Monday, February 18, 2013

Time to Face The Change

Cha cha changes....

Time has definitely changed me. 54 days ago I started this 365 day yoga challenge. Where did I think it would lead? A stronger body- naturally. Increased flexibility - of course. Open and expansive heart- most definitely. Back to the root of my soul - Hell YES!

Many shifts have occurred during the last 54 days. I have been under going what I like to call "Soul Cleaning". Much like Spring Cleaning, I have been tossing what not no longer serves. I decided to sell off my jewelry making supplies and close the chapter on Gypsy Rebel. It has been coming for a while. It was never meant to be a career, but more of a place holder until I could resume my real profession- Healing.

A hard decision to make after nearly two years of creating intention-fused pieces of magical adornments for others. It was a great way for me to use my hands and connect with others seeking something special for themselves. One day, as I sat at my small crafting table I realized that the time and effort I was putting into taking pictures, listing items on etsy, marketing, etc. Was time I could be using to get my business plan developed, re-up my certifications and engage in some much needed continuing education.

I admit, I  am scared to death to re-open a private practice in the healing arts. In the past I had two very successful private practices in both Seattle and Salt Lake. I was lucky then. It all just seemed to fall into place so naturally and I had mentors and supporters who believed in me enough to help make my dream successful.

Life is different now. The challenges and sacrifice's that need to be made in order for this present dream to come true will impact my family greatly. After being a stay at home mom for the last 3 years, going back to work will inevitable have an effect on my loved ones.

My hope is that over the spring and summer months I can get all my business needs in place and develop routines and structures for my family that will lessen the blow of mommy being gone 3 - 4 days a week.

My husband and I have spoken in great lengths about what my plan is and how I can make this goal a reality. I'm hoping that fate and faith are both on my side with this choice. 

Big Leap!

I will not continue to blog here anymore. My time is valuable right now and I have really had to hunker down and limit outside distractions in order to focus.

Closing doors on certain areas of my life has already opened so much possibility and for now I am going to bask in this space and enjoy every moment of it!

Thank you to any of my readers who stumble across this blog from time to time. It has been a pleasure sharing with you. Here is the link to my It is a total seedling right now, but just the fact that I have started the first steps at re-emerging as a Wellness professional gives me great hopes that I am doing what great spirit had intended for me.

All my love,


Friday, January 18, 2013

Beyond the Veil with Kitty Johnson

Kitty is a PacNW native who's art has touched my heart and inspired a love for miniature textile dolls.
I am honored to introduce you to one of the most talented artists I have had the pleasure of interviewing.
Let's go beyond the veil with Kitty into a world rich with beauty. Enjoy!

Visit Kitty's Etsy Shop here

1. You are a creator of miniature dolls. Tell us more about where the desire to create these little beauties came from?

My fascination with multi-cultural dolls started early, so early it seems that they have always been a part of my history. My collection started as souvenirs brought back from foreign lands by my aunts and friends of my family. I was always fascinated by their exotic stories, colors, fabrics and textures. The fact that I was adopted, my roots, my ties to the past, my ancestors always shrouded in mystery influences this work. Early on I realized my work was telling a story. My story. Our story. Dolls cross time and boundaries. I am building my own bridge of continuity, real or imagined back to source. For the past five years I have been involved in gallery shows that required the dolls to be under 6”, I am currently working on some larger pieces I am really excited about.

2. You have a love for textiles. What region of the world do you think produces the most beautiful textiles?

I don’t know if I can choose! I am seriously in love with textiles from Central Asia. Turkoman embroidery and ikat fabrics from Uzbekistan send me over the moon... North Africa, the Middle East, India, Guatemala - I love textiles, beads, and tribal jewelry. I use vintage materials such as Victorian jet beads, art deco silk embroidered fragments, semi-precious stones and ethnic charms along with contemporary beads and fabrics to tell my story. The weight, the history of the materials is important to me.

3. How long does it typically take to make a miniature doll?

Each doll takes quite a bit of time as I make my own patterns, each piece is improvised, every bead stitched by hand. I actually don’t keep track, I don’t want to know.

4. What does soul work mean to you?

Looking within, finding home in oneself. Following those synchronistic events that set ones soul on fire. Creating, following the muse. Finding purpose, seeking spirit.


