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flower transformation FYHA

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Why We Observe a Flower For 1 Month

listen to the text
focus flower FYHA

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If you live in an area where it’s spring right now, you’re witnessing profound change. Busy birds, snow melting. Something big is about to happen. But whenever or wherever you read this text – in summer or during the rain season –  we experience change in nature – and ourselves – all the time.

We sort of know what’s going to happen. What to expect. Winter, Summer, Spring or Autumn. We live through it every year. We check our calendar and know the trees will change color soon.

Transformation however is different. We never know where transformation will lead us.

Transformation happens whether we like it or not. Or – let me rephrase that – transformation can be smooth when we’re ready for it. But when we fight hard to stay the same – to NOT change. Then we’re heading for trouble.

Often transformation is not even rooted in a conscious decision.

It’s just the result of an action. We decide to enter a new path. We jump and go.  Maybe this is your first art assignment and you decided to make space in your life for more art and creativity.  Until you act and actually create something, you don’t know what way it will transform you.

We never know what ‘s going to happen – what the result will be – until we’ve been through it. Until we truly and fully experienced it.

If you’re a mother, you know there is no bigger difference in your life. Before and After. You become pregnant and your mood, body, thoughts change every day. But once that baby is out… nothing will ever be same. Ever.

If you ever moved house – especially when you moved to a different part of your country – or the the world, you can dream, plan and organize till you see blue in the face, but only when you actually live in that house, in that new environment, you know what it feels like (and whether it was a smart thing to do.)

Transformation is evenly scary and necessary if we want to move forward. Even when you don’t want to move forward. Because it’s inevitable. When you feel too old and start a rigid work out, you still transform. When you decide it’s time for some botox because you don’t want to change – well –  you change anyway. Big Time. Our body, mind and perception of our inner and outer world are changing. All the time.

Every second is a different second.

Every time we make art transformation takes place. It’s conscious change, with an outcome we never fully control. We witness what happens. We get our paper and pen. And once we draw that first line, everything has already changed. We transformed that paper. Even the pen has changed. A little ink has left. It’s a different pen then before.

Transformation is beautiful, scary, necessary. But by observing it we empower ourselves to lean in to that change.

That’s why we’re going to observe nature. And connect ourself with the power of transformation.

We use a flower to connect ourself with change and we use our art to reconnect with ourself.

Remember, every time you consciously witness transformation in the flower you observe your own inner transformation. Soon you will see change all around you.

I wish you a beautiful Month filled with Creative Magic.

Esther X

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focus flower FYHA

Your assignment this Month

Watch, Observe and Reflect, Draw, Paint Transformation in a Flower.
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This is how you do it:[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

  • Go through the entire assignment. Watch the Assignment Video below. [dt_gap height=”30″ /]
  • The core of the assignment is: observe a flower change form, color, shape.
    Record that transformation by drawing and painting it.
    – You can also photograph your flower if you like. But alternate with the drawing.
    Be free. Draw with closed eyes, from within a meditative state of observing, by making deep contact with the flower first, draw something that’s not there at all. Draw what you think the flower might look like in a week
    – Look – observe – draw – observe.
    – Expand the attention on transformation to your daily life. Your body, thoughts, life, food. See where it takes you.
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  • After a while your flower will loose its petals.
    – Start observing the petals.
    – You can dry a couple of petals between two heavy books and sheets of paper.  And let a couple dry without any pressure.
    – Don’t forget to touch the petals of your flower!
  • Get inspired.
    – Browse, listen, watch, get inspired, look around you. Get into the mood of transformation.[dt_gap height=”30″ /]
  • There is no right or wrong. This is very important. There’s no mistake in art. 
    This is not a How to do it course. You have to experiment, because that way you will learn more and develop your own style.
    – Your art is always connected with you.
    – Saying your art is not good enough is telling yourself you are not enough.
    – Admire your art is praising yourself. Praise yourself a lot! It will help make you feel happy and light. [dt_gap height=”30″ /]
  • TIME: Decide on a routine. You can change the routine whenever you like.
    Try to set up a daily or weekly routine. Set an appointment with yourself in your schedule.
    Like: Saturday 9 – 12 Art Morning. Tell your familie to give you some space.
    – All assignment are created for you to decide how much time you like to spend here.
    – Maybe that’s 60 seconds or 3 hours. Any amount of time given to your art is valuable.
    Show what you have created. Even a small sketch is interesting![dt_gap height=”10″ /]


