On taking risk

“You may have the universe if I may have Italy.”
― Giuseppe Verdi

“What is the fatal charm of Italy? What do we find there that can be found nowhere else? I believe it is a certain permission to be human, which other places, other countries, lost long ago.” –Erica Jong

IMG_4188IMG_4365IMG_4577IMG_4224IMG_4575IMG_4529 IMG_4484Hello wonders! I just returned from an epic 3 week viaggio in Italia. This trip did not underwhelm in any way, as it held all the grandiose aesthetics you couldn’t possibly imagine with one mind. Italians love to please the senses and do it in a way that at times is so mind-blowing, one must surrender and slow down to fully enjoy it and take it in. Not only did I become a cappuccino aficionado (and a makacino, macchiato, ciocolato croissant and all the variations) but I also ate a lot of bread. And insanely delicious pasta. Pretty much every single day. I relished in these things without the cloud of doubt or guilt that can hover us and our tedious standards of what is good or bad. So with this honoring of sweet pleasures I kept thinking, these Italians are on to something. Maybe we REALLY do need to release this idea of perfection or right/wrong. Maybe it should be more like Oscar Wilde wrote: “It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.” Which can be said the same for varying cultures or parts within it.

So the Soul Painting retreat in Tuscany felt so sweetly charming! I truly fell in love with every woman there. Sometimes words feel too small or limiting to describe such an experience. Logistically speaking it was not without its challenges, and a couple (more than a couple actually) angels really did come through to make the retreat as special as it was. One night about 6 or 7 of us were crammed into the little hot tub overlooking the Chianti Hills, sharing stories of love and loss, what happens when women come together in the name of warming the creative spirit (I feel it’s like a magical safe alchemy or haven) and so forth, and I was struck with how temporary this all is. Life is but a dream, so flickering, so tender and transitory. One must take risk in life to receive again. One must put forth a sincere effort for the things they wish to receive. One must ask wholeheartedly and with a humility that is grateful for the simplicity of this existence itself, saying ‘thank you’ and ‘and yes life, I am ready for this.’ Let us remember to not hold ourselves back anymore or be our own worst enemy. Let us know that we are enough, more than enough, or like Hafiz says: “I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.

Such things are the reminders I wish to have emboldened into the curvature of my heart. Last winter I went through a very tough time (read: break up) and I was in the darkness of my being, the hole underground. My partner at the time moved out and it felt like a mini-divorce, one which did not go well, even with my sincerest hopes that it would. Some break ups are just too painful. My hope was that we were going to live a life of love together, but challenges kept coming up that felt too big to surmount, and that inner voice inside kept saying loud and clearly: no, not like this. So I sought help. I asked, prayed, and surrendered. Help did indeed come. I cannot thank those human angels enough for holding such light and truth around me. It felt like a huge dream of having a family was dying for me and I was beginning to not believe in monogamous committed relationships anymore. I felt like a failure. So as previously mentioned, I really effing let go. Then one day I had two conversations with two teachers/friends of mine that forever changed my perspective. I realized for how long I had held myself back to love. How subconsciously I had been wallowing (over say my divorce for one) for too many years. What is the reason I could not truly be met? If I do truly desire to be met in partnership, what would that really look like? What would he be like? What values would he have and what would it feel like to share love with him? Would he like to meditate like me? Would he love Rilke, Mary Oliver, and Hafiz as much as I do? Would he love and excel in a creative career? Would he have the most beautiful large blue eyes and softest smile? Well, yes, he could really have those things. If I knew how to let him in.

Guess what, in just a few days after I deeply meditated on this he did show up. A few days after that we had our first date. Months after that and we have just returned from Italy…. I will write more about this soon. It is really that good. Life, you never stop surprising us do you?

Xo ~ alena

New Workshop Coming!

Hi there! My Soul Painting workshops in our sweet gallery space tend to sell out pretty quickly (within a day to a few) so I wanted to give you all a little more heads up for the next one for the glorious Summer season in Asheville! (Think river swimming, big blooms and waterfalls)! The exact dates will be the weekend of June 25 + 26th! We recommend you coming the day before though. The workshop includes catered lunch both days and starts at 10 am each day. Registration now open and spots going quickly!


