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Eliminating The Artist Block | What to do when creativity just doesn’t flow

Have you ever had an artist’s block….those times of creative numbness which seem to hang over you, like a mist of nothingness, when you want so much to get your art done.

You may even get to the point of setting out all your materials, priming a canvas or paper, and having a flash of an idea run through your mind, tantalising and beckoning you. Then it fades and diminishes as you make some hopeful attempts at bringing it to fruition.

An artist’s block is stuck energy; creative energy which, when not flowing forth, turns into a heaviness that drags like gravity on our being.

We justify why we can’t begin our art; we don’t have canvases, the right paint, not enough time, the weather is too rainy, hot, cold….whatever! We are constantly side-tracked, doing everything but our art. We even give ourselves a good pep talk, do the motivational work, watch inspirational movies, read books, or whatever it takes. We’re happy, life is good, but the AHHAAA just isn’t there. That wonderful feeling of “anything is possible”, is lost, ( when you begin a painting with your sketch in hand and a clear vision in mind).

Acrylic on Canvas. 91cm x 122cm The Passionate Spanish dance finishes with a stamp of her foot and the swish of skirts as he, on his knees slides across the floor to her. 07

When creativity is flowing, we may begin an artwork with one idea in mind and it takes on a life of its own –an entirely different piece is born. However, when the flow has ceased, art opportunities may come into our inbox, letterbox, from wherever, only to leave us with a sick feeling at missing them, watching them drift by and out of reach, with no current work to show, or even an attempt.

Then, we begin to think that the whole artist’s block excuse is just our own psychological cop out for our talent having left us. We recall past successes, past times when the art flowed and when we not only enjoyed the process, but the results – the excitement of being “on a roll”.

What gave us this endless flow, this clarity, this magnificent inspiration?. For me, it has always been gained from meditation, and time in nature, simply relaxing and enjoying the present moment and the beauty of life!

Oil on Canvas –96cm x 145cm In Chinese astrology the Firehorse focuses on a dream, then burns a bath to it using persistence, patience and self belief.

Going into that space came most clearly for me several years ago when I had the pressure of a major exhibition just two months away. I had committed to painting 18 – 20 works of at least 1 metre each. The day of reckoning came when a friendly call from the Gallery owner inquired on how I was going? I felt the panic rise from deep within as I heard myself giving positive news when in reality, I had no idea what I would paint and had no canvases as yet. Off the phone, I felt paralysed with fear – the black cloud of fear which brings the nightmare images of opening nights with bare walls and my own crippling embarrassment.

Somehow I had to get my mind into that creative space. I had to summon every positive thought in order to paint from the heart, and that seemed an impossible task, with just 8 weeks to go and with fitting in teaching work. I decided that the first task was to eliminate the fear…..but how? I then decided to allow the fear full reign over my thoughts for a nominated time. I let the fear run rampant through my mind for the next couple of hours.

When I was willing to accept, stop resisting, stop trying to control the outcome, the fear subsided.

At last I took a deep beath and decided to do something positive. Basically, the fear is the ego playing out and when we can eliminate that, we have peace, acceptance, and love. All emotions stem from fear or love, so without fear there is pure love. I then decided to do some sketches purely for the enjoyment of doing art. I put on beautifully inspiring music, sat on the the big mat on the lounge room floor with a large sketch book and started to draw without expectation of outcome. I just enjoyed doing art, making lines!

Figure drawing is a specialty, latin dancing was my enjoyment at the time and the George Michael “Ladies and Gentlemen” album invited me into another space. I didn’t have a canvas large anough, but I did have a huge roll of good quality paper which, when attached to the top of the ceiling, gave a 2.5. metre drop. Standing on a chair, my tiny rough sketch of a couple in my right hand,, conte crayon ready in the left, I began drawing what I could already visualise on the paper. For the next three hours the outside world diminished. I was in a space of sheer joy, peace and creative beauty, aware only of the moment, and the long sensitive lines I was drawing in deep blue, sienna, and buff shades in crayon and white chalk. A larger than life couple formed before me….a two metre high man and woman in a sensual and rhythmic dance embrace. Their personalities unfolded in my hands, echoing the image in my mind – the smooth highlights of their skin, soft, sheer folds of fabric, the illusion of movement. I became one with their mood.

2.5mtre high sketch in chalk/conte crayon. This represents the beauty of true heart-connected relationship.

Finally, they were finished. I could do no more. It was as if they dismissed me. I had played my part in bringing them to life! Stepping down off the enduring cane dining chair, I stood back to survey…and there were two people in a world of their own, “Dancing to the Rhythm of a Heartbeat”. The powerful force of creativity had run its course for this artwork, but I was now tapping into ideas for more. They began to flow in an endless stream.

