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
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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

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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?

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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)!

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 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)!

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

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

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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.

UPDATE:

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.

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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!

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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.

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

UPDATE

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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What brings you joy?

“Dare to love yourself
as if you were a rainbow
with gold at both ends.”
— Aberjhani

“Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.”
— Rumi

blog1 blog1aWatching the storm rolling in over the dunes, feeling my wings, letting more go… It needs to go. blog2 blog3 blog4 blog6 blog7The above is little touches of inspiration we used in my class. Every bit helps. blog7aMy finished demo painting: you are free.  blog9
The above photos were taken at a recent retreat I taught at called Serendipity (such joy). My workshop was entitled Uncovering Grace, where we dove into a variety of art media (ink, paint, pens, paper, glitter) and sought out to discover our own personal definition of that mysterious word… one that has always held so much light and intrigue for me { g r a c e }. Lately I’ve been feeling just how much * j o y * is our natural state, our birthright as human beings. That is why it’s of so much value to know what brings you joy…

So what does?

What fills your cup? Are you making time each week to seek out that joy? Do you court that clarity and light daily in your life? This is my challenge to you: seek out what brings you more joy each day: little by little, by though and action…and let it unfold gracefully in you life. Let that joy be unequivocally you. Let it be wild, let it unleashed, and boundless. We are spirits in human bodies, our soul-house, our temple… let the colors drip from your fingers fearlessly. You are loved more than you know.

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” — Rabindranath Tagore

“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.”
— Marianne Williamson

Then s h a r e  y o u r  j o y, as it only doubles when shared amongst kindred company. Perhaps you can start by sharing here, with your loved ones at home, with new friendships… reach out and touch that peace together. I know I would personally love to read what brings you joy, as there is much power and blessings in writing down those little notes of bliss, calling more truth into your life.

Current Turn-Ons

hennessy blog hennessy blog 2 hennessy blog 3The gorgeous work created in my Year of Painting class, starting with Jennifer Sheffield Currie (top), Cathrin Gressieker  and Tara Francesca (just above). julia g 2 julia gThese two created by the wondrous Julia Godden in our Co-Lab offering.

My heart is overflowing with gratitude for the absolutely amazing women I get to interact with daily through my online classes. They are virtuous, dedicated, and dive deep into their unique gift they carry within. Sometimes I have to pinch myself and ask: my goodness, how on Earth did I get here? I feel so fortunate… humbled… by their greatness, generosity, and openness. They have become my foundation, my backbone, my muses, and so much more. Do what you love and never work a day in your life again. This is my heart’s mantra and prayer come true.

The Overflowing Heart + LifeBook Giveaway

UPDATE: the winner is Genevieve Camp!! Thank you everyone for entering. Be sure to sign up for Life Book right here!

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

“We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.”
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

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Creations of an expressive heart: combining iPhone and Paint is ridiculously fun! This was made in my latest offering Co-Lab.

alena hennessyMaking art — and painting in particular, has always been a source for filling my heart’s well. It provides me peace, challenge, and satisfaction. To me, painting is a metaphor for life.

Lately I’ve been reflecting upon what is it that truly fills the heart… and how, whenever our hearts feel that flutter of fulfillment, that is where our treasure lies. I’m reaching a point in my life where in terms of my relations it’s quite simple really: those who are kind, honest, and sincere get my attention– and attention is love. So where our focus lies, that tends to grow in our lives, we are fanning it’s flames, so to speak. No longer do I have time for the insincere, dishonest, or manipulative sort– life is too short and too precious. My love goes to those who move my heart, to experiences that enrich my being, where kindness is both King and Queen. Ahhh, and lately, yet despite all the trials and tribulations that life can bring, my cup doth runneth over more often than I think it ever has. Thank goodness life’s constant is change and that we can all grow more comfortably within ourselves… that is a true gift about growing older. Less and less I care what others may think… I want to live a life for what feels true within me. Sweet liberation indeed.

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And onto some more good news . . . Today I have a *wonderful giveaway* for you all. I am a part of Life Book 2015, where the darling and lovely Tam (organizer and artist) has formed a stellar group of teachers who will each give their own unique lesson on making art and the creative process. Each of these teachers in Life Book will share their own mixed media techniques, tips and tricks with you. This course is themed around self-development and healing, where you’ll be creating several loose mixed media art journal pages per month which by the end of the year you will bind into a glorious journal (a Life Book)! You will have a wonderful keepsake that you can treasure for the rest of your life . . . how sweet is that?

