The Art of Sisterhood – Instructors


I believe that every friendship serves a purpose. Some friends are meant to stay forever and some are only in our lives for a moment in time. But no matter how long or how short the relationship is, the purpose and meaning is significant. Through my various stages in life, I have made lifelong connections that I deeply value and cherish. Some of these women remain in my life to this day, while some don’t, but we are still sisters and the bond remains despite distance and time. Everyone craves connection and the desire to know that we are not alone. Sisterhood is being open, feeling  connected, and experiencing genuine love, joy, and compassion for one another.



Hi I’m Jackie Barragan from Orange, CA. I have been happily married for 20 years and we have two beautiful children. I am a full-time mom to my 12-year old son and five-year-old daughter. Being a mom is all I ever wanted, and I am so blessed to be living my dream.

I have always been a creative, crafty person but never had an inclination of any kind toward art. I never thought I could draw or paint or make art, nor did I have an interest in learning.

In 2013, through a self-help e-course for Brené Brown’s book “The Gifts of Imperfection”, I discovered the liberating joy of Mixed Media Art Journaling. The book is not about art whatsoever, but all of the assignments were completed in an art journal. That course (and book) changed my life. What started out as just something I had to do as part of this class, turned into my passion and obsession.  One of the best feelings while doing Mixed Media Art is that it’s ok to make mistakes, to be messy, and to be imperfect.  It’s the best medicine and cure for this recovering perfectionist.

I create with love, compassion, and the desire to make something beautiful and meaningful. I call myself an Inspirationalist because my art contains inspiring words and messages that evolve directly from my heart and soul.

Before I found my love of art, I discovered my courage. As I was wrapping up four consecutive years of therapy, I felt like I was graduating and wrote a “commencement” speech (well, not really a speech, just something I wrote for myself to read out loud to the therapist) reflecting on who I was when I started therapy and who I had become four years later. The characteristic I had developed through the hard work of therapy that stood out above all others was “courage”. I realized that I had courage like I had never had before; courage to stand in my truth; to be authentic; to follow my heart; to trust my inner wisdom; and to let go and heal from my past. From that point forward, whenever I am confronted with something scary, I tell myself “I have courage.” It has become my life’s mantra.

I believe that creating art is very healing and sharing it with others takes courage. My hope is that I help others heal and inspire courage in them through my art.  I love the idea of someone finding resonance and meaning with one of my pieces. The thought of my art being on display in someone’s home feels like a huge gift to me. It is a privilege to be able to spread my heartfelt messages through art.


Sisterhood to me is an unconditional, loving connection between women that transcends time, space and circumstance. It requires honesty, patience, forgiveness, humility, acceptance and grace to grow… thankfully, my circle beautiful circle of sisters is growing by the day.



Bonjour 🙂 I’m Jennifer Bonneteau. I’m an artist, teacher and mom living and creating in Murrieta, CA with my family and our dog, Jasper.  I believe we were all born with creative gifts and a desire to connect with one another and that art is a conduit for connection and healing.   Through my work as an artist and teacher I hope to inspire others to tell their personal stories through their own creative expression.

I’ve been working as an artist for nearly 2 decades as a muralist and an owner/designer of Chick Picks, guitar-pick jewelry.  I’ve designed artwork for oodles of guitar picks over the past decade including an “Artists for autism” line created along with several other gracious and talented artists to help raise resources and awareness for autism.  Owning and operating a creative art and jewelry business has afforded me the opportunity to gain experience in a variety of areas such as graphic design, web design, and photography and although I’ve enjoyed all of these creative endeavors, my true passion lies in expressive painting and sharing that process with others through my studio classes, online classes and in-person workshops 🙂

I began my love affair with expressive painting in 2014.  I find the process allows me to both lose and find myself at the same time.  My work has been described as electric, emotive and powerful, often employing vibrant hues and dramatic textures.  I often paint portraits because I feel alive and connected to humanity when I’m attempting to capture the essence of a person in a painting…it’s often a spiritual experience for me.  My style resonates in the areas of abstract realism and modern Impressionism.  I draw inspiration from my faith, friends and family, music and life experiences teaching and traveling.

