The Artful Life » Blog

Welcome Back to the Artful Life!


It’s that time again – time to create your monthly vision board and goals.

This ritual has become a valued moment of self-reflection for me each month, and the collages, which I create directly in my planner, become touchstones for how I want to feel throughout the month. I check in with the image almost every day, and it helps me to stay focused on my most important goals, and to keep my mood positive and my actions aligned with my greater vision for my life. If you’d like to learn more about my process and how to make a goals collage yourself, read this post. If you’d like to see my monthly goals collages over the years, go here.

I’m a little late getting to my goals collage this month… April has already been exciting, fiery, and full… how has it been for you? Have you been finding time for creativity, and time for self-care?

I want to share with you that my art practice has been languishing for the past year or two. When I see this happen in other artist’s lives, I know what it is. I know it is a necessary period of dormancy, a period that always precedes a creative re-awakening, and usually precedes a big leap forward in their art practice. Of course it has been hard for me to see my own artless time in this light. Two years ago we closed the doors on our ceramics business, Terra Home Ceramics, a venture I had poured my heart, soul, and creative energy into for seven years. I made so many beautiful things, brought that beauty into so many homes; I worked hard and created beauty that will last a lifetime… and I learned so much and expanded my craft and my design vocabulary and had so many adventures! It was hard to let go. The period of grieving was long. I didn’t really recognize that I was grieving that venture until a friend pointed out that perhaps the reason I was having difficulty committing wholeheartedly to new ventures was that I hadn’t really let go of Terra Home. I needed to mark the ending and move on. Rituals of release are so important when we let go of things we love that can no longer be part of our lives.

Of course my friend was right. I still had so much love and energy tied up in something that was over. Letting go is not my strong suit. But I am learning. I packed up the ceramics studio, boxed up so many gorgeous tiles and gave many of them away to grateful friends. I am doing my best to move on emotionally. And energy is opening up in new creative areas. It is really opening up. I can’t wait to share some of that with you here.

I’m easing back in to the artful life and The Artful Life. If you are like me, you may find you awaken creatively at this time of year… you feel more drive to create, to learn, to flex your art muscles. As a way of welcoming you, and myself, back to the Artful Life, I’ve created a free email series based on my Nine Keys to an Artful Life… each day for ten days, starting on April 13 (that’s day after tomorrow!) you’ll receive a creative prompt in your in-box. Each prompt will be based on one of the Nine Keys. Some will be art journaling prompts, some will be life activities, some will be written prompts, and ALL of them will be fun, short, and doable. Want to come along? Just join my email list and you’ll receive all nine prompts, starting Wednesday. If you are already on my list, you don’t need to do anything, the prompts will come to you automagically!

Say hi in the comments if you like, I’ve missed you.


share post:join my mailing list

Have You Set Your Goals for February?


It’s that time again – time to create your monthly vision board and goals.

This ritual has become a valued moment of self-reflection for me each month, and the collages, which I create directly in my planner, become touchstones for how I want to feel throughout the month. I check in with the image almost every day, and it helps me to stay focused on my most important goals, and to keep my mood positive and my actions aligned with my greater vision for my life. If you’d like to learn more about my process and how to make a goals collage yourself, read this post. If you’d like to see my monthly goals collages over the years, go here.

As one of my favourite astrologers said, “For 2016, February is the new January!” I know I’m not the only one who spent January feeling just a little bit stuck in the mud. But as the calendar shifted, my mood lifted, and I feel ready now to jump in to 2016 with both feet.

What are you doing to jump-start your creativity this year? I’m back to my daily art journaling practice, focusing mostly on pen and ink and watercolour illustrations, and infatuated as always with food illustration. To keep myself accountable I’m following along with a couple of art journaling challenges: weekly challenges from Journal 52, and daily drawings with the #cbdrawadaychallenge. Fun!

Let me know in the comments what you are doing to indulge your creativity in the new year.

Bronwyn Simons

share post:join my mailing list

paint spills

20artfuldays4b 20artfuldays4c For today’s #20artfuldays spill I’m sharing spilled paint. These are pieces in progress for a series I started working on last fall when I got back from California. My natal Moon and Venus are both in the sign of Cancer in the First House. In a nutshell, this means that my self expression – the self I show to the world – is all about feelings and beauty and art and sensuality and the sacred feminine. I wanted to deal with this directly in these paintings, with images of traditional Venus figures, and the Moon, and big beautiful emotional spills of paint. I’ve stalled out on this work, and I’m hoping by sharing the work in progress, a new infusion of creative energy will be set in motion and more will happen on these canvases.

Are there any creative projects that have stalled in your life? What are they? What inspired you and why did you stop? Would you like to start again? What would help you to start? Share in the comments.


share post:join my mailing list

Joanne yeadon - These are beautiful paintings! I love the colour combinations. I have a shed full of stuff awaiting transformation into a weaving studio…..I will start tommorrow!

habit, addiction, and pleasure

20artfuldays3 After promising daily spills, I have ended up a little tongue-tied. What makes me think, says the inner voice, that my expressions of mundane life could be of any interest or merit? Well, perhaps they aren’t. But my exercise, my challenge to myself nonetheless, was to share.

As part of this challenge to myself, this exploration of pleasure, I’m abstaining from a few of my habitual comforts for the duration. In the interest of not succumbing to replacement pleasures, not being seduced by numbness, and allowing my body’s natural chemistry the opportunity to provide me with some euphoria via the miracle of natural endorphins (which get suppressed by intervening chemicals like alcohol and sugar.)

