rare podcast!

Hi – here is an occasional podcast – if you are interested in what I am doing, join me via one of the links below – I look very much forward to having you in my inner circle.

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***THE HAPPY ENDING ***

  1. I now only make rare public posts. If you’d like to be in touch more often; join my newsletter HERE or join me on PATREON
  2. Please let me know you’ve seen this post by clicking on the heart symbol and/ or commenting below – and share it if you know someone who’d be interested ❤
  3. My website is here, my art is on Etsy, The Real School of Art is here, my books on Lulu, art holidays on VAWAA.
  4. Social media links: Instagram, Facebook – the art school, my artist page, the Insider’s Guide To Guardia book page.

6 reasons why you SHOULD STEP INTO THE VOID

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♥ BLOG RECLAIMED FROM SEPT 2017 ♥

It was easy, when I first arrived in Italy, to get drawn deep into the panic of having given up all my taken-for-granted familiarity. Despite the fact that there had been a fire under my arse chasing me to Italy, the first months were full of my dwelling on that familiar discomfort of a place where e.g. I was capable of talking on the phone to resolve a bureaucratic issue – and was sure about what side of the road to drive on.

The superficial mind perpetually seeks stability, pattern, anchoring: if it could, it’d probably put the brain in a jar and have it in a secure room, fed by wires and artificial nutriment. In some ways, we’re heading that way – kids not even allowed to learn from experience that fire burns and falling down on concrete breaks skin; no-one letting germs circulate their home any more; everything packaged and everything truly natural to all intents and purposes outlawed. At the end of the day, it gets good-comfy to be laid back on a soft, sterile sofa with the perfect-coloured cushions, in front of an ever-busy TV screen and munching on sugar and slurping down caffeine to keep us perky – to maintain our ‘interest’ in life.

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And it’s nice to have the steady drip of a wage: the knowledge that every single month we will have a familiar amount of money deposited in our lap, which corresponds roughly to the amount that we’ll have to put out into the world. This rhythmic symmetry makes us feel like everything is under control, despite life distractions regularly popping up inconveniently.

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What does it mean to throw all that comfort out, and to go out on a limb – to stand at the end of a diving board above a mysterious ocean, and to simply jump: to enter a new country and culture and start a new life from nothing… what happens? What would happen if we gave up all the comforts and trappings, and chose the unknown, the new, the unfamiliar? (Wouldn’t it destroy us? Or fuck our lives up?! Shouldn’t we be fighting with all our domesticated life force, to hold onto what small territory we have?!!)

But seriously: what happens when we up give up an old life and start in a completely new, unfamiliar place? I’ll tell you:

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ONE: First, it creates a void: a void is something we are all terrified of, and yet it is the space into which the better, the best, the life we REALLY WANT to be living can grow.

The void – space to think, feel, to be present in – is one of the greatest hidden secrets of our time: we’re lured into this compelling mythology of ‘time poverty’, and of being full to the brim, overstimulated, and ready for terror, in every moment of every day.

We seek all kinds of therapy and antidote to this, from holidays in countries with better weather, to titillation of the senses (hard or soft) and over-indulgence: staying up late or pressing the boundary ever-so-gently, but never stepping outside of it.

Ultimately however, we all seek peace and gentleness – we want to be more sensitive and quiet, and we want our day to be full of love and significance: to have this, we need the space, the void. There is no room, otherwise, and to cultivate this space, we have to wean ourselves out of the fear of not being filled up. We have to allow life to open up around and in front of us, rather than clawing to get back in the box we’ve made for ourselves.

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TWO: It makes us realise what inner resources we have – because we have to actually draw on them; use them. In a comfortable life, we rarely challenge ourselves beyond the fluffy yum-numb of our routine.

It feels like fulfilment – but it really isn’t: the human soul needs to experience friction and challenge in order to grow, in the same way a tree needs natural soil and wild weather to get it to its potential.

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THREE: It makes us see that we can actually reinvent ourselves; change, travel, upheaval – particularly when they are consciously chosen rather than imposed on us – are the most useful of tools to get us to stretch our minds into what we might also be/ achieve/ dream of.

Staying at home can be satisfying to a degree, but the longer we don’t stretch our legs or hearts or energy, the more accustomed we become to the atrophied version of our self which we’ve elected to prioritise.

