Splash, Creativity, Engaging Your Muse

Artist or not, we are creative beings by nature.

Yet so many learn to dismiss this precious inborn faculty at an early age. Instead, we adopt mentally driven practices that stress goal-oriented accomplishments. And the most accomplished among us often do this to the exclusion of everything else. However, adulthood is a mystery once we arrive, and that mystery only deepens as time goes on. We learn, sometimes painfully slowly, that we can't get to it with logic no matter how hard we try.

The Gift of Creativity

When creativity and intuition are in the right place, they're intrinsically related. Logic works better, our goals are balanced, and our accomplishments are more holistic and meaningful. As creators, when art and how we create it are in right relationship to each other, we tend to thrive. Life opens up, and we see and experience so much more because we feel the intensity of our aliveness increasing. We've found keys to the zone. We're eager and on fire to use them.

The Wall of I Can't

Then, everything will try to pull us off track, distract, and stop us. We're not allowed, it's not important, something else is more important, isn't that cute, your hobby, etc. Delivered at just the right moment by just the right person or circumstance, we wobble. And we might abandon our love, our efforts, our practice. But those of us who hang on become way-showers in this complicated world. We become ambassadors to the unseen beauty that makes life sing to us, and we keep that song alive for everyone else. 

The Art of Making Art

The technique is secondary. It can be learned. There's no one style or way of doing things. It's much more about how we see and then learn how to apply our materials to express our vision authentically. Simplistic, yes, but it's hard to describe what I do when teaching other than get people out of their own way, help uncover students' unique gifts, and make play a part of life again. Insight into your own journey takes some time, practice, and commitment. You just have to engage your muse. It's doable, it's fun, and helps bring the frayed edges of life back together. Find out about my learning programs here.

A Celebration of Artistry - The Best of Watercolor, Splash 24, 2023

I'm honored to be a part of The Best of Watercolor, Splash 24, 2023. I entered the competition last minute with the enthusiastic urging of a student. I rarely enter competitions, if ever. But this time, I did. Much to my surprise, I was chosen to participate as the third place winner with my painting Peony Holy Fire, Phoenix Rising. 

It's been a positive experience, and I've enjoyed working with the team at Golden Peak Media to help bring all the pieces and parts together. I think freelance writer Christine Proskow did a great job with the article considering my unusual approach, which is challenging to wrap words around. Thank you, Christine and the whole team who work behind the scenes to make this magazine happen. And most importantly, much gratitude to juror Jean Haines who chose my painting 
Peony Holy Fire, Phoenix Rising as one of the winning entries. Thank you, Jean!

Juror Jean Haines' enthusiasm for the painting was evident. “The light in this watercolor is stunningly captured in a way that almost detracts from the subject, due to its beauty,” she remarked. “Every petal, every detail is perfectly painted. The intricacy of the center begs to be admired.”

Get Your Splash On!

If you haven't seen The Best of Watercolor, Splash 24, 2023 edition yet, you can purchase the publication online, in digital form here on the Artists Network website. Read the article about me and my work here.

As I teach, my students benefit, and I learn.

A recent testimonial from one of my masterclass students:

"I first encountered Leslie’s art online on social media. Her flower paintings spoke to me in the same way that an amazing song will sneak up on you unexpectedly. The paintings ask nothing, they contain everything, and they resonate with a warmth and compassion that transcends Leslie’s obvious technical mastery.

I visited her website and was delighted to find that Leslie offered classes! We touched base, and I signed up for a Master Class.

The Master Class has been a gift in every possible way. On the surface, the format is simple: we talk for about an hour via Skype, and Leslie paints for an hour while I watch and while we continue to talk. I paint, too, in my own time, trying as best I can to use the same meditative approach that Leslie uses, although not necessarily emulating her style.

There is so much more to the classes than painting, though. Although Leslie freely and gracefully provides practical guidance on materials selection, color interactions, pigment characteristics, water control, etc., the classes are more about getting in touch with our inner Source, with the exquisite beauty that dwells within and that wants nothing more than to be seen.

I learned early on that I wasn’t painting roses. In fact, I wasn’t painting at all. I was playing, listening to the silence, getting out of my own way, and, above all, trusting in the process. I knew this was how I wanted to create before I met Leslie, and her gentle, consistent guidance has helped me tremendously in painting what I feel and not what I think I should be putting down on paper.

I unconditionally recommend Leslie’s classes to anyone who wants to be in the way that allows us to create authentic, heartfelt art."

Tim, Colorado Springs

• • •

I was deeply touched to receive the above testimonial. It arrived as I wrote this post, so perfect to include. Teaching has always been a part of my life, and it only becomes richer and more satisfying as time goes on. I get to meet wonderful people from all over the world, and it gives me great satisfaction to pass on some of the things that have taken me a lifetime to embody. I also learn things about my own work as I interact with students. It's win win.

Find out more about my learning programs here.

Wishing you all the best in your creative endeavors.

Leslie Montana



Exquisite Paintings on the Nature of Flowers is a body of work based on a sophisticated visual analysis of nature's frequencies = LOVE. Ongoing, and now in phase two.