theme-based groups

theme-based groups

In a facilitated group setting, we explore artistic and emotional aspects of a specific theme from different perspectives. 

Led by one or more of the therapeutic arts practitioners, it usually begins with a facilitated group activity, followed by a more independent artistic process. Costs vary according to the number of sessions and a financial commitment is required. All art materials are provided and no previous experience is required.

“I realise that it has become a safe haven, a still point in my week where I can explore new avenues of creativity in safety and do something that is very nurturing for myself.” Raje A.

our NEW WEEKLY themed-based groups:

an exploration of red in art creation

26th April – 5th July 2018 this themed-group will run both on

Thursday morning  (9.30am-12.30pm) and Thursday evening (7-9pm)

Power is the drive of everything living to realise itself with increasing intensity and extensity.

Paul Tillich


Many years after the last major eruption of Mount Etna in Sicily grape vines were discovered emerging through the thick crust of the lava flow that had covered a vineyard on its slopes. The power of life to re-establish itself after cataclysmic destruction in the natural world is a source of wonder. Can we sense something of this life affirming power in ourselves?

This question, together with the quote from Paul Tillich has provided one source of inspiration for Imagine to offer a summer programme of art exploring the power and challenge of red in art creation. The other source of inspiration has been our recognition of the history of Fromehall Mill (where our new studio is based) and its past production of ‘Stroud Scarlet’ broadcloth from the 1600s onwards for military uniforms.

This summer term programme will be focussed around a weekly theme based group on ‘The Power of Life’, with the option of attending either a morning or an evening group. A variety of art materials will be used, together with a range of different reds as we discover the manifold ways that red can relate to and influence (and be influenced by) other colours.

The original dye that was used for the production of Stroud Scarlet broadcloth came from the cochineal beetle, harvested from the native opuntia cactus in Mexico. There will be opportunity to integrate some textile art in ‘The Power of Life’ morning art group. Many of the vibrant, fiery colours of our late summer plants, from salvias and dahlias to marigolds also originated in Mexico and the Americas and they will provide additional inspiration for art creation. Likewise, the art of Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keefe, influenced by the powerful landscapes and cultural heritage of Mexico and of New Mexico respectively, will provide further context to the theme of ‘The Power of Life’. The artwork will be supported by some journaling and creative writing to facilitate reflection on our own relationship to the power of life and to the power of red in art creation.

Morning Group: Early bird £240 by 14th April, or £260 (10 sessions) all materials included. 

Evening Group: Early bird £220 by 14th April, or £240 (10 sessions) all materials included.

No previous artistic experience is required.

To reserve a place, a non-returnable deposit of £30 is required.

To book, please contact: 07762 704738 or


from 25th April 2018 – ongoing, Wednesday morning 10am-12.30pm 

(feel free to arrive from 9.45am for a hot drink)


Join us and share what it is like to be growing old, while maintaining a young spirit. We are building an artistic community where old age is valued, where living a long life is a gift to share, where the barriers between the young and the old are overcome through our imagination. We get to know each other through facilitated artistic activities and conversation, in a supportive setting.

This is an ongoing, open, themed-group where new participants are welcome any time, although booking is recommended due to the limited number of places (max 12 participants). All materials are provided.

No previous artistic experience is required.

The cost is £25-£15 per session (on a sliding scale).

To reserve a place, please contact: 07762 704738

Please, click below to download our current brochure, or enquire for further details.



booking form

some of our previous themed-groups have included:



a Colour Journey from Winter to Spring with Tom Burns

25th January – 22nd March 2018, Thursday evening  (9.30am-12.30pm) 

We can use the metaphors of a ‘soul garden’ and ‘the gardener in the soul’ as one way of observing all the manifold inner experiences we encounter in daily life and consequently of how we tend, nurture and cultivate these inner responses to life. To extend these metaphors a little further, we can ask ourselves – what might happen from winter to spring in such a ‘soul garden’? Although this theme is being offered in the winter to spring term, we can also seek to uncover the metaphors of winter and spring that we can discover in our own ‘soul gardens’, independent of the literal time of year in which we find ourselves.


 the art of a creative response to Life

Authentic Being… transcends the content of the personality. It can only be described paradoxically as an experience of emptiness, of ‘no-thing’, full of potential.

