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What am I here to cause and create? How does one discover the language of the heart? How do I gain access to the hidden worlds. How do I transform my own suffering into an offering for others? Can art truly save lives, and if so , what is the direct application of that medicine? What are the thoughts I haven’t thought yet? I am in continual inquiry about who and what and how all this came to be, and how we can participate with our full creative selves expressed. Most of the time, I ask these inquiries at the Red Thread Cafe in the company of my Muse.
Painting is a devotional act, a spiritual practice, a prayer in paint strokes. 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 and write poetry from – straddling spirit and matter, unmanifest and manifest, quantum potential engaged with desire. It is here that I can synchronize my own heartbeat with the heart of the world. I have always felt I was here to serve.
Everything can be made sacred through our choice – even how we set up our paints and light candles – the ritual is part of the journey.
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 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 – my muse follows the path… 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.
When I paint, I feel moments of pure bliss, whether it is a mermaid, or muse or Madonna, it is a relationship with the sacred. I think of life as a legend being written, not just a story that happens… I am the one authoring the future.
Shiloh Sophia lives life as a great adventure narrated by the creative fire of her Muse! She has dedicated her life to the belief that self-expression is a basic human right and shares her message with thousands around the world. Through her paintings, poetry, and teachings she leads a global movement of revolutionary education focused in Intentional Creativity® serving tens of thousands of women for over 25 years. Her work is offered in the Color of Woman Teacher Training, Motherboard Coaching and Red Thread Guide for those who are a part of the lineage. She co-founded MUSEA: Centers for Intentional Creativity® with locations around the world. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband Jonathan, also a poet as well as a chef and wine-maker. Most mornings, she can be found having tea with her Muse, pouring over quantum physics, philosophy, and sacred texts in the Red Thread Cafe. In the afternoon she will be in her studio painting or at their little art and wine bar by the bay called Musette. She is the published author of 5 books with 2 being published in 2020. Join us for a cuppa’ something good and a great conversation!
Finding Her Rhythm, Acrylic on Wood
Shiloh Sophia lives life as a great adventure narrated by the creative fire of her Muse! She has dedicated her life to the belief that self-expression is a basic human right and shares her message with thousands around the world through her paintings, poetry, and teachings. She leads a global movement of revolutionary education focused in Intentional Creativity®, as offered in the Color of Woman Teacher Training. She co-founded a Studio and Center for Intentional Creativity®, MUSEA, in Sonoma, California, with her husband Jonathan. Most mornings, she can be found having tea with her Muse, pouring over quantum physics, philosophy, and sacred texts in the Red Thread Cafe.
Shiloh Sophia was born in Marin County, California in 1970 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 and Hilma af Klint, Frida Kahlo, Lenor Thomas Straus and Mary Cassatt.
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.
Shiloh Sophia lives life as a great adventure! A renaissance woman who communicates her philosophy through painting, storytelling and illustrations. For 25 years she has dedicated her soul work to the practice of creativity as a path of transformation and consciousness. As a gallery owner, she has represented her own work, as well as hundreds of women artists
Her paintings are widely collected around the world and she achieved incredible success with her fine art and books by the age of 40. Her intuitive painting process led to a desire to teach and serve. Her contemplative approach provided groundbreaking research on how Intentional Creativity® gives voice to the soul. Her message of ‘creating with intention’ has reached tens of thousands, and for some programs, she reaches upwards of 500 enrolled students online per month.
Her devotion to sacred art-making and specifically medicine painting and metacognitive drawing is a personal spiritual practice. Her relationship with the feminine Divine and specifically Mother Mary and Magdalene has deeply influenced her work, having painted over one hundred images of Madonnas, many of which are used in the Mother Mary Deck published by Blue Angel. She is trained as a Reverend and leads circles for women to explore their relationship with making sacred art.
Her work is taught in university MA and Ph.D. programs, at the United Nations, and by over 300 Intentional Creativity® Teachers and Coaches worldwide. At the core of her work is a belief that the right to self-express is one of the most basic human rights. Her research dives into the exploration of the right/left brain connection with the heart and body as well as how image and language inform consciousness.
