My legends face with brown eyes and burgundy lipsThis is the year that I committed to “finding” my unique voice with my painting style and to create programs and experiences that incorporate art and creativity which are designed to help participants discover their authentic path – to step into their purpose as they follow their dreams.  Yes, it is a lofty undertaking and I’ve been laying the foundation for this chapter for many years (most of my life, truth be told). I knew I needed help to bring all the diverse pieces of my life together to create the curriculum and uncover my true talents.  Since the student was ready, the teacher showed up! 

Through serendipity and destiny, I discovered maestra Shiloh Sophia and her Color of Woman program.  She is an extraordinary artist and sacred teacher located in Sonoma, California.  I was drawn to her painting style which incorporates the divine feminine and extraordinary archetypes in bold colors, movement and design. Then I discovered she teaches a process called “Intentional Creativity.”  To call it a “process” is not actually accurate, but perhaps easier to absorb on the first pass. 

While she provides instruction to hone painting skills, her true purpose is to help women access their own mysterious truths about themselves, their story, their worldview and what they are here to cause and create.  Her method is a way of being in the world and provides a road map to discover the “wild intuitive artist, leader and woman you truly are.”  She guides women on their individual hero’s journey; their personal vision quest to discover their sacred Soul Work.  At the conclusion of the nine month program, the women discover their sacred gifts, create curriculum to share it with their communities, enhance their creative skills, connect more powerfully with their authentic purpose and become a force that will be unstoppable as truth is their compass. I signed up in a heartbeat.

To say this course has been transformation is an understatement.  My very existence has been rocked to the core at every level. Every level. I’m learning who I truly am – my legendary self. I’m accessing my truth and seeing past the stories I’ve been telling myself for a lifetime.  I see my inner critic and transform her into my muse to access truth and consciousness. I’m learning to integrate the various aspects of my life, internal and external, to be the most powerful, purposeful, authentic version of myself.  I’ve been broken down to break through. And I’m painting at an entirely different level.

I will be sharing much more of my experiences, my writings and my paintings out here, so check back and follow along on the journey if you are moved to join me.  I have projects already in the works and I’m scheduling workshops to passionately create experiences for my communities to help them access their path and put their dreams into action. Oh the goodness is flowing!

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so I thought I’d share the creation of one of my biggest paintings to date, and the first one of the class – My Legend.  She represents my legendary self.  It took me six weeks to create her and more hours than I can count. She caused me much angst as she stretched me in ways I didn’t know I could bend. She gave me countless hours of pleasure as I unleashed and gave my paintbrush an uninhibited freedom.  She allowed me to connect with Teddy, my German Shepherd who passed away at the same time as I started the program.  There were days I cried at the canvas as my heart was inconsolable over the loss of my companion. Teddy became my ally on my legendary quest and he showed up on the canvas to help guide me on my path. Now, it gives me tremendous comfort to have him memorialized by my side.

Soul work is not easy work.  It’s messy. It’s ugly. And it’s beautiful. It’s consuming. And confronting. It takes you to task as it brings you to the breaking point.  It’s a personal crucible with a unique alchemy to transform. For every attempt to run, a greater drive commands continuation. There is no hiding. But there is pure truth.  Which sparks the divine ember of purpose.  From which there is no turning back.

Enjoy a glimpse of the making of a legend. She is on a 36″x48″ canvas and has a place of honor in my studio. And in my heart.

a canvas with the following phrases: I am here. See me. I have something to say.

My message for the painting and my life

a canvas with layers of red and blue

The first layers of the painting

a red and blue canvas with yellow dots and a wolf spirit guide

More layers and a spirit guide – wolf

a canvas with lots of paint swirls in blues, reds, yellows, oranges

More layers with bold swirls of paint

a canvas swirled in primary colors with a purple door and red opening

A portal into my visionary journey

painting with swirls, purple door, red opening and yellow paint dripping down the side

I love dripping paint on a canvas!

painting with swirls, purple door, red opening and yellow paint dripping down the side and then rotating the painting and dripping yellow paint on the other side

Adding more drips to the other side of the canvas

painting with swirls, purple door, red opening and yellow paint dripping down the side and then sketching in the face

Time to sketch the face outline with paint.

an paiting of a whimsical dog

Meet Teddy – my ally and eternal companion

painting with swirls, purple door, red opening and yellow paint dripping down the side and then adding a face with a headdress to the center of the painting

She’s starting to take form!

The painting of a woman warrior with the early stages of the face being fleshed out

My attempt at creating face shadows – ouch!

a painting of a brown eye

Eyes are my favorite feature – a window to the soul

A painted face with very dark brown tones

My shadows consumed the face

A warrior lady's face in shades of brown

It was an arduous process trying to lighten the face and add shadows

The woman's face with her mouth gessoed over to be repainted

As I’m working on face tone, I was also working on the nose and the mouth ended up being out of alignment. I had to gesso over the mouth to move it.

the warrior ladies face is fixed - mouth is in alignment and better face tones

The nose, mouth and skin tone were getting better!

An photo of the legendary lady on the easel and all the paint supplies near it

A glance at the artist’s table

Adding an earring and headdress to the warrior

The complexion was getting much better, so I worked on the headdress, earring, angel wings and heart for the throat chakra

An painting of a brown eye with more detail

Much more eye detail, which I love!

A piece of jewelry for her third eye

It’s hard for me to create art and not add jewelry.

Meet my legend warrior goddess - brown skin, brown eyes, burgundy lips, headdress, heart wings over her throat, a dog in the lower left corner and a turquoise earring in her left ear

Meet my legendary self!

Joan Jakel

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