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Conversations with Linda Jacobson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Linda Jacobson.

Hi Linda, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I wanted to be an artist for as long as I can remember. As my creative journey unfolded, so did my spiritual curiosity – I was deeply inspired by Transcendental Meditation, Tibetan Buddhism, Vipassana, and the teachings of Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, and Jean Houston. After graduating from Otis, CSUN and Art Center College of Design, I traveled in Europe on and off for several years, where I was inspired by the amazing museums and the great art that I saw. I then had the desire of bringing together my love of art and artmaking with my spiritual practice, although at the time I had no idea how I was going to do this. In the late 80s, I was offered the opportunity to create courses for UCLA extension by the Dean of the Visual Arts Department that fused the spiritual, psychological, creative and healing paths together. I created the pioneer course “Art and Transformation” and others which I taught for many years and was able to bring in the talents of many other outstanding professionals in the spiritual, psychological and healing fields. Through these innovative courses, I helped students find their inner vision and healing through their personal creative process. I was inspired to start my own classes and retreats and in these, I also brought in aspects of Shamanism as I was studying (apprenticing) with the Toltec Shaman Don Miguel Ruiz. Shamanism enhanced the students’ ability to be creative and helped heal emotional trauma. As an artist, I also brought this process into my own work.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
No creative path is completely smooth. By the nature of it, we are opening doors of self-discovery to find a unique vision that is ours alone and many times, it’s surprising what emerges and evolves. Plus, we have to be courageous in order to face and express our truth regardless of what the outside world says or thinks. We also have to deal with all the technical challenges and obstacles working with the medium. Some days the inspiration is there and it’s flowing, other days it’s just not. But we still have to show up. My experience as a teacher has been smoother though not without its challenges. A quote that has always stuck with me from Joseph Campbell is “Follow your bliss and doors open where you never expect them to”. This has certainly been true for me. I’ve loved my path of art and teaching and I’ve stuck to it for a long time. Devoting myself to my painting has helped me to stay focused and committed to practicing through times of uncertainty. Being an artist requires being honest with yourself, which can sometimes be challenging. Somedays the inspiration may not be there, or there may be emotions you do not want to face. And this requires elements of discipline, faith, and wisdom. I’ve been privileged to work with so many talented and courageous individuals over the years which has been a huge blessing. And of course, through the pandemic I’ve had to learn a lot about teaching online, which fortunately I’ve got a pretty good handle on now. How to create a creative community atmosphere over Zoom has been a challenge worth conquering!

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
My paintings are lyrical abstractions inspired by my connection to nature and its elements: form, movement, light, space and what I perceive to be its “essence” – an energy or aliveness that goes beyond visual appearance. In my paintings, I bring in an element of spirituality that I feel in nature.

Through my teaching, I encourage my students to find their own creative vision by combining the ancient wisdom path of knowledge with creative exploration and play. I specialize in helping my community to heal while finding their inner artist through meditation, creativity exercises, exposure to great artists’ work past and present, and one-on-one dialogues.

I feel proud of my students and their commitment to creativity through the years.

I also feel proud of my own body of work and how it represents my personal creative journey.

Do you have any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
One of my favorite childhood memories was going to Yosemite as a young girl. Seeing the beauty and power of nature through the mountains and waterfalls changed the way I viewed the natural world. Another memory that stands out is going with my dad to an art store when I was about eight years old and him buying me a gift of a paint set. I remember I was enchanted with all the colors; it was magical and just the idea of what I could do with all these colors was amazing. I was entranced with putting my brush into the color and covering the paper with it.

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