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Art, Space, Nature: Notes from the island

by Kathleen Horne

I am thinking about our upcoming Dive In to Expressive Arts Workshop at Hollyhock, Cortes Island, B.C., – August 29 to September 2.

Look deep into nature, and you will understand everything better.

Albert Einstein

What is it about a natural, pristine setting, that makes a perfect venue for entering into the deep exploratory creative space of Expressive Arts?

Cortes Island

As I sit, now, experiencing the shoreline, the cedar trees, the sparkling water and soft breeze, tuned in to all my senses, a single word arrives: Spacious. For me, to explore myself creatively, I need and want some space. What that means is the freedom to attend to myself,  witness my own shifting moods and emotions, attend to the needs of my body, notice my inhale and exhale. I may move more slowly, attuning myself to my own rhythm. I may rest more, take more walks and swims, pay attention to the moon, stars, and tides, and remember my dreams. I am likely to eat locally grown food, and stop on the road or path to have actual conversations with people in the course of my day.

 

 

Cortes Island trail

 

Another word arrives. Held. This word speaks of containment. It means soft, loving, yet firm boundaries around me, positioning me in a place where I really am free to explore. A container that doesn’t constrict me in any way, yet gently holds me so that I know I am safe, cared for, and valued. A container that I can trust, appreciate, and not have to think about. A container I can count on, as a gentle, loving, unobtrusive presence. A container within which I feel free.

 

 

 

Art work by Kathleen Horne

 

Spacious containment. The natural world holds me, offers me an intimate remembering of rhythms – cycle of the days, of the moon, of the tides, the seasons. By being with those rhythms, I feel the echo of them deep within me, attuning me to myself. Not the self I think I should be, but the self I am, in this moment. The natural world bathes me in expansiveness, vastness, possibility.

When I am in this spacious state, I am aware of, in tune with my own creativity. The images of the outside, literal world echo and resonate within me, bringing forth images of the imaginal world, sometimes surprising me as they show up on paper on canvas. I do not tune out the sounds of my environment – I invite them in to become a part of my ever evolving inner landscape.

The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.

Pablo Picasso

Cortes Island, in its wild, natural beauty, opens me up to my own creative possibilities and attunes me the natural cycles of the earth, and of myself. On August 29-September 2, Tamara Teeter Knapp and I will guide a creative immersion workshop here on Cortes, at Hollyhock.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I cannot imagine a more perfect container for a dive in to Expressive Arts. Hollyhock is operated and managed in harmony with the land and sea that it is built on. When you come to Hollyhock, you are held – gently and beautifully. The setting of forest and sea, the accommodations, the staff, the magnificent garden and the exquisite food – ah! – this is a place where you can fully experience the spaciousness and expansiveness of nature, while knowing there is a wonderfully crafted container that holds and supports you in your inner journey.

 

 

 

 

Maybe you will join us here. (we hope so :-))

Or, maybe you will be inspired to find yourself somewhere, in a beautiful, natural spot – a place where you can experience spaciousness. A place where you are held in beauty. Your creativity will flourish and you will be renewed.

Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence. Hal Borland

More about our workshop here.

Registration and details here

 

Kathleen Horne and Tamara Teeter Knapp are two of the three co-founders of Expressive Arts Florida Institute, an internationally-acclaimed certificate training program in intermodal expressive arts. www.expressiveartsflorida.com

Kathleen and Tamara at Hollyhock 2017

 

 

 

Questions? Email us at create@expressiveartsflorida.com

Watch these 2 videos on the Hollyhock blog

Want an introduction to Hollyhock?

  • Watch the Welcome Video below!

Kathleen and Tamara, our wonderful facilitators/teachers/guides, created a welcoming, safe, and inclusive atmosphere for this amazing workshop. I quickly shed any reservations I had about participating in the various forms of creative, expressive activities. The moments we shared in their presence provided opportunities for learning, creating, and reflecting that I found to be transformational. This program surpassed my expectations and I feel so fortunate to have been a participant.  Carolyn S., 2017 workshop participant at Hollyhock

 

 

5-MINUTE MOVEMENT PRACTICE

In the middle of a busy day, Tamara goes to her expressive arts practice to check in and re-center.

What does it take? Five minutes of time, a little space to move, a paper taped to the wall and a box of crayons.

You don’t have to be a dancer, or an artist.  You can find your own practice, in your own way, and within your capabilities. Pause, and listen within. Your body holds the wisdom. Colors and marks on the paper make it visible. Words come spontaneously, bringing a message.

Breathe. Exhale. You can do this.

A short creative pause can change your day.

Are you ready for a brief introduction or a deep immersion?

Join us live and online for our next Expressive Arts Discovery Virtual Workshop.

Join Tamara Teeter Knapp and Kathleen Horne at Hollyhock:

Dive In to Expressive Arts at Hollyhock August 29-September 2.

Watch a longer video of Tamara’s movement practice here.

Tamara Teeter Knapp and Kathleen Horne at Hollyhock, B.C.