5. What countries have you traveled to and what was your favorite place?

It’s funny when thinking about this question I started thinking of where I have been by the bodies of water I have experienced. I’ve lived on the Puget Sound all of my life in Washington state. I’ve traveled the Pacific Ocean from British Columbia, Canada to Guatemala. The Sea of Cortez, both sides of the Atlantic, the Caribbean... water feeds my soul. Three of the most magical places I have experienced are Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, Crater Lake, OR and Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada. Venice, Italy is soul stirring but the place that has captured my soul and won’t let go is Guatemala. It is the most alive place I have ever been. The earth is always pulsing. The volcanoes are active. The Maya are still practicing magic.

6. What other art mediums do you explore?

I’ve been a painter all of my life. My most recent paintings are collage where I have painted or printed most of the materials. I still show my paintings on occasion but I have been focused on the beadwork as of late. I am in love with Ebony pencils, my favorite drawing tool. I knit, embroider, and enjoy all kinds of crafts.

7. What kind of music makes your soul dance?

Middle Eastern, North African and Latin rhythms make my soul sing AND dance!


8. You have been a part of the Bellydance community, do you still dance or practice?

I still dance for myself. I take lessons on and off. I live on an island and sometimes making it to the mainland for lessons on a regular basis has been a challenge! I am an avid supporter of the bellydance community. Seattle has an amazing variety of professional dancers and teachers to choose from. The yearly Cues & Tattoos Festival put on by Troupe Hipnotica is world class and now that Tempest lives here she promises to bring her own fusion based events to the Northwest. In many ways the bellydance community has been a catalyst and inspired my work.

9. What is your favorite piece of literature and why?

I think I am too mercurial to have one favorite piece of literature! At the moment I am re-reading Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses by Isabel Allende. An underrated collection of art, stories, poems, musings and recipes of sensual delights. I find it beautiful and fascinating.

10. Who is your favorite artist and why?

For this moment in time I will say Mexican born long time Seattle resident Alfredo Arreguin. I want to choose a living evolving artist. His rich exotic paintings evoke another world, a dream world full of mysterious color and magic. His work speaks in resplendent vivid hues!

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Still Life of Angie Kenna Yingst

Sometimes a person enters your life, if only for a brief moment - this encounter can teach you lessons that even if painful are a blessing.  Angie is an artist whose work I admire and whose story has inspired me in so many ways.

Please brace yourself as this interview will take you outside yourself and into the Still Life of a remarkable woman.

1. You experienced a loss that is unfathomable to most. You turned that loss into strength. What prompted you to embrace that strength?

Truthfully, I would never have called myself strong after my daughter died. I felt so vulnerable, fearful, and weak. I realize now how courageous I truly was. Despite my feeling overwhelmingly afraid, unfathomably sad, markedly raw, torn down, destroyed, I continued to get out of bed each day, put one foot in front of the other, and then began to write and make art about grief and my vulnerability. At the time, though, I didn't feel like I had much of a choice. My eldest daughter Beatrice was 20 months old when Lucia died. My husband and I had to wake up and feed, clothe, cuddle, read books, sing baby songs about boughs breaking, despite our overwhelming grief. All of those things that seem impossibly heartbreaking to do after our baby died. I would mostly keep it together until naptime, then I would howl into my pillow for two hours until my daughter woke again. I had to learn to be comfortable being right where I was--crying in public, being completely out of control with my emotions, getting angry and hurt by others, all of which I had managed up until Lulu's death to keep in a neatly wrapped box that was never opened. (By the way, the inside of that box was chaotic and unruly and would have destroyed me eventually.) I learned a great deal about my shadow self as I have grieved in these four years. I also am a caregiver for my ailing father who suffers from advanced Multiple Sclerosis. When I told my father of his granddaughter's death, he cried with me, then asked me when I was bringing his laundry to him. The gift the universe gave me was people who needed me.

