Sunday, September 20, 2015

Fabulous interview with artist Violette Naranjo Clark.

Hello lovelies, 

I'm so delighted to host and interview with acclaimed artist Violette Naranjo Clark. She took time out of her busy schedule to answer a bunch of my questions. I'm in love with her magical art! Please enjoy. 

1. Please tell me about yourself in general. How did you get into art, and at what age? What prompted you to continue exploring art? Has art been like a red thread in your life?
I have always loved art and created it ever since I was a little girl. My earliest memory is of drawing faces - particularly Twiggy who was a well known British model. I was 8 or 9 at the time. Drawing and art has always been a saving grace in my life. I would turn to it time and time again for solace and simply to express myself.  As a shy child it was a wonderful outlet for me.  Some of my other fond memories are of drawing comics with my little sister when we were camping.

I kept drawing when I had children, teaching them to draw as well as making a variety of crafts.  As a result of this both of my children now have creative careers - one a film maker and the other a Game creator (for his own business). Yes - it's been a red thread in my life, always giving me bliss and saving me at the same time.  One other thing that has been  a common thread in my life is helping others. Art enabled me to illustrate brochures and articles for non-profit organizations as well as creating art for them. Part of why I love to create art and showcase it on my blog, facebook and instagram is because I love to inspire others to believe in themselves and to embrace their creativity.

2. What made you choose to paint whimsical? You have an obvious talent for drawing. Have you done illustrations?
Thank you!  Yes - I have a whimsical bent and am attracted to all things whimsical so naturally that shows up in my art journal pages as well as the illustrations I have created. My illustrations have been featured on Rubberstamps, clipart, greeting cards, , colouring books, bookmarks, prints and bags among other things. In my book called Journal Bliss the editors wanted me to illustrate the how-tos as well as create the art journal pages.

Freak Note.
3. You have a fabulous house. Can you tell me the story how that came about? Why is it purple? (Among other colors.)
Oh - you're talking about my magic cottage - my sanctuary for all things creative, spiritual and peaceful.  Twenty years ago during a major life change I bought this little cottage in a seaside town called White Rock. I surrounded myself with supportive friends whom I affectionately dubbed my Bohemian Tribe - they were creative, spiritual and open-minded. They supported me in all of my wackiness and even helped me paint the cottage in a rainbow of colours. It all came to be in a rather organic fashion. The house was white when I first moved into it and I instantly knew that It had to be purple!  It has been purple ever since!  Once I had a dream that many of the answers to my questions would be revealed if I began painting my doors. So I painted the doors with all kinds of fun imagery and things truly did unfold magically afterwards. My home was featured on a number of different shows including Weird Homes TV show. It was also featured in magazines and in newspapers.
My home and where I live is almost as important as my art - I guess it's a way that I express myself.

Magic cottage and pansies.

 Noel at Magic Cottage.

 Violette at graffiti wall in Barcelona.

4. Do you like to teach art? Where and what do you teach? How did you get into teaching?
Yes I like to teach art but moreso online that in person. I'm an HSP Highly Sensitive Person and get pretty exhausted from being around crowds of people.  So delivering online workshops works  beautifully for my temperament. I'm teaching for Willowing's LIFEBOOK 2015 and also Art Journal Summer School. I also have some older online workshops which you can find on my website

5. In one sentence, what is your art mission?
My mission is to inspire women and teens to embrace their creativity through art - self-discovery through art.

6. Who influenced you early on?
I have been influenced by the impressionists when I was young and later as a young Mom I was very much influenced by Sark - she basically gave me permission to be who I am and embrace myself totally. My world filled with colour and eccentricity after I began buying and devouring her books. Of course if you are talking about back when I was a teenager I would say my art teacher Mr. Rankin was a big influence on me.


 Domino guy.

