At this point over 80 amazing women have gone through my Wild Heart Expressive Arts Teacher Training Program. I love them ALL so dearly and , like the proud creative mama that I am, want to show off their incredible wisdom, power and creative genius to the world. So I’ve created this series where once a month I will be showcasing them so that you can see what they’re up to and be inspired by their unique creative journeys.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your creative journey?

One special kindergarten morning, my teachers asked if I would be Leading Lady Lara in our school’s Letter People Circus performance. Next thing I know I am dazzled up wearing my sparkly silver tutu, tierra, jewels, and waving magic wand. That was a turning point for me on my creative journey.

Two years later, I am taking a bubble bath singing the patriotic tune “God Bless America” while also thinking of the four food groups we were studying at school. Before I knew it, my masterpiece song “Eat the Four Food Groups” was born. Two days later, the entire first, second, and third grade classes are taught my song. And the journey continued.

I made up songs on the piano, created plays, dances and haunted houses with my girlfriends. I performed in every talent show, submitted art in every school contest. I just had so much fun exploring with my imagination and in these moments, I felt truly wise and content in my self-expression.

I wasn’t, however, a “genius” in all my endeavors. I didn’t have the strongest grades, I froze during many tests, and I was never in any exclusive “cliques”. Overall, I just hated feeling evaluated and confined to any traditional structure where I could feel small, incapable, out of place, bored and not heard. I felt the most soulfully alive and appreciated only when I was tapping into my creative endeavors.

I always dreamed of having a future career where I could apply my creativity but at some point in college, I convinced myself I needed a more “practical” yet unique background. So I became a foreign language major at Rollins College. I am so grateful that my parents integrated traveling the world as a regular holiday tradition ever since I was a little girl (just after my silver tutu days). I also loved learning foreign languages and secretly desired to be able communicate with everyone around the world.

Eventually I really did learn that I am able to communicate and relate with anyone in the world, and not because of languages, although they have been very helpful. I have found the common denominator, the human heart, is universally expressed and healed through play, music, dance, art, writing, and hugs. Ultimately, I have intuitively followed my instincts to integrate creativity into all areas of my life including helping people believe in themselves and in their greatness.

I am also so grateful to my parents for their deep love and support throughout my life, for always encouraging me along the way, for showing up at all my creative performances and recreation activities, and for always having my best interest at heart. And I am also so grateful to my older brother. While we may have had our share of sibling battles, we have a beautiful relationship now and I can appreciate the gift he has always been in my life. I am actually a little teary as I write this.

What initially drew you to the intuitive painting process?

I reached a point where I deeply desired to recreate that youthful magic that fed me so long ago. I met the love of my life on an airplane leaving Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Two years later I resigned from my citizen diplomacy job of 11 years, had a magical wedding, and moved to Hawaii. For the first time in many years, I felt alive again. The island captivated my spirit with the essence of its healing, love and harmony. It was at that point that I realized I had lost that soulful joy and I couldn’t compromise my life in such a way again.

It was also clear that I wasn’t the only one. I observed numerous friends and people who were stressed, exhausted, unfulfilled, sad, and afraid, compromising an important part of their selves for a career, family, basic needs, and lifestyle. I deeply desired to help them awaken to loving themselves as a priority, to feel fully alive, fulfilled, joyful and in clear alignment with their true self. And the perfect magical way for me to share my gifts and my heart could be through providing soul nurturing creative retreats and workshops to help people access their true self. So I needed to figure out how.

Upon researching the Internet for fabulous training programs out there, my husband and I stumbled upon Chris Zydel and her Wild Heart Intuitive Painting and Expressive Arts Teacher Training. While I did not have much exposure to this type of painting, we both intuitively felt this brilliant woman had something magical about her and her painting and expressive arts offerings and that I needed to join her program.

I anxiously registered for her teacher training in the summer of 2013 and my life has never been the same since.

How has intuitive painting been a transformative influence in your art and
your life?

I have recovered a whole “magical” side of me I didn’t realize I had lost. Through the intuitive painting process, I believe I have been able to express myself in ways I have longed to. I have learned that I can create my own rules, and do it my way and as a result, really step into my super bold playful self-expression, my jovial kindred spirit, my innovative visionary genius.

The experience of painting in itself for me is purely magical. The subtle puddle of paint on my palette patiently awaits for me to embrace its uniquely rich beauty. At the right moment, we have a conversation “okay brilliant one, it’s time to share your magic.” In this moment, I am ready to let the spirit rock and roll in whatever way it wants to. I am not a PHD perfect rocket scientist artist, and I don’t want to be. I want to let my full self be completely blown away, liberated, released, inside out, upside down, dreaming and creating wildly awake like everything inside of me is ready to burst through me!!!!!!