She is the creator of over seven illustrated books and journals and is currently working on a series of mythic novels as well as an inspirational deck. Having been trained by her mother Caron McCloud the poet, and Sue Hoya Sellars the artist, she brought her gifts of language and image into form. To her students, she offers the gift of a ‘creative lineage’ rich with a community of culture, practice, process, and teachings.
To honor the lineage, her husband Jonathan and she co-founded MUSEA : Center for Intentional Creativity® where she is the Curator for a visionary art collection. They provide education at their campus and in their global online classroom. The two also own and operate an art and wine bar just outside of San Francisco called Musette. She can be found most days having tea with her muses discussing quantum physics and celebrating revelations of the heart.
Poetry and Paintings: www.shilohsophia.com
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/Artist.Shiloh.Sophia/
Every bone in your body is a creative bone.
In summarizing a life of creative action it is impossible to provide a comprehensive overview that is not way too long to read. That said, we have selected a range of Shiloh’s work and projects important to her showing her cares and interests.
Color of Woman 2016 – Graduating Class, Healdsburg, CA
At the age of 23, Shiloh Sophia left the corporate world of art, education, and business behind and a year later, had her first of many sold-out shows.
“As a young student, I discovered I wasn’t a talented artist in the traditional sense, but once I found the images within and the messages they held, nothing could stop my Muse from her mission. She chose to be a danger to the establishment, a rebel with a cause,” shares Sophia.
But she didn’t stop there. Shiloh also created her first million dollars in art sales before the age of 40. Today she continues to sell original paintings, as well as a wholesale line of cards, coloring books and art that has now been featured in over 300 specialty stores.
She achieved her success through empowering herself and those she serves through the concepts and lineage of Intentional Creativity. This form of creativity is an intuitive process that accesses internal imagery through story, inquiry, and language connected with the heart. “Creating with mindfulness”
Through art, music, dance, and ritual Shiloh also serves an ever expanding group of over thousands of students, both women and men advocates in their lives, who live in the Americas and regions around the world. Today these students are learning to expand their own consciousness into local and global communities through the use of Intentional Creativity.
“Art opens the hidden rooms of our souls, where we will often find our authentic selves just waiting there for us,” outlines Sophia. “From here we can find our truest voice and speak from the soul.”
With an enduring influence that started in the 1930s, Shiloh’s Intentional Creativity lineage began with New Deal WPA. (Works Progress Administration in the U.S.) artist Lenore Thomas Straus. It’s here the zen concept of being still and owning the spark of creation to create through our own life’s stories could be shared with the world. Working with Eleanor Roosevelt on several large public WPA sculpture projects, Straus was also the legal guardian for Shiloh’s art mentor Sue Hoya Sellars.
As a mentor for Shiloh the wisdom that came from artist Lenore Straus, was later echoed strongly by Sellars. This changed Shiloh’s life. Upon Sue’s death in 2014 Sellars continues to be recognized as one of California’s ‘Master Painters’.
Pivotal too in the development of Shiloh’s talents is poet, writer, and teacher Caron McCloud, Shiloh’s mother, who encouraged Shiloh from a young age to learn to create art and recite poetry.
“My mama taught me to expand my mind and heart from the time I can remember, showing me art, reading me poetry, and talking to me and listening to me, as if I had something to say. Turns out, I did. My grandmother Eden, was also a writer, painter, expert needlepoint artist, and seamstress, so this runs in the family. My mom used to make drawings for me to color, and what was my first offering?: a coloring book. I grew up immersed in two creative studios, my mother and grandmother’s dressmaking shop, hence the focus on threads, and Sue and my aunt Janet’s pottery studio, hence the fascination with the image of the feminine in form,” shared Sophia.
Decades later with the working members of her growing community, including Mary MacDonald and Jenafer Owen, Shiloh’s work was brought to the next level. It was then a special teacher training initiative called the ‘Color of Woman School’ introduced itself for the first time in 2010. This was an exciting moment when certification to become a teacher with the Intentional Creativity Method began and has continued with each year being filled up with over 50 students as teachers in training.
