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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
Ingredients:
  • 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
Directions:
  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).

EnJoy     

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?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Paris- Travel Journaling Pt 2

Galia Alena  Parisian travel journal
Walking in the Silage of Stories Past
Whispering through the alleyways
Written in the stones carved soft with moss,
Across oceans, through centuries,
The echoes of lives
and the layering of stories.
I can almost hear them.
Just beyond a corner
a hint of movement
a scent familiar and strange;
Stories collapsed in time
I feel them brush up against me,
Unhinged shadows.

Sacre Coeur Paris, Galia Alena travel photography
Months later and I'm still sorting through the thoughts of the trip. I didn't take many photographs on this time, partly because I broke my arm just weeks before the trip and the cast came off a week early so that I could fly without it. To lighten the load I left my SLR and lenses at home and took only baby and my iphone. I took some photos, but the trip was not about the photography, but more about the sketching and the art. There are some photos to add in, impressions, but the journal is filled with sketches and paraphernalia that I barely feel the need to add photos (and apart from a few spaces, there is no room for them anyway so I am going to have to get creative on how to add them).

Galia Alena  Parisian travel journal
The plethora of galleries in Paris is overwhelming- so much to gorge on in such a short period and now, sitting amongst the clouds and trees, listening to birdsong instead of the harmonies of church bells and sirens, I can only dream of those details- the colours, the brush strokes, the risks, each of those artists teaching something different. These paintings come to life in a way you can only imagine when you stand if front of them and let their energy speak to you. Oh that I could wander the galleries with my morning coffee before I head to my own studio.

Eiffel Tower Paris, Galia Alena travel photographyMum likes to tell the story of the man who hated the Eiffel Tower but continued to eat lunch there everyday. When asked why he answered "it is the only place in Paris you can't see it from" -boom boom.

Next stop: London where I head off on my own to meet a dear dear friend for the first time.

Part 1 of my Parisian Travel Journal is here


Galia Alena  Parisian travel journal

Some thoughts on travel journaling and pilgrimage (from the new website):
A journey to a new place or a journey through a journal page will both take you on a pilgrimage to the center of your own heart, to an understanding of your own truths, to a knowing and comfort with yourself. Both will bring you closer to the peace of home and still that wyld spirit that wants to fly freely on the winds of desires, of greener grasses and the whispers of dreams.
Journaling and traveling can both be a journey on which, if you are receptive, you discover a deeper connection with yourself and the conversation with life. Both can act as a pilgrimage from which you are forever changed, giving you both new awareness and knowledge of yourself and the world, journeying simultaneously out into the outer world and deep within the inner world.
There are as many ways and reasons to travel and to journal as there are people. For me the two are similar in that they both are a way for me to embody the journey. The journey to align with my inner world as well as my outer, a journey in trust, a journey in which on the middle of the path one is expanded and changed forever, a journey in which you can meet yourself. A pilgrimage.
Both require me to stay open and curious, to watch and notice attentively, to respond with trust and wonder at unexpected opportunities. Both allow me to engage fully in  the conversation of life with wonder and amazement. Both gift me with myself.

Galia Alena  Parisian travel journal
"Sometimes it takes a great sky to find thatfirst, bright and indescribable wedge of freedom in your own heart.” David Whyte
There are many ways to travel but when a woman travels alone there is a certain amount of trust that is required, especially when details have been left open to chance, serendipity and faith. A window is left open for spirit to enter and the unique state of wonder and awareness that traveling puts you in enhances your awareness of these moments.
A pilgrimage can take many forms, some structured and religious, some based on tradition. Sometimes one is not even aware that they are on a pilgrimage yet the journey they take will change them forever as they find themselves touched by things they didn’t even realise they were seeking.

Galia Alena  Parisian travel journal
“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber
Traveling allows one to strip away the usual masks that daily life demands which can bury the true self, it becomes an opportunity to get to know yourself without all the usual baggage. When you travel the normal linear day to day time is suspended and you step into a time where routine has been suspended in favour of the fullness of the moment. When you art journal there too is a suspension of time. Your hands set to work busy moving paint about, making marks, selecting papers while your monkey brain watches and hopefully is quiet and distracted long enough for deeper thoughts and awareness to come forward- a moving meditation where the heart and hand is aligned.
“and turning the corner at what you thought was athe end
of the road, you found just a simple reflection,
and a clear revelation beneath the face looking back
and beneath it another invitation, all in one glimpse:”
  David Whyte

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Year so far

Galia Alena visual poet

I spent most of January not painting nearly as much as I had planned but rather re-conceptualising and re-designing my website - a rabbit hole I slipped into (or perhaps fell flat on my face into) and wasn't released from until the labyrinth had been traversed and all the cyber dragons slayed. I did come up for air and have these 3 paintings to show for it (and there was some wonderful school holidays adventures with the little peeps too).

