THE MYTH-BUSTING SERIES…

The Real School of Art just launched its introduction lecture series: MYTH-BUSTING THE ART WORLD!

It’s now up on Teachable, and is a series of 10 (mostly around 10mins) inspiring lectures, each with a challenge to get you to start thinking about YOUR IMMENSE creative potential.

I’m excited about it because it’s also very affordable (20 euros), and it acts as a gateway into the school – I appreciate that all the creative chaos leading up to the launch of the school might have been as hard work for those watching it unfold, as it was for me to create it! But it’s coming up online now thick and fast, and it’s feeling more and more like the potent creative vessel I visioned it to be: come aboard and let’s do this!

thumbnail for MYTHBUSTING

Tante belle cose, Clare xx

6 STRONG REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD STEP INTO THE VOID…

It’s my birthday week again! And this is always a beautiful time to reflect on all that I have, all I’ve achieved, all that is coming true of my dreams.

This year is fricking spectacular: the freedoms I sought when I stepped out of what precious little security I had had in Scotland… The freedom was this, and it is now here, as solid and mysteriously epic and wildly magical as I could’ve ever glimpsed in my visionary imaginings: my own home; the deepest and most fulfilling of loving partnerships; my time filled with art and creative living, love and beauty; my view each day as glorious and inspiring as a panorama could ever be; the liberty to express myself deeply and meaningfully in a great spectrum of ways, as the mood takes me; being rewarded for what I do and am – financially yes, but also with friendship, community, heartfelt appreciation; people being inspired by what I do and believe in; being able to contribute to the world, to the universe, in the fullest of ways that I was born to do…

It’s important for me to reflect on how I got here, and to appreciate how hard I worked for it – how hard it was to get to this: 8 yrs ago when, driving from Scotland with my cat and paintings, all the way to Guardia Sanframondi in Italy… Parking my right-hand drive car – barely remembering which side of the road I was meant to drive on each day… Not knowing even how to pronounce the word for ‘bread’, and walking around the town with that particular sense of vulnerability that comes with being a foreign woman alone in a new country…

It was easy, when I first arrived in Italy, to get drawn deep into the panic of having given up all my taken-for-granted familiarity. Despite the fact that there had been a fire under my arse chasing me to Italy, the first months were full of my dwelling on that familiar discomfort of a place where e.g. I was capable of talking on the phone to resolve a bureaucratic issue… where, even if I was cold and damp and miserable, at least I knew where to buy my vegan-organic goodies, and had friends aplenty to discuss Buddhism and ecstatic birth with.

The superficial mind perpetually seeks stability, pattern, anchoring: if it could, it’d probably put the brain in a jar and have it in a secure room, fed by wires and artificial nutriment. In some ways, we’re heading that way – kids not even allowed to learn from experience that fire burns and falling down on concrete breaks skin; no-one letting germs circulate their home any more; everything packaged and everything truly natural to all intents and purposes outlawed. At the end of the day, it gets good-comfy to be laid back on a soft, sterile sofa with the perfect-coloured cushions, in front of an ever-busy TV screen and munching on sugar and slurping down caffeine to keep us perky – to maintain our ‘interest’ in life.

And it’s nice to have the steady drip of a wage: the knowledge that every single month we will have a familiar amount of money deposited in our lap, which corresponds roughly to the amount that we’ll have to put out into the world. This rhythmic symmetry makes us feel like everything is under control, despite life distractions regularly popping up inconveniently.

What does it mean to throw all that comfort out, and to go out on a limb – to stand at the end of a diving board above a mysterious ocean, and to simply jump: to enter a new country and culture and start a new life from nothing… what happens? What would happen if we gave up all the comforts and trappings, and chose the unknown, the new, the unfamiliar? (Wouldn’t it destroy us? Or fuck our lives up?! Shouldn’t we be fighting with all our domesticated life force, to hold onto what small territory we have?!!)

