21 SECRETS Spotlight :: Denise Braun


Every Wednesday at Dirty Footprints Studio Tonia Jenny, the 21 SECRETS Creative Director & Course Manager,  is interviewing one of the talented teachers in our program.  Be sure to sign up for blog notifications below to never miss a spotlight — and CLICK HERE to check out past interviews. 

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Hi there Knowledge Seeker! 

It’s time for a new Spotlight Artist of the week and this week, I’m happy to introduce you to the sensationally-sassy Denise Braun. I first met Denise at an artful spiritual retreat a few years ago and her transparent determination and brave vulnerability made me love her right away. I know after exploring her  21 SECRETS Paper, Glue, Scissors workshop: Angel Card Exploration, you will love her, too. Her passion for inspiring and encouraging others is contagious. Take a read below and you’ll see what I mean.

Who or what has made the largest impact on the artist you are today?

As a college professor and therapist turned intuitive artist and hypnotherapist, I left a comfy (but über-stressful) forensic job to become a full-time hypnotherapist and mixed-media artist. The call to creativity was urgent, so I listened. And—as an intuitive since my youth—I use my inner “knowing” to guide my work.  

I never start creating unless I’m relaxed, and sometimes I’ll use self-hypnosis to start my art process. I am not a details gal. So, fast-and-furious creating is my style. And there has to be loads of COLOR!  

Owner of Heartwork City Studios in Atascadero, CA (Central Coast), we embark on loads of mixed-media classes monthly. When I decided to launch my art career, I was terrified. But I suppose it motivated me to define who I was through my creativity and not my apprehension.  

Eight years later, I am an artist who is licensed through Sage Brush Fine Art, I teach all across the USA, and I teach fellow creatives how to tap into their intuition and relaxation when they create.    

Name three words that sum up the three stages your current work goes through (with additional explanation if you desire)?

Three words: Intuitive, Relaxed and Fast. 

The scoop is: When we begin creating ANYTHING, our conscious brain takes over. It screams at us: Noooo this is not how you draw and eye. STAWWWP IT and do it MY way!!! Truth is, our conscious creative state can jack up our artful process in big ways.  

Because conscious creating is like your know-it-all bestie from third grade who always had an opinion about your outfits. And you know how that felt! Now, I know lots of artists use the word “intuitive” in their process. What this really means is that they are creating from a spontaneous and trustworthy space in their being. They aren’t relying on a bunch of rules or structure in which to be creative. This is how I work. I trust the project. I relax into the process. And I QUICKLY produce a result (the less time to think means the more time to make something lovely without my annoying inner critic taking over)! 

In what do you find inspiration that it seems few others find inspiring?

I call myself an “inspirationalist.” I think I made that word up? Mostly, it’s because I love to inspire others and TO BE inspired myself. What inspires me? Color, paper, language and words, and images I see around my daily world.  

Popping onto Instagram is inspiring. Following artists I adore fuels my desire to create. Being around fellow creatives who share their process makes me giddy.  

I also am a deeply spiritual girl, which in my world, is a non-traditional inspirational point for my creativity. My version of faith is sassy. So often before I begin teaching a class or exploring a canvas, I’ll set an intention on my piece with a Stabilo pencil. Or I’ll call in some feisty angels to help me figure out what I’m doing. Sassy Spirituality is my calling card, and you’ll hear me talk about this Ahhhhh-LOT! 

What is the one thing you hope we remember from your workshop?

I know you’ll remember my spontaneous creative process. And maybe my sassy-nature. But I hope you’ll see that we can let go of expectations to make something meaningful when we are “arting.” I’m no stranger to using loads of mediums, and maybe, after viewing my class, you’ll be inspired to use a lot of artsy stuff, too! 

Where will you be and what will you be doing five years from now?

I’m getting ready to release my first book this December. It’s called The Fraud Fable. It’s a playbook that will help you find your Real, even when you feel like you’ve been faking things throughout your life. It’s exciting to release something like a book into the world. It’s also daunting! Will people like it? Am I a good writer? My hope with The Fraud Fable is that women will begin to tap into their bigger potentials through creativity and coming clean. That is to say, becoming who you are in every way within your journey. Once my book launches, I hope to be doing a variety of public speaking gigs and inspirational retreats in the upcoming years. And I’m planning on another book (also with a focus on creativity and artful process), so stay tuned!  

You can’t help but feel cheered on by Denise’s continual encouragement and insistence that “you’ve got this!” And if you’d like more of that on a regular basis, check out more from her website or follow her musings on social media.

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About Denise Braun

Denise-Braun_headshotDenise’s first memories of art occurred around age 8. Her second-grade teacher, Mrs. Hirsch, told her, “You are very talented and artistic, but you need discipline.” So naturally, Denise rebelled against any formal art training and found herself doodling all over her high school and college notebooks. Her mother, a professional artist, would drag Denise and her sister to every art museum west of the Mississippi, hoping her daughters would catch the “art bug.”

But when college rolled around, Denise decided to pursue a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology. So naturally, today, Denise merrily combines art, therapy and inspiration into her own style of creative and flowing art. Her focus? Joy. Her mission? To open up the creative vault in every person who happens to smile when they see her eclectic and bright pieces. Her favorite way to create? Quickly, without thinking. “It helps clear the cobwebs out of the judgmental part of our brains.”

Denise is a certified hypnotherapist and intuitive clinician who supports adult and child clients as they overcome multitudes of blocks and symptoms. She enjoys traveling to teach art workshops across the US including Art & Soul and has been a featured artist for Ivy Newport’s online workshops. Denise’s first book The Fraud Fable released on Amazon on December 8, 2018. In her free time, Denise adores creating at her small art studio in Atascadero, CA, where she lives with her husband, three daughters, 9 chickens, Chihuahua, four cats and four-month-old Golden Retriever puppy. Oh. And she enjoys playing the Ukulele. Find her on Facebook and Instagram as The Real Denise Braun.


Denise teaches Angel-Card Exploration in 21 SECRETS Paper, Glue, Scissors

What are angel cards? I use angel cards in my private practice with clients as a powerful tool of intuition and insight. As a believer in all things magical, including angels, these cards help guide me towards powerful choices. But they also give me hope—knowing that angels watch over me in all that I do. This creative lesson will focus on creating five inspired angel cards, using a wide array of old papers (ephemera) and scrap book papers. Imagine making these cards as expressions of you; as a way to connect with your spirit guides; and to help you feel happy and peaceful as you create.

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