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.
I was born on Christmas Eve many moons ago in Queens, NY. My parents were German immigrants. So needless to say, I was brought up in a strict, “children should be seen and not heard.”. There was not a lot of room for chaos or anything out of order. I grew up afraid of my father, God and Santa Claus who were apparently watching my every move. So, I was… in my opinion at least… a good kid. I do have fond memories of coloring books and crayons, but that was very very young.
Fast forwarding 20 years, I graduated from college with my degree in Accounting and got married. I am still married 36 years later to the same wonderful man. There wasn’t a lot of creativity going in my life after the crayons and coloring book years.. It was all about working the corporate job, then spending the weekends resting from that corporate job and doing the chores. This went on for many, many years.
Until one day… somehow it happened. I became a Mom. Yikes! Talk about a game changer! I had never held a baby or changed a diaper before. I had no training for this! I felt completely incompetent!
So the journey began. I loved my daughter unconditionally. I had feelings all over the place. Chaos had entered my home and I was not prepared to handle it. I went to workshops, retreats, took classes, saw career coaches, had psychic readings, ropes courses, went to therapy and analysis. You name it. I did it. I had discovered that I had no idea how to love myself. How would I be able to teach my daughter to do that, if I had no idea what that was like?
Along the way, I met Chris Zydel and I discovered I REALLY loved painting. It was one of the most powerful and transformative tools I engaged with. I had been brought up in such a linear environment, it never occurred to me that “coloring outside the lines” would be so freeing. It was a way for me to express myself in all my glorious unkempt messy feelings. My paintings could hold for me everything that had been unexpressed.
Here I am today. I have a daily sacred doodling practice. My daughter is a functioning member of society and after 30 plus years of corporate work, I have retired to teach expressive and intuitive arts! I could not be happier!
What initially drew you to the intuitive painting process?
I do not have “trained” art skills. The only art class I took as an adult was a watercoloring class where we were all going to paint the same picture! Actually, it was really uncomfortable. Needless to say, I never returned to THAT class. I needed to express MY truth, my feelings. Not someone else’s. A girlfriend introduced me to Chris about 18 years ago. Day 1, I knew I was home. Complete freedom to be who I was. Now mind you, I really didn’t know who I was… but, over time, I discovered myself. I took risks, I let myself feel without the fear that anyone was watching me, or that I was going to get in trouble. I could paint anything. The freedom of that experience is ridiculously AWESOME.
How has intuitive painting been a transforming influence in your art and in your life?
Intuitive painting… me and a blank piece of paper, some paint and a brush is bliss. That doesn’t mean that it’s always “fun.” It’s about honoring and being with the authentic me. I don’t know of any other experience that has me look in the “mirror” so to speak and feel home. Feel safe. Feel loved. Unconditionally.
Like I mentioned, I have a daily expressive art practice that I call sacred doodling. I named my first workshop after that practice. It portable! I can take it with me wherever I go. I don’t have the excuse that I don’t have time. I AM IMPORTANT! This is a promise I have made myself. Often when I open my doodle journal, I don’t have much to say / draw, but I do it anyways. But when I DO have something I need to express, it is there for me! This practice has become a solid foundation for me. I have now added writing to that daily practice as well.
What inspired you to take the Wild Heart Expressive Arts teaching training program?
I had just retired from my corporate job. Three weeks after that, I ended up in the hospital for 9 days. The radiologist had punctured my lung during a liver biopsy and caused my lung to collapse. Tubes were inserted all over the place. I think at one point, there were 15 “things” hooked up to me. I am fine today. But… this was a big FAT wake up call. I had taken so many things for granted… i.e., like my breath for example. I came home from the hospital with a new lease on life. I traveled. I spent a month in Bali. I had always wanted to do one of Chris’ workshops, but never made the time during “the corporate life.” Well, this time, when Chris’ monthly newsletter came across my computer screen, I FINALLY obeyed the call! That’s what it really is… the Call. I had finally slowed down enough to appreciate my life, that I could hear it. I haven’t turned back. Not only that… I am on fire now! I can feel how the world has been patiently waiting for me to step into my most magnificent self! Here I am!
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?
It’s fascinating tracking myself in this teacher path. I love having an impact on my students and awakening them to see and feel their own miraculous selves! AND… I must stay vulnerable. I’m not crazy about that part! Ha! But I KNOW that my students will only go as deep as I am willing to go. They will only be as vulnerable as I am willing to go. I really do want to make a difference in this world. I would like for the stone I through in the pond to ripple for many many years. I want everyone to remember that they are MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES! I know what it’s like to have forgotten …to listen only to a critical voice… to despise what I saw in the mirror. It took years, but I LOVE myself today. I want everyone to love themselves too! More than anything. I think teaching intuitive painting and arts is the best way to experience that! Actually, IT ROCKS!
Tell us what happens at one of your classes, workshops or retreats.
“Sacred Doodling” is an 8 week class that introduces the principles of the process of intuitive arts through fun and thought provoking exercises. One reconnects to the part of themselves that can express thoughts and feelings through images. I use doodling as the gateway to the freedom and innocence of expression. As three year olds, we knew this. Somewhere along the way, we seemed to have forgotten, often telling ourselves we can’t draw or paint. No one says “I don’t know how to doodle.” Classes include the exploration into symbols, our attachments and preferences, our inner voices, and ritual. Just as each doodle is unique, so are we! Doodling is a wonderful way to re-member our own miraculous uniqueness!
I will also be offering a weekend workshop in the Fall, called “Creativity Portals,” where we will use various forms of expression to expand our awareness and open up gates of consciousness to love. Dates are still to be determined, so check out my website frequently!
What advice would you give to someone who is contemplating this expressive arts/intuitive painting path?
DO IT! This path will lead you home. AND… it will give you skills that will not only train you to facilitate and create workshops on your own, but it will shine a light on everything glorious about you. That alone is worth the price of admission. It is a wonderful container for the freedom to connect to your purpose whether it has anything to do with painting or not. I discovered how to teach MY way. I gained the courage to create my own curriculum and test it out in a safe environment. I use that skill all over the place in my life. My life is precious and I am no longer wanting to wait for it to happen. I own it! I signed up! And I haven’t looked back!
(Sold Out) – Thursday evenings July 7, – August 25, 2016
Fall session – Thursday evenings October 20 – December 15, 2016 (no class on Thanksgiving)
Friday September 30 – October 2, 2016
Phone: (702) 781-0020
Karen Palmer is the Soul Artisan of Artemystic Studios which is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is a graduate of the Wild Heart Expressive Arts Teacher Training Program. Karen has been a teacher for Pathways Institute, specifically teaching the “Stand and Deliver” and “Synergy” programs for the West Coast. Karen is on the staff for Innerversity.Life. She is also a certified Life Coach.
In addition, Karen has her Bachelor’s of Business of Administration in Accounting from the University of San Diego and has worked in various corporate positions for over 20 years. She has just recently retired as the Director of Shared Services for Diamond Resorts International.