An artist shares her experiences on creatively developing, tending to and nurturing her garden as spiritual sanctuary for herself, her friends and family. Gail Allen contributes her thoughts on creating a sacred space as an oasis for soothing your soul in today's busy world, enticing your senses and and fostering your own personal growth

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Magical Creative Gardening

   The gardens are frozen over by snow right now, but underneath, roots are spreading and bulbs are multiplying. There is always an evolution in the works, even when it seems impossible. I have decided to evolve this creativity blog into my gardening journal. The thought germinated after a "Tweet"on Twitter by a gardening enthusiast referenced one of my entries in my painting blog, about our Japanese inspired garden in our backyard.  ( View "The Oasis" at ) Gardening is, and always has been, as important an aspect in my life, as my artwork. It is an extension of my creativity through use of Spirit's life force. Gardening seems to sustain me - the ongoing joke in our house when I am withering indoors, (I am especially cranky during the dormant season) is that I "need to go dig in the dirt". There has always been a tug of war between creating artwork and getting out into the gardens.....which have become numerous. Over the many, many years gardening has been inspirational, fulfilling, irrational  - even absurd at times,  and sustaining. My husband is my partner in creation and keeps the irrational, artistic side of me in check.  Although not always enthusiastic when first getting wind of my newest "creation", he usually signs on - we seem to have this wonderful check and balance system and each spring we keep going through it again, thanks to two active imaginations.
 A bit of history on my gardening background. I was born to parents who were very creative and came from farming families. We were in the garden from the earliest I can remember and knew most flowers, trees and vegetable names before I was in fourth grade. We scouted for mushrooms on early Sunday mornings after church, under towering pine and oak groves. It seemed magical to me as a child. One of my earliest artworks was a flip book of a mushroom under the pine needles sprouting up. I always had plants growing, even when I lived in the city during college. Then our "real" journey began after getting married and buying our first house on an excavated sand pit! Sand and rocks and clay...oh my. The journey began. After multiple moves, we have settled on five acres which have evolved and expanded into gardens of every possible kind. I will be chronicling lessons learned,  putting up old and new pictures of our gardens,  as well as book lists and other sites I enjoy that you may find helpful in your gardening journey.
I hope this will be inspirational in germinating new growth in your creativity through gardening.  On this eve of a blue moon I would like to Welcome You to 2010 - Happy New Year, may it bring you peace, prosperity and happiness in your garden of life. All the best....

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Final Escape - A Directorial Debut

Creativity evolves.  The first directorial debut and video production of a budding producer.(Click on the link to view.)

  Please watch and comments are appreciated.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gail Allen: A Day Painting Creative Symbolism

For me, a day starts out with a walk in the woods  with my lab "Otto", to clear my head, get some focus on where my thoughts are taking me, and to get some inspiration. It is generally only about 15 minutes to a half hour. Then I sit and review notes, or write new notes on what needs to be reworked, or the order of working up the piece that I am going to follow.
My work has evolved into what is primarily studio work - as it has shifted from plein aire landscapes to more conceptual pieces with many symbolic elements. I am attracted to these because of the expression of more universal concepts which go beyond the simple verbal explanations.  The pieces are much larger, more intricate, with many overlapping elements. This is a reflection again of my own interests in spirituality and the oneness with all things. My studies in psychology, metaphysics, dream images, symbolism, cultures, science and the natural world are all interrelated constant elements of the newest works in progress. The creativity is in the telling of the story through these images. I am looking to develop works that are seen in a different way by each viewer. Many of the symbols are deeply and intricately interwoven, so as not to be immediately seen, some never really seen.
The archetypal personality traits of the viewer affect how they see the painting. Such multi-faceted concepts emerge at many psychic levels. Therefore, this new series is aimed at each individuals experiential viewing level.
Awareness of symbols changes a person's universal perception, even without  interpretation. Symbols always operate on a non-rational and nonverbal level first - emoting a common generalized effect on the observer's very physiology. This is why so many archetypal representational objects have appeared again and again in religions, dreams and visions, myths, legends and works of art throughout history and across all diverse cultures. Form and color play the part of giving these images meaning and making them tangible.  In as much as the viewer's examination is necessary to the interpretation of a particular shape or form,  a person reacts with spontaneity to a color.  All of these elements work together to effect the outcome of mood, mind states, and the body's function directly in various unseen ways. Herein lies my hope for the creativity of these paintings. Healing artwork is an emerging  and exciting field that I am currently exploring through observations on my morning walks with nature and through my ongoing studies.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

May 21

Creativity, it's always there: in a thought, or maybe a vision I see in the light of the day or the shadows of the night. It haunts me at times, when I can't get the energy to put my thoughts down in words or a sketch. I can see where artists of the past were tormented by their frustrations. I have been unable to paint lately because of other responsibilities but will be returning to my easel soon.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Be in Joy

The best advice for living a very creative life ..... find the joy in every situation, no matter how grim - the rainbow is somewhere in the distance. Take heart, dig deep and be in joy in every moment, even if it takes meditating on the feeling of joy when something great and fun happened to you in the past.

Friday, February 13, 2009

New Beginnings and Changes for the New Year-

Currently, I am still working on three different series of work. I guess I am fickle, I change every few days from one series to the next. I find this is how I work best, staying fresh, although at times it can get extremely confusing - so I journal all thoughts and colors used as I work.
I also have undertaken revamping and changing the studio around after 12 years...a huge cleansing of many "saved" items. A bit daunting, to say the least but I am almost finished.
The photo above shows current works in progress. I am working on a new style, incorporating more creativity, exploration and, as a result, more fun. I don't believe in staying in a "safe" place with my work, I like to constantly challenge the extremes of where it can go. Sometimes it is rewarding, at others it can be frustrating because I can turn a painting that is going well into a disaster with one "new" decision to experiment a bit more. In the end, I believe that 's what creativity is all about. Hopefully the end result will be well received! All the best....