Flowers are a classic accompaniment to many of our lives special moments, but is there more to them than that. Why do we give flowers to someone in the hospital? Why do we have flowers at funerals or weddings? Have you ever wondered these same questions. Well, I did some research and I found some cool evidence.
First of all, research has shown that memory retention and concentration are improved by having natural elements like plants and flowers around us. In the early 2000's studies were conducted at the University of Michigan and showed that the effect of nature in the home and in the workplace served to stimulate both the senses and the mind, improving mental cognition and performance. (Bisco Werner 1996; Brethour 2007; Frank 2003; Pohmer 2008; Serwach 2008; Shibata, 2001, 2004; Yannick 2009)
Now this doesn't surprise me at all. For years I've known that plants within the home can improve our lives by simply cleaning the air if nothing else. So I find it reassuring that they actually improve out mental ability too.
Studies went on to find that flowers can actually help us develop a sense of happiness. This is due to the reduction in people's stress when there are plants around. When people have flowers in their homes they were found to feel happier, less stressed, and more relaxed. Which also means that the stress and experiences of depression in the home are reduced. Flowers can also help you achieve a more positive outlook, by bringing visual pleasure and an increased perception of happiness. (Brethour 2007, Collins 2008, Dunnet 2000, Etcoff 2007, Frank 2003, Haviland-Jones 2005, Hartig 2010, McFarland 2010, Rappe 2005, Waliczek 2000)
Now about flowers being in hospitals. "The presence of plants in hospital recovery rooms and/or views of aesthetically-pleasing gardens help patients to heal faster, due to the soothing affects of ornamental horticulture. "(Brethour 2007, Frank 2003, Friend 2008, Lohr 2000, Park, 2009, Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Assn. 2009, Ulrich 1984)
Being around plants can also improve our relationships. This is because of elevated feelings of compassion.
Reduced stress, increased compassion, decrease in depression, better relationships.... wonderful side affects of having plants and flowers in your life.
Having a painting of a flower in your home brings you into the naturally healing realm of horticulture any time of year. No longer are you dependent on the growing season or the cut flowers from the florist.
If you would like to see the work that I have available for purchase you can do that here: www.cielellis.com
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If you are interested in where I found these research finding on the affects of flowers and plants you can take a look at it here: Research article link.
When you have an abundance of ideas it's important to put them in some sort or order.
Let me walk you through how I organize myself.
Currently, I have 110 images that I would like to turn into paintings. With each image I place it in a plastic sleeve protector, assign an inventory number and arranged them in order.
When I'm ready to choose new paintings I go to my big book of ideas and pick out some images. Often I choose a theme, like a particular variety of flower, or by the size of canvas. I remove those sleeve protectors from the big book and place them in a smaller, working, binder.
From the smaller binder of work I create a master list documenting the square inch size, the canvas size and the likely time it will take for me to paint that image. Then I go to my calendar and block out the time using post it flags. This really helps me see how many paintings I can get done during a week or a month.
This is so helpful for a couple of reasons.
1. I avoid the over scheduling that was happening before;
2. I stop my self criticism before it gets started.
Before getting organized I would look at what I had accomplished in the month and always feel like I should have done more. Now with the estimated times to complete a painting I can see what is realistically possible. For example, if I'm working 6 hours a day I can complete (1) 6 x 8 painting. That's it.
My self criticism would have me believe that I could get more paintings completed in that time. Not possible.
This might seem like a lot of work and this nerdy artist loves this part. Getting organized feels so grounding.
The other problem I have is that I've collected almost 60 canvases for these paintings. Where do you store them so you aren't tripping all over them?
You store them in your new canvas storage rack on wheels, of course. My husband helped me put this together a couple of weekends ago. Oh my gosh! I was so happy. I think I cried.
As you can see I have various sized all lined up in their cubbies. I can find the sized easily and they are not getting damaged. So happy.
This is what the nuts and bolts of getting organized looks like for me. It feels amazing to have this all in place.
Now I can relax, check my calendar, see the painting that is scheduled, and get down to business. Prior to all this organizing I wasted a lot of time fiddling around, trying to figure out what comes next.
I hope you have enjoyed this tour of my organizing system.