But seriously: what happens when we up give up an old life and start in a completely new, unfamiliar place? I’ll tell you:

  1. First, it creates a void: a void is something we are all terrified of, and yet it is the space into which the better, the best, the life we REALLY WANT to be living can grow. The void – space to think, feel, to be present in – it’s one of the greatest hidden secrets of our time: the best of us are lured into this mythology of time poverty, and of being full to the brim, overstimulated, and ready for terror, in every moment of every day. We seek all kinds of therapy and antidote to this, from holidays in countries with better weather, to titillation of the senses (hard or soft) and over-indulgence: staying up late or pressing the boundary ever-so-gently, but never stepping outside of it. Ultimately however, we all seek peace and gentleness – we want to be more sensitive and quiet, and we want our day to be full of love and significance: to have this, we need the space, the void. There is no room, otherwise, and to cultivate this space, we have to wean ourselves out of the fear of not being filled up. We have to allow life to open up around and in front of us, rather than clawing to get back in the box we’ve made for ourselves.
  2. It makes us realise what inner resources we have – because we have to actually draw on them; use them. In a comfortable life, we rarely challenge ourselves beyond the fluffy yum-numb of our routine. It feels like fulfilment – but it really isn’t: the human soul needs to experience friction and challenge in order to grow, in the same way a tree needs natural soil and wild weather to get it to its potential.
  3. It makes us see that we can actually reinvent ourselves; change, travel, upheaval – particularly when they are consciously chosen rather than imposed on us – are the most useful of tools to get us to stretch our minds into what we might also be/ achieve/ dream of. Staying at home can be satisfying to a degree, but the longer we don’t stretch our legs or hearts or energy, the more accustomed we become to the atrophied version of our self which we’ve elected to prioritise.
  4. It makes us work hard; on ourselves, on our work, on our life and friendships… There is a profound satisfaction in having to make new connections, networks, structures to hold us; there is the deepest meaning and beauty in our having to build a new household, in having to harmonise a chaotic new reality, in having to learn a language and legal system, cultural and religious norms… And that hard work is more honed than it might be if we are living a stagnant life: it is more specific and necessary. Our compulsion fires up our engine, and gets us more streamlined.
  5. It brings us into a realm of raw creative flow. Most lives are full of complacency, and this sense of ‘this’ being ‘all that there is’ – why bother changing anything, if we already have someone to drink coffee and complain about the weather/ our partner/ our boss with? If someone is telling us where to go each day, and we still get to ‘wild out’ on payday by buying a new pair of shoes, or getting drunk and laughing excessively, why would we want to re-accept the power-that-flows-through-all-things-when-we-are-aligned-with-our-life-purpose?! Hmmmmmmn – I wonder.
  6. Possibly most importantly of all: putting ourselves into a new and challenging situation like moving to another country makes us appreciate the value of things: we see how hard it is to find a thing which before was always a bancomat and a supermarket trip away. We being see how communication is so much more than constructed word formations, and that a smile or being touched on the cheek can be profoundly moving, confirming our place in the world. We learn to enjoy what little we have, essentially, rather than seeking more-more-more without questioning whether a thing is really improving the quality of our life. Perhaps our values can even deepen, in time – especially if we’re immersed in a culture which is more rooted in family, spirituality, friendship and nature…

I wanted to make a statement here; yes, about what the positive side of a challenge like moving abroad can be, but also to remind folks that NONE OF THIS COMES ABOUT EASILY OR INSTANTLY OR BY LUCK – NOR CAN IT BE BOUGHT: it has to be earned, slowly and through hard graft, humility, concerted attention and commitment, love and optimism, and by pushing oneself always to be a better human being. We have to know ourselves, and then too, to know craft and hone this self into the best we can be.

I wanted to remind myself, and to folks who are inspired by what I do: none of this happened here by accident, nor was any of it handed to me on a plate. More importantly is that I came from a place of significant fear, grief, illness and imbalance: I didn’t stride over here in confidence like many people assume, throwing it all together in happy nonchalance… I arrived neurotic and shaking, overwhelmed and reactionary, paranoid and terrified, even: nothing flowed well when I got here, and I hated most things about the country and culture. There was a dark night of the soul where I KNEW that I had fucked up phenomenally: that I’d thrown it all away and had nothing, and that I was a mess-up and useless and had sabotaged my future…

And though things got a tad better when I acquired the house, and began settling my roots into this blessed land and my heart into the community, it didn’t get any easier. There was a good 6 + years of anguish and panic, interspersed with tiny blisses and occasional profound beauty… just enough to keep my spirits above the mire, but not always. I struggled with health and social stresses, with financial fears and the strain of trying to stabilise ideas and feelings in a completely different reality.