2. Your art is your way of working through your grief. How has this process helped you?

As a writer, I started my blog still life with circles ( I fell into writing and storytelling immediately. I told Lucia's birth story, and then the existing part after, but my words lacked something powerful about the experience of grief. As my friend Jess says, "How many times can you say? My baby died. I'm so sad." Art gave me a language for grief that words simply couldn't express. It really was part of the process of survival. When my husband went back to work after Lucia's death, I made a schedule for my day. If the swaths of time lay in front of me, I knew I wouldn't last. For some reason, (I think it is divine now) I wrote in Art Hour, and bought a "How to Watercolor" book. I had always created art, but watercolor was something I wasn't particularly interested in before. I gave my daughter paints and an easel, and let her paint away. On furniture, on the door. I just let her create, and me too, without editing. It was maybe the least self-conscious hour of my life. I just wholly present with painting. After that first hour, I felt good, strong, balanced. I realized after my failed attempts at meditation since Lucia's death, that the one hour was my meditation. I painted every day after that, and without the judgment of good or bad. I just painted what I felt, what I wanted. I threw out what didn't work, kept the rest. (A philosophy I whole-hearted embrace in all aspects of my life now.) I began doing printmaking again and sculpture. It wasn't long until I was painting about my grief. And soon after, within a month or two, I was painting mizuko jizo , which has been a large part of my soul path and my artist journey.

Mizuko jizo are a Japanese bodhisattva specifically for stillborn, miscarried, and aborted babies. There are a few mizuko jizo gardens in the US, many more in Japan. It is a way for women to honor the baby who died. The mizuko jizo literally guide the being of the baby into the next life. I always paint in meditation, and have rituals around my practice. I have painted mizuko jizo for hundreds of women all around the world. Twice a year, I sit in an extended tonglen meditation and paint mizuko jizo for grieving women and give them out for free, as part of a kind of mizuko kuyo, or ritual for the stillborn.

My beautiful friend and mentor Kara Jones, aka Mother Henna, who really facilitates grieving parents with creative expression, introduced me to the community of grieving mother-artists out there. Connecting with other grieving artists healed something in me. We talked through art, about art, and grieved together. I participated in a number of art swaps that first year. After I passed my daughter's first death day and birthday, I undertook the Creative Every Day Challenge, because at that point, art was my only peace. I also founded an arts and literary journal called Still Life 365, where I published a piece of art, craft, poetry, music, film, anything creative, really, by a grieving parent or family member (even friend.) In 2010, I published a piece every day of the year. We created community art projects once a month and wrote a community poem once a month. We mailed a traveling art journal around the world with work from eight countries and thirty some women. I interviewed grieving artists and hosted live chats about grief and art. It was an awesome, healing, amazing, difficult, challenging year. There was a vibrant community around that journal. I felt incredibly humbled, honored, and privileged to abide with all these families living without their children. And giving them and myself the space to explore grief through art and craft. I've always been a storyteller, and this was one way of collecting the stories of grief and the families that survive.

3. How did your family cope with your loss, especially your other children?

Watching my husband and children grieve has been a particularly cruel part of this process. Most people asked only after me. Women come up learning to articulate and express emotions, and to support each other emotionally. I think it is hard for men to express that grief, to find that support, to create that community. My husband works as a pediatric nurse anesthetist. I think that easing pain and suffering to babies and children works on a soul level to soothe that pain of feeling helpless with our own daughter. He truly is my hero, and soul mate, but marriage after a loss was very difficult. Grief is such a solitary business; it is just hard to connect. Couples who have gone through stillbirth have a 40% higher rate of divorce after the death of a child. It took us years to recover as a couple, as lovers, and as parents and find our footing again. My daughter Beatrice really began speaking of her sister when she turned three, and she grieves in new ways constantly. I think now, she is understanding all she missed by not having a living sister here. She talks of her often, and has strong dreams of her sister. We have incorporated Lucia into all our family traditions. She died on Winter Solstice 2008, and was born the following day. We began celebrating the Wheel of the Year as a way of marking her death and our grief, incorporating grieving rituals for Lucia into each celebration. Now, we celebrate because it best represents our spirituality. So, our family drew together in ways I could have never imagined.

