Monday, July 20, 2015

Knocking down the walls of the Labyrinth

Through the Thinning Veils, Galia Alena, mixed media painting
Through the Thinning Veil
I disappeared into the labyrinth of this painting. It is one I started ages ago, last year sometime. Perhaps it was about the second or third in this series. As often happens when I start more than one painting at a time, one pulls forward with stories to tell, paths to follow and I have naught else to do but to obediently follow. The result is that the others get abandoned, left to go stale. Quietly they taunt me from the corner of the studio. Several times I look at them in an attempt to find my way back in. Never to any avail.

WIP- Through the Thinning Veils, Galia Alena, mixed media painting

The thing is that I'm no longer the same person that started this painting so trying to find the thread of where I was originally heading is no longer possible, like trying to step into the same river twice. The person who started this one had a child in primary school, and hadn't been to Paris or London for decades. She also hadn't painted the other dozen or so in the same series, a series which took an unexpected turn of its own. I thought I'm never going to finish this and that's ok, if I don't finish it, don't resolve it, I could leave it a question.

WIP- Through the Thinning Veils, Galia Alena, mixed media painting

Contemplating this, I decide just to paint, to risk all, to cover bits I like in order to find others I liked better. To just watch and see. So the painting becomes a labyrinth, one which one must enter deeper, risking getting totally lost in the hopes of finding treasure and the way out. I also learned that sometimes the only way through a labyrinth is to knock down and rebuild the walls entirely.

And so I paint- layering and layering, burying and uncovering, risking and finding, detached and curious- just watching. Practicing the Practice.

Detail- Through the Thinning Veils, Galia Alena, mixed media painting

In other news, registration for Camera Craft is now open. If you would love to hone your Camera Craft skills and be inspired by some amazing photographers, pop over here for the details:

Camera Craft- Online Photography Workshop, e-course, Galia Alena

Friday, July 10, 2015

Guiding Stars

Deep Listening 
Women need to be witnessed and heard. By listening compassionately and neither judging nor giving advice, we can hold each other, see each other, honour each other and support both our own and each other’s wisdom to heal ourselves.
✯ Begin in Wonder ✯
Curiousity ✯ Play ✯ Staying Open ✯ Experiment  ✯ Trust ✯ Attention
✯ Trust ✯
 Yourself (you’ve got this)
   Each Other (confidentiality in circle)
   Process (no judging, just witness)
✯  Intuition (Deep listening to yourself).
Mistakes are impossible. The page is both a place of safety and freedom, it can take whatever you want to give it. Things which might be considered “mistakes” are opportunities to create something new and to see what is being triggered. Safety of the Circle- this is a non-judgement zone- we’re all on our own journeys at different stages.  A well intentioned but misplaced comment can unravel a creative process therefore no commenting on each others work.
✯ Nurture ✯
We each nurture the circle by being responsible for the energy we bring and we nurture ourselves by owning our own experience and asking for what we need.
✯ Creativity ✯
Everyone is a creative being and accessing our creativity can be a  portal to inner wisdom, self knowledge, growth, healing and strengthening our intuition.
 This post was inspired and worked through with Connie's Creative Circles Guide book and the ongoing inspiration of Pixie Lighthorse. (click for details):

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Wheel

The Wheel of Fortune, Galia Alena, tarot

What will you do with this one wild and precious life. Mary Oliver

There are two things I’ve learnt to rely on in this world- one is change and the other is contradiction and this card embodies both.

This card may throw up questions of destiny and fate vs free will, it may question your existential beliefs, it may have you wondering where your free will fits in and about your dharma and whether you have any control at all or whether it is all an illusion. You could chase your tail for a life time on those questions, many have, but what you can’t question is the cyclic nature of it all- of the days, the months, the seasons, the life times.

This card has such a feminine quality to it- the energy of divine timing. What this card embodies, women too embody. The ability to cycle and change and to let go is part of what it means to inhabit a woman’s body which ebbs and flows with the moon, which creates and nurtures life and then releases it into the world and which eventually ceases to release that monthly life force to turn it inwards towards sovereignty and wisdom, the stillness at the centre.

The wheel turns and what was is no more, there’s no stopping it, there’s no freezing those precious moments, those full to exploding moments you would like to inhabit forever like that moment when your baby girl, wet from being lifted out of the birthing pool and laid to rest on your bare and expectant chest, looks up at you with dark eyes as deep as lakes holding all the wisdom of the universe. You can’t hold onto that moment, you can only embody it and tuck it away in your heart just as it slips away. You let it go because this precious baby in your arms is destined to become herself.