I feel blessed to be able to share my passion for creativity with people of all ages and abilities including people with anxiety and autism.  It’s been my privilege to serve on the Advisory Board for Temecula’s local autism organization, Our Nicholas Foundation, and has aide in their efforts to provide resources for children and families affected by autism. I recently obtained my ART4Healing certificate so I can help at-risk youth, the autistic community, and people with anxiety and/or chronic illness cope by expressing themselves creatively and profoundly through the expressive painting process.  Thank you for your interest and support…xo


When women unite to create community, sisterhood flourishes. Together we create a chain of hearts and souls that speak a common language. My being recognizes your being. And already, together, we make a difference. Sacred answers and perspective. Presence and gratitude. This is our sisterhood.



Denise Braun is a licensed professional artist and an uber-creative teacher, therapist and inspirationalist. Self-taught and raised by a professional artist mother, Denise grew up tie-dying her own clothes and silk-screening t-shirts. As a child, Denise was often the winner of local art contests and was always asked to draw pictures on her friend’s books and notepads.

Denise’s mixed media/collage art depicts an authentic connection to happiness and joy, which is inspired from a deep contentment & personal wisdom. Denise masterfully weaves together acrylic, paper, ink and gesso to create her own one-of-a-kind Heartwork City pieces…her style is undoubtedly representative of whimsy & color, joy & spirituality.

Denise is a certified hypno-art-therapist. Having worked in the field of Psychology for many years, it is important that her work represents positivity, hope and wisdom. Her Restorative Art Therapy programs help countless children and families including those struggling with cancer and other health challenges. Her art and spirit imbue light, happiness, and her mantra “anything is possible” to all they shine upon.


To me, sisterhood is a group of women that whole-heartedly believe in one another, want the best for each other, accept and celebrate the differences of each other, and hold space for one another, at all times.  A sisterhood is a group of women that want to spread kindness, strength, love, and hope to their fellow sisters.  Finally a sisterhood is open to anyone.  The doors are never closed, as the true goal of a sisterhood is to continue to grow and join arms with all women seeking the same thing…..more connection, more love, more power, more success, more kindness, and more positivity for all!  We ARE a sisterhood!  We ARE responsible for making this happen and TOGETHER WE CAN!  Sisterhood is a choice…..and it is one that I choose.



Born and raised in Orange County, California, I took an interest to drawing at a very young age. Some of my happiest memories are of creating, whether it be my own language or a drawing. I just remember always being passionate about using my mind to create. I started taking art classes as a child, but really became involved in the arts in junior high. Any elective from junior high through high school was devoted to art. My plan was to go on to college and major in art. However, during my senior year in high school I lost my passion and dropped out of my art classes. This passion was reignited at various times over the last twenty years, but a career in teaching, and a growing family, left very little time for art. I never lost the need to create, though. In early 2014, I began creating art regularly and my life hasn’t been the same. My passion has been reignited and I feel as though I am exploding! I have found that I need art, and art needs me! Art provides me the outlet that I need to release the life emotions that I experience daily, whether they be happiness, sadness, disappointment, or celebration. I love that I can pour myself into my piece and forget about everything else that is going on around me.


When I heard Kara’s vision about *THE ART OF SISTERHOOD* I freaked!  My gut said, “oh hell yes!”  Although being more vulnerable that I’ve ever been is scary, it called to my soul, and there was no way I was saying no, because of fear.  I’m thinking…yes Kara just YES, what a fabulous idea! And talking about FORGIVENESS and LOVE, ok universe I hear you!

This course is going to be life changing, unbreakable bonds of friendship will be formed, beautiful art created and it’s about to “get real” up in this course ha.  Walls and shields will be coming down on all sides.  We as guiders to your new creations, will reveal very real, intimate stories of our lives in hopes of encouraging all of you to do the same.  The bonds of sisterhood are strongly formed through our vulnerability, love and acceptance. This is something I love to do, bring women together through creativity and real human emotions.  I’m so excited to have this opportunity to connect with so many lovely, creative, fun women!  Let’s all make this EPIC…together.



