“The principles of true art is not to portray, but to evoke.” — Jerzy Kosinski
Artists are there at every step in human history, commenting without speaking, making jokes with a paintbrush, or expressing their anger with color alone. An artist can pull a scene out of their mind and show it to you. They can imitate a human face so perfectly, you’d swear it was a photograph. Every iconic image we have of mythical beasts was only an artist’s interpretation — the only reason we all know what dragons look like is because an artist told us so.
The artist is the one who shows us all how limitless our imaginations are and they bring our dreams to life. The artist witch knows better than anyone the magic of creating art and showing it off. I’ve written before about incorporating art into your craft, but in this post, I want to offer more of a support system for the artist witch. This time, we’re going to use the craft to boost your art.
Cleansing Your Tools
I personally go back and forth on cleansing. I do believe things can have a bad energy, but it’s usually because of some memory or emotion I have that I’m projecting onto an object. That said, it is important to return your emotions to a neutral, balanced state before working magic, so I’m going to approach this cleansing a little differently.
Instead of traditionally cleansing an object via smoke or other means, I’m asking you to wipe your mental slate clean in regards to your artistic tools. This method of cleansing can be applied to other things as well, especially if it helps bring you a little peace with whatever you feel is sending off bad energy in your environment. The purpose of this exercise is to see things differently, accept things as they are without an emotional response, and learn that you are in control of your own perception and by extension, your whole world. Everything comes down to point of view, especially for artists.
You may not even feel your tools are radiating negativity. It may just be time to cleanse in order to try a new style or lift some stagnation. Whatever your reason for cleansing, this method will work to “reset” everything back to zero.
Place the tools you wish to cleanse in front of you on a white or black cloth. Focus on all the art you have created with them, and in your mind see your work along a timeline. Though it may be difficult, try and be as detached as possible now. When you get to the last thing you’ve made, the timeline stops. Now see either only white or black in your head (depending on the cloth you’ve chosen), and imagine that this color has mass — like paint, for example. Imagine the blank canvas you are looking at in your mind is the future. At this point, I usually have to stop myself from imagining things I want to paint! Try hard not to do this as it puts expectation into your tools instead of just letting them and your own mind be. There are no expectations and no obligations. If it helps, you can remember the joy that comes from buying new supplies and apply it here.
Before we move forward, mentally focus on the black or white moving backward over your timeline of art and with each piece it touches, it blots it out. The color continues moving over your art, wiping it all out and leaving you with nothing left to look at, no art attached to these tools whatsoever. All you have now is possibility without pressure.
Concentrate hard on this mental cleanse and try to erase any preconceived notions you have about your talent or what these tools can do based on what they have done. Imagine they have never been used and anything is possible with them — just like brand new supplies. It’s only fun and exiting, with zero emotional attachment.
Once you feel confident you’ve reached this point, clean your tools thoroughly with warm water and soap. Obviously if the tool you’re cleansing is a graphics tablet, or something you can’t use water on, clean it in a way that won’t damage it. The purpose of this isn’t to cleanse (you’ve done that) but to make your tools look brand new and to take care of them.
To use this method of cleansing on other objects, follow the same course of action but instead of a timeline of art, think of a timeline of your own reactions or memories of the object. Then simply work backwards using the white or black mass and erase these emotions mentally. See that the object is just a thing and the “power” it has, either negative or positive, was always down to your own perception. Find neutrality!
Artists in particular are prone to self doubt about their talent. Compliments never quite sound sincere for some reason, or else it’s coming from someone who doesn’t understand and therefore can’t be trusted. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve destroyed my own art out of frustration or disappointment while my loved ones looked on in horror. Expectations are too high and instead of helping us grow, they just get us nowhere.
It’s one thing to be humble, but it’s another to be self-sabotaging. If you never give yourself room to make mistakes, you’ll end up being your own worst enemy.
This exercise is meant to instill confidence in your ability. The goal isn’t perfection, but acceptance. It won’t make you da Vinci overnight, but you’ll be amazed at how much better your work will be once you really believe in it!