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That moment when you felt moved by something. What was going on?
In the bigger picture, I think this is what the human experience is all about, moving from one moment of delight to the other.
Chasing that feeling is not always a linear pursuit, of course. The twists and turns that we take along the way can have us forget the last episode of delight.
Can I tell you a story?
My husband was taking me to Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island. I had my new camera in hand, ready to capture what I encountered. Within a few steps down the path, I fell behind him, he carried on without realizing what was happening. I was crying. I was so overcome by the beauty of the place, the moment, the true partnership with this man, I had to stop and just allow myself to feel the moment.
My work has this same effect. Hundreds of people have messaged me to express their reactions.
Having something tangible that triggers this moment of delight is priceless. Being able to create images that affect others in such a profound way, is my gift.
Leave a comment and share a story when you felt delighted.
Up until Now.. The journey from beginner to full time art career.
I'm so excited to reveal that I have published a lovely little book documenting my journey from the beginning.
I know there are other artists out there who are up against the self-doubt and worry that I have been up against in the past. What I have learned along the way I suspect is going to be really valuable for others.
This 20 page book is filled with my art, stories, champions, and inspiration.
If you would like more information you can click the link below.
Beginning can be so challenging. Have you even noticed when you start something new, challenge yourself, that your negative/judgemental self comes along with you.
I know why this is... we don't have enough evidence to combat the negative chatter.
Unfortunately, the only way to gather evidence is to keep practicing. To build up a body of attempts that you can compare or maybe not compare but rather take pride in the number of times you have shown up to try.
The one thing I know for sure is that the self doubting part of us is not something that is going to go away. However, when we practice we relax into the tangible evidence that we have collected.
There is a real sense of accomplishment and pride. Whatever you are showing up for. I used to love running because if you ran a 5 km race that is hard evidence of what you have accomplished. It's undeniable proof. Painting, for me, is the same thing.
When I look around my colourful studio, while doubt is sitting with me at the easel, I have all the proof to contradict what doubt is wanting me to believe.
What are you showing up for consistently? Do you feel a sense of pride for that commitment? Perhaps you haven't considered that, up until now.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. Leave me a comment below.
Better yet, join my V.I.P. email list and I'll give you early access and sneak peeks at what I'm working on.
Here's the link to do that.
As many creatives can attest, the journey to their art practice is often not linear. In fact, many, including myself, have been faced with negativity, harsh criticism, critiques that were not helpful and yet there was still the desire to continue.
Where does that come from?
God/Spirit/Divine/Universe.... I don't really know. All I know is that when I don't make room for my creativity I am not well. and I mean that quite literally. I am not myself if I am not following my inspiration and creative urges.
Not to self: Your creativity is non-negotiable.
Part of my journey has certainly been filled with desire and push back while other aspects have included comparison to other and others comparing to me. All these situations have slowed me down or stopped me from creating.
Inevitably I come to my senses and return to my creativity. I've been blessed to have a couple of mentors who saw potential and believed in me when I wasn't able to do that for myself.
In reflecting on my journey, I suspect that I could possibly be that mentor for someone else. To believe in another creative enough that are willing to start creating again, or start period.
One of the ways I intend to do that is with my first art compilation. It's a small book sharing some stories, images and inspiration.
This is the editing copy and will be available for purchase very shortly.
Leave a comment and share some of your creative successes or detours.
I learned something new today.
In the 1600's tulips were said to cost 10 times a working man's salary in the Netherlands, making them more costly than some houses.
I went digging a bit further to find that tulips did not originate in the Netherlands even though they are the largest producer of tulips.
The tulip originated in Persia and Turkey and were likely transported to the Netherlands during early trade relations. The tulip played an important role in the culture and art of Turkey and Persia, including being worn tucked into the turbans. And the name tulip derives from the Persia word for turban.
Once back in the Netherlands, tulip frenzy hit, crashing markets in the 17th Century.
There are over 150 species of tulips with over 3,000 different varieties. Here are a few.
I'm finishing up my current series which focuses entirely on tulips. If you would like to be notified when the collection is released, then leave me your contact details by clicking on the link below. You will be added to my V.I.P. email list and your will receive sneak peaks and early bird access to new works. Click here to join the V.I.P. List.
