Promote the Flow of Creativity

Going with the Flow?

What could be a more fun way to entice your Creative Spirit to go with the flow?

Jump into the CreativSOUP and relax.

Let the flow go around you.

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Today’s article is a little creativSOUP for your imagination. What a powerful way of looking at the world! Drink it in!

Find out more about my Tuscany Creativity Retreat

Creativity needs to be nurtured. Everyone is creative. If you doubt your creativity, then perhaps it’s time to expand your notion of what Creativity is!

Your innate Creative connection to imagination and dreams flows automatically unless you stop it with limiting ideas and beliefs!

Creativity loves a party. It can always be enhanced with special attention and nurturing. You don’t have to be an artist to enjoy the benefits of your creativity. In fact, many artists limit their own creativity as well. Find out more about my Tuscany Creativity Retreat or my Virginia Painting & Creativity Retreat

CreativSOUP 2018 Retreat Schedule Announced

Discover Your Colors in Joy’s Garden

Step off the beaten path to explore the colorful landscapes, vibrant gardens, & radiant villages that have inspired colorist Dorothy Fagan’s art for 20 years.

Joy’s Garden Painting Holidays in Virginia & Tuscany

You don’t have to be an expert. Novice & advanced artists are welcome.

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See more of Dorothy’s art>

Discover your own personal colors as Dorothy demonstrates her CreativSOUP method in oils, watercolor, and pastels.

2018 CreativSOUP Schedule

Sunrise Sunset en Plein Air

MARCH 9 – 11

Capture low light, long shadows, and brilliant colors of the March sky. Early spring while the landscape colors are muted, skies are dramatic. Billowy clouds, stunning colors, light and shadows present wonderful inspiration for paintings. Location  Dorothy Fagan Studio, 110 Skipjack Lane, Cobbs Creek, Virginia. SOLD OUT

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Inn at Tabbs CreekPainting Aboard an Oyster Boat & Roast

APRIL 13 – 15

Capture the essence of the Chesapeake Bay oyster from seeding to harvesting, roasting and savoring. Symbolism of the oyster is especially powerful in art and journaling. Sketch from the boat along creeks and rivers, as you hear first hand from the ship’s captain, how oysters are a staple of life in Virginia. Mathews County.  Location  Dorothy Fagan Studio, 110 Skipjack Lane, Cobbs Creek, Virginia. APPLY NOW

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sunset coastal marsh painting
Nesting Place, oil painting

Wild Beach Sanctuaries

MAY 25 – 27

Stillness and wildlife are at the heart of these remote beaches and coastal marshes. Standing between earth and sky, you’ll be captivated by the feeling of fresh air, divine light, and wonder. Mathews County.  Location  Dorothy Fagan Studio, 110 Skipjack Lane, Cobbs Creek, Virginia. APPLY NOW

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​Joy’s Garden Painting Holiday

May 4 – 11

Paint on remote beaches, private gardens, coastal marsh sanctuaries, and tiny villages in breathtaking Mathews County, Virginia. Work in any Media  LEARN MORE>

plein air painting gardensSecret Gardens by the Sea

JUNE 8 – 10

Vibrant colorful hydrangea, lilies, and fragrant jasmine intoxicate you with inspiration ~ surrounded by a sea of green mowed to perfection beside sand dunes and the bright blue sea. Mathews County.  Location  Dorothy Fagan Studio, 110 Skipjack Lane, Cobbs Creek, Virginia. APPLY NOW

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Three Dreams Set Sail on a Turquoise SeaD1
PASTEL Three Dreams Set Sail on a Turquoise SeaD1

Festive Urbanna Village & Hidden Harbor

JULY 13 – 15

Colorful village, quaint architecture, a protected harbor filled with pleasure craft and vibrant people will inspire you to capture this dream-like, idyllic Virginia town nestled off the Rappahannock River. Middlesex County.  Location  Dorothy Fagan Studio, 110 Skipjack Lane, Cobbs Creek, Virginia. APPLY NOW

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Tuscany Creativity Holiday

September 29 – October 7

Tuscany Expressionist Painting & Creativity Retreat

Come Paint with Me! Stunning Vistas, Villages, Rocky Coastlines & Beaches

Customize Your Own Retreat . . .  from plein air painting to drawing, a Tuscan cooking lesson, exploring unspoiled landscape, visiting artisan shops, and enjoying the good company of creative souls and a comfortable home off the beaten path. LEARN MORE>

Topping in Vibrant Autumn Splendor


Brilliant blue river and sky strike a vibrant harmony against golden, russet, and green foliage in this breathtaking Rappahannock River harbor. Quaint boat houses, oyster house, skiffs, and a creek side table for the best local seafood and brews. Middlesex County.  Location  Dorothy Fagan Studio, 110 Skipjack Lane, Cobbs Creek, Virginia. APPLY NOW

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Your Signature Style ~ Would You Take a Risk to Find IT?

