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Musings (Blog) - Art With Intention


Thoughts and Perspectives to Shift your Thinking from Ordinary to Extraordinary

Self Validation and the Courage to Create

My friend sent me the most glorious text:

“I’m at Camille’s guitar lesson and there is this kids band playing. It’s horrific. Like worse than me in the car with the windows up. But I love the fearlessness to pursue their passion.”

That sentence alone opened up a window of creative thought that has allowed inspiration to flow in ever since.  In an instant, I realized just how pure and free this experience was for the kids in this band. My friend’s ears may be bleeding, but her joy is not the focus here – it’s theirs.

They are playing with their hearts and not with their egos. They are not playing for applause but to set their self-expression free.  And it is working for them. This may not be how it is playing out for these children, but in my mind, this is the gift I am receiving: a reminder that creativity is not about external validation, it is about the open expression of oneself for the sincere pleasure that arises when that pleasure is pursued. The end results not included. It is the glorious path that is the victory dance.  What an enormously freeing experience it is when it is viewed this way.

Coincidentally a day later I received an email from a woman I had previously coached. She ended her email with a statement about her paintings.

“I’m still committed to my painting even though I don’t paint every week. I’ve dropped my ambitions to sell my work and I’m just focusing on improving my skill and having more fun. I thank you”. The last part of that sentence is everything. Just having more fun.

I too have fallen victim to the illusionary practice of creating art for a specific monetary result. This shaped the way I created and shaped the art I created. I felt flat internally because of it. When I dropped the need to create for this reason I opened the door to the expanded being I was and the creative process flowed freely because of it.

I had to self validate. Creating art specifically to please someone outside of yourself leaves you feeling deflated before you can even bloom.  The creative experience should be an open conversation, not a premeditated script.

What do you think? Do you feel a need to be validated from your art or do you feel the process and the creation are the fuel you need alone to continue?

Ask yourself these questions during your creative process:

  • When you notice judgements about your work can you let them go?
  • Are you able to observe your thoughts without the need to attach to ones that don’t feel free?
  • Can you accept the experience of the art-making process for what it is without it needing to have a perfect ending?
  • Can you recognize (and give yourself credit for)  your courage in the act of creation itself?

Those kids in the example above probably didn’t ask themselves any of these questions – they just went for it and felt great while doing it.  They are feeling the gift of interior expansion that comes with creating art for the bliss of doing it. My aim is to feel that way each time I create and to assist others in doing so also.  Can you imagine a world where we are all expanding and growing without self-judgement simply because we are happily engaged in the art-making process? Yes? Yes!

Best to you great creator!

Love, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Tuckwell is the founder of Art With Intention a site devoted to creative expression and personal growth. She provides creative coaching to remove old energy and gain clarity. You can learn more about working with her here: http://artwithintention.com/one-one/   She is also an accomplished Abstract Artist and her work can be viewed at Elizabethtuckwell.com.

*Real not Perfect Image Courtesy of Alexas_Fotos

Where is Your 51%

Where is Your 51%

Sometimes our motivations mystify even ourselves.

The stage was set. Microphone in hand, laptop ready, and enthusiasm high. Despite the late hour and slight feelings of exhaustion from a long day parenting, recording tonight’s podcast episode was motivation enough to push forward. Fast forward to an hour later: I have recorded a sublime episode.

After finalizing the recording I began the editing process. Unfortunately, I realize that the entire recording has a layer of static blanketing it. I pretend my way around a vast array of knobs and buttons on the audio program in an attempt to fix it but to no avail. The recording is unusable. I have to record it again.

I glance at the time and measure my motivation. Neither are looking good. Despite giving myself a few pep talks, “You can do it!” “Don’t’ give up!” I shake my head, put my feet up and turn on Netflix. I give up.

Not only had I ceased the momentum of what I truly desired but now, instead of heading to bed to wake up refreshed and start over, I was potentially sabotaging my next day by staying up so late. Why?

I felt this tennis match of internal ethics playing in my mind. One side saying, “Go to bed start over in the morning!” vs the other side saying, “What’s the point? You tried. Just relax and watch a show.”

I realized my 51 percent was off. My 51 percent had become shadow.

51 percent is a term I often use with working with clients. They come to me with personal or professional blocks and I can usually tell how in-or-out of alignment they are within themselves. Out of a possible 100 percent total personal alignment (focus towards a goal), they may have 49 percent working towards their goal and 51 percent in self-sabotage mode or vice versa. Tonight my 51 percent was in self-sabotage mode or what I like to call the shadow side.