** For those of you wanting a full on retreat experience, I am having my last retreat here at the sublime Bend of Ivy this fall. There are just a few double rooms left! Participants from the last two retreats here have had a ‘blissful and life changing experience’. Don’t miss out on this last opportunity to really sink in to spirit, nature, and painting.

A letter that makes it all worthwhile…

I received the following letter yesterday… it truly came at the perfect time for my heart. Sometimes the reward of taking the risk to show your true self inside to the world pays off. It is a ripple that can come back and bless your bare feet years later, as did this one. The author of this letter is referring to a painting I did called ‘Sister’ ~ when my sister and I were both going through a similar but very painful loss. This letter made my world yesterday, it lifted me up out of an intense day and back into the nourishing world of gratitude.

It made it all worthwhile.

So with the permission of the author I have copied her letter below. I hope that it moves you in a similar way that it did for me.


Dear Alena,

This is a silly fan girl letter from someone you have never met but I wanted to write to tell you how grateful I am that I discovered you and your beautiful artwork I found your art in Spirituality and Health magazine about two years ago just as I was thinking about leaving a well-worn and “successful” career path. While I was an opinionated woman (politics, religion) I actually was very disconnected from my own mind, emotions and heart. If you asked me about something truly meaningful, or even: “what’s your favourite colour?” I would freeze. I literally did not know a thing about myself.

When I saw your beautiful art in the magazine, I immediately thought two things.

One, I know that the person who painted this has known deep suffering.

And two, if someone ever asks me what my favourite painting is, I could always say, “Sister, by Alena Hennessey.” “What do you like about it?” “I like how it is a supportive image. It is also admiring, like someone looking up to a big sister. Or a big sister, protective of that little sister, but the little sister is also slightly in awe of the bigger. And I love how the colours make me feel relaxed and calm, and supported. I like how it reminds me of all my sisters who I love.”

Anyway, I didn’t know that I was about to set out on a really overwhelming healing journey myself. At times, I didn’t think I could live through the last few years. My logical brain, which I’d relied on to survive my life until that point, was completely useless. What was healing me was not setting goals, making lists or learning about things. Instead, I was drawn to symbols and storytelling. Making the unseen seen, making the unbearable bearable, and discovering that what I instinctively loved and was drawn to (paintings, stories) were healing me more than the linear paths I’d always walked along.

I cannot tell you how much your lovely, feminine images have healed my soul. They are beautiful and gentle, and I needed beautiful and gentle lessons. But they are also healing on a deep, deep level. I had so much to discover and reconnect to, so much had been lost. Art has made the journey feel worth it. Yes, it is so painful – but look how beautiful. And I am starting to create a few things of my own!

I’m sorry this email is so long – maybe I needed to write it more than I need you to read it. But I must be feeling better because I find that I want to express gratitude to the people who helped me without knowing it. Thank you again, so much.

Current Turn-Ons

IMG_2784IMG_2712IMG_2653Painting a whole lot again… one of my favorite remedies and nourishment for the soul. Going back to my roots with bird painting too: a pure and perfect symbol for the heart.


IMG_2806-1My Mama’s new ecourse and the amazing work being created! So different than in my classes. I love the contrast.

il_570xN.857577656_hb6bil_570xN.912426505_5fviThese precious healing gemstone rings, handmade, 18k, arriving soon to our gallery Rosewater.

