Painting from the Wild Heart
At Painting from the Wild Heart, through the medium of expressive arts intuitive painting, you are provided with an environment of encouragement that awakens your artist’s soul and challenges you to become a spiritual adventurer journeying to your own creative source.
Exercising your creativity without concern for the results, develops greater trust in your intuition, expands your sense of freedom and possibility, and gives you a way to fearlessly explore unknown aspects of yourself.
In this form of intuitive painting you will not be learning the techniques of painting, but what you will gain goes much deeper than that. In opening to this expressive arts process you learn how to deal more effectively and courageously with your inner critic, to move through the obstacles of emptiness, fear and boredom and to heal those secret places inside that have armored themselves against their longing for expression.
You will re-ignite your natural childlike passion and enthusiastic impulse to try new things, experiment, make mistakes, make things up — in other words you will awaken your sense of creative audacity and wonder using paint, brushes and paper.
When you paint with no concern for the outcome you feed that place inside that is hungry to create for the sheer joy of expression without having to achieve or accomplish anything.
And finally, intuitive painting can transform not only your relationship to creative blocks around artistic expression but also transform those attitudes and habits that keep you from meeting with imagination and courage the challenges of your daily life.
These classes are appropriate for all levels of painting experience. People come who have never picked up a brush and who have told themselves “I’m not creative” or “I can’t paint,” only to find their inner painter alive and well.
Experienced artists with years of training can also benefit from this intuitive painting approach when they find themselves mired in a creative block or have lost their passion for painting.
Painting from the Wild Heart Weekly Classes
The classes are held in a warm and inviting studio space and class size does not exceed 10 students. All materials are provided, including a vast array of brushes, non-toxic tempera paints and high quality paper.
- Mondays, 6 PM to 9 PM
- Wednesdays, 10 AM to 1 PM
- Thursdays, 10 AM to 1 PM
Cost: $130 per month (4 sessions), or $37 per class.
Location: Creative Juices Arts Studio, Oakland, CA
last night i attended a unique art experience … 10+ women of mixed ages and creative stages joined together in circle to share what’s alive in us right now & then we painted in community. the intention behind the class was different from any other that i have ever participated in.
there was to be no talking while in the studio, no comparing (including admiring) each others work, and we were to stay in the process of painting from intuition versus the ego mindset.
with huge blank paper and lots of different color choices to choose from ~ i was super excited to indulge. my initial experience was joy and fun as i loved the sensual feeling of making big strokes with a large brush. at first, my judging mind liked what i was creating until it did not. quickly, i felt my perfectionistic tendencies arise as the colors didn’t match and i disliked that i had no symmetry in what i was in front of me.
the facilitator lovingly circulated the space and personally connected with each artist as we individually played with resistance and acceptance. in a supportive space, i was able to easily shift and let go of needing my art to be “good.” i leaned in to my struggle of feeling “bad” and went deeper. i used my non-dominant hand to paint and began to accept the ugliness of my art. in fact, i grew to love it!
and … just like that, my inner artist healed.Jodi Komitor
It is truly not an exaggeration to say that Chris has magical super-hero qualities. A rare mix of authenticity and playfulness. And an ability to empower you to show up however you are — good, bad, ugly, repetitious, even with a big, self-critic over your shoulder. She simply welcomes your whole you with patience and whole-hearted acceptance. And not just me, I’ve seen her do this with a wide range of folks over the years.
Since this testimonial is going all magical anyway, I’ll also say that Chris is an untraditional muse of sorts. Instead of inspiring, she acts more as a midwife, a lantern in the unknown lands of creativity.
She has at her disposal a unique type of detector, stronger than a dog’s nose. She can detect with precision that tiny path to that dot of juicy, creative matter that we all have. And she can gently guide you to it like a well of water you didn’t realize you thirsted for.
And in all her workshops and weekly painting nights I’ve attended, she creates a womb-like space that feels awesomely sacred.
So I’ve given much deserving credit to Chris. Just as vital at Creative Juices Arts, however, is the space co-created by like-minded painters, with all of our variety of painting styles and life differences. We are a uniquely supportive circle of sisters that makes you want to use the term “sisters” even if you don’t normally.
This process and experience with Chris and my sisters is life-changing every week. It’s my reset button. It’s my safe place to explore my edges. Which is really the doorway back to wholeness, guided from the inside-out by intuition.Marla Bergman
This painting class has helped me to let go of my verbal, analytical, critical self. I feel like a new part of me is blooming, expressing itself without words. Colors, images and shapes flow out onto the paper continually surprising me. It’s like I’m coming to know myself in a whole new way.Louise Howlett
I have come to think of Chris Zydel as a midwife to my creative process. Her manner is gentle and direct and her intuitive ability to ask questions that open students to their own unfolding is truly a gift! She is able to quickly create a safe space that allows the expression of deep feelings through the painting process. Her lively sense of humor makes the process very enjoyable.Laura Holmes
In my painting workshops with Chris, I learn to trust and follow my own energies. This I share at home with my pre-school grandchildren. I hope they never lose their trust in their own selves.Anne Ziebur
Thank you so much for what you do… painting in this way has been for me such a place of discovery and of joy.Debby Ostlund
Painting from the Wild Heart has made a profound difference in my life. Chris is an extraordinary human being, undoubtedly the most compassionate person I’ve ever met. With great gentleness and wisdom she helps you tap into unknown parts of yourself. She empowers you to empower yourself, create without restrictions and go on a journey of discovery. You don’t have to “know” what you are painting or “how” to paint it! Touching into your heart, soul, intuition, the mystery or just playing, It is always an adventure. Chris has made a place for us to share to trust and just be who we are in all our variations. It is powerful.Jean McVay
Through this class I’m learning to loosen my stranglehold on my urge for perfection.Stella Allison
Chris Zydel is a nurturing and insightful facilitator. She creates a safe environment in which all aspects of the self are encouraged and accepted. Process painting with Chris is helping me uncover my authentic painting voice. I feel the benefits of radical self acceptance (as Chris calls this painting process) in all areas of my life and in the silk painting I enjoy doing at home.Karen Damien
Painting with Chris is great fun. She is unflaggingly thoughtful and supportive. She has a great laugh and a great spirit. Don’t miss it.Janet McFarland
First, Chris Zydel’s Painting from the Wild Heart class helped put me in touch with the sometimes delightful, sometimes difficult (read, tortured o:)) flow of the brush against the canvas. What a bold feeling! — Paint dripping off your brush, moving your body any way to get the flow of what is uppermost in your mind that day, the shapes and colors, out on the canvas.