7. Who is your favorite artist(s)?
Right now it would be Antonio Gaudi since we just returned from Spain.  But I also love the work of many other artists, Chagall, Danny Gregory, Dan Price, Jane Davenport, Suzi Blu, there are so many mixed media artists that I enjoy today - way too many to list!

8. Do you have any art plans for the future, or are you teaching somewhere you would like to mention?
I am teaching with LIFEBOOK 2015 and have just finished up teaching at Art Journal Summer School. I am planning a licensing program for coaches and teachers of girls and teens so that they can deliver creative healing tools to their young charges.

Fun World.

My Muse and Violette.

 Violette at 61.

9. What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
My advice is to follow the voice in your heart and don't try too hard to be like other artists. Try not to compare yourself to others either because you have a unique set of gifts to bring into the world which no one else can share. Here's an example. My book Journal Bliss which came out over 6 years ago was all about art journaling. It was one of the first books on journaling…….there were lots coming out about mixed media art. The trend at the time was to have the artists/authors fly in to the publishing house's studio so they could be photographed creating their mixed media pieces. The company did not want to fly me in but wanted me to illustrate the how-tos. I realized that part of what made me unique was my background in cartooning and illustration so I had originally held off showing them my cartoony work thinking they would not like it. In the end that's what made me unique. Also previously, my work and art appeared in Rice Freeman Zachary's book Living the Creative Life. My illustrations also appeared there and I felt that the book and art were quite different from what anyone else was doing. So my point is: it's important to be true to youself and bring all of your unique gifts to your work.

Art journaling in Spain.

Here's where you can find Violette:

Thank you so much Maria for interviewing me - I really appreciate the opportunity to share with your readers.

Thank you for your grace and kindness, Violette. And thank you for your childlike enthusiasm! :)



Thursday, September 17, 2015

Art, open sharing and the inner Life--peek in the art journal, by Hali Karla

 Hello lovelies, 

I'm delighted to share, by her permission, a blog post written by artist Hali Karla. It's for all of you artists who work at creating an art biz. The spiritual aspects are often forgotten in the hustle and bustle to be seen. What a relief to rest in the embrace of the soul and let everything unfold naturally. Great post! The original post can be found HERE.


Sometimes, I consider just sharing finished paintings and art journal spreads here. (That one above is a peek at how the figure’s face seemed to change… with age, maybe. It’s a page in process.)
Sometimes, I start to believe I can only share posts that have been tended and edited in all the proper ways… tight, concise, with clear purpose or poetic wit, and no extraneous elements.

Sometimes, I even start to think I have to pull out some branding mission checklist, or creative biz plan, or lists of how-I-serve and who-is-my-tribe to make sure every single post makes sense to anyone who stops by, and that it has a clear call-to-action, of course. If a post or image doesn’t meet the criteria of one core message, it gets the axe, right?

I don’t know about all that – but I do know after years of business and build-your-tribe courses, it can cause paralysis in sharing if you’re not careful.

Luckily, there’s another part of me that eventually remembers to call bullshit on all of that self-censoring and over-dosing on checking-in, in the name of freedom and honest process… and because of this belief I have in the organic gifts, discernment and integrity of people – real people, vulnerable, creative and beautifully complex people with multitudes of motivations and important stories that evolve in the telling over time.

When it comes right down to it, there’s this part of me that knows my kind of people are inclusive and curious, tending to dig deeper than a post or two, or a quick seven second glance at a site.

Anyone that clicks away after a few seconds here – well, I’m happy to let them go. My process and what I post is more like sitting down for a shared meal, full of flavors, things to ponder, and finding ways to express to one another the places where we connect or see things differently… and if there isn’t time for that, well, I get it. No hard feelings – because most of my offerings probably aren’t for you anyhow. Come back to enjoy the art (if you do) or better yet, when you can stay for a cuppa or a course and we can get to know one another – I’ll be here, doing my thing and trying to keep it real.

