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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

A Creative Process Rooted in Brain Cerebration: Phoenix watercolor artist and teacher Allura Westly describes her creative process which brings greater inspiration and joy.

May 25, 2016 07:44AM ● By By Martin Miron

Phoenix artist and art teacher Allura Westly states, “Art is not only a reflection of the world we live in, it also shapes our perception and conception of that world. It expresses the drama and beauty of our environment, as well as making feeling statements about the life around us.” Her process is driven by inspiration; “An inner feeling, an urge, a passion materializes within me through an image, a color, an idea. The excitement begins to build as I prepare my supplies.”

Then come the brushes and myriad other tools and techniques. Colors flow together, seeming to have a life of their own, coalescing to form a never-before-seen hue; a surprising luminosity that excites the senses. I bring together my palettes containing over 80 colors.  I use the finest Fabriani Artestico 300-pound soft press paper that my community of painters adores, a combination of hot and cold press.”

Quoting Culture Collective Director Jacob Devaney’s statement, “Art changes the physiology of our brains,” Westly explains, “Contemplation, observing and taking in beauty all stimulate pleasure centers within the cranium, while increasing blood flow to the cerebral cortex. This all leads to an elevated state of consciousness, increased well-being and improved emotional health, and is probably the deeper reason I have painted all my life here on Earth. Visionary art encourages self-discovery and emotional growth.”

Her “soul paintings” are a unique expression of this philosophy. “Soul paintings are developed through the act of presence, becoming an instrument for my muse to guide the flow of energy that fills my being, bringing me into an act of ecstatic creation,” says Westly. “I believe we have all felt this phenomenon at sometime in our lives, whether it is through cooking a creative meal, writing a book or simply watching a beautiful sunset. It is truly what makes life worth living.”

Alllura WestlyShe begins with a meditation and a small, free-flowing, abstract painting, using both her trained and my untrained hand. “It is like a musician playing scales to warm up,” she notes. “All this quiets my thinking mind, bringing me deeper into present-moment awareness. I work with a letting-go process, knowing the importance of being fully in my body. When the connection comes, it is so powerful I have to be completely present in order to receive and direct the intense energy flow.”

View the work of Allura Westly at She teaches watercolor painting classes in her Phoenix studio.

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