We crave the sacred, we long to remember

IMG_2264 IMG_2306 IMG_2324 IMG_2332Since I share so much on the value of self-care and nurturance, it’s key that I walk the talk. I therefore took myself on a Qoya retreat (sacred movement and ritual for women), where I am learning and un-learning so much goodness. I realize more than ever as human beings we need to experience the sacred, what we FEEL that is real to our hearts, what we have always known within but due to so many things we can forget (our true essence). We long for connection and through connection to other, through creativity, expression, ritual, through breath, … we can remember. And since I’m on the topic of longing for the sacred…

12496451_833375130107230_900078830883289372_o12418970_10204449197783501_7252348176634534265_o12525429_10156436079620788_5186109939252393730_o10653479_10206866599838322_2090394537570483770_nMy Year of Painting students are blowing me away again this year (for real). This is just a few examples of the first lesson… so if you are feeling the call to express from your heart out through your hands, something that holds meaning, intention, power, and a keepsake for years to come, now is the perfect time to join. People join all year until late Summer.

To the sacred in you and in me…

xo ~ a

Adorning the Nest

Almost 2 months ago I received the keys to my new home. I cannot begin to share how emotionally intense and fulfilling the entire experience was. It brought up so much for me because this is the first home I’ve owned since my divorce some six years ago. For years I had been saving and planning on getting a new home, but the time was never quite right. So finally this Summer I decided it was and began to take the steps. I was so humbled to find out that yes buying a home as an unmarried female artist was not only a reality for me (years ago banks would not even consider me), but I could buy something of a dream home for myself. So after sorting through about 50 houses online and a half a dozen in person, one came along where there was an immediate knowing of this is the one, I’ll take it!! That is the best advice I would give to those looking… just wait until you really KNOW. It was not even a minute that I knew when running up to the front door. What an incredible feeling… a roller coaster and a true gift! It’s been so sweet, the process of settling in.

Here’s whats been done so far…

FullSizeRender(19)a hennessy home 1 a hennessy home 2 a hennessy home 3 a hennessy home 4 a hennessy home 5 a hennessy home 6IMG_1051 a hennessy home 7 a hennessy home 8IMG_1437 a hennessy home 9 a hennessy home 10The house has incredible light and a beautiful wooded lot (with open areas too), just under 1 acre. There is a magnificent sunroom with views, perfect for meditation and warm gatherings with friends, music, and feasts. The master bedroom is dreamy, and my studio feels pretty amazing too. All in all it is a home with wonderful energy and I feel like a Queen. Thank you dear Universe for making this a reality for me! Adorning your nest so that it feels like you is a priceless feeling.

Wishing happy trails and nesting to all of you!

A Big Love Giveaway! (Winners Announced)


Usually about once a year I have a biggie giveaway ~ and that time has come once again! How perfect that I have an array of virtual offerings or learning experiences in which you can enter to win any and all of them!!! This is a MEGA-GIVEAWAY as I will be gifting the following:

PLUS ~ one grand prize winner will win a spot to my Soul Painting Autumn retreat (shared room – which just opened for registration)! This is a fully-funded package and based on financial need. You could say I am in a generous mood today ~ Autumn is absolutely singing to me and I’m feeling the love.

That’s over $4600 in giveaway prizes!

a year of healing 3

Further, I should mention, for a limited time, sign up for any of the above courses and receive access to A Year of Painting 2 for free!! That’s right all free baby – plus you will receive lifetime access. The creative beings in that group have done some AMAZING things for themselves this year, in which I am bursting with love and gratitude for.

Also, if you have already joined any of these you can still enter and I will refund your entire payment back to you with gratitude! I am pulling winners by random generator based on how many times you enter (how to enter just below).


So here is how you can win (each way counts as one entry):

  1. Share which online course you are most drawn to and why on Facebook (post any of the online courses with image and link) and tag me Alena Hennessy.
  2. Share one of the online courses on Instagram and tag me, @alenahennessy
  3. Email your network and cc me (info@alenahennessy.com) on why you’d like to win any or all courses (share the link(s))!
  4. Sign up for my museletters and stay inspired (I email 2 x a month usually).

Please comment below and let me know how many entries you made and which courses/prizes you would love to win (and a little as to why, if you wish).

arrow1paint create heal love

I will announce all winners NEXT WEEK on October 28th!

(Please comment below to win after you share your entries)!

Good luck and bright blessings to you on your creative path. May it bring you much serene and juicy fulfillment on all levels!

Xo ~ alena


A Year of Painting:

Anna O’Grady annaogrady888@gmail.com

Chelsea Robinson chels.robinson@gmail.com

Tonya Williams willhillks@yahoo.com

Ildiko Karsay karsayildy@gmail.com

Mikel Paintnwiz@yahoo.com

Linda Hawkins harleigh97@gmail.com

Sarastella sarastellac@yahoo.it

A Year of Healing:

Connye Corey connye.corey@gmail.com

Tina Tinyg57@yahoo.com

Paula.Skory paula.skory@comcast.net

Suzanne OMull dandelions@comcast.net

Aldene Nicole neondrip@gmail.com

Retta retta74@gmail.com

Natalia Bystrianyk talbystrianyk@me.com


Verena Lang lang.verena@aon.net

Soul Painting Retreat Autumn 2016:

Sarah Nakatsuka info@sarahnakasuka.com

Congrats to all the winners and thank you everyone who entered! I was so touched by all the comments coming in truly… quite moved actually!

And remember, for a limited time, sign up for ANY of the above and receive A Year of Painting 2 next year for free!!!

Soul Painting Autumn

soul painting 1a soul painting 2 soul painting 3 soul painting 4  Above 3 photos by Yulia Mikhalchuk.soul painting alena soul painting anjanette   soul painting matisoul painting miranda soul painting miranda 2Above two photos by Miranda Wildman. soul painting retreatsp autumn altarsoul painting autumn libby soul painting retreat 3soul painting groupAgain, it was an incredibly soulful and transformative experience! We soaked (hot springs), we laughed, we journeyed, we ate ridiculously well, we danced, we hiked, we sat, we reiki’d, we cried, we laughed some more, we biz talked, we flower crowned, and of course we PAINTED PAINTED PAINTED. New life long friendships were made (they are still talking everyday, truth be told, and it makes my heart all aflutter. 

I will have one more retreat next year in the Fall (spring in Tuscany is sold out). To be be on the wait list, add your email here. There will also be a handful of weekend workshops at our gallery

Heart-fulfulling creations to you always…

UPDATE: Soul Painting Autumn is now open for registration!

How do you heal?

happyLately I have been reflecting on what can bring a feeling of healing to a human. How can we go from a place of pain or brokenness to a feeling of wholeness, completeness, or in-the-moment-ness? How do we move from a place of feeling lost, confused, weak, or disenchanted to a feeling of a heart brimming with gratitude? If they say life is a journey and not a destination than certainly we have all moved from a place of despair to joy, back to despair within this human body temple. This morning I read this mind-blowing quote about the Universe:

“The reason why the universe is eternal is that it does not live for itself; it gives life to others as it transforms.”
― Lao Tzu

WOW. Double WOW. We are beings that transform. We grow from tiny sponge-brained babies, full of joy and sorrow, soaking in everything, to full grown adults who never stop aging, or growing for that matter. The universe within each one of us (as Carl Sagan aptly writes about, that “we are a way for the Universe to know itself”), is our experience of this life. It has its seasons, it has its shadows and light, frost and warmth, chaos and stillness. So how do we create within us a garden that emits a sacred fragrance, or full blooms glistening in the sunlight? I can only share for now what has worked for me and has seemed to work for others I know as well. This list is just the beginning, a tiny collection of stones in the infinite basket of life’s wisdom.
naturemore naturemagic1. Nature

When I spent time in the natural world, something lifts within me and also expands. My senses become aware to all the tiny buzzing songs and sounds, the way the light flickers on leaves and just how vast the Creator is. His/her creativity is never-ending and it makes my problems feel small. The Earth untouched contains within it the most beautiful music and this so rightly reflected in all this facets of expression. Walking, sitting, spending time with a loved one or simply going it alone… nature has answers for you. No matter what place in the world you live, this is still true. Going on a long walk and getting that blood flowing is so good for the nervous system and heart. In Japan they have a phrase called shin-rin yoku or forest-bathing. It is currently one of my favorite pairing of words. It means to visit the forest for relaxation or one’s well-being. There is nothing quite like clearing one’s mind on a hike in the serenity and mystery of nature. more lightlight2. Light/Meditation

