New Ways of Thinking and Creating | Abundant WILD Life

My Thirty Day Challenge

The past three weeks I have been tapping into new ways of thinking and creating. It will be sad when this 30 day challenge comes to an end. The online course with Alena Hennessy is 4 weeks plus a bonus week, which will take right up to my  30 days plus a couple extra. There have been numerous ah – ha moments throughout the past three weeks. I can’t say I am an artist but I will say I am becoming more comfortable as I learn to work with brushes, pens and various papers. In the beginning, I was practically paralyzed each time I tried to put something on the paper. I was so judgmental of myself. Now I am becoming less apprehensive and loosening up a bit. It is my intention to keep this process going when the on-line course ends. I can feel portions of it already seeping into how I see and think. That is the true gift.

A list of some of my new rituals:

  1. Journaling and doodling, I have been journaling everyday. I have never been a “journaler” but I see the value. Many of the journal entries are covered with india ink. None of it is to be re-read at a later date. I try to journal 10 minutes a day.
  2. Everyday I set an intention for the day. Most days this is what I will journal about may intentions. Sometimes I don’t think I have an intention and then it will come to me. Today my intention was to dream big. “Today I choose to dream big.” Most days it is something like tranquility, compassion, joy, inner peace. Inner peace is a big one for me. I always seem to come back to that. Setting an intention gives one a focus for the day or something to come back to when stress arises.
  3. Meditation, I may have been better at this before the class started. With the added journaling and intention setting it is taking the place of meditation. I still get the pillow out and try to sit for 5 minutes of meditation a day. At the end I add a twist. My yoga teacher quoted a famous yogi that said if we did a simple twist a day we would be healthier.
  4. Creativity or art is not literal. This was a huge ah-ha moment for me. Sky’s don’t have to be blue, leaves don’t have to be green. The first time I made the stems of a flower purple I felt free of constraints. Art is a feeling.
  5. Creating the space, I have found that when I sit down to work if I have not done some parts of steps 1-3 above frustration can set in. Taking time to just site and breathe for 30 seconds  when starting my job centers me instead of plowing through the day.
  6. Drawing with my eyes closed or warming up.  Before we begin our projects Alena has us tracing with a pencil on a sketchpad with our eyes closed to loosen up, intuitive drawing. Then going back and coloring it in with india inks, gel pens or medium feels right at the moment. Another method of bringing the inside out.

The art supplies are almost as fun as  playing with yarn.

I am still nervous and have this perfectionist voice that haunts me. These are some of the supplies I am experimenting with.

  •  India ink- after a few trips to the art supply store I now own 7 colors.
  • Gel pens – Not just for pre-teens! Gelly Rolls add the detail and the metallic’s are really cool
  • Acqua pen for hand lettering- used with the india inks. Nice for hand lettering quotes. Takes some practice to control.
  • Acrylic paint – haven’t really used these much but think when the time comes  they will add dimension.
  • Brushes and more brushes – like the acqua pen they take practice
  • Sketch pad – The most creative stuff happens here. Use this for trying new ideas, methods and doodling ideas.
  • Watercolor block paper in different sizes – The smaller sizes are nice not as overwhelming an area to fill in.
  • Wood blocks for collage – Getting more comfortable with this I have only done one.

If this all sounds interesting to you Alena has a book! Yep, it is due to be published July 1. I think the book follows much of the online course material. Definitely worth looking into, Alena is a very inspiring person who appears to be following her heart and living her dream.

I have come a long way since the first week here are some of my more recent creations.



This is my first woodblock collage. The quote is “all things come to those who wait”.



This is an intuitive drawing with my eyes closed. My nephew had his first child last week so this is dedicated to them.



India ink on water color paper with collage.

When do you feel the most creative? What do you do to feed your creativity?

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11 Responses to New Ways of Thinking and Creating | Abundant WILD Life

  1. Natasha June 2, 2012 at 7:35 PM #

    Toni, your work is beautiful. I believe that we are all artists in one way or another.

    • Toni June 2, 2012 at 9:17 PM #

      Hi Natasha, Thanks for visiting my blog. Our Abundant WILD Life journey was so inspiring and I feel like we have all established a bond even though we all come from such different places. Everyday I am setting my intention. I will visit you blog.

  2. Sally_K May 21, 2012 at 9:00 AM #

    Your paintings are beautiful!

    • Toni May 21, 2012 at 10:19 AM #

      OMG – I bow down to you, you are way to kind. Thank-you.

  3. mary knapp May 21, 2012 at 6:46 AM #

    very inspiring. I read THE ARTIST’S WAY a few years ago and tried several of the ideas. It’s fun to watch your process evolve. Bring the aqua pen to knitting so I can see what it looks like.

    • Toni Carreiro May 21, 2012 at 8:22 AM #

      Hey Mary, I remember The Artist’s Way. I might even have that book. I should look. I will bring the pen to knitting with paper and ink for you to try.

  4. Teri S. May 21, 2012 at 4:12 AM #

    I too feel sad that this course is ending soon. I feel like I’ve barely begun to explore this “artful” side of me. And like you, I realized that art is not literal–my lines don’t have to be straight, circles don’t have to be perfect, colors can bleed into each other and even go outside the lines. That realization has been tremendously freeing. But Inner Critic is still hard at work.

    While I love knitting and am very comfortable with it, I feel like I use more of the right side of my brain for this type of art.

    Thanks for sharing your work and it’s been a pleasure being in class with you!

    • Toni Carreiro May 21, 2012 at 8:27 AM #

      Hi Teri- I have been watching you on the facebook page I love the group. The inner critic is so limiting it is a constant battle to turn it off. I am also learning who cares if something turns out hideous it is not a life and death situation and it is only for us.

      Knitting is a different kind of creativity as much as I love it. This type of art I have to be more centered and in the moment for it to work. That is also difficult as my mind tends to wander.

      I am sure the group will live on for awhile after the class is over.

  5. maria May 20, 2012 at 10:09 PM #

    I am so glad to see the work from these sessions, in addition to your account of the process. It’s amazing to see the colors come alive and create depth & more & more texture over the weeks. I never used an aqua pen – sure looks like fun.

    • Toni Carreiro May 21, 2012 at 8:28 AM #

      Hey Maria, Thanks for being a part of the process. It is fun sharing our new adventures and growing together.

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