Into the Deep: Intuitive Painting as a
Practice of Soul Reclamation

A Two Day Online Retreat

I have been in the transformational healing business for most of my adult life. The emphasis of my work has always been about going to the core of what needs to be healed. And to be willing to explore and embrace those deep places in our souls and psyches that need our loving attention.

The Deep is unsettling for a lot of folks because we can’t always see what’s there. Another word for the deep is the unconscious. And what is unconscious is by it’s nature hidden. It’s the realm of the  mysterious. The sacred land that is shrouded in holy darkness. The  sphere of not only the unknown but the unknowable. The domain of what we can’t readily name or understand.

And because we don’t know what we’ll find if we open that door to those shadowy realms we tend to keep the door sealed shut and choose  to live our lives closer to the surface and the light.

Which means that certain energies and aspects of our being go into hiding because they have been rejected or exiled out of fear or misunderstanding. And while the deep is often the repository of our greatest fears, it is also the source of our greatest spiritually grounded power.

The deep is full of incredible gifts. It’s the wellspring of our vitality and the most potent link to our life force. It contains both our raw wildness and our weathered wisdom. It is where we connect to our most meaningful sense of purpose. It’s a place where we let go of what needs to die and be released but it also guides us into the joyful experience of being reborn again.

The deep is where we make contact with our soul and commune with spirit by crossing the threhold into the liminal and the numinous.  It is a portal into our most profound emotional and psychological truths and a healing cauldron for the process of spiritual and psychological transformation.

The deep speaks to us in feeling, symbol and imagination and is most easily accessed by releasing our attachment to our minds and listening to the wisdom of our hearts.

Which is why making art is such a powerful and effective way to access those deeper layers of our being.

Traversing the deep requires courage, faith and devotion and the willingness to be radically honest with ourselves.

So it also requires a powerful container that provides both safe and brave space for those folks willing to take that sacred journey into the depths.

And that potent creative container is what I will be co-creating with all of you who join me for this two day expressive arts intuitive painting online retreat.

The format is simple. We will come together as a creative community for two days in a row where we will paint and share and explore our depths through opening our hearts to ourselves and telling our truth through paint and courageous creative self expression.

All you need to participate is a solid internet connection, a relatively private place to paint in your home and whatever art supplies you have on hand.

What You Need To Participate…

One thing you DON’T need to be part of this class is ANY experience with painting or art.

This process works if you’re a seasoned artist or if you haven’t picked up a paint brush since kindergarten.

However, you WILL need a computer or some other electronic device, a high speed internet connection, some paints, paper (or canvas) and brushes and a place in your home or studio where you can set up to paint.

Once you register for the class you will receive a letter from us with instructions on HOW to set up your studio space, where to connect with the online platform (we will be using Zoom) tips on some studio practices and recommendations for supplies. Although, you are MORE than welcome to use whatever art supplies you already have on hand.

Class size will be limited to 15 participants which means you will get PLENTY of attention and guidance from me and it will also create a cozy atmosphere of creative support with the other painters.

My vision for this class is that it will be a way for you to build a sense of creative sanctuary into your week where you can go on your own private mini-painting retreat.


August 28 & 29
10am – 1pm &
2:30pm – 5:30pm
Pacific Time on
both days!




Creative Juices Arts Online Studio



Into the Deep
Intuitive Painting as a Practice of Soul Reclamation

Date: Saturday and Sunday, August 28 & 29, 2021

Time: 10am – 1pm (PDT) & 2:30pm – 5:30pm (PDT) both days

Cost: $300

Location: Class will be held in our own private online video chat room for 15 people! Details and links will be emailed to you when you sign up.

Experience: You absolutely don’t need to have ANY art experience at all to participate in and to benefit GREATLY from this retreat. The workshop is limited to 15 very lucky and always amazing participants.


To Register, please choose your Time Zone from the pull down menu and then press the “Set Time Zone” button. You will then be able to enter your personal details and payment information.

Cancellation Policy: Your workshop fee is non-refundable and non-transferable, so please shop mindfully. Credit or refunds will not be given for missed sessions. We also do not offer refunds for technical issues, limitations of your computer, devices, or internet connection so please be sure to check the minimum requirements before registering.