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FOUR: It makes us work hard; on ourselves, on our work, on our life and friendships… There is a profound satisfaction in having to make new connections, networks, structures to hold us; there is the deepest meaning and beauty in our having to build a new household, in having to harmonise a chaotic new reality, in having to learn a language and legal system, cultural and religious norms…

And that hard work is more honed than it might be if we are living a stagnant life: it is more specific and necessary. Our compulsion fires up our engine, and gets us more streamlined.

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FIVE: It brings us into a realm of raw creative flow. Most lives are full of complacency, and this sense of ‘this’ being ‘all that there is’ – why bother changing anything, if we already have someone to drink coffee and complain about the weather/ our partner/ our boss with?

If someone is telling us where to go each day, and we still get to ‘wild out’ on payday by buying a new pair of shoes, or getting drunk and laughing excessively, why would we want to re-accept the power-that-flows-through-all-things-when-we-are-aligned-with-our-life-purpose?!

Hmmmmmmn – I wonder.

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SIX: Possibly most importantly of all: putting ourselves into a new and challenging situation like moving to another country makes us appreciate the value of things: we see how hard it is to find a thing which before was always a bancomat and a supermarket trip away.

We see how communication is so much more than constructed word formations, and that a smile or being touched on the cheek can be profoundly moving, confirming our place in the world.

We learn to enjoy what little we have, essentially, rather than seeking more-more-more without questioning whether a thing is really improving the quality of our life. Perhaps our values can even deepen, in time – especially if we’re immersed in a culture which is more rooted in family, spirituality, friendship and nature…

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I wanted to make a statement here; yes, about what the positive side of a challenge like moving abroad can be, but also to remind folks that NONE OF THIS COMES ABOUT EASILY OR INSTANTLY OR BY LUCK – NOR CAN IT BE BOUGHT: it has to be earned, slowly and through hard graft, humility, concerted attention and commitment, love and optimism, and by pushing oneself always to be a better human being. We have to know ourselves, and then too, to know-craft-hone this self into the best we can be.

I wanted to remind myself, and folks who are inspired by what I do: none of my happy creative life – with my own house, in magical medieval Italy – happened by accident, nor was any of it handed to me on a plate; I didn’t stride over here in confidence like many people assume – or saw fictionalised on TV…

I arrived overwhelmed and terrified: nothing flowed well when I got here, and A LOT about the country and culture rubbed me horribly the wrong way. There was a dark night of the soul where I really thought for a while that I had fucked up phenomenally: that I’d thrown it all away and had nothing and had seriously sabotaged my future…

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It feels important to say: I know that many people don’t ever change their lives because they think that one should be strong, confident, healthy, in equilibrium, solvent, and sure of what one is doing, to move abroad, or to make a big life change. You don’t, you simply have to do it, e basta.

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Happiness, freedom, fulfilment grow like plants in a well-tended garden: they don’t appear overnight; they flourish according to whether or not they are planted, and whether or not it’s in the right season and soil, and the good care and attention given to them. They live to their potential not through one big showy action, but through myriad small ones. They yield fruit according to the accumulation of all these tiny attentions and harmonies – and when they are happy and in the right place and time… the fruit is bountiful – and heavenly delicious… And their seeds go on to produce more and more and more life and growth and fruit.

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Much love and creative power to you

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Join my newsletter and support me on Patreon if you’d like to keep up-to-date with all my creative outpourings – and if you’re ready to step into your immense creative potential: go and see my online art school.

podcast!

Hi, dear folks!

Here is a podcast! It’s part of a podcast series from the Real School of Art: our relationship – particularly as women – as mystical creative women – with money. (podcast solo in inglese – su le donne, i soldi, e la creatività) 

f*** word warning!

Other news this week/ Altre notizie questa settimana:

Join my newsletter HERE if you want to know about the offers coming up on my art – and my arthouse! Iscriviti alla mia newsletter QUI se vuoi sapere quali sono le offerte in arrivo sulla mia arte – ed il mio arthouse!

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Because there is an Etsy sale and massive discounts for previous clients and patrons this winterfest, NOW is the time to buy my art! Perché c’è un saldo su Etsy e sconti enormi per patrocini e clienti precedenti questo inverno, ORA è il momento di comprare la mia arte!

