I truly believe that artists are also healers. Last year I came across the artwork of Roberta Orpwood online and her breathtaking “Soul Portraits“. I have seen a few visionary artists over the years either at expo’s or markets who have produced a quick drawing of a spirit animal or guide but no one who had specifically channelled the individual’s soul and translated it through art as the intention. I knew I had to have one. I thought I would get a piece of personalised beautiful art, what I didn’t expect is what a powerful healing talisman it would become.
I was blown away by the piece Roberta created for me. I gave her marginal information and she channelled through specific symbols and unique information that are very important to me. Included with the art was also an extensive healing/reading which I resonated deeply with. I now have the piece hung in my bedroom and use it as a focus of meditation on a regular basis as some of the symbols within it have taken on an even greater significance in my life journey since receiving it.
I have had a number of my friends and clients who have also gone on to get pieces done with Roberta who have been equally impressed. I was so curious as to how Roberta worked, I knew I needed to interview her for my Soul Lover Series. I hope you enjoy our conversation below as much as I have!
Can you let us know a little bit about you and how you came to be an artist?
My name is Roberta and I’m a professional Visionary Artist and have now been running my own business for several years (and hopefully many more to come!). I was truly blessed to grow up in within a family who were also Artists and crafts people, surrounded by the beautiful countryside of Devon, Uk – my father is an artist and framer and my birth mother is a gifted crafter of all things and makes the most unique and beautiful marbled papers. They both recognised I was drawn to the arts and I was lucky enough to receive art lessons from age 6 with a local artist who taught me all there was to know about art, it’s history and technique. From there I followed my heart through college and university studying Music, Art and Design, Fine Art, art history, Psychology.
After leaving university I was convinced that my future was not to live as a starving artist eating baked beans for the rest of my life (in truth I just did not have the courage to try!) so I turned to multiple jewellery retail jobs, for some years feeling very unfulfilled felt like I was missing a very important boat, something was missing and I grew low in energy and eventually ill. Truth be known, my boat just hadn’t arrived… after a few tough years of crawling my way uphill I found myself working as manager within a beautiful company called ‘Crystals’. This was the start of a whole new world where the miracle of the unknown ‘Great Spirit’ finally found its way through to me and I began my journey towards learning more and more about alternative healing, whilst gradually starting to introduce my art back into my life which had been missing for so long.
When the time was right I eventually gathered the courage to admit to myself that I was an artist, and my gift to myself and this world was to paint and that I should no longer hide who I was anymore for fear that I would not ‘make it’ or worse ‘disappoint’ myself or family. I finally left my day job and embarked on new journey to creating my own business as a professional artist where SoulBird Art was born.
Since then my interests in Spirit and Art have amplified and I have been studying ever since (it never stops!) developing my awareness of self through multiple modalities such as Meditation, Qi Gong, Crystals, Shamanism (through Plant teachers and Journeying), shamanic dowsing , Reiki and Energy work, Psychic development, Sound healing, Hypnotherapy and the learning continues yearly! All of these have fed into my art practice daily.
The majority of the art I have seen from you is done with water colour. Why are you drawn to it as a medium and are there other mediums you also like working with?
This is an interesting question… I never EVER thought I’d end up a watercolourist, in fact whilst I grew up I (very wrongly) pictured this medium only fit for retired Souls who liked to paint landscapes! Oh no… how wrong I was! Watercolours ‘found me’ by accident … I actually spent my education studying the beauty and depth of Oil paints but through circumstance, watercolours called to me because the medium suited my then tiny cute flat in Devon by the sea, in a cosey space with my miniature table to work on! I was determined to paint regardless of space and watercolours were the one medium that requires less ‘maintenance’.
Over just a few weeks I fell in love with the medium and realised exactly why this suited me so well ~ the subtle and soft tones and the very temperamental nature of the watercolours reflected my own personality and lessons I was learning at the time, which was to ‘trust the process – what will be will be…’
Watercolours have a mind of their own, and this is what I LOVE about them…especially when translating messages from Spirit! They tell me how to paint, what to paint and where … I just allow the ideas to flow and work with whatever comes.
The other reason why watercolours are dear to my heart is because they use ‘water’ – with every material used, at every stage of my creations I apply a sacred ritual, space or intention to each phase – water just so happens to be the perfect elemental Ally for me to set intentions for my paintings and literally use physically on/in my work! If you are familiar with Dr Emoto’s work ‘messages in the water’ you’ll understand how I work with water in relation to my paintings.
What inspires you and gets your creative juices flowing?
I am inspired by nature… nature, nature, nature! There is no better teacher than Mother Earth herself and I find whenever there is any blockage within me, spending time outside among trees, flowers and open lands can fill me with all the ideas and inspirations I need!
Equally, it is simply ‘Life’ itself that keeps my creative juices flowing… I am at heart an incredibly emotional and empathetic Soul who is highly sensitised to others and I find these emotions that run so strongly within me are actually my creative force behind most, if not ALL my paintings. This is why I find it so important to keep that inner dialogue and connection to your heart and higher mind open and clear (through spiritual practice), so you really embrace life with all its ups and downs and allow your Soul to take part fully with all that is offered to you – art is my therapy and this is how I release, replenish, restore and understand <3
Do you have a ritual that you do to prepare you before you sit down to create?
This depends on what I am working on. For my Soul Portraits and intuitive paintings I personally work with a Medicine Wheel which is used for protection, connection and support from my own Spirit Allies and those that I am working with. The Medicine wheel works with all aspects of our sacred space, the elements, the directions North, South, East and West, above and below, relevant colours, animal totems and energies… etc… I am tuning into other people which allows for an open connection of energies to flow back and forth – this type of protection is vital for both those I work with and myself. Intention here is so important and this is something that is maintained through all of my creative practices in whatever form it is (even when I cook intention goes into the food!).