*To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below on what truly fills your heart’s cup — and/or why you love to make art.

*To enter the giveaway *two whole times and increase your winning chances by double*, sign up for my artful muse newsletter right here (+ receive a free gift from yours truly, you really can’t go wrong)!  I do not send out more that 2x a month usually… and always like to include some artful musing gems.

I will be taking entries until the blog hop is done on October 3rd. All the best of luck to you and happy hopping!

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… and here is the gorgeous blogroll, with many of my favorite art buddies included:

8th September 2014 – Tamara Laporte –  http://www.willowing.org/
9th September 2014 – Jane Davenport – http://janedavenport.com/
10th September 2014 – Joanne Sharpe – http://joannezsharpe.blogspot.co.uk/
11th September 2014 –  Jenny Lee Wentworth – http://jennyleewentworth.blogspot.co.uk/
12th September 2014 –  Violette Clark – http://www.violette.ca/
13th September 2014 –  Chris Zydel – http://creativejuicesarts.com/
14th September 2014 –  Danielle Donaldson – http://danielledonaldson.com/
15th September 2014 –  Effy Wild – http://effywild.com/
16th September 2014 –  Flora Bowley – http://braveintuitiveyou.com/
17th September 2014 –  Alisa Burke – http://alisaburke.blogspot.co.uk/
18th September 2014 –  Rachael Rice – http://rachaelrice.com/
19th September 2014  Jeanne Oliver – http://www.jeanneoliverdesigns.com/
20th September 2014  Andrea Gomoll – http://andrea-gomoll.de/
21st September 2014 –  Kristin van Valkenburgh – http://www.kristinvanvalkenburgh.com/
22nd September 2014 –  Jill K. Berry – http://jillberrydesign.com/
23rd September 2014  Alena Hennessy – http://www.alenahennessy.com/ <- YOU ARE HERE
24th September 2014 –  Juliette Crane – http://www.juliettecrane.com/
25th September 2014  Jenny Doh – http://blog.crescendoh.com/crescendoh/
26th September 2014 –  Mati Rose McDonough – http://www.matirose.com/
27th September 2014  Patti Ballard – http://www.pbsartstudio.com
28th September 2014 –  Lynzee Lynx – http://lynzeelynx.com/
29th September 2014 –  Roben Marie Smith – http://www.robenmarie.com/
30th September 2014  Andrea Schroeder – http://www.creativedreamincubator.com/
1st October 2014 –  Lynn Whipple – http://www.lynnwhipple.com/
2nd October 2014  Donna Downey – http://www.donnadowney.com/

PS. The grand opening for registration for Life Book is October 6 — and you can sign up right here!

