This Painting Is Her

Tuesday I shared this magical tree I met while on retreat in Washington.

It's been a few weeks, I think even a month already,  since my feet touched that sacred land.  

But  I just love how its medicine is seeping through my creativity without any conscious thought or effort on my part.

Since I got back I started painting THIS FIERY LADY.    She's part of my 101 Imperfect Faces series I'm slowly journeying through. 

When I was preparing my blog post for Tuesday, it occurred to me how this magical tree found its way into this painting itself.

To be honest, I'm a bit choked up by it.  When I place these detail shots together it brings tears to my eyes.

This painting is her.  It's that magical tree I met who told me to live "closer to the bone."

Do you see why I FEARLESS® Paint?

Do you get why my paintbrush is my cauldron, my rosary, my sacrament, and wand?


Come slip away to Mexico with me this August.  
We'll Paint FEARLESS® together!

21 SECRETS Conversations with Joanna Powell Colbert

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 HERE and be sure to sign up for the 21 SECRETS Conversations emails HERE where you'll receive weekly art journal prompts and discounts on our 21 SECRETS workshops!

Today our special guest is Joanna Powell Colbert.

Joanna Powell Colbert is an artist, author, retreat host, and creatrix of the Gaian Tarot. Amber Lotus Publishing Co. calls her one of “the most accomplished and well-loved artists in the Goddess-spirit community.” She was named by SageWoman magazine as one of the Wisdom Keepers of the Goddess Spirituality movement. 

Joanna teaches e-courses and workshops on earth-­centered spirituality, seasonal contemplative practices, creativity as a devotional path, the Divine Feminine, and using tarot as a tool for inner guidance and self-­exploration. She leads Gaian Soul Retreats for women twice a year. She lives on a small, magical island in the Salish Sea near Bellingham, Washington.

You can find Joanna online HERE.  Plus, she is teaching her workshop Personal Tarot Icons in 21 SECRETS Spring 2015 that comes out April 1st! There are still a few discount spaces available HERE!

Come join our conversation below!

Live Closer To The Bone

Each of us gathered there to embrace silence and solitude.  It was written clearly and in bold type in the invitation that our days would be ours.  No schedules.  No events to attend.  Nothing to show up to, be held accountable for,  no meals to plan, nobody to answer to.

The evenings would be carved out for story telling.

Gin and tonics weren't mentioned, but were certainly implied.

There is a unique pattern of breathing that the body adopts when left to its own accord.

It happens spontaneously like rain.

Maybe it's the pattern of breath we were born with, before our senses took in too much too soon.

I returned to that breath while in Washington.

On the second day of my retreat (the first full day of silence and solitude), that breath lead me straight to her: a tree reaching boldly for the lake whom lied restless above the tip of her roots.

She stood there molting.  Shedding.  Pealing back her crust so that her true rawness, her forbidden intensity, her silky smooth skin could feel the air once again.

She stood there willingly exposed, like a lover in agony.

No apologies.  No pretending.

No waiting for the perfect moment.

Life is such a fleeting gift, she told me.

Don't waste time picking insects off the tall grass.

Live closer to the bone, Connie.

Live closer to the bone.

The 1 Thing Business & Art Totally Have In Common

The photo on the top left is my business plan for 2015.

On the right is a photo from a sweet little meeting over tea and cookies I had with my beloved designer Quinn.  We were discussing how my new vision for my business is going to translate online into a new website and new workshops coming out this Summer.  

She's awesome and totally got it.

Below is a photo of where I hang my business plan in my studio so that I see it every day and stay focused and on purpose with the work I do and how I share it with the world.

Does my business plan always look like this?

No.  Every year it comes through me uniquely.  

What is important to note is that I have an actual business plan process I go through that helps these images, symbols, and paintings surface that thus represent my business plan.  This process I go through begins in July.  By the end of November I tend to have a clear vision of what's to unfold for the year ahead.  

Like everything I do, the process is way more valuable and insightful than the finished product.

This year, my labor pains over this process lasted longer than usual and it was my retreat in Washington that really helped solidify much of the areas that still felt watery.