What you will need:
- A blank sheet of heavyweight paper or canvas
- Black acrylic paint
- White acrylic paint
- Red acrylic paint
- Cedarwood oil
Create a sigil for yourself with this line of intent: “Everything I create is exactly what I am supposed to create.” Instead of using just a pen and paper to work out the kinks and develop this sigil, use your black paint directly on the canvas to figure it out. Oh, there will be mistakes — working a sigil’s design takes a lot of time until you get it right, but with this method, all the wrong lines and reworking will be on full display. If you run out of room using the black paint, let the paint dry and switch to white, using your “mistakes” as your new canvas.
Try and use as much of the canvas as possible and even practice your sigil on this canvas in any blank spots, until you’ve found exactly the right design. After all the paint has dried, add a few drops of cedarwood oil to the red paint and mix well. Focusing on your line of intent, draw the completed sigil in the center of your canvas, the bigger the better. You can use the white paint to “clean up,” if you wish. Hang this sigil up in your workspace and touch the sigil and repeat the line of intent before you begin any project. Activation is finished when the painting is completely dry.
On a personal note, please don’t let anything stand in the way of your making art, not even yourself. You have talent for a reason and no one else in the world can do exactly what you can do. Use it — it’s a gift!
This is a fun thing to do when you’re in an inspiration slump. It requires a lot of focus, but the results can be amazing. You’ll only need a quiet, comfortable place to lay down, some relaxing music of your choice, and incense if it will help center you.
Get comfortable, then close your eyes with your legs stretched out and your arms by your side. Imagine you are walking toward the sea. You can hear the waves as you get nearer and nearer and there is soft sand under your bare feet. Suddenly you come over a rise, and you can see the green-blue water, frothing calmly near the beach but growing choppy further out. The sky overhead is dark grey and white and the wind blows the briny, warm air over your skin. Though a storm is surely on its way, it is peaceful here and you are not afraid.
As you walk along the sand, you notice a free-standing door appear right at the water’s edge. The door is white and plain with a brass doorknob. When you try and look behind the door, you realize that you cannot because the scene is not three dimensional as you originally assumed, but flat like a painting you’re inside. You lift your hand and touch the rough canvas, and the waves in the distance go still and the wind blows no longer.
At first, you must knock on the door and wait for an answer. If no one comes, wait for a few moments, then knock again.
When someone on the other side decides to answer, they ask, in their own way, what you want. Tell them you seek inspiration from the masters. Which master, the voice asks. Tell them which of your favorite artists, across all time, you’d like to speak to. There is a short delay and you hear voices behind the door. Then, you hear the sound of a key turning and the door opens slightly.
You walk into a blank space and close the door behind you. Before the master will speak to you, you must build this space into a place the master would want to be. Here, anything is possible. You can build a jungle alive with animals and plants, or a quiet museum to have all to yourself. It can be open to the heavens with stars zooming over your head, or it can be a Parisian cafe in the early 1900s. Create your dream world and fill it with whatever you wish.
The master will only arrive when they are satisfied with your work. They stand next to you, commenting on all you’ve created. They like what you’ve done and they enjoy your company. You can ask the master any questions you wish and they will give you honest answers in return. If you’re having trouble with your work, they can offer feedback. If you are out of inspiration, they will tell you secret ideas to jumpstart your creativity. You spend as much or as little time as you want with this master and you find you like each other very much.
When you are ready to leave, thank the artist for their time and simply exit through the white door, closing it behind you. If you wish to return, you can at any time but you must knock and be invited in. Sometimes the beach will be sunny, and other times there will be storms. The world you created on the other side of the door will change after you leave — plants will decay, buildings will age, etc — and if you need to make adjustments on your return, you can. If you want to start over entirely, simply ask to speak to a new artist at the door.
Note: To give this exercise a boost, put a little mugwort in your pillowcase and work on this visualization before bed. Just make sure to put out any candles or incense before falling asleep!
Take care of yourself and your craft, artist witches of the world. I hope these exercises help you on your colorful journeys!