New Years Sale on Unfolding Your Life Vision Kit

Since January is the perfect time to envision your year and beyond, I’m offering a sale on the Unfolding Your Life Vision Kit.

Now through Saturday, January 8th (9pm Pacific), you’ll get 15% off your order by entering the code VISION2011.

Yesterday afternoon I put together my collage book for 2011. My word for the year is Shine so I made it out of sparkly gold paper, light blue for Right-Brain Business Plan, and a dark sage green for Artizen Coaching. I included words and images to help me focus on health, exercise, eating more veggies and raw food, my book launch, creativity, expanding my business, money and abundance, spirituality, connection, and more.

Here’s a peek at what I put together. I get so inspired when I look at it. It’s going to be a fabulous year!

Reflections on Squam Art Workshops Part 2

Yesterday I posted about my experience taking classes at Squam. While the courses are absolutely fantastic, what makes Squam so special are all of the Squammies – the delightful creative souls who make the pilgrimage to nourish their souls.

While I always find it unnerving to be in new groups (a bit of “first-day of school” syndrome), the Squam atmosphere is totally warm and inviting. The generosity, heart, and vision of founder Elizabeth MacCrellish infuses the whole experience with love and the retreat naturally draws kindred spirits. Being in an inspiring community and making new connections was definitely a highlight of the retreat.

And of course I had a blast getting to hang out with my pal Leah! That’s us in the Layered Lines class (perhaps a little high from the turpenoid fumes! Ha!).

And here we are being silly as we sat in the Playhouse listening to music and stories.

Here I am with the lovely Susannah Conway. Last year, I was honored to be interviewed by Susannah about my creative life on her blog. Her Open Your Eyes class rocked and I’m inspired to take more pics. “Shoot the red” is engrained in my head!

I loved connecting the dots between people’s web presence and who they are in real life. I’d been hanging out with Louise for a couple of days, but once I saw Louise’s cute business card and recognized her artwork, the lightbulb finally went on above my head, “Oh that’s you!” So funny! And I enjoyed meeting other folks that I knew from blogs and social media. It’s fun to put faces to names and to make a real-life connection.

Here are some of my roomies from the Sommers cabin. Oh boy did we share some laughs! On the last night, Lorrie suggested a wonderful ritual to help us remember our time together. We each decorated a rock with a message and then we randomly picked one out of a bag. The rock I made said, “beauty” and the rock I received said “You are beautiful.” And to top it off, Kristen got my rock and I got Kristen’s. Gotta love the synchronicity.

If Squam is calling to you, make a commitment to your creative spirit and say, “Yes!” Make it happen. You will be inspired. You will be nourished. You will be with your tribe. Sure it costs a pretty penny, you don’t have the time, it can be intimidating to meet new people, it’s a long trek to get there, and when you finally arrive you’ll probably be cold (okay, freezing). But those are just the logistics, details, and flimsy excuses from your inner critic (I know because I’ve heard them, too).

When you say, “Yes!” to an experience like Squam, you’ll be reminded that you’re not alone on your personal journey. That even rock stars like Jonatha Brooke feel vulnerable when they’re singing a new song for the first time. That no matter where you’re from or what your circumstances are, we all yearn for creative expression and connection. That when you honor that yearning you make room for even more creative goodness to blossom.

If you need a little nudge, get the Squam Art Workshops Journal. I had no idea how gorgeous it was until I saw it in person. Seriously, it is like a heavenly slice of Squam that you can hold in your hands. Until the next time I go on retreat, I’m gonna crack this journal open whenever I need a fix of heart-warming, soul-nourishing creative inspiration. Yum.

Reflections on Squam Art Workshops Part 1

I’m finally getting my Squam post up! I can’t believe more than a week has past since my trip to Boston and New Hampshire. I’ve been exhausted (travel always does that to me), but I have so many fond memories of the retreat. I connected with inspiring women, I dabbled in some new artistic techniques, I savored a yummy yoga class,  I enjoyed the fresh outdoor air, and I loved having delicious food cooked for me everyday (and don’t even get me started on those marvelous macaroons!).

Last year Leah, Mindy, Melba and I attended just the Squam art fair on Saturday night after Leah and I led a workshop together in Boston. We had such fun meeting some of our online buddies in-person and getting a taste of the Squam spirit that Leah and I decided to participate in the whole shebang this year. I’m so glad we did. I’m super inspired by the creative community that convenes there and the whole experience definitely fed my soul.

