News » may 2016

  • My 52 Paintings Journey

    Posted on May 11 2016

    Last March I enrolled in a year-long painting class called 52 Paintings with Mati Rose McDonough and Faith Evans-Sills. Little did I know how life changing this class was going to be for me. I wasn’t sure if I was going to sign up when I saw it. I was very drawn to it but was also a little hesitant. I’ve taken a few painting classes over the years but I was always working full-time and never really had the time to fully immerse myself in the painting process. I knew I would have more time now though since I had a creative business and was working from home. I checked in with my intuition like I always do when I make a decision, and it was a clear YES. So much so, that I remember seeing bright light and I felt super happy which of course was huge confirmation that the answer was YES. I had my doubts about whether it would be something I would stick to though. The old ego likes to get involved and tell me why I shouldn’t do something. This time it was reminding me of the other times that I didn’t stick with painting, so why would this one be any different? My intuitive guidance was so strong and won out this time. So I enrolled in the class! Yay!

    Every month there was a different theme that we were encouraged to paint, like geometrics, nature explorations, animals, abstracts etc. I was so surprised to find that I really loved doing abstracts. I felt so free! It felt amazing! I could get messy and scribble and not worry about being perfect. After 20 years of being a designer, perfectionism and being anal about every little detail comes with the territory. I kind of doubted that I could even paint abstractly at first, but I just continued anyway and had fun. Then I started doing paintings that I really liked and over time, I started to build some confidence. We had a supportive community of artists in the class along with Faith and Mati who would give their support and feedback. I can honestly say the whole experience was life-changing. Being a year-long course really helped me to stay motivated and dedicated to the practice. There were times that I didn’t participate but I knew I could always catch up and jump right back in. I ended up painting around 35 paintings! I didn’t get to the full 52 paintings goal of painting one a week, but that’s ok… I was so proud of myself and so happy to see all that I accomplished in a year and how much I had grown.

    I loved the class so much that I enrolled in the class again. This time it’s called Painting the Sacred Within. We’re currently in our second week. I’ll be sharing more about this year’s journey as I go along. I’m so looking forward to another year of class!

    And p.s., these two paintings are large scale (30 x 30 and 36 x 36). Fine art giclee prints will be available for purchase soon in my online shop!


  • The Last of My Spirit Cat T-Shirts

    Posted on May 07 2016

    It’s been a dream of mine for a long time to have a creative business and for some time, I thought creating t-shirts would be a part of that business. I would sit and sketch out the different products that I wanted to offer and it all felt so fun and exciting. Then a couple years ago, after starting Spirit Cat, I started making and selling t-shirts with my original designs. It felt so exciting at first. I was selling shirts, people were loving them, and I thought I had found something that I wanted to do. I had photoshoots done which was so fun! I loved the finished product and the idea of people out there wearing my shirts felt awesome.

    But as time went on, I started to feel like something was missing and I wasn’t quite sure what it was. Something just felt off and I didn’t feel happy. I was at the point where I was going to start getting them printed on a larger scale and this feeling kept persisting. So I took some time to honor that feeling and turn inward to find some answers. I know by now the importance of listening to my intuition even if it doesn’t always make sense at the moment. I was starting to understand that my intuition was guiding me in another direction and away from doing t-shirts. Every time that I tuned into what my heart and soul wanted, the answer to whether I should continue doing shirts was a clear “NO”. But my mind and ego were telling me otherwise. My mind would say things like, “but I love my shirts, how can I stop doing them?”, “I’ll be a failure, what will people think?”, “but I’m a graphic designer, so this makes so much sense for me,”… and the best one…“I can still do my shirts and do the other things I want to do… it won’t take up too much of my time.” I had to laugh at this one! Having a business takes a lot of work and each part of it takes a lot of time. I resisted the idea of letting my shirts go for quite some time. Every time I would look at my gorgeous photographs, I would resist and struggle more. I would let my mind and ego take over and tell me all the reasons why I should continue.