There was a motivation (or lack thereof) here that I was not seeing. Some part of me that had decided it was less important to complete my goal than it was to relax and forget about it. The part of me that tugged at my shirt and held me back from completing my own race had to be examined.

While pondering this (still relaxing on the couch mind you), I began to think about the depth of our shadow side. I began to realize that often we want to ignore this part of ourselves and see it as “bad” but in truth, it is neither good nor bad. This part of ourselves is simply a part of our whole. A part of us that chooses to remain hidden because it is trying to protect us. For whatever reason, this aspect of ourselves is simply internal scar tissue left from a moment that hurt us in the past. An event that sent a signal to our internal compass that doing X was not in our best interest. And now when this part of us perceives danger, it begins to act accordingly.

Now I know my podcast was not going to put my life in danger, but being in the spotlight could potentially make me vulnerable. Being vulnerable can hurt. Being hurt can suck. I can see how my shadow side was trying to protect me by getting me to stay on the sidelines of my own history where it is safe and quiet. To recognize my motivation as a part of me that is actually loving me, I can see that all of me is loving me all of the time. Even when it doesn’t feel that way. By taking this gentle approach to my self-examination I release the items holding me back and begin to embrace myself more fully. This approach leads to more alignment. Getting myself back to the 100 percent alignment mark. At least for a while.

Where is your 51 percent today?

The Ghost of Christmas Past

My daughter wrote out christmas cards and on one of them she wrote in huge letters “The ghost of Christmas past” and we laughed about it because it was so intense.  “Yikes,” I joked, “who is getting this card?” I won’t tell you who got it but I will tell you that the metaphor of that card and what happened on the day couldn’t have been more accurate.

The day of Christmas came and went and with it all the emotions: joy, madness, exhaustion, elation, some missing of friends, etc. My little one decided that getting up at 2am would be a brilliant idea. I did not agree. That was a long bridge to getting her to finally going back to sleep and waking up at 7 (finally!!!) to open presents.

When the family meal happened we were visited by no other than the ghost of christmas past.  A guest I had not anticipated.

This guest walked in to the home and slammed down his contribution of food and gifts and demanded to know why some guests had not arrived yet.  His anger was out of proportion to the experience. From his reaction you would think this was a life or death situation where a kidney had not arrived on time and someone was going to die. No, this was a gift exchange, some laughter and some food shared between people.  He was so upset that he stated that this will be the last Christmas he ever participates in. (Wow, was I missing something?) The escalation was quelled by a quick subject change and an introduction to my daughters new found magic tricks.

It bummed me out that the joy of the day was not as much of a priority as the need for anger. Regardless, I still found a gift in the experience and I’ll tell you want that was.

Throughout my upbringing chaos at the holiday meal table was to be expected. No one got along and everyone was really happy to be mad. I was always 10-15 years younger than even my youngest sibling so most of the anger was really confusing to me.  While the arguments went over my head, the emotions still lingered within me. I was often really upset and had stomach aches after these gatherings and I never really got why.

Understanding in retrospect that my exposure to these events as a young empath were super toxic on my wellbeing and that at that young age I had not been given the tools to reduce their effect.  Yet as devastating as those events were, they were part of the foundation that lead me to seek out the path of peace that I chose to live today. And as toxic as those experiences felt, without them I would not have found the determination to refuse to host them in my own home or adult heart.

So on this day I was able to turn the situation into an experience that showed me my relationship with my past and how much I had grown. Not only that, but the opening scene’s outburst (and later a miniature one at the end of the evening) really showed me that I have learned tools to identify, shield and release negative energy on command.

Quick tips for dealing with such a situation:

  1. Before anyone comes set the intention to shield your energy and surrounded it with love.  (The intention is good enough)
  2. Know your own energetic set point. Your true emotional north. When are you in your own energy? Do you know how that feels? (Hint: You are happy)
  3. Choose the willingness to have peace over being the need to be right. This is probably the most important element.  If someone has arrived with guns blazing they are going to be right in their eyes no matter what. You are not going to change their mind just move forward with your own dedication to peace.
  4. When the event is over clean your energy. This can be as easy as taking a shower or a salt bath adding epsom salt to the water or you can listen to a grounding meditation. There is one included in the free creative jump start challenge. That is here: http://artwithintention.com/creativejumpstart/

At the end of the day we can’t control, nor always anticipate all of the potentials of energetic experiences that may come across our path, but we can be in charge of managing our own energy in their wake.