So I may sing and dance, get paint all over my body, get my paper MESSY, adore its beauty and wisdom and even surrender to its imperfections ….in the intuitive painting process, I never know how it’s going to turn out. I just know I love not feeling confined, evaluated, out of place, bored and small. And to experience this kind of play in a safe container such as an intuitive painting retreat or workshop, and be heard and appreciated in sharing any authentic insights and awakenings, is truly profound and life changing.

I am more aware and appreciative of my rich surroundings, I love wearing glitter, feather boas and geranium rose scents. I love giving heart stickers to people I know and don’t know, playfully engaging with my husband daily, singing joyfully in the car and on the dance floor all the time, having so much fun creating magical videos and photos in trees, by the ocean, and with bubbles. I love helping people to feel the freedom and pleasures of really expressing themselves in ways they don’t normally allow.

What inspired you to take the Wild Heart Expressive Arts teacher training
program?

I was yearning to find that special program that could support my dream of developing exploration workshops and retreats on a grander scale to help people feel deeply alive, in love, and empowered with their life.

And then I found Chris and her Wild Heart Expressive Arts teacher training
Program and something began tugging at my heartstrings. I was drawn to her deep-rooted wisdom and authentic, beautiful energy. She had obviously impacted countless people around the world. I knew I had to participate.

The idea of being a part of this juicy 4-week (10-month span) teacher training, bonding with very cool diverse women at a luscious outdoor ranch in Calistoga combined with ample time for painting, dancing, playing.

Chris and her husband Tim are an incredibly special team, so genuine and caring, always open to sharing their brilliant wisdom and unique gifts. I will always appreciate their doing everything they can to give us the best experience possible.
Now that you’re out there doing this work tell us about your experience as
an intuitive painting teacher and facilitator? What do you absolutely love about teaching? What are some of your biggest challenges?

I love that every experience and dynamic is so rich in its own unique way. I may have a plan, but the magic truly unfolds when we are all together. There is something so precious about being in a safe space with other special souls, where we can truly be real, seen, and deeply appreciated.

In the painting and expressive arts journey, I am always blown away by the power and richness of what can awaken within when we can lovingly trust our intuitive self, our inner process, the safe container, and boldly travel to new places we may not normally venture to.

I love the magical “aha” moments, the beauty of observing and feeling the energy of participants deeply in tune with their inner-self, in a sacred world filled with imagination, discovery and play, self-nurture and love, hugs, laughter, and even tears. I know they are at this workshop or retreat because they are ready for something more, ready to feel aligned in their growth and expansion, ready to feel alive, joyfully engaged and in love with their life, ready to return to their true-self.

And it is so gratifying that I am living in deep alignment with my true self, that I continue to play with expanding my bold and magical ways and offerings, literally tapping into dreams I had in my youth and am now courageously manifesting. I feel that being so true to myself also inspires and empowers others to explore their playful boldness and manifest their hidden dreams.

My challenges tend to take place prior to the actual workshops and retreats as I have expanded my offerings and moved to a new venue. How can I reach people and convince them that they don’t want to miss my transformation playground custom designed for their magical enjoyment. I also want my participants to have amazing experiences that I can envision as well. I do believe that whomever shows up is supposed to be there.

Tell us what happens at one of your Juicy Art & Soul workshops or retreats? What is it like to work with you? What is your unique and individual magic?

Each workshop and retreat is its own unique treasure-filled world.

I recently facilitated “A Date with your Soulful Essence” workshop. The participants arrived to the luscious indoor space surrounded by majestic Hawaiian trees to the tune of whimsical chirps and cock-a-doodle do’s. The room was filled with an abundance of nurturing playful muses. Tables adorned with paints and brushes, oil pastels, markers, magazines, stickers, glitter, and lots of fun artsy treasures. Fabrics embellished with bells, tambourines, bongos and maracas. Bubbles, vibrant silk scarves, body adornments and chocolates also await to charm the Goddesses.

I welcome each woman upon her arrival, giving her a warm hug, a special sparkly bindi, a scented oil of her choice and chocolate. I lovingly guide her to the sacred circle surrounding a beautiful vibrant altar with flickering candles and luscious flowers. We introduce ourselves by sharing a movement about how we are feeling now or how we want to feel, and we all repeat this movement so to empathize with each other. We then connect to our bodies through stretching, tapping, massages, somatic guided movement, and eventually break out in dance and song, blowing bubbles, twirling streamers and sparkly finger lights. We transition into creating art to playfully celebrate and honor our soulful selves then we create love letters to our soulful essence and from our soulful essence to us. We share with our partners, move to our art, and share as a group. Everyone is so alive.

