never say never

fluid acrylics, intuitive prayer art creative practice, Hali Karla Arts

i said i wasn’t going to do this, but i am.

how many times in life do we get to tango with that one?

i said i wasn’t going to [insert your thing here]…. but then, there you are, doing it. choosing it. giving it a try. maybe even enjoying it.

sometimes it’s not so good, that predicament. maybe you’re sacrificing too much of yourself to do the thing you knew deep down you shouldn’t.

but other times, it’s not so much about that. it can be a fertile, albeit humbling, territory.

because we thought we knew… why or why not… what was better, best, for good… and then something changed. shifted. our perspective, situation, understanding, needs, desires, context….

and what a blessing it can be to not know after all. to land in that peculiar state of not-knowing and yes, outside of what we [think we] know and no.

to remember we are dynamic, despite the ideas, convictions and beliefs our minds cling to.

to find we might appear even foolish, but that our own deeper intuition no longer seems to care, because what might be learned, initiated or nourished is suddenly and possibly very important.

even if we can’t explain why.

even if all the reasons we weren’t going to [do the thing] still exist.

maybe most especially then, should we dare to dream, hope, try, do the work and see what happens. because even if it doesn’t work out how we’d like… we are choosing to believe we can navigate that, too. and taking the risk to receive what we need even if we don’t exactly get what we want.

because at the end of the day - and our lives - it’s the decisions we didn’t make, the creative calls we pretended not to hear, and the risks we didn’t take in the name of love and connection that will haunt us with the melancholic ghost of wandering regret.

the calls we heed and the nudges we move toward, though… even if we swore we wouldn’t before we heard the call to do just that… the ones we follow despite what we think we know… these matter most in our becoming and staying with, on the waves of life’s transformations and how we relate.

i tend to believe we are each keepers of tradition and innovators of change somehow. both and, not either or.

we each hold a part of some old way, to remember, rediscover and help preserve or evolve.

AND we each hold a part of a vision of some new way, of being better humans, waiting to take form in how we live with one another and creation.

we don’t hold it like gripping, but more like a dna thread that runs invisibly through us, encoded with messages of merging possibilities. just part of us, in our place in time and space.

a tributary of what we know and don’t know yet and maybe even can’t know coming into life.

connecting the ways of past and future right here, right now, in you. me. each of us.

when we quiet and open, listen and respond, we find that we are given choices in this greater entanglement where everything is most wonderously connected.

choices to begin to move toward what feels true, what we always dreamed or sensed, where we will find things we never saw coming.

or perhaps to begin to move toward what we thought we never would, where we just might be surprised to find something we needed and wanted all along.

there’s no guarantee in any of it. where we will find our place, what we seek and desire, or the medicine we need to receive and hope to give… and there’s no way of knowing how any of that might change inside of us as we live face-to-face with our lives in the world.

there are just choices to make and work to do on behalf of the living rivers of creativity and love, calling us to surrender and overflow when we can, with nothing but faith and a yes.

Happy July, creative friends! I am behind the scenes doing the work for one of those things I didn’t think I would do. I’ll be sharing more about it with my subscribers soon, so join us at this page if you like.

It is also an eclipse day and season, and Chani still writes some of the best, loving horoscopes for the monthly celestial weathers and energies. Read for your Rising Sign first (then your Sun sign as a modifier).

giveaway blog-hop: win a spot for Make Create Express (year-long online art workshop)

UPDATE: this giveaway drawing is now closed.

The winner of the drawing and free SPOT
for Make Create Express is:

Lauren Mack

Congrats, Lauren!

THANKS TO EVERYONE for sharing the love with us and entering. Don’t forget to sign up for the free online Creative Retreat weekend lessons or join us for the whole yearlong mixed-media program at the early bird price!

Happy creating to all of you!

Nothing like having the chance at a bunch of free art lessons to inspire and nourish your art-making and Creative Practice for a whole year, don’t ya think? Yes, please.

You may have already signed up to receive the FREE online Creative Retreat weekend with 27 art lessons from 27 worldwide teachers coming up. It’s July 6-7 - just a couple weeks away, and you get 24 hours to enjoy each lesson - perfect for a little art staycation-style retreat right from the comfort of your home.

But did you realize that there is also an optional yearlong ongoing creative journey - Make Create Express - with 27+ more lessons (and extended access to the free lessons, of course)?

Well, you have a chance to win a spot for the year-long creative journey - by entering the giveaway and helping us share the word about the program, in the hopes that we may reach others who would love this free retreat opportunity or the ongoing workshop.

We are giving away 15 spots total - and I’ve got one of them.

I’ll draw my winner at the end of the day June 28 & announce my winner right here on this post over the weekend after confirming with them.

So here’s how you enter to win my free spot…

To EnteR:

… just share this post on Facebook (and tell me in the comments below that you did). The easiest way to share is to use the share link at the end of this post on the lower right, or copy+use this url:

For extra entries to win my free spot:

share this post on other social media places such as your blog, twitter, pinterest, google, or other social network platform & leave me a comment below telling me where you shared.

on Instagram, be sure you are following me @halikarla, then go to the giveaway post on my profile and leave a comment about what you love most about making art or keeping a Creative Practice

Good luck!

And don't forget to join us for the Free Online Creative Retreat Weekend Event

In one hour together in LandShapes (which includes 4 guided Creative Practices from me during the free retreat weekend) we will be inspired by shapes, color, line and contemplations of the beauty of landscapes. You will practice seeing and loose skill expression through multiple approaches for making space come to life on the page with our basic materials. This will totally amp-up your mixed-media composition enthusiasm, awareness and skills for all of your art journaling and painting creations.