From that first flourish of creativity came the complete concept for the whole exhibition. It was called ‘A celebration of Song, Dance and Angels”.The common theme running through the entire 20 diverse works, including dancers, wild animals and angels, was the light or Illumination in each painting. Over the next three weeks I created tirelessly, passionately. As soon as the concept of one painting was captured on the canvas, the next was shown to me, in a clear mental image.

Oil on canvas – 1.25m sqre Dolphins teach us the beauty of happy communication in our relationships.

This same space of creativity, this dimension of manifestation, is available to everyone at any given time. It is the divine space spoken of in countless books and texts, by thinkers, poets, musicians, artists, monks, athletes, and dancers. It is not exclusive to a few, but available to all at anytime. Children easily tap into it and the only criteria is that there is not one trace of fear or doubt, not a hint of negative emotions! Meditation is a wonderful path to this space. Having no fear means having no pre-conceived thoughts or ideas, and being fully in the moment with openness. If you have even a glimmer of doubt about the past or the future, you cannot enter that space. It is the space of Oneness – a space in which there is no judgement on credentials, bank accounts, age, culture, or achievements. Of course its good to have done ‘your homework” so to speak, to know the techniques and the elements of art, to be able to portray form, movement, depth and expression However, in order to make these elements work with a lyrical quality, the artist needs to surrender, to be an instrument for a higher force. This takes a clearing of the mind, a relaxing of the body, a consciousness of the spirit, and a willingness to centre all three.

Margaret’s articles are designed to inspire others to tap into their creative right brain energy. They have been published in the Insight Magazine, Australian Artist Magazine and Brisbane periodicals. Margaret’s focus through her writing, art and educating is on the belief that art, the creating and viewing of it, is not only healing, rejuvenating and balancing, but through creativity students of all ages find the inspiration to find and follow their dreams, whatever their area.

For more information contact : margaret@girleart.com or margaret@girleart.com.au

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An Artistic Journey | A celebration of life, dance and angels

Many people feel a strong and passionate yearning to connect with their “inner artist” but few people have the courage to begin, and then to persist and see where that road will lead them. Margaret Girle is one such person. Margaret’s life and art is now a radiant expression of this divine connection to Source and her faith and trust in this energy.

Oil on Canvas. This represents the freedom and courage of letting our fears go and surrendering to the great unknown with self belief!

Margaret was able to draw from the first time she held a pencil. It was a natural instinct, as was her belief in the exixtence of higher realms. As a young, divorced mother of three, Margaret began a spiritual journey – a long journey of soul searching. This took her from the world of fashion design and innovating her own personal presentation/motivation classes back to her beloved art, via a Bachelor degree in education at Griffith University. It is often said that we teach not only what we most need to learn, but also what we need to understand. We can only really understand something through doing, feeling and connection, and through expressing this to others in some outward action. To this end, Margaret opened the School of Art Expression, which she ran in Redlands in South East Queensland. The program Margaret developed helped students to tap into their own creative abilities and yearnings. Most classes began with a short visualization/meditatioon.

From the exhibition – Life’s Tapestries. Oil on Canvas 106cm x 121cm . She kicks off her shoes (fears) and runs through a beautiful field of Tulips (truly living life).

Margaret, why do you start your classes with a spiritual practice like meditation?
‘To do any form of art with truth and passion, the artist must first take a journey inward. The energy of the artwork expresses the artist’s inner truth- Art is a mirror reflection of the soul”. Margaret gains inspiration, energy and focus for her creative work from Yoga and dance (Wu Tao and Latin) as well as voice work (John Rodriquez voice workshops) and Kinesiology/balance (Carol Starr, Kingscliffe). An exhibition of Margaret’s work was held in July of this year (2008) at Freestyle Tout in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.

Margaret, why did you call your exhibition “Illuminarta – a celebration of life, dance and angels”?.
Purely because I was inspired to do many different subjects, I used the light (illumination) in each painting as the unifying factor. The exhibition is a celebration of the many facets of life from the passion of the Flamenco dance and the powrful beauty of the Geisha to the loving energy of the couple dancing “To the Rhythm of a Heartbeat”.

Acrylic on canvas 61x91cm. Reaching for her dreams takes her upward, soaring with wings where only the birds fly. Symbolic also of the element air.

Earlier exhibitions such as ‘Life’s Tapestry, portrayed the soul’s journey firstly to one’s past- through life tests, to present time. The Painting “Run through Tulips” is a colourful oil painting of a woman running barefoot through a field of vibrant red tulips, portraying the need for us to embrace the present moment. Barefoot is symbolic for casting off fears.

