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?
When I was a kid I loved to paint and draw. Some of my favorite childhood memories are from kindergarten art class. I would sit in the cafeteria donning my pigtails and red apron and paint, paint, paint.
As I got older, I became good at “copying” photographs, images in magazines, or my favorite cartoon characters – priding myself on how realistic or “good” I could make my drawings. I lost sense of what it was like to simply create from my own imagination. And by the time I was in high school in an advanced art class, I remember feeling shut down because I was so concerned about my skill level (or lack thereof in comparison to my classmates).
While I still remained very crafty and creative, during my young adult life, I definitely let my inner critic run the show and was concerned about looking good or having things be “right” not only in my art, but also in my life as I climbed the corporate ladder.
When I finally quit my corporate job in 2006, I gave myself more permission to be creative and started to blog and share some of my artwork and doodles. That permission helped me to bring more of my creative, authentic self into my work and empowered me to build a body of work and a brand that blends my love of creativity, personal growth, leadership, and entrepreneurship. Of course as I pushed harder with the business, my own personal creative expression sometimes took a back seat to my professional ambition.
To remedy that, last year I invested in a small studio near my house and I’ve been so happy to have a space to connect back with my own creative process just for the pure joy of creating.
What initially drew you to the intuitive painting process?
I had dabbled a bit in some expressive art therapy classes but found them to be too heady or clinical even though the were art based. I longed for an approach that allowed for pure freedom of expression and opened up deep, transformative work in a heart-based way.
When I came to my first few classes at Chris’ studio it was like reconnecting with that 5-year-old me in kindergarten art class and I loved it. I loved the smell of the paints, the bright colors, and the joy of simply putting brush to paper and watching what emerged. It felt like coming home!
How has intuitive painting been a transformative influence in your art and your life?
Chris and her intuitive painting process came to me just around the time when I was wanting to write a book and her classes and the teacher training program served as an important way for me to ground myself during that intense creative phase of writing and getting my first book published. I was able to use the intuitive painting to work through feelings of rejection, impatience, doubt, and all that comes along with writing and putting yourself out there.
The intuitive painting process also helped me be seen and embody taking up space (literally and figuratively). I discovered that my inner muse loves to paint giant, wall-sized paintings with crazy, colorful creatures. I remember how hard I resisted that at first. And then once I started adding paper, my paintings just continued to grow and grow! I had to learn how to ask for help (big paintings are very unwieldy), how to feel okay with claiming the big wall or asking people if they could move to make room, and how to see myself in new ways because I couldn’t ignore the humongous, vibrant paintings that were so in-my-face!
I’ve learned to let things be messy, nonsensical, and ugly! And that’s so helpful because, hey that’s real life, right?! I’ve learned to stop trying to be someone else and to embrace my own unique voice and style.
What inspired you to take the Wild Heart Expressive Arts teacher training program?
I started taking weekly classes with Chris I think back in 2009 and so enjoyed the process. I loved the idea of going deeper and had been looking for an advanced program in expressive arts so the Wild Heart Expressive Arts teacher training was a natural fit! Plus, Chris is just such a dear! She gently coaxes your inner muse to come forth and does so with such love, humor, and mama bear fierceness.
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 been such a joy to share the intuitive painting process with my peeps. I love seeing how this form of painting empowers people to come alive in so many ways. They connect back with that joyful, child-like self and have fun. They come face to face with their inner critics and have a space to work through those blocks in a safe, supportive way. I’d say one of the biggest challenges for me as a leader of this work is remembering that it’s most important to hold space for the transformation to happen on its own time. You can’t rush it. You can’t force things or over coach your way through. Rather as a leader you must also learn to “trust the brush” and lean into the faith that through holding the space, witnessing, gentle prodding, and supporting that your painting participants will find their own way. The control freak part of me can sometimes have trouble with that ;)! So I go back to the principles of intuition, spaciousness, and simply allowing things to unfold.
Tell us what happens at one of your classes, workshops or retreats?
Earlier this year I led an intimate 2.5 day retreat with some of the Stars in my mentorship program and we had a blast! The retreat included intuitive painting along with business masterminding and strategic planning. The painting really helped to open people up to their intuition, channel their own authentic voice, and physically take up space – all potent catalysts for owning their unique gifts and getting their work out in the world in bigger ways. We incorporated movement and dance, powerful partner work, and ritual to take the process even deeper. The paintings served as touchstones throughout the retreat to remind participants of their own creative wisdom, what emotional challenges they are finding the strength to work through, and to celebrate who they are and who they are becoming. It was incredible to see how much permission it opened up for these wonderful women. Intuitive painting is an amazing and powerful doorway into growing your own personal and entrepreneurial leadership.
What advice would you give to someone who is contemplating this expressive arts/intuitive painting path?
Trust your intuition! Just like with an intuitive painting, you never know where things will lead you and you just gotta put your brush to paper to find out! When you embark on an expressive arts journey such as the teacher training program, not only will you develop skills to be in divine connection with your inner wisdom, you’ll step into your own leadership and you’ll feel more confident in your own creative voice. It’s soooo much more than painting ;)!!
Please give us some info about your upcoming events.
Our intensive Right-Brain Entrepreneur Mentorship program kicks off on May 2nd and you can enroll now. If you’re ready to take your creative business more seriously, make more moola, and run your business on your terms, join us for 10 months of group coaching, teaching, support, and accountability (right-brain style, of course! With a healthy dose of do-able left-brain details for good measure!). You’ll join a vibrant community of creatives, artists, and heart-centered entrepreneurs who are pioneering a new way of doing work.
We have 3 tiers of support to help you create sustainable success from our affordable Cohort Circle level where you’ll get group coaching from our seasoned team, the Shining Star level where you’ll get more individual support from Jenn and our coaches, and at our Shooting Star level, you’ll get exclusive access to coaching with Jenn. Shooting Stars will also participate in a 3-day in-person Shooting Star group retreat at her El Cerrito, CA studio which includes intuitive painting, masterminding, and teaching segments on entrepreneurial leadership you’ll learn to step into your power and be BIG!
Jennifer Lee is the founder of Artizen Coaching and the author of Building Your Business the Right-Brain Way and the bestseller The Right-Brain Business Plan, which has helped tens of thousands of entrepreneurs around the world launch their creative businesses.
After spending 10 years climbing the corporate ladder and getting tired of living her dream “on-the-side,” she took the leap to pursue her passions full-time. Jennifer has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, U.S. News & World Report, Whole Living, and Family Circle.
She received her coaching certification and leadership training through the prestigious Coaches Training Institute. She is also a certified yoga instructor, a certified Expressive Arts Facilitator, and holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from UCLA and an M.A. in Communication Management from USC. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.