So I gave a painting demonstration for my retreat guests in Tuscany last fall called, “Your Signature Style.” Little did I know that it would have a dramatic impact on my own paintings!

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You have probably heard talk about an artist’s style. Being able to recognize an artist’s style of painting, sculpting, making pottery, photography, writing, music or dance ~ we identify artists and follow their work.

Some years ago, I think it was ’06, or ’07 ~ I went from showing very richly jewel toned paintings in my fall shows, to a softer pastel toned palette the following spring.

The response startled me.

“Is this your first time exhibiting in this show?”

“I liked your other paintings better.”

“You were brave to change your style so,” commented the show director.


I hadn’t even considered it a risk? Is it a risk to try a new color? Is it a risk to change mediums? Is it a risk to try painting ~ if you’ve NEVER done it before?

So what IS an artist’s style?

Is it really about color? What makes a style of expression ~ in any medium? And how does one get there?

I believe it’s really about letting who you REALLY are out there in the art!  That is the point of doing it in the first place?  I really wanted my retreat guests to get this critical part. Even though many had never painted before ~ I wanted them to feel the ‘WOW!’

Painting Demonstration:

Discovering Passion

In Tuscany ~ I began my painting demonstration by asking each person to sign their name on a page in their sketchbook. “Just do it.”

signature style
signature style watercolor and pencil, 6″ x 9″

Then I picked up a watercolor brush, loaded it with paint, looked out the window at a misty, rainy landscape. One middle ground tree caught my eye, nothing special, just a place to start my brush.

I put the brush down on my small piece of watercolor paper and made like I was signing my name. No thinking, just do it.

Without thinking, I grabbed a pencil and drew back into the wet paint.


Capturing Essence

Try capturing the essence. Move quickly. Scribble, don’t edit. Just do it. Something. Stop when the flow stops. Don’t work over top of the initial flow.

signature style watercolor
Memory painting, watercolor, 9″ x 12″

I challenged them to paint from the memory of the Tuscan dinner party we’d all enjoyed the previous night. I made a quick stab at it to demonstrate.

Itching to try it themselves, my audience didn’t ask questions. They milled around my easel briefly and disappeared to get their own paint.

In the Studio

A Bigger Brush

Later in the day I was alone in my own flat. Looking at my memory painting of the dinner party, I wished it had more warmth. My feelings about the party were not as skiddish and austere as my brush strokes looked on the page.

The pause between my initial flow and this second flow is important. Not to collapse the conversation with the Creator, and the critic in your head. After time to consider both, I set a specific request of the Creator for more warmth, vibrato.

I loaded up a wider brush and laid down several brush loads of watery oranges. Focusing on how it feels to sign my name ~ thoughtless ~ I worked rapidly, adding lines, dots of deep color, and hot pink and red. Again ~ I stopped when the flow stopped. Sign your name and STOP!

Share Your Thoughts


I wasn’t at all excited about my first painting in Tuscany. Rain ~ plus the fact that TSA had held my luggage in the U.S., meant I had only watercolors and a tiny sketchbook on my first day.

In hind sight, the little sketch makes a dramatic contrast to the ‘wow’ in my sketchbook a week later.

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“I want you to feel the wow,” I urged one guest to put away the step by step instruction book she had tucked beneath her sketchbook.

If you’re not excited about your painting, no one else will be either. And why are you painting in the first place ~ if not to feel that wonderful creative jolt of wow energy flowing through you???

The same applies to writing, music, dance, photography, any creative medium. How about a dinner that makes you stop and taste, wow! Wouldn’t you want the recipe?

Are you painting to have the same ifs, and, and buts from real life hanging you up? I was ~ but I’m not now!

How many ‘WOWs’ can you get on one painting? Did you try the assignment? What medium did you use? What memory did you draw your inspiration from?  Leave your comments below.

What’s Next

More WOWs

Check out the articles below for more inspiration.

And by all means, don’t be stingy ~ share with someone you know who would be inspired too!

Big Expressive Dream