Technical Requirements

We will be using the Zoom video conferencing platform for our online class sessions. Before signing up for Wild Heart Painting Live Online please check to make sure that the computer, phone, or device you will be using to access the Zoom video conferencing platform meets their minimum requirements. You can find that information by following the link below. At a minimum you will need:

  • An internet connection
  • A webcam (the one built into your computer or device should work fine)
  • A pair of headphones or speakers
  • A microphone (the one built into your computer or device should work fine)


What People Are Saying About The Wild Heart Painting Weekend Retreats…

Chris Zydel thank you so much!  I love how comfortable you are with the whole – the dark and light, all the while holding space with unconditional love, radical acceptance, and wisdom. I so got the retreat I wanted – a day to dive deep held so well in circle.


The breakthroughs that I experience again and again at the Painting from the Wild Heart retreats continue to stun and amaze me. Chris creates a safe, nurturing and loving environment that overflows with unconditional acceptance and trust. In painting as well as processing, the participants are encouraged to hold nothing back and all that pours forth from us is witnessed and held as the sacred offering that it is. The painting process has a mysterious way of bypassing the mind, the censors, the ego, the defenses, and what comes through is astonishing in its purity and wisdom. I have experienced an enormous amount of healing and growth in the two years that I have been painting and processing with Chris. She is a modern-day shaman and a great gift to those of us on the path toward healing and wholeness and yearning to live in the fullness of our creativity.


Serendipity… that’s what I felt when I saw Chris Zydel’s post on Facebook about her Wild Heart Painting Online classes. I had just finished reading Michael Pollen’s book “How to Change Your Mind” and I was excited to discover ways to explore undiscovered and untapped realms in my own consciousness. When the student seeks, the teacher appears. I thought I knew what I was getting into by participating in the class but the experience far surpassed what I thought I knew or expected. Chris is a loving, powerful, energetic being who expertly guided us all into a sacred space where we were free to meet ourselves via our intuition, creativity and our willingness to play in the unknown. In that space, I learned just how deeply I could trust that I am guided. I learned that I need only ask and be open to receive in order to let creative source energy flow through me and into whatever I might endeavor to make or do, be it an expressive work or my life.
I love, love, loved that the class was online. I am a diehard homebody who generally dislikes travel. Honestly, though, the way Chris facilitates the class, I felt like she was right there with me. I could feel the presence of the other participants too. It was very much an energetically safe space that defied geographic boundaries while offering me the sense that I was securely held and supported.
I am so grateful that Chris offered this class in the way she did. It made it easy to say yes to what turned out to be a very powerful gift to myself.


It’s been over a week since I was at the Wild Heart Painting Retreat, and I finally think I am able to begin to put into words what happened…what I experienced…AND how I became awakened and enlightened all in one big wave. I think. I think I’m ready. The thing is…I didn’t expect this. I didn’t expect ANY of this. I thought for the most part I would go to this retreat and get my paint on. I had intentions to paint BIG and that’s about it. Well, maybe I didn’t have expectations…but I knew. I knew that this would be a weekend of more then getting my paint-on. More then painting big. But I didn’t expect this. I didn’t expect that I would have such a deeper understanding of myself that I would have to come back home and rearrange everything–to better fit this new Creative Juicy Life I have decided to finally possess completely. You see, I learned a few things. I learned that number one–I am always guided. Seriously. Always guided. And this guidance is so simple–so easy–so present–and so damn loud–that I don’t know how I’ve missed it before. This guidance is the exact thing I’ve been looking for for years when it comes to my Art and my painting. For some reason–this guidance–this voice I heard became fully alive when I was at the Creative Juices Arts studio–that at times it became overwhelming, even frustrating, and sometimes frightening. This guidance…this voice…this Queen…this Goddess guided me to paint..and through painting….everything began to unravel and reveal itself to me. For one thing, I learned that I am by heart, by soul, by life–a painter. This is the one and true constant that has been with me since my youth. This is the one and true thing I know about myself. For as long as I live, I know painting will always be a big part of who I am–and why I was placed upon this planet at this time. And when I say painting, I mean the sacred act of picking up a brush and letting the color, line, pattern, images, and story become an honest expression of who I am at that moment. And as I spent the weekend painting in silence, I examined how I felt about painting–instead of examining my painting itself. And this made the world of difference. This was groundbreaking. This is how I began to awaken. I learned that enough is enough. I have purpose here on this planet. That what I do has purpose. Even if the monetary “value” says differently. I learned that I believe…yes, deep down, with all my heart, believe in Art–especially painting. I believe in it as a bridge to the spirit world–to that juicy part of my existence that I struggle finding connection with sometimes. I learned that I madly, passionately LOVE the part of me that longs to paint and draw and create wildly that I am willing to take a huge risk to see HER live her dreams completely. I am done with pushing HER in the corner and waiting for the right moment, time, or place for HER to spread HER wings. I am ready to let HER go crazy–and to paint–live–and breathe each breath into HER truest self COMPLETELY. On my last day of the retreat, all of us dangerously, wild heart women sat together and talked about our experience so far. I broke into tears and said that I felt fucked! Because now I had to go home and rearrange everything to fit this new Creative Juicy Life I have discovered.
Connie Hozvicka

