 4 lengths of wood which you can nail together to form a square or rectangular in the desired size.  You don’t need to invest in those 3-pronged pins at the start. Drawing pins would make a great substitute. For more info have a look at a video I made on how to stretch silk on a wooden frame.

Pin your silk all the way around the frame, making sure that your fabric is quite taut as it will tend to sag as it gets wet during painting.

As a beginner opt for the small bottles of silk paint which you can heat fix with your iron afterwards. Any watercolour brushes are perfect for applying this so have a good dig through your art materials and see what’s already there.

Now depending on what you’d like to paint, you might want to buy a small bottle of gutta which creates the lines that give structure to a silk painting. When you’ve drawn the lines you want onto the plain silk, let them dry and then you can get out the paints and silks and have a ball. If you choose to just use the paints on their own, it’s important to know that they flow freely on the silk. A great effect for this is the salt technique. Sprinkle large grain salt onto the very wet paint and just watch the wonderful effects manifest before your eyes as the pigments get drawn out.

And for those of you who love to mess and splash, how about laying out some plastic sheeting, wetting the silk and then scrunching it all up before sprinkling different paints on it. When it’s dry, just iron on the reverse to fix the paints. The great thing is that you save on a frame. It’s really important to remember to buy the paints for now as you can fix them easily with your iron.

So please don’t think you have to go spending huge amounts of money to be able to indulge in silk painting. You don’t. But remember that after the first attempt you are most likely to get hooked…..so beware.

I’d love to hear back from any of you have tried this out for the first time. Did you manage to use things that were lying around? What creative ideas did you come up with?

* This article first appeared on the UKHandmade website as a winning article in a competition they ran. The above version has been adapted.

January 20, 2011 Posted by | INSPIRATIONS | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Help! How Can I Stop People Breaching my Artist Copyright. (Part one)

It’s every artist’s nightmare, isn’t it? You take the brave step of publishing your work online and then discover down the line that someone has taken the liberty of lifting it and passing it off as their own. It can be very disheartening and put you off sharing any more of your work, but is it a reason to completely give up? Basically, no. And I’m going to discuss some simple layman procedures here with you which will help you to minimise the chances of someone breaching your artist copyright without you having to dig deep into your pockets in the process.

Firstly and most importantly keep in mind that you need to assert ownership of your artwork whenever you publish it anywhere. So when working online, be sure to make clear statements on your website or whatever page your work is appearing on that the artwork is yours. The more you do this, the better it will be if it comes to any dispute.

So in my case, I show my mandalas paintings and state that they are under my copyright and are not intended for public use in any way without my express permission. I also write that the images in question do not belong to the public domain. Whenever I sell prints or greeting cards of my artwork, there is a copyright symbol together with my name on the reverse, again showing my ownership and copyright to the work.

Copyright symbol on back of greeting card

Another good tip is to take a quality photograph of the completed artwork, ideally with you standing beside it and to sign and date it and send it to yourself in an envelope. You will then keep this envelope unopened in a safe place in case any dispute arises. Opening the envelope in the presence of a lawyer proves ownership of the artwork.

When you are uploading art files to a website, make sure that you only do this with low resolution images, no larger than 700 x 700 pixels because this will mean that anyone trying to reproduce them will only get grainy images which are substandard for any commercial use. You could also put a watermark on them as this will help to deter any illegal downloads.

This question was recently asked by Franziska San Pedro and Judy Stone-Goldman in a discussion we had on how to protect work when dealing with the public. So thanks a lot for your inspiration for this post.

Have you had any bother with people trying to copy your work in any way without your permission? If you have any hints or tips on this subject, I’d love you to share them here with us.

January 16, 2011 Posted by | INSPIRATIONS | , , , , | 6 Comments

The Psychology of Colour: Wearing Yellow Clothes (Part two)

I spoke in yesterday’s post on wearing yellow clothes about the signals you send to other people when you choose to wear yellow. And I promised to get back and tell you a bit more about our choice whether or not to wear yellow.

As I already said, I’m not a great fan of yellow clothes but there are many people who just love to wear them. So what might be the reason for this? The first most obvious answer is that we all have different types of complexions and depending on our skin hue, yellow may scream in defiance or snuggle in and complement the picture. According to seasonal skin type colour analysis , I am a pale winter type which means that yellow is a no-no for me.

There are also very many negative connotations of this colour which will affect our attitude towards it. Your skin takes on a yellow hue with jaundice or excess bile. Your teeth turn yellow through excess smoking. And we link cowardice with yellow too. But on a deeper level, there are other reasons why you or I might turn our backs on yellow tones. I already mentioned the fact that you will be very much in the lime-light wearing them, so it makes sense that we tune into this subconsciously and pull away if we need down-time and want to become invisible.

Lemon and the colder shades of yellow are linked with the intellect and left-brain characteristics such as logical thinking, reasoning, calculation and the like, so with me being a total right-brainer, it could be another reason why I don’t feel drawn to wear this colour much.

But for me the underlying reason we develop an aversion to a particular colour is because of how it is linked to things that are triggering us in daily life. Yellow is connected with the solar plexus, the seat of our gut feelings and personal will power. So as we learn to digest life’s experiences and become confident in projecting our self-image out there and engaging with others, yellow is a perfect companion for this part of our journey. It’s total absence in your life will be a signal to watch out for what you are avoiding. And the answer may  lie concealed in the area you are least expecting. Wearing warming shades of yellow can go a long way to opening us up in this respect and helping us to feel comfortable with being ourselves amongst others.