4. What words of wisdom can you give other women dealing with the loss and grief?

Don't preoccupy yourself with bouncing back and healing. Those things are inevitable. Release any preconceived notion of what grief is. Honor what you are feeling. Sit with it. Be curious about it. Do not chastise yourself for negative thoughts, anger, resentments, anxiety, rage, alienation. That is grief--a natural, if somewhat cruel, part of grief. Release guilt over and over again, if you need, but keep releasing it until one day the guilt will leave. Find other grieving people. Talk to them. Email them. Phone them. Cry with them. Circle up with them

This grief is such a tangle of cruel feelings. The aching to hold your baby is immense, the guilt for not knowing and protecting...It comes out in all kinds of strange, misplaced, and discordant emotions. From my experience and talking with other women, that is a very natural part of grief, particularly babyloss. There is an immediacy to the grief after you lose a child. You cannot ignore it. After that, you move into this space of low level anger and fear. Someone told me early on to expect to feel these things for eighteen months to two years, and that was very helpful. Because people expected me to be better at one month, three months, six months, nine months, one year...I could keep going with each milestone. I will always grieve her on some level, but the grief changed. There is a joy there that I knew her at all.

5. What women's groups online or in person have been the biggest help to you?

I began a blog at two months from her death after being interviewed by a local psychologist and radio personality about stillbirth ( One woman read that, and brought many women to my blog to offer support. Conversely, I began offering support to those women. Then I began reading Glow in the Woods, which is a website founded by the amazing writer Kate Inglis. The writing was so beautiful, perfect, and true. Her writing is like reading magic. There is a forum there for just grieving parents. I was reading the emotions that I couldn't articulate. In 2010, I began writing there, and last year, when Kate stepped down as editor, she asked me to take over for her.

6. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

Iceland. Everything I have seen about and read about Iceland enchants me to the core. I am drawn to the north and winter landscapes. (Yes, I'm a Capricorn.) The volcanoes, hot springs, glaciers, the independent people, as Halldor Laxness puts it, all of it sings the song of my soul.

7. What blogs, books and magazines have your writings been published in?

My poetry has been published in Literary Mama  Mothering Magazine, Kota Loss & Compassion Blog, Exhale Magazine , and of course on still life 365 . I have a chapbook called Of This, We Will Not Speak , which is available on Amazon. My essays have been published at my blog still life with circles , Glow in the Woods , and Still Standing Magazine. My essay, Mothering Grief, was published in the book They Were Still Born, edited by Janel Atlas. (Rowman and Littlefield, 2010). This is also available on Amazon.
My artwork has appeared in Exhale Magazine, still life 365, and the e-book Day of the Dead 2009 heARTist Collaboration at Mother, KotaPress Publications, 2009
 I had a series of paintings appear in group exhibit five. last January at the Mulberry Art Studio in Lancaster, PA.

8. What is your mantra?

Be extraordinary.

9. When it comes to spirituality, what philosophies do you embrace?

I actually have my degree in Religion, and have been seeking for a long time. I was raised Catholic, though I am very drawn to Buddhism and always have been. I began meditating at 16, and have continued a meditation practice since then. I used to call myself a Cathuddist. But in my home, we practice earth-based religion. So, I suppose we really are pluralists at heart and find no discomfort with saying the Our Father, meditating on zafus, lighting a candle for Mother Mary, singing The Earth is our Mother, and reading the story of Demeter in the same celebration. We celebrate all the holidays in the Wheel of the Year.

10. Are you currently working on any new projects? If so, can you tells us about them?

I have been writing a novel, and working on a memoir. The novel is about ufos, true love, identity, Greek mythology, addiction, war, and being between cultures. The memoir is about my life before and after the death of my daughter. It began as a collection of blog posts about grief, and turned into something else. In my art, I've been working on angel and ascended master paintings which are all dream and channeled pieces. This has been a new way of painting for me, so it is like learning a different language. Through that work, I have connected with an angel channel and we are just in the beginning process of a joint project. I'm so excited.

Angie has graciously donated a this beautiful 4 x 6 water color painting of Mizuko Jizo. Angie painted this while in Tonglen meditation as a sacred ritual to honor her daughter Lucia Paz. Jizos are Bodhisattvas primarily concerned with the dead and protectors of children and women.

I will choose a winner randomly based on the comments below. I will announce the winner in a separate blog post on Monday!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


The best medicine arrived today. My friend and fellow wild sister Kolleen created a custom cuff for me. I have chosen three words for 2013. One I have shared with a circle of magic workers, one I have chosen to keep to myself and this one.