As this program continues over 250 Intentional Creativity teachers will offer education in special venues including prisons, hospitals, social services, boardrooms, schools, and veteran services locations. Classes will also be held in numerous diverse locations including cruise ships, wine bars, yoga studios, concert halls, churches, retreat centers, and much more.
In 2017 Shiloh’s work with Intentional Creativity is being shared in multiple tech mediums including video and phone conferencing, podcasts, virtual reality, newsletters, Facebook talks and in studio TV productions. The key to this is to “serve those who serve,” says Sophia.
“Life is a great adventure, and my work is wisdom and wiles of my own ‘Muse’,” she outlines. This framework of creativity as ‘Intentional’ has guided my path for over two decades, she outlines. “Making art ‘Intentional’ changes how the art impacts us and lives in the world”
Using an ancient concept that connects all of us, Shiloh believes in the connection we have together through our use of a millennium of ideas that encompass the ancient teachings of ‘The Red Thread” which can be found in a multitude of religious and spiritual beliefs around the world. The Red Thread can give all of us a way to hold hands throughout our process, reminds Sophia.
“If you pause, with me, and connect in a quantum way through connection, can you feel my love extending all the way to you in this non-time based moment?” says Shiloh as she invites her old and new students to join with her in a 2015 Red Thread Circle training.
“It is here. It is real. And we can teach it and share it: Easily. If we choose to show up for it, but I will teach you more about that when we gather!” she continues.
With this Shiloh reminds us all that, “no one ever needs to feel isolated and alone. And we certainly cannot do this alone.”
Today Shiloh Sophia lives with her innovative poet, artist and developed chef husband Jonathan Lewis where they own and manage a small guest inn, art museum and classroom in Sonoma, California. Shiloh and Jonathan also have acres of retreat property that hosts events in Mendocino, California, part of the lineage through Sue Hoya Sellars.
“We can choose to be a part of the weave or we can sit by and let it unravel before our eyes,” says Shiloh. “As for me, I am a weaver who calls others to gather their own threads and get to work. Each of us has our own sacred assignment to fulfill.”
Curriculum Vitae & Projects
In summarizing a life of creative action it is impossible to provide a comprehensive overview that is not way to long to read. That said, we have selected a range of Shiloh’s work, projects that were important to her, that show her cares and interests.
Artist. Publisher. Teacher. Consultant. Entrepreneur.
- 2015-Current Cosmic Cowgirls Ranch, School, Gallery
- 2012 – 2015 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 in 3 cities in California, Washington, Colorado
- Multi-million dollars of art, prints, books, cards, classes
- Artwork and wholesale product line represented in 300 stores/galleries/venues
Co-Creations and Projects Founded
- 2001 Flaming Heart Publishing, founded wholesale publishing company with over 100 product styles including prints, fine art prints, cards and journals represented around the world in retail locations
- 2004 Holy Counsel of Women – Ministry, First Congregational Church of Oakland – a 2 year ministry serving women with Rev. Ama Zenya
- 2006 Founded Cosmic Cowgirls, LLC with 25 founding Mamas – a woman and girl owned membership organization focusing on education, publishing, e-learning, events
- 2016 Power Creatives TV – featuring experts
- 2016 Founded Mothership Inc. with Jonathan McCloud
- 2016 Founded MUSEA with Jonthan McCloud
- CEO of Cosmic Cowgirls, LLC a woman and girl owned publisher, school and community with hundreds of members, including over 100 owner members
- Creator of Red Thread Café Classroom – an online learning circle for Intentional Creativity with close to 5,000 student participants
- Color of Woman School – 200+ women teachers trained in Intentional Creativity Methodology
- Intentional Creativity Guild – community of Color of Woman Graduates bringing work to the world
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 Women’s 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 and many more.
In Shiloh’s work she supports women artists, representing, marketing, and coaching and has launched hundreds of women artists and exhibits and consulted to art businesses.
Shiloh has worked closely with Native American women shamans and healers to bring creativity curriculum to women and girls for most of her life.
In 2017 Shiloh’s team worked with Let it Ripple Films, Big Picture Arts, 6 Word Memoirs to bring a collaborative art project on Gender Equality on the global 50/50 Day event that upwards of 10K organizations participated in.