Having a clear vision of where you're headed is the most important thing to a business plan.  The details are secondary.

The one thing that both business and art have intrinsically in common is vision.

Before you start a business, you need a vision.

Nails, plywood, steal, and concrete have no meaning what-so-ever until someone with a vision of a house puts them together.

As an artist, same goes for business.  It's great to have talent, skills, knowledge, and resources -- but if you lack vision of what to do with them -- they just sit collecting dust or can cause you a bunch of grief!

This is, I believe, the number one reason why so many artists struggle at being self sustainable.  They spend all their time moving the nails, plywood, steal, and concrete around into different configurations wondering if this is what they should be building.

The solution is not more materials, or even better ones.  It's actually devoting time and energy to going inward to listen to what the vision is that will guide the blueprint to best express those materials you possess.

Once you have the vision, all that's needed next is curiosity, discipline, patience, and trust.

Does that mean your vision must be carved in stone?

Gawd no.

My vision for my business is worlds different now from when I started decades ago juggling millions of art teaching jobs and showing my work in galleries.  That's the beauty of being in business as an artist.

It's art.

Business is art.  It utilizes the creative process just like working in your art journal or writing a novel does.  So as you know, the creative process is never static.

Three years ago I created my IGNITE Online Intensive to help artists not only discover their vision for their creative passions, but to  equip them with methods, tools, and support to bring those visions to life.

As you can see by my business plan, I don't do things the traditional business way.  Thus, IGNITE is not your typical business intensive.

IGNITE is for artists called to embody the creative process, that believe art is a means for transformation-- and who most of all speak in the language of symbols, color, patterns, intuition, and paint!

There's still one lonely space open in my IGNITE Online Intensive that starts Monday, March 16th.  Maybe it's yours.

CLICK HERE to find out.

Making Amends

The painting didn't want to stay grey for long.

(You can see where she started off by CLICKING HERE.)

Then, it was a bit of a surprise to me when fire wanted to come in.

Well, not really actually.

On my altar this month sits the Goddess Pele card and being that IGNITE starts up pretty soon, I have fire on my mind and in my heart lately.

(HEY!!! There's still one space open in IGNITE by the way! We start March 16th!)

The real surprise happened right around the point pictured above.

I started fussing and fooling with it.  And just getting really freaking frustrated.  I even considered dipping my brush into some black paint and opening up a can of whoop ass on it.


I was trying to get it perfect.  That's basically it.

So I left it.  Took a break.  Walked away.  If I smoked, I would have probably wolfed down a pack.

But instead I hung out with my little guy!

And that's when I remembered...

My series is called 101 Imperfect Faces.

I don't know why that keeps slipping my mind?  But it was that space away, once again, that helped me make amends with my painting and save her from a can of whoop ass.

When I got back to my painting table, I fell in love with her all of a sudden.

The things that drove me crazy earlier had melted away.

But honestly...maybe it wasn't her imperfection I made amends with after all...maybe it was mine.


Come paint FEARLESS® with me! 
Hit the buttons above for more info!

One space still available in IGNITE!

Parenting? Painting? What's The Difference!

These photos were taken during the wee hours of the night, and as you can see in the last photo posted, the lighting is less than ideal in my studio for photography than.

But, I wanted to share them with you anyways.

It's so fascinating  how many "faces" one painting can take on before it finally starts to flow in a certain direction.

This painting is part of my 101 Imperfect Faces series I'm working on.  My main intention is to allow the face to emerge organically and let it dictate to me who it wants to be.  

Like most FEARLESS® Paintings, it starts off as a child.  Not literally -- meaning I don't start painting a child.  But instead, in a very short time, the painting and what it looks like begins to morph and mature right before my eyes -- much like a child.

As it's occurring there are numerous decision and choices I have to make.  (Much like a parent.)

Should I move in this direction?  Does this feel right?  Am I pushing too much?  Am I forcing it to be something?  Should I stop here?  What would be really juicy right about now?  Shit, that didn't work so well.  Now what?  