Kolleen included a small piece of original art and on the backside of this stunning and colorful piece of work is a quote that resonated so deeply I wanted to share it.

Transformation literally means going beyond your form. - Wayne Dyer

I am doing exactly that. Going beyond my form.

I have faced some serious shadows. My family has been holding up the mirror for years now. For so long I could not see what they saw. My inner monologue has been that of a teenager going through puberty. Poor me, I'm not worthy, I'm not smart enough, creative enough...the list of insecurities and put downs goes on and on. For so long I placed blame on my mom for circumstances that were beyond her control. She tried, I fought back.  My husband and children have witnessed my falling to pieces. Lost in rage, resentment, fear, depression. Always fighting. The person I fought with the most. Me. I have dragged my soul through hell for years. Until recently I had to say, (and pardon my foul mouth here) adios motherfucker!

I couldn't live in my own self created hell any longer. Something had to change. I challenged myself to 365 days of yoga. Today is day 14. Two weeks in and this is where I sit. Open, vulnerable and activating my throat chakra. Speaking my truth is not easy. Letting my readers know I am far from the person I try to portray on facebook, instagram or even this blog. I have my shit. just like you do.
The only reason I am opening up about it now is because if I don't come clean and get this off my chest I may explode.

To my family: Please put down the mirrors. I can see myself pretty clearly now and I am asking in the most constructive way I know how-  please forgive me for my past mistakes. For anytime I have hurt your heart know that It was not because I wanted to punish you but because I didn't think I deserved your love. My heart is wide open now and I hope you can accept my apology.

January 20th - March 20th (spring equinox) I am taking a break from facebook, blogging, instagram, etc. I am calling this my Chrysalis time.

Thank you to anyone and everyone who reads this and is present to my awakening.  XO

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Snap crackle pop!

That is the sound my body is making as I loosen up. Junk between the joints, ligaments loosening, tendons stretching. My body is changing. 13 days and I am settling into a routine with the yoga challenge.

I have a confession to make. It was never yoga that I had a problem with, nor the people. It was always me. That being said, just because I have encountered some folks on my own yoga path who seemed self involved that does not mean yoga makes people that way. I had to blame something for what I experienced and yoga seemed a good scapegoat at the time.

Now that I have gotten that off my chest...sigh of relief!

I have decided to stick wit Bikram and sign up for a monthly unlimited pass. I am hoping that the support that my family has shown me the past two weeks will continue. As long as I don't let this challenge interfere with my duties at home I a pretty sure I can swing this.

It has taken me away from home for several hours at a time, but the way I see it is I will end up joining the work force again at some point and my kids will need to be prepared for that eventually. This is good practice for them.

I am also realizing that my practice needs to be balanced more. There are 8 limbs to yoga. I plan over the next year to devote time to more in depth study and practice of each.
The first limb, yama, deals with one's ethical standards and sense of integrity, focusing on our behavior and how we conduct ourselves in life. Yamas are universal practices that relate best to what we know as the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The five yamas are:
Ahimsa: nonviolence
Satya: truthfulness
Asteya: nonstealing
Brahmacharya: continence
Aparigraha: noncovetousness
Niyama, the second limb, has to do with self-discipline and spiritual observances. Regularly attending temple or church services, saying grace before meals, developing your own personal mmeditation practices, or making a habit of taking contemplative walks alone are all examples of niyamas in practice.
The five niyamas are:

Saucha: cleanliness
Samtosa: contentment
Tapas: heat; spiritual austerities
Svadhyaya: study of the sacred scriptures and of one's self
Isvara pranidhana: surrender to God
Asanas, the postures practiced in yoga, comprise the third limb. In the yogic view, the body is a temple of spirit, the care of which is an important stage of our spiritual growth. Through the practice of asanas, we develop the habit of discipline and the ability to concentrate, both of which are necessary for meditation.
Generally translated as breath control, this fourth stage consists of techniques designed to gain mastery over the respiratory process while recognizing the connection between the breath, the mind, and the emotions. As implied by the literal translation of pranayama, "life force extension," yogis believe that it not only rejuvenates the body but actually extends life itself. You can practice pranayama as an isolated technique (i.e., simply sitting and performing a number of breathing exercises), or integrate it into your daily hatha yoga routine.
These first four stages of Patanjali's ashtanga yoga concentrate on refining our personalities, gaining mastery over the body, and developing an energetic awareness of ourselves, all of which prepares us for the second half of this journey, which deals with the senses, the mind, and attaining a higher state of consciousness.