I won’t be building an empire for everyone who stops by to find a quick false sense of home. Instead, I’ll be tending the garden or sipping on tea at the table in my cozy little hut, moving color and words and sharing [my] truth as I see it that day… more than happy to witness you as you look around, remember and tend the home within [your world] through any mutual resonance between us.

My truest intentions here, in this online studio/journal, come from the ARTIST in me. The Rebel – a bit introverted, yes, but rebellious and out-reaching nonetheless.

And while I am gratefully blessed to be financially supported by the amazing connections made through this space, I’m still not convinced that the psychological ideas behind keeping a blog, marketing, and the [illusion of] popularity it can bring, are necessarily the best and only values to apply if you expect to ‘get somewhere,’ serve others or find/grow your tribe in a way that lasts over time. They might make numbers rise, but not richness – and that’s what I have my arrow aimed at.

I’m not after six figures [gasp] or starting movements of followers who hang on my every word [that can actually get a little creepy] – just the magic junction of integrity, peace of mind, true connection and creative energy.

Don’t get me wrong – it is certainly fascinating that all of us can be so easily influenced by such tried-and-proven tactics of drawing in a crowd, creating a sense of fear or need, and flying in with an answer. But there’s a detriment involved when a creative person let’s the scales tip too far that way… not the least of which might be isolating and stifling to the true creative spirit and lacking in a holistic sense of self – one who changes and grows, needs space to process, makes mistakes and heightens awareness by asking questions (not supplying answers).
(I recognize that this is particularly personal for artist and healer entrepreneurs, and not always the same dynamic for a person who is, say, trying to increase exposure to sell planners or something)
I want intimacy. Dynamic truth-telling in image and word. Collective energy with others who sense their own homecoming inside themselves, for the lives and relationships they are keeping and creating.

Like most of us, I just want to be myself, in my raw, honest and imperfect process without the analytics and five year plans – and for that to be OK. For that to be enough to provide for a simple life. I’m here, writing this, to remind us that IT IS.
If we – as some of us are – are truly dreaming of a world that nurtures and fertilizes creativity, that can sustainably support all people sharing their gifts and skills, while actually bringing back that sense of home and community that so many hunger for, then I tend to think we have to dare to stand strong and forge new paths of connecting that don’t unnecessarily censor our life from our work in the world, or our process and growth from our offerings.

At the very least, we can get curious about the ways we do this to ourselves… and what kind of world we are creating or hindering with that choice. Because like it or not, it is all connected by that one constant thread… you.

See, there are others like me, who like to know the grit with the shine, the dark with the light, the truth of the people and process behind the practices they keep, share and invite others to employ, even online. Maybe especially online. Others who want to know the artist AND the art, the healer and the healing work. The story as it is being written (because there is no end to skip to!). Others that see art as a process. A way of life. Not an end or an outcome or product, or diluted for a paycheck, or even a luxury or an aspiration for later on… but a way.
There is a whole lot of image projection online – a direct result of our western culture and values, I guess – so we can’t claim to be separate from it necessarily. I do it, you do it, we all do it… tra la la la la.

And I guess what I hope is that we all question this for ourselves. Why we share what we do… and what frameworks we’re applying, filters we are censoring ourselves with or guidelines we think we have to adhere to. Are we allowing ourselves to be true to the moment, with quarkiness and room to grow? How can we let ourselves flow and give, where are we holding back (and why)?

There’s no particularly right or wrong way with this… but if you, like me, are seeking authentic connection in this life… well, you know it when you’re in its presence, don’t you? Like looking in someone’s eyes, soul to soul. Watching them grow and soften in a moment right before your eyes, because you took the time to see them, really see them – and they let you in, and when they realized that was safe, they let their guard down.

I want to not forget to share the truth of my process and inquiry as part of the story I am writing in this world. Sure, some things won’t make the cut for important reasons, and some things will take time to bring out into the light, other things won’t make sense to everyone, but I hope to not become stingy, superficial or rigid… or too choreographed as I offer glimpses of this journey from my perspective.