IMAGES SPEAK WISDOM

What if?

Your creative wisdom is present, always, and a potential source of power in your life.

What if?

You can create space for this wisdom to emerge, as part of your daily life.

What if?

You can develop a simple, enjoyable arts practice that increases mindful self-awareness and more authentic living.

I would like to help you get started!

by Kathleen Horne, Expressive Arts Florida Institute

Here are 3 images I created spontaneously over the past few weeks.

As I reviewed them, and re-read their messages, I became aware of an unfolding theme that is currently present in my life. Watch and listen.

 

As a long-time expressive arts facilitator and therapist, I am fully engaged in a wide and exciting variety of arts practices, including movement, sound, visual art, rhythm, writing, ceremony and more.

And, when I distill my practice down to its essence, it consists of these steps:

  1. Get quiet and tune inward.
  2. Make an image – spontaneously.
  3. Give the image a voice and let it speak.
  4. Write down what it says.
  5. Look and listen, with your eyes, your heart, and your body.
  6. Trust the wisdom that arrives, and weave it into your life.

Are you ready to get started?

You don’t need a lot of time.

Whether you spend 15 minutes or 2 hours, you will access your own creative wisdom.

You don’t need a lot of supplies.

Just a piece of paper, and some markers or crayons will do just fine.

Here you go!

  1. Gather the materials you have.
  2. Set aside 15 minutes or so of uninterrupted time.
  3. Listen to the “in this moment” guided meditation.
  4. Allow a spontaneous image to arrive on the page.
  5. Look at your image, with curiosity. Turn it around, and look from different orientations.
  6. Notice what you see, and what you feel, in your body.
  7. Imagine your image has a voice.
  8. Write the words, “I am……..” and, imagining that your image is speaking, write down what it says.
  9. Re-read your writing. Be open. Be curious. Let go of the question: “What does it mean?”
  10. Notice, over the next few days, how the message of your image begins to “make sense” in the context of your life.

Do you want to share in community?

Join our Facebook Group – Your Personal Expressive Arts Practice.

Do you have questions or want to learn more?

Expressive Arts embraces visual art, movement, drama, music,  writing, rhythm, and other creative process to create personal growth, community development, and social change.

Do you want a deep immersion?

Dive In to Expressive Arts at Hollyhock this August!

In a pristine and abundant natural setting, visual art, movement, writing, rhythm, voice, guided meditation, and ceremony are woven together to create a meaningful re-connection with deep inner wisdom.

Tamara Teeter Knapp and Kathleen Horne at Hollyhock, B.C.

Kathleen and Tamara, our wonderful facilitators/teachers/guides, created a welcoming, safe, and inclusive atmosphere for this amazing workshop. I quickly shed any reservations I had about participating in the various forms of creative, expressive activities that enriched our time as a group. The moments we shared in their presence provided opportunities for learning, creating, and reflecting that I found to be transformational. This program surpassed my expectations and I feel so fortunate to have been a participant.  Carolyn S., 2017 Hollyhock Workshop participant

 

The element of Water shows me the way

by Kathleen Horne

This image emerged in our last Tending the Creative Fire Virtual Mini-Retreat. Although very gentle in appearance, she brought me a powerful and lasting message from the energy of the element WATER.
This is the writing that emerged after the art-making:
I am created by water, and the tender fire grows within me, occupying the space of my heart.
 
I am encircled by the waters of life and those waters flow through me, and all around me.
 
Rather than arms I seem to have wings, or leaves, which allow me to balance and soar through life, as well as to tenderly enfold all that needs protection.
 
My eyes are closed, not to shut the world out, but to attend to the pulse of life within.
 
Although I am the embodiment of water, I appear to be firmly planted and steadily held, with new growth appearing within my roots.

My head is encircled by spirit and nature, and beams of creative energy radiate outwards.

If you rest your head against my heart, I will enfold you with my wings, whisper in your ear, and share my wisdom with you.
 
I was rather in awe at what I tapped into. Although just a quick painting, she now occupies a place of honor in my studio. I feel calmer, and in touch with my own wisdom and peace, whenever I look at her. She helps me to remember to look within, to reconnect with my own source of power.
The image alone would be powerful, without the words. And the words add so much, connecting, in a way, the unconscious and conscious realms. The words bring the message of the image into the cognitive realm, where I can make sense of it in my life.
The image and the words are inter-related. The words could not have come without the image first. And, in this case, the image likely would not have emerged without me engaging in some meditation and movement, before painting. The power of the process rests in its intermodal nature.
If you would like to join us virtually, to explore the arts, and yourself, in this way, we would love to welcome you and guide you!

Images “arrive”. I don’t “make” them.

by Kathleen Horne

IMAGES ARRIVE

In the last Expressive Arts Discovery Virtual Workshop, this is the image and writing that “arrived” for me.

And yes, that is how I think of it. An arrival, rather than something I make.