I believe that what we focus on grows… so if we take time to focus on the light in our world and inside our world as well, the light will grow within us. The breath is our force of life… it is giving life to us. I happen to feel this is a unbelievably amazing phenomenon! Focusing on the breath and light within is being grateful for life itself. When we begin to realize how interconnected we are all, that the concept of oneness is actually alive and real, and that we are beings of light (or literally stardust, as an astrophysicist will explain to you), we can uplift our world into the infinite possibilities that await us. Feeling thankful in one’s heart is an ultimate magic maker… it makes you feel good. So perhaps if you are feeling in pain, start by making a list of what you are grateful for. This helps me immensely. And remember you are a child of the Universe, made of pure light and of the stars.

create3. Creativity

This is a subject I happen to feel very comfortable writing about. 🙂 I feel we are all artists, or creative beings, whether its in how we dress, cook, wash dishes, garden, and so forth. Expressing oneself through a creative means is healing.. trust me. I have seen not only art save lives but transform them into a place where they finally feel they belong. It is a timeless space, a space just for you… to express the utter uniqueness of YOU. Amazing. No two hands and hearts are alike, so what they produce will not be exactly alike either. The power of paint and color is palpable. There have been many times I have sat down in my studio, feeling heavy about something, and thusly poured it out through me and onto the page. It is a release. Try it… or try it with me. It has been one of the greatest gifts of my life.

rest4. Rest

This one is a biggie. I happen to be one of those people whom if I don’t receive enough sleep or down-time my mind gets cranky real quick. We need time to reset… ample rest. Every doctor or mental-health specialist will tell you this. It is imperative. For me sleep is a time I get to restore and come alive again to a new day. I get to let go and let my breath do the work to unwind. Our souls need the darkness and we crave that quietude and stillness. Make time for your sleep, or even cat or mediation naps. Its amazing what 15 minutes can do for you. Take time to reset your being and the world will look different to you when you awake.

This list is just the beginning with more to come later.

What are some of the ways you heal or feel more peaceful within?

A Summer of Flowers

“She cast her fragrance and her radiance over me. I ought never to have run away from her… I ought to have guessed all the affection that lay behind her poor little stratagems. Flowers are so inconsistent! But I was too young to know how to love her…” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

b1“I must have flowers, always, and always.”
― Claude Monet

b2“I will be the gladdest thing under the sun! I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one.” ― Edna St. Vincent Millay

b3“since the thing perhaps is
to eat flowers and not to be afraid”
― E.E. Cummings, Complete Poems, 1904-1962

b4“Butterflies are self propelled flowers.”
― Robert A. Heinlein

Nothing Compares to You ~

Still floating, still smiling, still grateful for my first Soul Painting retreat… It all felt so divinely sweet and a time out from everyday life, or “the true reality”, as one participant described. I am simply in awe of these women who showed up for themselves for this week together. What risk, what blossoming, what fulfillment and lifelong bonds in creative friendship took place. Oh and the WORK THAT WAS CREATED. OH MY. Simply gorgeous paintings. I felt I made 20 new best friends that week, I really do, and I know all the women feel the same. So until the Autumn retreat rolls around I will be keeping a smile in my heart for that time spent painting, laughing, and even some tears shed together. I know it sounds a bit cheesy and new age…. but you had to be there. It really was this way. I have shared before that something magic and indescribable happens when women gather. I have found this especially true when it’s in the holy name of ART-MAKING. I had to pinch myself, and at times it was challenging to receive the feedback that many of them shared….calling it life-changing and blissful magic. I am learning at getting to become better at this (the fine art of receiving).

PS. I will be only be giving one Soul Painting retreat for 2016 (as 2015 is already sold out), so if you would like to be notified when registration opens up first, leave your email here.

PPS. You can about two soul painter’s experience here and here. (Do read both, the first one is a dream come true story)!retreat1 retreat2 retreat3 retreat4 retreat6 retreat7FullSizeRender9-1024x768 retreat8 retreat9 retreat10

Birth of a New Dream

gallery1agallery111070850_10152960843398122_7255553848934799032_o gallery2 gallery3 gallery4roots11069596_10152960843078122_5819647496415069363_o09-1-02 The Blue Ridge Mountains asheville retreat“Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.” – Anais Nin

For the past 6 weeks I have been working steadily (albeit if not obsessed) on opening up our new gallery, gift, and workshop space entitled rosewater. It’s been a total labour of love and I am beyond thrilled for this new adventure, even if I am rock solid tired come 9pm every night. Rosewater will be located in the heart of downtown Asheville, NC at 82 N Lexington Ave. If you have not visited Asheville yet, boy are you in for a treat. After all my travels I would humbly share that I find it to be the best place in the States to live. There are many reasons why I feel this way, which I will share later… but for now I just wanted to give an update on what I have been consumed with. I will be sharing more pics and links to the artists and crafters who will also be showing their work at the space. This has been a dream come true. The unfolding has been all green lights (in other words, no grinding, in total flow) and my partner and family have helped much to make it happen as well. My mother and I will be running the space, along with support from my best girlfriends and of course Matthew. Anyway, more soon… but to keep updated or invited to the opening party, subscribe to my museletter list.

Here’s to dreaming, which in other words, is just another form of making plans… xoxo

Radiant Heart Giveaway: Winners Announced!

All the windows of my heart I open to the day. ~John Greenleaf Whittier


Are you wishing for more sweetness and warmth in your life? Do you wish to create paintings and photos that come from an authentic place, that deeply resonate within your soul? Do you sometimes feel you need help with boundaries or protection from others’ energy? Do you wish for more love and acceptance of yourself, your body, your being? Do you wish to learn how to hand letter so you can create inspiration works of art? Do you wish to take photos that are soft, full of light, and timeless intrigue? Or do you wish to paint the hidden or mysterious parts of your being in a way that looks to the Masters?


If you answered yes to any of the following, then please take time to check out radiant heART (my latest offering) and enter this wonderful giveaway today:

Now that Spring is full-on flirting with us, it’s a perfect time to water and nourish your creative spirit so that it may flourish for you for the rest of the year. The incomparable Susan Tuttle (world-renowned photographer) and I are offering a special course for just that—where we explore lessons through paint, photo, and mixed media that allows more abundance, sweetness, and pure fulfillment for your soul and being! Although we are collaborating and offering this course together (like two mini-courses in one), we are offering it a special price (on sale) until April 5th! However, we also decided to giveaway 3 spots each ~ just leave a comment on my blog here (or her’s here for even more chances to win) and let me know how you have entered. You can enter in several different ways and each way counts as an entry (simply let me know which you have done)!


 The 5 Fabulous ways you can enter!

  1. Share the course page on Facebook explaining why you’d love to take it!
  2. Pin the course page on Pinterist.
  3. Share about the course on Instagram, and tag myself @alenahennessy or @susantuttle.
  4. Sign up for my museletter list!
  5. Email your friends and family about this course and cc alena.hennessy@gmail.com (this counts as two entries)!


Alas! There is no instinct like the heart… ~Lord Byron

radiant twinsMagnolia

The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery. -Anais Nin

alena hennessy susan tuttle
radiant heart

I wish you all the best in the contest, but mostly, I wish you a season of clear mind, full heart, and a joyful being! You deserve it, for you are a child of the Universe–made of stardust after all. You are meant to shine.


Congrats to the following winners:

Kim English
Susan Baker
Shannon Snyder

Thank YOU everyone for entering and making such a beautiful effort. I was honestly very touched and wish I could gift space to all of you! For those of you wishing to make a commitment to your heart, through art, painting, photo, and a radiant wild spirit, you can still sign up right here.

all my love xo

~ alena

Current Turn-Ons

blog1The songs of whales and mermaids. I did these photo-collages inspired by my two trips to the sea this Winter. blog2 blog2a blog3 Been craving a little more monochromatic painting in my life. I love the elegance it exudes. Play more with us here. It’s an incredible group of artists, all levels. (800+).blog4 blog5Goddess Lakshmi and her blessings and promise of prosperity when you follow your heart. blog6 blog7Temples deep in the tropical forest. blog8The unwavering grace that is breath gives… we are alive.

