Creative Life

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).

FREE guide: how to take your Creative Practice out in nature for an art date

FREE guide for taking your Creative Practice outside - considerations, tips and peeks at my process to help you discover and cultivate a soul-filling sketchbook or art journaling practice out ‘in the field’ and to gather inspiration for your practice at home… come grab this gift. | Hali Karla Arts

If you have ever wanted to take your Creative Practice outside, or haven’t done it in awhile, or just felt curious about it when I shared some of my favorite supplies and tips for making art outside last month… then this 16 page colorful guide may be just the spark your Creative Practice needs.

Taking a sketchbook, art journal or painting out in nature for a simple art date is such good medicine for the soul - even if you never actually pull your art supplies out of your bag once you get to your location.

But if you do - and I hope you will - you will find your senses and curiosity amplified, your approaches to your practice challenged or nudged in just the right ways, and your creative heart can fill up with inspiration to take home with you to explore later.

Art heals. And so does being in nature.

With the right approach, the combination can be a perfect relief for the stressors, anxiety and overwhelm of day-to-day life, too.

It’s one of my very favorite ways to decompress, or to percolate on decisions I’m navigating without actually (over)thinking about them.

So I put together this guide to share with you, in case you are popping by and it is just what you need as well right now.

And if you don’t know what the heck you need to feel your creative energy or zest for life again, give this a try. It just might do the trick. Communing with nature is funny like that, I find. She knows what we need, and she holds us so well.

So much of keeping a Creative Practice is really a practice in presence, a practice in relating, a way of slowing down and meditating or dwelling in the life that IS (ours).

landscape study, mixed-media art journal sketchbook, Hali Karla

Here’s a bit more about this 16 page colorful guide…

Creative Practice in Place

Creating outdoors, you can leave all perfectionism behind, rest+play in the exploration of your curiosity, and experiment with how you might visually express what you see and feel in communion with nature’s beauty.

This free guide offers encouragement & tips for preparing and taking your art-making out “in the field” of nature, filling your creative well there, and bringing back home what you discover and notice for further exploration. It includes a peek at one of my nature-art-dates.

No previous art or plein-air experience necessary.
You were born to create and connect with nature!

So my friends, are you curious? Would you like to receive this gift & guide?

Pop your name + email in below, and it will automagically land in your inbox in a few minutes.

You’ll also be all set to receive my Creative Practice Notes 1-2 times per month to further inspire and nurture your creative explorations and process (and you can easily unsubscribe anytime, of course!).

I hope this short guide+invitation will inspire you to revive, try or begin a simple and regular art-making date with Mother Nature herself.

I find that creative time with nature - away from screens, lists, noise and the usual distractions, expectations and obligations of life - can help us remember who we are in our dynamic, inspired wholeness, as well as (re)activate our awareness of our innate interconnection to the miracle and cycles of Life and Creation.

April in 8 ways - monthly {re}View

landscape study, mixed-media, Hali Karla

Today, on this last day of April, I offer a glimpse at a reflective practice that makes a wonderful habit for seeing creative connections coming to life or closure - or inviting you in for further exploration moving forward.

Join in for your month of April, if you like.

Here’s how: Flip through your art, sketchbooks, journals, planner pages, IG photos, book highlights, etc. for the last month or so - and acknowledge the moments and threads of connection that seem to speak to you today, as you softly welcome in the month of May.

I like simple approaches, and lists with an end in sight, these days.

So here’s my public April reView peek…

8 ways i’m being moved somehow this month

sketching, creative practice, Hali Karla
  • My art this past month has had a focus on the ever-healing subject of landscapes and dreamscapes. A returning focus for me. A blend and dance between studies abstracted, and abstractions with hints of reality. To ground in nature is an ultimate Source of connection and healing for me. To glorify, contemplate and explore her beauty and curiosities in my art-making practice is much the same. On one hand it is fun, messy textures, patterns and color experimentation; on the other hand, it is communion and witness that transforms something in me.

    I have some goodies to share here in May…

  • That said, I have spent a great deal of time this month creating video lessons and fun explorations of related things, that I can’t divulge much else about just yet. I love being able to create, encourage, teach, learn and share in this way, though - and can’t wait to tell you more about what’s cooking.

dream-catching, art journal creative practice, Hali Karla Arts
  • From a journal page: Am I a practitioner of anything at all if I’m always changing my approach? Or do I have a wider view to offer for that very experience of seeing and trying so many ways of exploring, expressing, finding, serving?