In 2016 Shiloh had a vision for featuring women who were powerfully creative who had founded books, organizations, not-for-profits, movements and methodologies, featuring best selling authors like Luisah Teish, SARK, Amy Ahlers, Christine Arylo and Shannon Thompson from Shakti Rising. And featuring globally studied women artists like Chris Zydell and Flora Bowley.
Shiloh contributes regularly to women’s publications and is featured on covers and in articles. For 5 years she has been featured in the French women’s dayplanner – Revdefemme and many years at WeMoon – the women’s moon calendar including in their anthology.
Shiloh’s landmark programs in collaboration with team-members like Jenafer C. Owen and Mary MacDonald, LEGEND has been attended by close to 500 women. Shiloh’s spiritual community, Red Madonna has had over 100 -200 women in circle since 2000 painting and praying together. In 2017 Shiloh started a new project in collaboration with Cosmic Cowgirls, IMAGINE, featuring a monthly creative spiritual practice for resiliency, bringing our celebrations and our suffering into the canvas through marking and is attended by 100 women worldwide.
Shiloh and her husband, Jonathan Lewis brought live-streaming to the community in 2013 through Mothership Inc. and have thousands of viewing hours presenting curriculum often attended by over 1500 guests.
In 2015 Shiloh Sophia received a proclamation from the City of Healdsburg from the Mayor and City Council for her work serving women and the community – she lived and worked in Healdsburg for close to ten years.
In 2016 the community released the Hoya Straus video library, a free online resource for people to get access to Intentional Creativity that is regularly contributed to by her community, the Intentional Creatives Guild..
Her work happens online, as well as at her two California locations, Sonoma, CA and their community land, Terra Sophia in Mendocino California, the legacy of Sue Hoya Sellars.
Shiloh’s work is the lineage of Intentional Creativity, taught to her by her mentors Caron McCloud, her mother the poet, and Sue Hoya Sellars, the artist. Sue learned from Lenore Thomas Straus, who created art under the New Deal for the Roosevelt administration.
The work of Intentional Creativity is being offered in many amazing settings in need of self expression as a tool for transformation and healing trauma including hospitals, prisons, foster care camps and social work, mental health clinics, rape crisis centers, homeless shelters.
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
- UNCSW 59 and 60 – Taught Red Thread Circles to hundreds in attendance who serve others
- Participated in over 150 juried shows at galleries and art exhibits
- Produced, marketed and exhibited at hundreds of 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
- Women Defending Ourselves –“Wonder of Women” campaign, Oakland, Ca
- Produced three events for Author Alice Walker including Neighbors and Artists with Sue Hoya Sellars
- Illustrated Alice Walker’s book of poetry – Hard Time Require Furious Dancing
- 3 Year show rotation at Fairfax Church
Member American Alliance of Museums
Member and Presenter International Forum of Visual Practitioners
- 2017 Voices for the Earth, Cross Gallery in Bundaberg, Australia – Curated by Jassy Watson
- 2019 Women and Search for Wisdom, Petaluma Museum
- 2019 Pacific Grove Art Center, Solo Show
- 2019 UNCSW 63 – Speaker; The Herstory Project
- Wisdom 2.0 Speaker
- 2019 California Institute of Integral Studies, Women’s Show
Teaching Experience and Curriculum
- Hundreds of hours of film work starting in 2010 – streaming online to thousands.
- 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, CA
BOOKS – Personal and Co-Authored
- Color of Woman – Journal to the Sanctuary of the Soul
- 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
- Peak Vitality – Cover and Article
- Mending Invisible Wings – book about late term child loss
- Tea with the Midnight Muse – Poetry, Invocations and Inquiries
- Mother Mary Oracle – Illustrated – Author Alana Fairchild
Training and Education
- Ten year mentorshis in painting and clay with artist and illustrator Sue Hoya Sellars
- Lifelong mentorship with her mother, the poet, Caron McCloud
- Icon Painting Apprenticeship to Pavel Tikhimov, famous Russian iconographer
- Academy of Art, San Francisco 1992-1994
- College of Marin, Kentwood, Two years 1990
- Dominican College
- Holy Orders – 2 Years St. Mary’s – Ordained Reverend
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