Nature as Muse

“Nature is my springboard. From her I get my initial impetus. I have tried to relate the visible drama of mountains, trees, and bleached fields with the fantasy of wind blowing and changing colors and forms.” –Milton Avery

“Nature flies from the infinite, for the infinite is unending or imperfect, and Nature ever seeks amend.” –Aristotle

alena hennessy 1I often reflect, if Nature had a voice, what would she say? She has kept me wild for as along as I can remember. Riding bikes, hunting lizards, making mud pies, climbing and jumping off her long and sensual limbs… yes, if we keep her safe, she keeps us wild.alena hennessy 2 alena hennessy 3 alena hennessy 4 alena hennessy 5For my work as an artist, Nature’s forms have long inspired me. The infinite organic shapes and lines, the ceaseless colors and patterns, the way the light hits a leaf in a hundred different ways… to me Nature is the ultimate muse. It’s what I strive for my participants to serve as a reference point for making art that feels true, to take it back to our roots, to let the pulse of the Creator move through our hearts and hands, to reflect and honor the unfathomable beauty we find everywhere when we are in the wild. alena hennessy 6 alena hennessy 7 And from there, we can begin to leave our own personal mark, our sacred expression, that is only unique onto ourselves. From there, we make it human, we make it solitary, we make to who we are and what we are feeling in that moment. Painting can serve as a metaphor for life in so many ways — it has many lessons to teach us (the art of letting go, trusting, playing, and accepting). Then to spend time in Nature, while painting with other kindred beings, well that is another gift upon a gift. alena hennessy 8With all that being shared, I hope you join me in one of the three retreats I am offering this year. This year I decided to scale back again on my traveling, to spend more time at home with my partner, and to offer my own kind of art experiences or soul vacations which would personally bring me a lot of contentment. So I created two special retreats in my beloved hometown of Asheville, NC (nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains) in both Fall and Spring (Spring is now sold out), and one at the world-renowned Hollyhock on Cortes Island near Vancouver, BC. Space is limited in each so be sure to register soon if you feel the call.

To art and love and possibility….

xo ~ ah

A Year of Painting Giveaway!

52 treasuresSo the time is drawing near to begin a fresh 365 days of my most popular e-course to date, A Year of Painting. What an enriching and whole-hearted experience the first year was. It warms my creative heart to read the feedback given, with phrases coming out from participants like now I believe “anything is possible”, and “this class means the world to me”, along with “what you are doing is beyond what I can express in words, with others calling this experience is “priceless”, or “my soul is forever touched” and so forth. I mean it’s a humbling thing for me to read as facilitator—hugely touching. How over-the-moon thankful I am that my teaching has the ability to connect to each individual. That was my word for last year— CONNECTION. I was recently pondering the synchronicity of that, and boy was this year all about it. I fell madly in love, moved in with my partner (it’s been 6 or so years since I have lived with anyone really, as that is how long I have been divorced), I ran multiple e-courses all which sailed high and brought in more ways for people to connect, and so on. So that single intention of CONNECTION was like a golden woven thread through out my days and months. How powerful and invaluable it is to place a seed for the year…

blog2And with all of these gifts, comes another gift for this beloved course… a new book deal. That’s right, A Year of Painting will now be a treasured book for others to enjoy and will come out in a year or so. It will feature many artists from the first year and more. So since the energy of giving and receiving keeps our life force moving, I will continue that sacred tradition on today, along the holiday spirit just around the corner.blog5b

I have decided to give away 5 whole spots to A Year of Painting. (And since many of you have purchased, no need to fret, you can also enter too and if you win I will refund your payment—all good). That is a $249 value and a year of support and learning for your intuitive, playful, and expansion for the depths of your creative well. We learn and experience so much in this class and the pacing is perfect for our everyday lives.


