THE WINTER SALON with friends & faces

GROUP EXHIBITION
THE ART GALLERY
HERMANUS
1 – 30 JUNE 2019

The Art Gallery Hermanus
6 Royal Lane / Cnr of High Street
Hermanus
the-art-gallery-hermanus.co.za

The month of June sees the four resident artists who run The Art Gallery Hermanus sharing their gallery space with four guest artists (also Hermanus locals) to present The Winter Salon with friends & faces.

The opening event will be on Saturday 1st June 2019 at 5pm.

Intuitive art for self-discovery and transformation

When Rika Dehombreaux asked me to write a guest post for her intuitive art blog, Glowing Roots about what intuition means to me it set me on a course of examining just what it is that art does for me.  Reading it back on Rika’s blog sparked the idea to write more deeply about how my life has been transformed by intuitive art.

It’s how I process my emotions

Blue skies & cheesecake | original acrylic mixed media painting by Tracy Algar

When I can’t find the words to express how I feel I paint it out.

These holds true for positive and negative emotions. Sometimes the other person just doesn’t want to hear what you are saying, how do you process that?  If you don’t work through the difficult things you feel, you end up carrying them around with you forever, and they weigh you down.

Painting has become my way of processing events and emotions that I can’t “resolve” in other ways.

It’s how I express myself

In painting, I can express myself without fear.  When I am creating intuitively and non-judgmentally, working in a place of creative flow, the expression that I produce is truth from my soul.  It’s fearless expression.

Through my painting, I can express my feelings, fears, hopes and dreams.  I no longer walk around feeling like I’m carrying the world on my shoulders.  My cupboard has space in it for new things because I’ve cleared out the skeletons.

This has also helped me discover hidden parts of myself, things I haven’t wanted to acknowledge or face.

When I’ve come to my painting practice with an openness to learn about myself I’ve found plenty of hidden treasures.  Sometimes they didn’t look like treasures at first, but once I’d wiped the dust off and held them up to the light, they’ve time and time again been the goods!  This is where I’ve found my pain-points and stared them in the face until I understood them a little more, and a little more.  Staying in the intuitive flow the answer or solution tends to always be there if I keep digging.  This can take many paintings.

Laying out a plan

When I need a plan, painting can help me to find out more about what I want and helps me to act on my desires.  I ask myself questions about what I want and then paint with abandon.  Sometimes these paintings remind me of maps.  They have a landscape and symbols and they take me on a journey along a path with a destination at the end of it.

Knowing myself better boosts my self-confidence

Tracy Algar | intuitive art classes & workshops

As I express what I most want in the tangible format of an artwork it becomes real and I can see it.  I begin to know who I really am underneath all the social conditioning (people pleasing, being a ‘good’ girl, being seen but not heard) and to come to terms with that. It’s hard not to feel more confident once you are friends with yourself.

Setting intentions

If I really, really want something but in my current view it’s out of reach, I paint it into existence.  The metaphor of a witches spell comes to mind often when I think about this.  With my body (the physical act of painting), mind (thinking about what I want to achieve) and soul (listening to prompts from my intuition) I set an intention with my painting.  By the time I have finished the expression of what I desire on the canvas, every part of me (body, mind and soul), is ready to jump at the opportunity when it comes along.  Before I began doing this, I was often not prepared for opportunities when they came along and turned them down from a place of fear and unpreparedness.

It’s how I tell my story

Love Notes | original abstract painting by Tracy Algar

We benefit from telling our stories because it gives us space to express ourselves.  It can also benefit others by bringing encouragement and relief to those who feel alone in their struggles.  Telling our stories in words or in artworks is a way to reach out and show ourselves to the world.   It’s how to find soul-sisters and -brothers and make connections. Hearing other’s stories gives us a point of reference, a common thread. When we identify with each other’s stories it makes us more empathic and compassionate to one another.  This takes us into a mindset of cooperation rather than competition.  We can all learn from each other and help each other grow.

Essentially, an intuitive art practice can open channels within you and allow self-discovery and healing to take place.  It’s changed the way that I see the world and most definitely transformed me over the past seven years.

The top breakthrough moments on my journey so far:

Discovering that I am creative.

It was an epiphany to discover that there was this creative flow that was accessible to me and I could tap into it at any time.  Up until then, I hadn’t thought of myself as creative (even though other people told me I was) because when I tried to be creative it was such an uphill struggle.

Discovering my creative voice

My ideas about what art is and what you have to achieve to be an artist were not realistic.  I now know that anyone who wants to make art can, and that we all have a creative voice if we allow ourselves to create without judgement. Once I stopped trying to make art “as good as” other artists and comparing my work to theirs, I made art that was authentically mine and, surprise, surprise, it had something that my previous work didn’t have.  An energy!  A truth!  I had my own style without trying.

Losing myself in the bliss of creative flow

This was a surprise after how gruelling I found art to be at first, but it shouldn’t really have come as such a surprise to me as it did.  About a decade ago I spent every Sunday for three years meditating with a group of Zen Buddhists at Guildford University.  I was accustomed to experiencing that blissful, peaceful space of nothing and everything.  Painting or getting lost in other creative pursuits is also a meditation.  I can achieve that same nothing and everything space through painting without thinking about painting.

Discovering the power of creativity

Realising that creativity is a tool for personal discovery and transformation was like an unearthing of magical powers to me.  It empowers me to change what needs changing and to attract more of what I want into my life.

Creating intentionally and consciously daily

Making every choice count and carefully hand-crafting a life is how to make dreams come true.  Discover what your priorities are.  Find out what makes you tick and make your choices accordingly.  Create boundaries for your creative work and allow yourself the time and space to make discoveries.  Let creativity infuse every activity you participate in.  Make every part of your life a work of art.  That’s how you add purpose and meaning to a humdrum existence.

To conclude, I leave you with the visionary words of Dr Seuss: “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.”

Creative Self-Expression Online Workshop with Tracy Algar

How To Get On With Your Inner Critic

Your inner critic is the dialogue in your head that criticises you mercilessly, knows all your weaknesses and failings, and almost always finds you unable to measure up.

You may not even be aware of your inner critic because you’re so used to the negative commentary running in your head that has been there longer than you can remember.  In this post, I will be offering some ideas to identify your inner critic, and how you can learn to work with it so that you can get past the idea that you aren’t a creative person.

Please note: No inner critic was actually harmed in the making of this blog post.

STEP 1 | RECOGNISE YOUR INNER CRITIC

The inner critic is not a voice as such, but a series of thoughts with a degrading, punishing quality.  It tells you that you aren’t capable and will look foolish if you try.  It is essentially a collection of core negative beliefs that you hold about yourself.

You can recognise it by its demeaning tone.

Your inner critic will turn up when you are thinking about trying something new and say things like:

I am not good enough.

I am not talented enough.

I am too disorganised and lazy.

I am too old to learn.

I’m not creative.

If your inner critic isn’t obvious to you, try step 2 to give it a little prod and get it excited.

STEP 2 | GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO CREATE

If you are here reading this then you most likely have an inner critic that gives you a hard time when you consider making art. You may have been discouraged from making art at some point in your history, and now you can’t get yourself to sit down and create, or even buy art supplies or take an art workshop or class.

Warning! Affirmations make your inner critic feel really prickly.

Affirmations are a useful tool to help you change your beliefs about yourself and your worth.

Pick one of the affirmations below or make up one that feels more appropriate to you.

As I create and listen, I will be lead.

My creativity heals me and others.

I am willing to create.

I am willing to learn to let myself create.

I am willing to experience my creative energy.

I am willing to use my creativity.

Once you have chosen an affirmation or two, try this out:

Say your affirmation to yourself a few times.

Notice any demeaning or unkind replies from your inner critic.

Write your affirmation down in your notebook. Also, write it on Post-Its and leave one on the fridge, one in your car, one on your mirror, etc.

Stay tuned-in to your inner critic.  Pay it special attention.  Listen to the way it speaks to you.  Do you like being spoken to like that?  Notice what activities and events set it off and examine your beliefs about yourself around that area.

Repeat your affirmation/s daily.

This can seem silly at first, but it works very well as an exercise to root out your inner critic and really be aware of it.

STEP 3 | PRACTICE MAKES EASIER

Here’s the good news!  You can shift the balance of power in your head. The more you practice hearing your inner critic, the more obvious it becomes.

Use your affirmations to counter what your inner critic has to say.  Have a phrase or two ready for when your inner critic starts discouraging you.  Repeat as often as possible.

Creative Self-Expression Online Art Workshop with Tracy Algar