3-Session Series: Art as Self Discovery

Live from Afidnes, Greece

Feelings are an important part of art making. They “guide” our imagination, and play ping-pong with our thoughts! Thoughts provoke feelings, and feelings make us think. Feeling is the blood that animates our lives; it gives color to our experiences. They are the key elements of our character, and the most useful tools for the artist next to memory, metaphor, and color. These lead to inspiration and useful ideas.

This 3 session series is specially curated by VAWAA artist, photomontage artist, and art educator Annette. For three consecutive Sundays, from July 5 - 19, we'll dive into "art as self discovery". We'll learn tools and techniques, picked up from holistic art education and theater, on how to consciously and practically connect feeling with the imagination. We'll use our feelings as a creative dimension in our art making process.

As art can be a visual space for the self to become visible, we'll get to see how each one of us is different; we'll understand how visualizing some of our feelings brings us back to authentic self-expression.

Each session will last 90 minutes, and will consist of a technical explanation, a guided imagery exercise, a live demonstration, uninterrupted work guided by ethnic and meditation music, and show & tell.

Please note that VAWAA Online Pass cannot be used for this series.

Joining us from a different time zone? Be sure to convert the time.

Session 1: How does it feel? Feeling as the key to boundless artistic inspiration
July 5 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM EDT

Everything artistic starts with a feeling. This session will reveal how artists can use their feelings as a major source of inspiration for their art-making. We'll start with a few slides of well known artists, like Edvard Munch and Marc Chagall, who were guided by feeling in their art. Through a guided imagery exercise, Annette will then initiate us in a technique to help us find inspiration and visual material from our imagination. We'll learn that focusing on a feeling can guide us towards the right colors and composition. Each of us will create a “feeling-inspired” artwork in drawing, painting or collage.

Session 2: How to make an abstract composition, inspired by a feeling
July 12 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM EDT

The Abstract Expressionists explored the meaning and expressiveness of shapes in relation to emotion; think of Lee Krasner’s collages in which she uses knife-like shapes for her anger and jealousy, or the massive black painting by Motherwell expressing his anger about the Spanish Civil War. We'll start by looking at artworks of some of these artists.

This session is about learning how to connect a specific feeling to a personal shape, and how to make an abstract composition, inspired by that feeling. We'll work on the shapes we can “see” or “sense” when focusing on a particular feeling, and on the colors that pop up in our mind. We'll take a close look at the character of the feeling: is it a soft, sweet feeling, or a strong, intense feeling? Is it a small, hardly noticeable feeling or a huge one that undermines you? Once we've found the shape that matches our feeling, we'll experiment with small and large, light and dark in order to create an engaging composition in drawing, painting or collage.

Session 3: Mixed media, art that liberates
July 19 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM EDT

Mixed media is the art of freedom. It is a fusion of materials where we can use and combine whatever media appeals to us. Anything is possible in mixed media! That makes it fun, but also difficult. Where to start? In this session Annette will initiate us into the possibilities of mixed media. She'll teach us a simple strategy to start our first explorations. Our tools are, of course, feeling and imagination! We'll look at combining paint, photographs, found paper, and stencils; we'll be working either in 2D or in 3D using a cardboard box. Mixed media is a fun way to explore how visual material can be symbolic. Photographs (“clear pictures”) can symbolize clarity, whereas cut or torn colored paper can symbolize uncertain situations or feelings and thoughts that are unclear. Shapes can reflect feelings that are prominent in the inner monologue of the artist.

We'll begin with a slideshow for inspiration, follow by a live demo by Annette to dispel any hesitations and make us love this art form. And of course, we'll give it a go ourselves!

What you'll need

Pen, paper/notebook, pencil, charcoal, paint, magazine cut outs, scissors, UHU stick glue paper and cardboard to use as background for collage — whichever medium you feel comfortable with or wish to explore!

How to join

We'll be hosting this VAWAA Online on Zoom. We'll send the link and details to join via email a few hours before each session begins.

About Annette

Annette is a collage and photomontage artist based in Athens beautiful countryside. Trained in prestigious art schools in United States, France, Austria and Greece, she has been focusing on collage, photomontage and mixed media for three decades. Led by a passion for theatre and the human soul, her photo montages look like "film stills" of human relationships and made with scissors, glue, found photographs or photographs taken by her. She creates collage portraits that are deconstructions of familiar everyday faces, to shed light into the sinews of their being. She strives to merge fantasy and reality in each composition that lead us to the dreamland of human emotions. Dostoyevsky, Ibsen, Bergman and Hitchcock inspire her, including collage artists like Hannah Hoch, Max Ernst, Martha Rosler and John Stezaker.

Visit her artist page to learn more about her in-person VAWAA.


"I enjoyed the format very much. Seeing examples by artists, followed by the guided fantasy and then time given to create our self portrait triggered ideas and images. I needed more time though I appreciate how limited time and materials can also serve to enhance the creative process. I am sorry I could not stay to see all the works of other participants." - Anna Marina

"I’ll just say this- working with Annette left me hungry to know more." - Colleen

"Annette's guided meditation was one of the most useful creative triggers for conceptualising an inner landscape that could actually inspire imagery I could create in the moment. Just wish there was a way for more interaction during the process of creation. Ah well, lockdown eh!" - Lyn

"I loved the meditation into yourself and the quote. everything was very well planned for the class. I would love to take another with her. I also enjoyed the music while we were all working. I also overall love learning where everyone is from around the world." - Elfe

"This was a delightful hands-on experience which allows us to tap into our inner selves and try to express what we find. Annette is an excellent teacher and clearly knows what she’s doing." - T.

"It was a well paced course integrated with a great introduction by Annette (of her practice and art), a solid foundational review of diverse portraiture by other artists, impactful, guided exercises that led to discovery and creation." - Carol