Creative Process

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 online Creative Retreat weekend: Make Create Express

sign up for a FREE online creative retreat weekend with 27 art lessons: Make Create Express

I’m happy to finally get to share that I’m one of the 27 teachers for the Make Create Express workshop this year!

Over the last couple of years, I’ve said ‘no’ to most invitations for collaborative programs, webinars and such, but there was no way I could say anything but YES to this one for 2019, because I know what an incredible job Galia Alena does coordinating and hosting creative courses over at Art Is Magic.

join us for 27 FREE art lessons for your mixed-media creative practice. 27 stellar art teachers to guide the way

The complete Make Create Express experience is actually a year long creative adventure which kicks off with the Free Creative Retreat weekend.

That weekend, you will have access to enjoy and explore 27 lessons for your mixed-media Creative Practice - totally free.

If you can’t make it that weekend, or would like to enjoy a year of goodness with 27 additional lessons, you can opt-in for the Ongoing Creative Journey.

Check out this sweet video Galia put together to get us excited (I know it makes me want to paint!):

It’s even more exciting when you see the full line-up of teachers from around the world, and the different lessons they’ve been cooking up to share for your art journaling, mixed-media or creative practice.

Here is this year’s teacher/artist collective…

Make create Express mixed-media online creative journey kicks off with 27 FREE lessons - come sign up

Of course we want you to come play and connect with us for the whole year if you like, but make sure you treat yourself and at least join us for the free retreat. Because, FREE!

My lesson for the free retreat is called LandShapes - and includes 4 guided Creative Practices, inspired by landscapes, shapes, color, and contemplations on connecting with the land and making space come to life on the page through how we see, experiment and express with our materials and basic art element ideas.

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.

peeks at a few of the lesson activities from my offerings for Make Create Express - join us for the FREE 27 lesson weekend

You can read the full description about my lessons over at the Free retreat sign-up page, with all the details about the other teacher’s lessons, too:

Please share and tell all your creative friends about the free offering, especially those who don’t yet know how wonderfully creative they are or who may be feeling a bit creatively dry.

This could be just the thing they need to look forward to and put a little spark back into their Creative Spirit self-care and practice.

It’s going to be packed with creative inspiration and fun - I hope to see you there!

my favorite supplies and tips for making art outside

here are some of my favorite art supplies for taking my creative practice outside (Hali Karla Arts)

Getting outside in the warmer months - to explore, observe, and make a little art out in the elements - can really rejuvenate a Creative Practice.

Even if it’s just in your yard or near home, nature is full of surprises and invitations… not to mention rest and replenishment for your soul and intuition.

If you are unable to spend much time outdoors due to health reasons, you can still take into consideration how you might limit or condense your supplies into a simplified ‘kit’ as you experiment with nature-inspired art-making and contemplations indoors.

Personally, I love Love LOVE getting out into some new or familiar location to create art pages and studies.

Things can get a little stagnant and routine, and I can get a little antsy if I don’t fill my creative spirit this way.

And if I can’t get away from the house for some reason, I have been known to just set up a portable table or blanket outside in the yard, pack supplies into a bag or bin as if I were traveling somewhere, and just let the sun and breeze hit me while I make, listen and play. It’s good, good, medicine.

Below are a few ideas about supplies for making art outside, from my experience. Some might seem obvious, but if you are venturing somewhere new or away from home, a little forethought goes a long way.

things to consider when making art outside (Hali Karla Arts)

Consider the weather & terrain where you’ll be going, of course. Think: sunscreen, poncho, comfortable clothing and shoes. A hat, perhaps? Will there be bathroom access? Does it matter for the length of time you plan to spend?

The item on the right in the image above is a portable easel that I picked up a few years ago, and that I use all the time. It is small, lightweight, and super affordable. It fits well in a standard backpack.

I also use it on the livingroom floor when watching movies - which I can rarely do without doodling or making art! Or when I’m reading or painting at my table and need to give my neck a rest from bending over.

AND while it’s nice to have, it is totally optional and unnecessary for making art outside.

Sometimes I take it, sometimes I don't.

some art supplies I like for taking my creative practice outside. more in the post… (Hali Karla Arts)

I personally don't take fancy surfaces or art journals out into the field very often.

I like to sketch and paint on a regular, mixed-media or watercolor sketchbook. Or, more rarely, I might take a loose canvas or panel.

I do love it when I remember to take my viewfinder! It’s a great way to play with visualizing composition and proportion - and to just spend time seeing the different creative possibilities for expression or imagery in the place you’re visiting.

some of my favorite art supplies for creative practice outside - more in post (Hali Karla Arts)
some of the art supplies I might bring when I take my Creative Practice outside (more in post at Hali Karla Arts)

The image above and below are just a couple of variations of what I might take.

I switch it up, depending on my mood.

Not pictured is a little travel spray bottle - I use it all the time in-the-field.

some favorite art supplies to bring when taking Creative Practice outside (more on post at Hali Karla Arts)
a few of my favorite supplies to take outside to make art (more in the post at Hali Karla Arts)

Sometimes I go out with my watercolors and inktense pencils, which can be easiest to play with if you’re new to sketching or paint-sketching outside. They play nice together, too.

Sometimes I go out with a small set of acrylics or gouache paints.

I try not to take all the options, though - and suggest that you choose just one core medium for those times when you go 'out into the field.'

Try several out on different art dates, and see what appeals to you most. Maybe you find that you just love sketching outside best.

If you do experiment with paints outside, leave your fancy paints at home - and be a beginner, a curious and willing imperfectionist.

And don't forget to put water in your water jar or spray bottle!

i share some of my favorite art supplies to take my creative practice outside in this post (Hali Karla Arts)

If the site you'll visit has a river, lake or other body of water, though, it can be fun to ‘bless’ your page and practice by using a little of that water in what you create, too.

Simplicity in your supply choices will really open you up to the depth of your experience and how you engage with the practices of slowing down, observational BEING, SEEING the landscape with all your senses, and getting to know the nature all around you as a living, nuanced, and wise muse for your creative spirit and practice.

I can’t emphasize it enough - do give some consideration to gathering and preparing your 'field supplies' so it’s as easy and comfortable as it can be when you get out there. I want you to love your experience so you get off the screens and out into your brilliant world a bit more to inspire your practice.

Keep in mind, the time of day… it can make all the difference in a hot or rainy season.

Or maybe there’s a particular way the light hits a place you love to escape to… what time of day can you make a little art in presence with that?

i share some of my favorite art supplies for taking creative practice outside in this post (Hali Karla Arts)

Even if you're leaving some of your most beloved supplies or colors behind as you embark on a traveling or creative practice journey, this truly is a great way to freshen up and keep the sparks alive in your regular practice and art.

And besides, those not-so-portable art supplies will be back at home ready for you when you return - to finish up a piece with a fresh eye or start a new one inspired by your adventure, ‘sketches’ and experiments 'in the field.'

Sketching, painting or otherwise getting into your creative zone out in the elements is a wonderful, holistic way to self-care and connect deeply with a place you’ve never been before as well, or that you want to hold or honor in your memory as you move forward.