I made a podcast about this too, you can hear it here: http://artwithintention.com/podcast/

And as always, if you want to reach out and connect with me in person, I am always here.


Much love,


Keeping it Real

Keeping things very real:

This week was a doozy. The beginning of the week had my little one sick, the end of the week I had food poising, then my external hard drive died and I lost 5 years’ worth of work and memories.   My podcast, No Worries Wednesdays, was not produced this week because of it, my apologies to my audience. It will be up and running again next week.   But I had a choice, completely freak out and wonder why all things felt doomtastic or realize that sometimes there is just a reset button that happens in life, whether we are ready for it or not.

My food poising caused me to not eat for a few days and during those days I felt a sense of clarity and grounded-ness that I had not felt in ages.  I had to question what was I eating? Why is it that I felt so clear on such an empty stomach?  It has made me look at the amount of sugar I intake, my caffeine consumption, and a few other things. I have all but ceased the sugar and cut out coffee. (tea still rocks) but I feel better.  I would not have gotten to this moment today without that awful Saturday morning.

The work, the art, the archives of memories.  Well that still hurts. But what to do?  Realize that the best memories are the ones in my heart. I have enough scatterings of my images on social media to recover some items and for the rest, well a clean slate and a fresh start is what’s next on the menu.

It feels good to have this perspective. It’s taken me ages to leave the omgwhatisgoingtohappenworry behind. But the practice of creating art and meditation help clear away the illusions and keep me focused on what is actually important.  My child is healthy and happy, my artwork is a gift to create, my Watercolor Poetry class is going so well good, my upcoming workshop is going to be amazing, I am healthy and happy and surrounded by amazing people, like you.  That is what is real!

I’ll have more of that. The rest is just accessory.

So what is next for you? If you had a total reset button pressed, would you be ok with it?  What matters most to you and what for you is just accessory?

Are you clear about what matters most to you?

If you would like to engage is a fun class designed to help you do just that and you are in Chicago, sign up for my new workshop Watercolor Vision Board.  Spend two fun hours creating the vision for the life you want and creating beauty in your world. You may just create some memories that last a lifetime. The kind that stay in your heart.

Learn more details here.

Big Love!


Elizabeth Tuckwell is the founder of Art With Intention a site devoted to creative expression and personal peace. She provides creative coaching to remove old energy and gain clarity. You can learn more about working with her here: http://artwithintention.com/one-one/   She is also an accomplished Abstract Artist and her work can be viewed at Elizabethtuckwell.com.

Meditation Saved My Life!

I am pretty sure meditation saved my life this week.

I had signed up for a Reiki session. It was my first. I have heard wonderful things about it. But never experienced it myself.

Unfortunately the practitioner called me to cancel the session due to a family emergency.  I was bummed. It was a Sunday and I had already arranged the childcare.. I was also bummed because a recent compendium of challenges that showed up really had me feeling quite mixed up energetically.   I wasn’t lining up with myself and I could feel it.

So there I was at Noon on a Sunday with time to myself and not sure what to do with it. My first thought, “paint”. My second thought. “clean”. My third thought, “no no no please don’t clean!!” Then then I looked at this space on my floor and decided I was good enough at meditation and energy work, I’ll give myself a reiki session.

Without knowing what a reiki session would entail, I knew I could move my own energy with intention and could allow myself the gift of cleaning up my own energy. I could give myself an experience that was bigger than sitting in meditation. I could give myself a healing session. So I did.

First I prepared a space.

A feather bed on the floor with blankets and pillows.  I added some hemi-sync music from Spotify into my headphones.  

I then set the intention.

The night before I had a dream where I was trying to move through a room but could not because there was this large lump on the floor blocking me.  I knew when I woke that I had a blockage in my energy that needed to go. So I set the intention to move out old blockages and stagnant energy.

I laid down, put the headphones on and allowed the experience to happen.  It was wonderful, beautiful and very surprising.

(If you want to know exactly what I did during this self directed energy healing, email me.)

I saw images that showed me what I needed to release and I really moved energy within me. I even cried. A lot. This was working.  I spent about 45 minutes in this space and when I got up I felt like I had a fresh pair of eyes. And I felt so sooooo good.

I decided to follow whatever urges my body asked for that day and the first one was eating a huge HUGE salad. In my mind’s eye I  could see the red cabbage, spinach, kale, cilantro, parsley, dill, capers, black olives, tomatoes, sweet peppers, sweet potatoes, carrots and avocados. That was exactly what I was going to have.  Except I had only a few of those ingredients in my home. A trip to the shop was next!

