Spirituality & Health Magazine

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The Many Forms of Art

Fifteen diverse artists featured in the March/April 2013 Spirituality & Health issue share their process on art making, spirituality, and overcoming the dreaded creative block. Click on any image below to read more about each artist and their work.

Tho It Appears Without, It Is Within - (mixed media)

Alexandra Eldridge

"Imagination is the only real and eternal world,” says Alexandra Eldridge, who considers her work a small acknowledgment of the inner life that can reveal its own share of the soul."

When I begin a new piece of art my first step is . . . o always burn incense, send out a prayer that all channels are open to receive . . . a kind of divination that requires trust and constant gratitude.

website: alexandraeldridge.com

Untitled - (photography)

Alice Bartlett

Alice Bartlett photographs miniature vignettes using model-train scenery as nail art.

When I feel blocked creatively, it helps to . . . revisit my assumptions: What am I building my work on? What would I change? What might not be true?

If I could be a success in a medium other than my own it would be . . . I would love to be musical! I get such joy from singing, but in reality I am terrible at it.

When I'm in the creative flow, I feel . . .Elated! Unable to sleep for thinking of my project, unable to sit and do anything else.

Mandala - (environmental installation)

Flora Bowley

Alice Bartlett photographs miniature vignettes using model-train scenery as nail art.

I incorporate spirituality into my creative process by . . . connecting deeply and trusting in my intuition, giving thanks for my ability to create freely, and using spiritual symbols in my work.

When I begin a new piece of art, my first step is . . . always to center myself, play music I love, and stretch out my body.

When I feel blocked creatively, it helps to . . . remember that when I can drop out of my critical mind and into my intuitive place of trust and inner knowing, my paintings flow with much more ease!

If I could be a success in a medium other than my own it would be . . . Dance.

When I'm in the creative flow, I feel . . . alive, present and connected to something much larger than myself.

If I went a month without writing/creating . . . I would have so much stored up creative energy for when I had the chance to paint again.

The hardest part about being an artist is . . . having an unpredictable income.

My secret talent is . . . my ability to do back flips on a trampoline and spin fire.

website: braveintuitiveyou.com

Angela Rossi

A self-taught outsider artist, Angela Rossi creates raw assemblage sculptures and altered antique plates in addition to her portraits.

When I feel blocked creatively, it helps to . . . go on a hike in the mountains.

When I begin a new piece of art, my first step is always . . . to turn on some music.

If I could be a success in a medium other than my own it would be . . . to work with bronze.

When I'm in the creative flow, I feel Free.

If I went a month without writing/creating . . . I would be a bit cranky and on edge.

I'm most creatively fulfilled when . . .. I am sculpting with clay

The hardest part about being an artist is . . . nothing, it is the easiest job in the world!

My secret talent is . . . unicorn taming.

website: beatupcreations.com

Patience, Humility, Empathy - (ink and water on polypropylene)

Angela Willetts

Angela Willetts investigates the role of chance in the creative process, working to bring structure to chaotic spilled, rolled, tapped, smeared ink and water.

If I went a month without creating . . . I actually find periods of noncreation are necessary. Like leaving a field fallow for a period of time, to allow the soil time to rest and become renourished.

When I begin a new piece of art, my first step is always . . . to sit quietly for a moment and remind myself not to rely on what feels "safe" or repeat previous successes, but instead try something new and take risks.

When I feel blocked creatively, it helps to . . . dance or go for a hike. Then I translate that energy and movement into a random, free-form painting or drawing - one made with no judgement, but also one I will probably never exhibit. Another technique I use is to switch medium - do some photography, ceramics, collage, video - anything that tricks my brain into thinking differently.

If I could be a success in a medium other than my own it would be Dance.

When I'm in the creative flow, I feel . . . Privileged. And energetic.

I'm most creatively fulfilled when . . . beginning a new project and discovering new processes, without a set plan. My secret talent is . . . Lip-syncing.

I incorporate spirituality into my creative process by . . .Occasionally meditating, and continually letting go of control. My entire process is a spiritual practice for me - one of awareness, letting go, and watching my mind deal with the chaos happening in front of me.

My secret talent is . . . unicorn taming.

website: awilletts.com

Untitled - (papier-mâché/photography)

Ann Wood

Ann works with mostly found and salvaged materials, many of them vintage or antique garments. She finds a kind of affection and tenderness in the reuse and repurposing of things that were once personal and perhaps treasured possessions.

I incorporate spirituality into my creative process by . . . I think it’s inherent. And the older I get the more that’s true. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say: the older I get the more I know that.

website: annwoodhandmade.com

Future Suburbs - (monotype)

Barbara McPhail

Barbara McPhail’s interest in color and shape is a driving force in her work, as is a commitment to speaking about the issues she cares deeply about.

I’m most creatively fulfilled when . . . my ideas are impacting others to take action.

When I begin a new piece of art, my first step is always . . . to draw in my sketchbook, symbols, shapes and design approaches that will communicate the idea that I am working towards.

When I feel blocked creatively, it helps to . . . look in my art books at artists whose work I love, while listening to music.

If I could be a success in a medium other than my own it would be . . . singing: music moves me much the same as visual art.

When I'm in the creative flow, I feel . . .grateful for the opportunity, time, and talent.

I'm influenced by the work of . . . Kaëthe Kollwitz, Jacob Lawrence .

If I went a month without writing/creating . . .I am still absorbing life, and I know I will use the material eventually. We are always where we are suppose to be.

website: barbaramcphail.com

Refresh - (digital collage)

Ellen Rooney

Hallmarks of Ellen Rooney’s artwork are clean lines, simple shapes made of more complex textures, and a literary feel.

I incorporate spirituality into my creative process by . . . praying I will meet my deadlines.

When I begin a new piece of art, my first step is always . . . Pick up a pencil and sketch.

When I feel blocked creatively, it helps to . . . Go through my archives—paper ephemera, pieces of old artwork, collage papers— and just start working.

If I went a month without writing/creating . . . I get crabby.

I'm most creatively fulfilled when . . . working spontaneously, usually after a lot of preparation.

The hardest part about being an artist is . . . overcoming my fears.

My secret talent is . . .cutting things up.

website: ellenrooneydesign.com

Be Hopeful - (analog photography with expired film)

Jeanine Stewart

Words and pictures are Jeanine Stewart’s cup of tea, sharing stories of love and wandering accompanied by moody experimental photography utilizing an old Pentax K1000 camera and expired 35 mm film.

When I begin a new piece of art, my first step is always . . .to look for the light.

When I feel blocked creatively, it helps to . . . go for a run.

If I could be a success in a medium other than my own it would be . . . writing.

When I'm in the creative flow, I feel . . . expansive.

The hardest part about being an artist is . . . constantly comparing myself to others.

I incorporate spirituality into my creative process by . . . taking photos is a meditative experience. When I look through the viewfinder, all the noise in my head stops until the click of the shutter.

website: wonderingsandwanderings.com

S&H March/April 2013 Cover - (paper sculpture)

Jeff Nishinaka

I incorporate spirituality into my creative process by . . . knowing that nothing I do as a person and an artist is perfect.

When I begin a new piece of art, my first step is . . . always to brainstorm an idea and research it.

When I feel blocked creatively, it helps to . . .walk away and do something else like sweep the floors.

If I could be a success in a medium other than my own it would be . . . I'd like to be a chef!

When I'm in the creative flow, I feel . . . calm and excited at the same time!

If I went a month without writing/creating . . . I get very antsy.

I'm most creatively fulfilled when . . . I see a sculpture coming together before it's finished.

The hardest part about being an artist is . . . when people don't understand where you're coming from.

My secret talent is . . . I don't take myself too seriously.

website: jeffnishinaka.com

Untitled - (photography)

Karine Léger

In addition to being an accomplished photographer, Karine Léger is an inspired painter of both abstract and surreal art using acrylics, collage, and other media.

When I’m in the creative flow, I feel . . . as though time has stopped. Nothing outside of the space that I’m in seems to exist or matter.

When I feel blocked creatively, it helps to . . . The Internet is full of great blogs and websites about visual art. I discovered some great artists through these websites. I can spend lots of time just looking at others work. I find it calming and inspiring.

If I could be a success in a medium other than my own . . . I would be a dancer. To be able to use your own body as the medium for creative expression like that must feel incredible. I'm most creatively fulfilled when . . . I have at least 3 days in a row in my studio.

The hardest part about being an artist is . . . having the necessary time and space to create. Until you're financially successful as an artist, your creative practice must be interrupted and put on hold in order to make ends meet.

I incorporate spirituality into my creative process by . . . I share a studio space with 2 other artists. Our different schedules makes it perfect, so that most of the time I am alone there to work. The studio has a beautiful creative vibe. There is no Internet access and no telephone. It has a radio and lots of natural light. It's a place where I can spend a whole day alone with my thoughts, my sketchbooks, my brushes and paint.

website: karineleger.ca

2 Lime Chairs: Connected, 2007 - (watercolor, acrylic, and thread on Dura-Lar)

Lisa Solomon

Lisa Solomon is intrigued by the fusing of elements that may at first glance appear to be unrelated. She uses thread to highlight and signify relationships, longings, and desires.

The hardest part about being an artist is . . . All the administrative stuff that goes along with it. Inventory, marketing, social media, shipping . . . blech.

When I'm in the creative flow, I feel . . . like I'm doing what I'm supposed to do. I feel more at peace and "right". It's not always a happy place since making art can also be frustrating, but I'll take that kind of frustration over standing in line at the post office any day.

If I went a month without writing/creating . . . I'd be really, really cranky.

My secret talent is . . . I can tie a cherry stem into a knot with my tongue and I can make sushi

website: lisasolomon.com

Mandala - (photography)

Lisa Solomon

Fascinated by the language of light, photographer/videographer Zipporah Lomax gives voice to beauty that might otherwise be overlooked. In an increasingly complex world, it is everyday simplicity that draws her attention.

When I’m in the creative flow, I feel effortlessly present.

website: thememoryjars.com

Loss - (photography)

Misty Mawn

Misty Mawn is well known for her mixed-media art, but she is also a photographer as well as a teacher and author, inspiring many to “unfurl.”

If I could be a success in a medium other than my own . . . dancing. Ballet, modern, tap, any kind of poetic dancing. I love to dance and move my body with the music. It makes me feel so alive.

website: mistymawn.typepad.com

Illuminate - (mixed-media encaustic)

Tracy Spadafora

Tracy Spadafora creates organic forms that are juxtaposed with symbols of man-made environments to convey a sense of the poetry and endurance of nature as a force.

When I’m in the creative flow, I feel . . . very content and at peace with myself.

When I begin a new piece of art, my first step is always . . . I almost always do a rough sketch of the composition. The composition often changes, but at least I have something to go on when I start a new work.

When I feel blocked creatively, it helps to . . . Play with art materials, go to some art exhibits, clean my studio.

If I could be a success in a medium other than my own it would be . . . Dance.

If I went a month without writing/creating . . . It would be very difficult to go a month without creating anything, as I am constantly in creative mode—even outside the studio.

I'm most creatively fulfilled when . . . When my artwork says what I want t to say and other people like it.

The hardest part about being an artist is . . . Making a living.

website: tracyspadafora.com

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