previous groups have included:
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.” Robert Frost
Artistic and biographical questions are the focus of our theme-based groups. As we engage in the creative process, we work on ourselves and try out new possibilities in art and – at times – in life. Happiness is a choice, they say. If so, how do we become more aware of the choices we make as we paint or sculpt in the studio? How do these choices influence our life within, and in relationship to the outer world? We will share our creative journeys in an accessible, playful way through a variety of media, reflecting on our process in a safe, supported and non-judgemental space.
of an artistic adventure
2nd October – 4th December 2018,Tuesday morning (10am-12.30pm)
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. Seneca
In art, like in life, beginnings and endings give us boundaries, making us feel safe and adventurous, or at times stuck and imprisoned. Picasso once said ‘everybody can start a painting but only an artist can finish it’, yet most of us feel frightened already at the start.
In this theme-based group we will explore how beginnings and endings can both be challenging, when it comes to being creative. The white, pristine paper can be scary: lacking the confidence to make a mark, we feel the fear to lose its light. So, how do we start? How do we trust that we will be able to create meaning out of the experience?
Something similar happens later on, once we have gone through a creative process and we might like what we have done so far. We are now afraid to spoil it, although it doesn’t feel quite finished yet. How do we bring the process to a close? How do we know when a painting is complete?
an exploration of red in art creation
26th April – 5th July 2018 Thursday evening (7-9pm)
Power is the drive of everything living to realise itself with increasing intensity and extensity.
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.
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
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
Join 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
firstname.lastname@example.org – 01453 767059 / 07762 704738
c/o Unit 2, Block 2, Fromehall Mill – Lodgemore Lane, Stroud GL5 3EH