Above is a little peek into the process behind my first portrait in my 101 Imperfect Faces series. Since then I've probably whipped out a little over a dozen more. I've been having so much sharing my process over at Insagram HERE. Come join me!
And, wouldn't it be fun to aim for imperfection along with me and some kindred FEARLESS® painters in Florida this March 7th? Check out my FEARLESS® Painting Circle I'll be hosting live in West Palm Beach HERE.
Happy FEARLESS® Painting!
I've started a new series of paintings.
I'm calling it 101 Imperfect Faces, because yes, I'm aiming to paint 101 faces.
But I'm not interested in pretty little portraits or getting proportions all right and glorious.
I'm interested in releasing the essence of the spirit that is calling to come forth from my brush and my mark making.
I think it sounds more mystical than it really is.
Technically I'm just trying to call it quits once I hit that point where the painting becomes all about fussing and fixing.
That's where all the juice is anyways --
in those awkward spaces and
those incomplete phases --
in morning bed head
and those words we wished we had never said.
In truth this is how I define creative freedom.
That place where I choose to end, so the the painting can begin.
Yesterday I was feeling totally in a funk when over on my Instagram account I posted the photo from above and the following comment:
I have been sitting here at one of my "satellite offices" trying to write a blog post. I'm not feeling it. I don't mean today, I mean for a long while actually. I look back through my archives & see how much I've shared over the seven years online & I even remember how energized I once felt by blogging, but that's not where I'm at anymore. Part of me feels sad & even a bit nervous, to be honest. My heart misses community. The kind where people stop over for a drink on the porch or to watch a movie. I don't want another like on a photograph, I appreciate your comments yes, but how I wish I knew the sound of your voice -- how I wish I felt your presence as you walked into a room. #thisismyconfession
What was really beautiful was the comments from my Instagram friends that followed. Three of them really stood out to me because it was from Souls expressing how they too felt this way and were making an effort to meet fellow online friends in person this 2015.
That's exactly what I needed to hear. It's exactly the spunk that knocked me out of my funk and straight back into a space of gratitude.
(Isn't it awesome how gratitude is the answer to just about everything!?!)
I immediately remembered that this week I am headed for not one, but actually two retreats where I'll be meeting some pretty amazing online friends in person myself.
My whole perspective and heart song shifted in an instant.
From there I took some time to count my blessings, and let me tell you, I have many.
The fact that I am even bored with blogging is one of them. Boredom shows up when I'm not paying attention actually. It's a symptom of something larger. And that something larger for me, is that I'm in a place where I need to grow and take risks, but I'm probably holding onto something that's keeping me from expanding into a new, more authentic expression of my true self.
Well not probably, I believe I am.
But here's the tricky part. I really have no crystal clear idea on what that new expression is or should look and feel like. I just have a good strong sense that there is something new wanting to flow through me.
And this is why boredom is such a safe space, and why it's so easy for me to stay there and go on blaming everything around me like a blog, the internet or a lack of community, for how I am feeling inside.
But when I dig deeper, I realize what I'm truly feeling is my own discomfort with staying safe. That's really it.
It's kind of silly, but sometimes I need to remind myself that it's human nature to grow and change and shift and evolve and die and be renewed. And that a big part of growth is messy, ugly, and many times down right fucking uncomfortable. I guess that's why it's easier to retreat to boredom and discontent just to keep things tidy, familiar, and not much of a hassle.
Anyways, I got the message Universe.
I got the message loud and clear.
I'm sure you've probably already heard about the very cool Documented Life Project that was a huge hit last year!? Right?
Well if not, imagine a whole year of weekly art journaling prompts to get you storytelling through color, texture, and technique that are also intended to build your confidence and fill your artist tool box too!!
Yep! That's The Documented Life Project!
It's hosted by a close-knit circle of amazing ladies who call themselves Art To The 5th (many whom are past & upcoming 21 SECRETS teachers as well!). And it's FREE!
Today I am excited to announce that I am one of the special guest teachers contributing to their weekly prompts! (But I've been sworn to complete secrecy, so I can't tell you what I'm teaching just yet!)