I want to express this, even if I am repeating myself over the years, because I know that many people don’t ever change their lives because they think that one should be strong, confident, healthy, in equilibrium, solvent, and sure of what one is doing, to move abroad, or to make a big life change. You don’t, you simply have to do it, e basta.

Happiness, freedom, fulfilment grow like plants in a well-tended garden: they don’t appear overnight; they flourish according to whether or not they are planted, and whether or not it’s in the right season and soil, and the good care and attention given to them. They live to their potential not through one big showy action, but through myriad small ones. They yield fruit according to the accumulation of all these tiny attentions and harmonies – and when they are happy and in the right place and time… the fruit is bountiful – and heavenly delicious… And their seeds go on to produce more and more and more life and growth and fruit.

frontpagecircle

Much love and creative power to you, Clare xx

 

RELIGIOUS RITES

Here’s a blog with some personal thoughts and feelings about the big 7-yearly religious rites which are currently underway in Guardia Sanframondi.

Clare xx

SURTHRIVAL vs SURVIVAL: HOW DO WE SPIRAL UPWARDS – RATHER THAN THE ALTERNATIVE?

DSC_0989

So for many creatives in the world, we live in a space and time that is not conducive to creative flow – not to the pure, unhindered flow of creative genius which is our birth potential, anyways…

Additionally, many of us live in an atmosphere of deep cynicism; a distorted collective view which tells us a) that life is mundane and to be endured (rather than a fucking glorious adventure, and to be celebrated daily!), and b) that we as individuals – and as the collective – are relatively powerless…

We’re reminded about this daily, and encouraged very strongly to partake in a great raft of activities which keep us bound into habits of consumption and fear – essentially.

As a human passionate about making, being, serving higher consciousness and suchlike, this bondage is likely to feel either subtly or severely limiting… and it may even lead us eventually to take a path of resistance. Which in turn might deplete our resources and sense of self…

DSC_0863

There is a middle ground: NOT a passive acceptance, but a deeper immersion, which serves both our soul and the world, which lack that meaningfulness and flow. The middle ground is not about staying stagnant, sitting on the fence, but about finding a path of peace within the storm of neuroses, power struggle, destruction, pseudo-war which is raging all around us, most of the time.

The healthy middle ground is about balance – dynamic balance – of well-being, life purpose, pleasure, nourishment… Harvesting energy, building and circulating it, that we might be more resistant to the negative storm, but in a non-combative way, a non-rigid stance – soft, moving with the weather, flexible and deeply-instinctive – that we can always gravitate towards our loves, our dreams, our hopes, our goals.

Art can help us enormously with finding the middle ground, our equilibrium: it operates on so many levels, even just ingesting visual art with the eyes… and the deeper that we delve into the creative path, into our internal creative dialogue and our positive relationship with the world… the more profound that middle ground becomes.

DSC_0996

It becomes a rich void – a secret garden – a vibrant no-man’s-land that conflict cannot touch. As we step daily into our creative space, we become uncompromisingly woven into the magic of the universe, as our flow enters the divine creative flow: it’s something which will happen even as you sit down to sketch a flower from your kitchen table; even as you touch clay for the first time, letting your fingers and subconscious explore contours which come into being so effortlessly.

Art as hobby is one thing – it can peel off layers of grey stress, which you’ve accumulated through the week. But art as a life choice, as a committed path, is quite another: there’s a momentum and potency which grow as soon as we set ourself fully on a path of creation; the universe lights up, and cheers us on.

DSC_0859

As abstract as that might sound ‘the universe lighting up and cheering us on’… try it – see how you feel when you step into your most precious creative place: do it now, or today, or this week. Listen to all the reasons your ego might come up with, to not embrace a glorious few hours of engagement with your art, and set them aside.