Pratyahara, the fifth limb, means withdrawal or sensory transcendence. It is during this stage that we make the conscious effort to draw our awareness away from the external world and outside stimuli. Keenly aware of, yet cultivating a detachment from, our senses, we direct our attention internally. The practice of pratyahara provides us with an opportunity to step back and take a look at ourselves. This withdrawal allows us to objectively observe our cravings: habits that are perhaps detrimental to our health and which likely interfere with our inner growth.
As each stage prepares us for the next, the practice of pratyahara creates the setting for dharana, or concentration. Having relieved ourselves of outside distractions, we can now deal with the distractions of the mind itself. No easy task! In the practice of concentration, which precedes meditation, we learn how to slow down the thinking process by concentrating on a single mental object: a specific energetic center in the body, an image of a deity, or the silent repetition of a sound. We, of course, have already begun to develop our powers of concentration in the previous three stages of posture, breath control, and withdrawal of the senses. In asana and pranayama, although we pay attention to our actions, our attention travels. Our focus constantly shifts as we fine-tune the many nuances of any particular posture or breathing technique. In pratyahara we become self-observant; now, in dharana, we focus our attention on a single point. Extended periods of concentration naturally lead to meditation.
Meditation or contemplation, the seventh stage of ashtanga, is the uninterrupted flow of concentration. Although concentration (dharana) and meditation (dhyana) may appear to be one and the same, a fine line of distinction exists between these two stages. Where dharana practices one-pointed attention, dhyana is ultimately a state of being keenly aware without focus. At this stage, the mind has been quieted, and in the stillness it produces few or no thoughts at all. The strength and stamina it takes to reach this state of stillness is quite impressive. But don't give up. While this may seem a difficult if not impossible task, remember that yoga is a process. Even though we may not attain the "picture perfect" pose, or the ideal state of consciousness, we benefit at every stage of our progress.


Patanjali describes this eighth and final stage of ashtanga as a state of ecstasy. At this stage, the meditator merges with his or her point of focus and transcends the Self altogether. The meditator comes to realize a profound connection to the Divine, an interconnectedness with all living things. With this realization comes the "peace that passeth all understanding"; the experience of bliss and being at one with the Universe. On the surface, this may seem to be a rather lofty, "holier than thou" kind of goal. However, if we pause to examine what we really want to get out of life, would not joy, fulfillment, and freedom somehow find their way onto our list of hopes, wishes, and desires? What Patanjali has described as the completion of the yogic path is what, deep down, all human beings aspire to: peace. We also might give some thought to the fact that this ultimate stage of yoga—enlightenment—can neither be bought nor possessed. It can only be experienced, the price of which is the continual devotion of the aspirant.
*Information from off to practice Asana!


Monday, January 7, 2013

And the winner is...

Thank you to everyone who participated in the "Magic Happens Giveaway'! 
Lindsay Marriot - Gypsy Dreamcatcher
Hollie (sunnyincali) - Golden Path by Diana Comstock
Star (beWitchery) -  Inner Equilibrium reading, by Alquimia Oracle
Amy (fate-filled times) - Reading by Moondaughter
Please contact me here for details on claiming your magical offering.

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Spiritual Art of Diana Comstock

Many Moons ago I joined a friend of mine to go visit Diana in her studio. During this time we were both living in Seattle, Wa. From the moment I walked through her door I knew that I had just been gifted with meeting an artist who is not only kind and beautiful, but an inspiration!

Shortly after my visit with her I had a life change that took be back to my home state of Utah. I corresponded with Diana via myspace and email. Diana gifted me a piece of her work, The Opium Princess. It was this beautiful gesture that changed my life. I am forever grateful to her for that.

It is with great honor that I introduce my readers to an artist whose very soul is embedded in every piece of work she creates. 