    Then last year, I enrolled in a year-long painting class and everything changed. Over the course of the year, I began to see just how much my soul craved creative freedom and expression. Part of me had known this for years but that creative free part of me had been shut down and suppressed in a 20 year graphic design career. Last year, I really began to see how important it is for me to create on a regular basis. With t-shirts, once the design is created, it’s all production and inventory management… and a whole lot of it. Which I found wasn’t making me happy. Once I found what my soul wanted, it was easy to let my shirts go and it actually felt really good and freeing. I was able to let go of the fear around it and embrace what I really love. And isn’t that what life’s all about? Being happy and following our heart! And the great thing is, I really don’t regret pursuing a direction that ultimately wasn’t right for me. I’m proud of myself for having the courage to go for something and for trying it out for a while. I learned a ton which is always valuable. So… any whooozies, if you’ve had your eye on a shirt, I have a handful left of each design, so feel free to head over to my Etsy store to see if your size is still available.

    And I want to give a HUGE thank you to all of my amazing models who helped with these shoots… my awesome friends Lynn, Dawn, Kathleene, Gianna and Chris from the Rust Belt who we snagged at the last minute and happened to be wearing the perfect blue shoes to match the mural behind him. Couldn’t have planned that better! Thank you all so much! You all did such an amazing job! And the photographer that took all of these gorgeous photos is my cousin Riva. She’s an amazing wedding photographer. You can check out her work here!

  • My Insights from The Creative Revolution Summit

    Posted on May 02 2016

    Shereen Sun recently put on an amazing free event called The Creative Revolution Summit. She interviewed a bunch of artists, musicians, and spiritual teachers who all talked about their craft. I love events like this. I love listening to other creative people talk about their chosen art form and hear about the fears or struggles that they face. I always find that I can relate to other artists so much. And I always learn a lot. There were so many great interviews and I ended up having a few favorites. One super shiny pearl of wisdom that I gained from the summit was from an interview by Lainie Love Dalby. She talked about how she gave her ego a name. She gave all the voices of her inner critic and fear a name so she could see things more objectively and sort of more outside of herself. She named her ego JEFFRY, which stands for judgement, ego, fear, failure, resistance and yielding. Naming her ego Jeffry also allows her to keep things light hearted so she can have a good chuckle about these attributes that we all share. The great thing about this though is that she’s able to counter Jeffry, with WILMA, which stands for Widsom, Intuition, Laughter, Mastery and Artistry (or Authenticity). When I heard this, I thought, wow… this is so brilliant! I LOVE it! I’ve heard a lot of talk about the ego from various spiritual teachers, but this just kind of clicked for me. It helped me to keep it kind of fun and playful and not so serious or scary.

    So it got me thinking about all the ways in which my ego keeps me stuck or fearful. I liked some of her words to describe the ego but also had a few more that felt important for me. So I came up with my own version of Jeffry, which I call GEOFFRI S… which stands for guilt, ego, overwhelm, fear, failure, resistance, insecurity, self-doubt (and/or the biggie… self-sabotage). I added an initial for his last name since self-doubt and self-sabotage felt so big to me. So having done this, of course I needed to come up with an image or name to counter Geoffri S. so I created SHIRLEY C., which stands for Spirit, Heart & Healing, Intuition, Receiving, Love, Light and Laughter, Energy (or Earth), Yeah Baby!, and the biggie… Connection and Creativity. Woo hoo!! YES! Shirley C. is exactly what I need to counter Geoffri S.! It was actually really fun to come up with my own names of essentially my ego and my spirit or true self. And it’s a great way to keep things light when those inner voices of fear start to creep in. I highly recommend giving it a try!

Hey! I’m Janelle and this is where I share my recent work, inspirations, thoughts, and whatever else moves me!


My 52 Paintings Journey

The Last of My Spirit Cat T-Shirts

My Insights from The Creative Revolution Summit


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Latest News


My Inspiration


Sacred Expression

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