Wolves In The Woods

Wolf Blue 2.jpg

Welcome to the summer blog post, its been a rather busy time for me so I’ve not been able to post for a few months. Here is the latest on whats been inspiring me, the importance of imagination, and of course a little something about wolves! I hope you enjoy the news.

Yesterday I took an evening walk down the River Dart. The beauty of the trees and the diversity of species filled me with happiness, oak, beech, lime, holly, elder, hazel and many more. The shapes of the leaves, the summer evening smells, the height and size of some of the older trees, all aspects of the tree kingdom had my full attention. I’ve always loved trees and from a child have spent a lot of time in woods and forests. I then looked across the river and saw a cluster of woods full of pine trees and within them wolf faces appeared, coming through the tree tops. I smiled, as on a retreat in February I looked onto the same stretch of woods and over those days another children’s story came through to me. Wolves and woods are in my field and it's fair to say I’ve had a long love for images and nature programmes to do with wolves.

I’ve had a number of wolf stories come about over the last 15 years from experiences I’ve had in the natural environment, one of them being whilst I was in the Snowdonia National Park, deep in the woods, and another in Devon, close to Dartmoor in the snow in the woods. The Snowdonia experience occurred whilst I was on a training retreat in a cottage and a husky came into the cottage in the middle of the night, yes thats right, a husky visiting us in the middle of the night, but just before it did, I was asleep and dreamt of a wolf coming into my bedroom and waiting at the foot of my bed for me to wake up. What happens next was truly beautiful and one of those special life experiences one never forgets. I will save sharing what happened with the huski-wolf for another time as in February this year the memory of this experience in Snowdonia came through to me very vividly and another children’s story was born directly from this experience. It’s a magical story and one day in the near future I hope this also makes the bookshop shelf.

Imagination is a wonderful form of creativity and life-force working the brain in a healthy way, it also fosters enjoyment and happiness. There’s a lovely story about a little girl in a classroom and she’s drawing a picture;

The art teacher asks, “What are you drawing?“
The little girl says, “I’m drawing god.”
The teacher kind of chuckles and says, “Honey, no one knows what god looks like.”
The little girl immediately looks up and says, “They will in a moment.”

For children and adults alike lets keep on nurturing our imagination and creativity.

Summer good wishes to you all,
SOPHIA ☆

Artwork © Sophia England

 

 

Art From The Heart - Sharpham House

Sharpham House low res.jpg

Through various experiences over the last months I’ve had the words “Cultivate Joy” come to mind a number of times. I recently went on a mindfulness retreat at Sharpham House in Devon. It’s a rather special place in many ways, alongside the beautiful Georgian House and natural setting, the approach delivered at Sharpham nurtures mindfulness with heart, which is a value I hold close. One way I regularly cultivate joy / enjoyment, is through making my art, art from my heart.

I’d taken a travel art kit to Sharpham in case I felt the call to get creative. One morning after a meditation I was touched by the togetherness our washing up team had whilst we were in silence, there was enthusiasm, sense of fun and camaraderie. On the following day after a meditation I heard the words “Cultivate Joy” again, and then saw a heritage print of Sharpham House in the Tudor period on the wall in one of the rooms, both these experiences generated inspiration. We were very blessed with the weather at Sharpham, it was the end of February and each day we had warm sunshine and blue skies, and so felt a call to take my art materials and sketchbook outside and respond expressively to the landscape along with my feelings of inspiration.

 
Cultivating Joy post.jpg
Old Sharpham house.jpg

In my early thirties I had a big shift in the way I created art, a more instinctive organic way started to unfold, it was a complete change in content too, animals started to come through into my work, many via dreams and these were my point of inspiration. Again a few years later I had another clear insight to cultivate joy using colour and expressive mark making.

My process has naturally developed over the years into a more spacious and intuitive approach, a form of mindful creative practice. This way of making art creates health and creative flow for me and I thought to share a bit more on this.

Creative process: Firstly I am inspired by creating from heart-led inspiration, something I am touched by, find beautiful or has a special connection or memory and I take time to be present with this connection. I then set the space picking inspiring colours, favourite materials and lay them out carefully, this creates enjoyment for me and feels like a special treat like a child going into a sweetie shop and deciding what favourites to have. I approach each creative space with a beginners mind, a child-like innocence and playfulness and from this way of creating each time I find something special occurs both in the process of making and the art created. It’s hard to express in words the quality of what makes it so special, it brings about many sensations, but two main feelings are genuine happiness and sense of peace. Afterwards I slowly clean and tidy and give myself good time to do this. I re-set the studio or desk space up for the next day. This tidying time also allows me to gently reflect, appreciate my work and most importantly take time to enjoy the beauty of what I have created. And here is the loop again back to cultivating joy.

When I’ve taught creatively and applied this gentle way of making in the session people have a very different view of their creations, both in adult and child groups. I’ve seen they have more appreciation of their creativity and lean more easily to enjoyment and play, it’s special to witness.

This week I put a note on my table:
“Continue to do that which cultivates joy ♡”, and put a heart next to it.

Wishing you all a gentle unfolding into Spring,

SOPHIA ☆

Content & Artwork © Sophia England