What is love when it is truly expressed? What is it to tend the language of the heart? How does one share beauty? What is compassion in action? How do I touch suffering in myself, and in others? What is a life lived as art? What are the thoughts I haven’t thought yet? These are the kinds of questions I ask myself every day. I am in a continual inquiry about who and what and how all this came to be and how we can participate in it with our very aliveness.
Painting for me is a devotional act, a spiritual practice, a prayer and a way to share my love. My creations are the bountiful harvest from a life lived in service to Beauty and the Divine. I feel like a tree whose branches offer fruits and flowers to the sky – that must be -because they do not belong to me. My creations are both my offering and my overflow.
When I create with inquiry and intention, I am able to open a door to the sacred space between worlds. That is where I paint from – straddling spirit and matter, unmanifest and manifest, broken dreams and dreams fulfilled, suffering and healing. It is here that I find I can synchronize my own heartbeat with that of the world. Where I am in some small way one with all that is, even just for a few moments.
I have long had a sense that almost every painting I make is for someone else – or created for some sacred space. While I am painting it – I think of that nameless person – and ideas come to me. Impulses that I add through symbol and shape and pattern that are somehow in the magic world of art, connecting to or attending to that person’s specific need. And when people find the painting that is theirs they often know and remark on which stroke, which symbol, which color, was clearly just for them. In this way I would say that I paint intuitively, and in many respects I am not in charge. I follow where the canvas and my muse lead me. My paintings seek to image a moment in time when all is well. A place where beauty exists and no harm exists. A moment when we feel as we wish we could more often, at peace with ourselves and the world – in love with one another and creation, and experiencing the miracle of life.
I owe deep gratitude and influence to my mentor Sue Sellars and my mother Caron McCloud who taught to believe that what I have to offer is important. Many of the artists who influenced me are a part of the symbolist movement: Mucha, Klimt, Chagall, Kahlo, Redon, Cassat, and others who hold the space of beauty and original voice and image. It has been said, and so I like to think, that my work is a part of a Contemporary Symbolist Movement.
I experience my artist life as a privilege. I have owned art galleries for over 15 years – and represented, coached and trained thousands of women artists. I have authored several books, and am currently working on a volume of my poetry as well as a book of my research about Intentional Creativity.
I find so much joy and self reflection in the creative process, I cannot help but share it with others so that they can honor their own divine spark through creativity. I often paint in my nightgown in the morning at my home studio in my dining room which I call the Red Thread Café, where I have tea with the muse and my future husband, Jonathan Lewis.
When I paint, I feel moments of pure bliss. I think of life as a legend being written, not just a story that happens to me. And my legend is that I am an artist, that life can be art when we choose for it to be, and that life is a great adventure.
May love be at the center of all choices.
Shiloh Sophia lives life as a great adventure narrated by the creative fire of her Muse! She has been painting, writing poetry, publishing books and teaching at universities, the United Nations, and in her own programs and around the world for over twenty years.
Shiloh Sophia was born in Marin County, California and started painting and working in clay as soon as she could walk. At an early age, Shiloh was trained by her mother, the poet Caron McCloud, in literature and poetry and was chastened not to watch TV, but instead to learn the poetry of T.S. Eliot, study the work of Herman Hesse, look at the artwork of Michelangelo, and sketch in her notebook.
Her soul work is inspired by the idea that self-expression is a basic human right, and that each person has a right to know how they think and feel, and the freedom to express it in the world. Her research and development around this idea has focused on serving women and girls through giving them access to methods of transformational art-making, through stories, symbols and inquiry. While Shiloh Sophia is authentically American, she has developed her own style and has been influenced by European Symbolist movement in the tradition of Klimt, Redon, Modigliani, Chagall, Surrealist Frida Kahlo and Impressionist Mary Cassatt.
She is the co-curator and founder of the Intentional Creativity Foundation and Cosmic Cowgirls, a woman and girl owned school that serves between 500 and 5000 women a month through revolutionary education, both virtual and on-location. Their school, inn and museum are located in Sonoma County, California and are called Musea Sophia.
Shiloh Sophia also founded a teacher training program, Color of Woman, which certifies women to teach Intentional Creativity worldwide. Currently there are close to 200 teachers in the lineage who are part of the Intentional Creatives Guild.
Shiloh has taught her work at universities in Global PhD and Masters programs, bringing the technology of Intentional Creativity into academia. She has also presented her work and research at the United Nations, 4 years in a row at UNCSW. (Read about her work with the United Nations here).
Shiloh has published many books on creativity, including coloring books and journals, and has illustrated books and decks including the Mother Mary Oracle with Alana Fairchild and Hard Times Require Furious Dancing for Alice Walker. Her most recent book, Tea with the Midnight Muse, features twenty years of poetry as invocation, along with inquiries to spark your Muse fuse!
