We had the good fortune of connecting with Shea Knowles and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Shea, do you have any interesting experiences or advice related to making friends as an adult?
Making friends starts when we are young and can influence the way we make friends as an adult. I was a shy and highly sensitive child, but still had a lot of friends in-spite of my insecurities. I will say, that it wasn’t always easy. I believe we all have things in common…especially our uniqueness! We are all a part of the ocean of life. We can make friends where ever we may be in that ocean. Our personalities and our essence can and will show forth if we let it, along with being open and authentic. Being our true selves and taking risks isn’t always easy, but essential. it can be a bit intimidating to reach out to others at times. Having an overall general curiosity, and care for our fellow humans can be the first step in making friends. On a recent visit to one of the most spectacular places on the planet, Iguazu Falls, Brazil, I made a new friend from China. Our hotel was strategically placed so as to view these heavenly water falls from a giant infinity pool. I felt such joy as I swam and took in the beauty surrounding me. This fantastic canvas viewed by me and other fellow enthusiasts included plush green jungle forests, exotic birds, and the beautiful immense water falls in the distance. One such visitor was a woman from China. I don’t remember exactly what I said to begin the conversation. It could have been something as simple as asking her if she spoke English? Which she did. Then asking her about herself? Was she having a nice trip? We went on to have a fun conversation about what brought her to that part of the world. She was there on a month-long retreat/religious trip with a group from China. Their group was actually on a stopover to exploring the Antarctica. How cool is that? As an artist I am constantly finding things that inspire me: people from every walk of life, nature in all its forms, everyday objects. Living creatively is about finding meaning in the things we see, hear and feel. It’s helping others to tap into their own creativity for problem solving at work, parenting, basic living, and getting through life’s challenges. I hope my creativity not only helps me to make art, but can help me be a better friend. I’m lucky to work as an art instructor. I get to meet and nurture people of all ages. We all seem to have a common interest in art which makes it easier to make friends. Many times, when I’m asked to teach a group of people at an office team building event, I run into those who are very uncomfortable doing art. This is when being a highly sensitive person can help. When I come across people in this situation it takes, tenderness, and care to help them to get past their insecurities and try something new. It never fails that in the end, they feel joy! Best of all, I have had the opportunity to make a connection with a new friend.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Whatever happens to come out of me on any given day is unique to me and what interests or emotions I’m feeling on that day. It’s my therapy and what brings me joy! Maybe I can explain this better by using an example of a kid’s class I taught last year. I met a new friend and artist named Vesuda. She is from India. I decide I want to learn about for India. In doing this I decide it would be fun to teach myself how to create a white tiger by erasing. Then I decide it would be fun to learn the ancient art of dot painting a mandala. Then, I decide it would be fun to make some Indian foods, so I teach myself to make rose flavored Indian Ice cream called Kulfi. In the end the kids’ workshop would including both the above projects. Kids used charcoal and eraser to create a white tiger and they used dotting tools to create a mandala on wood. The kids made naan bread to take home and share, along with sampling Indian ice cream previously made by me and brought to the studio. It might be that I am planting seeds and I decide it would be fun to paint some rocks to mark the plants in my garden. The kids workshop I did last spring included the kids making and decorating their own germinating boxes. Planting seeds, making lavender soap to take home. and learning to paint an old rusty wheel barrow. I get excited about being creative because of the joy it brings to me and then I can’t help but want the help others in the same way. Of course, my commissioned art is something that brings me great joy AND lots of growth from doing! Its these pieces that have to meet the expectations inspired by others. I always feel extremely privileged to be asked to paint a picture of a deceased loved one. This is where I feel that God takes over. It can be a frightening endeavor and I always ask for divine guidance from up above to help me capture the “essence” of the person I’m painting. I’m working on a children’s book now. It’s a commission about much loved grandmother who is deceased. It’s a challenge, yet so much fun. This grandma was much loved and gave mush love!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
1-Of course we would plan a trip to Laguna Beach and have dinner at Watermarc. Then we would stroll the area and enjoy the artwork and purchase souvenirs at a little shop called, Fawn Memories prior to heading the Pageant of the Masters.
2-Next stop would be photo taking at Rogers Gardens in Newport Beach, then lunch outside at Sherman Gardens, then to Huntington beach for the afternoon and on towards evening for watching the sunset, and hot dog roast at a fire pit.
3-Print photos from the gardens and the beach. Imagine you are in France while eating at Moulin Bistro in Newport Beach, then head to the studio to do some one of a kind art creations for our travel journal from the photos. Try fillet mignon Pho and a “Blonie” tea at Cafe Te in Fountain Valley then dessert at Afters in Fountain Valley for an ice cream filled bun.
4-Old Town Orange to visit Watsons Drug store or The filling station. then check out my favorite antique shop, Country Roads. Along with photos and sketching at the Orange Circle. Dessert for dinner at Salt and Straw Ice cream shop at Downtown Disney
5-Old Mission at San Juan Capistrano and Old town San Juan is super cute. Tea at The tea House on Los Rios St. or the Hummingbird Cafe. Can’t miss the petting zoo there too! Who doesn’t want to hold a fluffy bunny!
6-Lyon Air Museum in Santa Ana is filled with historic planes, cars, and autos. Still time for the tide pools and picnic at Little Corona and dinner in the evening at Vox in Fountain Valley.
7-Last, but not least a must do is a trip to Homeboy Industries in LA. for a tour, and lunch at the home girl cafe. Uplifting and inspiring one of a kind experience!!! Make a reservation ahead, AND you have to buy a sweet hoodie for yourself while there. For dinner you can’t miss eating at Korean Pizza in Korea town! Sweet potato filled crust and lots more fun flavors!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
1-First and foremost to my heavenly creator, GOD! Thank YOU! You gave me everything!
2-My parents who always loved my art and creativity and who allowed me the time to do art!
3-My husband, Steve Knowles, who encouraged and worked hard to help me afford my art supplies when I was a stay at home mama. My kids, who have put up with having art supplies and projects covering the house through the years.
4-My art instructor, mentor, and beloved friend Mike Punke, the owner of Art/Space studio. Mike taught me almost everything I know about art; He inspires me to believe in myself as an artist and creator. He has supported me with my teaching of both kids, and adults. I’ve been privileged to be able to team up with him and we have been teaching outside the studio together now days too!
5-Fellow artists from Art/Space Studio who are always building and inspiring all who attend classes therein

Website: livecreartively@gmail.com
Instagram: SHEA KNOWLES or livecreartively