True Gifts of Collaboration

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alena hennessyThis mixed media photo painting was one of the most fulfilling projects I have taken on in a very long time. Learn how to create dynamic work such as this in Co-Lab.
alena hennessy new ecourseThere has been a very special project I have been involved with all year that I have kept pretty mum about… until today. So with a thrilled heart I present to you Co-Lab: Paint, Paper, and iPhoneography Magic. This is a brand new online class created by myself and the brilliant Susan Tuttle, where we bring the world of paint, paper, and photo (plus so much more) together in one brilliant virtual experience! For those of you that don’t know Susan, she is a lovely human being and Mother living up in the woods of Maine, author of several books, and one incredibly gifted photographer and editor.
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co-lab1stilllife-portraitaalena hennessy susan tuttleI grew so much from working with her, not only as an artist but also as a person. The contagious spirit of collaboration ended up being one of the biggest gifts I could have asked for this year. Susan’s work has literally blown me away and left me speechless– and it all can be done with a smart phone (iPhone, iPad, iPod, or other smart phone).
co-lab2Imagine being able to capture imagery of yourself or others in this way! Within this course we share so many beloved tools from our artist toolbox. Now only can you learn to ground and enhance your painting by creating expressive still life, landscapes, and portraits, but you also get to learn how to edit and enhance your imagery in brilliant new ways… so necessary for artists these days to know these tools!
10635908_10152515819668122_7773137284678429718_nLearn to take macro-photos of flowers and then paint abstractly from them, along with mixed media photo-paint works that ignite the spark into new worlds of creating thinking. Plus the latest in all the apps, along with blending and editing your art imagery in new ways never known before. This beauty above was created by artist Cheryl Greene in our class.
colab2co-labThis course has many foundational guidelines for understanding art and design, as well as how to present and create work. By combining these powerful mediums, you will learn the basics of creating rich backgrounds, color harmony and theory, freeing your inner critic, unleashing the muse, painting from intuition, and understanding composition and more. As an extraordinary bonus, you will also learn how to take breathtaking photos through some of the best apps out there (Susan is in the know), which will also help present yourself, your work, and your offerings out into the world in a striking and exceptional way that rises above the masses. We will also show you how to collaborate and synthesize paint, print, and iPhone photo work in a way that dazzles and broadens your visual language.
colab3co labI can’t emphasize how enough invaluable it is for artists today to be able to incorporate and understand simple digital imagery and photo work. It is perfect for beginners who are wishing to create a stronger base and understanding, as well as experienced artists, who desire to expand their visual scope. Susan and I have been teaching online classes for years now, both with several best-selling books under our belt, and are honored to be asked to synthesize our knowledge together. It’s like having two courses in one! Making this course was truly such a joy for me, as it stretched me just where I needed to go.M3V-15Paint a landscape from your wildest imagination and place an image of yourself or loved ones within it, then creating a simple yet captivating frame to enhance it. This is the stuff dreams are made of! Learn this plus so much more in this compelling course.
colab5Feeling the yes? Sign up here and save *HALF OFF* (for a limited time with simple payment plan options). You will receive immediate access, along with being able to go back and touch in to this course for a lifetime. Walk away from this class with more knowledge and inspired juju than ever before, to be able to expand your portfolio in ways you never knew you could. You can work at your own pace and revisit it whenever you feel like. I am sure the artist within you will thank you for years to come…

True Love Will Find You in the End

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” – Edgar Allen Poe

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

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Lately I’ve been writing up a storm for my ArtBiz course, where I have been having little light bulbs go off, or the ‘golden download’ as sometimes like to call it, to assist others with bringing their dreams to fruition. This has caused me to reflect back some 9 years ago when things started moving and shaking for me in regards to my art career. It’s made me again realize the value of dreaming, how dreaming is just another form of making plans. It is dreaming that allows us to become moved to take action, to ask for what we need, to be at times vulnerable (there is a power in that), and to build courage to make real change in our lives. That courage and risk is how good things happen. If we don’t put ourselves out there, how can it ever be? This life is not about sitting and waiting for it to come to you. Life just does not work that way. It reminds me of one of my favorite love songs, “True Love Will Find You in the End” covered by Beck, the original by Daniel Johnston. One of the lines reads:

This is a promise with a catch…

Only if you are looking will it find you

Because true love is searching too

How can it recognize you

Unless you step out into the light?

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So here is my request for you: it’s time to claim it here. Name your dream. Name one or two or three or…. share it with the world, starting right now. Come from an easy place, from a place of longing, or from a place where you are that child again wishing upon a star. Let us move and motivate one another in living our best life, one that is fulfilled by what the heart longs for, one that is true to each one of us, unique in our ways of being, honoring the gifts we have been given, willing to be brave enough to shift from the inside out. That is the only way it works and it can work. I look forward to reading what your heart has to say. It deserves that attention, its good practice and good medicine. So go ahead and share a dream by leaving a comment. That star somewhere up above you is waiting.

clearpassion

Sneak Peak into My New Book!

It’s here! It’s here! I am over the moon thrilled. The pre-order price is unbelievable (only $11.35 at the last time I checked) and it begins shipping early next month. Several of you have been asking for a sneak peak inside, and it just so happens that I have the only copy available. So here’s a little peek-a-boo. This book contains over 170 paintings, 52 prompt ideas/exercises, and selected mini-workshops for a how-to portion. I poured myself into this title to think about what everyone would need to be inspired, think of new ways of creating, deepen their own expressive voice, learn more about the medium, and some lessons on painting and mixed media. Thank you all endlessly for your support. This book is dedicated to all my fans. I appreciate you so much. Order it now to save and get it first (plus I have a LOVELY opportunity for everyone that buys it first… more on that later).
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blog6blog2a   alena hennessy boo_01 alena hennessy book

Art Transforms Life

blog1Lately I’ve been pondering just how much art making, painting, and active creative pursuits have impacted my life. I began to realize that it’s influenced so much…perhaps everything. For this, I am endlessly thankful, in fact I often tag my Insta photos with #thankfulartistgirl. It just fits. So I thought I’d write a simple post on just how art can change a life, or mold it from a slab of clay into a beautiful vase that holds life-giving water and fragrant blossoms.