I drove to the shop down the road and felt so much more at peace and relaxed than I normally do. When I get into my car I am usually calm, but I tend to move from point a to b without much observation or need to overly pause. I am in a car to get there fast. Lets go.  

But not this time. I was was so grounded. My body felt so at peace. I was more patient than usual and when bikers drove in front of me I was very mindful of giving them extra caution and space.  Felt nice.

At the intersection, as we waited for the lights to go from red to green, the biker in front of me signaled that she was going left.  As I was going left, I set out to follow her easily when the light turned green. But something happened. I had this feeling of just pause and care. I wanted to wait just one extra second and make sure she made her turn fully before I began. Then just as I began to put my foot on the accelerator another car came speeding towards me coming up on my drivers side. This driver was running the red light and going about 60 miles per hour in a 25 miles an hour zone to do so. The light had already turned. She must have made this decision when the light had turned yellow about a few hundred feet back causing her to speed up insanely.  If I had not paused, not felt grounded not felt calm and centered, I would not be writing this email to you today. I would have been in a very powerful car accident and where the other driver would have smashed into me completely totaling my car. Not to mention what kind of domino effect would have occurred with the other cars. I do not know if I would have survived.  I honestly do not.

But what I do know is that if I had not been relaxed that moment. In my own space and connected to the world around me I would have zoomed ahead as I usually do without even thinking of stopping. And because I had taken the time to give myself what I needed. To ground my energy and release what I was carrying. That my taking the time to care about myself resulted in me caring more for those around me (the bikers in front of me) and for that reason I am alive today.

This was a powerful reminder of just how significant having our own spaced cleaned out and owned fully by us really is. What  difference it makes to be grounded.

If you are feeling less than “yourself” these days, feeling out of your own space, feeling less than in touch with your own joy, remember that it is most likely a result of carrying way too much energy on you.  And by some grounding and self care work you can begin to remove the layers of “the everything else” and get back to the beautiful gold that is you.

I have a free Creative Jump Start which starts with a beautiful meditation to release energy.

You can sign up for that here if you would like. http://artwithintention.com/creativejumpstart/

And as always, if you want to reach out and connect with me in person, I am always here.


Much love,




What would bloom in your garden today?

If we think of our thoughts as seeds and our feelings around those thoughts as fertilizer, what would bloom in your life today?

I have this personal theory that everything shows up about three days later.  I think that the thoughts we think show up in our world as experiences in about three days.  The cake binge I experience on Tuesday will show up on my hips by Saturday. The exercise I start on Wednesday, as a result of said cake binge on Tuesday. will help to balance out the hip expansion by Sunday.  I have no scientific evidence backing this up, but it does allow for some personal leeway and accountability.

If I catch my thoughts spiraling in a direction of doom, worry or anxiety (which has been their historical behavior) I can begin to mollify their impact by realizing I have time before they show up in my world as things.  Slow down their momentum and begin to reverse them.

When you are in the same position and you are not liking where your thought machine is going take a deep breath and remind yourself, you have the reigns on this. Then do the following:

Ask yourself – “What will my next thought be?”

(Thank you Mr. Eckhart Tolle – I got that from the Power of Now)   – The empty space that comes from that question is quite profound. It is a way to stop your thought momentum in its tracks.

Then ask yourself how do I want to feel right now?

If your answer is relief or joy or free or happy start to make of list of three things that bring you to those feeling states.   Just three.  Be specific so you can go into the feeling of a memory you can call on to soothe you.

For me I could easily write:

Sometimes we think that by worrying we are committing to a problem that needs solving.  I haven’t read every history book on file, but I am pretty sure there is not one documented case of worrying something better.

Having these three items on a piece of paper in front of me constantly shifts my focus.  These are great moments.  I want more of these.

I start cultivating thoughts I prefer. I plant seeds I want to grow.

So knowing this, and it being the spring time, let’s all begin to cultivate thoughts for what we really do what to bloom into what we desire.

What would be blooming for you today? What do you want to bloom for you in three days?

What seeds are you planting in the garden of your mind?  Let’s make them beautiful flowers.  You deserve nothing less.


Elizabeth Tuckwell is the founder of Art With Intention a site devoted to creative expression and personal peace. She provides creative coaching to remove old energy and gain clarity. You can learn more about working with her here: http://artwithintention.com/one-one/   She is also an accomplished Abstract Artist and her work can be viewed at Elizabethtuckwell.com.

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