1. You are a self trained artist. When did you get started?

I've been making art since I could pick up a crayon. I put together my first "art show" when I was about 7. My friend and I made watercolor paintings and tried to sell them in my driveway. My grandmother, mother and sister are all artists, so I think it's just something you are born to do. They all unfortunately rarely created though. I always questioned why and thought it was a shame. I vowed to never ignore my passion for art or let insecurity prevent me from creating and sharing.

2. What would you consider your medium?

I would consider acrylic my main medium. I love that it is water based and non toxic. I always have animals living with me and around when I'm working. I wouldn't want them getting toxic oils on them. Plus oils take forever to dry and there would be no way to keep the dog and cat hair out of the paintings!

I love the way acrylic dries quickly, it makes it fantastic for layering and collage. I like incorporating paper, fabric and texture into my work.

3. Your work is so spiritually oriented, what is it that inspires your style?

I've always been inspired by spiritual art. Especially from Asia. I love the intense colors and symbolism. Even though I'm not religious, I appreciate the intensity of religious art and iconography. I am more interested in the feeling that radiates from art more than any literal meaning.

4. What gets your creative juices flowing?
Music can always get the creative juices flowing. I can't work without music.

5. Do you plan out a painting or does it happen organically for you?

I may start out with a basic idea, but I never like to sketch a painting out beforehand. I find that if I put energy into planning it out, by the time it makes it to the canvas it feels watered down. I never know how the painting will end, I just start and it's almost like it speaks to me. I will work for a while, then step back and look at it for a while. Then the next step will just pop into my head. I don't know where it comes from. I've always called it intuitive painting.

6. What music is your favorite to listen too while working on art?

Lately music I've been inspired by ranges from Fever Ray, Amon Tobin to Fleetwood Mac, and I've been obsessed with Vivaldi's Magnificat Italian Opera from the 1700's. Just depends on my mood.

7. What does soul work mean to you?

Well, creating art is a spiritual process for me. I feel like I connect with a higher energy and it flows thru me onto the canvas. What is so brilliantly amazing to me, is that from that sacred experience I am left with a product that has it's own life and purpose. When someone views a painting or hears a song, it creates a feeling. When we feel, we are getting in touch with our true selves. When we are in touch with our true selves that is when we can grow spiritually. Art is so important. We live in a time where art has become entertainment and a luxury. But it is actually a necessity to our survival.

8. You recently moved to SoCal from Seattle, wa. How does the art scene differ from each place and how have you been received?

It definitely feels different being in SoCal. But I would also say that Santa Barbara is alot different from LA too where. I've now had shows in both cities and I've found the art scenes in both to be very open, friendly and accepting. LA is much more international than Seattle, and the scene is bigger, yet very spread out. There are a lot of "scenes" where as Seattle is a much more close knit community. SB is very small and it's not really an art hub, for the business side of new art at least. The business side has never interested me much though. The entire city itself feels like a work of art and the community really appreciates art is all it's forms here. It's the most aesthetically beautiful place I've ever been. It's as if design thought was put into even the most mundane things. Like trash cans are even ornate. I feel my art has been very well received here so far. I've shown in so many different venues, from galleries in NY, LA and Japan to coffee houses and outdoor festivals. Art speaks to everyone, anywhere in the same way, because it speaks to the heart and soul.

9. If you could move to any place in the world, where would it be?

I would love to visit as many places in the world as I possibly can. As far as establishing a home, I really love Santa Barbara. It's the first time in my life I actually feel grounded. Even though I was born in Seattle, it wasn't my choice. I much prefer being in the sun, near the ocean. SB is the first place I actually chose to live, it wasn't just circumstance like other places I have lived. Sometimes though I feel almost guilty at how amazing it is here. I am truly grateful every morning when I wake up.

10. What words of wisdom can you share with others who aspire to become an artist?

I don't think you aspire to be an artist. You just are an artist. Whether you use that gift and are productive with it is another story. I truly believe if you are at all inclined to create, whether painting, music, poetry, whatever, that it is your duty to create and share that art with the world. Don't judge what you create, just do it. You don't know who it may touch. You may never even know, look at Van Gogh... But just think of how other artists have created something that inspires you and touches your soul. You have to give back and pass it on. Art is what makes life beautiful!!

To learn more about Diana visit her online: