Creative Practice Revelations Happen in Acts Between the Seen and the Unseen

Which Way, mixed-media painting, Hali Karla Arts
Art mirrors [our] struggle and captures the process of letting go. Every stroke pushes the painting to sacrifice itself: every creative act destroys something previously built. Imagination reveals not new vistas but revelations of reality behind reality. All art points to a transaction between reality of the seen and reality of the unseen.
— Makoto Fujimura

There is a Way that we only find in taking action.

Being present. Seeing. Listening.

Feeling. Not turning away.

Doing the hard work that is called upon us.

And then…

Believing so deeply in what we know to be real in what can’t be measured or seen, that we are willing to disarm, destroy, risk, transform, and let go of what is real in what can be seen.

To surrender to change.

Yes, there is something about this that speaks to my soul.

I was ‘supposed’ to be writing about re-releasing two well-loved Creative Practice ecourses today - now self-guided with unlimited access - but you know, these days I’m just not feeling the catchy-inspiration, lead-page, funnel-pitch in my creative energy… so, here’s to random shameless plugs at the end of short posts and keeping it real, because I trust my process AND yours:

IMPULSE self-guided mixed-media Creative Practice ecourse on awakening, trusting and relating to your intuitive, spontaneous artist’s style

IMPULSE self-guided mixed-media Creative Practice ecourse on awakening, trusting and relating to your intuitive, spontaneous artist’s style

ESSENCE self-guided creative portrait practice ecourse to develop and explore how you see, relate and translate in mixed-media, plus connect with your sense of self (and other)

ESSENCE self-guided creative portrait practice ecourse to develop and explore how you see, relate and translate in mixed-media, plus connect with your sense of self (and other)

Click the image above to learn more about each course. I’d truly would love to connect and be your guide on the side for a bit as you develop your Creative Practice. THAT is where my creative energy loves to flow. ;-)

Note: Both of these courses were previously released as part of my Making Art Medicine program.

A Language of Understanding (art journal musing + peek)

it all makes so much more sense to me without words. all the things i see and feel most deeply, and most want to express and explore in the nature of things.

and yet, my whole life i've been told and shown that words are part of my gift and medicine. life calls me back to the distinctly uncomfortable edge of translating those ineffable connections - from the visual, sensual, felt realms of experience - into arrangements of ideas when i write, speak or teach. Ideas that might, with god's help, spark a wider perspective, shine light on a bridge overlooked, or catalyze a small moment of healing and validation for another.

part of me would love to be an artist who could spend all day painting and making, knowing all along that she was called to this visual expression and sharing alone. or a writer who knew without a doubt that words were the medium for her, the gift, her way to sweat, evoke and inspire... maybe I would write a book, or blog more regularly. but what i find as my creative truth + process is a little more complex than that.

this artist energy, for me - this creative energy i can't deny - is one of BEing in life and relationship, and pursuing what calls forth my creative spirit into that engagement somehow. it's not one way of expressing or another. it's both/and and then-some. it is a dance of learning and teaching sharing.

it's not (just) a job. it's not just a 'body of work', per se, except what is to be discovered and expressed in this body of mine. it's a way of experiencing life, first. deep terrains of internal landscape that shape the navigation of life 'out here' where the world might observe but mere glimpses. and it just doesn't always look like what so many conventional ideas about 'artist' would have us believe....

and the rest, for me, is the very real struggle of working with what I can to let out from inside of my experience that beauty and pain and inquisitive nature which calls to be expressed, released, loved, evolved or blessed with the poetry of activated stillness. it's a stumbling on the page most of the time, and yet sometimes a resonance of recognition... however big or small or seemingly inconsequential.

sometimes, for me, it is line and color and the making of marks. sometimes it is words and musings and sharing bits of stories, healing or connections i have learned, sensed or witnessed.

always, what comes of my process, is merely an attempt at translating presence with all of this. evidence of my own quest for understanding and connection with life itself. and maybe it's also a morsel, perhaps, for yours.

and lately, i find more and more, at the end of the day, in the language of life and love and creative spirit... it all makes so much more sense to my soul without all the words getting in the way....


My Winter reView, Spring inSight (with journal prompts to help you review, uplift and commit)

The Winter season is 'officially' coming to an end and Spring is moving in, here in the states.

I thought I'd share a few journaling reflective practices I find helpful (below), while doing a short review of some highlights from my own creative journey and reflections in this last season... all in the spirit of sharing, showing up and wrapping up - as I - and we - prepare for what's coming up.

Some winter highlights in my creative world:

We've made some minor, but uplifting improvements to our humble little home and how we keep up with her. One of my favorite changes... a table that seats six people for a meal, or two married artists hanging out together *not* in front of a screen.

Our four-legged roommates keep winter warmer and more joyful, too.

As does miso soup in the morning... and BREAD.

Homemade bread... no-knead dutch-oven bread, to be exact. OMG. Don't even think twice about it, just GO HERE, and do what it says. You will not regret it - and your people will get a fresh twinkle in their eye for you and your 'magical' baking skills.

This warm-soft-crusty bread thing may be my favorite 2018 winter highlight, if I'm totally honest. Bread and music feed the soul, folks. (That's my guy in the middle on the left, who plays music most days of the week in Asheville).

For my In The Stars peeps: we got a kick out of how the baked bread can look like a baked planet, too. This planetary symbolism represents the instinct to eat and be comforted, and is brought to you by the Efficient Grandmother archetype. Clearly...

Speaking of In The Stars, this winter season wrapped up the first voyage of my biggest, most heartfelt program yet, and began the second voyage at our new class site... with lots of new and returning soulful creatives.

It is pure joy to guide others into their birth charts, dispel unhelpful ideas and superstitions around astrology, and teach them how astrology is practical and rich (not magical or scary or about simplified personality types or fortune-telling at all)... just a creative language that helps reflect and describe human experience and patterns, internally and externally, in a collectively and personally meaningful way. It lights me up... which I'm sure the program participants can attest to by now, and maybe you can tell as I diverge.... :-)

Oh... and there was the FLU. It was just awful in our house for several weeks. We both caught it. ugh. Enough about that.

At the beginning of the year, I also began meeting once a week with a spiritual formation group, in person here in Asheville... this is particularly personal, transformative and precious to me right now.

They fill my heart, our little group of 7, as do our conversations and shared meals. It is the perfect support for my growing and deepening contemplative prayer practice, the surprise twists my spiritual journey has led me on, in the past decade - and the questions I carry about best serving God and others with my gifts and whole self in this wild, changing world. I am grateful everyday that I was led to join in on the immersive four year journey, come what may.

I also began... and will be beginning (or reviving)... some fun things here at Hali Karla Arts.

Like my Something From The Studio videos on Youtube. I enjoy making those, and the response has been sweet, so I'm going to keep exploring the format.

Starting with the shift into Spring this month, I will also be making some new podcast episodes, with a whole different theme to explore and inspire your reflective and creative practices. I kind of adore the audio format... both making and listening... and I hope this will speak to some of you and keep your creative energy moving, as I speak from my practice to yours. More on that in the next week or so!

And, for my subscribers, I hope to get those Creative Practice Circle Meet-ups finally going this spring, totally free to attend... so sign up to get the details.

Finally, I'm planning to bring back some online classes this year - like part of the Making Art Medicine series.

Friends, I have made quite a few classes in the past 6 years, and they are just sitting in files waiting to reach and inspire creative souls who find them and feel called to engage. After years of making new content and classes, I'm looking forward to revisiting and celebrating some of that hard work in fresh ways, and sharing it with new folks this year.

Now, I promised to share some reflection practices I like to use as a retrospective exercise, so that you can give it a try in YOUR journaling and planning practice.

(I shared a variation of these in my last Creative Practice newsletter, as a way that I like to reflect on one month and move into the next - I've just changed a couple of words and added a few additional thoughts here.)

These could be used at whatever frequency makes sense to you and your needs. Seasonally might be perfect for you!

Here are a couple of my end-of-month (or season) journal review approaches:

I always find it so helpful... to make time to review my planner, notes, art and journals from the previous month, and make a retrospective reflection in my journal.

It gives me an anchor to my life, without time just slipping by and important highlights going unnoticed, as it so often can. Months that I don’t remember to do this just don’t feel as focused and energizing in the ordinary day-to-day.

First, I list or free-write about...

  • What was challenging and what I learned or am learning (or mistakes I made), and
  • What (or who) I loved, found memorable or insightful, or feel especially grateful for from the past month.

Next, I make a table or bubble-map with 4 areas listing things I want to COMMIT TO or UPLIFT for the UPcoming month, as follows:

  1. KEEP UP - activities, perspectives, practices etc. that I need/want to continue or keep up
  2. GIVE UP - activities, perspectives, practices, habits, etc. I need/want to release or stop to free up time/space
  3. SHAKE UP - things I need/want to keep doing, but that need a change or shift to my approach to keep it fresh and flowing, or better fit my realities and vision
  4. TAKE UP - things I want to explore and try out in the coming 4 weeks, *stretch that comfort zone, y'all*

In my humble, color-voracious opinion, these reflections are best done on messy, artsy, or doodled pages of watercolor splashes or such - optional and personalized to your preference in your journal, of course!

Finally, if you are a bullet journaler, or a list-lover, here are a few extra uplifting focus areas for reflection + review, and planning + activating... as an ongoing process, or at times of purposeful transition...

  • LIFT UP (prayers and gratitudes and decisions you are faced with)
  • LOOK UP (possibilities to explore)
  • SHOW UP (events or activities where your presence will stretch you, fill you up, or gift others)
  • WAKE UP (a-has, revelations, insights that shift big things in your view and perspective, or bring pieces of the puzzle together for you)
  • SAVE UP (this could be about money, or dreams to work toward, or ideas that are still taking shape and forming in your creative awareness and need more time to percolate before sharing or pursuing)

Alright, my creative friends, that's my Winter reView and Spring inSight musing, plus some thoughts on how you can review and bring insight backwards and forwards in your practices, as we move from one season into the next... on the calendar, or in our life's chapters.

This was fun to put together... I wonder, do you do any sort of monthly or seasonal review that helps keep your creative energy flowing and focused on the 'right' stuff?

With heart, Hali

*** The best way to work with me personally this year, and to meet some amazing creative kindreds also participating, is in my program IN THE STARS. You can join in the journey anytime, for the time being - with immediate access to everything that's been released so far.