Art teaches you to let go.

“Last night I lost the world and gained the universe.” – C. Joybell C.

We are human beings, creatures… not machines. We are organic in our shape, not angular. So when we create we can seek to achieve our own ideas of perfectionism, balance, harmony, unity, and so forth…. yet we must also learn to let go. What a valuable lesson this is. We must begin to trust and allow what naturally wants to come though, come through. Surprises are the biggest gift in art making. This is how I teach others to create, anyway. I have found something magical happens when we let go further, we begin to gain more. When we are freer from our personal attachments to outcomes and expectations we have set for ourselves, we create from a place of more grace and ease. When we are in that state of grace, we become delighted by what we discover, the inner clicking rings more clearly. We create from a place of authenticity and what feels true, rather than from a concept or idea on what is beautiful or ‘good art’. I happen to believe there is no good or bad art – that it is beyond that state of right or wrong. I just want my students to feel they have honored where they are and who they are in that moment of creating.

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“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”

– Rumi

Art subsequently quenches and expresses your soul-longing at the same time.

During my quiet-hour(s) of painting, I find that my soul gets to sometimes rest, explore, or express its deep longing. That time when I sit down and create with my heart is sacred. It’s simply your time with you, no one else’s. Something within gets satisfied, something within gets fulfilled. It is a practice and meditation. Something within also got to express something that it needs to get out, let go of, or made seen. It is a dance between these sacred intrinsic needs.

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Art brings you community.

And what an unexpected gift this has been. I’ve been saying for many years now that the friendships born in creative spirit are like no other. It’s a tribal sisterhood for me. Not only does art begin to transform and fulfill the soul within, it brings you more like-minded beings into your life. Sharing your work, forming exhibitions together, taking part in collaborations or business projects with other artists, is incredibly satisfying and innately human. Doing creative work with a family member or beloved creates bonding in the purest way. It is a shared experience, a gift that allows each person to express and take part in the greater whole of something.

Art allows you to express what is beyond words.

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Through art forms like painting, drawing, photography, dance, and such we get to express that which is beyond words but still contains feeling, emotion, nuance, story, and subtlety. This is a wondrous reprieve. When I paint, I strive to express the mystery, although oftentimes words can fall short when I begin to reflect on just what that mystery is. This is where the language of color, line, shape, form, rhythm, balance, chaos, and more come in. An infinite language that is my own language: it does not always need explanation it just needs to be made real.

Art impacts others.

Make no doubt about it; taking a great piece of art in can stir the soul like no other and at times have more impact then flat out sharing it by a more direct means. It can stir the unconsciousness and bring feelings and thoughts into the forefront, or our own awareness. Art can be political through a unique lens that can move the senses and thus change perspective or inspire change within, and thus change the actions we take in our own lives.

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Art is a practice that you can have until the end of your days.

Cultivating your creative self is an endless exploration or thirst that never runs dry, but that which only deepens with time. Matisse was said to have painted on his hospital bed with a long extended paintbrush, making brush strokes on the ceiling overhead. Dedicating a life to one or more practices of expression is a gift that will serve your golden years well, something you can keep intimate company with though out your years. Embracing your own evolution through a visual or other documented means is leaving traces of each phase of your life behind for generations to come.

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Art can support you through monetary means.

And what a gift this is. To do what you love, that which comes most naturally to you, and be supported financially through this process and offering. I have found that passion is a contagious energy, when it is true, not forced, and done repeatedly, or an act of disciplined love. Attention is love, so give your art your undivided focus. Be open and take the steps to receive from it. This is also a learning and a process, but in infinitely ways possible: to make a good living as an artist.

Current Turn Ons

“I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

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“We need, in love, to practice only this: letting each other go. For holding on comes easily; we do not need to learn it.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Translations from the Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke

blog1blog3aPhotography by Russian artist Katerina Plotnikova.

blog4 The above text by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run with the Wolves.

blog5blog6“Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

The Tonic of Wildness

“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”–Henry David Thoreau

The following photos are from a recent trip to Cumberland Island.

blog1 blog2 blog3 blog4 blog6 blog7 blog8“I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes. –ee cummings