Painting Under A New Moon

This past Saturday, July 26th was a New Moon.  A New Moon in Leo to be precise (go HERE to read some beautiful insights on the energy it brings).

I spent the evening  painting FEARLESS® in my studio while outside lightening struck and a monsoon washed over everything. 

I'm not ready to talk about it here on Dirty Footprints Studio just yet, but the wheels of a big dream  have been gently put in motion. 

That's why it's no surprise to me that a baby, a mother, and a wild woman came rushing through my brushstrokes.

There's a part of me right now that feels vulnerable like a baby, strong and protective like a mother, but wild and raw --- ready to be seen --- like the woman tending the flames!

Meet Amanda Knapp & Bebe Butler of 21 SECRETS Fall!

From now until October 1st, every Friday here at Dirty Footprints Studio, Hali Karla the new 21 SECRETS Creative Director, is honoring the amazing teachers of 21 SECRETS Fall  by personally introducing each of them to you here! We are certain that you will love these artists as much as we do! Be sure to check out each artist's links & come join us in 21 SECRETS Fall this October!

There’s just something special about the perspective and tips an Art Therapist brings to keeping an art journal - they keep it real, practical, fun and have a way of just trusting the process. That’s why we’re so excited to have Amanda Knapp joining us in 21 Secrets Fall! Not only does she bring her experience guiding others to use creativity for insight and health, but she is devoted to keeping an active creative practice for her own growth, joy and awareness as well. She knows the wonder to be found in simple creative techniques, and will guide us into our own intuitive insight in her workshop, Black and White Poetic Wonder!

Read Amanda's official bio HERE and visit her at her brand new blog HERE.

I have to be honest... I may or may not have been stalking Bebe’s beautiful art journal pages on flickr for almost two years now! So I just knew I’d be inviting her to join us in 21 SECRETS, and I was more than a bit giddy when she said YES! It’s obvious in her dreamy imagery that she is a soulful person, but what you may not know is that she is one of those artists that inspiration will not let sit still - she has to create - and does so through story-telling, mask-making, performance and writing, as well as mixed media! In her workshop Play Marries Reflection (a blissful union), we will get the chance to explore her favorite techniques and perspective to create a meaningful spread.

Read Bebe's official bio HERE and check out her website HERE.

21 Secrets Fall is on sale now! 
for more info!

Meet me here next Friday when I introduce Brian Kasstle and Carolyn Dube! 


This beautiful post was written by Hali Karla, the 21 SECRETS Creative Director.

Hali is an artist passionate about cultivating holistic creativity. She enjoys gathering artists, healers and visionaries for collaborations, workshops and circles. Her soulful perspective and background as a nurse offers a meaningful framework for how she guides others, which has been described as nurturing safe space for truth-telling, healing and courageous transformation. Celebrating our wholeness through imagery and presence, she encourages trust in body, nature, and intuitive expression as a way toward vitality and joy. Grounding in her own daily creative practice, you can see her current musings at

Why & How 21 SECRETS Is Evolving!

Tomorrow on Dirty Footprints Studio we begin a weekly Friday series that will introduce you each week to the very talented and heart centered teachers of 21 SECRETS Fall.

I say "we" because 21 SECRETS Fall is not only the first 21 SECRETS we are offering in the Fall, but it is also the first 21 SECRETS that I have handed over the torch of Creative Director to the amazing artist and teacher Hali Karla.

This was one of the most hardest and easiest decisions I have ever made professionally.

21 SECRETS is my baby.  For four years it had become a huge part of my life as I worked hard to build it into something with great heart and value. 

But last year, I came to a point where I knew something major had to change. 

I spent almost a year reflecting, journaling, and praying about what I should do. 

The first thing I knew that had to happen was that I needed more clarity around why I was hosting 21 SECRETS and what it's purpose and mission was in the world.

It's no secret (pun intended) that the internet is flooded with art journaling workshops---many that use the same model I started in 2010 with 21 SECRETS.  And I feel that this is actually a good thing.  A really good thing.

Art journaling is a catalyst for healing.  On top of that, artists need more opportunities and venues to share their gifts and their voice  and most of all to collaborate with one another.  I celebrate all the brave artists that offer their heart and soul in an online workshop.  It's not as easy as it looks.

But at the same time, it's very important to me as an artist that the work I stand behind be supported by clarity of purpose and purity of intent. 

So a mission for 21 SECRETS started to surface --- a set of principles that 21 SECRETS would represent and ideals that I and the teachers of 21 SECRETS could work towards together.

It might not seem like much, but this mission shifted everything.  For example, last year, when I invited teachers to join 21 SECRETS I gave them my mission and asked that they would only say yes if they felt in alignment with what 21 SECRETS is about.  To my surprise, it was the first year I received the most rejections ever.

Though ironically, I never felt so good about a no before.

It told me I was onto something and that those yes's that were coming in were from people that believed in the same heart centered, generous approach to teaching and creativity that I wanted 21 SECRETS to represent.

