june 10ish 2016 Julie painting Colorplay copy

Finding your energy, where it is versus where you think it should be, is crucial for unlocking your joy and experiencing moments of creative freedom.

It can be so subtle and yet so easy to mistake frustration or discouragement for an indicator of what is actually going on with your creative life.

Recently I felt a sense of futility when in my studio. Futility, the energy stopper. “Why bother–it all looks the same….”  You know this one?

But I was lucky and I happened to have a warm body come through the studio that morning (my husband who is a ceramic artist).  And after giving him the 2 minute version of what was happening, he happened to notice something.

“Seems like those two drawing over there you like right now, you’re interested in what’s going on there.  Is that right?

“Yep” I say.  I just really liked their energy, simple, and pure.

And he said, ”  They’re both small.  Everything else you’ve mentioned is big.  Maybe you just want to paint small?”


How simple.  And how true. I checked in with myself and could feel I was only interested in making smaller marks that day.  And I happened to have this pile of canvas boards and some new pastels to mix with the paints.

Synchronicity began to show up between me and my ready and waiting materials.

I realized I just wanted to do some simpler, quicker “immediate paintings”  (my made up phrase) not the more involved pieces.

My creative light turned to green and  I dove into a series of little paintings of no significance but great freedom.  That’s simply all I was up for.

This is what I mean when I say “find your energy”.  Sometimes it does help having someone else notice the obvious.  Sometimes it just takes  asking yourself before you jump into a half hearted effort what it is you would do if you were going to enjoy yourself.  Smaller?  Bigger?  Pencils versus paint?  Or perhaps even a time limit on a painting process?

Whatever it is, do it!

  • Bottom line:  Go for what is present for you NOW versus the good idea you had a day ago.
  • Big and bold is not always better.  Sometimes subtle and small might want your attention.
  • What feels good? What has a spark of joy?  Or irreverence perhaps?

I always find a gold mine of energy waiting for me when I go off the list of reasonable ideas.  It never lets me down.  

In this summer of hot long days, what a gift it is to rekindle your wild spirit and your lighthearted creative self.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

To Be Alive

by Julie Claire on May 3, 2016

So often as a culture we are striving, figuring, earning, achieving, performing and our hearts run dry.

We can be a little dead, still breathing-but essentially dead–don’t you think?

This is one reason why I paint. This is why I help others paint, create, live—so that we can be ALIVE while we’re alive.


There are all kinds of reasons you may originally decide to paint, which range from the most superficial to the most therapeutic.

And there are all kinds of ideas and opinions you may have about the kind of painting you want to make, hope to make, try to make.

I would like to highlight some of what I notice in the studio. What actually happens.

  • Essentially we know we have a voice and we want to let it out of the cage.
  • We establish ties with our inner world that are strong and at times life changing.
  • We find our enthusiasm and connect to something larger than ourselves.
  • We cherish the moments in which we take creative risks.
  • We really don’t want to paint like others, even though it’s tempting to think so at times.
  • We want to find beauty in our own paintings.  Sometimes this is a challenge because we can confuse beauty with “pretty” or “nice”.
  •  We move energy. Often people remark on how different their energy is after a painting session.
  •  We are seen.  And we see. (coaxed out of hiding). 
  • We surprise ourselves.  Often.
  • We come alive.

L painting copy 2

At the end of the day you may or may not end up with a painting you “want” or “like”.

But you will have jumped into the fray of creativity, off the sidelines and into the flow of your life.

And you will know this in every cell of your body.

This experience of engagement with life is contagious and a bringer of joy–worth getting out of bed for.

And the fact is, there is something else that happens when you keep showing up at the canvas.

If you keep painting, there will be days when you will come out of the studio with a painting you love.

Every time you look at your creation you will feel a little pang of excitement—that this painting came through you!

96 josephina in front of painting smaller resized 2 copy 2

When I first began painting, I thought it would be neat if someday I could LIKE one of my own paintings enough to hang it up in my own living room.

Eleven years later I find myself immersed in the creative process of intuitive painting and I have my paintings up all over the house.  Who knew?

If you are ready to pick up a paintbrush for the first time or the upteenth, I hope you find a workshop or class in my calendar of listings that is right timing for you.

And may we all experience our aliveness–often and fully,

Julie Claire








{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Beginner’s Mind Is A Great Place To Be

May 2, 2016

Beginners Mind is a great place to be.  Beginner’s Mind refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions. In the studio I am always asking for people to have a beginner’s mind when approaching the painting process. This way of being steeped in awe and enthusiasm allows me a kind of curious play. […]

Read the full article →

Getting Things Done Without The Whip

December 16, 2015

Recently I was talking with a woman who was struggling to be both self-compassionate and accountable to her intentions. She didn’t feel like she could have both. And it got me thinking:–How common this is for so many of us who have something we want to do in life and yet feel like we don’t […]

Read the full article →

Charcoal and Rhythm

October 29, 2015

I began my art making life as a singer songwriter. Now I’m a painter.   Singing. Painting. Experiencing wonder and creative flow.  Engaging with a force larger than myself.  Not in control. One word or brush stroke and then the next. As October comes to a completion, (and I’m one year older) I’d like to share something I […]

Read the full article →

Big Magic

October 13, 2015

I admit rarely do I read nonfiction. I am an avid fantasy and young reader junkie. But I do like to stay in tune with current writers on the creative process and books with a transformational perspective. Two years ago  I had the pleasure of hearing Elizabeth Gilbert speak some of the stories she shares […]

Read the full article →

The Magic Of An Intuitive Painting Workshop

July 6, 2015

Regular art classes never worked for me. I don’t bloom in instructional settings.   It was when I first experienced painting in a sacred context, in a place of personal intimacy and depth that I opened up and found my inner painter alive and well.   Actually, I was completely shocked by how much energy […]

Read the full article →

Ground Isn’t Sexy

June 1, 2015

For much of my life, I didn’t have a primary relationship to the ground.  I was much more interested in new ideas, being inspired, and feeling free.  I habitually focused on the next new project and moving forward. Ground isn’t sexy. Focusing on being grounded used to feel too heavy, too fixed, static and serious. But […]

Read the full article →

How One Brush Stroke of Freedom Can Make a Painting You Love

April 20, 2015

close-up of center   close-up of center     I will never forget this one painting experience: early on, perhaps my 4th or 5th painting ever, painting with a small women’s group in my studio; I reached a point in my painting where I felt ALMOST done. But there was something still to do. I […]

Read the full article →

Masking tape can be outrageous when you’re painting.

March 31, 2015

There are these creative openings that happen for you while you paint intuitively. You can’t plan them or predict them but they happen.       Sometimes it’s because you change paint colors, or you find your playful self momentarily, sometimes it’s because of a new tool—like a different size paintbrush or sponge.   Recently […]

Read the full article →