  • From another journal page, a capture. Not my words, but I tend to agree:

    The problem is when ritual takes the place of recognition and relationship. Yes, I feel that. I love a good ritual, but may we never forget how the ritual is intended to point us, to steer our steps toward presence with one another, our true self, our service, our Source.

landscape sketch study, acrylic painting on paper, Hali Karla Arts
  • So very thankful for precious in-the-flesh visits with soul-deep friends these past couple of months. Who have their eyes not focused on judgment of others, but set to discover Presence and transformation-invitations in their life and relationships. And their hearts set on becoming better, more loving humans as best they can.

    Thank you thank you thank you for all the good people of this world doing their self-awareness soulwork

  • Tomorrow is Beltane. And in April we ended another season that includes welcoming in the cycles of life, creation and relationship… Lent has moved into Easter. I have gone to an Easter vigil service in the dark of the morning for two years now.

    In many ways it takes me back to times around the sweat-lodge circle, felt truths about how we are all so much more alike than different…. There is fire outdoors and prayers and song, and recognition of light in the dark, and what it means to choose hope and live in reverence and gratitude for the gift of life. There is the moon, and then the sun in the sky above. I love this sort of observance and ritual for what it points to, and how it can anchor us in seasons, God’s love and intentional connection.

    I also made the mandala prayer circle below for a Lenten devotional this year. It came about in a contemplative painting session I enjoyed very much, and this month I received many warm words about the little touch of beauty it brought to the 40 day prayer lives of others.

prayer art mandala meditation for a parish lenten devotional, Hali Karla
  • Despite some resistance in this new season of my creative business, I decided to practice what I teach and trust my intuition come what may - and quietly opened registration for a live-online Creative Practice Circle, beginning May 29. There are some seats left to claim - i hope you’ll join us!

  • that’s 8 already? See how easy this is. There’s so much more - sometimes it’s enough to just see that.

    Let’s end with a few sources of inspiration and interest for me this past month.

    Perhaps they hold something for you:

    • The Creativity Habit podcasts hosted by Daphne Cohn - I don’t know who Jesh de Rox is, but his interview was full of gems, and that was my gateway to the rest of the podcast guests, which I’m still exploring

    • Did you know that there are 8 ways of Aboriginal learning? I woke up one day with 2 words in my head… 8 ways. So I googled it later that day. I do not pretend to know why that little breadcrumb trail showed up for me and I’m not oging to overthink it… but I resonated with the visual on that page immediately. Maybe it has something to do with the freaky large blue-cat in my dreams last night…

    • Want to remember things better, connect with them more, listen closer? Draw a Picture

    • Asia Suler - a local herbalist here in Asheville that some of you may know online (she taught in my program Spectrum a few years back) - recently spoke to why she rarely gets intuitive readings anymore, and her words resonated so deeply with why I have steered a bit away from astrology - which has been a big piece of my offerings the past two years.

      Right now, consulting the celestial placements is an unnecessary step in the practice of trusting my intuition.

      It has helped me greatly in the past with healing, and in building trust, awareness and acceptance for myself - and I do adore giving birth chart readings to those who want to explore one-on-one! It’s fun and really does awaken a sense of connection, life-awe, validation and challenge - and encourages expression and development of our truest selves.

      But for now, for me, I’m just not reaching for my own chart and transits anymore. I can feel the moon’s rhythms, and that’s plenty.

      I am practicing a deeper patience and surrender to my life experience, intuitive sense (of Spirit) and trust in a greater unfolding (knowing very well by now that my chart holds a reflection of even that).

      A season for everything, I suppose…

painting on panel wip, acrylic mixed-media, Hali Karla

As you end this month…

…you might also give a moment of quiet recognition for those in your life who are struggling or in times of grief or transition.

On my heart, in a wider sense, are prayers for all to have religious freedom and be able to worship and pray together however they choose, without fear. For those with no land or home, with desperation, trauma and uncertain futures and hungry, tired families to be welcomed, as worthy as any of us to the land of this earth we call home, but truly do not own at all.

April was rich, hard and full of beauty. One of those months where there was definite shifting within, even more than I can put my finger on. It’s an ongoing cycle after all, this creative path - not an arrival point.

I think I’ll continue to put my ear to the life and people in front of me, help when I can, choose trust and love, do my work and keep painting worlds about it for a bit…

How about you? Gratitudes, prayers, intentions? Feel free to share…