Posts in Category: Creative Heart Newsletter

Remember to Retreat

"Create Inside Out" painted live in San Jose, CA

“Create Inside Out” painted live in San Jose, CA

Dear Creative Heart,

In January I found myself invited to share my love of creativity and art with the student body at San Jose Christian School in California. A couple of days before I flew out, the weather had sunk to -6 degrees here and I relished the idea of sinking my frozen Iowa toes into some green California grass.

I was delighted by so much more that just warmer temps and green grass- I was warmly welcomed by the beautiful community at the school who engaged my live painting and my personal journey to embracing creativity. I was blessed by the enthusiasm of the students, their thoughtful questions and our creativity conversations.

After my time sharing at school, I had the opportunity to sit by the ocean and watch the waves roll into shore. I strolled the streets and galleries of Carmel-by-the-Sea…taking in the feast of creativity, color and skills of so many gifted artists. I experienced the gift of warm hospitality and reconnecting with a dear friend and her family.

As I have reflected on my time in California, I’m struck by how blessed I was by the entire experience-the opportunity to fly across the country (I didn’t have to take a covered wagon like pioneer women of old), the opportunity to share my gifts with the next generation, the opportunity to see new sights, meet new people and think new thoughts.

These are the things that help keep an artistic life sustainable.

These are the things that bring a fresh breath to my soul.

Dear creative heart- remember to retreat, to travel, to do something new, to share your gifts again…your heart just may expand and your creativity just may blossom into new directions.

With Passion,


“Create Inside Out” painted live in San Jose, CA

“Figuring out” our creative journey…

"Entry Point" Acrylic on Canvas, 20 x 20, MelyndaVanZee©2015

“Entry Point” Acrylic on Canvas, 20 x 20, MelyndaVanZee©2015

Dear Creative Heart,

Several months ago I received an email from a young creative friend, she wrote…

“I keep thinking I should have this figured out by now.”

Me too.

Oooh my…how we wish we could have a clear map for our creative journeys-how we inwardly desire to have it all figured out. Some days we long for the assurances… if I do A, then B will happen, and then, of course, LMNO… will show up… and while it is true that if we DO the WORK-it will set certain things in motion, but there are still no guarantees of what exactly will be set in motion. Each creative has their own journey, their own path to unfold and there are no guaranteed outcomes. We don’t want to hear this. We fight this truth. We try to schedule, and plan, and set goals to achieve those imagined outcomes. Our north American culture-our hard work ethic models that if we work hard, live upstanding lives, get the right grades, go to the right schools, make the right friends, find the right person to marry, then…”it will all work out”, but nothing could be farther than the truth. We often listen too loudly to all of these voices that try to mold our future lives and lure us into believing that if we can only figure out the “right choices” then we will have conquered this thing called life. But, the truth is we can’t predict how we may be blessed, and we thankfully don’t get see the tragedies that may befall us in our life times.

May I suggest a shift in posture. May I suggest instead of struggling to figure out “the right”, we stand instead in the place of not knowing. Rather than adding more fuel to the fire of our gut-wrenching inner struggle to figure out the future-to morph our creativity into a package that will do what we want it to do…that we simply focus on the creative activity in front of us by stripping our creativity of the burden of the future.

Facing the blank canvas or the empty page is a cycle to be repeated over and over again in the life of every creative. Right now I’m facing my own empty canvases, unsure of exactly what is going to show up when the paintbrush begins to engage the paint this time around. And so I walk again thru the door, stand at my table, prepare the tools for the work at hand, squeeze out the paint, give myself the freedom and the permission to begin again, not knowing the outcome, but committed to undertaking the process again…leaving the outcomes parked outside the studio door…thinking not about having this creative process all figured out by now, but engaging the potential in beginning again. Relaxing into the love of paint flowing off of the brush, color mingling in front of my eyes, allowing the spirit from which creativity flows to move my hands and engage my eyes and let the “what is” of the present moment swirl outward from deep within.

With Passion,


If you would like to receive the Creative Heart Newsletter from Melynda Van Zee Studio, subscribe here to have tidbits of color and encouragement delivered to your Inbox.

Saying YES

Look for the Beauty in the Chaos 48 x 48 Acrylic on Canvas Painted Live during Christmas Eve Services Lutheran Church of Hope West Des Moines, IA

Look for the Beauty in the Chaos
48 x 48 Acrylic on Canvas
Painted Live during Christmas Eve Services at Lutheran Church of Hope West Des Moines, IA

Dear Creative Heart,

Over the past couple of months, I’ve had opportunity to practice saying YES…to say YES to things that were out of my comfort zone…to say YES to things that I couldn’t control the outcome of…to say YES to things that I didn’t think could be a reality in my creative life.

Did you catch that I said I had the opportunity to practice saying YES? As we head into this new year, I’d like to encourage you to ponder what you might be asked to say YES to in your own personal life and creative journey.

How might you get to practice saying YES?

Saying YES takes strength of spirit and character…saying YES takes releasing control of outcomes…and sometimes saying YES might mean further challenges…and saying YES usually involves some form of risk…which is…need I say it…RISKY people!

Oh…my dear creative friends…you will pick wrong sometimes, you might get hurt sometimes due to your choices…some people may not agree with your decisions…and risk is risky but, what is the alternative?

To quiet the voices inside of you that are whispering to your heart?

To shut down your creativity and the vitality of your life?

To miss opportunities to use your unique gifts and skills?

May I gently encourage you to find time to quiet yourself (you probably can’t quiet down your life and all the chaos that swirls around you), but try to spend some time listening to what is rolling around in your heart. I’ve found this is rather hard to do if you are super tired so taking a nap first or getting some extra sleep might be a first step for you. Designate a quiet place in your home for you to regoup and quiet yourself. Buy a journal to record some of your thoughts. Commit to making time to listen to your own life and heart.

Your creative heart will tell you, it will prompt you, it will whisper to you next steps, but you need to learn to listen and then practice saying YES to whatever whispers you hear.

With Passion,


If you would like to receive the Creative Heart Newsletter from Melynda Van Zee Studio, subscribe here to have tidbits of color and encouragement delivered to your Inbox.