Though, I can say that there's an amazing line up of teachers that I get to share the stage with such as Ali Edwards, Danny Gregory, Dina Wakley, Jane Davenport, Katie Kendrick, Susan Tuttle, Traci Bautista, and so many more.
CLICK HERE to see the whole impressive list and come join this inspiring project!
Saturday, March 7, 2015, 10am - 5pm
West Palm Beach, Florida
Grab your paints, slip on your sandals, and come join me for a LIVE FEARLESS® Painting Circle in West Palm Beach, Florida!
The theme for our day together is FREEDOM!
You'll leave the FEARLESS® Painting Circle feeling inspired, creatively energized, and painting with that same freedom you had when you were a kid!
The FEARLESS® Painting Circle will take place at a beautiful private residence in West Palm Beach, Florida, located on the water where you will receive loads of inspiration and FEARLESS® Painting guidance from Connie while painting for hours under the sun (or shade)! Lunch, drinks, & a few other cool surprises included!
FEARLESS® Painting is my intuitive approach to painting that has helped thousands of women get out of their heads, into their hearts, and expressing their truth.
Come paint FEARLESS® with me in West Palm Beach, Florida!
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER :: $175
SUPPLIES ARE NOT INCLUDED. A list of suggested supplies and the address of the private residence where the FEARLESS® Painting Circle will be held will be emailed to you within 72 hours of registering.
CANCELLATION & REFUND POLICY. All sales final. No refunds. If you need to cancel you can give/sell your space to someone else if you wish. But just come. It will be soooooo good for you!
SPACE IS LIMITED.
My inbox is always packed with beautiful emails from Creative Hearts across the world asking me questions about creativity, teaching, business, blogging and many other thoughtful questions related to being an Artist. I thought it would be super fun to turn your questions into a blog series.
After hours and hours of brainstorming I came up with the creative name of "Ask Connie" to title this series! So If you too have a question that you would love for me to answer please click the cute little graphic below to fill out the form! I can't wait to hear from you!
Today's question comes from Amy who recently emailed me from her home in Korea. Amy asks:
Making art is not always easy and process painting can be a real pain in the ass sometimes.
Process painting is notorious for bringing up insecurities, fears, and all those emotions you were certain you were done with years ago.
But this is actually a good thing. This is where you get your bang for the buck!
When we make art focused on process with the intention to use it as a path to self discovery than obstacles are there to lead us deeper.
Paint that dries too fast or too slow becomes a safe place to observe what our mental and emotional patterns are when things aren't going our way. From there we can begin to empower ourselves and most of all heal.
What it means to teach process over product is that:
The materials we use are the vessel for self discovery. Not by how we use the materials, but rather our relationship to those materials as we use them.
A few common things that the painting process tends to stir up are:
- how well we think we can or can't paint,
- if we are worthy to be an artist or not
- hurtful things people have said about our creativity
- worrying about what others around you must think
- worrying that the teacher will judge you
- plain old fear to move forward and follow your heart
Amy, my suggestion is to not bring any attention to the fact that the paint is going to dry fast in Chad. Don't do anything to manipulate the paint in any way because this will only enforce attention on the product and take away from the immediacy of the process.
Instead, be ready to provide your students with the tools and safe space to embrace their own inner obstacles they might experience due to the paint drying too fast or whatever shenanigans the painting process will invoke.
And know that I think you are absolutely awesome for going out into the world and bringing creativity to women!! My heart is with you each brushstroke of the way!
With Great Love,
Don't forget!! If you are interested in being the artist you are here to be and sharing creativity with others than consider joining me in the IGNITE Online Intensive -- we start March 16th and there are still a few spaces left.
And, the Creative Circles Guidebook is on sale now through January -- this is a great tool to help you start your own Creative Circles just like Amy!
One of the biggest most wildly spread misconceptions about the intuitive painting process is that most artists equate spontaneity as being intuitive. Their usual strategy of approaching the intuitive process is by being "messy".
The truth is, intuition is the furthest thing from messy.