If you share online, I hope to get an honest glimpse of you, too – showing up, free and brave and in love with the questions and your life as art, and your art as life – with consciousness about your holistic creative process as a way of being true, finding joy and meaning, and strengthening the connections that matter… for depth and the honor of witness, not quantity.

Because this life is not a luxury. It is a great mystery of movement and energy, and if our art helps us make sense of it all – well, that art might help someone else who is coming home to their inner life, as well.
Art is never a luxury
Life has an inside as well as an outside. Consumer culture directs all resources and attention to life on the outside. What happens to the inner life? Art is never a luxury because it stimulates and responds to the inner life. We are badly out of balance.
I don’t think of art / creativity as a substitute for anything else. I see it as a powerful expression of our humanity – and on the side of humanity under threat.
If we say art is a luxury, we might as well say that being human is a luxury.
Jeanette Winterson

Check out Hali Karla's website for more info about her work: HERE.
Her Facebook artist page is HERE. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Art is a demanding goddess!

Yes, art is a demanding goddess. Every day I face an empty art journal page or canvas, and every time I wonder what to put on the surface. It's never self evident. I have techniques, yes, and I rely a lot on previous experiences, but when all is said and done, I have to just "go with it." Only when I look at the finished page do I know if I like it or not.
However, who cares if I like it or not? It's not about me and my likes, it's about showing up at the page or canvas and be open to the creative flow. It is always there, but my head is usually in a thousand other places. Being human is not easy...not if you want to continue to explore art. In some ways it gets harder all the time because you are always put in front of the choice of being more and more true to yourself.

I put up a lot of resistance to showing up more authentically in my art. I might not like what wants to come out onto the paper and I judge it instantly and put it aside. I have no idea why I experience such resistance toward exploring the next step of the evolution, but I do.
Still, I can't stop making art, so I might as well suck it up and be more brave.
There is a lot of cookie cutter art on the web, and some of it I love. I try some of the techniques and they are lots of fun. I'd say it's more of a craft approach to art, and it can be very rewarding. ANY art expression is good; it brings us closer to who we really are and urges us to grow inside.
At some point there is the wall of resistance in front and a wall of "no-going-back" behind you. The only way is to move forward, one dot or dribble of paint at a time.
The Universe doesn't give a hoot about the product, only about how I grow inside. Sometimes these art pieces take a long time. To break things up I do some art journaling pretty much every day.

Anyhoo, I was inspired by Tamara Laporte's technique of using magazine faces to create your own art journal portrait. I had a lot of fun making these videos.

"Dark Queen." I was going to do a whole spread, but decided to make two shorter videos. Only one is made so far.

Below, is "Lace." I used some lace in that spread.

Try something new today! Just show up at your scary blank surface and see what happens!

Here's to that tough Goddess of Art.



P.S. If you'd like to get on my mailing list for more news, sign up HERE.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Envy and coming up against challenges.

Do you ever feel envy and come up against challenges? I do at times, or quite often when it comes to challenges. As far as envy goes, I envy those who can stick to one style of art and be successful at it. They just keep on going with the same flowers or faces or whatever the motifs are, and they are happy. Envy is a tough word, but how can they find so much pleasure in just one style?

I get bored easily, and I don't know how many styles I've gone through in my days as an artist. A lifetime full of styles. Every day I'm faced with the challenge of what to create. I look at my recent art and think I should do another like it, but I can't make myself do it. Some are similar of course, but when it comes to painting, it's an onward and upward kind of scenario.

When I make crafts I can repeat myself endlessly. It's soothing and grounding, whereas painting sometimes is a battle of what the painting wants to be and what I think it should look like. The Great Battle of wills! Not so fun, but when the painting wins, I feel a lot of satisfaction because I could not have planned the end result.

I never plan my art journal spreads, and sometimes they are easy, sometimes hard. They turn out really crappy or really good, no balance there. :) I guess life is an endless exploration; that's how it's working out for me anyway.

