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New Release: Play Dates: Insights and Inspiration to Spark and Sustain Your Creativity

I’m so delighted with my first review! Thank you Naomi for posting on Bookbub.com how much you enjoyed this book.

“Play Dates provides insight into the creative process of the author who reinvented, or rather responded to her true calling to be an artist after a successful corporate career. The accompanying exercises and resources are a deep pool of inspiration to spark the playful artist in anyone and give the reader encouragement to join in with the fun of creative expression. I really enjoyed the conversational and personal style and the many references to inspiring thinkers and artists. It is so lovely! Really interesting to reflect upon our calling to creativity, I’m excited now that I realise how powerful it can be to stand in it wholeheartedly!”

~ Naomi


You don’t need to be an experienced artist to enjoy my new book, Play Dates. I am self-taught all the way! Learning for yourself is one of the great joys and freedom of creativity. The University of Life has taken me a long way—winning prizes, selling work in galleries to important collectors;  solo and group exhibitions and making the finals in a prestigious portraiture award with my first-ever portrait; and learning the spiritual art of Sumi painting in Maui with internationally celebrated, New York-based Max Gimblett.

And, guess what? All the time I was playing. Experimenting. Trying things out. Just for fun! Joseph Campbell was right when he said, when you follow your bliss, doors open for you wouldn’t open for anyone else.

About 3 years into my painting journey…

… I remember thinking, “I’ve lost my mojo. My art isn’t speaking to me.”

The incessant comparing myself to others who had some kind of  “voice.” I just couldn’t express myself. In 2012 I won the Supreme Prize in a prestigious art award. I had a successful exhibition, selling several thousands of dollars of art. People loved the Sumi ink series but I KNEW there was something more inside me, something I wanted to articulate with my painting…something more purposeful and joyful.

I looked around the art world and found myself drawn to paintings that oozed fresh, fluid, fun energy. Paintings that were both mysterious and compelling. Paintings that told a story—without shouting or sharing their secrets. Paintings that intrigued, entranced and danced. Paintings that spoke to peoples hearts.

Fast forward another 8 years, I’ve held successful group and shows, explored a million possibilities, shipped my works to buyers across the globe, travelled the world teaching workshops, made a truckload of mistakes (or happy accidents).

I’ve shared my passion and purpose with students in person and online and honed my skills and passion as an artist and as a teacher whose burning desire is to have her students succeed in whatever way is right for them. 

In 2021 I opened my studio and my heart for the first time on Valentine’s Day weekend for play dates in my tiny gallery—Art@Rangitane and look who called in. The fabulous, talented and fun Celebrity Chef Jo Seagar—now also the proud owner of one of my abstracts, Love Story.

It’s been an exciting journey. None of it, absolutely nothing, zippo, ziltch would have happened if I hadn’t made the intention to play.

I am so looking forward to playing with you.

I’m excited to show you so many things!

Whether you are a beginner, experienced or a pro who has lost their flow, Play Dates will show you how to loosen up, let go of perfectionism and create art you and others will love. 

This book will help you take your art to the next level.

Module One: Discovering Your Passion and Purpose


It’s staggeringly, and dishearteningly, true that many people don’t know what they are passionate about. Some research suggests that only 10% of people are living and working with passion. Hence my passion for passion – to bring about positive change in the world.

Passion is the fire to express who you truly are and who you truly want to be. Who are you? Who do you want to be? Module One, How to Find Your Passion and Purpose will help you discover and define the kind of artist you want to be and the direction you would like your work to take.

You’ll voyage on a journey of renewed self-discovery, aided by my best-selling book, How to Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love.

I invite you to apply the exercises with your artist’s apron on. For example, when creating a Passion Journal (Tip 10), you may want to focus exclusively on art-related experiences. Adding quotes, articles, pictures, and insights from this book – anything that reinforces feelings of creative passion – will really make your journal come alive, and add richness to your vision of the artist you yearn to be.

I create a passion journal every year. One year I pasted a photo of a painting I purchased by one of my favourite artists – Zen Buddhist monk Max Gimblett, and included a quote, and added the words: “the art spirit.” This reinforced my key theme of focusing on imbuing my creativity with spirituality. The colour of the painting was important to me too – violet and green – symbolising spirituality, growth and renewal.  

