This is What I Tell Students About My Teaching

About Me as a Teacher

To me, art…or at least, “the “best” art…speaks to the quality of mystery of an unspeakable essence that we all know as  human beings..a part of life and of ourselves that we know exists, yet we do not understand it nor can we explain it…Paul Kleesaid that ”Painting is about the non-visible”.

This is what I want to be able to offer you as a exhilarating experiencewith the amazing nature of paint. Colorful, wet, dripping, spreadable, mixable, spreadable, wild, subdued, harsh, stark, heavy, flowing, layered… paint …an inexplicable entry way into to that mysterious intuitive source we each possess…

This Intuitive Painting workshop has evolved over the past ten years as an expression of all the experiences that have influenced  me as a working artist.  I have developed an interesting and, I think, a unique style of teaching.  Here is how I see myself this weekend:

A teacher-  I will offer you  techniques and describe art materials and their usage for you to try, showing examples if needed. 

A coach-I am here to cheer you on, to encourage you to keep going, to loosen up, to try, to prevail, you-can-do-it!

A cheer leader-  I get to gaze in amazement at the creative process in action and

pass that amazement on to you, to refocus your attention of how great you are doing

An artist-  (MFA, Cal State Chico)I will offer you feedback as a professional fine artist regarding formal qualities of painting such as balance, composition, color..etc… If I do give some advice you do not like, well..I can usually tell and you do not have to follow anything I say!

An art therapist In the 80’s I trained and am certified from Boston’s Lesley University in Art and Expressive Therapy, (MA, ATR)which allows me to understand the risks that go into facing a workshop like this…Sometimes the “power of the brush” unleashed, in a safe atmosphere, can unlock patterns of resistance we have carried for years and years. Sometimes the images that arise are uncomfortable, sometimes the urge to quit overtakes us. But I assure you as we travel along with the ups and downs (mostly ups!)there is a good chance you may experience a profound understanding that you have not  felt in a while, and hopefully leave here with a a desire to keep creating long past our busy weekend. It is my job to console, to re-frame, to comfort if need be without judgment.

So with that, I want to remind us all that we are a closed unit, what we say stays, and that we offer feedback that is honest yet positive and insightful.


OK,  let’s get started!                      cynthia s            May 2011




Spring..time for new life to blossom and time for the unaware to notice how everything resurfaces,again, the same yet brand new.  Spring..the time for change.  Who likes change?  I have met a few who are generally excited by change but most of us are resistant.  What's up with that? 

It's fear.

Of the unknown.  Of losing something we have ..or of not getting what we want.

So do the changes in spring imply fear for me?  Doesn't feel like it because its so incredibley beautiful outside I forget that I have changed.  I have alreaddy changed.  Empty nest, more expenses, new friends..the changes have already happened and what I need to do is to catch up with what already is.

I heard someone on the radio say "Paint what you fear"  Hmm that's a start.





F O C U S 

So I had the opportunity to go to Alaska over the Thanksgiving Holiday...amazing, wonderful, beautiful and not even that cold...and now I'm home back to reality..and I'm finding it an even harder challange to focus and get to work.  I am always concerned about how I'm going to pay my bills

..but this is a worry that is simply habitual and not based in reality..and it doesn't help me...because the truth is that I am lucky enough to be living a life I choose...and being the person who I am meant to be which is a creativity conduit. That is who and what I am..

The truth is that the more I am who I am meant to be, my bills fall by the wayside..  I had  some incredible serendipity experiences  in Alaska, including meeting Romney Dodd* and networking my work and website, even strutting home with a beautiful pair of hand painted clogs.  I may be creating a community art program for teens in Fort Yukon Alaska this summer..and to top it off, I came home to a check waiting because two pieces sold while I was gone! ..........................My creativity sustains me.  I won't worry at least for today




Websters Dictionary:

... the proper positioning or state of adjustment of parts in relation to each

My goal for now is Alignment.  My this I mean  that my thinking has to be in line with my greater purpose which is to kindle the creative spirit in myself and others.  I remember to align my spine so I don't tilt when I walk.  I attempt to allign my work so that my actions are in sync with what I love to do , what I'm good at and what I want to accomplish in the future...And I want to allign myself with whatever quality that I need to really appreciate and adore the people in my life.

 I want to keep aligned to the reality of all that is, not the limited vision of what I see in front of my eyes. There is always depth, more to it. 


What Art Does

Over the last several years my focus shifted from working with others to , yes, focusing on myself...In 1999, I dove in headfirst to the world of painting..I dove into the sea of my lifeltime become a quality -genuine -honest-talented- colorful- successful- painter..which I have done..Thank you to the essence in me that has allowed me to take such a risk in an economic climate that seems, and I mean SEEMS to,  discourage artists.  Thank you. Thank me.

I just returned from the American Art Therapy Assn International Conference, this year in Sacramento. I haven't been to one of the art therapy conventions in long while because I have been busy painting and  expanding as an artist and haven't felt an interest to sit in an audience listening to clinical presentations analyzing something that I believe can't be put into words.  However this year I succomed because the conference was close and I had the opportunity to see dear friends from back in the days of art therapy graduate school at Lesley College.

I am incredibly greatful that I was inspired enough to get myself down to the AATA convention and to spend the big chunk of money on a conference that I could have spent a million other ways.  WOW.  I got fired up.  . I got reminded again about the importance of what I do.  I got reminded of the power behind creative expression and the power behind just VIEWING creative expression.  And most of all I realized that I not only get to do my work but in a sense I have to...the world needs relief, people want  to feel the part of themselves they have forgotten. And I am wired to help in a good way.  So I am.

I re- remebered what art does:

Art is good karma ..especially with the help of an art therapist guide, making art can redirect human energy into  positive action.  Art can prevent us from causing harm to ourslves or others.

Art reinforces the notion that we are not alone  In a group we can make images and share them with peers.  In therapy we share with a trusted counselor .  Alone, we share the image with the muse, and then with viewers .  There is always a dialogue with creation, which requires two..hence we always, always have company. Even in solitude, as art makers we experience the ever-Presence of the mysterious Creator

Art feels good   Alone, in a group, with an art therapist guide, a teacher, a links us to the spirit of play, to curiosity, to fun, to relief.

Art is a teacher.  Our imagery that we allow is essentially a map to what we cannot talk about at first.  It gives form to the parts of ourselves we may not even realize we have, and it contains those surprises in a way we can handle, especially if we have a trusted person (art therapist) holding our hand. 

Just looking at visual art is healing.  Our brains a wired to respond to imagery.  We have bodily reactions to beauty that are enlightening,  help us feel good and re-align us with the abundant beauty everywhere in this world including the wonder inside every person. We can meditate on an image and feel God, or the pain of the artist who created the piece, or we can share it with someone as a way to communicate something we cannot describe with words.

Art calms us down  Everybody is so busy.  We are all worried about something.  We're trying to figure it  out, whatever "it" may be..We have alot of "shoulds" that we are not doing, being or having. The act of creation requires a decision to stop.  Stop and then allow yourself to be open.  To let go.  To relax.

Art gives us energy Paradoxically, in art making,  at the same moment we relax, we are energized. We feel the pulse of inspiration..the creative juices, the flow of ideas from the heart to the hand, seemingly by-passing the brain.  It fires us up and feels great.

The more art I make the more I have to give away The more I paint, the stronger the connection "the Source" becomes and I can feel it.  With this inner Knowing (my Creative Companion),  I get fueled to inspire others to take advantage of their own creative resources.  I always have to feed the fire, because you can't give away what you haven't got..and if you try, it shows









Sleep, Being Tired and Painting

Its a beautiful Saturday afternoon and all I want to do is work and sleep.  Then work some more then sleep some more.  It doesn't seem logical that painting is so exerting but it is.  My poor students collapse when they finish a   PAINT BIG workshop ....a collapse of joy and accomplishment but also a collapse of sheer exhaustion.  Its grueling to lay it all on the line, and once you've handed all   your arguing and resistance  over , you become a follower, you give into the the process of painting itself.   Your mind has ceased fighting and you give up. 

This, I suppose,  is the place of total surrender.  And in this place amazing colorful  things happen because you have stopped struggling  and you just sway your hand with the paint-laden brush  and you realize it is joyful.




I seem to be spending more time in cyberspace than in Studiospace..!!

Here is my latest Facebook page to update people on the present and my past art adventures including the upcoming workshops and commentaries from other people..!/pages/Cynthia-Art-Inspiration/101392366584909?ref=sgm


Chico A-Z

Al-Mond and Blossoms-  Encaustic Mixed Media (A-Z #1)  July 2010 (for sale 10/10 with prints)


I'm working on a new series of paintings I plan to showcase at the Chico Paper Company in October 2010.  I'm creating 26 paintings about the alphabet, one painting for each letter and hopefully each piece will reference life in this sweet town I live in, Chico, CA.  Each piece is 13 " v 13" (13 + 13 = 26) And in the spirit of the alphabet they are priced at $260.00 except for the day of the opening reception where I will offer them , for one day, at $225.00 a piece.  OR you can(Just like ebay!)  BUY IT NOW for $350.00 if you call the Chico Paper Company Gallery at 530-891-0900! 

So far  .....A= Almond, B= Let it Bee, C=Crimson Cat in Chico, D=Dance and E=Egg

I cant even describe how good the fresh eggs are frome the Chico Farmers Market.

I'm working right now on F which is is about faith, which is proving to be a challange because I haven't felt much lately..In fact, I'm not sure if FAITH is even a feeling at all.



Art in Seattle-I wanna do it again (January 2011)

So I brouhgt my workshop to Seattle Washington...My first successful venture  bringing what I have to offer outside Northern California.  Though a small group..I have to say that the participants blew me away with thier courage and the results of their 100% efforts...

The learning curve...plan for less natural light than I'm used to...plan for the breakers to shut down if the building is old and I decide to run three hairdryers at the same time...plan to have everybody register, at least with a deposit ahead of time so I can count on people being there...plan to consider relocating to the PNW because it's so gorgeous..I'll have to do a test run in the winter to see how I do in the sprinkling climate though. 

And I got wto work with two of my favorite Hansens and Madame Vyvyn Lazonga, artist extraordinary and a seeker...check her out too




Intuitive Painting Workshop Comes to Seattle

Finding People

So I am bringing myself and my Intuitive Painitng Class to Seattle in July 2010. I am reaching out to people who I haven't met yet, reaching out through my cousin Alice who is putting up flyers..through Cyber Space, even an ad in the coolest publication, the Artopia pull out section in Seattle Weekly ...and Facebook.

I am pretending I am an art magnet bringing at least ten people to my art door so they can paint paint paint BIG and have a great time.