Have you ever noticed that most of us live lives that are already messy and cluttered and still have zero to very little connection to our intuition? So messy is not necessarily the best strategy always.
Slowing down is.
Now there's how you can start to embrace your intuition and get to know it like a true friend.
But doing this -- slowing down, listening, quieting our mind is uncomfortable for most people. It can feel impossible even.
And that's why creative process is such a gift.
It involves color and color naturally cleanses our energy.
And did you notice I said "creative process"?
Be intuitive painting, / quilting / mixed media / rock painting -- you name it -- if what you are doing invokes the creative process well than intuition is already embed in it.
That's where so many artists get hung up on. Maybe even you. When we compartmentalize intuition as something separate from what we already do as Artists, the struggle than becomes cerebral -- it becomes trying to be or do something "else".
I receive emails ALL THE TIME from Artists saying that how they create is very orderly, tight, and structured. They come to me because they want to be something different. Most of the time they want to be "messy".
I encourage them to be more orderly, more tight, and more structured. I show them Artists in history that expressed great depth by also being so.
Painting intuitively is about painting how YOU authentically paint.
And if it's not, well than I hope you are in the presence of a knowledgeable, very connected teacher that has a meaningful intention and deep understanding of why they are asking you to paint differently in the first place..
That's what my IGNITE Online Intensive is all about. Helping Artists be the Artists they are called to be -- and helping them help other Artists do the same. It's about learning methods and approaches to the creative process that will help students be more of who they are and less of what/who they think they should be.
Already IGNITE is 3/4 filled and it just went on sale a couple weeks ago! We start March 16th and if you want to get in with a payment plan set at the lowest price you have until the Saturday morning to do so!
CLICK HERE for more info.
Wanna make 2015 the year more Artists paint like themselves (including yourself)?! Than come join me!
Last night, while I was walking my dog under the beautiful moon, I thought about an old episode of No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain I saw years ago. In this episode Anthony visited Haiti right after the horrible earthquake of 2010 that left the country in great disaster and despair.
What stood out most to me about this episode is when he visits these young men who were collecting debris from the earthquake and transforming it into art.
They had lost everything, including loved ones and their homes. But they still gathered the resources and energy to create.
I think of those men anytime I start to complain or doubt my own creative process or worry if my self expression is "good enough". I always wonder -- would I have the same inner strength to create when literally my whole world has crumbled around me?
The truth is all of us, at one time or another, experiences disaster and despair in our own lives, in our own way. Heartache, loss, fear, and uncertainty are a part of this human existence.
But Creativity is a master shape shifter. At times it is like a wise elder that holds your hand and whispers soothing words. At other times it comes into our lives like a wild animal and stirs our hearts in new directions. Through the years I have seen so many faces that Creativity wears, and the one thing I know for certain is that it heals everything and everyone it touches.
Creativity possesses the essence of courage and the nectar of compassion.
That is why Creativity has the guts to go into the ruins left by earthquakes or the gentleness to sit cozy among old friends at a wobbly kitchen table. It is the spark that brings joy to children in orphanages and the grounding force for the wealthy with much. Creativity has no limits to where it will go -- as long as there is a warm body willing to receive it.
The Creative Circles Guidebook was created with the intention to empower artists with the knowledge, tools, and confidence to gather others together around Creativity. I know how easy it can be when you've never done something before to slip into doubt and start to worry if you are doing things right.
With the help of my dear friends Chris Zydel, Lisa Sonora, Heather Plett, and Elizabeth Potts Weinstein we cover everything you would ever need to know to get your creative circle up and running. From the practical guidelines to holding sacred space, to what to look for in a gathering space, to even the legal smegal aspect of holding creative circles as part of your business -- we cover it all and then some, so that you can host your creative circle feeling prepared and confident.
The Creative Circles Guidebook is a great resource to have in your tool box as a fellow steward of Creativity, and for the month of January you can purchase the Creative Circles Guidebook at a 30% discount. CLICK HERE to learn more.
Last, I also wanted to warmly mention that you have until this Saturday to sign up for the IGNITE Online Intensive using the payment plan of 8 payments with no service fee!
