We’d love you to join our conversation down below in the comments.
Why do you create art?
I grew up a TOTAL wanna-be artist! I had an art teacher who told me, at age 9, that “drawing isn’t your thing.” I believed her and understood that to mean that I COULD NOT paint or draw, no matter how much I longed to be able to do so.
At age 25, graduated from university and selling books door to door, I read a book called Zen and the Art of Making a Living. I knew the basics: do what you love and the money will follow.
I didn’t really believe that applied to me somehow—that was like a fairytale. And while reading this book, convinced deep down in my bones that I was “supposed to do something different,” the author states that “unless you develop an ‘artist’s mentality’ you will NOT be able to create the life of your dreams.”
Well, I was convinced! As a college grad who was knocking on doors to make a living, it was clear that life was A LOT more like a blank canvas than a multiple choice test.
IN THAT MOMENT, I was given the divine assignment to open an “art gym” of sorts, where people could come to “work out” their creative muscle SO THAT they could go back out into the art that is their life and create the change they wanted. Boom! In that moment, I just KNEW.
1 year and a couple months later I opened The Creative Fitness Center. I had STILL not painted on a canvas when I opened the doors! I learned from the teachers who just appeared (this was in 1996, pre-emails and pre-FB!), along with my students, that there is a magical connection between liberating our creative spirits and living a life free and inspired! THAT is why I create art—to remind me that in each and every moment I am creating the ART that is my LIFE.
What is it about art that stirs your soul?
I’ve just read in a book on Vibrational Healing that if our “higher self and physical personality are disconnected dis-ease will follow.” I know and have experienced in thousands of different ways, through my own experience that those of my clients, that ART connects us to our SOUL.
I imagine that as I come up to the canvas, my Soul, or Higher Self, steps up to the other side. As the paintbrush touches the surface of the canvas, a connection is made and a line of communication opens. Through color, symbols, and vibration, I am raised up to a higher level of consciousness. From this elevated state, what is not really important falls away, the stress and worry dissolve, as they are not able to stay resonant with my higher vibration, and I can HEAR MY OWN INNER WISDOM.
Sometimes this level of connection and freedom happen very intentionally, with my shamanic painting practice or my painting meditation practice, and sometimes it happens almost by accident, as I am playing around or teaching someone else. I have found art journal entries and paintings, that have been hidden for months, that slap me upside the head with their message or prophetic guidance that I had not recognized at the time I created it, but that seem SO clear now.
Art doesn’t just stir my Soul, it lights me up from the inside out!!
What sort of creative walls do you hit?
I love this question, because most people think that by the time you have written books about painting, taught online and in person successfully for decades, etc. that you do not hit “walls.” Of course you do. I do.
AND the walls have evolved from bug, huge stone walls, to brick walls, to wooden walls, to paper walls. They get easier and easier to recognize and move through.
My biggest stumbling place currently is judging my art as “not as good as it could be.” Part of me wants to “study” painting and learn from artist I admire. I STILL have not ever had a formal art class and my passion is inspiring others to paint—and usually they are scared. So my style is intentionally painterly, fun and loose, because I want it to feel accessible. I want my paintings to make YOU want to paint…much more than to buy my art or anything else.
AND there is still the voice that reprimands me for not being a better “student of the art.”
TO MOVE THROUGH these walls, I simply take a deep breath. Look down at where my brush is about to meet the canvas, and I choose something to fall in love with. I LOVE that I am so inspired to empower others through this practice. I know that if it is truly important to me that the “Study” will come.
I figure some day…I am currently visioning into a sort of sabbatical year, where I would travel and learn from others and detach a bit from the daily biz routine. I know that will happen some day!
What does your creative practice look like?
What inspires my creative practice the most is working with sacred symbols and creating paintings that are in alignment, symbolically and vibrationally, with what I want to experience in the art that is my life.
In 2012, I moved out of my “marriage house” and into my own house. I left a 700 acre ranch and a brand new home that I had lived in for 9 months and moved into a rental “in town.” It was CRAZY! I swung between the energies of pure bliss and liberation and desperate fear and guilt. I had lots of wall space in the new house and SO I PAINTED the energy I wanted to align with. I painted guides, animal totems, inspirational words and LOTS of Buddhas! This is when I learned that painting is SO alive and the energy they radiate is visceral.
Just recently, I bought a house, 7 years later, and much of the art from the rental was sold at my heART Medicine Online Auction because those paintings had worked their magic and were ready to relocate in a new home that needed them now. In the new house, I began to paint again, visioning into my next chapter, stepping back into my power, reclaiming more of my independence and sovereignty.
My creative practice is like the fuel in my “tank.” It is what guides and empowers me. It is what slows me down and creates space for me to reflect on what I really, really, really want. Then I create it into my physical reality at the canvas and, inevitably, it ripples out into the rest of my life.
I could go on and on…this is why I teach! There are so many facets to this practice, only one is the finished image you see. The other facets are limitless!
How has your process evolved?
I kind of chuckle now when I think back to how I painted pre-2011.
For example, I painted owls for TWO YEARS STRAIGHT. I couldn’t, and didn’t want to, paint anything but owls. First, I just figured I was going through my Owl Period (Picasso had the Blue, I got the Owl). Then, I tried to make myself paint something other than an owl and I literally couldn’t. It would become and owl and I would find myself thinking, “Really, why paint anything else?” After a bit, it felt a little odd.
Then, one day, inspired by a magazine collage I had created, I decided, for the heck of it, to Google “Who is the goddess of art?” Who appeared? Athena. Who does Athena ALWAYS have on her shoulder? OWL! Boom! Whoah…maybe there is a REASON I am painting owls!? That was in the spring of 2010 and it wasn’t until fall 2011 that I began to paint other symbols and I began the journey that would become my own personal liberation. The OWL was sent to guide me out of my “underworld experience.” The “shadow work” that had been the intention between my hub and me on a soul level was done. I was choosing to follow the path out of the underworld. Apparently, he still had some more to do down there. Owls can SEE in the DARK like no other creature.
From then on, I only painted paintings from this symbolic level. I either go to the canvas with a symbol I want to paint because I want MORE of its energy or vibration in my life. Or I go to the canvas like I might go to pull an oracle card. I paint intuitively until the image my Soul wants to communicate through comes into focus. This process blows my mind over and over. From my own experience and those of my clients and Creatively Fit Coaches, I just can’t get over the magic and the power available to all of us when we tune into this creative and symbolic language!
Where can we find you?
By all means, come on over and connect with me at WhitneyFreya.com. You can also join in my circles on FB @WhitneyFreyaCanvas and @WhitneyFreya on Instagram.
You are here to live an Inspired Life. This is what your Soul wants most of all! The most important question you can ask yourself is “What do I want right now?” And then take one step after the other in that direction. A’Ho, Whitney Freya
Whitney has created two soul nurturing lessons for the Make Create Express workshop including this one:
Painting Your Guide
Immerse yourself in Whitney Freya's intuitive watercolor, mixed media process to Paint Your Guide and receive divine insight into the art that is your life. You are invited to create with Brusho Crystal Colours, an amazing watercolor medium that results in the most brilliant colors and enhances the intuitive process.