Celebrating Creativity

Hi I'm Kadira Jennings, welcome to Unfolding Creativity, a portal to Abundance Through Creativity.

I am a creative artist celebrating and encouraging the creative in all of us.

My blog is a discussion, and creativity resource. Please take your time, look around and join the conversation if you would like to.
It is my passionate belief that we all have deep within us a creative genius just waiting for half a chance to get out no matter what field we work or play in.

''There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it.''
Martha Graham

A New Body Of Work


If you’ve been following the blog in the last couple of weeks you will know that I’ve been sharing with you some of the different series of works I have painted and how they came about. Today I would like to share with you the latest body of work which is centred around exploring current issues and challenges facing displaced persons and refugees.
This new body of work, examines the underlying problems facing them and their hopes for a better life.

Where can you see it? – it will be exhibited at the Ruby Samadhi gallery in Kincumber  When can you see it? – 1 December to 31 December 2016, more details to follow.

As with some previous bodies of work, this one did not emerge from my fascination with a particular subject or in this case even a conscious awareness around the topic.

I had recently come back from a trip to New Zealand and as I was about to begin a new series of work I thought I would try to loosen up my style somewhat. Although I enjoyed the previous series of works which were floral in nature, by the time I got to the end of that series my work had become quite tight and I wanted to remedy that.  I picked a palette of colours and started splashing paint around, endeavouring to work very intuitively and abstractly.  However as the work progressed I began to see figures emerging from within it.

body of work,Refugee,Kadira Jennings,refugees

The first painting in the series

When the painting was nearly done I was wondering what title to give it when the word refugee popped into my head. At the time I couldn’t figure why, why refugee??? Although the figures in the middle of the painting do look very frightened and harrowed.
A short while later, I was talking to one of my students about the painting. We had previously been discussing how I would like to return to live in New Zealand as I currently live in Australia. At this point in time however, that is not an option for me. When I was telling her about the painting being called Refugee, she looked at me and looked at the painting and said ‘but you’re a refugee, aren’t you? ‘ I was quite astonished as I’d never thought of myself as such.
This got me to thinking further about refugees and displaced persons and so the birth of a new series began. I then quickly developed several paintings from this first one. These subsequent works related to the emotional challenges and hopes that a refugee or displaced person feels.  I feel like a displaced person rather than a refugee. The thing we share in common is being cut off from our homeland, although perhaps in different ways.  

After that I turned to my source material, the photos I had taken on my recent trip to New Zealand and it all began to come together. 

Next week I will share further highlights of this journey as we approach the count down to an exhibition of them.


This Weeks Question: What can we do individually to help alleviate the misery of refugees in our own country.

Look For Next Week’s Post: Why Go To An Art Fair – 3 Fantastic Reasons Why You Should

My Dark Night Of The Soul – How Did I Emerge From It?

My Dark night of the soul found its resolution through a rather unlikely event. For some time I had been looking at a photo that I found on Pinterest of dresses in a wardrobe. I was really drawn to this image although at the time I had no idea what lurked beneath its innocent surface. Anyway, I began painting the image as you can see in the photo below.


Dancing In The Dark – beginnings

As I began to paint the bottom of the dress on the extreme right,  I was suddenly overcome with a huge grief. I was crying and crying and I suddenly realised that I was releasing the grief I had held onto all these years about giving up my dancing. 

It was as if there was a hidden self within me that knew I needed to somehow access this grief and release it. Thus I was drawn to the picture. The funny thing was that I actually came across the photograph almost a year before I ended up painting it. And for the whole year, it was calling to me to paint it but I kept finding excuses and reasons why I didn’t need to do it. But clearly, I did.

Many people don’t realise that works we produce are always a reflection of who we are in some way. It may be reflecting ourselves at the current point in time, or something from the past we need to let go of. As was the case in this painting. 

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The first Painting In The Series

What I found quite remarkable about this series of works was the way it operated on two levels. While there was the grief for abandoning my dancing, simultaneously the dresses being stuck in the dark closet seem to somehow echo my grief at not being seen and felt at deeper levels, by my partner. The dresses were beautiful and unappreciated and so was my work. The series continued to evolve as the dresses emerged from the closet and eventually ended up floating freely from a branch, in the wind.

dark night of the soul,kadira jennings

Final Painting In The Series


This Weeks Question: How does your creative work reflect your own life journey?