The experience also gave me some new insights into my creative process. It’s been awhile since I’ve taken an “art” class that focuses on learning techniques. Instead, for almost the past two years I’ve immersed myself in expressive arts and intuitive painting which is all about the process not the product, about the experience not technical skill. As a student and a teacher of intuitive painting, I’ve trained myself to be okay with making “ugly” art. So, it was a bit of a head trip for me at the retreat as I paid more attention to my inner critic wanting things to “look good” and to have “presentable” finished pieces. I know it was all self-imposed pressure and that the atmosphere there is totally supportive. It was just interesting to notice what happens for me when I’m creating for just the sake of being in the creative process versus when I am attached to the outcome. And I suppose both have their places. While I thoroughly enjoy diving into the depths of my crazy intuitive paintings, there is also something quite satisfying about making a beautiful, delicate piece of art to display like I got to do this past weekend.

The first class I took was Layered Lines with Diana Fayt.  I really dug her drawing/painting technique which uses oil pastels, turpenoid, and graphite pencils. It’s quite simple yet creates a super cool effect that almost looks like an etching. My favorite pieces from the weekend were from this course. I’m definitely gonna play with this method a bit more. I even went and got more supplies today so I can continue to dabble.

The next day I took the Open Your Eyes photography class with the lovely Susannah Conway. Photography is a medium I’m not as comfortable with but want to get better at it. Fortunately my hubby is a photographer so I have access to great gear. Now I just gotta learn how to use it more effectively!

In the morning Susannah walked us through lots of great images to inspire us and to teach us composition basics. I could listen to her speak all day – I just love her voice and wisdom!

In the afternoon we went on a photo safari through the woods. Of course we had to stop at the lake to get some shots of the beautiful views.

I had fun getting to know my fellow classmates as we explored and experimented. And it was fascinating to notice how we each saw the world so differently through the lens.

This is one of my favorite shots. Thanks to the lovely Jayne who patiently modeled for us as we all snapped away! I posted more of my pics on Flickr.

On the final day, I took Flora Bowley’s Bloom True painting class. Above is a peek at one of her amazing paintings. It was fascinating to watch her demos and see her magical art come to life before our eyes.

Here’s a shot of my two paintings in progress, but since we only had a half-day class, that’s as far as they got. I had fun being playful AND I noticed in this class especially how much I struggled with process versus product. We started off being very intuitive and free-form but as we started to hone in on where we wanted to take the painting, my inner critic kicked in big time. It was a good reminder to let go and pay attention to where the aliveness is rather than what I think looks good or is the “right” thing. I certainly had fun with blue!

There’s so much more goodness from the weekend. I’ll share a bit more tomorrow. Until then, check out the links to more Squammies’ posts here – you’re sure to be inspired!

wish*full Virtual Art Retreat


The fabulous wishstudio hostess, Mindy Tsonas, has dreamed up a yummy event full of art, connection, and inspiration. The first ever wish*full virtual art retreat takes place April 30th-May 2nd. Join like-minded souls from around the world for a refreshing, creative weekend, all from the comfort of your own home!

Online workshops will be led by fourteen artists/teachers including: Kimberly Wilson, Christine Mason Miller, Leah Piken Kolidas, Susannah Conway, Hope Wallace, and me. Course descriptions are now up and early registration is open. Would love to see you there!

D.C. Crafty Bastards and Creative Beauties


Following a brilliant night of creative visions at the Dream Box workshop, I had another fantastic day in D.C.  I took my second yoga class at Tranquil Space and then strolled around Dupont Circle enjoying the sunshine and soaking up the local neighborhood character.

That afternoon I met up again with creative beauties Ana, Lauren and Chai to check out the Crafty Bastards art fair.  We had a great time admiring all of the amazing handcrafted goodies.  I picked up a cute felt necklace by Jenny Wren for myself (I’m wearing in the photo below).  I also loved seeing these items: a super cool chain necklace laden with little handbound books from The Black Spot Books and Rania Hassan‘s unique paintings that incorporated 3-D knitted pieces – so clever!


