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Wild Heart Painting Workshop – Gifts of Change

Intuitive painting fir cone

Intuitive painting fir cone

“Paint like you are in first grade and in silence.  Look at other’s work but do not talk or evaluate,”  were the last words of instruction spoken by Chris Zydel at our Workshop.   I took her at her word and felt the excitement as I filled my tray with paints and hung a clean sheet of paper onto the easel board.  I had chosen 3 brushes and found a smock.

I placed the widest brush into the paint well and touched the paper to begin.  A large drip of blue paint chose gravity as its guide.  Just like in first grade, I did not know how to control the paint or the brush.  Oh well, we were to be directed by our intuition and I decided to turn my paper 90’ and make that blue line into a swirl of waves on the beach.  I began painting the Pacific Ocean of our drive the 2,000 miles down the coast to this workshop adventure.  It was the story of our trip, just like in first grade.  The wind swept trees along the bluffs looked like a row of green hearts and that looked too contrived to me.  I needed to learn more about mixing the colors and how the brush would connect to the paper; I began hiking into the experience.

“To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So Do It.” ~Kurt Vonnegut Via Chris Zydel

The brush made a nice dob of paint and if I pulled it down slightly I could get a wonderful shape which made the rain clouds explode across the top of the paper.  The tiny brush connected the millions of Redwood needles that were beside the roadway and stuck to the bottoms of our shoes; still stuck in the floor mats of the car.   I found satisfaction in the dob-pull stroke of the brush and changed to mix a pleasing purple tone that captured the rain to ocean sky.  Chris came by to see how I was doing, and I said I was exploring the brush and color and finding a nice petal shape that was pleasing me, but I was done with this sheet of paper, I wanted to use this knowledge to start something new.

A pink petal shape emerged first but this was not the right color and I tried to make it more mauve.  No, what was touching me was the purple color in the petal shape.  It was lightening my spirit and I was as focused as in meditation, I reapplied the color and began again.   I still wanted for a wee bit of green; thus achieved.  I stood back and a fir tree cone was there before my eyes.   Royal.  Regal. And just what I wanted to say. Cones often are grown when the tree is dying or in distress; a signal of the creation of something new.    Then I thought that brush stroke would make a fuchsia bloom and that appeared next.  I could not figure out how to make the dancer’s skirt of the blossom, so I just kept painting fuchsias and cones.  I needed yellow to add the pollen at the end of the stamen so added that to my tray. The warmth of the yellow flooded over me and into me, and yet, the picture was not complete until I added the dots of Redwood needles.  I was happy and filled with joy.  I knew my painting was about the seeds of change – as graceful and elegant as petals.   Yes!  I was calm, unburdened, happy, and filled with joy.  It was enough.

“Every painting is a self-portrait” ~Chris Zydel

I am making so much change happen in my life; I can testify that doing something completely different to the usual can truly make the change happen.  It was immersion into the self.  A deep gift that I remember in the all of me.

What gift are you giving yourself this year?  Will you hear your soul? Your heart voice?  How will it touch you?



Chris Zydel’s Creative Juices Arts Studio is located in Oakland, California

Wild Heart Painting or Intuitive Painting Workshops are full of wonder and exploration and Chris shares lots of the work and words on Facebook.

The blog: http://creativejuicesarts.com/blog/  

If you would like to see my partner’s painting experiences you can find them on the Biking Architect.

If you purchase anything from Amazon  or Powell’s from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Donations Welcome.  Thank you

Related Reading:
Do Something for the Fun of It
Code to Joy
Holy Preparations

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13 Responses to “Wild Heart Painting Workshop – Gifts of Change”

  1. Julee Says:

    Thank you so much for this post… what inspired writing…

    I live just a mere minutes from Chris’s studio and haven’t made the trek…

    Now I must :)

    Happy Travels!

    patricia Reply:

    Thank you for your kind words about these words – I was very inspired by the workshop and I can highly recommend you take advantage of your closeness.
    It was a changing experience.

