Birthing your beloved and mysterious artwork

In birthing my 3-day workshop, The Inspired Abstract, I wanted to bring together the best of all that I have to share. So I started in the way I always create magic: contemplating the spirit of the transformation that seems to be waiting to come forth. And then I embody it in an artwork.

Julie Bernstein Engelmann, “My Beloved Workshop,” 24″H x 30″W, acrylic on canvas

Over the past two years the workshop has become a living artwork for me. And when you’re involved in an artwork you see it everywhere.

Are you familiar with Marie Kondo? She wrote The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I recently saw her Netflix series and was struck by the similarities between her approach to decluttering rooms compared to my approach to bringing a painting to life. Kondo’s clients move into their desired future by learning to sort out which items spark joy.

Do you follow joy in your work? That is my ever-evolving process in art and in teaching art.

As she walked into a client’s chaotic cluttered room, Kondo said in her Japanese accent, “I love mess!” This statement startled me, because usually I think a messy room needs to be fixed. But I could see in her face the same joy I feel when I approach a student’s painting in its mid-process “beautiful mess.” I can’t wait to help the student see the spirit in their painting, which is just waiting to come out.

Try looking for the spirit of any project or painting you do. You’ll be amazed at how much help your project or the painting spirit can give you!

Another point I appreciate about Kondo is that when she enters a person’s house, her first act is to kneel, close her eyes, and introduce herself to the home. She asks it for permission and assistance to help the family move toward the future they want in that space.

What about you? If you are trying to make a change, consider asking for permission and assistance, whether from your body, your home, your future, or your creative life. In art, for me this moment of introduction and permission takes place when I contemplate on my painting inwardly before putting brush to canvas. Additionally, I’m aware I can only really help a student with their painting when I listen to their painting spirit. Now I will make a point to ask inwardly for permission as well.

Julie Bernstein Engelmann, “Dream of Learning to Paint,” 20″H x 24″W, acrylic and latex on canvas

A final interesting point is that in releasing the objects that do not spark joy, Kondo has her clients thank them first. What unpreferred parts of your life could be released more easily if you thanked them first? In art, a lot of frustration is saved by realizing that every awful choice turns to gold when it is layered over and peeking through. 

Come introduce yourself to the spirit of your mysterious and beloved artwork. Follow what sparks joy and embody your magic in paint. Please join me in The Inspired Abstract.

Three opportunities:

1. Coming right up this Sun-Tue, Feb 17-19 at the Sedona Arts Center. This one is for the late risers among us. It will go from noon to 6 or 7 pm each day.

2. March 29-31 at the Visual and Textile Arts of Tucson. They were kind enough to put out a beautiful promotional webpage. Although I have to say, my chest has never merited such a featured headline before 😉

3. May 3-5 at the Sedona Arts Center. This one takes place during normal hours!

 

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