You can see new paintings on ETSY right now, and as ever, join me on PATREON if you want to see them before they are released to the public – e.g. my landscape paintings often sell before they are published. Puoi vedere nuovi dipinti su ETSY adesso e, come sempre, unisciti a me su PATREON se vuoi vederli prima che vengano pubblicati al pubblico – ad es. i miei dipinti di paesaggi spesso vengono venduti prima di essere pubblicati.

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The Real School of Art has SPECIAL PRICES for you signing up this winter, and there’s the free intro course too, to give you a taster of the school. Just ask if you have any Qs about the RSOA – I am here to help! The Real School of Art ha PREZZI SPECIALI per chi iscrivi a quest’inverno, e c’è anche il corso introduttivo gratuito, per darti un assaggio della scuola. Basta chiedere se hai qualche Q sull’RSOA – posso aiutarti con traduzione se parli solo un po’ d’inglese.

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Loads of good wishes, and speak to you soon,

Un sacco di auguri e parliamoci presto,

Clare xx

PS If you love all that I share  – please consider making a donation, to support my creative process, thank you! PS Se ami tutto che sto condividendo – per favore pensare di fare un donazione, per dare sostengo al mio processo creativo, grazie!

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With your invaluable support, I am able to sustain the hard work behind-the-scenes: writing, painting, thinking, exploring, experimenting Con il tuo prezioso sostegno, sono in grado di sostenere il duro lavoro dietro le quinte: scrivendo, dipingendo, pensando, esplorando, sperimentando

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ART HOLIDAYS!!

The arthouse now has a series of windows open for folks who love art, and who’d like a one-on-one, individually tailored, painting-with-the-artist holiday: go and see VAWAA’s beautiful site, to hear more about it.

Your holiday will include prior consultation on how we’ll craft your art activity; we’ll hone in on your specific goals and needs.
We design the 4 day session just for you: you can focus on skills development, wild expressive work, creative catharsis, a personal project – or even work completely spontaneously.
I’ll be there throughout, and will also show you around this magical town, in which I’m protagonist of a growing international creative community!

It’ll be a highly inspiring break, guaranteed! A completely unique experience, super-nourishing to your creative spirit!

Please share this blog if you know someone who would love such a holiday!

Keep in touch with all my news, and with the Real School of Art, via PATREON and on THIS WEBSITE

Happy August creative expansion to you!


xx Clare 

THE ‘RUDENESS’ OF ARTISTS*

My online art school is up on Teachable – it’s a pretty damn huge achievement for me – though it’s only just phase one of the school (year one)!

The pace I set myself these past 6 months was a bit over-the-top: I had in my head to create a course which would have over 150 videos, and which would take both myself a year to create and the learning-artist a year to complete…
But at the beginning of this month, it was clear that, well, first of all, my schedule filled up with prizes, precious guests, my painting practise, and other important parallel activities… And there was a feeling of fullness already to the draft course, so I slowed to a halt with the making of videos and writing of worksheets…

THEN I realised that I had actually already made a year’s course! Holy guacamole / holy shit! My wonderful guests and patrons helped me see that, rather than my being 6 months behind, I am in fact  6 months ahead! Woohoo for over-enthusiastic ambitions and bloody hard work!

The getting of all these lessons and worksheets – I made 67 so far – into a digestible format for presentation to an audience…. Hmmmmf. That was challenging. It’s all there now, but I had to wrestle with multiple different platforms, contexts, structures, before my eureka moment.

So now the Real School of Art is finally being elegantly led into it’s right stable, as it were – no mean feat, for an artistic creative flow which is like a wild horse galloping along a high mountain top. (Wild horses don’t have much interest in stables, and in performing or behaving well…)

This has been an extraordinary year: the making of this school has been like a process of alchemy; the concentrating of the magic of creative flow, into a series of transformative compounds, medicinal bites to take the ‘artist’ into the real realm of art.

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Working away like this, made me think a lot about how (real) artists have to occupy a slightly different realm from the average body: we have to step into a space where we disconnect from the humdrum of life, and yet somehow become even more deeply immersed in it.

This makes us – relatively speaking – more volatile than your average being. We slip easily into a transcendental state, or a dreamy thought process… This is the pre-creation state, and is utterly vital to a human being making anything which isn’t firmly anchored in logic and science; it’s the ‘gap between thoughts’ or the hazy fog before the picture clears.