Stepping into a place of creation in the art sense opens up all manner of creation on other levels; our minds start to open, to be more expansive, to look towards solutions and even visions, rather than being occupied primarily with the problem. Our hearts also widen, to include, to feel, others’ perceptions – their unique energetic expression – and we start to become the flow; to feel at one with it.

For more inspiration on creative empowerment – go and see my REAL SCHOOL OF ART on TEACHABLE – the graphics and taglines are being neatened up this week, but it’s all there in glorious artistic abundance. You can also access the draft version of the school if you’re signed up to my PATREON pages.

All paintings above are available (now, or sooner-or-later) via my ETSY SHOP.

frontpagecircleClare xx

ART HOLIDAYS!!

The arthouse now has a series of windows open for folks who love art, and who’d like a one-on-one, individually tailored, painting-with-the-artist holiday: go and see VAWAA’s beautiful site, to hear more about it.

Your holiday will include prior consultation on how we’ll craft your art activity; we’ll hone in on your specific goals and needs.
We design the 4 day session just for you: you can focus on skills development, wild expressive work, creative catharsis, a personal project – or even work completely spontaneously.
I’ll be there throughout, and will also show you around this magical town, in which I’m protagonist of a growing international creative community!

It’ll be a highly inspiring break, guaranteed! A completely unique experience, super-nourishing to your creative spirit!

Please share this blog if you know someone who would love such a holiday!

Keep in touch with all my news, and with the Real School of Art, via PATREON and on THIS WEBSITE

Happy August creative expansion to you!


xx Clare 

5 COURSES – THE ART SCHOOL LAUNCHES BITE-SIZED!

Still a-working on the structure and specifics of the Real School of Art! Here’s the newsletter I sent out this week with links to the newly-created RSOA 1 – course one – MAKING SPACE TO MAKE! Yeh! It’s hard as f….. to pull this idea down into pixels, but it’s happening!

Click below for newsletter

PS It’s entirely possible that I put the WRONG LINKS in the newsletter! Here’s THE RIGHT LINK to the Real School of Art on TEACHABLE  – oh YEH!

THE ‘RUDENESS’ OF ARTISTS*

My online art school is up on Teachable – it’s a pretty damn huge achievement for me – though it’s only just phase one of the school (year one)!

The pace I set myself these past 6 months was a bit over-the-top: I had in my head to create a course which would have over 150 videos, and which would take both myself a year to create and the learning-artist a year to complete…
But at the beginning of this month, it was clear that, well, first of all, my schedule filled up with prizes, precious guests, my painting practise, and other important parallel activities… And there was a feeling of fullness already to the draft course, so I slowed to a halt with the making of videos and writing of worksheets…

THEN I realised that I had actually already made a year’s course! Holy guacamole / holy shit! My wonderful guests and patrons helped me see that, rather than my being 6 months behind, I am in fact  6 months ahead! Woohoo for over-enthusiastic ambitions and bloody hard work!

The getting of all these lessons and worksheets – I made 67 so far – into a digestible format for presentation to an audience…. Hmmmmf. That was challenging. It’s all there now, but I had to wrestle with multiple different platforms, contexts, structures, before my eureka moment.

So now the Real School of Art is finally being elegantly led into it’s right stable, as it were – no mean feat, for an artistic creative flow which is like a wild horse galloping along a high mountain top. (Wild horses don’t have much interest in stables, and in performing or behaving well…)

This has been an extraordinary year: the making of this school has been like a process of alchemy; the concentrating of the magic of creative flow, into a series of transformative compounds, medicinal bites to take the ‘artist’ into the real realm of art.

***

Working away like this, made me think a lot about how (real) artists have to occupy a slightly different realm from the average body: we have to step into a space where we disconnect from the humdrum of life, and yet somehow become even more deeply immersed in it.

This makes us – relatively speaking – more volatile than your average being. We slip easily into a transcendental state, or a dreamy thought process… This is the pre-creation state, and is utterly vital to a human being making anything which isn’t firmly anchored in logic and science; it’s the ‘gap between thoughts’ or the hazy fog before the picture clears.