Starting January 10th the price of the payments will go up as the number of payments shortens. Plus there will be a small added service fee.
This program is filling up fast and I am just delighted by the women who are answering the call to be powerful stewards of Creativity as well!
Please don't hesitate to reach out and email me with any questions you might have about IGNITE.
I'd love to hear from you.
If you would like to grab sneak peeks into my painting as it actually happens I invite you to follow me over at Instagram where I share photos of my process and my Life throughout the day.
My name is @DirtyFootprints.
Come on over HERE and take a looksie!
I made this art journal spread on New Year's Eve night.
So much is embed in that paint -- intentions, dreams, nuggets of insight, and even the hopes and dreams that I am laying to rest as I softly cross the threshold into a new year.
My plan was to sum it up all nice and neat in a blog post....but I'm not ready to share the new tune my heart is composing just yet.
Give it some time, is what I keep hearing. Give it some time.
The song will find its orchestra when it's ready.
When I opened my front door this morning the clouds were painted in prussian blue and looked like God textured them with a goose feather before stretching them clear across the sky. She left just a tiny brush stroke of cobalt to hint at the seamless sky behind them.
How I wish I took a photo to share with you. It felt grand and spectacular --like a 3-D movie or a love poem found in the back of an antique jewelry box. But instead I chose to absorb the scenery into my bright pink cycling jacket and head on with my morning ritual of bike riding before sunrise.
There is so much to be grateful for in this Life. So many blessings that are constantly unfolding right before our eyes. From the migration of clouds to the sound of trucks driving by, to the way cold air pierces our earlobes and how our hearts always ache and sing and long to share the details of this one precious life.
There is so much I am truly grateful for and certainly I am grateful for you. I am grateful for the space your Spirit holds in my life. Even if we have never met or spoken to each other directly, I am grateful to share this journey of being an artist with you during this very important era in time.
As you open your heart and spread your arms to embrace a New Year, I hope that the sky will shower you in blessings and that the world will always support you with its magic.
My prayer for you, dear Creative Heart, is that the struggles you experienced in 2014 will be the compost that nourishes your dreams and creativity in 2015.
Thank you for being a part of the Dirty Footprints Studio community. Wishing you the joyous of New Years!
Just this morning I got up way before sunrise, brushed my teeth, put on multiple layers of clothing and headed out on my bike. This is a new habit of mine I'm cultivating. And just for fun, on Instagram I'm documenting it as #bikingbeforesunrise.
And well, even though I've been biking religiously for almost a year now, this practice is different.
I start when it's still dark out. When there's barely any cars on the road. When the wind burns my face and my blinking red tail light leaves a trail behind me.
I start at an hour ,when only weeks ago I would still be sleeping. Heck, my ass touches the seat while Phoenix, Hansel, and most of the city where I live still lies cozy and warm asleep in bed.
But something is shifting inside me that helps me push through the sleepiness. That motivates me through the cold.
It's a feeling I've never known before and the way I not only get to witness that magical moment when night becomes day -- dark becomes light ---but I get to be a part of it.
What has been such a surprise is that each sunrise is completely different. Each morning is absolutely unique and an experience of its own.
Though today, I got up even earlier than usual and headed out the door. Hansel had an 8am doctor's appointment, and I wanted to get my ride in way before he had to leave.
I decided that I would make my way to the top of the mountain near by, to salute the sun as he began his launch into the sky.
So still half asleep, I headed under orange street lights, past houses adorned in Christmas decorations, and by the lovely sound of geese waking each other up in song. When I came to the main road that would take me to the mountain I started to pedal with great focus, knowing that my uphill ascent was beginning. Two cars drove past me as I started that trail and when they disappeared, so did the light. I hadn't realized that there were no streetlights where I was headed. All of a sudden I was blanketed in darkness.
My first reaction was panic. I immediately thought I should turn back. What was I thinking? I'm not this experienced to ride in pitch black?
But then I noticed that the light in the front of my bike lit up the road for about two feet ahead of me, and I told myself that I've been on this path before. Many times actually. So I kept on pedaling and focusing on my breath, keeping my eyes out for things that might lie ahead of me in the little space that I could see.