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password: uramazing

What Material Do You Need?

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+ A flower (or more as you like) get an old flower from your florist.
Or treat yourself to some fresh flowers.
If you’ve got flowers in the garden use those. You can either gather flowers and put them in a vase.
Or watch them while they’re outside.
It’s important your flower changes form, color and shape in 30 days.
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+ A sketchbook with a mildly coarse paper surface (suitable for pen, pencil and water color)
+ The reflection sheets (click on the Download tab and print your sheets)
+ 2 (or more) pencils in different hardness like a HB (medium hardness) and a B5 (softer and darker)
+ 2 cheap brushes. 1 with a round point and 1 with a square point.
+ watercolor paint box or tubes

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+ Ecoline (in Europe this is cheap ink, in the USA it’s more expensive example )
or any other drawing ink example 
– you can use the ink pure, or dilute it with some water or use it in a brushing pen.
+ Aqua brush example
+ Colored pencils. Before you jump in with a basket full of new supplies, look around and see what you’ve got.
Pencils come in all sorts, shapes and qualities. A more detailed guide will follow.

As a rule material from France, Germany and the United Kingdom has the highest quality.
Art supplies from China are much cheaper (and not as good, but I use them all the time)[dt_gap height=”40″ /]

All the material explained
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password: uramazing

What transformation looks like in nature.

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Time-lapse  of blooming flowers [dt_gap height=”20″ /]

Catalog # 16/6770
Kwakwaka’wakw artist, Eagle Mask closed, late 19th c., from Alert Bay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada,
cedar wood, feathers, sinew, cord, bird skin, hide, plant fibers, cotton, iron, pigments,37 x 57 x 49 cm (American Museum of Natural History)

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Picture this
A man standing in a large space, men, women and children  watching him. Bold black and white drawings everywhere. He stands before a large fire wearing a heavy eagle mask shown above and a long cedar bark costume on his body.
He begins to dance, the firelight flickers and the feathers rustle as he moves about the room in front of hundreds of people. Now, imagine him pulling the string that opens the mask. The eagle is transformed into something else entirely. That must have been powerful and dramatic moment![dt_gap height=”20″ /]

kwakiutl eagle mask mask transformation
Kwakwaka’wakw artist, Eagle Mask open, late 19th c., from Alert Bay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada,
cedar wood, feathers, sinew, cord, bird skin, hide, plant fibers, cotton, iron, pigments,37 x 57 x 49 cm (American Museum of Natural History)

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Transformation masks, like those belonging to the Kwakwaka’wakw (pronounced Kwak-wak-ah-wak, a Pacific Northwest Coast indigenous people) they are worn during a potlatch, a ceremony where the host displayed his status, in part by giving away gifts to those in attendance.

Transformation masks like these manifest transformation, usually an animal changing into a mythical being or one animal becoming another. Masks are worn by dancers during ceremonies, they pull strings to open and move the mask—in effect, animating it. In the Eagle mask shown above from the collection of the American Museum of Natural History, you can see the wooden frame and netting that held the mask on the dancer’s head.

When the cords are pulled, the eagle’s face and beak split down the center, and the bottom of the beak opens downwards, giving the impression of a bird spreading its wings . Transformed, the mask reveals the face of an ancestor.

Kwakwaka’wakw Potlaches in 1951

Transform the animal into a human being
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Creativity- Art-Maya_Angelou

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There were people who went to sleep last night,
poor and rich and white and black,
but they will never wake again.

And those dead folks would give anything at all
for just five minutes of this weather
or ten minutes of plowing.

So you watch yourself about complaining.

What you’re supposed to do
when you don’t like a thing is change it.
If you can’t change it,
change the way you think about it.

― Maya Angelou

reflect on transformation FYHA

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Download the sheets
– Keep it near your flower (of flowers) don’t forget to place a pen or pencil near your sheets (so you don’t loose that wonderful word or thought that comes up!).
– Try to find one – or more words – for your flower. It can be descriptive, but also a feeling that comes up while watching the flower. Even if the word makes no sense wrote it down anyway.
– Chances are you will see a beautiful poem appear in due time.

playlist Free your Happy Art Transformation

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Listen to the Spotify Music Playlist

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+  Are you on Spotify already? Simply click the image above
+  Not yet on Spotify?
Click here to learn how to set up your account.
You can can use Spotify for free (just close your ears during the commercials) or get a paid account.

Floris Verster, Still life with peonies, oil on canvas 135 × 202 cm (53.1 × 79.5 in) 1889, Rijksmuseum
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I clearly remember the first time I saw this painting in the Rijksmuseum. Before the renovation it was on view near the Nightwatch of Rembrandt. Just around the corner. Tourist walked past it on their way to Vermeer. I truly adored this painting. Love at first sight.
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There is a wonderful tradition of Dutch 17th century Still life painting. Huge flower portraits show the skills of the artists. The flowers are strong, perfect, pristine. But the  painting by Verster was vulnerable and powerful at the same time. The  flowers don’t rise up to the sky. They are already start to fade. Yet – also due to the large size of the painting – it felt like they knew no shame.
They bloom. Even in their stage of transforming from their bright beautiful vibrant outer appearance to inevitable change.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

Floris Verster,  peonies, oil on canvas , 1888 Rijksmuseum de Lak
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Though it’s not a very good photo I like to show this picture because, as the story goes, Verster painted his peonies against a light background first. But Verster’s painter friend Jan Toorop advised him to paint a dark background because it would change the atmosphere of the painting.
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Reflect on what this painting would look like with a different background.

Try it out for yourself.
– Draw two flowers.
– One with a light background (use very thin watercolor, with lots of water)
– One with more thickly spread watercolor paint (like dark green or dark blue)
What happens to your flower?
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piet-mondriaan- Chrysanthum
Piet Mondrian, Chrysanthemum,  1908–09, Charcoal on paper,  25.4 x 28.7 cm (10 x 11 1/4 inches ), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Mondrian/Holzman Trust
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For more than a decade after graduating from art school in 1897, Piet Mondrian created naturalistic drawings and paintings that reflect stylistic influences like Dutch Impressionism and Symbolism. During this period he  created more than a hundred pictures of flowers.

Reflecting years later on his attraction to the subject, he wrote, “I enjoyed painting flowers, not bouquets, but a single flower at a time, in order that I might better express its plastic structure.
The heavy crooked line of Chrysanthemum shows how Mondrian’s was influenced. Specifically by the work of Vincent van Gogh. In 1909 Mondrian became interested in Theosophy,  a philosophical mysticism that seeks to disclose the concealed essences of reality. He wrote: I too find flowers beautiful in their exterior beauty, yet there is hidden within a deeper beauty.

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lily Mondriaan Haagsch GemeenteMuseum
Piet Mondrian,  watercolor on paper,  25 x 19.5 cm, Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, Netherlands

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Try to look at your flowers through the eyes of Mondriaan or Verster, or any other painter you like.
What would Matisse see? Or Georgia O’Keeffe?

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Listen to the Soul Whisper
– Find a quiet space
– Get your flower, sketchbook and pencil
– You need around 15 to 25 minutes for this exercise.
– Click on the flower to start listening

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focus flower FYHA

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