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…

to create is to invite vulnerability

diatom and portrait, art journal page, Hali Karla Arts

Every time I hit send to invite folks to an offering, I find myself navigating tender waters within.

How will it be received? Will folks accept the invitation? Will my readers be interested? Did I adequately express the heart and inspiration behind the creation or offering? Will that resonate beyond me?

It's not unfamiliar territory to an artist at all, but interesting how it is consistent in the process and experience, no matter how many years you move through the cycle.

I suppose the audacity - for those of us lit by undeniable creative fires - is that we have to keep trying... whether a thing is received in the way we hope or not.

There is a creative spirit that gives us the insight to see something that wants form, and the breath to try to give it the attention it calls for, and learn something in the process of offering it up. This is true for humans, not just humans who identify as artists, of course.

The past few days have been one of these all-too-familiar work-waves in my creative process, culminating with this morning - when I opened doors for my next offering, the Creative Practice Circle, and shared it with my subscribers.

It is not flashy or full of big promises and strategic pre-launch hype. Instead, it comes from a place of deep joy, percolating intuition and a tinge of rebellious realness - the kind that tries to listen to the voice that says, 'not the way everyone else is doing it. no, not that way. try this way. follow the connections you sense; it’s about more than you. ok - now, it’s ready, imperfect and true and ready to share.’

Painting can be like that, too. And writing, and sketching, and making a song… creating anything at all from an inspired, honest place within, really.

This new live-online Creative Practice Circle won't be for everyone - but seats are already being claimed today, and that fills my heart - as I know the circle and time together in Creative Practice will fill those who show up.

The mysterious gift of it all becoming something I merely initiate and hold space for, makes my own tender process of visioning, tending details, and sharing an invitation, come what may, all worthwhile.

Where my Spirited muse calls, I follow - to see what can happen, beyond me.

Is there an invitation, idea or offering imprinted on your creative heart, that you’ve felt called to make, explore, express, or accept and show up to? I hope you’ll trust that call and follow where it leads you.

If you like, learn more and join the Creative Practice Circle


also… diatoms are most amazing, don’t you think? (that’s what you see on the left side of my art journal spread above). they have a huge impact on our climate for such mysterious little things. i’ve been fascinated by them for decades... they’ve inspired my clay and paint creations in the past, and i seem to circle back to them periodically in a contemplative sort of way. they’re like a mysterious key i haven’t figured out yet in my visual language. good stuff.

when a meh painting becomes medicine | Something From the Studio (video 11)

An intuitive painting that felt just 'meh' turns into something more the next day, with grounding medicine for my mind, on a day that the world seemed too much to bear.


Related: Why does art even matter on a day like today (or when the world is in pain)