The Artful Life » Blog

a retreat, a mystery school, and a big move

bronwyn I am continually humbled by the wise magic of our life cycles. We live in a culture where movement and novelty and continual growth are idealized, and rest and fallow periods and times of quiet retreat are seen as a waste. Yet we all experience these deep cycles of change and renewal in our lives, we all require periods of rest and introspection and stillness as well as periods of intense expansion and activity. We don’t always see the beauty and necessity of the fallow times, and they can become periods of self-criticism, even depression. But if we embrace the lessons of nature, of the moon, of the seasons, of all organic life and indeed of our own bodies, we see that periods of dark stillness always precede periods of intense outward growth.

I’ve been lying fallow for a couple of years now. I’ve still been busy, I’ve made some things I am really proud of, and I have grown tremendously in inner wisdom… but I have felt a bit as if I had dropped the main creative thread of my life. In fact it dropped into the dark, below my conscious perceptions, but has continued to weave a rich pattern which only now is becoming visible to me.  And now it seems that 2017 will be a period of intense creative activity. And I’m very excited. I’m very grateful to have you along for the journey, and thankful for your presence even through the dark quiet times. Thank you.

ginger So here are a few things that are coming up next year…

This is my beautiful friend Kerina. She just moved into a villa in the country just outside of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Her long term plan is to create a retreat center here, for women to come and heal and learn and make art and more. This year, she invited only two leaders to offer retreats here, the incredible ceramic artist Caroline Douglas, and myself. Caroline and I will be offering back-to-back retreats in late February early March 2017. This will be probably the most affordable retreat I will ever offer, and you should come. You should probably come to BOTH retreats! You can learn all about it here. san-miguel-retreat-3

And this is my beautiful friend Nikiah. She is a wise-woman and priestess and the founder of the Red Moon Mystery School, a year-long program of initiation into women’s mysteries. She is doing the important work of reclaiming the sacred feminine, and she has invited me to contribute a small module each month to her program. My contribution will be for the women in their menopausal years. This is an exciting collaboration! Now, more than ever, we need to tap into the great strength we have as women united. Nikiah will be joining me on the Vivid Conversations podcast in December too!

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As I enter into these exciting collaborations, I’m also making a big change in my own life. After 15 years, we’re leaving our rural island property to start a new phase of life “in town.” I’m thrilled about the move and our new community (a cute beach village) and our new place (swanky waterfront apartment) and I’m excited and curious to see what new channels my creativity will flow into with this change. Right now I’m in the surrounded-by-boxes phase, doing my best to keep it all calm and artful… you can always follow along on Instagram to share the emotional and exciting process of change with me… I’d love to see you there.

xo love

Bronwyn

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have you set your intentions for august?

FullSizeRender(13) 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.

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Welcome Back to the Artful Life!

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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.

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Have You Set Your Goals for February?

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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

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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.

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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!