This month in my series celebrating Creatives from around the world who are Living Life In Colour I would love to introduce to you Heather Shalhoub.
Heather is an artist, creatively fit coach, feng shui consultant and librarian living in upstate New York and her company ‘Creative Energy Flow’ is just getting started. Right now Heather creates art, presents on creativity for wellness and teaches painting. She also runs workshops and one-on-one coaching in person and via video chat.
Where do you practice your creative living?
I practice my creative living most everywhere. I find that embracing my creative side opens me up to see everything differently, and I notice beauty, colours and textures on a daily basis. I create in my art studio but also on my computer and at my desk and just about anywhere that allows for me to have some sort of input.
What was your journey to becoming an artist?
I’ve always been an artist, even when I wasn’t creating art, being an artist was part of who I was. My journey was about discovering my own voice in art and finding my way to the artist I was meant to be instead of the one everyone wanted me to be.
I majored in art in school and then at college but I was never sure what to DO with it. I was told to teach, to go into museum studies, but instead I opted to combine my interest of art and psychology and tried creative arts therapy.
The work I wanted to do with that degree, I was told did not exist, so I quit and moved on and ended up becoming a librarian where I eventually lost myself in the daily grind of a full-time job, a long-term relationship and not having my own space. I was depressed, I was anxious and I was plagued by stress, pain and health issues. My body was telling me something was not right, and when even your doctor asks you if you are painting, that is the universe telling you something.
I went through the Artist’s Way program, from Julia Cameron’s book, at the same time as Whitney Freya’s 21-day Painting Meditation Challenge and opportunities started to open up. I started to present on creativity and teach painting at a local ‘Bottles & Brushes’ business. Eventually it didn’t quite feel right and I sought guidance and was told I was right, I was not on the right path. A friend even mentioned to me, you were so much happier doing the painting meditation, and I knew I had to do something so decided that I needed to sign up for the Creatively Fit Coaching Certification Program with Whitney Freya.
I am constantly inspired by nature, by colours, by textures, by other artists, by intuition – I could fill a house with what inspires me. Taking the time for me and taking action on inspiration is more my challenge. I try to schedule time, at least once per week, if not more often, to just paint for as long as I can.
What do you love about being an artist?
I love being an artist because it is who I am. Being an artist lets me speak my truth and show who I really am without having to necessarily express myself with words. I love the connections I make, the tribe I have found, the passion involved in being an artist.
What essential mistakes have you learned from along the way?
The biggest mistake, if I can call it that, was always trying to make art a business. For me, I had to learn that creating was what was important. I am not making art to create what someone else wants or says I SHOULD create. I am creating art to express myself, to get connected and grounded, to tune into my intuition and to put energy out there instead of bottling it up inside. My art is not a product, it is energy and expression.
Right now, I am only painting for me. I am decorating my home with my energy paintings based on feng shui principles. As I continue painting, the detachment from the “product” that I have learned from doing painting marathons (where you paint over the same canvas over and over again) will help me be able to sell my work as I used to feel far too attached to do that.
What is your favourite piece of equipment and why?
My favourite piecse of equipment are synthetic brushes. I love soft bristles and the flexibility with paint. I love that they work well with all kinds of paint and I have quite a big synthetic brush collection.
Do you have any tips for new artists?
For me, the hardest part was finding my own voice and letting it out. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and express your own unique voice and style in your work and in your life. Don’t compare yourself to others or try to be like them, the best way to be an artist is to do your own thing.
What is one thing about you which you think would surprise people?
I am also a nerdy academic type. I was salutatorian of my high school class and have had good grades and loved learning all through college. The more challenging it was, the better I did.
Round of applause!…
Thank you so much Heather for agreeing to take part in ‘Creatives Living Life In Colour’ – I wish you so much good luck with your new business, and look forward to seeing more of your art and to see where you take your creativity. Thank you!
If Heather has inspired all of you newbies to really give painting a go andyou want to learn please contact me here …. I am sure I will be able to assist you.
If you would like to contact or find out more about Heather and her lovely fun work please go to: