Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Wisdom of Life

I very rarely engage in blog awards or blog tag, it's not that I don't appreciate them, it's just that I seem to have a different perspective on what I want to share at that moment in time.  However, this morning I was tagged in a blog hop by the very lovely and talented Petrea Hansen Adamidis from The Art Therapist.  The reason this one caught my interest was because I find Petrea's blog and website to be so very insightful, very philosophical, and very therapeutic, and her questions to be profoundly thought provoking.

Most of us engage in art, particularly art journaling, as a way to connect to a deep part of ourselves.  It gives us a channel to understanding ourselves, what we're made of, and what we are capable of.  Art, in and of itself, is therapy. Anyone who has ever engaged in a creative or artistic pursuit knows the therapeutic benefits first hand of doing so. And the reason art journaling, scrap-booking, sketch-book keeping, or any number of other artistic pursuits has gained so much momentum, is because more and more people are discovering that art is a powerful way to connect to their creative soul, explore their own possibilities, and demystify some of their issues.  In my mind, every single person on the planet is born with a creative soul, but for a plethora of reasons, very few ever get to embrace it.

Petrea answered, and asked some excellent questions on her blog this morning. When I read her post, it felt like a serendipity to me.  I have been actively engaged in delivering several of my online classes this week, and one in particular, Wisdom Circles, has given me lots of food for thought. This is where I made the connection.

There are over 500 people currently enrolled in 21 Secrets and although not all of them have found their way into Wisdom Circles yet, there are over 100 participants who have.  The circles they are producing and the experiences they are sharing is truly humbling and very very moving. I've had goosebumps on my skin and tears in my eyes every time I read their stories, considered their questions, and gazed upon their work. If you'd like to see some of their work, I encourage you to visit the Wisdom Circles Flickr Group., or the 21 Secrets Flickr Group If you'd like more information about Wisdom Circles and 21 Secrets, please click here.

So, although I probably won't play by the rules, and I won't answer all of Petrea's questions, I did want to answer some.

What time of the day do you find you are most in your creative zone? 
My creative zone seems to sit with me 24 hours a day.  There are some moments when it is so powerful and overwhelming that if I don't create something, I feel physically ill.  I have two young children and have to take the creative moments as they come.  I do burn a lot of mid-night oil, and more often than not, I get up at 4am and head down to my studio to create. Those early morning hours are so clear and intimate and some of my most powerful artistic experiences come at those times.

What helps you when you are feeling blocked?
Artistic blocks are a fact of life I'm afraid.  They happen to everyone.  Exhaustion, stress, the blank page--there are so many reasons for it, and when it happens to me that wave of nausea and frustration sweeps over me again until I can find a way to put pen to paper.  I discovered the art of making mandalas about ten years ago.  I was convinced that I was not an artist because I couldn't draw the perfect landscape, or capture the contours of a simple hand.  But when I saw a beautiful, simple meaningful mandala I knew I had found something that I could connect to.

Creating a circle is so powerful, so meditative, and so therapeutic.  I become a prolific creator of mandalas, and a hungry consumer of mandala history and theory.  So now, whenever I feel blocked, (which is often), I stop, breathe, and place a dot in the center of my page.  From there, I let the creative flow take over and just move gently around the circle, letting my creative energy and symbolism flow down my arm and onto the page.  It releases any blocks, along with any tension I am feeling in that moment, freeing me completely to create.

What do you believe the connection is between art and healing?
In my mind, art IS healing.  This profoundly unique connection between the two can only be truly understood by those who have found the courage to do it.  Without thought, without explanation, without overt understanding, art has a way of centering us, a way of balancing us in times of great adversity.  It is a bridge to reality, and it is an expression of ourselves that words cannot convey.

Art has saved me during the most frightening, angering, confusing, and overwhelming times in my life.  From the frenzied splashing of paint around a canvas as a hormonal 15 year old, to the introverted, intricate, smallness of a sketchbook filled with penned mandalas created as a terrified parent of a gravely premature child. Art is a great healer, and for those who do not actively engage, their healing comes from observation and appreciation.  The world simply cannot be without art, for a world without art is a broken world without spirit.

This page was done using Silks Acrylic Glaze over pen journaling, and under flat watercolor.Please take the time to visit Petrea's blog, and please make the time to create.

Thanks for checking in. xx


  1. I love your work, and your sharing. TY. You just explained why I wake up at 4 a.m. and have to will myself back to sleep! No more! Big huge blinking hug!

  2. hi dion! powerful post. i, too, feel physically ill and mentally unstable when i go to long without creating. and all of my spending money goes to it too! forget clothes, shoes, designer purses - they do nothing for me! i ALSO am out of bed by 3:30 or 4 am to make a cup of coffee and run down to my studio while i have a chance at peace, solitude and feel fresh and alive. i thought i was the only one who created in the morning instead of after bedtime. i MAKE time to create or else the time would never appear.

    i am LOVING the mandalas. they are not new to me as i have been coloring them with my mom for as long as i can remember but i never created one myself until now with your 21 secrets workshop. and now i can't stop! i have one in front of me now - black paper and souffle pens and just dropped my daughter off at school, made a cup of coffee and am settling in for the Illumination lesson - YAY!!!

  3. I was anxious to find out what media you were using on glad to know!!! I will be taking the Silks class and to know that this was done with Silks along with flat watercolor, gives me hope that I will be able to do it as well!!!

    21 Secrets has given me the opportunity to tune in to my creativity.....even though I have not actually done many of the exercises in the workshops, I have gone through almost all of the videos and my brain has been processing all of it!!! I am 'arting' in various ways, and that's a relief, since I was blocked before the classes started.

    I truly appreciate the inspiration that you give, Dion. With your life and commitment to art, family and the world...we all benefit from your generous nature and nurture.


  4. Beautiful blog post, Dion. Made my day.

  5. WOW! This is stunning to look at. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself here as well and the role art has played in your life. I so agree with what you say regarding the momentum of artistic pursuits. I started with scrapbooking. At first it was about preservation, very, very quickly though it became about being creative and the preservation was a side benefit :).

  6. This is just a spectacular page and post. First visit but love this so much - I want to wrap myself in it's silky brilliance like a cloak.

  7. Beautiful words, beautiful imagery!!! I love all the brilliant color you achieve. Ditto what Corrine at said! So very delightful. Thank you.

  8. Beautiful post Dione! Thank-you for taking the time to post your inspiring answers I'm so glad you did! (besides some rules are meant to be broken )

  9. I love your mandala flower. Looks like Petrea's site is a place to visit! {:-D

  10. Your journaling mandala is stunning!
    I have always used words and writing for the tough stuff. Am new to art journaling but have always found arts and crafts to be very relaxing, so I can absolutely see how art can also be therapeutic. It's the creativity that cleanses the soul, I think. No matter how one creates. :)

  11. Your imagery is beautiful, as are your words, but it's the COLOR that feeds me every time I look at your blog. How do people confine themselves to black and white?!

  12. I really beautiful artwork, the flowers are amazing, i like your blog very much.

    Cheers! :)


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