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Funny how I freed myself to become present with painting
Beauty & Spirit Note from the Studio 
News & muse from abstract artist Julie Bernstein Engelmann
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Dear <<First Name>>,

I eagerly awaited the moment I’d find out what lay within my subconscious. What would come out of me onto the canvas if I felt truly free to express? I hoped The Painting Experience workshop with Stewart Cubley would show me.

The big day arrived, and I wondered how the magic box would open: very simply, it turned out. “Pick up a brush, whichever one calls you. Then walk over to the paint and pick a color, whichever one calls you.” And that was the basic instruction – clean and unburdened – that set me free to have one of the most joyful experiences of my life.

My heart burst in ecstasy with all the juicy colors laid out and the big white sheets of freedom, I mean paper. Here’s what I painted the first evening.

SWIP!!
Julie Bernstein Engelmann, 40"H x 26"W, Tempera on paper

I think joy is embedded in that painting! 

I was so excited that night I literally couldn’t sleep.

The next day we went back into the studio to bring forth more of the unknown to be revealed. It seemed that no sooner had I begun to paint than it was time for lunch. Where had two hours gone?

The sustained level of quiet, intensely focused work in the room was profound and one of the most memorable qualities of the experience for me. Each person seemed to be immersed in their own individual process.

A ground rule had been laid at the beginning not to discuss anyone’s work. We could talk about our own experience, but no comments could be made to anyone else – a habit that for me as a teacher was disconcerting to break, especially when I wanted to gush over someone’s amazing painting. But soon I got on board and found it relieving and liberating not to have any business with anyone else.

In fact, once a painting was done (which was to be determined only after consulting with Stewart) it was parked facing the wall, never to be unearthed again until time to take it home. And that policy actually led to one of my most valuable breakthroughs.

Okay, this breakthrough is rather personal to me and might not be useful to anyone else. But here’s how it evolved. The idea of my painting going to face the wall helped divest me of the lurking feeling that I had to paint well to impress others. It wasn’t quite enough (because between now and then was plenty of time to worry about how my painting looked to others), but I knew somewhere in that direction was a nugget of gold. So I played with it in my imagination and soon came up with a scenario that magnified the effect.

What if I’m in jail and painting is the one thing I get to do, with the stipulation that when I’m done they will throw it away.

Somehow that was a sweet spot for me, calling forth patient focus and intense caring about the present experience of painting, yet with no concern for what someone else will think. It was an instant remedy to set my priorities straight. With that tool I was on my way and in the zone (and still use that tool today).

This is an abbreviated version of my story. Please click to my blog post for the full story, as well as lots of pictures!


Did I unlock my creative expression? I've made progress! In a future article I plan to show you how the Painting Experience has influenced my artwork since then, and explore differences with my way of teaching. 

On that note, I'm thrilled to offer my new workshop, The Inspired Abstract, for anyone who wants to transmute inspiring visions and moments into beautiful abstract paintings! Please check it out below.  

Yours in the love of beauty and spirit,

Julie
P.S. Fascinating results came in from my informal survey last time: Which do you love more - expressing or making things beautiful - if you had to choose? Overwhelmingly, my peeps chose beauty. Check out the blog comments here

P.P.S. Scroll down for a peek at what else is up on my blog

P.P.P.S. My Luscious Abstractions class is coming up this weekend! Until Saturday morning there's still time to register and have a great painting experience this weekend (see below). 

 

Luscious Abstractions
Crash Course with Julie Bernstein Engelmann
at the Sedona Arts Center, Sedona, Arizona 

Four opportunities:

March 10-11, 2018 (Sat-Sun)
April 16-17, 2018 (Mon-Tue)

August 6-7, 2018 (Mon-Tue)
September 8-9, 2018 (Sat-Sun)

Explore abstraction, rich with depth and meaning! Julie's layering technique gives you a powerful foundation that helps you enter the painting process naturally, develop beautiful complexity, and bring out the spirit of your work. You'll gain discernment and appreciation for abstract painting.   Learn More... 

 

The Inspired Abstract
3-day painting workshop with Julie Bernstein Engelmann
Two opportunities:

May 26-28, 2018  Tucson, Arizona
July 20-22, 2018  Sedona, Arizona

 

Transmute your inspiring dreams, special moments, and photos into fascinating and beautiful abstract paintings. Using Julie's layering technique, you will enter the painting process naturally, ease into your own personal marks and forms reflecting your inspiration, and weave exquisite depth and beauty. Then, Julie will help you see the spirit of your piece and gently enhance its drama and spatial flow so it can shine powerfully.   Learn More... 

Michele Cassou: Forget about the end product. Wisdom from a pioneer of creative freedom. 
Luscious Abstractions Jan 2018 pix
Recent Beauty & Spirit Notes:  
Is it beauty or expression that you love?
A meaningful abstract
Bending Space
Also: Beauty & Spirit Note Archive
JulieEngelmann.com
Beauty & Spirit Abstract Artist Circle
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Copyright © 2018 Julie Bernstein Engelmann, Artist, All rights reserved.



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