We need to exist there, in order to transmute what we see around us into our art: if we’re awake, we’re working; we are interacting with the world in a completely impassive way, but we are also bypassing a lot of the pointless distraction – the chitterchatter – of the unfolding of the everyday.

This state of being-in-creative-flow becomes more enhanced, more developed, as we mature our practise, which is something to do with why artists, writers, creators, can appear strange, rude, distant, out-of-place… It’s nothing personal* – it’s simply to do with the letting go of line and convention, and of allowing ourselves to be swept into a concentrate ‘letting in’ of energy and inspiration, raw information and inner vision. The fact that we ever manage a ‘normal’ conversation, and a semblance of regular customs, is rather astonishing!

As ever, sign up on Patreon to get immediate access to the Real School of Art in all its glory of draft format (it’s hidden here inside a members-only section of this website) –  and/ or buy the course now on Teachable.

PS Big news coming up soon about VAWAA – Vacation WIth An Artist!!

* Genuine artist space-out should not be confused with actual rudeness from ego-based creative folks, which is usually about the theatre of them pretending to be more important than the average person 

RETURNING – WITH FRESH EYES!

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THIS IS WHY I CAME HOME!!

All gloriously coffeed-up and with a happy apple brioche in my tummy, my luggage stored safely at the station, and sat with my essentials, in a park of towering brick antiquities, palm trees and daisy lawns.

I’m encamped on the grass in the half shade, checking whether the sun is taking over the day yet. It’s late March: where I came from was a furnace, where I’m from originally would leave your arse frozen damp and muddy, but here, I could forgiven for getting teary-eyed about it.

It’s fricking perfect.

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Life in Italy is something folk romanticise about, obviously – films, songs, paintings, blogs – the Guardia Sanframondi Renaissance movement – and the Italian branding plays to it, like a Latin lover wooing a stupid tourista – easy.

But underneath all the marketing and all the folks getting lured in by the promise of that postcard idyll, there’s a profound possibility of CONTENTMENT here: a potential of fulfilment, nourishment, spiritual ease, social synchrony, community wealth, which cannot ever be bought, bargained for, commercialised. It can only be earned.

It is earned through one’s presence, a willingness to embrace and accept, a dedication to the moment, a belief in truly good things… and a humility that lets all the crazy wash right off your back.

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I think that it’s easy to overlook the small pleasures – to take them for granted, and not be joyous for them. It’s only in being without them, that we see their preciousness. The Italiani in Guardia are often perplexed as to why we stranieri would like to be in such a setting as this previously-abandoned medieval town, when we come from cultures which – at least to the outside – seem to offer such a pinnacle perfection of the consumer machine.

It’s hard to sum it up in a short blog, but for me, it’s this moment – the Easter Sunday bells are thundering with the force of all those centuries of religious consent – but they are so solidly, absolutely, delicious in how their sound wraps itself around this park, around me, around this moment, like a familiar blanket. The birds join in, as does the chatter from a biodiverse park clientele, of Romans, stranieri and dogs. And even the traffic seems to lap like waves, close as it is, adding not unpleasantly to the ambience.

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The air is as clean as air gets in a large European city, and the breeze touches my skin just enough to cool the parts that the sun is beginning to burn. My bare feet are tucked under lush clover and grasses, dotted thickly with proud bright daises.

The park begins to fill with Easter Sunday passeggiatori, none of them particularly heading to or from church, and none of them looking like they’re carrying the weight of Jesus’ martyrdom, on their shoulders. Punctuated by regular Vespa buzzing past, laughter and jollity flows around, from group to group.

We all consent to and support this good vibe, this rich life, this perfection, and we all want to keep it flowing benignly. Italy is not just about the absence of danger, discomfort, visible poverty or tensions (having just returned from a month in Uganda, I find this all very tangible), nor about the presence and availability of tasty treats, cultural resources, mod cons. For me, Italy – loving Italy, and living here – is about that quiet perfection which every single day is sewn together by; the rightness of the underlying paradigm, and the collective agreement to honour it – set in stone.