Look For Next Week’s PostComing Soon, A Sensational New Body Of Work. Where Can You See It?

What Is A Body Of Work?

What does a body of work mean exactly?  

What goes into an artist’s body of work and why do we call it that? Generally a body of work is a collection of paintings around a particular theme. Not all artists work in this way. However you will often find more mature artists tend to take a theme and work with it over a period of time.

During my art career, my work has encompassed several different subjects which I worked on over a period of months. The last major body of work I did was around the subject of the dark night of the Soul. These paintings documented that journey using the metaphor of dresses emerging from a dark wardrobe out into the light. Each subsequent painting was a further step in the emergence. The dresses themselves represented more than one thing. There was the emerging awareness of my own neglected femininity. Which was quite a painful process.

The painting below in particular, represents the feelings associated with owning my femininity. 

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Emergence – The Finished Work

For many years of my life I was involved in a religion that suppress women to a large degree and I think this painting was subconsciously rendered as a means of breaking free from that past suppression. Really, if you look at the whole series of works, the embracing of freedom is quite apparent.

You might ask, how does this subject of my femininity relate to dark night of the soul? To understand this I will have to tell you the story of how this series of paintings began.

Often artists are much  like everyone else, in that we have defining points in our lives that have a strong emotional impact on us. Sometimes these points will come out in our art immediately and at other times these experiences may not appear in the work for many years. This series of work actually has two fundamental causes that brought it into existence. One goes way back to my childhood. Early on like many young girls I took up ballet and I was very good at it, gaining honours in my exams. However when I was around 13 I gave it up and that was something that I live to regret for many years.

The other cause was an even deep emotional wound.  It was discovering that my partner has no love of art, and that there is a whole part of me that he will never get, that I can’t share and he will never understand.  Which begs the question of whether creatives, should only marry creatives? 

To find out how these two soul wounds turned into a painting series……. please come back and read next weeks post.

This Weeks Question: How have you assimilated and dealt with those life changing moments on your journey?

Look For Next Week’s PostFind out how these two soul wounds turned into a painting series..

What makes an artists lifestyle something to be envied?

artist's lifestyle


Well now that’s a great question isn’t it?

  • Is it being able to sleep in and get up whenever you feel like it?
  • Or having wild arty parties


artist's lifestyle,artists parties


  • Perhaps it is all that spare time we have
  • Or not having any boss
  • Is it that an artist’s lifestyle is envied because we seem to be so free or unafraid to be different?
  • Do you think artists are living their dream and that is unattainable for most people
  • Artists seem to live a life of freedom

The True Realities Of The Artist’s Lifestyle

Of course some of the above are true, however in reality they are possibilities rather than what happens on a daily basis.

  • We can sleep in, but like any other job, that doesn’t get the work done.
  • We do have a boss and that is ourselves, a much harder task master than you might ever imagine.  There is no one else to discipline us if we are late for work, or make us go out and approach the galleries, or simply show up on front of the easel.
  • The wild arty parties, well I can’t speak for all artists of course, however most of us seem to slow down some what after we get past about the mid twenties or certainly into the forties, once one has children and a mortgage. Yes artists do have those you know.
  • As to a life of freedom – if you only knew – we are harried by the creative muse, chronic self doubts about our talent or lack of it, caught in the cycle of creative exhilaration or totally blocked and a lack of financial freedom for many but the few very successful ones.   Most artists have their art biz  and other work which pays the bills.
  • There is always that tug of war going on about how authentic you are going to be to your creative vision when you get to the canvas, or are you going to paint for money because the two while not necessarily mutually exclusive, are often at loggerheads.
  • An artist is an entrepreneur – an artpreneur if you like. With that job description, goes all the risks and stresses that go with any cutting edge business. There is fierce competition and a limited number of commercial galleries willing to show one’s art.
  • One must look at different revenue streams and alternate places to show your work.
  • This is not for the faint hearted!