But I'll admit it, the darkness was unsettling.
I finally turned left into the park entrance and an older man with a flood light on his hat was walking his poodle. We both said "good morning" simultaneously and I started to feel more comfortable in my predicament.
But there still was no great guiding light and my lips were starting to sting. What if a coyote started to chase me? Or a person drunk from too many tequilas drove madly through the road and ran me over?
So I stopped. I took a few deep breaths and I looked around me. I could see the soft silhouette of the mountain. I could make out a few big saguaros that laid at it's feet. I could hear the birds and the soft whisper of the morning breeze. I took my ice cold feet off the pedals and laid them flat on the Earth.
At that very moment, I knew I was safe.
It is from this place that I finished my ride up the mountain. No coyotes in sight. Not even a car headlight to be seen. It was just me as my breath fogged up my glasses and my focus stayed on pedaling steady, watching the road unveil itself with each push and release.
When I got to the top, I turned around to see if the sun was peaking back at me yet. He was still tucked in his slumber, and the sky was only beginning to clear its throat to announce his arrival.
When I was in my early twenties I used to ride my bike before sunrise to go to work as a waitress in a little cafe. As I stood in the place where the mountain kisses the sky, I remembered so clearly how the sun used to show itself to me as I coasted over the bridge into the city.
Twenty years later, here I stand on a mountain 3000 miles away, and it is the sunlight that connects who I used to be to who I am now to who I am becoming.
Last night was the Winter Solstice. A pretty wild and mighty powerful one if you haven't heard. I sat with my journal, ate a meal with great intention, pulled a few oracle cards (the sun card of course), and spent time with those I love with all my heart.
But most of all I put to rest a part of myself that was ready to be released.
I let go of my last name Hozvicka that has been a big part of me for almost 39 straight years.
Over three years ago Hansel and I married, in a small ceremony on a week day. I wasn't ready to take his name yet, and I wasn't sure if I ever wanted to anyways.
But this past year things started to shift inside me. It began with a heaviness. Then moved into a pulling. And finally through an alignment of intention is how it began to reveal itself to me.
Hozvicka was my Grandmother's last name. She was a strong, earthy, woman who loved her grandchildren and her garden. Who hung white sheets out to dry on a line and who smelled of garlic most of the time. In the Summer, my brother and I would play in the field behind her house while she bobbed up and down searching for four leaf clovers. She used to make me bagels dripping in butter and tator tots fried to a crisp. But what I remember most about her is how at night, just before going to bed, she would brush my long hair with a pink plastic hairbrush that she purchased from KMart.
I still have that hairbrush stashed in the back of a drawer in the bathroom.
The hardest part of letting go of her name was thinking I'd have to let go of her as well. But she has been coming to me in dreams disguised as animals and the ocean. She rises up around me when the sky turns from cotton candy pink to lavender than to orange. She keeps showing me again and again how her blessings are seamless and her presence is always there.
I'm not letting go of her name, nor am I letting go of her. Rather I'm stepping into who I am and most of all who I'm becoming.
By definition, the meaning of Solera is a Spanish method of producing wine. This trivial fact alone has so much meaning behind it for me, that I could probably write a whole book about it.
But I don't get wrapped up in taking things literally.
For me Life is about the poetry and mysticism behind everything. I trust the metaphor over the dictionary -- hand's down, blind folded even.
I define Solera as Sol Era. The era of the sun. (Sol means sun in spanish.)
Hello, I'm Connie Solera.....and so it begins.
Are you ready to step into who you are becoming as an Artist?
Come begin a new era
by joining me for the IGNITE Online Intensive
starting March 2015!
CLICK HERE for more information!
Early this morning I sat in circle one last time with the amazing women from my IGNITE 2014 program that ended today. I listened closely as they told great stories of courage, release, growth, and most of all creativity that they experienced over our time together.
When I hung up the phone, a deep sense of peace washed over me.
IGNITE is a beautiful program.
It helps women claim their true authentic voice as an Artist and provides them with the tools needed to shine their light brightly in the world as both a teacher and a leader.