Then, when I would get stuck, Chris’ refrain, “What happens next? What would like to happen next? Name three things.” Which mantra I have been using in my writing life. It helped ground and keep me in the moment, moving forward, taking small bites instead of huge world-sized-ego bites. Chris taught me to recognize the voice of the censor when it raises its ugly head and how to laugh at and then banish the beast.
Chris trusted and allowed me to listen to my own heart, my own inner guidance, my own wild intuitions, hunches, dreams — and to trust myself in those places, in both my artistic and personal lives. What a hugely alive gift!
I’ve discovered a poetic, moody, cartoon-like, amusing, amused, whimsical, ultra-fun side to myself. Who is this? I used to think in my early days of the Wild Heart classes, moving my brush or pen or pastels across the canvas. Is this really who I am? Now I think, How wonderful a journey, what a wonderful kid/girl/woman/soul I am!
Under Chris’ gentle and accepting eye, I have come to love the flow of my own moods, my extravagances, pet peeves and follies, the ebb and flow of being a woman. Chris taught me to go into the dark blues and greys and black, colors whose heaviness I had long been afraid of and shunned. Once I came to embrace those wild, deep parts of myself — “That’s where the aliveness is, the juice,” Chris reminded us — then I could fall in love with myself and take steps in both my artistic/public life and my personal life with confidence.
Sometimes, often, overhearing her counsel to my classmates, I felt as if her calm words to others were meant for my ears as well; the synergy and camaraderie and friendship/support in the room is terrific. Who would know that I would come to love our sharing at the beginning of class so much?
The limitlessness of this painting life is amazing and awe-inspiring. I always wish classes were just an hour longer.
Thank you, Chris, for being such a grand teacher & first-rate muse!Kat Steele
Eternal Smile & Another Tongue
Her mind is wild joy
Anonymous “refrigerator poem”
Creative Juices Arts Studio
Painting from the Wild Heart has changed my life. It’s a great way of exploring complicated issues from the gut instead of from the head. So it’s ideally suited for working on “nonverbal” or deep seated psychological issues. I’ve used it to grieve for a dying pet, prepare for family visits, and deal with physical illnesses. The ability of a piece of paper to contain contradictory, confusing and mysterious feelings all at once never ceases to amaze me. Chris Zydel does a great job of creating a safe and welcoming space in which I can express joy, sadness and confusion. It’s also just plain fun! Each week I leave class feeling lighter, happier, more optimistic. nothing stops me from going to paint class.Sandra Whisler
Today, my friend Teri West, took me to a painting class in Oakland that was like no other you or I have ever been to. The object wasn’t the end result of the picture, but painting your emotions — like a psychology painting class. You use only tempera paints and her brushes (all sizes) and can paint anything you want. She must have had 100 colors for you to choose from, and you could use as much, or as many colors as you wanted. She told me to paint like a 5 year old — complete abandon — and not EVER to worry what the finished painting looked like. Finished product was — nothing. Emotion was all of it.Carol Rock
Joining one of the Wild Heart ongoing painting groups was the best and most healing thing I have ever done for myself.
I have always carried the belief that there was only black or white, right or wrong, perfect or screwed up. When things were right and perfect, I was a good person. When things were wrong or screwed up, that meant I was a bad person and felt deeply ashamed.
The painting process helped to changed my belief system, and became a guide for my internal process of healing and self examination so that I could begin to create the life I wanted externally.
I found that I began to stop blaming others for my negative experiences, see the part I played in them and began to heal my shame — I hardly ever feel ashamed now, and certainly don’t feel the need to beat myself up anymore over what I consider a ‘mistake’ whether it be a mistake in my current painting, at my job, or in my relationships. I am definitely not ashamed of my paintings, and have actually grown to love them and be proud of my art.
The painting process has accelerated my healing process. It does exactly what it is supposed to do. It has shown me that there is no right or wrong way to paint, and this has carried over into my other daily life experiences and the way I react to them.
I have read tons of self help books, which were terrific, but not tangible or tactile. The painting and the process Chris teaches are physical manifestations of healing — proof right before your eyes, that YOU created, that you can heal and are doing so in the moment. Thank you very much Chris for showing me that it is possible to get to the other side of pain, fear and loss, and live to tell about it!Lisa Sheridan