My second lesson, in the ongoing retreat, is DreamScapes, where we create a painted world (or art journal spread) from start to finish, incorporating ideas we explored in LandShapes with an intuitive and process-oriented journey that will lead us somewhere we can’t predict. These are my absolute favorite types of paintings to explore.

A blog-hop means many chances to win…yay!

You can find the rest of the blog-hop info, with additional chances to enter+win at the other participating artists’ sites, HERE.

(the links in this post are affiliate links since I’m a teacher in Make Create Express - thanks for using them if you sign up - it supports Hali Karla Arts and other working artist-teachers!)

a way to get un-stuck and finish a painting (video) | Something from the Studio 14

Ever felt stuck with a painting or project, even though you were so close to completing it? You are not alone.

Finishing things in the creative process can be just as tricky as staring at the blank page wondering how to begin.

There’s also a comfort we can linger in, in those pre-finishing stages - because not finishing or finding closure can shelter us for awhile from venturing into the next round of now-what, not-knowing, and beginning-again.

I find this interesting resistance to be especially true when we have come to rather like or enjoy the relationship, project or creative work we’re now getting stuck with. Or when we’ve finally landed in a sweet-spot we’ve been seeking or hoping for.

We can pause the completion/closure process for many reasons… because we are being overcritical and don’t ‘like’ it or want to deal with our disappointment or mess. Or precisely because we do ‘like’ it how it is and don’t want to ruin, change or let go of what we’ve created so far. Lots of judgment calls there, either way you look at it, and that always causes a pause and chance to notice how we show up.

Taking time to notice how we’re judging or responding to our creative practice or work, and what may be behind that response, regardless of how we feel about what we’ve created, can be really insightful. In art and life.

And staying with, slowing down and not rushing things unnecessarily helps with that consciousness, and is such good, good medicine in these times.

Presence is one of my favorite practices, and my art-making can be a direct line of contact to this with-ness… but that doesn’t mean it’s just a zen-like stillness or something, without action or cycles of decisive transformation.

Creative presence - even in its pauses - will bring us right to the threshold of relational change, movement and engagement, I find.

And that creative spirit moves with us when we make changes, always available to deepen our awareness, remind us who we are, breathe life into our efforts and give flow to our energy.

I’m not saying it’s going to make things easier, or make us feel more motivated necessarily - though sometimes it can. But just that it’s there, with us, and does offer something that carries us through when we do finally get to showing up to do the work that calls.

work-in-process, spirit painting, mixed-media on wood panel | Hali Karla Arts

The little ‘Spirit painting’ in this video was hanging around in the studio with me for awhile, unfinished and waiting on me to get moving with its final layers.

I rather enjoyed that simple, sweet space of not-doing with this painting, while it lasted… until it started to feel like stuckness, like weight, and there became a palpable readiness in me to move on with it. And that’s when I knew it was time to get to the work of seeing it through.

There are lots of tricks and tips to getting un-stuck in creative process, for sure.

In the video, I share a fun digital method I occasionally play with, and that worked perfectly with this particular painting.

No big surprises here, just the thrill of actually doing the work, with what I know and what I have available… in whatever way gets me to show up and carry onward.

acrylic and ink spirit painting on wood panel, 12”x12” | Hali Karla Arts

Besides the app trick in the video, here’s another way to get un-stuck if you’re hesitant to finish a creative work:

Try out your ideas for finishing an art journal spread or painting with torn up collage bits or colored paper placed over top, to visualize blocking in color, imagery or pattern before you commit to the rendering.


Print out a few images of your in-process piece on your printer, and paint-sketch a few possibilities for finishing your piece over-top.

Easy-enough solutions.

The easy kind are also oh-so-easy to forget when our resistance or procrastination has taken hold. Maybe that’s just me….

Like I mention in the video, this is not necessarily in strict alignment with some intuitive or process approaches to painting - where you are to follow your intuitive spontaneity no matter what, without planning, fixing or editing, and focus solely on the process over the product.

And I can’t praise the gifts of a process oriented approach to Creative Practice enough.

But these simple ideas are a great way to play, learn and spark ideas when you are creating a piece where the end result does matter to you, as well.

Sometimes our intuitive sense is best strengthened in the invisible realms and dynamics of pure process in our expressions, no matter what it might look like externally.

We can find energizing respite, nourishment and trust when we leave behind notions of expectation, performance and appearance.

Each mark can hold worlds within worlds of awareness and witness, and only we know the full story.

And other times, we are trying to communicate an intuitive vision or idea, giving ourselves to what we sense or feel, but through very visible, intentional creations and works.

Maybe we want to share an idea or truth, or just make something of beauty.

There’s nothing wrong with using our collected tricks and tools for this, and it does not necessarily betray the intuitive call that may have sparked an idea, if we bring a little discipline and order into the external manifestation.

It is here, in this way, where we can find confidence in our ability to discern, and how it feels to finish what we’ve started and hold it in our hands.

It is here, where the archetypes of our internal feminine and masculine creative energy meet in our creative process. Integration and utilization of both is not a betrayal of either energy or process, but a welcoming of our wholeness and depth.

And behind the inspiration, pauses, decisions and marks that mark the making, only we know the whole story… and only we can see just where that completed expression may be leading us to begin, to seek, and to open ourselves to the process yet again.

As in art - so in life,


getting unstuck when you’re trying to finish a painting (with video), and combining intuitive art-making with the discipline of making a finished piece | Hali Karla Arts