We need to exist there, in order to transmute what we see around us into our art: if we’re awake, we’re working; we are interacting with the world in a completely impassive way, but we are also bypassing a lot of the pointless distraction – the chitterchatter – of the unfolding of the everyday.

This state of being-in-creative-flow becomes more enhanced, more developed, as we mature our practise, which is something to do with why artists, writers, creators, can appear strange, rude, distant, out-of-place… It’s nothing personal* – it’s simply to do with the letting go of line and convention, and of allowing ourselves to be swept into a concentrate ‘letting in’ of energy and inspiration, raw information and inner vision. The fact that we ever manage a ‘normal’ conversation, and a semblance of regular customs, is rather astonishing!

As ever, sign up on Patreon to get immediate access to the Real School of Art in all its glory of draft format (it’s hidden here inside a members-only section of this website) –  and/ or buy the course now on Teachable.

PS Big news coming up soon about VAWAA – Vacation WIth An Artist!!

* Genuine artist space-out should not be confused with actual rudeness from ego-based creative folks, which is usually about the theatre of them pretending to be more important than the average person 

LIVING IN A HIGH-RISE COUNCIL ESTATE

In response to the horrific tragedy, and all that has happened, all that’s unfolding, around #grenfelltower, I’m resharing an essay about my years in the Calder High-rise council estate in west Edinburgh, Scotland. It was written around 2008, soon after I moved out of the Calders.

view from the 12th floor, Cobbinshaw House

Part of the cause of such a violent destruction of life such as is the fire in the Grenfell tower, is the fact that your average citizen has no idea what it really means and feels like to live in a high-rise or council estate – and so they feel no need to speak out about/ take action around any of the multifarious, interwoven issues which affect such places and people. And so, issues compound and fester; problems become ensconsed and invisible to the outside world.

If we all felt more compassion for the comfort and safety of ALL OF OUR FELLOW CITIZENS; if – in particularly – the people who make decisions about such situations, who make spending decisions and check how life really is for folk there, if they felt real compassion and made significant efforts to improve the life quality, safety and security, the spiritual wellbeing of everyone in our society… then a hell-like situation as the Grenvell fire might have been guarded against, even avoided altogether.

But greed and profit above human dignity, above human safety; that is what we choose when we live capitalism, and when we support governments who are empty or heart or soul.

mural created with local kids, 2005

Before I lived in a high-rise, I had a whole section of people cordoned off in my mind:  A WHOLE SECTOR OF PEOPLE locked away in the dark, with a sort of disclaimer to the effect of ‘they choose to live there’, ‘it’s their fault it’s so messed up’, ‘it’s a bad place/ they’re bad people’, ‘I am not that kind of person’.  They were thoughts unformed, quiet prejudices which sat unchallenged… which were blasted into the open forever as soon as I stepped onto the pavements of the Calders’ estate.

Suffice to say that when I left 4 yrs later, though I was very glad to move to a more peaceful location, my consciousness was utterly transformed… My life and work were profoundly enriched for having been a part of this dynamic, intense community. The most important quality I gained, was a humility – an ability to relate to all people, rather than just the ones which I thought were ‘like me’.

I hope this essay might illustrate something of how it is to actually live in a council high-rise; the atmosphere, the psychological and emotional issues which arise, the individual and collective challenges, and the things one has to do to get by. (Be aware that it’s fairly raw, and was written in a period where I was dealing with multiple griefs and unstable health.)

ESSAY ON LIFE IN A HIGH-RISE COUNCIL ESTATE

 

NAPOLI CULTURAL CLASSIC PREMIAZIONE 2017

Video of the award presentation! // Video del premiazione!