Intentional Creativity is a lineage that is ancient in origin, since almost all peoples have made art representing everything from the cosmos, to their relationship with the Great Spirit and nature, to tell a story. This is intention. Intentional Creativity is a combination of image, word and inquiry. In more recent history, the lineage comes to us from Lenore Thomas Straus, who worked with the New Deal Artists and trained Shiloh’s mentor, Sue Hoya Sellars, an American Master Painter and Sculptor. Sue and Shiloh’s mother, Caron McCloud, worked together with Shiloh to bring the method to the world.
Shiloh Sophia’s training as an artist included the Academy of Art, and she studied with renowned Byzantine Russian Iconographer, Pavel Tikhimov. At the tender age of 23 she rendered her first one-woman show under the tutelage of Sue Hoya Sellars. This resulted in a sold-out show featuring paintings combined with photography, writings, sculpture and pottery. In 1997 she opened her first gallery, Color of Woman, in Port Townsend, Washington. When less than 40 years old, she had produced over 1200 original paintings and sold over 2.5 million dollars in art in 10 years. Shiloh Sophia is one of the most popular and collected artists in her genre and one of the top grossing artists in the United States for over ten years. In 2013 Shiloh was awarded a Proclamation from the City of Healdsburg for her service to the community and to women and girls worldwide.
She lives in the vineyard lined hills with her husband, Jonathan, who is also a poet and artist. Their Muses can be found most mornings having tea and discussing quantum physics, philosophy and sacred texts in the Red Thread Cafe.
Shiloh Sophia McCloud
Curriculum Vitae & Creative Projects
Artist. Publisher. Teacher. Consultant. Entrepreneur.
- 2012 – Now Shiloh Sophia Gallery, Healdsburg California
- 2008-2010 Electric Rose Gallery, Healdsburg, California
- 2004-2010 Wisdom House Gallery, Mendocino, California
- 1999-2004 Color of Woman Gallery, California, Washington, Colorado
- Revenues of over 2.5 million dollars of art, prints, books, cards
- Artwork and wholesale product line represented in 300 stores/galleries/venues
Co-Creations and Projects Founded
- 2000 Flaming Heart Publishing, founded wholesale publishing company with over 100 product styles including prints, fine art prints, cards and journals
- 2003 Founded Cosmic Cowgirls, LLC with 25 founding Mamas – a woman and girl owned membership organization focusing on education, publishing, e-learning, events
- 2004 Holy Counsel of Women – Ministry, First Congregational Church of Oakland
- Represented, marketed, coached and launched hundreds of women artists and exhibits
- 2004 Holy Counsel of Women – Ministry, First Congregational Church of Oakland
Art Alliance Projects:
Formed project alliances and events with women/children centered non-profits including: La Casa de las Madres, America’s Angel, Glide Memorial Church, Women Defending Ourselves and Parsa (Organization working with widows and children in Afghanistan), First Congregational Church of Oakland, The Women’s Recovery Association, Marin Abused Womens Service, YWCA of Sonoma County, Native Women’s Wellness Circles, Tribal Taniff of Bakersfield, Daughters of Tradition, Delores Huerta Foundation, Belladonna Sanctuary, Mendocino Environmental Center, Bay Area Business Women, Girls Inc., International Museum of Women, Women’s United Nations Network, Women’s Initiative, San Francisco Women’s Building, National Organization of Women, Margaret Okari Children’s Foundation
Training and Education
- Two year mentorship in painting and clay with artist and illustrator Sue Hoya Sellars
- Icon Painting Apprenticeship to Pavel Tikhimov, famous Russian iconographer
- Academy of Art, San Francisco, Two years 1992-1994
- College of Marin, Kentwood, Two years 1990-1992
- Dominican College, One year 1989
- Holy Orders – 2 Years St. Mary’s – Ordained Reverend
Art Showings and Projects
- Project Revision – A Petition to Change the Declaration of Human Rights to be gender-inclusive
- UNCSW 57 in March of 2013 at the United Nations presented the work of 42 women artists at a panel for the Commission on the Status of Women
- UNCSW 58 in March 2014 as journalist for WNN – Women News Network
- Participated in over 150 juried shows at galleries and art exhibits across U.S.
- Produced, marketed and exhibited at over 75 art, music and educational events, concerts, exhibits, schools, conferences and women’s circles.