Institute of Psychosynthesis Manual

5th October – 14th December 2017, Thursday morning 9.30am-12.30pm

 Through art creation ‘emptiness’ can be embraced in a deeper, more integrative way, rather than through the negative, perhaps fearful connotations that we might habitually apply to this central experience of becoming human. In the Japanese floral art of Ikebana, as in other aspects of the art of Japanese life, the experience of ‘Ma’ – the negative space between things – is central to creating an artistic response to Life. Embedded within the negative space, the space that outwardly appears empty, Silence can speak and can be witnessed. Through a variety of media, including some expressive, pictorial and contemplative mark making, as well as some reflective journaling, we will unfold our own ways to invite the guests of emptiness and silence into our own processes of creating art.


from 6th June – 11th July 2017, Tuesday evening  (7-9pm) 

“Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?” Remi

Colours change through the day; they change through the seasons, just as our world changes with the landscape and the people around us. Yet our first response is so often to resist changes, especially those we think we never asked for. With our resistance, we end up blocking the life, which would otherwise flow through us, as it does all around us in nature. In this six-week themed group we will engage with the changing colours in our soul. In an open and playful way we will explore the theme of ‘change’ through the artistic work, in the spirit of Rumi’s words.


2nd May – 11th July 2017, Tuesday morning 9.30am-12.30pm


In our inner world we meet joy and sadness, laughter and misery, like the rhythm of the seasons in nature – though at times the inner garden cycle may reveal quite contrasting moods to the natural cycle. We will harvest the fruits of past experiences, allowing the deeply buried pains and sorrows to be artistically transformed into the blossoms of the soul. Sharing our reflections in a safe, supported and non-judgemental space, each session will include a facilitated artistic process and time for more independent studio practice.


17th January – 28th March 2017, Tuesday morning 9.30am-12.30pm

When we start our creative process from an ‘idea’, aiming for beauty throughout, too often we stumble upon our limited skills, ending with frustration and disliking the results of our efforts. If we are willing to let go of pre-conceived plans and allow ourselves to not know where we are heading to, we may discover that chaos is a very much needed step in the creative experience. A freeing up of limits that have more to do with prejudices rather than lack of skills. When we practice chaos, we learn from it the laws of harmony, just as we can learn about love from grief and sorrow. In nature we see this happening all the time, for example in the process of transformation of the caterpillar, which in the darkness of its cocoon, dissolves completely into a formless substance in order to become a butterfly.

 4th October – 13th December 2016, Tuesday morning 9.30am-12.30pm

not knowing

So often we are faced with the challenge of not knowing where something will lead us, what will happen, what it will look like. In art, just like in life, we can feel paralysed by the fear of making a mistake, getting something wrong, spoiling what we have done so far. Yet, unless we dare to step across the threshold into the unknown, we may never find out how deep is our need for expression. Moving from isolation to connection, in this group we will explore creatively and with curiosity the inner boundaries which protect and limit ourselves. We will share our experiences and reflections in a safe, supported and non-judgemental space. Each session will include a facilitated artistic process and time for more independent studio practice.


19th April – 28th June 2016, Tuesday morning 9.30am-12.30pm


We can cultivate our imagination to go beyond the physical senses and the concepts attached to our experiences. Cross-sensory phenomena can enhance our spiritual perception of the world that surrounds us. In this group we will explore the qualities of sound, taste and smell in relationship to colour and form and how movement, balance and touch can enrich the artistic process. We will share our reflections in a safe, supported and non-judgemental space.



in Nature and within our Soul


19th April – 28th June 2016, Tuesday evening 7.15-9.15pm

Annemarie2015Join us to find accessible and playful ways to express the qualities of earth, water, air and warmth through art. The journey from late spring to summer offers us a wonderful opportunity to experience the most dynamic expression of these qualities weaving through Nature. A variety of mediums will be used. It is also possible to explore the themes through a personal choice of medium – whether through wet on wet water colour, veil painting, oil or acrylic.


in search of balance

19th January – 15th March 2016, Tuesday 9.30am-12.30pm


Our daily encounters with light and shadow, in ourselves and in each other, point to our one-sided nature. Is there a way to bring opposites together so that a balance arises? When we address this challenge artistically, we may discover how the process reflects a deeper truth: each step is never just right or wrong but an opportunity for learning. Learning to trust ourselves and that we have the inner resources to balance our one-sidedness, whether this pushes us towards anger or discouragement, towards fear or disappointment. In this group we will explore creatively and with curiosity these inner dynamics, sharing our experiences and reflections in a safe, supported and non-judgemental space.