So the wheel turns and sometimes you hold on so tight and sometimes you just allow it, going with the flow. That’s where you come in, choosing how you will live this change, these cycles, gracefully allowing or fighting, or both at once. Will you slip into the expansive calmness of the center or will you try to hold onto something which is already gone just as it arrives?
How will you walk your own medicine wheel? How do you embody your cycles?
What I learnt today is that even the act of writing itself is an act of letting go.
Round and round she goes, where she stops nobody knows.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Camera Craft- The Art of Seeing

'Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.' Picasso
I'm so excited to be able to finally spill the beans on a project I've been working on all year, or more like 20 years, and I am thrilled that I have some amazing contributors adding their own unique magic to the offering. Here's a sneak peek about it but please visit here for full details.
You love taking photos but somehow your images don't quite turn out the way you imagined.
You're overwhelmed by the choice of cameras on the market these days and are not sure where to start.
You have a camera but you are not quite on a first name basis yet.
You learnt photography back in the glory days of film and are not quite sure how it all works in the digital age.
You admire many photographs and wonder how they achieved this or that effect.
You want to add some more magic to your images.
You've tried to learn photography before but the technical side leaves you cold.
You just want to play and be creative and express your vision but the how is tripping you up.
Or perhaps you are just like me and the beauty of this world catches your breath and taking photos is a way to explore, hold and honour it all.
Camera Craft is designed to help demystify your camera and the technical side 
of photography, empowering you to follow your inspiration, and make expressive
  and beautiful images. It is photography 101 and it is so much more. I want the
 participants to walk away feeling like they have enough of a grasp of the technical 
stuff that they can really let their creative voices sing. Between all the samples 
and the guest contributors you wont be able to help but be inspired.To find out more 
visit here or sign up to my newsletter in the side bar to hear when sign up goes live.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

It's in the Cards

Oracle Readings, mixed media, Galia Alena

 I had so much fun with this over on Facebook this week, and a little shocked by how many people played along and shared with me how much it resonated with them, so I thought I would share it here too.

Have a look at the cards above and use your intuition to see which one is calling to you right now, and then scroll down to see what that card has to share with you :)

Oracle Readings, mixed media, Galia Alena
Peacock Cloak
1.  This card is about shedding your past feathers to allow your own true beauty, your individuality to cloak you. Wrapped in this protective shield of inner beauty unique to only you allows you to walk your walk and to show your true colours. Yet remember not to take things, including yourself, too seriously. The gift of laughter keeps you grounded while the white feathers sweep you up. That she has shown up today suggests that there may be some past life experience you need to be checking in with, some karmic story which needs clearing. You are supported in this work and guided to looking through to the past and into the future.
Oracle Readings, mixed media, Galia Alena
Flower Raven
2.  Step into the moonlight, there is work to do and Raven is here to help you bring your magic into this world. By the light of a full moon her magic and the blossoming seeds of creativity join forces to bring to fruition a seed planted in your deepest dreams. Call on Raven, and the power of the moon to help you realise into this world something that is dear to your heart. Trust that you are supported by the magic that slips gently between the veils and that a seed already planted just needs the nurturing support of you doing your creative work.

Oracle Readings, mixed media, Galia Alena
Cry me a River
3.  This card speaks of emotions that are not felt. What is it you do not want to feel that is sitting stuck, attached to who you have become. Dive in deep and allow those emotions to wash over you, feel them, unleash the well of tears that have not been allowed to flow because you fear this it too deep to unleash, too painful, too scary, too unknown. Once you allow the deep feeling of this emotion you will unleash the flow and restore some balance that you didn’t even know was stuck. Sit quietly and ask your body “what is it I don’t want to feel?”, remind yourself that you are safe and that unacknowledged feelings can sometimes hurt you more than allowing them, they are not you and your gentle enquiry will help release you from them washing them away.

Oracle Readings, mixed media, Galia Alena
Night Eyes
4.  This card is about allowing your intuition to help you see more clearly. One sees not just with the eyes, and the other senses, but also with intuition, imagination and memory. Sometimes we see clearer in the dark than we do in the bright daylight. Listen to all those messages that are coming to you through your dreams, signs through out the day and messages in nature. Let your inner knowing guide you. What you see with your third eye holds much power for you.

Oracle Readings, mixed media, Galia Alena
Heart Speak
5.  This card relates to the throat chakra and speaks of truths waiting to unfold. There is something you are holding onto which wants to help you spread your wings in your becoming but you need to speak it and not let it stay silent. There is much unfurling of self that come only from being able to stand in your own truths.

Oracle Readings, mixed media, Galia Alena
Lily White
6.  Lily White is here to remind you that it is the pure light and passion that holds us steadfast to our dreams and desires giving us the perseverance necessary to actualise our destiny. Whatever is truly yours will be but it is not always easy knowing what is really meant for you with so many shiny objects to distract you. Sit quietly and check in with yourself about where you are putting your energy, is it into what you truly desire at the deepest level?