I can also go very deep with people, and help them to lovingly give themselves permission to surrender to their edges, releasing heavy blocks deeply weighing them down. For me personally, I once cried for nearly 2 hours during an expressive arts experience as a participant. I realized that I was releasing tears for a lifetime of women’s suppression. I would never normally behave this way, but I trusted my inner feelings and I had to release this for me to deeply clear myself so I could provide the safe space for all women and any of my participants to give themselves permission to surrender and release their own blocks. The women in my program were all so supportive and attentive to my needs. I realized I was healing for them just as much as they were healers for me. And as a facilitator, also working with one-on-one clients and developing retreats, I have integrated safe and gentle outlets for women to truly let go, to let their voice be heard and release all that has been building up inside them. I provide the space and unconditional loving support so that they feel light, grounded, and free.

What advice would you give to someone who is contemplating this expressive arts/intuitive painting path?

Listen to your inner voice and wisdom. The expressive arts and intuitive painting journey is truly magical and will awaken your world in ways you never imagined could be possible. You can go online and find expressive arts leaders and diverse offerings, such as the teacher training. It is so much fun, so rich, and so worth it.

 Please give us some info about your upcoming events.

I will be creating some beautiful retreats on the Big Island of Hawaii this summer and fall. The location will be at a magical lush jungle oasis at bird and banyan tree sanctuary. It is rich with plush organically grown fruits and vegetables including mango, papaya, bananas, passion fruit, avocados and coconuts. You can relax in their hot tub, pool, or sage-wooden sauna and see the magical sunsets over long-range views of the ocean. We may enjoy a beautiful ceremony at their exquisite labyrinth garden, meditate in a native Hawaiian ceremonial lava cave located in a vortex behind their property, and sing and dance at a campfire on an occasional evening.

On August 4 – 8th, I will host an “Island Goddess Retreat” where we will experience a soulful journey to illuminate our divine goddess within. We will honor ourselves and our lineage, awaken our dreams and soulful desires, liberate from the walls of self-defeat, recreate your future goddess self and embrace your embodied goddess discovered.

We will be painting and dancing to our body’s rhythms and dreams. In a cave, we will release energies that are weighing us down and replenish ourselves with healing nurture and love. We will create artful treasures to anchor our true self-unleashed. We will explore our goddess archetypes. We will adorn ourselves with divine body embellishments. We have special daily ceremonies to honor our journey into our awakened goddess self.
We will also incorporate day trips to swim with turtles and dolphins, visit a luscious Hawaiian peace garden, and explore other sacred landscapes of the Big Island.

Are you wondering what to do next with your life? On September 19th – 23rd, my Wild Heart sister, Donelle Howell, PhD will be teaming up with me as we co-create a retreat on “Soulfully Transitioning into your Passions and Dreams.” Through dance, paint and play, we will help you tap into your inner wisdom and clarify what is most important to you as you contemplate the next steps on your path. This is a fun way to replenish your spirit and navigate your journey through loving support, experiential play and practical tools in a sacred landscape that is deeply healing and nourishing for the mind, body, and spirit.

November I will host a retreat “Paint your Inner Dolphin.” What would it be like to play, connect to your true essence, and fill your spirit with nourishment and love? On this magical journey on the Big Island of Hawaii, you will get to swim with the dolphins, bond with a cool pod of new special friends, and paint, dance and awaken your aliveness and joy!

In addition, I host private retreats I also call “Island Goddess Retreat,” as well as Phone/Skype Goddess Dates and in person-sessions in nurturing nature for “A Date with your Goddess Self.” In these sessions, I meet you with where you are, and what your spirit needs. Whether you are at a crossroads in your life and desire to explore your next steps, or you want to break away from your daily routine and reconnect to your creativity, your true essence and grace, an island goddess date and retreat can provide a powerful container for you.

A little more about Lara Printz.

Lara Printz has a graduate certificate in “Expressive Arts for Healing and Social Change” through Sofia University under the guidance of renowned Person-Centered Expressive Arts founder, Dr. Natalie Rogers and a “Master Facilitator of Intuitive Painting and the Expressive Arts” certificate through Creative Juices Arts, founded by Wild Heart Queen, Chris Zydel. She has a level III Feng Shui Certification in “Life Purpose Activation” through New Earth Alchemy and a Sacred School of Living Arts certificate through Magnetic Goddess Immersion. Lara holds a B.A. in Foreign Languages from Rollins College and is proficient in French, Spanish, Brazilian, Portuguese and Russian.

Lara also leads crystal bowl sound meditations and sings and plays guitar. She spends most of her time on the Big Island or in her other home town of Charlotte, North Carolina.

For more information, please visit Lara Printz at her website Juicy Art and Soul.

You can also contact her directly at Lara@juicyartandsoul.com.