I am an intuitive artist who loves creating original faces and works of art.  Each painting has a special purpose and is created with love and positive energy.  When a painting finds a new home, my hope is that it will encourage the viewer to go deeper within their spiritual path.  I love when a painting resonates with the soul, a character strength or emotion they connect with, either from the past, what they are currently going through, or what they desire to become. Especially if it is an emotion they are searching for. Like a mark in time on their ongoing spiritual journey; past, present or future.  I love art that touches the soul ? “Art much like music, speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul.”

Art is life…  Since stepping into being an artist, my everyday life has become much more colorful and dreamy, even with the struggles of living a creative life, art is such a gift to us all.  My relationships with all in my life have become more connected, meaningful and beautiful.  I’ve formed lasting bonds with so many creative, soulful, loving, beautiful people.  Art has changed my life in ways I never expected, it has awakened me in the most amazing way possible.  I’m so grateful for  this journey of art and life.  And to all the beautiful souls in my life.

Love is the Answer.


I’ve been a sister to my brothers but I never had a sister. So I don’t have true blue experience of what it means to have a sister but I would imagine that if I had a real one, she would be the one I could go to as a confidante, someone who knew my history, someone who could hold my inner most thoughts in confidence and give me empathy, sympathy, and a sobering reality check when I needed one. Females who I have felt closest to have given me that and so I do feel I’ve experienced sisterhood by proxy, which is the next best thing.

Having said that, I’ve also known that though we women talk about the importance of supporting one another, it’s the opposite of support that I have frequently experienced, from women throughout my entire life. Competition, judgement, one-upping, sabotaging … those aren’t things that feel so good to talk about but I know it exists for real and real strong among women. I’ve learned that working hard to be a woman who lives without hurting other women is an ongoing practice. How to gauge and keep in check feelings of envy, spite, competition … it’s easier said than done but I know it can be done when I connect with women who have been practicing the art of how to be a truly loving, non-judgemental, open-minded, happy-for-the-other person person. In this age of acute misogyny, I aspire to practice being a true woman, a true sister to womanhood for the rest of my days.

Regarding my paintings, a person once told me that she liked my “whimsical angst.” I like that description and am happy to classify my painting style as such. I also like to describe my style as “magical realism,” where I celebrate the essence and not just the likeness of my subjects from both my real and imagined life. Portraits, still life, landscapes, and florals are just some of the subjects I focus on with oil or acrylic paints.

I also run Studio Crescendoh in the Artist Village located in Santa Ana, California, where I teach painting and fiber arts and also show my works there. I also host visiting artists who teach their art in the studio to learners who travel from all over to participate.

I was born in Seoul, Korea and moved to the United States in 1974. I grew up in Bakersfield, California and currently live in Santa Ana, California. I am an alumna of UC Irvine and UCLA.

Miscellaneous tidbits:

  • I love Instagram.
  • I was recently interviewed by The Getty for their online magazine which you can read here if you want to.
  • I edit and produce books for book publishers.

I was born in Seoul, Korea and moved to the United States in 1974. I grew up in Bakersfield and currently live in Santa Ana. I am an alumna of UC Irvine and UCLA.

View my works if you want to online:

View my works in person if you want to:

  • Studio Crescendoh, 207 N. Broadway St., Suite L, Santa Ana, CA 92701 (Santora Building)



Mother, Wife, Therapist Intern, Motivational Speaker, Doctorate Student

Passionate about balancing life through stress, anxiety and depression management.

The focus of my work is to help clients overcome and manage stress, anxiety and or depression that keeps them from achieving life long goals and finding ultimate happiness. In addition to working with individuals and couples, I specialize in working with weight loss surgery patients and those who suffer from addiction.


To me, Sisterhood is all about embracing the women in your life and truly celebrating their beautiful gifts. It’s about wanting success and happiness for your sisters. It’s about standing by them when they need you. It’s about wanting more for ALL women. More equality. More peace. More strength. More opportunities. More kindness. More empowerment. More freedom. More love. I believe that women are the answer to all the pain in this world but first we have to love ourselves and each other.



Ivy is a published artist, art instructor and creative guide. Her online collection of artistic workshops have served thousands of students internationally and she prides herself on giving devoted care and support to her student body.