And on a parting note, yellow accessories are ideal for outfits which might otherwise be rather dull. Wear a yellow necklace or loosely tie a yellow scarf around your shoulders to bring a ray of sunshine into your day. Or even add some gorgeous yellow buttons to a plain cardigan to give it a new lease of life.

That leaves me thinking about what I can do to introduce a bit more sunshine into my life, despite my wintry complexion.  Mmmm…off to see what I can find. And what about you? Do you have any aversions or love for yellow? Do share any yellow clothing tips you have.

January 13, 2011 Posted by | COLOURS | , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

The Psychology of Colour: Wearing Yellow Clothes (Part One)

What a perfect day for writing about yellow clothes! It’s grey, really overcast and the rain is pouring down. But, as we all know, the sun is still there up above the clouds, shining in its full glory. We just can’t see it from where we are standing.

And that’s what the colour yellow is all about. It is pure sunshine, packed radiance to lighten up your day. So go on, have a look in your wardrobe and count how many items of clothing you have in yellow…4 or 5?…..1 or 2?……or none at all? Well, I have to admit that I belong to the ‘none at all’s’. Because I have a belief that I’m not a ‘yellow person’.

It’s one of those colours that I like on other people but just don’t fancy myself. You’ve probably got your favourites, too.  However, all of the colours in the visible light spectrum are there for a reason and their energy can be harnessed to improve all aspects of your life. You can quite literally empower yourself with colour. And yellow is no exception. It’s a warm magnetic colour like red and orange but has it’s very own unique flavour.

Let’s have a look then at what happens when you choose to wear yellow.

Sunshine yellow: You’re actually sending out a signal of joy and happiness, letting people know that you are a fun person who delights in the  pleasures of life. It can also indicate that you have a very warm nature and are easily approachable.

Lemon yellow: This shows those around you that you are a bit of a left-brainer, a person who likes tidiness and organisation. It’s a great colour to help accent some darker shades, particularly grey and give a real lift to your outfit. This shade can signal to others that you can be counted on.

But no matter which shade you choose, wearing yellow makes you very conspicuous and so if you are feeling like you need a bit of space and peace and quiet, yellow might not be the wisest of choices.

So why don’t some of us have any yellow in our wardrobes I hear you ask. Well, that’s a very good question and one I’m going to talk to you a bit more about tomorrow. But before I share any further insights on this colour, I’d love to hear if yellow is your colour and why you love wearing it. And for the rest of today I’m off to bring a little yellow into my life and see what difference the psychology of colour makes in my life.

January 12, 2011 Posted by | COLOURS | , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

My Unfinished Silk Mandala – Seeing it as a Reflection of Me

This afternoon I went up into my attic studio and decided that it really was time to completely declutter and tidy it all up. I recently pulled so many things out of boxes and shelves when I was picking some items to put in a friend’s shop in Glastonbury. And, as is my wont when I have just abandoned the space after an excavation, I left it looking as though a bomb had hit it.

This occasion was no exception whatsoever.  But it has never bothered me because I know that I will always go back in and enjoy putting things back in place, exploring nooks and crannies that I haven’t looked into for a while and getting inspiration from all the things I find there. Literally exploding with creative excitement.

And then I bring the space into a state of real tidiness and order ready for the next work session.

However, this time is a bit different in that it’s New Year and I would like to get to grips with all the piles of artistic chaos and bring some sort of new order into it all, symbolic of me changing direction somewhat and bringing in new forms of expression.  Luckily I was reminded by a lovely friend Franziska San Pedro to take photos before I got stuck in. Strangely that’s something I always do with great delight, but it’s more linked with the creative process, documenting my steps and not looking at how messy things have got. So the photo here is sort of taking a new direction in that it reveals my mess in its full glory.

Many of you who follow me both here and on the Silk & Art Facebook page will have seen the one I am talking about here. I started it a few months ago and then about half way through, I placed it to one side and left it sitting there.

I sat down and had a good look at it. It is the very first mandala painting I have done with a mantra on  it, something I had been wanting to do for such a long time. ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ runs around the outside in gold letters. This is an ancient Sanskrit mantra roughly translated as ‘the jewel in the lotus’. It is claimed that all the teachings of the Buddha are contained within this one mantra.

As I painted it, I listened to a beautiful rendering of this mantra on a CD I bought a few years back, which had been brought over from Nepal.

And so why did I not complete it? I think there are many reasons for that. Often when I am in the process of creating a painting, the events going on around me play an important part in its make-up. I see these artworks as a barometer of where I am in life at the time.

These paintings really take on a life of their own and this one was no exception. Firstly, they let me know how they want to be and the sooner I get out of my own way and allow this, the easier everything flows. Secondly, they know what energy they need and tell me when it’s time to get out the brushes and continue the work. They determine the pace. And thirdly, they know that it’s sometimes wise to wait in order to find their true expression.

I hadn’t felt drawn to do any more with it over the past months as I had entered a space where I was feeling the need to redefine myself in many ways. And yet today, when I took it out and saw the unfinished work, I realised that this blank canvas, so to speak, was showing me that I had work to do. I do indeed have work to do and am excited at what this year has in store for me.

So I feel resolute about clearing out what has become obsolete in my workshop space and feel brave enough to part with many things that have simply run their course. And this mandala will be an expression of the new space I am moving into energetically. I look forward to seeing it in all its bright colours and vibrancy. I know now that it will be bright. A reflection of the new me for this year.

And on that note I’d like to ask if there is anything you are looking forward to this year? I’d love to hear what lies ahead for you and if you have any unfinished business like me.

Happy creative 2011

January 3, 2011 Posted by | INSPIRATIONS | , , , , , , , | 38 Comments