Meet Natalie d'Arbeloff

Born i
n Paris, raised (consciousness) in South America, USA and Europe. Was happily married to Argentine-born British/Canadian potter Reg Dixon then I left. Have lived in London ever since and have dual nationality, British/American. My father was Russian, my mother French. You can see my parents' picture and read about my outlook in Natalie's Bike Ride to Clarity. Art education in Paris, New York, San Miguel Allende, Mexico and London. Many part-time jobs including: sales assistant, window-display designer, hotel receptionist, theatre box-office, filmscript writer, editor, fringe theatre performer, co-director of the Centre for the Imagination (London 1980's). But my main self-supporting activity, apart from art, has been teaching in adult education: drawing, painting, printmaking, problem-solving. It's my conviction, supported by experience, that every individual regardless of age, background or education has some unique creative ability which can be encouraged, developed and in some cases become the driving force in their lives. In London I taught at Camden Arts Centre, the City Literary Institute and Stanhope Institute. I was visiting Professor of Art at Colorado College, Colorado Springs and lectured at American and European institutions. I give workshops/talks on aspects of creativity and on my own work.

Natalie d'Arbeloff
Bike Ride for Clarity
Caught Red-handed in Heather's Hat-box
7 Steps of Creation


August 11 2000
I want to put a stop, right now, to a repetitious pattern of thought that has plagued me for a long time. Before I can say 'CUT!', however, I must precisely define and describe it. If I don't, there will be bits left over which will grow and start bugging me all over again. The operation must be clean and thorough. Let me start like a doctor, by listing the symptoms:

1. Feeling of being unheard, unseen.
2. Feeling that my work is being marginalised.
3. Feeling that if I don't keep reminding people of my achievements, my loveability, my talents, they will forget me altogether.
4. Feeling of anger and impatience that I have to keep doing this humiliating self-promotion even after all these years of demonstrating my talents.
5. Feeling anxious each time there is a silence, a delay, a lack of response - even if it is insignificant, like someone not replying immediately to an enthusiastic letter.
6. Feeling all of the above as a great big accumulation of examples arising over and over in my life, on the emotional as well as the practical and the professional level, relegating me to the fringe,condemning me to a limbo, neither in total darkness or in full light.
7. Feeling unwilling to compete agressively in the marketplace, whether for career, material gain or social standing. Taking the 'I don't give a damn' stance but in fact, feeling left out.
8. Knowing full well that the above repetitious pattern is unhealthy, unhelpful and self-defeating but feeling trapped within it.

OK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've described the pattern in words now I've got to make it visual, the better to see it, the better to dump it.

Allright. I'll go into Photoshop and see what I can do.

This is what I came up with. I'm the glowing jewel inside the box, shining all alone. It doesn't look so bad. Maybe I was seeing as a handicap a state that is necessary to achieve some sort of inner glow? What if I were to consider my isolation as a blessing rather than a problem? And what if, instead of trying to cure it, I would work on polishing the jewel so it glows more brightly

This transformation of the first image gave me a peculiar feeling that I was making the changes within myself rather than merely in the picture. It was a matter of turning the blocks into streams flowing into me so that I could use them, instead of being trapped and controlled by them. I also got different feelings from each of the four major influences: Viewed as streams rather than blocks: Father is an airy opening into distant space. Brother is a book-like study of links. Mother is interior space. Sister is a projection towards others. Ancient Ancestors appear to be a source of inspiration, while recent ancestors provide a base.

This is what came up when I tried to visualise my heritage and character, without being too analytical about it. Sometimes this kind of improvised image works better than words because it tells you things you didn't expect. What I read in it is that my freedom of expression is confined and controlled by influences around me, boxed in by them. This is an accurate depiction of what I experience emotionally - a sense of powerlessness. As if any move I make which is not within these boundaries will distort everything, throw it into chaos. I know that this picture is imaginary and that it is is I who gives power to any influence but nevertheless, it's what shapes my behaviour. So if I want to make changes they must be changes in the above picture. Past and Present Influences are still some kind of noise-barrier which appears to distract or prevent my hearing messages clearly. IS ALL THIS COMPLETELY CRAZY AND A WASTE OF TIME OR AM I MAKING SENSE??????? ?????????