Today I made a "grunge" art journal spread video. I had no plan except for using an old family photo as a starting point. I made a photo copy of the picture and went from there. You can check out the video below.

I hope you're having a wonderful, creative day! And if not, it's never too late to start... Life is an exploration after all, and it happens NOW.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

45% off Flash Sale on my art journaling e-course!

What a deal! 45% off on my art journaling e-course for two (maybe four) days. I'm tickled pink to be offering you this opportunity to try something new in art journaling. Here is the page from my website that explains it all:


The ultimate intuitive art journaling e-course

Are you curious about intuition and how it works?  What if I could show you some simple ways to always be in touch with your intuition?  Maybe you have read books about it, but can't seem to put it together. Are you going to do something about it? Learn how to break through and have some real experiences, not just book learning.  Find your inner guidance easily via art journaling.

Why take this e-course?

Visionary Art Journaling is perfect for you if :
• You never found a simple way to tap into your intuition in a consistent manner, or trust the information you received.
• You have been unable to follow through because the lessons or books bored you?
• Heart-centered art eludes you?
• If you're a beginner, but eager to learn to tap into your intuition, and quickly.
• You feel fears around art journaling or intuition.
Imagine making art with an easy flow, straight from your heart!  No experience needed.
Visionary Art Journaling e-course takes all the mystery out of the art and intuition process.

Personal benefits:

• Unleash your creative side.
• Tap into your innermost self and gain confidence in all areas of your life.
• Support from me personally online and from other artists in the group.
• Experience less stress and worry about the process of art journaling.
• A sense of pride and accomplishment for taking steps to deepen your art dream, or even start a dream!

Art benefits:

• Learn how to create a fun background that fits what you experienced in the meditations.
• Learn how to create exceptional details that describe your vision.
• How to avoid pitfalls as you move through the art spreads.
• Learn about the practical side of interpreting what you feel onto a journal page.
• Get your creative juices flowing.
• Make new discoveries that inspire you to continue on the journey.
Now is the time to get started on your dream to get more deeply into your art!
Visionary Art Journaling e-course consists of intro videos, 6 meditation audios, and 6 downloadable art instruction videos with a multitude of examples and suggestions that cover all you need to know about art journaling, and the six senses. All the materials are yours to keep.  Again, no experience necessary to follow this e-course.  The guided meditation audios are very relaxing and about 7 minutes long each.
Audio 1: Deals with the sense of Taste
Audio 2: Deals with the sense of Smell
Audio 3: Deals with the sense of Sight
Audio 4: Deals with the sense of Touch
Audio 5: Deals with the sense of Hearing
Audio 6: Deals with the Sixth sense, your intuition
Bonus videos with more tips on honing your intuition.
After finishing the e-course you will have a clear picture on how to put together an art journal spread, using what tools you have.
You will have a clear and easy understanding how to access your intuition and how it works.
You will feel confident that you can create similar art on your own.
You will have a way to keep your inspiration flowing, using your inner senses that never grow stale!


This e-course is suitable for beginners and for those who are art journaling veterans.
The art journaling pages will provide inspiration to add your own style and imagination.
If you like putting in the work up front for better results later, and have fun along the way, this course is definitely for you!
This is great for you if you like to take online courses and implement the advice. If you do the work, you will have excellent results.
If you are ready and eager to learn this kind of approach to art and see quick results, this e-course is definitely for you.

Visionary Art Journaling will help you to:

• know where to go next in the art process. It takes all the guesswork out of creating an art journal page.
• take the mystery out of the tools used.
• plug all the elements into your art via intuition.
• keep the excitement going for eternity. :)
Follow your dream of exploring art. Seize the day now, learn something new. Get excited again. Allow your talent to shine. Give yourself the gift of creativity.  Get re-inspired if you lost the spark.  Come along on the journey.
You can buy it by clicking HERE.