Dirty Footprints Studio

Chris created a safe space to let my painting tell me what it wanted! As a Virgo, I love order–this process allowed me to get out of my comfort zone and surprise myself with more pleasure!
Jan Thompson

Executive Coach

The Wild Heart weekend painting workshop is still with me and I do want to thank you for an incredible experience. You really freed up something in me — to just go inside and trust and not worry about how it looks. AND the weekend has inspired me to start painting on my own. I look forward to doing it again!

Thank you so much for a wonderful workshop. It was so great to have the space to explore my inner world … I learned a lot from what you said before the class started — the fact that this type of painting is about UNlearning — deprogramming ourselves, removing the conditioning and deeply imbedded core beliefs that limit us from moving forward. And I loved the part about feeding the intuition and starving the Critic — I have found lately that I need a lot of alone time to really tune in to my intuition and ask myself if what I am doing is what I want to be doing. What struck me most about what you said was about BEING as opposed to PERFORMING. I used to work as a professional singer and, although I enjoyed it a lot of the time, a change occurred in the last 2 years of my career, and I stopped loving it. You helped me to understand that I lost my voice because my body was tired — tired of constantly having to be someone else in order to be seen, recognized and acknowledged. Thanks again, Chris — your workshop is always a powerful experience.

After my first Wild Heart painting retreat at Chris’s magical and funky studio in Oakland, I returned home in a state of exhaustion and amazement. For the first time since then, I just unfurled the paintings I made during that weekend, and am once again stunned at what the intuitive painting process elicited from me. In the inspiring company of several other Wild Heart painters (some new to the journey like me, some seasoned veterans), guided with sensitivity, compassion, and respect by Chris, I was able to slip out of that seemingly relentless verbal and analytical state of consciousness and into the shadowland of the subconscious, where images and symbols flowed from paint to paintbrush to paper. There is something tremendously liberating about being able to spend two and a half days painting and attending to one’s own emotional and creative needs minus the usual and multiple distractions of daily living. Chris makes it so easy to do just that. I can’t wait to come back.
Tracy Fulton

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

It was a fabulous workshop. I had no idea that I could survive all weekend painting (now, at 66, I try to schedule naps!) but the energy of the process carried me. It’s the first time in my life, for a long time, I’ve felt free of analysis and production and that freedom was precious.

Suzannah Neal

What a wonderful weekend experience you created! When I look at my paintings in the order I did them, I am amazed at how I was able to increasingly take risks to attempt things I didn’t know how to do and then to experience awe and curiosity about my work, rather than judgement or criticism. And I didn’t need to be perfect!! One of my last paintings came from a very emotional situation I find myself in…allowing myself to paint my feelings brought incredible insight and clarity and I feel far more peaceful, even though nothing has changed (except me)! Always the answer, isn’t it? Thanks so much for a very sacred experience. Blessings to you.
Judy Ervice

When I got home with my paintings I put them on the wall in my studio and marveled at the energy in them, compared to the rest of my work. I’m a believer.

The weekend non-residential retreat was a good way to spend a quiet, meditative weekend after a hectic work week: time with oneself, painting in an environment shared with others who are on a similar journey inward. Great people, great food, and Chris’ support on a wondrous journey into putting colors, shapes, images and glitter on paper.