In the evening I had the chance to meet up with the lovely Ananda, another creative beauty.  We enjoyed a great conversation and yummy dinner at one of Ananada’s favorite local spots, Teaism. I felt so blessed getting to connect with so many of my online blogging friends in-person during this trip!

Then on Sunday I headed to Georgetown for the Creativity in Business Conference to lead my Right-Brain Business Plan breakout session and commune with other creative spirits.  What an awesome trip.  I look forward to returning to the capital city again for more fun, creative adventures.

Putting Things in Perspective


Last week’s Wild Heart Expressive Arts Teacher Training program was a blast.  I can’t believe how quickly the retreat flew by.  I discovered and re-learned so many colorful lessons.  I mean, how could I not when my huge paintings were staring me right in the face giving me loads of perspective?!  It’s like a visual journal on steroids.

Here are some of the gems from the week:

  • I stay in my creative flow when I keep the paintbrush moving.  The critical mind turns on when I stop to “think” about what’s next.
  • Allowing myself to venture into taboo subjects and uncomfortable territory paved the way for an abundance of freedom.  It takes way more energy to stuff down doubt or ignore an unwanted thought or feeling than it does to just let it move through me.
  • The intuitive painting process has incredible capacity and range.  The paper can hold all the parts of myself including ones that don’t seem to fit or I want to deny.  Painting all of it provides permission for wholeness.
  • Intuition has tremendous wisdom that may not be apparent until after an entire painting is done (or perhaps years later!).
  • Painting daily gave me visceral insight into the nuances of my experience.  Each time I sat down to paint, I was acutely aware of the shifts in my relationship with myself and with the painting.  This underscored for me the impact of having a committed daily spiritual/creative practice.
  • Things I am proud of: On the first night I realized I needed more private, quiet space so I asked to have my own room (last time I was at Mountain Home Ranch, I played the martyr and stayed in a very rustic communal cabin), I spoke up and made specific requests to shape our group “container,” and I honored my need for self-care/alone time which helped me stay very present throughout the entire retreat.
  • One of the biggest gifts of all has been truly acknowledging the value of this creative and feminine approach and how it resonates so deeply with me.  Chris had mentioned one night how the intuitive painting process is by nature very “INFP“-like.  As a fellow INFP, I appreciate the beauty of this process and I want to bring more of it out into the world.  It’s an emergent, emotional, creative, internal, intuitive, reflective, mysterious and soulful journey.  And that’s what makes it so rich and powerful!


Here I am next to the three intuitive paintings I worked on throughout the week.  For our closing ceremony, we hung all of our paintings around the room and shared about our experiences.  I was so inspired and touched being surrounded by all this powerful art and the amazing women who put their hearts and souls out on paper for us to see.

I am so glad I said “Yes!” to this year-long program.  Not only was it valuable to be fully immersed in my own intuitive painting experience last week, it was also extremely helpful to observe Chris in action as she guided each of us through our process with gentle encouragement.  I’m really looking forward to the next retreat where we’ll get to shadow her and get more hands-on experience leading sessions.  Until then, I’m enjoying staying connected with my fellow wild heart trainees online.

Going Deeper with the Painting Process


We’re more than half-way through our first week-long Wild Heart Expressive Arts Teacher Training retreat in Calistoga.  As I go deeper into the process, I’m bumping up against my own edges in new ways.  From the start, I showed up here with confidence in myself.  I’ve asked for what I needed.  I’ve been really practicing being big and staying with that, even when it’s uncomfortable.  This is quite a shift from my normal pro-longed “warm-up” period that usually lasts from a few days to sometimes mid-way through a program.  I used to need more time to find my footing and to find my voice in a new group setting.  So, it’s been interesting to be in this new place.


My painting process has mirrored this experience for me as well.  I even showed up at the retreat with a huge painting, literally taking up a lot of space from day one.  My large painting had unfolded over the course of a few months.  I gradually added panels as I allowed myself to move toward the discomfort of growing bigger.  By the time I completed the painting the other day, I had grown quite fond of how the painting transformed and how it transformed me.  The painting’s progression reminded me of my build-up toward being comfortable showing up fully.


My next painting, on the other hand, exploded out of the gates with fierceness and size.  The pages multiplied quickly.  I painted fast and furiously across the entire surface area, almost not able to keep up with myself.  I even woke up early one morning to paint out a feeling I was having rather than write in my journal.  This painting demanded to engage with me from the get go.  While it’s been exhausting for me, I’m aware of how this painting’s version of bigness is challenging me in new ways and is providing me with more opportunities to grow and learn.


I’m really appreciating the sacred circle that’s forming closer and closer each day.  My fellow creative goddesses are a constant source of inspiration, growth, support and laughter.  I learn so much from them through hearing them share about their own process.


The other night I drew an angel card for Purification.  It was so befitting given that I’m in the process of clearing out my old ways of feeling small.  The last time I was at this retreat center four years ago, I struggled with feeling good enough, trusting my instincts, asking for what I needed and clearly articulating what I stood for as a leader.  By the end of that retreat, I had somewhat reclaimed my footing, but it took me almost a year to fully recover from that experience and I never, ever wanted to come back to this location again!  Returning to this same place now with such a grounded confidence has definitely been a purifying process for me as it has symbolized shedding the old me to create room for the new me to blossom more fully.  It’s also been quite powerful to reflect back on and honor how far I’ve come since the last time I was here.

I look forward to two more days of being immersed in the intuitive painting process.  This work continues to amaze and inspire me as it works its magic in mysterious ways!

Day 2 of Expressive Arts Teacher Training


Another colorful day of Expressive Arts Teacher Training filled with tears of anger, sadness, laughter and joy.  I’m learning tons being in my own experience of creative flow and personal edges.  This group is amazing, too!

Here are a few photos from today.  I used the cover of my class journal as a blotter ala my Wreck This Journal days.  I’m so grateful for the wrecking experience because had it not been for that I never would’ve thought to “mess up” my pristine journal cover like this!


These mixed paints look almost good enough to eat.  Mmm, sherbert, yogurt, frosting, tomato soup!  Painting all day has truly been delicious.


And these colorful mixing spoons look like yummy lollipops.  Great for bringing out the kid in all of us in the studio.

I’ve been having trouble getting a good night sleep since I got here, so I’m hoping my hour-plus yoga practice tonight will help me get some deeper rest.  And then another day of being in the painting process!

P.S. – Speaking of yoga, my Unfolding Your Life Vision podcast with Kimberly Wilson is now up.

Day 1 of Expressive Arts Teacher Training


Today was the first full day of the Wild Heart Expressive Arts Teacher Training Program with Chris Zydel and seven other wonderful women. There’s so much to share and process (just on Day 1).  More to come on that later.  For now I’ll just include a few pictures to set the scene.


Here’s a peek into part of the portable studio that another student and I helped Chris set up yesterday afternoon.  There are large cardboard easels throughout the entire room.


Plenty of colorful paint to choose from.  I loved opening up several brand new bottles – so satisfying!


We’re staying at the Mountain Home Ranch in Calistoga.  I was actually here before about 4 years ago for another retreat which was quite challenging for me, so it’s been interesting to be back here with a new perspective.  I know there’s lots of learning in looking at how far I’ve come since then and how differently I’m showing up now.  There’s definitely more to write on that later!


It’s funny to hear the cows mooing while we’re in the painting studio.  A great reminder about how expressive sound can be!


And I just love this huge dog.  I can’t believe her name is Jessica.

Gotta get ready for another intense day tomorrow and I’m hoping that I can finally get a good night’s sleep!

BTW – Yes, my painting did get even larger today!

Creative Play is the Way

Creative Play Workshop

I’m excited to announce that my dear friend Leah Piken Kolidas and I will be co-leading a workshop in the Boston area this fall! Join us for a lighthearted, fun-filled workshop called Creative Play: An Afternoon of Intuitive Art and Creating from the Heart.

Creativity and play are two of my top values and Leah is the epitome of creativity and play – for goodness sakes, the girl makes the cutest smooshing noises when she’s squeezing her paints! I’m thrilled that we’ll be rolling up ourselves together and getting messy and silly with you! If you’re in the area, I hope you can join us. It will be fun to meet you in person!  Sign-up here, space is limited.

What is creative play for you?  How is it showing up in your life?

For me, creative play paves the way for intuition to flow freely, giggles to run rampant, and wonderful surprises to emerge.  Here are a few of the ways I see creative play frolicking about in my life right now:

How can you invite creative play into your day today?