Why? It truly is a discovery process, a mindfulness practice, an opportunity to make a little space/time, to tune in to a deeper knowing through image and writing, and discover what is just below the surface of awareness. What comes always carries a message for me. Sometimes it is a surprise; sometimes it simply makes more clear what I already know. It always gives me a new perspective, because it is coming through the arts, not through my mind. It is coming from that deeper place that the arts access. That place I like to call: creative wisdom.

So, here is what came. Quickly. In my journal. First, the image. Then (from the image) the writing.

I am living at the center of my experience, feeling the layers that emanate out of the purple core. The layers move out from me, creating my life – its activities, and rhythms. 

The layers also hold and support me from the outside – the Earth, my family, my work, my community. 

I feel good – rested and energized – inhabiting this  central place, giving and receiving, offering support and  being supported.

I do not always reside here – sometimes I move far away, like a distant planet circling the sun, but today, in this moment, I live here, in the center of my experience, and I treasure and celebrate that.

 

CREATIVE WISDOM

Having all of this show up on the page was profound. (It always is.) From it, I learned that I was operating from a good, centered, place – in control of creating my life, and also feeling supported from the outside. Did I know that before this experience? In some ways, yes, but I was not really paying attention, not tuning in, not feeling it in my body.  The experience of a brief guided meditation, a 15-minute image, and a short writing gave me the gift of attuning to my deeper experience, and feeling it – physically, emotionally, cognitively. And, from there, I went about the rest of my day in a much more mindful way.

THE IMAGE CONTINUES TO SIMMER

It is a few weeks since this experience, and I am still reaping the benefits. The image and writing are in my visual journal, which I open, look at, and work in (however briefly) almost every day. The image also now resides in my inner experience, and I can call it to mind whenever I want. It has become sort of an inner compass for me, a picture of myself when I am operating from a centered place. It helps me to notice my current state: am I experiencing myself at the center of my life, or somewhere else? If I am feeling out of balance, can I take a deep breath, and say these words to myself?

I feel good – rested and energized – inhabiting this  central place, giving and receiving, offering support and  being supported.

It helps.

AND ALL THIS HAPPENED IN A VIRTUAL WORKSHOP?

Yes, and I have to say that I still find that amazing! Not only that, but I was leading the guided meditation and co-facilitating the workshop!

We have been doing 90 minute virtual workshops – Expressive Arts Discovery – about once a month, for a year or so now. This is how it goes:

  1. We gather, from anywhere in the world, through Zoom video, which is very user friendly. Everyone can see each other. We all introduce ourselves, open “the circle”, and set some ground rules and guidelines.
  2. We lead a meditation, and everyone moves directly into some visual art-making time, in their own space (staying in the room, but usually off-camera).
  3. We then give some gentle prompts for exploration of the image, perhaps through movement, and then writing.
  4. Everyone returns to “the circle”, on camera, and we all witness the images and writing (in whatever way each person wants. It is also fine to pass) For us, witnessing means, simply being present and receiving – taking in the image with our eyes and heart. Not commenting
  5. In the final few minutes, we all do some sharing. Anything you want to say about what happened for you, what you noticed, what you learned, etc.

There is no interpreting nor critiquing. There is no required level of “art skill”. We create a safe container for creative exploration and sharing. Sometimes people post their images in our FB group – Your Personal Expressive Arts Practice – if they want to share with others.

We started these workshops as sort of an experiment. We wanted to reach more people and facilitate a sense of tribe, without geographical limitations. They have far exceeded my expectations about what we might create in virtual space. I have met people from around the world,  have shared a beautiful connection and a sense of community, without having actually “met” them. We can definitely use the miracle of technology to support the power of the arts.

I will keep sharing my practice by writing these blog posts. I hope my sharing inspires you in some way.

Kathleen Horne

Each of these Expressive Arts Discovery workshops is $27. Here are the dates of the next ones:

Thursday July 6 7-8:30 pm EASTERN time.

Tuesday Aug. 15 7-8:30 pm EASTERN time

Tuesday Sept. 12 7-8:30 pm EASTERN time

Here is the link with details and registration.

Tending the Creative Fire

Virtual Mini Retreats

$75

Sunday August 27, 1-5 pm EASTERN – We explore the element of EARTH, and how it relates to our creative practice.

Here is the link with details and registration.

Do you have questions? Email us.

Do you think that an online workshop can’t possibly work, you don’t have the tech skill, or you won’t feel connected? Here is what Sue had to say.

 I was very excited when I learned about the Expressive Arts Discovery virtual group. It had been far too long since I had traveled to Sarasota for an in person training, and I longed to once again connect with other expressive artists. I never doubted that Kathleen, Victoria, and Tamara would facilitate a wonderful experience, but I wondered whether I would be able to fully engage and connect to strangers sharing an online experience. What I found was a surprisingly easy connection, as the threads that wove our virtual experience, words, and images together were shared and witnessed. I can’t wait to do this again!
Sue Keston

If you want something a little longer and more in-depth, try our Tending the Creative Fire Mini-Retreats

We welcome you to experience the power of creative community!

Your facilitators,

Victoria, Tamara, Kathleen