Sunday, December 14, 2014

Paris- Travel Journaling Pt 1

Travel Journal Paris- Galia Alena

Walking the streets worn smooth with stories
Leaves slipping to the earth
I feel a crack in my life open,
It's always this way with travel...
Something pulses through
wants more
I hear the stories dance with mine
"Where do you belong on this tiny blue planet"
Impossible seed
Soft and longing
Demanding more and less
Precious seed
When and how you'll bloom I couldn't say
Nor what kind of fruit you'll offer,
Only that you'll stir the stardust in my well
And whisper to my soul...

Travel Journal Paris- Galia Alena

Paris first appears as both quaint and familiar, a cliche on every corner but soon I am walking in step with the rhythms of her stories. I feel the stones beneath my feet and glimpse the flicker of a past disappear around the corner ahead.
Our apartment is on Île de Saint Louis, right next to Île de la Cité, where Notre Dame sits regally, and a short walk to a fabulous food market where the quiches and pastries call me back. Through the night I am kept awake by the christmas lights that flicker outside my bedroom window as the Boulangerie directly across the way prepares croissants for my morning coffee. 

Every day we walk. Miles and miles through the streets where there is ever the sensation that not only do I walk through the city but also through the centuries. Lives past whisper to me between the constant sirens. Ghosts surround me with their tales of revolution, of poetry, of commerce, of art, of wars, of occupation, of liberty, fraternity, equality. I feel as if I could slip through a portal to another time (Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris feels totally plausible). The stories tease me, perhaps because they are in French, perhaps because I am not here long enough to grasp their fleeting breathe, perhaps because they are meant only to taunt as is often the way with ghosts- a reminder of the speck of sand that is our time, our lives. Raven is ever present, in case I should ever forget, reminding me of magic and voice, of story and song- you never know what you'll find when you travel, an element of lost which opens doors to finding, seeing, hearing. "Are you listening? Are you ready to sing" she caws.

Travel Journal Paris- Galia Alena

I've been back for less than a week now, shaking the mist of surrealism that travel can bring from living outside normal reality, settling back into routine, snuggling with my babies (one of whom managed to get herself sick so she could have a whole day of snuggling on the couch with me and movies) and marking the end of year portfolios for my photography students.                  Grateful to have the cast removed from my arm days before flying out, it healed enough that I was able to journal while I traveled. How magical to slip into a rhythm of walking, eating, browsing, shooting, looking, absorbing, listening and journaling. The days filled with sights, inspiring galleries, stone stories, weary feet and then collapsing by night to good food, company, wine and the blank page only to rest up long enough to do it all again the next day. And the company I kept- Gogh, Picasso, Nin, Rodin, Monet, Cezanne, too many to list, too many to even begin to absorb, I just have to trust that somewhere my subconscious is holding tight to what they shared with me. Only time will tell.
Travel Journal Paris- Galia Alena

I still have photos to download (having only looked at the ones I took with my phone so far) and more journal pages to share over the coming weeks as well as my time in London. Until then I will sit with the memories as they wish to unfold. 

Travel Journal Paris- Galia Alena

Friday, October 10, 2014

Homage to Picasso & Field Notes

Galia Alena mixed media artist Picasso homage
Time for a quick check in with what's been going on here in this luscious corner of the world. I was happily working at my  One Watercolor a Day which you can see here when, having the watercolours out, I got sidetracked by my homage to Klee mini journal (here). Before I knew it I was back playing in my Picasso homage mini journal, my watercolour a day abandoned as I explored Picasso further. It worked in rather well with the four weeks of solid rain we had overlapping the beginning of spring. 
Galia Alena mixed media artist Picasso homageSuch a rich and varied body of work to sink into and I was lucky to be given this fabulous book: Je Suis Le Cahier: The Sketchbooks of Picasso to explore his work.

Galia Alena mixed media artist Picasso homage

Galia Alena mixed media artist Picasso homage

I had planned to start my fieldnotes journal with the beginning of spring. Of course the beginning of spring was covered with clouds and sprinkled with constant rain for a few weeks and sitting in the garden sketching was impossible. However I delighted in quick and magical strolls between showers. Then when spring finally burst to life through the clouds it was heart breakingly beautiful, overwhelming and intense. For a least two weeks I walked around in a melancholic daze of amazement and wonder. 