    Thank you for persisting in making a comment, it took IT girl and I a bit to find it, but we did and it is graciously here now.

    I hope to do more traveling in the future and may have another daughter living in the area next year, but I am thinking about doing one of the week long workshops in the future.
    Inspiring is a good word

  2. Patricia Says:

    getting word of some problems posting comments on this site..This is a test…
    Patricia recently posted..Wild Heart Painting Workshop – Gifts of ChangeMy Profile

  3. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    I loved the simple, effective, practical, and WISE words of instruction that Chris issued at the onset. Those are WORDS TO LIVE BY in basically any life situation!
    Laurie Buchanan recently posted..The Art of Catching DreamsMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    It was just a wonderful workshop and I am so happy I experimented with something new…not doing the same old thing

    It filled me up and the joy lasted a couple weeks…need to do it again

  4. Sara Says:


    While I probably will not make it to Chris’ studio, I really enjoyed your writing about your experience. It’s been ages since I’ve picked up a paint brush, but you made me want to with this post. I also loved the idea of intuitive painting…that’s probably the best kind for me. I usually have no idea what my picture is supposed to be:~)

    I hope all your changes are good ones for you.

    Patricia Reply:

    All the changes have been good ones for me so far…and I think we as a family are going to do a painting workshop for at least one day of the holiday when we are together. I do think I will play music though as I think some Samuel Barber will drive more creativity.

    I think just realizing that I am in a limbo stage with seeds of hope being sent forth – helped me relax and not keep trying to push the river right now.

    Yes, I did not know what my painting was going to produce, very freeing

    Thank you for your generous words. I felt good writing this piece.

  5. Deborah Barker Says:

    Did you ever say you were not a writer? But you are of course. From the first daub of the brush, you had me entranced. Rain clouds exploding across the top of the page, redwood needles making it from the soles of your shoes to the brush…quite magical and calming Patricia. Thank you.
    Deborah Barker recently posted..…and a stale cake for the pantryMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Your words blessed me…thank you

  6. Davina Haisell Says:

    Patricia you are a wonderful writer. Your heart just shines through your words. I love how you are gentle with yourself and how you “hike” into the process, fully open to whatever unfolds. That hiking metaphor was a metaphor that made me smile. Your painting is lovely. That shade of violet is my favourite colour. I’m so glad that you made the journey to partake in this art class.

    Patricia Reply:

    Thank you for your good words and kind reflection. I just bask in hearing “you are a wonderful writer”. I loved this workshop and it was something very different and allowed me to find new changes in my thinking.

    Yes that royal purple color was extremely satisfying…

    I am excited about your move….and a bit less hiking in your daily endeavors. I bet you can hike to the view!
    Patricia recently posted..10 Steps To Finding Your Happy Place – my gift to youMy Profile

  7. suzen Says:

    Hi Patricia,
    How inspiring! Both the exercise and what Chris said! Getting in touch with the inner child – who, after all, IS who we are anyway, we’re just in bigger, older bodies and are supposed to be all mature and responsible – yuck – it doesn’t sound like adults have much FUN!
    Love the art! I sometimes take off my glasses, add funky music and paint with my “other” hand just to shake things up a bit. It should be fun!!!

    2013 is bringing much change to my life as well, things that have needed changing for a long time. And change is a constant whether we honor that or not. So, bring it on! I’m going forward fearlessly and eagerly. I heard a speaker the other day say, “Don’t settle for mediocre – always aim for AWESOME – just be it!”

    suzen recently posted..Anti-aging for 2013My Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Hope all your changes are just super and just heading you right towards more awesome.

    I think this painting class was just very much like working with my other hand. The experience released a great many feelings. I am leading an epiphany workshop tomorrow night and those too are helpful

    Thank you for coming on by and sharing you awesome wisdom
    I loved your post today too…good stuff
    Patricia recently posted..10 Steps To Finding Your Happy Place – my gift to youMy Profile