I had given up being an artist – part of my story
So I gave up going to art school in San Francisco at the age of 23. The dream I had my whole life was up in smoke (plus a heap of student loans). I moved to the mountain to regroup with my mentor, Sue Hoya Sellars. I remember telling her, I was giving up art. I remember her face, an over-the-glasses look, that many of our students have seen over the years.
Then she said – “let me show you this one thing”. We went outside the studio and then she sprayed a canvas and floated 3 colors over the top. Green. Purple. Gold. I watched magically as the colors moved in ways they had never shown me at art school. She then handed me the brush and walked away.
It’s funny to think back to that one moment as being such a life changing event, but it was. And it is now something I show others how to do as a part of their breakthrough moment. Turns out there is something to that creative process afterall 😉 But what surprised me even more would be the career that would bloom after my first art show, and still be going strong twenty years later. Including things like showing my art at the United Nations, being on book covers for best selling authors and building a community of women around self expression. And most of all, raising up a tribe of women teachers who are teaching all over the world. The gift that was given to me, is now given to others.
To my surprise I would go on to become one of the top selling artists in the US for over ten years, and to open galleries representing not only my work, but the work of over a hundred women artists. Together we grossed millions of dollars. I was amazed. And continue to be about the turns my life has taken! I am living proof, and gratefully so, that one can listen to the language of the soul and end up somewhere way better than they had planned! (Thanks to the Muse!)
All along the way I taught others how to access a freer, truer, more playful way of creating and experiencing themselves and their art. I started with children, teaching in schools and in homes, and then onto their mothers who could not keep their hands out of the paint!
Then just five years ago I would realize the biggest dream of all – and it is called Color of Woman. Which was also the name of my first gallery, as well as my first book. I found a way to share the magic of that mountaintop experience with others, and to teach them to teach others. It isn’t just me who feels that way at the canvas – it is many of us. Many of us waiting, wanting, longing to open to a deeper experience of ourselves and our lives. And how cool would it be if this opening could also create community, income and insight? And it does.
The interesting thing is that it isn’t really about being an artist, or being talented. Although that can be part of it. This work is about discovering one’s greatest gift and having the capacity and ‘form’ to share it with others. The art making is secondary to the consciousness raising – the art making is the tool that moves the energy, combined with intention.
I have seen women move mountains of suffering and transform childhood wounds under the power of the brush – things they claimed they had not been able to move their whole lives. When I think about what the method actually does, my simple answer is that it helps move stuck energy – and based on moving it to and through form, that energy can be alchemized into something else – and that something else is often the healing tool most needed by that individual. At that specific time.
Our internal beingness is a genius like that, giving us just what we need at just the right time in just the right way – but – the catch is – we need to be ‘listening’ through form, and what we call Intentional Creativity: a directed act of creation. Ah, I am getting ahead of myself already and we have only just begun to talk about Color of Woman 2016! If you are curious, good! I live my life through insatiable curiosity, so you are good company.
I have just returned from teaching a small group of women on that same mountaintop, twenty years later. Getting home last night, I found myself amazed at the path I have been able to walk with my art, and with bringing art into the lives of others. But not just those who identify as artists, but mostly women who have a desire to serve, to call circle, to bless others with their healing gifts.
Intentional Creativity is a powerful tool to add to your modalities as a healer, teacher, guide, coach, shaman, priestess, doctor, mama, giver, leader. It puts transformation into the hands of those who need it the most, and grants access to a power far beyond any healing modality I have ever seen. Why? Because the individual is doing their own healing with their canvas – the teacher shows them the way in, but the student does the work. It’s incredible to see what’s possible. It thrills me!