messy promises in process

art journal, Hali Karla

It’s been tricky to navigate my practice lately. Resistance has been thick – to writing, painting, walking in my beloved woods… to most things that usually center and level my energy.

It’s been feeling more like pulling limbs out of mud and sloshing through swamplands the past few weeks – just to get going, keep going. I welcome the wisdom in this truth… so I choose to rest more and mantra, gentle, gentle, gentle and breathe. It has been a full year of new things – this slow-down in the studio of life feels essential and true.

That said, I still show up – because I know how easy it is for me to let the slow-down become a rabbit hole of stuck. Even doing a little, being with my practices in intention and minimal effort, still makes me feel better for the long-term than if I just abandon them completely.

art journal detail, Hali Karla

It always feels solitary when it gets like this, though. Most artists I know feel this way at some point or other. There is a sort of discomfort stirring inside that needs a different kind of presence. It asks sometimes for a complete stop for awhile, a total release from the overflow of creative pouring.

Or sometimes – like for me now – it asks for less making, less effort, less expectation… at a different pace, for more grounding in what-Is. It is an invitation to just sit by an internal fire that my spirit needs to feel, wholly. Intentionally. Ritualistically.

I know by now that it is part of a cycle to my creative process, in art and life… a transition between gestate and surge. A respite and warming-up for the next season. It is the deep sleep just before rising again, so sweet – so rich with both Great Mystery and lucid becoming.

art journal, Hali Karla

In these strange stretches in my creative cycle, it is the little messages throughout the day that feel most significant as I navigate the whole truth of my process and experience. I let the little things become anchors to the magic – and some days the noticing is all I have to give: it is enough.

Like how those rice-paper butterflies flew out of a folder of scraps, just as I walked by this open journal spread on the studio table… landing on the page, inviting me to notice and play, to connect the dots of my story, and illuminating themselves as symbolic representations of those who bring me hope, love, and wisdom, even when I sometimes look away for awhile, staring off into the soil, at the seeds my muse has been planting all along.

art journal, Hali Karla

Those butterflies are sixteen years old. I made hundreds of them in college printmaking, and have used them in multiple art installations, photo shoots, on cards over the years – even in our wedding invitations… and I still have a few that make an appearance from time to time, just like these two… to remind me of the messy promise of quiet growth within, the rising of new forms and the vision one can only imagine before taking flight.


Give~Away: Receive a gift enrollment to Birth Your Dreams into Being for 2015

Give~Away: 13 month online curriculum to Birth Your Dreams into Being

I was floored when they said they were gifting a seat for the entire 13 month curriculum and journey of Birthing Ourselves into Being, 2015. I am deeply honored and thrilled to get to offer that spot in the virtual circle here to you.

This is not just an ordinary give-away with a free spot to win – it is an indescribable gift and opportunity, that has been created by multitudes of simultaneous creative energy, effort and devotion. It will change, illuminate and empower your heart and voice. {Thank You, Baraka and Autumn, for your great generosity!}

I am one of the guest teachers for 2015 – and I am also thrilled to be hosting a global Tele-Circle option AND participating in the program myself. And in case you’re wondering – yes, I’m offering a section on keeping a Visual Journaling practice – which is a *perfect* way (though certainly not the only way) to work through and support you as you move through the program.

Will you join us?

Please spend a little time getting a sense of BOiB, by reading about the program, the fantastic & diverse guest teacher line-up, and visiting the BOiB facebook page. If you’d like to ‘meet’ Baraka and Autumn for yourself, listen to this Holistic Creative Chat they had with me last month – it’s been a hit amongst those feeling the call to rise up into our fullness and wholeness, in both our inner and outer experiences.

To enter the Give~Away, please complete the following three steps:

1. Connect with Baraka, Autumn and the BOiB community vision by following/liking their beautiful social media spaces on Instagram and/or Facebook and/or their lovely Newsletter at the bottom of this page HERE. Honor system here, sweet sister.

2. Share this Give-Away post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and/or Google+. That image below is a great one for Pinterest. (On Instagram, go to my profile – halikarla - to snag the giveaway image to use there). Thank you for sharing in your spaces – it truly means a lot to all of us involved with BOiB.

3. Two parts for this one: Leave a comment answering the question: What are you Birthing into Being in 2015? (one word or one hundred, call it in) AND, tell us where you shared from step two – thanks again. (You can leave your comment here or on my IG giveaway post)

The recipient will be drawn on the morning of the Winter Solstice, December 21 – and announced here at this post.

May all you are visioning, dreaming, birthing, believing, releasing and receiving be in alignment with the highest good and ease possible for all who are touched by your creative energies.

receive a gift spot to  13 month online curriculum to Birth your Dreams into Being in 2015


My Journey as an Artist: a conversation

21 Hali

Have you been listening to this free series of conversations the past 6 weeks? I’m still making my way through them – but I love to put them on when I’m painting or working on holiday gifts, because I have a soft spot for true stories – especially right from the voices of those who are living them. These conversations are about the journey of being and/or becoming an artist – and each one is different.

What also has impressed me about this series – if you listen to more than a handful – is the thread of inspiration between artists and visionaries, the thread that is Us – and how we lift one another up by following our creative truth and reaching out to others, saying, Hey, you can do this thing you envision. Wanna do this? I’m here doing this, too.

