Tag Archives: art

Re-treat the Voice of the Artist

Photo Courtesy of MasterDabblers

By Glendalys Medina

Retreats can take many forms, so I ask myself what are they essentially? Aren’t they just structured moments to allow the flash of inspiration to strike? All of us need time alone for reflection. To ask ourselves such questions as ‘Who am I? What do I want? What does this mean?’ and ‘How am I going to achieve my dreams?’ We all seek our inner being, whose voice can be easily drowned out if not cultivated. To keep in touch I have learned to slow–down, to think and listen before I speak, to keep a close eye on what I let out into the universe. A mind with mental clarity and focus is a powerful tool, so it can only help to learn to control it right?

So let me ask you this, have you ever been creatively stuck, emotionally stuck, mentally stuck or any type of stuck? If you are alive then the answer to this question I assume is yes. Life is a beautiful adventure and the best adventures have great challenges. One must collect an arsenal of tools to overcome these challenges and reach the mountain of inner stillness, to become the vehicle of purposeful creation. I write this post today to share with you a tool that came to me when I was all of the above STUCK. The tool is simply silence.


This practice was introduced to me by Jessica Kung Dreyfus and Stephane Dreyfus in late 2012 while I was a visual arts fellow at the American Academy in Rome. I was in my 4th month of an 11-month residency and I hadn’t made a thing. I was completely overwhelmed and emotionally and mentally exhausted. I had all this time and space and inspiration was on a vacation. I couldn’t hear myself and I craved solitude. So I gave it to myself and with written instructions from Jessica and Stephane I went on a silent retreat for four days in my very own studio at the Academy. I kept a schedule, gave myself some basic tools to make artwork, had meals brought to me, said no to my computer and started playing. In those four days I learned a lot about myself, I felt completely free and energized, everything calmed down and I began a completely new body of work that I am still working on today. Inspiration finally struck!


Glendalys Medina “Alphabet Series: #6 of 26, (F)” Pencil and marker on paper. 126cm x 172cm 2013

Since then MasterDabblers has been working with Jessica Kung Dreyfus and Stephane Dreyfus to bring and share with you this transformative gift called ‘Unspoken’. ‘Unspoken’ is a silent retreat-in-box that contains everything you need to begin your retreat today.  I must tell you that this practice has been a godsend and has become a frequently used tool in my arsenal. So, if you are in need of this priceless gift today or you want to arm yourself for the next rainy day  please visit http://www.MasterDabblers.com/store.


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3 Easy Tools to Ride Your Thankfulness to a Creative Boost

‘Tis the season for turkey and thanksgiving, and thankfulness is one of the easiest things you can do to support your creative practice.

Think about it: it’s hard to make art when you’re in a funk. To create anything, we have to feel that what we make matters, that the world we live in matters, and that the life we live matters. Optimism is absolutely necessary to the creative practice, and regularly being thankful is an easy way to stay positive, even when life is difficult.

Gratitude and creativity go hand-in-hand.

With that in mind, here are three easy tools ensure you are grateful more than one day a year:

  • A gratitude journal: Whether you choose to keep a private blog or a notebook, writing down what you are thankful for regularly is one of the most common ways of maintaining a grateful attitude. Making journal entries daily or weekly will remind you of everything that has gone well–each small win or act of kindness you’ve experienced–and maintain a record of it.
  • grateful160.com: If you have trouble keeping up with journals, this might be the ideal tool for you. This little app will email or text you up to four times a day, asking you to reply quickly with something you’re grateful for in that moment. Far beyond that one aunt that insists on doing a “This year, I’m thankful for” round-robin before you can eat, a grateful160 account can help you build a regular, all-day, everyday habit of feeling thankful. Once a week, it sends you a list of your most recent replies, giving you a nice reminder of all the week’s gifts.
  • An evening gratitude practice: When you are laying in bed at night, just before you go to sleep, come up with five things that you are thankful for from your day. Say them out loud. Make sure you include WHY you’re grateful for them. Not only is this a good way to end each day on a positive note, but it also teaches you about what you most enjoy. If you have a partner, you can do this exercise with them as a way to debrief from your busy life.

Remember that gratitude is a habit. Like any other habit, it can take time to for it to become a part of your routine and your mindset. Ultimately, though, being thankful lifts you above the negativity and pessimism that can pull us away from our will to create. Make use of it!

Happy Thanksgiving! How have you used gratitude in your creative process?

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