This mission also shifted things within my own heart.  I started to think that maybe I couldn't do this alone anymore.  That if I was to truly nourish this mission over the years to come, I would need support and fresh perspectives.

By this time I had already hired a designer to help with all the graphic stuff and then shortly after I hired an assistant to take care of  the administrative and customer service.  But the support I was beginning to yearn for was on the creative end.  I wanted someone that could help care for 21 SECRETS the same way I do, so that this mission could have more room to breathe and grow into new things.

This is how 21 SECRETS LIVE! took flight.  I could not have done it without the support and love from my co-hosts Lisa Wilson and Hali Karla.  They not only hosted many of the 21 SECRETS LIVE! Spreecasts, but they did hours and hours of behind the scenes work to support the workshop and each member's experience as a whole.

It was  when 21 SECRETS LIVE! first went on sale, that I was feeling truly at a tipping point.  I needed  someone to take over 21 SECRETS --- but could I really do that?  Could I just hand over the creative direction to someone else?

All these  fears and insecurities bubbled up from this idea alone.  Not just worries that the other person may not do a good job --- but actual worries that maybe since I started 21 SECRETS in the first place I should be doing it all by myself.

Kind of silly, don't you think?

But I think it's something many of us artists struggle with.  We look at our art and our projects as our babies.  How could anyone else love and care for them the way mama does?

But that's the thing.  Our creative projects are babies --- and some of these babies need a small family or maybe a village for them to fully mature and grow into something special.

I don't feel 21 SECRETS needs a village, at least not now, but a small little family is kind of nice.

I was thinking about this and actually running up the mountain by my home when I heard very clearly in my heart to ask Hali Karla.  That Hali is the right woman to help with this work.  That she was doing such amazing work with her Spectrum offering, I knew she would be brilliant at working with 21 SECRETS.

Once I literally arrived at the top of the mountain I called Hali on my cell phone and asked her to take some time and think about it, but I really wanted her to be the new 21 SECRETS Creative Director --- all the cells in my body were saying she would be the perfect fit.

Her answer was pretty instant and clear.  Her answer was yes.

Since then I can't believe how great it is to work on 21 SECRETS together! We have meetings to discuss everything from how the mission can best be expressed in new offerings for next year to the reasons why to invite certain artists to just silly things happening in our lives!

Hali loves to do alot of the things I dreaded about this position and I can't believe how much more energized and excited I feel about sharing art journaling with others because I have a partner to brainstorm and collaborate with.

Plus, one of the things we both feel very strongly about is growing 21 SECRETS at a very organic and sustainable pace.  Just because I have more space and time now that Hali is aboard, I've been very mindful not to just fill it full of tasks and to-do's. 

I want the mission of 21 SECRETS to lead the way.  I want things to happen when the timing is right and the inspiration is calling.

And what matters most is that we always remember the work we do as artists makes a huge impact on  people's lives no matter how big or small your offering might feel to you.

From the bottom of my heart I feel moved to say thank you to  all the teachers that have been a part of 21 SECRETS through these five years and especially thank you to all the members who have supported our gifts and shared their own radiant light with us as well.

I and Hali look forward to bringing more magic and creativity your way!!!

Above is a sweet little chat Hali invited me to do with her a few months back...we announce her position as creative director in it for the first time and talk about some pretty deep and beautiful stuff!  Check it out and enjoy!!

Mandalas On My Mind (& In My Heart)

collaboration between me & Phoenix

I've had mandalas on my mind (& in my heart) lately.

This sweet little piece was co-created by Phoenix and I.

He collected all the sticks and rocks, and I arranged them.

I think this is my most favorite mandala of all.

How I Unwind

I love creating mandalas.
I simply do them by hand, turning my sketchbook as I go.
Nothing too profound, or deep, or even spiritual about it.
Just a relaxing way to unwind at the end of my day.

Portrait Practice (Just For Fun)

Sometimes, just for fun, I grab one of those hair magazines and practice painting faces.

This was one of those times!

Sure, I could nit-pick away and find everything that needs to be improved with it.

But what's the point!

Each painting we do is only practice...and it's all just for fun anyways!

Celebrating Four Years Of Being Self Employed!

Frida Kahlo

Yesterday was my four year anniversary of quitting my job to fully follow my heart through Dirty Footprints Studio.

It's no accident I believe, that my anniversary and Frida Kahlo's birthday fall on the same day. I like to think that we share the same gusto and reverence for creating our own life's rules.

Or maybe she's just my guardian angel!

Anyways, here's to another great year of living my truth!!!

My Scattered Love Affair

I can NOT just work in one book alone. 

Nope, I need variety.

 To me, each sketchbook, each journal has a feeling--a Soul all of it's own.

And sometimes I'll see a book through to the finish, and other times we may part ways with pages still undone and empty.

Right now I got five books going at one time. 

Sure, sometimes a book may sit collecting dust for awhile until I feel inspired to use it again.  But eventually it finds its way back into my heart like an old friend.

So, here's a little peek into my scattered love affair with keeping an art journal and sketchbook!

