More Intuitive Painting Playtime

On Saturday I led another Intuitive Painting Playshop. In the past, I’ve done half-days but this time I decided to do a full day so that we’d have the chance to really dive into the process. Everyone said the time just flew by! That’s what happens when you’re in the creative flow. Love it.

Intuitive Painting

The day was full of color and creativity. I’m always honored to witness the process unfold for everyone. We had a great group of women and some were even visiting from out of town from L.A., Santa Barbara, and even London.

Fiona and Jenn

Here I am with the adorable Fiona Monks who arrived from London the day before. She was out here for another event and, since she was going to be in town, she was the impetus for getting this playshop on the calendar (thanks, Fiona!). We’ve known each other from the online world for a few years now, so it was such a blast to finally meet her in person and to have the chance to play together.

Kristen and Jenn

And here I am with my dear friend Kristen (one of my fabulous book club ladies). Kristen has been so supportive of my work and my intuitive painting journey so I really enjoyed getting the chance to share the experience with her this weekend.

Looking forward to leading more playshops in the future!

Intuitive Painting = Permission

On Saturday I led another Intuitive Painting Playshop with a fabulous group of people. I love helping to guide the participants’ creative journey and seeing how the intuitive painting process promotes permission.

Permission to get out of your own way.

Permission to take up space.

Permission to fully feel your emotions.

Permission to use as much paint as you want to.

Permission for things not to make sense.

Permission to delve into deep, dark places.

Permission for things to be ugly.

Permission to tell your inner critic to take a hike.

Permission to listen (I mean really listen) to your inner muse.

Permission to have fun and to delight in yourself.

Permission to keep giving yourself permission… in your painting…. AND in life.

What permission will you give yourself today?

Back in the Studio

After a long time away, I finally returned to intuitive painting class this week. It felt good to be back in the studio again. To be done with my deadlines. To be surrounded by color and creativity. And I got to paint alongside my dear friend Julie Daley, which was an extra special treat.

I picked up where I left off with my crazy dodo bird/parrot/flamingo that I created last month. It amazes me how easy it is to get reacquainted with a painting. The magical world of your imagination and intuition is right there waiting for you. All you have to do is show up and be ready to play.

I don’t know why I’m always surprised, but a few more interesting creatures appeared. I have no idea where this painting will take me next and I’m curious about what will unfold. So I just gotta show up and paint!

If you’re interested in exploring your own world of imagination and intuition more deeply, I’ve got a couple more spots available for my Intuitive Painting Playshop on Saturday, August 21st in Oakland. Your inner muse is waiting for you to come play!

Pausing to Paint and Ponder

I’ve been feeling overwhelmed as of late. I’m back on deadline editing my manuscript. I’ve got lots of converging deadlines, piles of administrative crap, and a general lack of sleep. If it weren’t for my VA, bookkeeper, accountant, Nurture Huddle, and wonderful hubby, I would probably be at my wits end. Thank goodness I can lean on them for support!

Yesterday I was finishing up a video on self-care that will post tomorrow on Spring. It was a great reminder to ask myself what I needed in the midst of all that’s going on.

While I didn’t make it to painting class today, I carved out 15 minutes to connect with my inner muse. I covered the kitchen table with a huge sheet of butcher paper, squeezed some paints on to a tray, and allowed myself to enjoy the sensation of putting paint to paper.The paint even smelled good! It was amazing to just give myself that bit of time to recharge by doing something I love.

My deadlines aren’t going anywhere, and I acknowledge I’m just in a crunch time for the next few weeks. But even so, I know there are small, simple things I can do to stay grounded. I can pick up my paint brush again tomorrow, I’m drawing boundaries around e-mail correspondence, and I’m enjoying going for walks outside with my dog. Remembering to breathe is good, too!

Intuitive Painting Playtime

This morning I led an Intuitive Painting Playshop with a lovely, small gathering of women. I had so much fun being a steward of their creative process. And here I am with the wonderful Gina who came all the way from Sacramento.

I was delighted to find one of my scrap papers from teacher training pinned up on a wall at the studio. I think Nadine had asked us to jot down a few words to describe what freedom means to us. As I witnessed the women play today, I’m reminded how liberating the intuitive painting process is. How it’s a gentle doorway into your imagination, your creative flow, your intuitive wisdom, and your childlike self. A place where anything is possible.

Since I haven’t been to painting class in awhile, I took the opportunity after my playshop to pick up some paints and play around myself. This strange and colorful parrot/wobbly-legged flamingo/dodo bird appeared on the page. We’ll see where it takes me the next time I’m back at the studio. It’s always a surprise!

I’m excited to lead my next Intuitive Painting Playshop in August. If you’re in the Bay Area, I’d love to have you join us!

Intuitive Painting Playshops in Oakland

Now that I’ve completed my 10-month Expressive Arts Teacher Training certification, I’m thrilled to share the magic of intuitive painting with you!

If you’re in the Bay Area and are yearning for some creative freedom and authentic self-expression, please come join me for some intuitive painting playshops in Oakland this summer. (For those of you not in the area, I’m also working on an self-paced e-Course based on the Playtime with Your Inner Muse session I led at the wish*full virtual art retreat, so stay tuned for that).


Intuitive Painting Playshops

I’m offering two classes this summer in Oakland (near Lake Merritt):

  • Saturday, July 17th from 10am-1pm
  • Saturday, August 21st from 10am-1pm

In this playshop you will:

  • Unleash your inner artist
  • Give yourself full-permission to make “ugly” art and get messy (it’s actually quite fun and cathartic!)
  • Come face-to-face with your internal world of imagination, creativity, and personal growth
  • Allow yourself to take up space! There’s plenty of room to paint BIG
  • Enter a safe, sacred space to work through blocks, emotion, and the unknown
  • Receive support and guidance from a certified expressive arts facilitator and experienced coach
  • Surprise yourself with how much fun it is to become a kid again!

“Jenn sparkles with creative force! She led me into a magical place where all my dreams were possible. Her attention to detail and solid presence created an exquisitely safe container to try on new and expansive aspects of myself.” — Danielle

Visit to read more testimonials and playshop details and to register.


Featured Article on Expressive Arts and Coaching

Also, I was recently featured in an article about using expressive arts and creativity in coaching on The Coaching Commons. You can read more about how I incorporate creative approaches into my coaching and you can watch a short video.

Completing Expressive Arts Teacher Training

Last August, I embarked on a 10-month Expressive Arts Teacher Training program with Chris Zydel. We completed our fourth and final retreat this past week! It’s hard to believe how fast time flies and how much has happened since the first retreat. While I was really excited to finish the training so I can bring the work out into the world, I also enjoyed getting to play with my fellow teacher trainees one last time (including a hilarious game of charades that still has me in stitches).

That’s Danielle Saunder’s paint palette above – she got creative with glitter paint barriers to prevent the watery paint from running everywhere – see we even got a kick out of our supplies!

Matchbox collages from Linda Kennedy

The amazing Linda Kennedy made each of us a unique collaged matchbox. Mine had a tiny handmade book inside of it to celebrate writing my book. I absolutely love my matchbox and it’s now part of my altar at home.


On Tuesday, I led the afternoon session and took the women on a magical journey in nature to meet their inner muse.  The weather was perfect for some frolicking in a green meadow! I picked a gorgeous peony for our altar as a beautiful reminder that our inner muse is always blooming inside of us. Facilitating the intuitive painting session was a blast and it was an honor to witness the inspiring creativity and courage that poured from paintbrush to paper. I can’t wait to lead more of these kinds of workshops soon (stay tuned for an announcement about a class or two this summer in Oakland!).

Teacher Trainees

Here are all the creative goddess graduates surrounding Chris after our lovely graduation ceremony. Sweet Chris gave us some fun goodies including our graduation certificate declaring us “Master Facilitators of Intuitive Painting and the Expressive Arts” (woohoo!). Then we dined on celebratory cheesecake!

Intuitive Painting

On the last day, we did our completion circle and talked about our painting process that week. I had worked on the same painting from the last retreat and to my surprise it continued to get bigger. This one ended up being 32 sheets of paper – my biggest one yet! I was already straining to reach the top panels, so when I knew I needed to add more paper (the red creature was just begging to materialize!), I had to ask for help to lower the bottom part to the floor. The painting process continues to show me that my edges involve stepping into bigness, finding ways to make things work despite challenges that come with my ambitious drive and desire to keep pushing the envelope, asking for help (without feeling like I’m imposing), and following/trusting/listening to my inner muse.

Intuitive Painting

Each painting is special in its own way and I really enjoyed the playfulness that showed up in this one. I grew quite fond of my cannon turned pink elephant blowing glitter snot. I’m always amazed at the crazy creatures that emerge from the world of my imagination!

Chris Zydel and Jennifer Lee

And here I am with the wonderful Chris who is so full of love and generosity. I’m thankful for her guidance throughout this training and for the special magic she brings to the intuitive painting process.

I loved gaining a deeper, more intimate understanding of intuitive painting and expressive arts and appreciated developing more skills to facilitate this internal creative journey for myself and others. The biggest take-away for me, though, was fully owning and embodying leadership from the get-go. After having done CTI’s leadership program back in 2004, it was super empowering for me to experience how much I’ve stepped into leadership since then. Just like being face-to-face with my paintings has helped me to see myself in new ways, participating in this program has helped me to see how much I’ve grown and continue to grow as a leader and a creative being. I continue to be in awe of how the creative process provides such valuable insight and opportunity for self-development. What a gift! Here’s to more painting!

More Expressive Arts Teacher Training Fun

A few days ago we wrapped up our third five-day Expressive Arts Teacher Training retreat with Chris Zydel. Each retreat gets richer and richer as we, the participants, take on more and more of the leading. I’m looking forward to the last retreat in May, where we’ll be running the show.

I had been working on the painting above for most of the second retreat and a few weekly classes. It had grown so organically and haphazardly that the pages were falling apart, the masking tape was sticking to itself, and it was always a royal pain in the ass to pin up and take down. When I got ready to put it up on the first day of the retreat, I decided to take more care in reassembling it. I laid the whole wild beast on the floor face down and carefully began taping the once unwieldy pages together. This simple act became a moving meditation of integration and once I was done with taping, I knew the painting was complete, without even lifting a brush!

I grabbed a sheet of paper to begin my next intuitive painting. It started out with some streaks of turquoise, which then became a mane, which then became a huge “My Little Pony-esque” horse (ultimately a unicorn) blowing bubble gum while taking a big dump. Oh my inner muse has quite the imagination! The weird thing was, I could even smell the sweet scent of Bubble Yum bubble gum and cotton candy as I painted those pink bubbles and clouds. (Oh and yes, I could actually smell the horse shit, too!).

After a bit of hesitation (a.k.a., my inner critic going off about how dare I do yet another huge painting!), I allowed the rest of the pony/horse to emerge and then a few other figures came into the picture.

I really love how anything goes in the intuitive painting process. We’re merely taking orders from our inner muse! When I asked her, “What’s next?” and she responded, “A bucket of fish,” I got silver and green paint and went to work, even though I thought her request was completely random. In the end, I had fun painting those fish and giving them glittery green scales.

As I do these larger paintings, I’m constantly finding myself challenged by the constraints of the physical space. I get frustrated about how I seem to make things harder for myself or I take on things that are too ambitious.  The light fixture on the wall was in the way (for my last painting it was the wall speakers). But then I got inspired to have these large hands reaching out from behind the open pages, and that was quite thrilling. It reminds me how, in life, I always seem to make things work even when they feel daunting or overwhelming, and I usually will end up having fun overcoming the challenge.

Here’s a close-up of my whimsical silly kissing fish. The pink one has a Cindy Crawford mole, a crown and a purse.

I had a blast allowing the pony/horse to transform into a unicorn when I taped a sheet of paper to the ceiling and began painting a magical horn overhead while pretending I was Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel. Each painting and painting experience is always different. This one was my first large painting with a prominent, central image. While the paintings don’t necessarily have to have any particular meaning, I do feel like there is something in there about me standing more confidently in my own bigness. Rather than dancing around the issue, it was like, “Hello, here I AM!” I led a session on being big and taking up space toward the end of the retreat, and it was inspiring to see my fellow trainees step more boldly into their own bigness in the painting sessions that followed.

And here’s a lovely group shot of me and my fellow Wild Heart trainees and our wonderful leader, Chris. Linda Kennedy of Artzilla Create is right next to me, and next to her are Gloria Umbach and Priscilla Burbank. Danielle Saunders of Full Steam Arts and Nadine Hamil of Artful Dreamers Studio are flanking Chris. And the lovely Karen Fried took our photo (Karen’s next to me in the photo below).

And here we are celebrating Gloria’s birthday with delicious cheesecake and lots of laughs. I love how Chris is wearing her party hat all goofy. We topped off the night with some dancing and of course more laughs!

Adventures at Expressive Arts Teacher Training


Last week I was at the second retreat of my year-long Expressive Arts Teacher Training program with Chris Zydel. In addition to painting daily, this time we each got to lead a movement session and shadow Chris. It was delightful getting to experience each woman’s unique energy and leadership style during their movement session. We danced, sang, stretched, practiced yoga, breathed deeply, pranced around with colored scarves, and had an all around good time.


I thoroughly enjoyed my turn shadowing Chris while the other participants painted. I had the honor of witnessing each woman’s painting process and internal creative world in more intimate detail as I observed how Chris gently supported and encouraged everyone. I learned so much about the magical dance that happens between the participants, their paintings, and their creative intuition. I can’t wait to shadow again during the next retreat and to start taking a more active role in leading intuitive painting retreats. It’s such a rich and exciting experience!


My latest giant crazy painting continued to grow and get more surreal, which was fun. I cracked up a lot at the inside jokes to myself that would suddenly appear on the page. When I take a step back and look at this one, it feels like it’s a peek into another dimension and the door in the middle is keeping out the “real world.” The painting is still not done with me yet, so I look forward to getting back to it this week at class and seeing what else emerges.


And here are my fellow teacher trainees acting silly with Chris. We had lots of great laughs all week! Can’t wait for the third retreat at the end of February.

Expressive Arts Teacher Training Retreat 2

I’m back in Calistoga for our second Expressive Arts Teacher Training with Chris Zydel. We had our opening circle this evening and it’s been great to hear what each other has been up to since we were together in August. One of the participants, Nadine, made us each a lovely copper ornament. I like the sea glass on mine and that the charm says “laugh often.”

I look forward to a week full of creativity and learning. I won’t be blogging much while I’m here because the Internet connection isn’t working (I’m pecking away at this post from my iPhone on a very weak signal!). I can’t wait to share about my experience when I’m back.