Arcana/ noun: secrets or mysteries that the alchemists sought to discover.

Creative alchemy & mindful art practices for aspiring and experienced artists

In these articles I share my experience and my inspiration as a multi media artist, creativity coach & mentor, expressive art teacher & art therapist.


Speculative Fabulations on the Future of the Opuntia Cactus and Cochineal Insect

“Memories of the future” is an eco-poiesis project part of the “SoS Cochichumbas” action, a collective of women artists based on the island of Ibiza (Spain) who decided to raise awareness through the arts about the disappearance of the Opuntiae cactus / Nopal, Prickly Pears, or Chumbera/ in the Balearic Islands and mainland Spain, due to a plague of Cochineal.

This collective undertaking and personal artistic project were born from the realisation of our emotional and aesthetic connection to this beautiful cactus. For us it had always been part of our landscapes and our memories, it seamed indestructible and yet all of a sudden it was dying. We wanted to understand and do something about it ...

The project began researching the history and context of the Opuntiae cactus, as well as its relationship with the Cochineal insect. Why this seemingly indestructible cactus is disappearing suddenly? What is the origin of the plague? 
What is the history of this plant and its predator? We first discovered that the Opuntiae cactus was originally from Mexico, and imported 400 years ago to Spain and Europe, following the conquest of Mexico by the Spanish, because of its intimate relationship with the Cochineal insect who produces a precious and coveted carmine red pigment.

This research took me on a journey from Ibiza to Oaxaca Mexico, the cradle of the Nopal /Cochineal golden match, and progressively shaped as a visual storytelling inspired by Donna Haraway’s writings and vocabulary (“Staying with the Trouble” 2016) to imagine possible or impossible “futuries” or “speculative fabulations”, weaving ecology, history, artificial intelligence and expressive arts.

 “Memories of the Future” explores the web of interconnectedness shaping our world through the lens of the symbiotic relationship between the Opuntiae Cactus and the Cochineal insect. This inter-species relationship serves as a gateway or “contact zone” for “tentacular thinking” (Haraway 2016) spanning across the historical ties between Mexico and Spain, colonization and cultural hybridization, the intricate play between nature and culture, biodiversity and human/non-human interactions.

VITA BREVIS ARS LONGA ... On the long lasting impact of art over the brevity of life …

What kind of creativity do we need to cultivate as we step into the second decade of this new century? Can artistic expression help us become conscious creators?

“Seventy thousand years ago, Homo sapiens was still an insignificant animal minding its own business in a corner of Africa. In the following millennia it transformed itself into the master of the entire planet and the terror of the ecosystem” Yuval Noah Harari

Creativity is on everyone lips and seams to be wanted everywhere, at school, at work and at home, as if creativity could be the answer to the drastic changes and challenges our society is facing.
However looking at the amount of goods, products, technologies and infrastructures we have created over the last century, I am doubting our lack of creativity. Faced with the ecological and capitalistic crisis of this last decade shouldn’t we rather become aware of the dangers of our gift of creativity ?

Read my full article about art and conscious creativity in the context of the 21st century

The creative potentials of accident and error: From blot art to glitch art

How accidents, disruptions, errors, and irrational “misbehaviours” can shift our perceptions to inspire new forms of creativity, aesthetics and poeisis.

“I use chance instead of operating according to my likes and dislikes, thus avoiding preconceived ideas in order to be open to possibilities that I might not naturally consider” John Cage

Generation of artists across cultures and centuries have taken advantage of the accidental to produce entrancing aesthetic experiences. In a culture in which all seams to have been done, contemporary artists see accidents as tools to produce something new, something that they would not have been able to think of in advance, or they wouldn't have even thought to create. Integrating malfunctions, dysfunctions and accidents within the creative process becomes a way to shift their perceptions and extend their artistic exploration conceptually and aesthetically.

Read my full article about the innovative potentials of errors and accidents.

Liminality & temporality in contemporary art making

A phenomenological exploration of time-space-rhythm in digital and hands-on art practices

“Time does not exist without change” Aristotle

In our age of connective digital technologies opportunities for creative innovations are growing exponentially, yet our capacity to adapt and regulate is being challenged by the speed and overload of the stimulus and information we receive. One of the great potentials of artistic expression is that it offers a space where to mirror and integrate our reality, as well as a space where to play with and conduct experiments.

I am interested to explore how combining traditional hands-on arts and crafts with digital creative tools in artistic processes could serve as an experimental ground to discover and develop mindful, healthy and sustainable ways to integrate digitality and virtuality into our lives.

Read my full article below on  the different temporal and liminal qualities we experience using hands-on and digital art media and how they inform our relationship to time, space and rhythm in our culture.

The Art of Deconstructing

Pushing the boundaries of our art practice towards new territories: surrealism, deconstruction, dream and imagination.

“Dreams call from the imagination to the imagination and can be answered only by the imagination.” James Hillman in The Dream and the Underworld

Like many contemporary artists today I am witnessing how cultivating a “surrealist attitude” and practicing the art of deconstructing are becoming key to further my exploration with analog & digital mix-media art making.

Deconstructing and re-constructing our artistic process is a practice that can help us break through the known, through pre-conceived ways and ideas to uncover fresh innovative possibilities.

Read my full article below on the relationship between dreams and deconstruction and how we can transfer some of that high creativity to our art practice.

Intention, Accident and Emergence in Hands-on and Digital Art Making

“Emergence is the spontaneous arising of novel and coherent structures, patterns and properties within chaos during the process of self-organization in complex systems” Jeffrey Goldstein

Weaving the intentional and the accidental in my art making is a never ending source of inspiration. I experience a state of exhilaration when I am patient enough to let a dialogue unfold between generating beauty through accidents/chaos/irrational moves and intentionally accompanying the shaping of novel structures or harmonic patterns within the chaos. When this dialogue leads the art making “the third” emerges and the work starts shaping in renewed unexpected and uplifting ways. 

This is like tasting for a moment the effortlessness of the Zen master ...

Click in the link below to read how weaving the accidental and the intentional in your art making can nourish your creative process.

Art Materials, Metaphors and Imagination

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” Albert Einstein

I have just been facilitating my MIX MEDIA & IMAGINATION workshop. I feel grateful to hold this profound and yet so playful creation space.

Mix media as a form of art making combines, collages and assembles an array of art materials. That means the artist needs to start collecting his/her “attractors” to create with. Attractors can be images, photographs, words or any kind of objects that lay forgotten or unnoticed around us and yet seam to be calling us silently. These art materials become our well of inspiration. Learning to listen to them with all our senses and respond to their inner life provides a natural starting point for creation.

... Click in the link below to read how mix media techniques can engage your imagination and inspire your creation.

The Wonder of Starting a Painting

I have been facilitating this month my workshop JUST PAINT and I want to share some inspiration for you to experience with.

There is so much joy and pleasure in expressive painting, so much possible exploration and discovery. While I am working a lot with digital tools as an artist I found painting one of the most natural and resourcing artistic practice to get in touch with my inner creator. When I invite my observer in the experience I get a direct mirror of my inner landscape, my emotions, my patterns, habits, impulses, and thoughts.

Now could there be anything more daunting and exciting than contemplating a blank canvas when you are about to start painting?

..... click in the link below to read more about how to make the best of this precious moment and get more tips  for your painting practice.

Art & Mindfulness Evolutionary Tools for the 21st Century?

Imagine if artistic expression could be reclaimed as everyone’s birthright to give us new ways to adapt and evolve in the 21st century! Could art & mindfulness help us find new answers to the challenges of our time?

As we try to maximize control, results and efficiency, the level of complexity, incertitude and unpredictability is increasing as fast as the speed of change. As if the more we are trying to control the world, the more our own creations might get out of control!

How can we adapt to extreme changes? Is creativity an answer?

....... click in the link below to read the full article and find out why the practice of the arts can offer some essential and powerful ways to expand our consciousness.

Where does your art come from?

We humans have found natural joy in dancing, acting, painting, sculpting, singing and making music since the dawn of our civilization. We have engaged in art infused rituals to celebrate the cycles of life, conjure healing and pray to the Gods. 

When wanting to awaken the artist within we need to come back to the essence of art, which is our natural human response to beauty, mystery and the aesthetic dimension of life. This exhilarating connection is our well of vitality, meaning and inspiration. The way of the mindful artist resides in the cultivation of an embodied and curious presence to life that opens a direct connection to the universal creative source.

......... click in the link below to read the full article and find out how we can cultivate our first & essential skill as mindful artists ...


Subscribe to the "Art & Consciousness" newsletter