Oracle Readings, mixed media, Galia Alena
Let it Be
7.  This is a time to go slowly and gently, to let things unfold as they will at their own pace. You may feel like things are not happening as fast or in the way that you might think you want. Trust that all is as it should be. Exercise some patience and allow yourself to rest in ease knowing all is unfolding perfectly.

Let me know in the comments how that went for you, I'd love to hear and if you would like a full reading you can visit me here:

Friday, June 5, 2015

Sweet Medicine

Galia Alena Photography earth medicine Rotical Honey

I can hear the almost unhearable sound of the roses singing. Mary Oliver

These winter roses bloomed just in time to help make a bit of plant ally medicine, sweetness for the cold months as we edge towards Winter Solstice.
  •  Raw Honey
  •  Ginger
  •  Petals
Very simply I mix the petals and some chopped ginger into a jar and then I pour over the liquid gold and allow it to be infused with their fragrant goodness. I'm going to place this on my window sill where it will catch the winter sun, turning daily until the new moon and then it will be ready for use- full of grounded sweetness...
And there is just enough honey left for me to make a new cleanser for my face.

Galia Alena Photography earth medicine Rotical Honey

Ohhh, and Connie is having a flash sale on 21 Secrets where I contributed a lesson. If you haven't experienced 21 Secrets, now is the time :)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Bowing to the Tarot

Galia Alena, tarot the One Who Hangs
The One who Hangs

 “It’s said that the shuffling of the cards is the earth, and the pattering of the cards is the rain, and the beating of the cards is the wind, and the pointing of the cards is the fire. That’s of the four suits. But the Greater Trumps, it’s said, are the meaning of all process and the measure of the everlasting dance.”
  Charles Williams
Galia Alena, tarot journal, mixed media
I bought my first tarot deck when I was 12. I remember clearly going through all the decks they had and picking the one that spoke to me the most. When I took it home and unwrapped it, it had two of the cards that represented me at the time, the Page of Cups. That has been the way with decks I've owned, both tarot and oracle, they have often had a multiple card in them, one that represents me. In Pixie's deck it is the Good Mother card (which my daughter always smiles when I draw), in Gaia deck it is the Eternal Dance and so it goes.

Galia Alena, tarot journal, mixed media the fool
 Lately the cards have been working much more closely with me, from my paintings ( the Fool, the Death card, the Empress, the World, the Moon and the Hanged Man have all shown up in recent paintings) and journaling to explorations of myth and story, of archetypes and life paths.

Galia Alena, tarot journal, mixed media star moon
At a Paris flea market last year I picked up an old book to journal in and it soon became clear that it wanted to be my tarot art journaling exploration book. It has become my favourite journal to work lately. The richness of merging words and images, symbols and archetypes- layering story upon story, weaving myths and cultures in dazzling ways. I'm always surprised, and yet not, about what shows up on these pages.
Galia Alena, tarot journal, mixed media the Tower Kali
 For instance it wasn't until I had finished the painting at the top "The One who Hangs", that I realised that I had her hanging from Yggdrasil, the mythic tree that holds Asgard home to many of the Norse gods and goddesses. She hangs over the Well of Urd whose depths hold many secrets of the Cosmos. And it all showed up mysteriously on my canvas, woven into the symbols of the One Who Hangs as she gazes within releasing stars to the Well. Who knew, I guess I knew, and the act of painting and exploring the cards this way is an adventure in re-membering that which is written on all our bones, our inner wisdom. The cards have so much to show me and I am loving this journey...
Galia Alena, tarot journal, mixed media Wheel of Fortune
 "Myths are so intimately bound to culture, time, and place that unless the symbols, the metaphors, are kept alive by constant recreation through the arts, the life just slips away from them." Joseph Campbell
Galia Alena, tarot journal, mixed media the Death Card
Galia Alena, tarot reading

If you are curious about having me read the cards for you follow the link for more information here

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Delightfully Wicked Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookie, Galia Alena Photography

As an act of pure civic duty I have very selflessly set myself the task of discovering the best chocolate chip cookie recipe. So, much to my children's delight, I have been experimenting and modifying, and while I'm not sure I have the best yet (I think I should keep testing ;) ), I certainly have some damn fine and insanely yummy cookies. I'd love to hear how they vanish in your house.
NB: I'm not sure these fall under the Paleo diet but I won't tell if you won't.
Warning: extremely moreish!!