She spent most of her childhood growing up in Sydney, Australia and received private art education from a well known Australian artist as a young girl of 8 until her family was relocated to America when she was 16. She went on to finish high school in Connecticut and attended the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, receiving her BFA in Illustration.

After graduating she relocated to Austin, Texas where she was employed to create and implement an elaborate art education program at a local Montessori school. Life then took her to New York City, where she was employed by the Whitney Museum of Art working in the President’s office and assisting both the President and the museum’s Trustees. Finally a move to Portland, Oregon led her into the interior design business as a design assistant. A few years later, she owned and operated her own successful Interior Design company.

She left this fast paced role to become a mother to her two girls. While at home, Ivy engrossed herself in creative discovery and began to passionately shoot photography and author a blog. These endeavors ultimately led her to the online creative community – which inspired a fruitful and gratifying career as an Art Instructor – teaching both online and in person. Her domestic and international workshops offer rich and expansive creative experiences, with a focus on personal growth and renewal.

Ivy’s artistic message is to guide others to their creativity and nurture those special gifts in each of us. She strongly believes that every soul is creative and finding ways to express that creativity is paramount to joy and healing.

She has been published in several magazines including, Somerset Apprentice, Somerset Digital Studio, and Artful Blogging.


Sisterhood is letting each other be exactly who we are and reminding each other how spectacular we each are when we forget. Sisterhood is picking up wherever you left off, whether it’s been days or months or years. Sisterhood is rooting for each other, celebrating each other and picking each other up when we fall.



Melody Ross has been a worldwide known artist, author and entrepreneur since her twenties, building one of the most collected and sought after brands in the designer paper and scrapbooking industry, and continuing on to design hundreds of home decor and fashion products for many other companies. Melody has authored and published nearly 20 books over the last 15 years.

It was a serious life trauma, however, that put her on the path of her life’s work. In 2004 her beloved husband of 14 years sustained a brain injury that turned their life upside down. Over the 6 years of his recovery, they seemingly lost everything that they had spent the first part of their life building together, but painstakingly kept their marriage and family together. Through this experience, Melody learned countless lessons that she vowed to share if their life were to turn around. After many difficult years, her husband made a complete recovery.

In 2009, Melody walked away from her first company and and started Brave Girls Club with her sister, Kathy….and every day has been a beautiful wild adventure of doing everything she loves most with all of the people she loves most. Melody hosts Brave Girl Camp world class art retreats and classes at her ranch in Idaho, as well as teaching some of the most loved online art courses in the world and launching Brave Girl University, bringing artists and teachers from all over the world together.

Melody and Marq have 5 children and and 2 grandchildren. They love their life in rural Idaho and you can find them in the mountains, hiking or kayaking whenever they have the chance to be there.


Sisterhood to me bring sup the words reflection and connection.

When we open our heart towards another in the most deeply vulnerable way and we are met with open arms and an open heart, this is sisterhood.

Throughout our lives we need support to walk on our path. When we listen to each other, hear each other, and love unconditionally with complete acceptance offering support we have found a sisterhood.

Sisterhood is in the deepest sense peace when it is real and genuine. It is a space to evolve and grow. Most importantly it’s a space to have fun. laugh and just be. Sisterhood is a gift.



I create to connect. I connect to myself through artistic expression and I connect to others through telling their stories and sharing the vision. Art is a vehicle for growth and brings me closer every day to essence of who I am. I have always chosen portraiture as my subject matter because I am fascinated by the human spirit. There are so many layers to see and to work through. I am committed to my art and I am inspired to use my creative voice .


Sisterhood is a beautiful, massive thing. Sisterhood means never ending love, laughter and growth.   It is the place where you are embraced and experiences can rock you to the core.  It is a place where your strength grows but you can also be very vulnerable. My chosen sisterhood is a place where I find consistent and intentional love and acceptance and yet I can be called on me mess.


Tiare Smith is a self-taught mixed media, art journal artist and instructor.

Born with art in her heart she lost her way from her art for 18 years.  It came back to her life in a burst of emotion and anxiety.  By practicing techniques of love, positive self talk, thoughts and action which have helped her to overcome other areas of struggle, she now enjoys her art in a free and inspiring way.