When they started, many of the women in IGNITE hadn't even created a video or written a blog post. Many of them were even nervous to speak out loud on the phone. So imagine how exciting it is to hear that their plans for 2015 includes truly expressing themselves and helping others do the same!
Yes, videos, blogging, and of course the mechanics of teaching are a BIG part of the work we do in IGNITE -- but the true magic happens from the deep Soul Work that each woman embraces to arrive at the point where they are willing to fully shine.
The women I spoke with today are not the same women who sat on our opening call this past Summer. They are more confidant as Artists, more centered in their Being, and definitely more open in their hearts.
It is an honor to do the work that I do. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by women who believe in and work hard to make their dreams come true. Together we are changing the world one brushstroke - one art journal - one Artist at a time.
Today, as the women of IGNITE 2014 step powerfully into the next chapter of their Artist journey, I welcome with open arms and a warm heart, the women who feel called deeply to join me in my 2015 session of IGNITE starting in March.
How do you know if IGNITE is the program for you? Well...
- Do you dream of bringing art and creativity to others but have no clue (or confidence) on how to? Do you long to live a creative life -- one where you marry your work and passion-- and you thrive at it!!?
- Do you believe that Art can transform lives -- heal -- make a brighter tomorrow -- build community? Or better yet, you know that it does because it happened to you!
- Are you an Artist that is ready to bring your message of healing, hope, and joy into the world through teaching and business and are seeking the tools and methods to do so powerfully?
- Or are you a healer, a sacred space holder, coach, yoga teacher, or activist that is eager to bring creativity into your practice because you know it will help your clients go deeper?
Are you shaking your head yes! yes! yes!?
Than I encourage you to learn more about IGNITE by CLICKING HERE and consider joining me and a circle of kindred Souls this March.
Plus, to provide an intimate supportive environment to do this deep Soul Work, space is very limited in IGNITE (and sells out quickly each year). Just yesterday I announced IGNITE to the 2014 waiting list and already 4 spaces have been claimed.
And please, if you have any questions or things you would like to discuss, don't hesitate to email me. Actually, I prefer that you do so before saying yes --- lets make sure that IGNITE is the right program for you. Lets make sure this is a perfect fit!
For today's final episode of 21 SECRETS Conversations 2014 the tables are turned when Hali Karla asks me "What has your journey as an artist been like?" I have to admit, I experienced a lot of resistance in answering this question myself! But I'm happy to give you a peek into some of the pivotal moments in my journey as an artist so far!
And yes, this is the final episode of 21 SECRETS Conversations 2014, though I joyfully look forward to sharing another season of these amazing conversations with you next year as well! So please be sure to sign up for the 21 SECRETS Conversations email updates BY CLICKING HERE.
I hope that you were as moved by this project as much as I was!!!
Happy Art Journaling!
BIG BIG Hugs,
It is a huge joy to bring to you Hali Karla's journey as an artist in today's 21 SECRETS Conversations. From ceramicist, to gallery assistant, to hospice nurse, to foot specialist, to holistic artist and also creative director of 21 SECRETS, Hali shares how following her heart matched with a deep desire to serve lead her back home to her creativity.
Hali Karla resides in Asheville, North Carolina in the United States of America and can be found online here: http://www.halikarla.com
Sign up for 21 SECRETS Conversations email updates HERE.
Learn more about 21 SECRETS workshops HERE.
This is the last week of 21 SECRETS Conversations 2014 and I am excited to share my interview with awareness artist Lisa Renee Wilson. Lisa is a former 21 SECRETS teacher and more recently was one of my co-hosts in this year's 21 SECRETS LIVE! that ran for the first half of this year.
In today's conversation Lisa shares how she embraces all facets of her life as art and encourages us to slow down and savor the creativity of our own life's journey and precious breath. She is a shining Soul and it comes through brightly in this chat!
Lisa resides in Bloomington, Indiana in the United States of America and can be found online here: http://www.BeingBreath.com
Sign up for 21 SECRETS Conversations email updates HERE.
Learn more about 21 SECRETS workshops HERE.