Delightfully Wicked 
Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 170 grams butter
  • 250 grams of dark chocolate
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2  eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1.  Melt the butter and half of the chocolate in a double boiler. Allow mixture to cool a bit.
  2.  Cream the cooled mixture and the sugar with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Adding in the eggs, one at a time, mixing some more.
  3. Sift all the dry ingredients together and then add to the butter mixture and mix together. (here you could mix the wet mixture into another bowl holding all the dry ingredients which would give you a wonderful bowl to lick but I hate washing up so I'm a one bowl wonder).
  4. Break up the remaining chocolate into chunks and add to batter- I like to bash a block against the bench while still in the wrapper preferring uneven chunks to little uniform chips you can buy (you could also add nuts here as well).
  5. Refrigerate for 15 minutes while your oven heats to a moderate temperature (180 degrees). I don't know why this step is so important, I'm sure there is some Hestonesque reason, but it is, trust me.
  6. Onto a greased trap (or silicone baking tray) spoon roughly formed cookie blobs (yes high tech, you don't want your cookies to evenly formed but rather a bit rough and ready for some texture).
  7. Bake for between 10-15 minutes (depending upon your oven- mine likes about 13 minutes).
  8. Allow to cool, if you can stand to wait, and then demolish alone or with friends.
I recommend cooking only half the batch at ago and keeping the other half in the fridge for the next day. This slows the cookies consumption down, but only marginally- cookies will still disappear in the middle of the night. You could even portion out the cookies and freeze until needed. You never know when you might have a cookie emergency (or a chocolate- these double for both).


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Take me back... Paris

Galia Alena Travel Photography Paris Seine
 Today I vanished down the rabbit hole of going through my photos from Paris. I was meant to be looking for photos for a little sumthin sumthin I'm working on (shhhhh... no spoilers but if you would like to know when I announce please sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar). Photos filled with memories can be such a magical distraction.

Galia Alena Travel Photography Paris
My trip to Paris wasn't about taking photos. Since my arm had just come out of a cast I only took Baby Canon with me and left heavy cameras and lenses at home. Mostly we went to galleries and food markets with lots of walking. With a group of 5 of us there was not much stopping to take photos and most of these shots were taken on the fly as I trotted to keep up.

Galia Alena Travel Photography Paris graffitti

Even the graffiti is interesting in Paris

Galia Alena Travel Photography Parisi
I'm sure these will not be the last images I share from Paris... You can find more photos and a sneak into my Paris Journal here & here and to see more of my travel photography visit my website here

Galia Alena Travel Photography Paris Seine
A nod to Atget whose presence I felt on most streets
Galia Alena Travel Photography Paris Notre Dame

Galia Alena Travel Photography Parisi Dali

Galia Alena Travel Photography Paris
Parisian swans...

Galia Alena Travel Photography Paris
Photo shoot locations everywhere...

Galia Alena Travel Photography Paris cat
A Cat on a window sill in our courtyard. I really hope they remembered he was out there...

In other news, this week I was featured over at a Global Walk, you can read the interview here and while you're there check out some of the other interviews in the series including Pixie Lighthorse, Flora Bowley and many other magic makers.
And  A World of Artist's Journal's has finally been released, I'm honoured to be included and can't wait for my copy to wing its way across mama ocean.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Fever Ladies- Trail Blazers

Frida Kahlo, Maya Angelo, Virginia Woolfe, Dorothy Parker, Anais Nin, Georgia O'Keefe, Billie Holiday Painting Galia Alena

 These are my fever ladies. I call them such because I was running a temperature while I painted them. For the last 2 weeks or so, I've been unwell with a flu like thing. Since I'm not very good at resting I decided that I would stay out of the studio and do a few quick sketches with paint. That was the compromise to bed rest- to take over the dining room table, and to paint these. I did one of these a day and after that, still not getting any better, I decided to take rest a bit more seriously.
When my children are sick, rest and sleep is my go to remedy yet not a gift I find easy to give myself. As a few friends pointed out, it was fitting to include Frida Kahlo in the collection as bed rest never kept her down. So, without any further ado, let me introduce you to some HERos:

The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.

Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolfe, Mixed Media Painting Galia Alena

A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.

Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou, Painting Galia Alena

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure , the process is its own reward.

Amelia Earhart

Dorothy Parker, Painting Galia Alena

The cure for boredom is curiosity.
There is no cure for curiosity.

Dorothy Parker

 I am my own muse, I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to know better.

  Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo, Painting Galia Alena

 Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.

 Ana├»s Nin

Anais NIn Painting Galia Alena

 Nobody sees a flower - really - it is so small it takes time - we haven't time - and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.

  Georgia O'Keeffe

Georgia O'Keefe Painting Galia Alena

If I'm going to sing like someone else, then I don't need to sing at all.

  Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday Painting Galia Alena

I made a little frame for Frida, out of plaster and Christmas baubles shattered thanks to my cat. She will serve as a reminder of all that can be achieved and expressed no matter what. Thank you Frida you are truly inspiring. A couple of the ladies have been snagged but if there is one here that interests you please let me know in the comments (they are roughly 5x7", I don't think they will get listed in Etsy.

Frida Kahlo Painting Galia Alena
Who are your HERos?


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