Galia Alena mixed media artist field notes

Every time I walked into the garden it was like walking through a thick haze of hum and buzz as the bees busily demolished whatever blossoms they could find, as if they knew of the temporary and fleeting beauty that visited with sweet nectar, they devoured and made drunk on the delicate blooms. There is not a single time that I go into the garden and don't discover some new bloom I've never seen before to the sound track of birdsong. Each visit is miraculous and full of wonder.

Galia Alena mixed media artist field notes

Galia Alena mixed media artist field notesEventually I picked up a little watercolour book and started to make some sketch notes. Of course it's turned out to look nothing like I had imagined and planned but that's okay, it just is. More special is the wonder and the cracks that Spring creates in my heart for this place I now call home. So for now I am just soaking it in. On Saturday, chasing shiny butterflies, and collecting blossom, I fell on a sleeper that gave way and broke my wrist. Sketching has been halted as the fates conspire to have me slow down and just absorb. Perhaps next year, when the garden and I have gotten to know each other better, I will begin the Field Guide, nature study I had planned :)
Galia Alena mixed media artist field notes

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Travel Journal- US13

Mixed Media Travel Journal, Galia Alena
Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that

first, bright
and indescribable
wedge of freedom
in your own heart. David Whyte
A journey to a new place or a journey through a blank journal page can both take you on a pilgrimage to the centre of your own heart, to an understanding of your own truths and to a knowing and comfort within yourself. Both will bring you closer to the peace of home within and still that wyld spirit that wants to fly freely on the winds of desires, of greener grasses and the whispers of dreams.
Mixed Media Travel Journal, Galia Alena

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 where on the path one is expanded and changed forever, a journey on which you can meet yourself. A pilgrimage.

Mixed Media Travel Journal, Galia Alena
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.
Mixed Media Travel Journal, Galia Alena
  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 is also 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 are aligned.
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 with life, with wonder and amazement. Both can be a home coming. Both gift me with myself.

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.

Henry Miller

rnalrMixed Media Travel Journal, Galia Alena
To see more from this travel journal visit here
or more travel journals here 
and please pop yourself on my love letters list at the side there for some exciting news coming soon :)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

12 Artists, 12 Days- Last Day {Day 12}

Today is the last day of 12 Artists, 12 Days for the year and it occurs to me how much the artists that I featured last year are still influencing and inspiring me, so I thought I would revisit a few of those who are still a strong interest. Finding lots of new artists is easy, finding artists whose work you like is also easy, but finding or narrowing down to artists who are truly inspiring my own work or interests is harder. Most of the artists from last year are still inspiring my work but these two in particular.

Peter Doig

Peter Doig- 12 Artists 12 Days

Peter Doig- 12 Artists 12 Days

I'm loving diving into this book at the moment which has multiple workings and reworkings on the same theme:

Francoise De Felice
Francoise De Felice-12 Artists 12 Days

Francoise De Felice-12 Artists 12 Days

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Brett Whiteley, 12 Artists, 12 Days {Day 11}

Art is an argument between what a thing looks like and what it means. Brett Whiteley
In a couple of days I get to attend the opening of a Whiteley exhibition just down the road at our local gallery and I'm so looking forward to seeing some of these in the flesh so to speak. I'm loving the dialogue they have with the landscape on my doorstep.

 Brett Whiteley, 12 Artists, 12 Days
 Brett Whiteley, 12 Artists, 12 Days
Brett Whiteley, 12 Artists, 12 DaysBrett Whiteley, 12 Artists, 12 DaysBrett Whiteley, 12 Artists, 12 Days

Brett Whiteley, 12 Artists, 12 Days

Brett Whiteley, 12 Artists, 12 Days

Brett Whiteley, 12 Artists, 12 Days

Brett Whiteley, 12 Artists, 12 DaysBrett Whiteley, 12 Artists, 12 Days
To find out more visit here:

The most fundamental reason one paints is in order to see.  Brett Whiteley


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