Margaret, what are your beliefs about art?
‘I see art as not only a portrayal of beauty but an inspirational and educational modality as well, such as in another of my paintings, ‘The Edge”, which depics a woman on the very edge of a precipice with eagles flying overhead. To achieve our dreams we must ‘climb to the edge’ and despite fear, step towards our dream (off the edge), with belief and courage – we then fly like the eagles”.

A study of the Ancient Cultures also greatly influences Margaret’s art. A solo trip to Peru, Chile and Easter Island was a spiritual journey. As she stood in the early morning mists at the Sun Gate, high above Machu Picchu, the breathtaking beauty and mystical architecture of that sacred place confirmed the Incan spiritual wisdom for her.

Oil on Canvas 65 x 96. The Goddess represents abundance in a very powerful civilisation.

New works “on the easel” will reflect a myriad of different cultures, as well as an expansion of the Angel theme. Margaret has felt guided for many years to paint angels. Her website Girleart.com displays her work in galleries as well as in collections which describe her reason and visionary experience in doing each piece. Painting and drawing the human form has always been an artistic strength and it is the combination of this skill and her passion for Sacred Geometry – the natural patterns and equations of nature that inspired Leonardo Da Vinci which Margaret creates in her artwork.

What is next for your Art?
‘There is always growth and change, life and art are a wondrous journey of positive learning, discovery and expansion’ We hope that, like Margaret, you will be encouraged to pick up a pencil and draw, and see where it takes you!..

These articles are writings by Margaret for magazines, including the Insight Magazine and the Australian Artist Magazine. They cover subjects which Margaret has had a great interest in for many years including Sacred Geometry, fractals, the Flower of Life, healing frequencies, the power of imagery and our thoughts, and sound healing. More articles will be added and Margaret is currently working on a novel which tells the mystical journey of a woman in her quest for truth. The E-Book version will soon be released on this website. For more information contact margaret@girleart.com or margaret@girleart.com.au

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Sacred Geometry | The Art of Life Itself

Sacred Geometry, fractal geometry and the Mandelbrot Set form the science that describes the entire natural universe. For millennia, Sacred Geometry was the conceptual truth through which ancient cultures lived their daily lives, built their temples, and plotted their astrological calendars with absolute accuracy up to 2,000 years in advance.

 

Although sacred geometry and fractal geometry have long been recognized, even as part of the math/science curriculum in schools, it is now re-emerging as a deep understanding that the human race needs if it is to move to a new level of growth and harmonious relationship with the planet.

Ancient cultures, such as the Egyptians, Incans, Mayans, the Early Greeks and many more understood a fundamental truth of life – that nothing is random or detached. Everything in the Universe evolves from a magnificent and precise mathematical equation, and a repetition of patterns inseparable and ever evolving from the whole. Even in the very heart of a rainforest, in the seemingly chaotic growth and tangle of plant stems, trunks, vines and rotting vegetation if untouched by man, all grows and evolves to a precise pattern. In chaos there is order!

The Ancients knew and could see the magnificent universal patterns repeatedin the world around them- spirals of the conch shell; tendrils of a vine; the patters in trees, elephant trunks, octopi tentacle, the end of clouds (fractals), and even the spiralling galaxies. The sacred geometric patterns have been evidenced in ancient cultures on all sides of the planet. The geometric forms such as the circle, triangle, spiral, golden square and rectangle were believed to be sacred and formed the core design of all spiritual structures and art.

Patterns based on the flower of life (precis vesica, or two intersecting circles), spirals, and pyramids graced temples and sacred buildings and formed the basis for spiritual symbols and designs. Temples were not only decorated with these universal designs, but also built in the geometric forms. Forms and shapes included the five platonic solids (cube, tetrahedron, octahedron, dodedahedron, icosahedron), the Golden Spiral, Golden Rectangle Golden Square, Pyramid, Sphere, the tesseract (4 dimensional cube), and the Merkaba (2 conjoining tetrahedrons).

Ancient culttures knew that spaces created within these shapes radiate an energy of harmony. Some spaces such as in the great Pyramid and Stonehenge, have been known to harmonise to sound as well as light, especially within the Kings Chamber.

Beginning with the very core of Sacred Geometry is the mathematical constant, the Golden Ratio, Pi (Phi) ratio, also known as the Golden Cut, or the Golden Mean, is this simple equation – when a line is dissected, the smaller section is equal to the larger section in the same ratio as the larger section is equal to the whole. The mathematical number for Phi is 1.6180339887. This, used by great artists, inventors and builders, is the fundamental truth, which forms the entire universe. Leonardo Da Vinci used this equation in his art ot give beauty and balance to his artworks. Enlosed in every section of a natural form is the blueprint for that form to constantly repeat its pattern on to eternity. Some forms are repetitive, others have a variance of shape, colour, size and are seemingly random, but all are an echo of the original. The magnificent patterns of a butterfly are encoded in a simple formula in its DNA. It is one of the millions of perfect examples of the micro design carrying the formula for the macrocosmic vision.

You have only to look at a pineapple, pine cone, the segments of a monsterio delicio plant fruit and a myriad of plants and flowers to see the magnificent patterns, the geometry prepeated over and over again. Sacred Geometry and the swirling forms of the Mandelbrot set is nature showing us formless reality and eternity. It shows our true essence.

It was in 1980 that mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot discovered the unforgettable shape of the Mandelbrot Set. French mathematician Gaston Julia first glimpsed this from the discovery in 1917 of Julia Sets. These were sets of swirling designs, organic in shape and formed from simple mathematical formulae.

The Mandelbrot set was discovered by putting the original mathematical equations such as Z = Z2 + C into the computer and repeating this many times. The resulting drawings and designs perfectly repeated natural forms, trees, mountains, landscapes, giving rise to the thought that there is a Divine Design, a God or intelligence which allows for choice within that perfect design.

The tiny Buddha/creature shape at the very base of every cycle of fractal design is mimicked throughout nature and is the main design known as fractals. Fractals are a part of the patterns that repeat into infinity and give a new understanding of the Universe. This gives rise to the new understanding that clouds, trees and nature are not simply circles, cylinders and cubes but magnificent constantly repeating patterns, at the base of which is the pattern of the Mandelbrot. Interesting that the name Mandelbrot stems from Mandala or sacred symbol. Perhaps Benoir Mandelbrot chose to bring this to the world, but the pattern of his destiny was already in place.

The beauty of these repeating patterns are recognizable to the collective unconscious. Carl Jung, co-founder of modern Psychology, first theorized the concept of this well of symbols and imagery that is available to the human mind. When viewed, these universal images inspire feelings of harmony, peace and love. To see these patterns and to feel the connectedndess of the universe, it only takes a moment of living in present time, truly observing the now.

Eckhardt Tolle in his book A New Earth, and Deepak Chopra in his book Ageless Body, Timeless Mind both speak of truly living in the moment. It’s in that present moment, in that space between thoughts, you can connect with this Divine Essence. In this moment, you can create your destiny, because every moment is your destiny. In every moment you have choice.

It is in seeing the patterns of the Universe that an artist connects with this essence, and it is in seeing these patterns of the Universe that life’s purpose is understood. Time stops, and healing takes place. In the words of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Chung: – ‘Be empty – be still- be aware of the Source – in this is the fulfillment of your destiny”!

The magnificent patterns of the Universe are creativity and art in its highest order, and similarly the artist, when recognising these patterns, used this formlula to make drawing simple. An example is when drawing a pineapple or pine cone, the artist recognises that the base of a pineapple is an oval with two opposing spirals forming a grid, into which the pineapple sections are then quickly drawn. The pinecone is formed by one spiral shape on an oval base. When recognising the patterns within nature, drawings are not only given life and beauty, but each drawing captures the essence, the uniqueness of the subject. The same is used for life drawing. Every human form has a rhythm of line and, when redognised by the artist, gives a lyrical quality to the finished work.

The act of creating is an art in itself, and the artist is an instrument through which source flows. When the artist becomes aware of the moment and empties the mind of all pre-conceived ideas on how to draw, he/she will create a clear mind space from “whence will flow art which breathes life”.

“ART IS AN EXPRESSION OF LIFE AND SACRED GEOMETRY IS THE ART OF LIFE ITSELF”

The understanding of the sacred geometry is an understanding of the magnificent consciousness which we are part of. It is the new awakening. Just as the infinity of the Universe unfolds in a myriad of repeating forms and patterns, so too is the human consciousness awakening in a state of egoless enlightenment. Just as the Unisversal life cycles, we are returning in understanding and conscious thought from where we came. Never before has there been the combination of science, quantum physics, mathematics, art and spirituality – bringing together the one truth out of the chaos of a Universe of concepts. Art is an expression of life and sacred geometry is the art of life itself. It echoes the beauty and infinity of the Universe.

This article is the intellectual property of Margaret Girle. For more information contact : margaret@girleart.com