- The Virgin Show – Galleria Tonantzin Guest artist for the 2004, 11th Annual Virgin Art Show, San Juan Bautista, Ca
- “Sacred Body Sacred Woman”, New College of California MA exhibition, Berkeley, Ca
- “Angels, Women & Heroes”, First Congregational Church, 6 month exhibit Oakland, Ca
- “Center for Attitudinal Healing” – Marianne Williamson event exhibition, Oakland, Ca
- “Dancing With The Tree of Life”, Belladonna Sanctuary, Berkeley, CA, 3 years
- “Praises for the World” with musician Jennifer Berezan, 2 years, Oakland, Ca
- “Source of Empowerment” California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, Ca
- “Violence Against Women ” Northern California Women’s Caucus
- Nexus Gallery Berkeley, CA and California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco
- Celebration of Craftswomen – Exhibitor 5 years, San Francisco Women’s Building
- DONA – Doulas of North America Art exhibitor in annual conferences
- “Glide’s Wall of Peace” Commissioned by to provide a “platform for creative response” to the war. Hundreds from Glide Memorial participated custom six-piece mural.
- “The Healing” Developed V-Day theme marketing and product line for fund-raising events for domestic violence shelters, Los Angeles ,California
- Women Defending Ourselves –“Wonder of Women” campaign, Oakland, Ca
- Produced three events for Author Alice Walker including
- Illustrated Alice Walkers’ best selling book of poetry – Hard Time Require Furious Dancing
Teaching Experience and Curriculum
- Class instruction in watercolor, oil, acrylic, drawing, sumi calligraphy, journaling, design, project and program development, marketing, creating your artistic identity through one-on-one classes, group workshops, weekend retreats, online courses
- Faith & Feminism Conference, Wisdom’s Urgent Cry – Presenter/Teacher
- First Congregational Church of Oakland, CA Speaker series, 3 years
- New College of California, Women’s Spirituality Department, MA Program New College of California, Creative Inquiry, MFA Program, Teacher 4 years
- Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto, Teacher – MA program 3 years
- Mountain Song Montessori schools, Mendocino, CA – teaching art to children – 4 years
- Books and curriculum used at Pine Grove Treatment Center for women, Hattiesburg, MI
- Book and curriculum approved in 2008 for Toledo Hospital Cancer Recovery Program
- New College of California MFA Creative Inquiry Program – Teacher, MFA
- Curriculum Development Tribal Taniff, Native Women’s Wellness Circles,
- Provided counseling and pastoral services for over ten years to women and teenage girls
- Self-expression through, after school program for Sonoma High School
- Circle of Compassion – One year long teen Girl’s Rights of Passage, Mendocino County
- 2002 “Ecstasy of Sound” co-produced workshop with Jennifer Berezan
- 2000 “Journaling the Soul” with Rose Offner, Journal to the Soul at Readers Bookstore
- 2003 “Transformation of the Sole” workshop with La Casa de las Madres, San Francisco,
- 2002 “Mother-Daughter Workshop” Women to Women Institute, Sonoma, Ca
- 2003 “Palace of The Soul” – Summer for Girls with Artist Elizabeth Gibbons
- 2009 Collaborated with Mary MacDonald and Sue Sellars on e-learning university.
- Trained advocate for victims of domestic violence & sexual assault, Port Townsend, Wa
- Partnerships in Parenting Course for foster kids, Santa Rosa, CAPublishing Projects
- Independently published five illustrated journals for women’s creative development. They are featured in 90% of the women’s bookstores in the United States;
- She Moves To Her Own Rhythm – A Guided Exploration
- Heart Wings – A Book About Real Friendship
- She Dances Between The Worlds – Exploring the Language of the Heart
- Her Evolution – Women’s workbook for personal transformation.
- Heart of the Visionary – A Workbook for Entrepreneurial Women
- On A Wing and A Dream – Collection of Writings
Collaborations: The Caring One and Mending Invisible Wings
Itty Bitty Bio
Shiloh Sophia McCloud has dedicated the past seventeen years of her life to the study and practice of art as a spiritual discipline as well as to helping equip women with the tools and understanding to develop their own creative potential. Shiloh’s artwork is dedicated to providing healing images of women and family. As a leader in helping to build a transformational art movement, Shiloh lives and teaches a philosophy that all art forms are tools for individual, social and spiritual transformation. Thousands of women have deepened in their creative practice through Shiloh’s illustrated Color of Woman journals and her workshops. Shiloh is the founder of Cosmic Cowgirls Ink, LLC a woman and girl owned university publishing company, magazine and membership community that now produces five Color of Woman journals with dozens more on the way. Shiloh is also the founder of Palm of Her Hand, (501c3 pending) which collaborates with artists. poets, musicians to create events and products. Shiloh’s paintings are internationally collected and her product line is represented at galleries and fine shops throughout the Unites States.