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Belonging to this culture is never something I thought to show off or hold up as a status symbol, but it is something that I can now sense and enjoy. Having tried and tested and failed and overcome a  stack of initiation challenges thrown at me by the place and the people, and having woven my own perceptions and contributions into the tapestry… and now having stepped right away completely from Italy, and come back to it…. I feel a sense of  – not ownership, but – that I am responsible to my place in it.

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I feel utterly joyous to return to this benevolence, this warm familiarity and nourishing ambience; it feels like it is mine now. There are so many reasons why Italy projects such a strong romantic appeal, a seductive façade. But more importantly (for me), under this glam exterior, there’s a depth of riches quite unimaginable.

 

Come join me on Patreon to see all the insight and images, a window onto my studio and creative process, more from my travels in Africa – and to Live Like A Happy Artist! This is where I share all the behind the scenes and deeper stories, just with my special people…

PATREON SIGNUP BUTTON

You can also:

Follow me on Facebook

Browse my Etsy shop

See my books and calendars on Lulu

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Tante belle cose, Clare

THE UNIVERSE IS ALWAYS SHOWERING US WITH BLESSINGS!

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This week (my 4th in Africa) a multitude of stuff happened, which to many folks would signal ‘Oh noooo!!’ and have them running home tail-between-legs. I’ve even had a few messages from friends and family, scared and stressed for me, and assuming I should jump on the next plane back to Guardia Sanframondi.

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But to my perspective as a happy creative person, the way we view what happens around us – to us – there’s a spectrum of possibility in that… and all of it is positive.

What that means in reality, is that no matter what has been thrown at me, from aggression and projection and domineering manipulation, to being isolated and ignored, to electricity cuts and water outages, masses of biting insects, utterly debilitating heat, lack of personal safety, not being able to find the most basic food stuffs…

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All this can be a joyous learning curve.

How? How does one turn an anguishing situation into a constructive one?

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It’s so simple that it gets overlooked a lot: good old methodical correcting of our thinking.

What this means in practise is that, as big clever super-intelligent human people, we have the truly extraordinary capacity to think for our selves. We also are able to both rationalise and transform our feelings – our emotions.

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Together, these two inner resources allow us, if we really work with them with sincerity and humility, and go always deeper, and to get to this place deepest inside, where it all is good.

One of the practical tools I used, back in some of my more stressful times (and in moments like these in Africa!) is to make a great long list of at least 21 reasons for why this moment or issue is something really truly positive in your life.

At first this is an awfully clunky process, but you will be amazed what comes of it, as you convince yourself, like a self-fulfilling-prophecy, to look at the bright side.

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But slowly, slowly, you begin to open your mind, your very synapses, your heart and whole energy, to what is possible, rather than what isn’t possible.

And this opening is the key to human happiness and well-being. When things flow through us, rather than coming to a blockade, where we have a big heavy doubt in our mind or heart, or even a subtle negative thought, we can access infinitely more energy, inspiration, enthusiasm, hope, success… you get the idea.

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The very act of being negative stops this flow. And when the flow is stopped, it begins to manifest in the outside world around us: we project outwards into our work and relationships, our home and family life, the literal blocks which are going on inside of us. Our partner becomes an aggravation rather than the support we so desperately need, our job becomes a drain on our very soul, and life in general feels like it is wearing us down.

But by this time, we don’t see that we are being negative: we think we are being ‘realistic’ or that we can see reality better than others: we’ll defend this dark reality, no matter how much it is eating into our soul, to the end.

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Awareness, or sometimes another human being, or often something we come across or read, can inspire us to really look at the limiting shell we’ll living in, but we have to be willing to see it.

So really it’s a choice, like everything in life:

get busy being happy, or get busy being stuck in your own muddy rut.

Start looking at what the darkest things in your life are/ have been, and how they can be lessons and blessings.

Or you could just sit still, and complain about how life isn’t what you want it to be.

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In my experience, having come from a place of poverty, ill health, depression, grief  and severe anxiety (I could go on) and having utterly transformed that into a beautiful and empowered life, filled with colour, depth and meaning…I know that it works; that no matter how downward your spiral appears to be; how deeply rutted our habits and closedness… it can and will all be opened up so we can flourish, if we just set our minds to it.

Happiness IS the way!

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Loads of good wishes to you, and I’ll be in touch via PATREON about all that’s going on in Africa!

You can also SIGN UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER, which will be going out on Monday.

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