Here is how you can enter:

  1. Sign up for my museletters if you have not already done so.
  2. Share the A Year of Painting page on Facebook and why this would make a wonderful gift to oneself or another.
  3. Email your close friends/family and copy our email info@alenahennessy.com with a link sharing why you want to take this class.
  4. Then leave a comment on this post and let me know which ones you have done. Each will count as an entry!


So if you do every one of those I would say you have very good chances of winning with 5 spots being given away, This year we had 450 on-fire and unique artists (at all levels, beginning to experienced) who utilized the group in such a sweet and, dare I say it… connected way.


Good luck and here’s to another year of inspired art-making and living…


The winners are:

Renee di Pietro
Suzanna Gaal
April Huning
Najma Martens
Bonnie Smith

Thank you for everyone who entered! For those wishing to be a part of this experience, you can still sign up here.

all my love,

xo alena

Soul Painting Retreats 2015

soul painting copyWith much reflection and consideration, I have decided to host two retreats next year near my beloved and beautiful town of Asheville, NC in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Please take a moment to read about both offerings below. Space is limited in each, with special attention given to what I would just love and need if I were retreating. Asheville is known to be a place of fulfilled and kind people– full of artists, gypsies, musicians, and healers, yet everyone knows it is the surrounding land which makes it so special, which in turn can’t help but influence those who visit.

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On 63 acres of sacred Cherokee land, with rolling hills, a swimming pond, and a wild river, we will gather in a pristine lodge, cozy rooms, and gorgeous pavilion classrooms to create and come together for some sacred art-making and heart exploration.

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Restore & Nourish the He(art). A time to relax and awaken.

May 5 – 10th near Asheville nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains

In this retreat, we will unwind, breath deep, and paint our soul longing. This retreat will be focusing on healing for the body, mind, and spirit: integration for every fiber of our being and thus expressed out through our fingertips in exquisite and free art-making.

The program will include several intuitive painting and mixed media classes led by Alena, along with some of Alena’s favorite healers and guides for nourishment of the spirit.

More program offerings:

  • Local organic meals and refreshments will be served daily.
  • A gentle restorative yoga class with hot stones, taught by a beloved Bay Area and Asheville yogini.
  • Circles and divinations led by a Shamanic healer.
  • Song and music healing by visiting musicians.
  • Silent walking meditation on the hills and trails.
  • Reiki and Sharing Circle.
  • A trip to either the local Hot Springs tubs or award winning Grove Park Inn Spa.
  • An option to add on a massage onsite.
  • Time to sit, write, draw, and paint in the various sacred nooks and crannies on the land and in the classrooms.

Register here today to secure your space.

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Courting and Empowering the Muse. A gathering for women artists.

September 9 – 13th near Asheville nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains

In this retreat, we will paint our divinely feminine longings and spirits: through intuitive art-making, playful power portraits, Goddess/muse archetypes, and color-field figure paintings. Alena Hennessy & beloved Bay Area artist Mati Rose will guide you on your journey in these enriching and affirming art classes.

More program offerings:

  • Local organic meals and refreshments will be served daily.
  • Emowering talks given by women in the art field.
  • Movie night about living and thriving female artists.
  • Song and music reflecting female magic by a beloved songstress.
  • Silent walking meditation on the hills and trails.
  • Seeing through a Lens of Love (with a smart-phone or digital camera).
  • Time to sit, write, draw, and paint in the various sacred nooks and crannies on the land and in the classrooms.

Register here today to secure your space.


alena hennessy retreats 2I have looked to many locales in this area, and the gorgeous Bend of Ivy lodge has proven to have the most lovely clear energy– super high and nourishing. The classroom spaces are gorgeous, as is the pristine lodge. There are many trails to hike around and take in views, along with a gentle river and swimming pond. This was once a Cherokee village, and simply put, you can feel the heart on this land.

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alena hennessy retreat2Sunrise and sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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