How Jealousy Helped Pave The Way To My Success




Last week I had the privilege of hosting a work retreat with Hali Karla -- my beloved Creative Director of 21 SECRETS.

She flew in from her hometown of Asheville, North Carolina and we spent three days "working" together in beautiful Sedona, Arizona and one here in my hometown of Phoenix.

I'm not being sarcastic by the quotation marks, I just know that on the outside our form of working might look a bit more like fun.  But why would we do it any other way?




Hali and I spent our time art journaling, hiking, eating delicious nutritious food,  creating land art and laughing our assess off --- all while weaving in deep and meaningful conversations about our work together with 21 SECRETS and individually as artists.




In 2010, when I hosted my very first 21 SECRETS, I had absolutely no idea what-so-ever that it would grow into the program that it is now.

To be fully honest, I was just interested in seeing if I could pull it off.




In 2009 I created a series here at Dirty Footprints Studio called 30 Days 30 Journals where I interviewed a different art journaler each day for thirty days.  To my surprise it was warmly embraced!

Thousands of people visited the interviews each day and when the series was finished I asked the 30 participants if they would be interested in sharing one of their art journaling secrets in a collaborative workshop.

Twenty of them enthusiastically agreed.

So I threw myself into the mix as well and 21 SECRETS was born.




As an artist I love to try and do many different things.  I've been like this all my life and my professional resume is proof.

So it's not surprising that in 2013 I came to a crossroads where I was feeling pulled to move in new directions but not sure if I should let go of 21 SECRETS.

For months I struggled with this.  At times I found myself just saying "fuck it" and thinking I should just quit hosting 21 SECRETS altogether.  But then in those moments I'd always receive a swarm of emails from beautiful creative hearts expressing how much 21 SECRETS had impacted their lives.

I knew it was the Universe speaking to me, so I became patient and waited for guidance.




Guidance did come, in the form of envy actually.

Shortly after graduating from my IGNITE program, Hali spoke to me about a workshop she was planning called Spectrum.  When she explained the concept and the artists she wished to gather together my heart grew jealous.

At first I tried to convince her that Spectrum should be a part of 21 SECRETS in some way.  I thought her idea was absolutely brilliant, and well, my ego wanted to be a part of it too!

But after great reflection both of us agreed that it didn't feel right, so Hali went on to create her first session of Spectrum on her own (which I was so joyfully a contributor in!).

Though, what my jealousy showed me is how in alignment Hali and I were in our vision and mission to gather creatives together.  I proudly witnessed her create and launch her own successful workshop based on her passion to help people embrace a holistic creative practice.  And one day, as I was hiking, it came to me -- ask Hali to be your Creative Director is what I heard so clearly, as if someone was actually whispering it in my ear.




Until that moment there only seemed to be two definite choices:

  1. Keep trucking along with 21 SECRETS and feeling overwhelmed and creatively stifled. 
  2. Quit doing 21 SECRETS altogether and embrace more space to explore new ideas.

Maybe because I'm an over-achiever / type A personality / Capricorn, it never occurred to me that I could open things up creatively by inviting in support.

Seriously, bringing in help never crossed my mind till that moment on the mountain, and from then on, there was no looking back.

When Hali said yes I was over the moon excited and terrified all at the same time.  That's how I knew I made the right decision.

At first it felt like handing over my baby to a babysitter for the first time.  I was checking in on her every couple minutes -- but than, I softened.  I trusted.  I kept reminding myself that it takes a village to raise a child.  And that's what was happening -- 21 SECRETS was growing up, and I as an artist was growing as well.


Top journal: Hali Karla. Bottom journal: Connie Solera.


When we arrived at the hotel in Sedona the man at the desk asked what we had planned -- I said we were having a work retreat -- "a week of strategic planning" to be exact.

But the truth is, I don't work that way and I never will.

Instead Hali and I discussed ways we could deepen 21 SECRETS and most of all how we could create a supportive sisterhood between the work she does and I do individually.

That's what feels the most juicy and the most in alignment with our shared values of collaboration, creativity, and generosity.

But you see, I share this story with you as an alternative to all the formulas, strategies and expensive advice on building a successful brand / business / life that exist on the internet.  Once in awhile I'll take a peek at what the business gurus are saying on creating a "dream team" or "making seven figures" and all I am left with is a bloated sense of urgency and an unhealthy need to control.

I find that my unwavering success comes from my commitment to listening deeply and honoring my gifts as an artist and the gifts of those that I am blessed to work with.

Yes, it's basically that simple.

Though I won't lie,  at times it can mean surrendering to your own humanness -- embracing your own insecurities as your greatest teacher -- and opening your heart to others shining brighter than you.

It may not be the most glamourous path to success, but so far I find it the most fulfilling, and I am forever grateful for my guides, such as my relationship with Hali, that has helped pave the way.
  

10 Things I Learned From Baring My Soul




Just recently I  shined a big ol' flood light on my soul by sharing an intimate glimpse into my art journals from the past 20+ years.  I called this 10 day series Take A Peek and it was quite a trip down memory lane!  A couple times I was actually moved to tears from the  surprises tucked away that I completely forgot about.

Even though I endured a bit of a vulnerability hang-over from baring my soul in front of thousands of strangers, I'm still glad I did it.

During those ten days I received so many emails and comments from creative hearts expressing how Take A Peek was inspiring them to get back to art journaling.  That alone was worth it to me.

Though, I decided to sit down and write in my studio journal about what I learned by revisiting these old friends -- my dear art journals.

Here's the ten whoppers I realized...

________________________________


1.  I have had a creative practice my entire life and it's filled with gaps, long hiatuses, and abandoned pages -- and that's totally ok.  I'm an artist, not a machine.


2.  Great things happen when you just stick to it.  Gosh, there is such a huge difference in skill and style as my art journals progress through the years.  I'm so grateful that I've stuck with this practice for over 20 years!


3.  I'm a series girl!  In Take A Peek you'll get a glimpse of my Painting The Feminine series, my Grey series, my Healing Journal series, my Oil Pastel series, and many more.  I love to take an idea or concept and explore the hell out of it!


4.  Experimenting is mandatory as an artist.  I'll be honest, I was cringing my whole way through episode 2 because that journal is like a mad scientist got her hands on it! I'm all over the place in trying different things out.  But  in retrospect I can see how necessary experimenting was/is in my development as an artist.


5.  Part of being an artist is just having to make ugly ass shit.  (Sorry, there's no sweeter way to put it.)


6.  Art journaling for me is all about moving energy and expressing myself in the moment.  I like to keep my supplies and even my techniques simple and direct so the essence of me can flow! flow! flow!


7.  As vulnerable as I felt sharing an intimate peek into my personal art journals, there was something very cathartic about doing so as well.  I was able to bring light and much needed closure to an era of my life I feel.  Thank you to those who bared witness.


8.  Without even trying, we tell the story of our lives when we art journal.  This moved me the most when I looked back at my journals.  There are so many pages I can remember exactly where I was -- what I was feeling -- and why I created that page.


9.  Our mark is sacred.  It doesn't matter if it's pretty or the worst thing you ever did -- those marks you make on paper are sacred.  They are your younger selves whispering "I'm here.  I'm still by your side."


10.  Art journals are living entities.  They have Souls all of their own.  I'm not being metaphoric when I call them my old friends.


____________________________________

Grab your art journal & join me for a FREE Spreecast this Monday!


CLICK HERE for more info!

21 SECRETS Conversations with Päivi Eerola




21 SECRETS Conversations is a weekly interview series where I ask one of my 21 SECRETS teachers every Wednesday:


What has your journey as an artist been like?



From art school graduates to self trained sensations, to tender newbies --- each artist has an inspiring story to share that is filled with joy, challenges, and a creative spirit that keeps on flowing!

You can view past 21 SECRETS Conversations by CLICKING HERE.

Plus, be sure to CLICK HERE to receive 21 SECRETS Conversations email announcements directly in your inbox each Wednesday!


Now today our special guest is Päivi Eerola...




Päivi is a designer and artist from Finland. She gets her inspiration from the rich history of textiles and fine art. For her, paper is like fabric, pens like thread and the nature of Scandinavia like the wonderland of colors. With the background in industrial design, Päivi teaches simple ways to express and imitate complicated things. With her help, you can fly to the world of your imagination!

You can visit Päivi online HERE and take her workshop Artistic Embroidery with Pens and Paper in 21 SECRETS Spring 2015 now on sale with instant access to all 21 workshops!

Come join our conversation!



Join Me For A FREE Painting The Feminine Spreecast



My beloved Painting The Feminine eCourse comes out in two weeks and I want to celebrate this once a year event by Painting The Feminine with YOU live!!

So please join me at 10am PST / 1pm EST on  Monday, April 27th (CLICK HERE for time zone help) where we'll be Painting The Feminine together!  All you need is an art journal, some paints, an internet connection, and to SIGN UP HERE for more details.

Can't make it?

No problem!  You can watch the recording later at your leisure!

Plus, I'd love to see you there because I'll be giving-away two free spaces to Painting The Feminine during the show!  And like I said, Painting The Feminine begins in 2 weeks -- claim your space now!

BIG Hugs,
Connie

21 SECRETS Conversations with Jessica Leigh Brogan




21 SECRETS Conversations is a weekly interview series where I ask one of my 21 SECRETS teachers every Wednesday:


What has your journey as an artist been like?


From art school graduates to self trained sensations, to tender newbies --- each artist has an inspiring story to share that is filled with joy, challenges, and a creative spirit that keeps on flowing!

You can view past 21 SECRETS Conversations by CLICKING HERE.

Plus, be sure to CLICK HERE to receive 21 SECRETS Conversations email announcements directly in your inbox each Wednesday!


Now today our special guest is Jessica Leigh Brogan...



Jessica Brogan is a popular Art Journaler and Blogger who is passionate about freeing women from self imposed limitations in life and in creativity. Her e-courses and offerings are always a combination of artistic exploration and soul clarification to guide you to deeper creativity and authenticity in your life.

You can visit Jessica online HERE and take her workshop Letting Go And Layering Up in 21 SECRETS Spring 2015 on sale now with instant access! 


Come join our conversation below!




I Just Slashed The Price of Painting The Feminine!



Have you ever had one of those days where everything seems to go wrong?

That was today.

The day I was so excited to launch Painting The Feminine into the world....and well, long story short -- the link to register for this incredible workshop is now up and working -- and to make up for all the confusion that occurred earlier today I decided to slash the price of Painting The Feminine!

SIGN UP NOW and save $77!  

Seriously, I can't wait to start Painting The Feminine with you this May!

BIG Hugs,
Connie

Painting The Feminine Returns This May




As you already know, for the past two weeks I've been shining a light on my soul by sharing an intimate glimpse into my art journals from the past 20+ years in my Take A Peek series. What a trip down memory lane it has been!  A couple times I was actually moved to tears from the  surprises tucked away that I completely forgot about.

Even though I'm still nursing a major vulnerability hang-over, I'm glad I did it.

During those ten days I received loads of  emails and comments from creative hearts expressing how Take A Peek was inspiring them to get back to art journaling.  That alone was worth it to me.


One of the highlights for me from Take A Peek was my Painting The Feminine journal in episode 8.  

I started my Painting The Feminine journal in November 2013 as my own 30 day exploration. Each day I showed up to the art journal with an intention to embrace, understand, and awaken my own Feminine Wisdom.  The journey was so transformative I felt called to share it with other women.

In January 2014 I lead the first Painting The Feminine workshop and as the energy of our community began to grow, Painting The Feminine felt more like an art movement and less like a workshop.

I am pleased to announce that Painting The Feminine begins again May 4, 2015 and this will be the only time I offer Painting The Feminine this year.  In this 4 week eCourse we will deepen our creative practice by inviting ritual,  storytelling,  intuitive journal writing, and the lunar cycle into our daily art journaling practice.

CLICK HERE if Painting The Feminine is calling you! 


Take A Peek :: Episode 10



Welcome to the last episode of Take A Peek!

I've had such fun sharing my journals with you over these past 10 days.

If you are new here or missed an episode or two simply CLICK HERE for the archives!

Plus, I'd love if you would CLICK HERE and subscribe to the Dirty Footprints Studio newsletter.  This way you can always be in the know of what I'm up to in the studio!

And I'm a huge fan of Instagram so please CLICK HERE to join me! That's my favorite social media site by far!




In this final episode of Take A Peek I share with you my most current art journal.

When I started it I was devoted to doing morning pages.





But after awhile I put the morning pages aside to ride my beloved bike Artemis every morning instead!





Plus, what's fun to see is that right after I changed my last name to Solera, my journal pages feel like they shifted as well.




This shift also made way for my FEARLESS Faces series that I'm working on now too!

Last but not least, I want to share how grateful and touched I am for  the outpour of love and support I've received for this series.  It completely warms my heart knowing how much it has inspired and helped many creative hearts feel less alone in their art journey!  I love that!

But it's not over yet.  Well, sort of.

Creating this series really revived my love of making videos again and I plan to create and share some more video fun soon!

And....be sure to drop by on Monday, April 13th -- I have a surprise for you!

Now onto the final episode of Take A Peek...




With So Much Love, 
Connie

Take A Peek :: Episode 9




Welcome to episode 9 of Take A Peek! 

I've been posting a video  a day where I flip through a journal or two and share with you my thoughts and process behind them.  Altogether you receive a peek inside 12 journals over 10 week days!

CLICK HERE to see any episodes you might have missed.

CLICK HERE to receive Take A Peek email announcements!





I have a real soft spot in my heart for today's journal -- and a place for it in my purse as well!

This is my visual journal as I spoke about IN THIS VIDEO.

I mostly use it to sketch snippets of my everyday life.




As I share in the video below, this practice started when I was 37.

Come check out the video below for more of a peek!



Need more inspiration?


Take A Peek :: Episode 8





Today is episode 8 of Take A Peek!

I've been posting a video  a day where I flip through a journal or two and share with you my thoughts and process behind them.  Altogether you receive a peek inside 12 journals over 10 week days!

CLICK HERE to see any episodes you might have missed.

CLICK HERE to receive Take A Peek email announcements!





In November 2013 I created a daily series of paintings in my art journal I lovingly called Painting The Feminine.




The beautiful thing about this series is that I'm not finished with it yet!

Painting the Feminine is something I still am excited about and still explore in this art journal.




Though, I had such a warm response to this series that I decided to share it more intimately in my Painting The Feminine online workshop I hosted last year.

I'm looking forward to transforming it into a self guided workshop you can purchase later on this year!  If you're interested please CLICK HERE to sign up for my Dirty Footprints Studio newsletter -- than you'll be the first to know when it comes out!




Now what about taking a peek for yourself?
Hit play on the video below!




CLICK HERE for more art journal inspiration!



Take A Peek :: Episode 7



Episode 7 of Take A Peek already?  Yep!

Each day I'm sharing a video where I flip through a journal or two and share with you my thoughts and process behind them.  Altogether you'll peek inside 12 journals over 10 week days!

New here?  CLICK HERE to catch up on the episodes you missed!




I'm sharing two journals with you in today's episode!!! My "brown" journals as I affectionately call them or Strathmore's Mixed Media Visual Journals as they're also called.




The spread above I created when I was pregnant and didn't know it!

That's what I love, love, loooooove about the FEARLESS® Painting Process!




The spread above I did when I was pregnant and knew it....I don't think that fact really matters -- but there you have it!




Above is the first spread I did in my journal I call "My Healing Journal".

You can actually take a glimpse into my process of this piece by CLICKING HERE.




The spread above is one I did to initiate a new session of IGNITE and that's what makes it very special to me.

The grey pieces below are part of my grey series that I'm still exploring!

Another special series in the works!





Now onto the video....


Need more art journaling inspiration --


Take A Peek :: Episode 6



Welcome back to Take A Peek! Today is episode 6!


Each day I'm sharing a video where I flip through a journal or two and share with you my thoughts and process behind them.  Altogether you'll peek inside 12 journals over 10 week days!

CLICK HERE to see any episodes you might have missed.





So I got another oil pastel packed journal for you!

This time it's in a little larger format than the journal I shared with you in Episode 3.





To take a peek into this journal 
please hit play on the video below!




Plus, you got the new 21 SECRETS 
that just came out? Right?
CLICK HERE if you don't!


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