It’s good to give up our habitual comforts for a stretch from time to time. There’s surely a reason that most spiritual paths include traditional times of fasting or abstinence. We need to spend some time awake to our sensations and give our bodies and intuition a chance to breathe freely. Sure, it’s uncomfortable – but that’s the idea. To allow a raw interface with the natural discomfort of existence, and to know ourselves better by observing how we respond.

I’m reading Tommy Rosen’s book about addiction. His idea is that all of us can benefit from examining the roots of addiction, because we all struggle with addiction in some area of our lives. He defines addiction as any behaviour you continue to do despite the fact that it brings negative consequences into your life. He says

Addiction carries a frequency all its own. If your mind-body is attuned to the frequency of addiction, you will be under the influence of the energy addiction brings. It will affect the way your entire reality unfolds for you. Your thinking will skew negative and feel quite loud, if not completely overwhelming at times. You will have a sense that something is lacking, and you will be disconnected from your body and intuition. Instead of living a life that attracts harmony and flow… you will feel like you are swimming upstream in life.

The idea is, if we can break the chains of habit that bind us to false, numbing ‘pleasures,’ we can begin the process of connecting more directly with life – engaging in authentic experience, which includes discomfort and pain, but also gives access to deeper more authentic levels of pleasure than we can experience if we are habitually numbing ourselves to discomfort through our ‘addictions,’ whatever they may be.

Maybe this is why we are so attracted to the idea of ‘cleanses.’ We really do crave that direct contact with life, that direct access to our bodies and intuition, that comes from taking a break from our habitual coping mechanisms. But maybe the ‘cleanse’ needs also to include lots of room for self reflection, as well as lots of room for healthy pleasures and comforts.

What habits bind you? How can you begin to gently loosen their grasp, and reclaim your vivid experience of life’s raw and authentic feeling?

share post:join my mailing list

Marilyn - Dear Bronwyn
It’s a pleasure and privilege to read all of your posts. Your sharing is always
beautiful and relevant. Welcome back on the artful life! I love your work on sacred menopause but it is also really nice to have you here. Xoxo Marilyn

Bronwyn - Thank you so much Marilyn xoxo

It’s my pleasure


So I’ve been on a little sojourn. In fact, the foundations of my life have been shifting, in the very best way. New explores and momentous changes. The Artful Life has been quietly awaiting my return – now it is time – I’m craving vivid blossoms and beach walks and luscious splashes of paint, I’m craving pink and turquoise, I’m craving the company, virtual and physical, of beautiful artful women, women who make gorgeous creative messes and take chances and spill paint and squeeze the juice out of life and know their own pleasure – vivid creative women – I have missed talking to my tribe!!! Starting today, I’m doing #20artfuldays on the blog – daily sharing, jumping back in at the messy creative deep end of life – please join me – I’ve missed you!

Now, I love my life. I’m filled with gratitude daily. But I have been noticing a tendency lately – a very subtle tendency – to shrink away from sensation. I think we all develop this to a certain degree, as a natural consequence of living and accumulating the wounds of life. We are all more or less wounded, we are all more or less resilient. And we all, when hurt, will shrink. But it can become a habit. And when it becomes a habit, we find ourselves shrinking not only from pain, but from all sensation. Including pleasure. And once we start to shrink from pleasure, well, that is the dark cloud of depression just starting to show itself on the horizon.

So what to do? Lean in to your pleasure. Allow vivid spills and deep plunges. Savour. Breathe deeply and bathe in sensation. Cultivate sensual courage. Create space for sensation.

I’m not talking about being seduced by the false pleasures here… I’m not talking about justifying binges or trading authentic feeling for the euphoria followed by numbness that comes from our shadowy indulgences (whether they be cupcakes or wine, netflix or overwork.) I’m talking about real pleasure, the kind that takes courage, the kind that requires vulnerability, softness, and being vividly awake.



I’ve set myself a little challenge, a challenge to learn how to open to more vitality and pleasure. I’m diving deep for twenty days. Here’s what I wrote in  my journal:

I’m beginning to see this as a time of awakening guided by pleasure. The habits of numbing that I’ve developed over a lifetime in response to pain and stress are now preventing me from opening to pleasure in the ways that I am being drawn to. Whenever I start to take REALLY good care of myself, though, I start to get glimpses of natural euphoria and grounded joy. Maybe that scares me, because I sure seem to run away from it, back to the soothing old numbing ‘pleasures’ which no longer inspire me…. So I am challenging myself these next twenty days to seek – and explore – real pleasure. I already know the places to start with this. I know to start with movement and moderation, with nature and art, with rest and touch, with creative work and clean food. In all of these things I will seek and notice pleasure. I will seek and notice the pulse, the sensual opening, the heart opening. I’m afraid this is going to be too hard, and that I will fail myself. so let my actions be deep and deliberate, cautious but persistent, consistent, strong, powerful, momentous. Let me point myself in this direction, yoke up, and go!

So many things help me to cultivate this kind of pleasure in my life:

  • eating and drinking clean
  • loving my body with movement that’s fun, like yoga or dance or running in the woods
  • journaling
  • making art with no agenda
  • being deeply in nature
  • prayer
  • making things pretty and making pretty things
  • flowers
  • gorgeous fragrances
  • vivid colours
  • reading!
  • touch. lots of touch.

And another one of them is writing – even a little bit – right from the growing edge of my experience, right from my tender heartspace. So I am committing to do that, here, for you, every day for twenty days. My goal is to share some little vivid spills of life here every day. #20artfuldays. I’ll be documenting this on Instagram too, if you want to visit me there I’d love to see you. And if you want to join me on this adventure, just commit to taking the next twenty days to notice and cultivate your true pleasures daily. You can play along on social media with #20artfuldays. What are your authentic pleasures?

Thank you for being here.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
share post:join my mailing list