#1. My Painting The Feminine Journal

I use this amazing Fabriano Venezia Sketchbook just for Painting the Feminine.  I started this practice way back in October of last year and you can see all the paintings I have in it HERE.   I most especially use this book to paint under the Full Moon each month.


#2.  My Regular Ol' Art Journal

Strathmore, I love your Visual Journals--but I HATE the gawd ugly brown cover!! With that said, my regular ol' art journal is what I use every time I sit down to FEARLESS® Paint in my art journal.  In the one I have pictured above I've done everything in it from "My Healing Journal" series to my new "Many Shades of Grey" series that I'll be sharing with you here at DFS real soon!  I love this jounral and have gone through few of them!


#3.  My Mandala Book

I started this book of mandalas when I was pregnant with Phoenix.  There's even a mandala in there that I finished the day before Phoenix was born! Plus, just recently I picked her up again as you can see HERE!  The book itself is just a cheap sketchbook I picked up at a World Market store one day--I liked it because of the rope it has to close it--and at one time it had a cute little tree design on it in rope too.  (That fell off pretty quickly.)  Anyways, I only use this book for making mandalas with pen and marker so it does the trick!


 #4.  My "Official" Sketchbook

 Last year in 2013 I was all about my Moleskine!  But this year I'm loving on the ol' Fabriano Venezia series pretty hard!! This little Fabriano Venezia I use for my "official" sketching--meaning I use it to practice drawing stuff!  HERE is a little peek into it.  And HERE is another!


#5.  Watercolor Journal

This last journal I use just for sketching with watercolors.  It's the Travelogue Watercolor Journal and I love it because it feels really delicious in your hands and is quite handsome as well!  I've only used this baby a few times that you can see HERE and HERE and HERE.  It's one of those books I pull out for special occasions--kind of like Grandma's silver or my jeans without the holes in the knees!

How Much Of Today Supports You Spiritually?

As you probably already know, I have a major love affair going on with my bike The Mothership.  But did you know she has a cohort named Slo Mo?

Slo Mo got his name from the great little video below.

I think I've watched this video four or five times already.  It's just chocked full of wisdom and truth and its inspired Hansel and I incredibly.

Hence why I want to share it with you too!

How much of today supports you spiritually? 

Slow & Steady

It's getting freaking hot here in the desert, so me and The Mothership have had to move our adventures to the early, early morning, late evening, and even sometimes taking a drive up north to the high country as well.

Here's a peek into one of our latest adventures out in Prescott, Arizona.

Be sure to hit play on the little diddy above!   Hansel took the video of Phoenix and I on The Mothership with his phone, so it's a little funky at first--but wait to you see the incredible landscape in the middle!!

I kind of chuckle when I watch because I keep looking left and right like I'm watching out for cars--but I was just simply trying to soak it all in!

It's such an incredible feeling to be immersed in Mother Nature that way.

You can't help but feel so small and so expansive at the same time.

But what I really wanted to share with you is that I used to be terrified of riding a bike on dirt paths.

About eight years ago Hansel and I went mountain biking in Sedona on a trail that was considered pretty easy peasy and I spent the first half crying and screaming out of fear (and we were on flat ground) and the second half walking my bike back.

That was the last time I rode on a dirt path.

I've been riding The Mothership almost every single day for almost four months now, and just like that I'm feeling so much more confidant and secure on a bike that I had absolutely no fear or anxiety around riding this dirt trail the whole time.

Furthermore, out on that trail we met two women who travel the world mountain biking, hiking, and kayaking.  They were in incredible shape and I loved watching them ride with such ease on those mountain bikes while going at the same pace and chatting along.

Watching them felt like an oracle.

I became overwhelmed with this feeling of "I want that".

I want to ride a bike in exquisite corners of this planet--I want to feel my heart expand into the sky on foreign ground and sink into back roads and alleyways of small towns.

I want to ride.  I want to ride.  I want to ride.

But wait....isn't that what I'm doing already to some extent?!?!

After a couple of hours of coasting along like butter, we decided it was time to turn around and go back.

All of a sudden the wind was no longer a soft caress behind us, instead it felt like an invisible brick wall we were pushing up against.  On top of that the sun was much more abrasive in this direction--and all my romantic visions of biking the world faded away as I wondered how the hell was I ever going to make it back.

But then somewhere inside me I heard:  slow and steady.

Slow and steady, Connie.

 And the truth is, that's how I got here anyways.  A slow and steady practice of riding The Mothership every day helped me gain the confidence to approach new trails--new horizons that for years I swore off completely.

Slow and steady got me to a place in my life where I would even consider that riding a bike all over the world is a dream of mine.

Slow and steady helped me create a life where I get to spend more time with my family than working.

Slow and steady turned an idea into a business.

Slow and steady supports me through the surprises and joys of being a parent.

And slow and steady is what I wish to teach this little guy, as he himself grows up and begins to face a world that champions fast and immediate over following the pace of our own true nature.

Slow and steady.