She inspires creatives to embrace their inner artist while also nurturing their hearts and memories.

She has not only been featured on HGTV but has had numerous works published in a variety of crafting magazines and blogs.

You can find her teaching at her local paper crafting store, online or in her private studio.

She aims to help women to embrace the artist within through lessons infused with love, happiness, confidence and creativity, empowering them to experience and express their art more freely.   It is her mission to touch one million hearts in such a powerful and significant way.

You can view her art and learn more about her at

Link to website:


To me, sisterhood is about having a few trusted women with whom anything can be shared without judgement.  It is about having someone to be vulnerable with when you are at your worst and also someone to celebrate, play and be inspired by and to inspire.  For me, there is empathy, mutuality and reciprocity; an equal sharing of life’s universal experiences.



My name is Deanna Strachan-Wilson and I am a mixed media artist. I live on the Central Coast of California with my husband and two cats and I work full time managing an employment program for people with mental illness who want to return to work.

I participated in every art class I could from grade school through high school. I created all of our high school concert choir programs and was the cartoonist on the school paper. In college I took a few graphic design classes and hated them. I also took psychology and loved it and have been working in the mental health field ever since. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I found a relationship between our mental health and creativity.

In 2013, I began creating in mixed media following the dissolution of my eighteen year marraige. I found a place of healing and a way of coping with emotions that at the time seemed to have no words. I have since come to describe this as “Telling Without Talking”. When I am creating, I’m able to focus on the present moment. As my healing continued, I found that I desired to learn more technique and focus on the process of my creation. In 2016, I participated in a four-month art mentoring group, ELEVATE with David Limrite, in which I discovered my personal process of creating involving layers and layers of paint and materials, not unlike our lives which are also layered. It is this process I share with others through both online teaching and continued personal creativity.

In addition to the mentoring group mentioned above, I have been teaching online mixed media courses since 2015. I am involved in my local art community and have taught live workshops at Studios on the Park in Paso Robles, participated in Art About Town with the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art and various other Art Events including Art After Dark, San Luis Obispo. I have even taught art journaling classes at work to clients with mental illness.

Some of my current influences include Viktor Sheleg, Jylian Gustlin, Joan Dumouchel and Patricia Derks.

My greatest joy is participating in or contributing to someone else’s creative process; celebrating the frustrations, inspirations, discouragements, and achievements as they are all layers in this creative process of life.


Sisterhood, to me is a recognition that we all love and feel pain, we make mistakes and doubt ourselves, and we hold tight to what we love with a fierce intense tenacity. When we trust enough to be open to each other, not only in our ordinary moments but in the rawest, most vulnerable and emotional times, miracles happen. When we give ourselves the space to circle in with our sisters, to connect more deeply, through sharing, and making things, and serving together in ways that our ancestors did, our personal worlds become infinitely richer, and of course the whole Universe does as well.



If  Tracy Verdugo was given the opportunity to coin a term for a new art movement based around what she teaches  she  might call it “Curiosity and Wonderism”or  maybe “Loosen-upism” or “Endless possibilitism”

When she is not hanging out with her family in their artsy adobe home in a small village on the shores of Jervis Bay, Australia, or throwing paint around in her little purple studio in their backyard, you may find her wrangling with two large suitcases attempting to board the BART in San Francisco en route to teach at an art retreat or sitting in a circle on St Pete Beach Florida listening intently as women share their stories of creative longing.

Tracy is an inspiration instigator, prolific painter, singer/songwriter and lover of the written word, smitten traveller and soaker up of all that is beauty-full.  She teaches her Paint Mojo and other creative workshops all over this amazing planet and reminds her students of the wonder that already resides within them.

Her works are vibrant and filled with joy, inspired both by family travels in Mexico and the beauty of everyday life. Since 2000 Tracy has held 14 successful solo exhibitions and her works are held in collections both in Australia and overseas.

Mostly though she is mama bear to two gorgeous, zest-filled daughters, Santana and Sienna, and co-adventurer  in life with her amor of 30 years, the talented and brilliant Marco.