Galia Alena Dream Catcher Keepr of the Dreams
Keeper of Dreams
 We are all blood and bone, 
delicate as petals
and held together by stars

Galia Alena Earth Queen, Empress
Earth Queen


She who holds and releases
Portal and vessel
That sex which is not one.
Always full to exploding
Ever empty and ready

Gateway of creation
Red lips, blood, womb,
tall grass, bare foot,
toes in the mud,
not afraid to bleed,
to let go,
to give
life

I've popped some  little mini classes on the new site (including a few free ones)  and below is a glimpse of what my new virtual digs look like- doors now open www.galiaalena.com   Pop on by :)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Meeting myself on the Page

Galia Alena Mixed Media Art journal
To celebrate putting my new website together, I thought I'd try to "define" Art Journaling in words- no easy feat. The new site is here: www.galiaalena.com
Art journaling is a sacred vessel, a container which willingly and lovingly holds all I wish to give it. It is a vessel for my brightest and darkest thoughts, for what I wish to shout and what I am barely able to whisper.
Art journaling is a gift I give myself, time to quietly be, to play, explore, make marks, move colour and shapes, collect words, to hide and reveal. Here process reigns. I am free from outcome, from the opinion of others, from the need to make it a certain way, to make it pretty, from the need to please anyone but myself. I can play and play and play and in doing so I give myself permission, I allow it to be enough.
Art journaling is a playground where I can play with new materials, new techniques and new ideas. It gently nurtures these young babies allowing them to grow and expand, to develop and to blossom.
Galia Alena Mixed Media Art journalArt journaling is a moving meditation connecting heart and hand in a joyous dance which allows one to breathe, witness, to silence monkey mind, to listen and to follow the threads.
Art journaling is a safe haven, a sanctuary from making mistakes- in the journal there are no mistakes, only lessons and layers of the journey to unfold. It is the freedom to fully express, in a tangible way, all that needs to be said. It is ever forgiving.
Art journaling is a bridge, connecting my inner world, heart, soul and spirit with my outer worlds, hands, body and cognitive processes. It is a bridge between my dreamstate and my awake time, a path through my shadows and a way into myself.
Galia Alena Mixed Media Art journal
Art journaling is a key to getting to know myself better, unlocking the stories inscribed on my bones.
Art journaling is contradiction, a place to empty out and to fill up, a place of light and shadow, a place of knowing and mystery.
Art journaling is a practice, and like any practice, the practice itself, the showing up, allows me to go deeper and becomes ever richer.


Galia Alena Mixed Media Art journal
The outcome is not found on the page but within- expansiveness, freedom, self knowledge, connection, discovery, release, completion, growth. It is the joy of expression, creativity and new wisdom.
You can scream and rage between the pages, it will take it all, or you can fall softly into its gentle and eager embrace. A way home to yourself.On the journal page I meet myself.

I would love love love to hear how you define art journaling or what it means to you- please share in the comments. Xx

Monday, January 12, 2015

Spectrum- the year's wrap up

 Last year I had the pleasure and honour of being asked to be one of the contributors for Hali's Spectrum, which in Hali's words is a:

Holistic Creative Circle celebrating your Mind~Body~Spirit~Nature
through the living expression of art and awareness.

Here's a peek into my Spectrum journal with work I did playing along with some of the other contributors. It is filled with so much goodness, I know my journal will continue to fill as I keep revisiting the rich and soulfilled lessons. At the bottom of this post are photos of the page I did in my module which was on "OPEN".

Spectrum 2015 is now being offered with a whole new set of contributors, but if you are feeling drawn to 2014's work, Hali is now offering it as an instant access e-book with so much to get your creative juices flowing.
 
Galia Alena mixed media art journal Spectrum

Galia Alena mixed media art journal SpectrumGalia Alena mixed media art journal Spectrum
Galia Alena mixed media art journal Spectrum

Galia Alena mixed media art journal SpectrumGalia Alena mixed media art journal Spectrum
Galia Alena mixed media art journal SpectrumGalia Alena mixed media art journal Spectrum

Galia Alena mixed media art journal Spectrum

Galia Alena mixed media art journal Spectrum

Galia Alena mixed media art journal SpectrumGalia Alena mixed media art journal Spectrum

Galia Alena mixed media art journal Spectrum
Galia Alena mixed media art journal Spectrum
Page from my lesson :)

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