Photo by iamboskro

Photo by icanteachyouhowtodoit


Quite a lot has been going on in the studio since my last post. I’d like to share with you my journey into the emerging work of the Krysalis painting


Chrysalis is a bold piece of work that has a beautiful story connected to its emergence. While being slightly decorative in its abstraction, it has a strength and harmony that  would offer a dramatic addition to your living space. If you like your artworks to hold more than paint and canvas, this one certainly does that.  I was fascinated by the  swirling motifs, one of which clearly resembles a heart or fish-hook.  The fish-hook is a central Maori symbol which represents  strength, good luck and safe travel across water. ( Which also speaks to the fact that many refugees travel across water seeking freedom).  These markings were placed there by the sculptor using traditional Maori techniques, working with fire and clay.

My inspiration for this emerging work came from  a sculpture by Will Ngakuru, which I saw in Rotorua, New Zealand. The sculpture was part of several that had been commissioned to commemorate the Anzacs (Australian and New Zealand soldiers fallen in battle.)  I’ve called my work ‘Chrysalis’  because we see the figure in a stage of metamorphosis – emerging into a new and better version of itself. The chrysalis is the container of possibility. I feel that displaced people, refugees,  have the possibility of the Chrysalis in beginning a new chapter in their lives.  Often our best work is forged in the crucible of life’s biggest challenges.

I love the whole chain of connection that has led to this painting. It is a work grounded in the gift of a sculptor honouring people’s struggle for higher ideals – freedom. The piece couldn’t have been made without Will’s work ‘Continuum’ and I offer thanks for his beautiful creation which led to the birth of mine.

36″x 33

91 x 84 cm

Oil on Canvas



Look For Next Week’s Post: What makes an artists lifestyle something to be envied?

hidden insights,creative process,creativity,the seed
Get your Hidden insights, into the creative process now

In gaining hidden insights into the creative process we have to consider the fact that we all process differently. What works for one person may not work for you or I. Of course has been much written about the process of creativity. There are however several key steps in this process regardless of whether you are creating a large project, a painting, design whatever it might be.


1.The Seed

It begins with a thought, an idea, the seed, which you have to act on. It’s a risk because you don’t know if it’s going to work but you have to go for it if you believe in it.

2. Mulling It Over

Next step can be to throw the idea out to someone else, friends, community, your mentor,  the people who are going to support you on your journey. Engage and involve them. You might not take this step at this point for a simple thing like a painting, however it might be good to take if you are thinking about putting an exhibition together with a whole series of works. Discussing your ideas with someone helps to flush them out and gives you a chance to make course corrections and so on.

3. Be A Sponge.

The creative process does not happen in a vacuum. In order to create we need input which then equals output. At this stage, you need to act like a sponge, soaking up many different ideas. Look at different mediums, other artists, go to galleries, look in magazines or trawl Pinterest. Our minds often put disparities together to create a new and wonderful thing. If there’s nothing in there to put together then you get nothing coming out. Zero IN = zero or garbage OUT!

4. Crafting

In the stage you are building the skeleton. Is the armature that everything hangs off. If you don’t have a strong foundation to your idea it will collapse. Therefore establishing structure is very important. I often use mind mapping at this point to get my creative juices flowing in some useful and quirky directions.

5. The Shadow

It is at about this time that your shadow will arrive. Fear, dread, doubt, and many other nasty little negatives will pop up, all determined to derail you. This is when you are ready to throw in the towel and that nasty little voice in your head, will try to convince you that there are a thousand reasons why you should do so, all seeming to be quite plausible. I find this stage turns up no matter what the creative thing is that I’m doing. Every painting I’ve ever painted has gone through a patch where I felt – it’s not working, it’ll never be any good, and you might as well quit while you’re ahead.


These are the first five hidden insights into the creative process. There are five more to come which I will place in next week’s Post. It is often a good thing to know where in the creative process you actually are, particularly when you get to the shadow part. To recognise this is where you are and deal with it accordingly can certainly speed up your progress.  We will explore this further next week.

This Weeks Question: Do you have any hidden insights into your own creative process you’d like to share?

Look For Next Week’s Post: More on creative Process – well my process – an update on emerging works.


Photo by mripp

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