We welcome Connie Solera as our final guest of the Summer 2017 Living In Creative Spirit interview series. Connie Solera is an artist with over 20 years experience teaching art and a lifelong devotion to her always evolving painting practice. At DirtyFootprints-Studio.com Connie offers mentoring, workshops, and retreats, as well as an intimate peek into her own creative shenanigans.
What is one of your favorite quotes?
Once we get used to listening to our dreams, our whole body responds like a musical instrument. ~ Marion Woodman
What is one book that has inspired you?
Oh gosh! There are so many. But one book that I read again and again and actually own three copies of is Women Who Run With Wolves by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés.
Do you have a favorite flavor of ice-cream?
Chocolate Peanut butter all the way! Why bother with any other flavor!
If you were a super hero what would your name and super power be?
Creative Instigator. I would fly around the world with my magic paintbrush wand helping artists make their dreams a reality.
What role does spirituality play in your creative work?
As an emerging professional artist in my twenties my main focus was on creating a product that would sell. I was academically trained as an artist so honestly, this is all I really knew to do. But it never felt right. I had so much love and passion for art — but trying to please the market and get into galleries all the time drained the living life out of me! Though, my one saving grace was that I always squeezed in time to make art that was purely, 100% for me.
I’m so grateful that my younger self had the insight back then to do so. My personal painting practice led me away from the traditional art world and into total alignment with myself, it has helped me heal from trauma, and most of all my painting practice opened my heart to a spirituality that feels real, alive, and deeply entwined in my life.
So yes, I can say with great love and reverence that my personal painting practice is what guides me inward, keeps me grounded, and is also my gift of service to others – to me those are the touchstones of spirituality for certain.
What is your favorite creative outlet?
I have two absolute favorite creative outlets — one is painting. It’s something I have done my entire life. The second is my business Dirty Footprints Studio. For me business is just as creative and exciting as splashing paint around in my art journal is! I love that I get to marry both of them together!
What inspires your creative work?
What doesn’t inspire my creative work!?! Life is a bounty of inspiration — I create art based on just about everything I digest — from the beautiful place where I live to even the suffering that I witness in the world. Simply being alive fuels me to paint, create, and to teach.
What are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about art and artists — especially working with women. I have a real soft spot in my heart for artists that are on the verge of claiming who they are and owning their gifts. I feel the world needs more people that feel alive, creative, and inspired — and for me, helping other artists to do just that is my mission.
Do you have a daily spiritual practice?
Yes, it’s my painting practice. My painting practice is where I settle my mind chatter, go inward, surrender to what is, and really connect to my spirit in an authentic way. This has been my one and true constant practice since I was a kid and for that I am grateful.
How do you move through creative blocks?
I honor my creative blocks by letting them have space and a purpose in my life. I’ve been traveling this artist path long enough to trust in the ebb as much as the flow. So when a creative block comes my way, most of the time it’s because I’ve ignored the fact that I need to rest, fill the well, and shift the energy of my practice. So in a way creative blocks have become some of my best friends.
How do you inspire the Creative Spirit in others through your work?
Through my business Dirty Footprints Studio I host online workshops such as 21 SECRETS, Painting The Feminine, and FEARLESS® Painting where artists, no matter what skill level or background they possess, can deepen their connection to their Creative Spirit through painting and mixed media.
I also host a year long ,mentoring program called IGNITE. In IGNITE I intimately work with a group of 16 women artists in discovering and claiming their unique creative gifts, while helping them gain the tools and confidence to shine their gifts into the world powerfully through heart guided programs and businesses.
And last, I am pretty dang lucky to say that I host international painting retreats where I take small groups of women artists to some pretty beautiful places! Together we get inspired, learn from other artists, enjoy being in creative community with one another, and paint! paint! paint! and PAINT! This past January I hosted 2 sold out week long retreats in Oaxaca, Mexico and I’m going back in November to host 2 more!
What are you currently working on?
Right now I am in total transition. In June of 2018 my family and I are moving to Costa Rica where my beloved husband Hansel was born and raised and where my heart has resided ever since he first took me there in 2004.
This is a total dream come true for me – for all of us actually! And as part love letter and part thanksgiving to the beautiful state of Arizona that we have made our home for the last 11+ years, we have been co-creating a monthly video together.
As a family, my husband, son, and I have been traveling to places that are near and dear to us in Arizona and connecting with them in the ways we do best as individual artists: I through painting, he through video and my son through play! Each month we release our video collaboration on the New Moon — which to us signifies new
beginnings as well as the end of a cycle.
My intention with these paintings is not to paint what I see — but rather to connect with the Earth more intimately and express my sincerest gratitude for all that this land and this time here has both taught and given me.
We call this project our New Moon Video Series and it is something I am both very proud of and excited about.
Come check out our videos so far by clicking here: http://www.dirtyfootprints-studio.com/tag/eleven-new-moons
What tip would you give readers to help them nurture their Creative Spirit?
Do what you love. It’s simple as that.
Where can readers learn more about you and your work?
Thank you Connie! We look forward to staying in touch and keeping up with all of your creative endeavors.
“Living In Creative Spirit,” is an online interview series featuring creative individuals who blend spirituality and creativity in their lives and work. Summer session interviews are published weekly on Monday at 12:00 CT. This series is presented by Unity Arts Ministry, a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization dedicated to inspiring personal growth, healing and transformation through spiritual enrichment and creative expression.
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