This past weekend allowed me to stop and get in touch with those parts of myself that are hidden by the busyness of life. I got in touch with both the joyous parts of me and the parts that are painful and need nurturing and love. It is only through taking time for myself through retreats such as these that I can truly explore my life journey and how to live each day with full appreciation. Chris, I can’t thank you enough for the work that you do and support that you provide to me along the way. I am blessed to have the opportunity to paint in your presence.

This past weekend with Chris was a pure treat. She invoked and held sacred space for us to expand into our authenticity in both painting and personal interaction. Her joyful laugh was there to lead us back to our own joy, while her depth rooted us in our own experience, whatever that was in the moment. Chris’s warm heart radiated light and love all weekend long, and the glow inspired us all to open our hearts too. It had been a long time since I had basked in the glow of a group of women on fire, and I have to say I feel dedicated to seek out more of this in my life, because life is so much more fun when lived in this open way! Thank you Chris for your grace and your commitment to sharing what you know.
Deborah Garner

Human Resources

My experience in Chris Zydel’s weekend workshop was beyond delicious! As a professional writer, I’m very familiar with the creative process, but by partnering with Chris under her mindful guidance, I opened to my creativity in ways I’ve never experienced, and didn’t know possible. Her availability to each painter is respectful and mindful. She’s intuitively aware of each painter’s individual approach and needs–she met me exactly where I was and encouraged me to stretch myself. I did so because it was safe. What a gift the whole experience was. And I can’t believe how much fun I had! I can’t wait for the next opportunity to paint with her. Five words: Love it, highly recommend it!
Kristine Maas

Writer and Artist

I came all the way from Ohio for this painting retreat since we have nothing like it in my area. It was exactly what I was hoping it would be. The studio, Chris, and the women in the group … I felt so at home and comfortable and supported the whole weekend. I have found myself expanding in so many ways as a result of this process. I am more gracious with myself, more forgiving of myself, and much more open to adventure and possibility. I have been practicing this process on my own in Ohio since I have been back. I have found myself looking at the world in more vivid color as I allow myself the time to create just for creation’s sake. The painting doesn’t have to make sense, it doesn’t have to mean anything … the freedom that I have felt in alot of other areas of my life has been such a gift. It has been teaching me that I am free to be ME and that ME is a good thing to offer to the world. What a breakthrough. I can be who I am regardless of what other people think. I am becoming comfortable with being me. It is amazing how putting a little bit of paint on a brush and applying it to paper can transform your old thinking patterns into beautiful new adventures.
Megan B.

Dear Chris, I would like to share with you why I love the non-residential retreats. The people who seem to come to these retreats are the people who know from the inside out the true meaning of creativity … that for me means being accepted along with my art for exactly who I am, where I am, and what it looks like with all my frailties hanging out all over the place. You create a safe environment that nourishes the soul and heals the heart. The group process allows the critic to dissolve like butter. When I see art flowing out of others that reveals their true spirit, I know I have come home and I am in the right place. Your painting studio is warm, inviting, and comfortable and I appreciate all the natural light. I love having so many varied mediums available to me including the pastel crayons, glitters, and acrylics as well as the tempera paints. Having a young child of my own makes the non-residential retreats perfect for me because I can check in at home yet still take the time to nurture myself … something I don’t do often enough. Thank you for providing me with so much love and encouragement to become who I am today as an artist and as an individual, for they are too intertwined to separate. My deepest gratitude and love.

I feel that the Painting from the Wild Heart Weekend definitely helped me rekindle my creative spirit and allowed me to engage in other types of creativity and not just painting. Writing is something I’ve done throughout my career; research, journalism, etc. and I’ve played around with fiction. The weekend gave me ‘permission’ to further explore my fiction writing. I think that the therapeutic aspects of the weekend were most helpful to me, in helping me to realize and accept my passage into later life without fear and in fact, almost with a sense of joy.
Dollie Cutler

Resident Spitfire

God(dess)- For Chris Our voices are calling. Siren song drawing beckoning embrace Come! Lay your head and heart safely here. Sisters shine a beacon. Gleeful giggles or solemn sighs are welcome, welcome Stomp inside the moist cave, juicy myth drum your feet awaken Mother let her sing out from our hands from our eyes from our baying throat head thrown back and mouth open to the stars. Have we lured you to the rocks? So be it. It was never about you. –hatt kelley
Hatt Kelley

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