Well, today, I’m joining the conversation (OK, actually, a few weeks ago when we recorded). Being interviewed is way different than being the interviewer – and, honestly, I don’t even remember if we talked much at all about my art, per se – because as I told bits of my story we drifted into the heart of my WHY as an artist: healing and spirit.

To listen to my 21 SECRETS Conversation with Connie Hozvicka GO HERE.

And then stop back by Dirty Footprints Studio tomorrow because I got to interview Connie with the very question she asked each of us, for the final interview in this inspiring series.

21 secrets conversations - free video series with artists

First Friday (vlog): self-employed married artists, how we do it

Red Guitar by Steve Karla
Red Guitar by Steve Karla


One of the questions I get asked the most by other artists is how Steve and I do it – as two self-employed artists, living without a ‘steady’ paycheck at regular intervals. I’ve been considering how to approach this here on the blog for awhile – there’s a lot to both our unique stories leading up to this and what it takes to keep at it day after day. So, I thought I’d just begin by talking it out a bit with this month’s First Friday vlog…

I should point out that getting to this place, for us, didn’t happen overnight – it has taken years, and – honestly – even our whole lives (with detours) to prepare us for living and sustaining as artists. It is such a work-in-progress – and that’s part of how it keeps our curiosity and interest. Neither of us are doing exactly what we thought we’d be doing as young artists. AND – it also takes a lot of creative gears in action, all the time, and one hundred percent support from one another, for the other’s creative process – which means a lot of flexibility and helping each other. It’s a way of life. A way of trust. And we love it, and feel so grateful every day.

Steve’s band, HotPoint Trio, plays regularly here in Asheville on The Biltmore Estate, other gigs and private events. They just released a fantastic Holiday Swing CD – you can hear a sample or snag one for your family HERE.

You can also see some of his older art at his website.


art journal, intuitive, Hali Karla


snippets of secrets and magic {sketchbook peek}

sketchbook pages, Hali Karlasketchbook pages, Hali Karlasketchbook pages, Hali Karlasketchbook pages, Hali Karlasketchbook pages, Hali Karla

These are pages from one of the several sketchbooks and art journals I’ve been working in this year. This one always felt like the perfect place for quick studies, intuitive paint-sketches and being content with “incomplete” doodle pages.

I have a soft place in my heart for remnants of those moments in the creative process – the moments in between bigger plans or projects. The times of transition, winding down and winding up again, in color and line. The marks given life by the implied story that came before and after them. Little snippets of secrets and magic.

holistic creative chat with Anna Meade

holistic creative chat with anna meade

When I was asked by a friend to look at and share Anna Meade’s current outreach project, Healing Hearts, I headed over to the site and knew right away I wanted to invite her for a chat.


“Healing He[art]s is a mechanism to put art supplies in the hands of women who are struggling. The vision is for women to give the gift of art to other women. Because we know that art heals. We have lived it, and we would like to pass along that encouragement to others.”

You can learn more about Healing Hearts and Anna RIGHT HERE.

Even if you aren’t able to contribute this season, consider helping spread the word. From all of us who know the healing power of art journaling, and all of those who will discover it through this program – Thank You.

time for translation

art journal, Hali Karla

often, the pages know things before I do.

this page waits for words.

it may be a long wait.

but that’s ok –

in its infinite mystery, the page already knows.

there is a time for translation,

and a time for quiet.


“God’s first language is silence. Everything else is translation.” ~ Thomas Keating


you will love these artists – come art journal with us!

21 SECRETS Spring 2015 Round

Over at Dirty Footprints Studio, I’m the Creative Director for the 21 Secrets art journaling workshop. I have to confess, though, that there’s a lot more intuition involved than directing when it comes to seeking, selecting and inviting the artists. I sort of love it. There is just the right mix of consideration and mystery to the process, as I seek out a diverse group of artists to enhance, jump-start, challenge and entice your journaling practice for a 21 Secrets workshop.

See, I’m really a creative recruiter. I always have been – from when I was a kiddo bringing together friends that might not otherwise hang out together for creative shenanigans, to when I ran a gallery, curating and directing events for 600+ people at a time. Full circle, I find myself again as a gatherer of visionaries, artists and healers – for 21 Secrets, Spectrum and more. And as much as I place a lot of consideration into who to invite to teach – once they say YES, the whole project is sky-rocketed out of my intuitive hands and into the stars, while they dream up and create their workshops for you.

I love not knowing exactly what will result in the final mix… because I know something even better than that.

I know that when dedicated artists are invited to offer something, rooted in what thrills them to the core, to inspire creativity in others – that the combination of those efforts is always a beautiful, rich, multi-faceted offering, better than we could imagine or contrive or even create separately.

It becomes an experience for others that takes on a breath of its own. Happens every time. It’s a little bit magic, and a whole lot of inspiration. It’s creative energy in action.

That said, I’m super proud that we get to share the talented artists above today. They are the 21 22 artists teaching for 21 Secrets Spring 2015 – now open for registration at a pre-sale price!

You may recognize some of them – and I highly recommend hopping over to DFS today to meet any new faces and consider joining us in the Spring. You will love them – AND the workshops they are cooking up!

To learn more, GO HERE.