Here's a sneak peak and teaser.
This is my first..... ever painting course using the images that I love to paint. I was surprised to find that others want to learn to paint like this. Well, I guess, I'm not surprised about that as much as I'm surprised that I can share my process and effectively teach others to do this work.
I find it really easy, the process of it. The interpretation of the images and creating the likeness on the canvas is a little more difficult.
The interpretation really comes down to seeing accurately. Can we see the details that comprise the various shapes of the specific flower. Mother Nature is amazing because each variety of flower has a different shape and characteristic. I love that. The ruffles of the peony versus the cup shaped petals of the tulip. So different. The light falls differently on these various shapes which makes it a challenge to render.
The other part of painting this way is the mindset work that is necessary. Already my student commented that she stopped herself from putting a mark on the canvas because she didn't know what to do. She was afraid to make a mistake. Where else in our lives do we stop ourselves from making a move for fear of making a mistake?
The good news is that we really can't make a mistake, in painting, or in life. We can always repaint the section that is not working, and we can always make a new decision in life.
I'm so inspired by the work that is being accomplished in my first painting class that I'm preparing to put together my next class. It is called Sunlit Gold. This is the image that we will be painting.
If you would like more information about this upcoming class then leave me your details below and I'll be sure to message you once I have the dates ironed out.
2020 has been a year full of surprises. Many things have occurred that we never imagined. One response can be to coil up and protect ourselves. There is nothing wrong with that, and it is a reflex to circumstances. Whenever I have been in reflex mode, I am no longer in creation mode.
Creating my experience by being very intentional, is beneficial, and feels so much better.
Creating for me is about delight. When I'm in delight I am more generous, I have more compassion, I'm less reactive and more conscious in my choices.
Delight, by definition is great pleasure. What happens when we put our focus on delight? Can we allow ourselves to have great pleasure?
These are great questions and delight is often more difficult to allow than the discontent that is right at the end of our fingertips. Delight opens up the door for more possibilities simply because we are open to new ideas.
Here's one idea that I've been working on recently.
What is one idea that delights you that you tend to disregard and set aside?
Could I invite you to pull that idea out and explore allowing yourself to have it?
I have often heard things like: " that's over the top... too decadent... selfish...excessive." Really? Really? Just imagine for a minute you allowed yourself to have what you really want. No compromise. Now this could be something small or something large. It could even be a decadent day off, or a solo trip somewhere.
What would be different for you, if you allowed yourself to have what you want?
In creating this latest painting I'm inviting you into an image that feels really decadent to me, and I'm also inviting you to considering buying something that feels decadent for you. Liberating that desire, liberates your energy, opens the door to more possibilities, and meets your own personal needs. Guess what happens when you meet your own needs? You are more available to be a support to those around us.
Self care first - always.
Our communities need us at our best and being at our best is about allowing ourselves to have the things that we desire.
I'd love to hear your reflections. Leave me a comment below.
Great question. Finding beauty where we are is an important aspect, for me, to living well. Yesterday on my evening walk with my husband and our dogs I captured these images of flowers. These were all within a 15 minute walk of my home.
I think one thing becomes clear, when you look at this group, is that I have a particular way of framing what I capture and that translates directly on to the canvas. I think subconsciously I try to pick out what I think is important about each flower and highlight that. I'm not always interested in showing the whole flower or the surrounding foliage if it means I have to divert attention from the focal point. In other cases, the entire flower is necessary. Such as the white rose. Oh my! This rose is 8 inches across. Absolutely spectacular.
The other thing that may not be as clear is that I default to the sunny side of life. Seeing the brightness versus the darkness. In some cases there is a highlight of radiance, in others it is a myriad of folds that attracts me.
This is the wonderful thing about artistic expression. There is no wrong answer. Whatever we see and what we choose to capture is our prerogative.
Do you consider yourself creative? What things do you enjoy to create? Have you ever discredited your creativity for what you have captured? I'd love to hear your thoughts. The comment box is below, just drop it in there.
P.S. I let me email list recipients know about new blog posts and sneak peeks into the studio. The path to that list is through the button below. Come on in.