And it goes on and on and on like this until I hit a flow.  

That's the beautiful part.  There's always a point in my FEARLESS® Painting process where it becomes less about making choices and more about trust.

It's usually after the painting and I have spent some good ol' fashion quality time together....we built a bit of a relationship.  We're cozy together.  

What can be tricky though is that during the get-to-know-you period there are many points where the painting can "look" finished, though it certainly doesn't feel that way.

There were a few points in this painting where I thought YES! I got it.  Good. Now I can go to bed.

But I'd prop it up, take a seat across the studio, and look at it for awhile and know that we were far from finished.  That things between us were just heating up.

So, the painting you see in the photo above is where the painting is transitioning from being a moody, angsty teenager to a more independent (and as you'll see tomorrow) fiery young adult!

It's a bittersweet period, to tell you the truth.  This painting here has so much potential to be beautifully just this.

It could stay here, settle down, and find a nice little corner of my studio to rest in and it would be pretty, in a sense.

But it wouldn't be complete.

As FEARLESS® Painters (and parents) we owe it to our paintings to provide them with the space and time and patience to find their own true essence.

And just like parenting, somehow when they find their essence, a little more of our own is revealed as well.




21 SECRETS Conversations with Lorraine Bell

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 HERE and be sure to sign up for the 21 SECRETS Conversations emails HERE where you'll receive weekly art journal prompts and discounts on our 21 SECRETS workshops!

Today our special guest is Lorraine Bell.

Lorraine Bell is a self-taught Mixed Media Artist.  Lorraine resides in Windermere, Florida on the beautiful Butler Chain of Lakes.  A recent empty nester, she fills her time painting, traveling, and writing.  She combines all three hobbies to create illustrated art journals bursting with her adventures on the road. Lorraine is the owner of Serendipity Studios and one of the 5 members that make up the Collaborative Team of ART TO THE 5th.  She is the creator of the visual calendar/journal that was the inspiration for The Documented Life Project. Lorraine has been involved in the Art Industry for over 25 years.  She owned an Arts & Crafts Supply Store in the Cayman Islands for 10 years and hosted numerous events that showcased local artists.  She is constantly studying art and looking for new ways to expand her creative abilities.

Lorraine’s Catholic faith keeps her grounded and often inspires her art.  She is a lover of all things random, serendipitous and spontaneous.  Besides being with her family, she would rather be creating with her friends than doing anything else on earth!

You can find Lorraine online HERE.  Plus Lorraine is teaching her workshop Anthology Keeper in 21 SECRETS Spring 2015 coming out April 1st! On sale now HERE

Come check out our conversation below!

Paint FEARLESS® Mexico

I believe every artist needs time to slip out of their daily routine and into a world that is unfamiliar and dripping with inspiration.  It's these special pockets of time and sacred places where responsibilities are put on hold that we begin shedding old beliefs and aligning ourselves with new beginnings.  It's in these moments especially when our creativity heightens and unravels openly and freely.

I always think of these retreats as passageways.

For almost a decade I have made it my practice to grab my paintbrushes and immerse myself in a foreign landscape at least once a year.  It's where I renew my spirit, get clear on my creative intentions, and hear the truth that is calling me.

This year I am making that magical place Oaxaca City, Mexico.   When my dear friend Lisa Sonora suggested her studio to me for a personal retreat of my own, how could I say no?

But this time I've decided to do something different.  Something I've never actually done before.  Something that is really tugging at my heart.

I want to spend half of my own personal retreat actually FEARLESS® Painting with you. 

This is my call to gather artists that know the pleasures of being a stranger in a foreign land.  Who are ready for their hearts to dance from the sweet sound of Spanish splashing in their ears.  Who can already smell the scent of cinnamon, fresh chili pepper, and mangos lingering on their finger tips.  Whose eyes  long to feast upon the colors, textures, and patterns that give Mexico its true flavor.  And who want to soak it all in with their paintbrush in hand!

Oaxaca is simply the landscape that will hold us together for five days.  The real journey will happen when you Paint FEARLESS® with me.