Other clients have chosen a single image or a colour such as yellow (to boost optimism). Again, there is no right way – only the way that speaks to who you are and who you choose to be.

The main thing is to have fun!

I love all the exercises in this book, especially Tip 5, The Body Barometer. Our bodies never lie and are how our heart, intuition and soul speaks to us. One year, while visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, I experienced a powerful visceral response while standing in front of a Van Gogh painting. My eyes started tearing up, my heart-raced, my pulse soared. My whole body was on fire. It was then that I rediscovered the joy I once felt painting with fat, juicy oils.  

The story I discovered that I wanted to tell was one of the joy of colour, vibrancy, boldness and letting go of restraint.

Judge not what you are passionate about, just observe and see if it serves who you are and who you want to be. For more tips on creating a passion journal you may enjoy my television interview>> https://youtu.be/jHnij4Wsar4

You may also enjoy my YouTube chat here: How to Create More Joy Listen to Your Body Barometer>>  https://youtu.be/qTN0HDjFfw8. Be sure to like the video and subscribe for more empowering tips.


To access your FREE digital copy of my bestselling book How to Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love  (an eBook in your preferred format or PDF) click here>>https://dl.bookfunnel.com/g7ql56cd2h

Should you wish to purchase a copy for your bookshelf, in paperback, hardback, or the audio version read and narrated by me, visit your favourite online book retailer.

Amazon: getBook.at/Passio

ibooks, Barnes & Noble and other great bookstores: https://books2read.com/u/3Roqyn

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/nz/en/ebook/how-to-find-your-passion-and-purpose











Passion is who you really are and who you want to be as an artist. Our passion and purpose does not remain static but evolves as we evolve.

Re-examining your passion and purpose will help you clarify who you wish to be as an artist—in all your roles and guises.

Reading and completing the exercises in your FREE book will bring more playful awareness into your art.

Take this lesson deeper

• Take the insights further and explore the art of five artists you love. Consider (or research online) what their guiding passion and purpose is. What stories are they telling with their artistic expression?

• Consider applying the same research to artists you don’t connect with as much. Enhance your learning by discovering artists, styles and genres new to you. Some simple and fun strategies to aid discovery include, signing up to newsletter lists (galleries, museums, and art newspapers etc. (for example: https://www.theartnewspaper.com; https://news.artnet.com)

We’ll dive further into the stories you can tell with your art in Module Two, What’s Your Story.

“Man is God’s plaything, and that is the best part of him. Therefore, every man and woman should live life accordingly, and play the noblest games… What, then, is the right way of living? Life must be lived as play…” 

~  Plato


Journey Deeper…

I also hope you enjoy this video from my course Play Dates.

The Play Dates online course includes videos, resources and audio files you can enjoy over and over again.

I invite you to join me on this self-paced abstract adventure across 6 different units and over 20 different lessons. The 6 units will inspire you with the following teachings:

• Stories to tell—speaking with art

• Finding your voice—discovering your authentic essence

• Courageous with colour-being brave and bold with vividly contrasting colours

• Inspired Intuition—allowing your heart to rule

• Playful-not perfect—letting go of perfection

• Expressing feelings and healing through art

Would you love to play?

This is an edited extract of Play Dates: Insights and Inspiration to Spark and Sustain Your Creativity by Cassandra Gaisford. To enjoy your copy from Amazon, click here>>getbook.at/PlayDates

ps. you may like to join my new FREE group for encouragement and insight – THE JOYFUL ARTISTS A relaxed, comfortable and joyful place to grow in your Artistic Journey. Writing, drawing, painting, mixed media tutorials by award-winning artist and best-selling author Cassandra Gaisford. With 25 years of creativity coaching, art teaching experience and a love of encouraging others to discover the joy and power of creative expression, this is a place to learn and discover the fun of making art from your heart

Posted in: Art & Creativity, Blog

New Release: Play Dates: Insights and Inspiration to Spark and Sustain Your Creativity

The Joyful Artist

I am an artist, storyteller, intuitive guide, mentor and Reiki master. All my creations are infused with positive energy , inspiration, and light. I believe in magic and the power of beauty, joy, love, purpose, and creativity to transform your life. My greatest joy is helping your realize your dreams. That makes my soul sing!

P: +64 (0) 21 873 833
E: hello@thejoyfulartist.co.nz


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