Hisako-gold figure on red

29th September – 24th November 2015, Tuesday 9.30am-12.30pm

“In the midst of winter, I found there was within me an invincible summer.”    Albert Camus

In the depth of our being, we can observe that just like the outer seasons, the inner dynamics of the soul follow a cyclical, rhythmycal journey between times for sowing and time for harvesting the seeds of our creativity. Moving between expansion and contraction, we can discover the forms that reflect the ebbs and flows of any artistic endeavour. In this themed-group we will creatively explore the inner seasons not only as moods but also as processes.

art for the soul


 21st April – 30th June 2015, Tuesday 9.30am-12.30pm

“The key to overcoming fear is to find ways to strengthen the soul.”    Robert Sardello

At Imagine, we firmly believe that creativity is one of the most exciting ways to strengthen soul life. In this themed-group we will experience how throughout any artistic process we inevitably are filled with uncertainty – about what we are supposed to express, whether we are using the right materials and above all, whether anything that we create is ever going to be meaningful – especially when dealing with non-representational and abstract art. Balancing fear with courage, we become more able to meet the world and each other with self-confidence and trust.

free from fear





13th January – 24th March 2015, Tuesday 9.30am-12.30pm

Have you ever experienced the fear and confusion when you face a blank canvas or a sheet of paper, not knowing where to start?

In this group, we will explore various ways of getting started on your painting, giving yourself a chance to engage with different methods and techniques in a playful way and surprise yourself with the outcome. Focusing on the relationship of colours and forms, we will use them as tools to enhance our unique ability to express ourselves in a non- representational way. You will discover and develop your potential strengths and learn how to handle the difficult moments in the art making process through experimental experiences. Each session will be structured to include a facilitated creative process, time for more independent studio practice and for sharing our reflections in a safe, non-judgemental space.


 4 elementsour relationship to the elements

January – December 2014, the first Tuesday of each month 9.30am-4.30pm

An artistic exploration of the qualities of earth, water, air and fire through painting, drawing, sculpture, creative writing and movement. Focusing on the elements as metaphor in our lives, we will relate them to our own inner energy and express our individuality through colour and form.



23rd September – 2nd December 2013, Monday 9.30am-12.30pm

Who is the Dark Mother, and how do we each relate to her in her holy and un-holy aspects?

This group is intended to be a communal exploration of the Dark Mother as we seek to know her in our lives, in our time. Demonized by patriarchy, with its emphasis on light and form; the Dark Mother never the less accompanies us, hidden in the deepest of mysteries of our daily lives, in our creativity, in our families, in our relationship to matter. With deep curiosity and acceptance we can invite her to share her mysterious energy. No previous experience is required.



23rd January – 27th March 2013, Wednesday 9.30am-12.30pm

This theme-based group is dedicated to the child at the heart of our own being, to the child each of us was and may still be. 

Inspired by the story of The Little Prince by Saint Exupery, we will work artistically with words and images to explore how the soul lives and moves inwards and outwards, between loneliness and friendship, isolation and connection, solitude and companionship.


Dragon themed-group

the energy of the dragon
10th October – 5th December 2012, Wednesday 9.30am-12.30pm

To mark this water dragon year, we explore together the Dragon Energy: playful, spontaneous and unpredictable! Poh-Eng will teach dragon daoyin (to guide out negative chi) exercises. As the spine opens, the health benefits can be felt in more suppleness and freedom of the back. Laura will share her artistic, meditative work with colour dynamics in relationship to our sense of life and balance.



the spell of the shadow
8th October – 10th December 2012, Monday 9.30am-12.30pm

An artistic exploration of the nature of our shadow and how this impacts on our environment. Doubt, envy, power, despair… we are all familiar with some of these destructive elements, and through a creative process we can discover the inner resources to transform them, so that our soul is free to act on behalf of life.


Please, let us know if there is a theme you would like Imagine to offer. – 01453 767059  /  07762 704738
c/o Unit 2, Block 2, Fromehall Mill – Lodgemore Lane, Stroud GL5 3EH