Paint FEARLESS® Mexico is NOT about sight seeing.  It's about deep diving.  It's about crafting a world for yourself as an artist and taking that home with you wrapped inside your paintings.

You'll leave Paint FEARLESS® Mexico owning your bigness,  discovering the pearls of your creative process, and shining brightly as the unique and empowered artist that you are.

But you're going to have to do a lot of FEARLESS® Painting to get there.

Sound like fun?

Than come join me.   For real.

I'll be leading Paint FEARLESS® Mexico this August 17-21, 2015 at Lisa Sonora's sweet little studio in Oaxaca City, Mexico and it costs $875 to attend.   Oaxaca is tucked away in the deep south of Mexico -- close to Guatemala!   Just the perfect place for creative transformation and dreams to surface!

Because magic stirs best in small circles, I am limiting space to 11 sacred Souls. 

If you're feeling the tug to join me, please CLICK HERE to learn more and  to register.

Plus, if you register before March 1st  I'll throw in a FREE membership to my brand new BIG : FEARLESS® Painting Workshop coming out this July.  I haven't even told anyone about it yet -- but we're talking all NEW content -- new approach -- new everything!! And it's worth $250. (You can read all about it when you click the link above.)

I trust your heart knows if you'll be painting FEARLESS® in Mexico this August -- and I'll be waiting there to welcome you in!  CLICK HERE to learn more!

To This

Is there anything I can do for you?

With total conviction I looked up and said: Yes.  Can you throw me a bath?

Her eyes lit up like candles.  Give me twenty minutes.

I went to Washington to write.  To chip away at the cloudiness in my mind.  To make a statement to myself that it's time.

It's time.  Your bath is ready and I put lavender in it for you, of course.

The last time I found myself naked and being purified from the inside out my fingers clawed at bare dirt searching for any square inch of relief --any tiny settlement of coolness to grant me comfort, while I laid there dying and being born again in a sweat lodge in Ojai.

This bath transported me back.  Back to pruned skin against midnight air.  Back to broken sandals, volcanic rock, sweetgrass on fire, the smell of smoke in my hair.

It took me even further back,  to a hospital room, cinder blocks, Madonna on the radio, and wondering why they never bothered to stop talking about dinner plans as they yanked my baby from my exposed belly.

Go to him, hold his hand, I cried as the room kept spinning counter clockwise.

That bath water was so hot that I struggled to breathe and poured every ounce of attention I had on the crispness of my breath.  Inhale -- like folding a napkin.  Exhale -- watching sheets flutter in the wind.  Further I slipped into memories.  Further I followed the breadcrumbs that lead me here in the first place.

To a bath in Washington.  To a house full of strangers I instantly knew as friends.  To a landscape of pebbles,  broken shells,  trees with skin instead of bark.

To me at 39, a mother, a wife, a daughter who lives clear across the country because she couldn't get her shit together in her own hometown.

To this.  To delicately choosing rocks that I could line up on driftwood.  Each one representing a chakra  -- an energy spinning wildly within me.

21 SECRETS Conversations with Roxanne Coble

Today we kick off a new season of 21 SECRETS Conversations with Roxanne Coble!  

21 SECRETS Conversations is a weekly series that comes out every Wednesday where I ask one of my 21 SECRETS teachers: What has your journey as an artist been like?

Today Roxanne Coble is our special guest!

Roxanne Coble is an L.A. bred mixed media artist and illustrator.  She graduated from UCLA with a BA in Art History and a passion for the creative. Known for her altered book journals, her work focuses on a combination of mundane imagery and illustrated fragments. Inspired by the quirks of everyday life, completed journal pages embrace both humor and emotion – all while exploring topical events that occur within her personal life. Currently, Roxanne is working towards her MFA and single subject credential to teach art.

Roxanne is teaching Fragments & Mysteries in 21 SECRETS Spring that is on sale now and comes out April 1st!  

Check out our conversation!

SIGN UP HERE to receive 21 SECRETS Conversations
email notifications & inspiring art journal prompts each week!

GO HERE to learn more about 21 SECRETS Spring!

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