MOTIVAZIONEscanzione

The ‘motivazione’ – the ‘motivation’ for my receiving this prestigious award // La motivazione per la mia ricezione di questo prestigioso premio

Link to Napoli Cultural Classic site, with photos of the awards event // Link al sito di Napoli Cultural Classic con più foto dell’evento

Link to La Repubblica newspaper article // Link all’articolo nel giornale La Repubblica

marcia1

It was a super-fun – though nerve-racking – adventure; from the month I spent prepping the outfit, sourcing fancy shoes and a designer handbag, and scraping petrol money together for the journey, to the unfolding of the car trip, the event itself, the after party, and long ride home… // Era un’avventura super-divertente – anche se nervosa – dal mese che ho passato a preparare l’abito, la ricerca delle giuste scarpe e borsa designer, e lottando per trovare i soldi per la benzina per il viaggio, allo svolgimento del viaggio, l’evento stesso, il dopo party, ed il lungo viaggio verso la casa…

The night was spectacular, as you’ll see from the links above: I don’t think I’ve ever been to an event so well constructed, lit, choreographed and attended! And with the invaluable help of patrons and friends, I felt the part. // La notte era spettacolare, come vedrai dai link sopra: non credo di essere mai stato in un evento così ben costruito, illuminato, coreografato e frequentato! E con l’inestimabile aiuto di patroni e amici, mi sono sentito parte.

18671119_10154353598591986_8408989662981640037_n

I received donations of: money to help me get myself and my paintings to the venues; my designer handbag; flowers which ended up in my hair; photography, bag-carrying and moral support from my beautiful friends… // Ho ricevuto donazioni di: soldi per aiutarmi ad ottenere me stesso ei miei dipinti alle sedi; la borsa designer; fiori che finivano nei miei capelli; fotografia, aiuto di portare la borsa e supporto morale dai miei bei amici…

Without all this I’d have been a whole lot less glamourous and confident – thank you, precious friends – especially Randy, Speranza, Carolyn, Anna, Marcia, Chris and Vittorio! // Senza tutto questo sarei stato un po ‘meno glamour e sicuro – grazie, amici preziosi – soprattutto Randy, Speranza, Carolyn, Anna, Marcia, Chris e Vittorio!

anna4.jpg

 It’s an extraordinary honour to be recognised by this great cultural association, and in a wider area of Italy, for my art – and to have my courage and spirituality noted and celebrated. Dedicating oneself to a non-compromised artistic path can be lonely and isolating at times; it can feel like trying to reinvent the wheel (or a better way of life for the whole planet) – at the same time as feeling awfully intangible and mysterious. Getting this award for keeping true to my inimitable path is hugely affirming. // È un onore straordinario per essere riconosciuto da questa grande associazione culturale e in una zona più ampia dell’Italia per la mia arte – e per avere il mio coraggio e spiritualità notati e celebrati. Dedicarsi a un percorso artistico non compromesso può essere solitario e isolare a volte; può sentire come tentando di reinventare la ruota (o un modo migliore di vivere per tutto la pianeta) – allo stesso tempo che sembra terribilmente intangibile e misterioso. Ottenendo questo riconoscimento per mantenere fedele al mio percorso inimitabile è fortemente affermando.

For more about the award ceremony, and a more intimate view of the life of the happy artist – go sign up on Patreon and subscribe to my newsletter // Per ulteriori informazioni sulla cerimonia di premiazione e una visione più intima della vita dell’artista felice – iscriviti o su Patreon o al mio newsletter

And if you’d like to see my paintings – go browse around my Etsy shop (keeping in mind that many works sell before appearing in the shop – subscribe to Patreon to see what’s in progress and ‘hot off the easel’!) // E se volete vedere i miei dipinti – andate a cercare il mio negozio Etsy (tenendo presente che molte opere vendono prima di apparire nel mio negozio – iscrivetevi a Patreon per vedere lavori in corso e che c’è ‘caldo dal cavalletto’!)

frontpagecircle

Many thanks for watching, Clare xx

Grazie mille per aver visto, Clare xx

EYES ON THE PRIZE… and other news!

header

MY NEWSLETTER JUST GOT MAILED OUT:

you can view it

here

#art #artist #arthouse #art school #airbnb #guardiasanframondi #artistretreat #writerretreat #creativetransformation #etsy #paintings #artforsale #newart #happyartist #livelikeahappyartist #clareartista

                frontpagecircle Clare xx