Together with this I am a great fan of Palo Santo, Sage and Frankincense! You’ll always be greeted with these warm scents when you enter my studio! These certainly help create sacred space for my day of creating!
Have you experienced times of feeling creatively blocked, and if so what do you do when you do become stuck?
Absolutely! Wow, creative blocks are no stranger to me! This is interesting because I feel these blocks always arrive at a moment where you are being asked to take a step back and look at your situation from a new perspective rather than blindly pushing through and stumbling upon those invisible bricks along your pathway. For me, I always remind myself that first and foremost ‘you are not doing anything wrong, nor are you ‘bad’ at painting!’ It’s easy to fall into ‘poor me’ when things don’t seem to flow into place, however my way out is by packing everything away and taking the day off! Sometimes you just need to ‘stop’ to regain that balance and flow of creativity again… even a nap helps me center myself! Changing the outlook by giving yourself something new to chew on for awhile, does wonders for blocks. It’s about recognising when they are there and when to take action, rather than wasting energy by faffing around trying to fix something that at present doesn’t need your attention!
One other favourite ‘block shifting technique’ is…. CLEANING! Cleaning and tidying my work space or changing the furniture around always sparks off new thinking patterns and ideas…. Cleaning… it’s good for the soul! I’m also a Virgo…. Maybe that’s why I love it!
You have the most amazing ability to bridge worlds through your art and make the most amazing and powerful Soul Portraits. I was also blown away with what an amazing healer you are, as well as artist when I received mine. When did you discover you could create these amazing healing transmissions and what is your process in channelling the soul’s symbols?
Big questions but a great one! Thank you firstly for you kind words, it is such a blessing to create these Soul portraits for others. So this was something that had a gradual impact upon my life… as mentioned before, I had started my interest in spirituality after beginning Reiki in my teens, from here the path led me to learn such wonderful teachings of alternative healings starting with my job as manager in a beautiful Crystal shop for 5 years. This connected me with just the right souls who encouraged me to walk the path of my passion, which initially was to be a professional artist. Here I experienced and came to my own conclusion that we are ALL intuitive and in many ways psychic but it is up to each and every one of us to revive and REMEMBER the gifts that are sitting awaiting their acknowledgment and development.
This is exactly the path I took and I made it my responsibility develop myself and to allow the perfect guides (on Earth!) to help me be the person I knew I could be! And I cannot really describe how I came to blending the development of my connection of spirit and art together… it seemed to happen all at once with no epiphany moment… it just sort of grew! Things fell into my lap! Teachers appeared from nowhere! Synchronistic events led me to know I was here to translate messages from spirit (and interpret the unseen) but in my own and very unique way. I certainly cannot tell people what they ate for dinner yesterday or what colour underwear they are wearing!! However, after much exploring and experimenting, using art as a medium to ‘sort through’ my own emotions it was within a very short time frame that I found that the messages and visions coming through were clearly depicted and not just simple pretty colours that I had experienced during my early days of meditations as a teenager. These were full HD videos of spirits, animals, metaphoric messages being plonked right infront of me asking for me to SEE and translate! The journey began when I could no more ignore the visions when I tuned in through meditation.
My beliefs on healing and how affected we can become through images from the mass media, tv, subtle messages and presuppositions from friends and family is one reason why I am so keen to create visual images that work to HEAL us, not manipulate us.
The process is a form of meditation, chosen intuitively, and varies from one soul portrait to another. Some may be done in silent, eyes closed, tuned into the inner and outer world of Spirit allowing messages to be received. You’ll notice I use a photograph of your face or full body to tune in. I find these photographs are like an instant doorway to someone’s current energetic state and their past lives. I particularly love people’s eyes and find that much information is given through these ‘windows to the soul’. Other times I will use one of my beloved crystals for scrying, or even use shamanic techniques with my drum to journey between worlds. Anything that supports my trance-like state helps me clearly and with confidence bring back the relevant information and visions to be painted.
I adore all your art. I love your use of colour, light and layers and how you represent the feminine form and all the amazing animals that often make an appearance in your work. If you had to choose one or two of your pieces that you are the most proud of, which one would it be? Do you have a favourite?
Thank you Sara! I’m afraid it is simply TOO difficult to choose my favourite ones! It’s like choosing which of your children you prefer! …nope… 20minutes have passed and I still can’t decide! However, I’ll say that one of my most enjoyable paintings was ‘The Goddess of Intuition’ – she came to me when I was incredibly busy with commissions and interestingly I had a major block in getting the paintings just right, nothing seemed to flow. I decided to quit the commissions and just sit down and paint only what I really wanted to… and out she came!
How important is walking a soul-driven path for you? How do you connect and embody your own soul’s truth?
Incredibly important! Walking a soul-driven path is still one of my life’s lessons! For me, it’s about becoming so in-tune with the truth of who you really are so that you can truly and honestly see the path that calls to you most. Once you have found that path, life encourages you to stand in your power and be the best you possibly can be in all the paths you choose. Heavens, I know my soul-driven path is not just one but many and I believe that no one has a single ‘soul purpose’ with a right or wrong path, but each road leads to a lesson that will ultimately continue to guide us in the direction we were already headed anyway. Having faith and trust is what I like to embody and the continual development of my intuition. These can only be done through following the path of creativity which for me is in the form of painting and music (singing and sound healing!).
Do you have any advice for people wishing to develop their own inner artist?
Developing your inner artist need not be a hard task… so many of my students say ‘I can’t draw therefore I cannot be creative!’. We were all born as Creators! I believe an artist lives within ALL of us, not just a gifted few. The inner critic does not need to be present when nurturing your inner creative, leave him or her behind and remember that your learning here is to let go of expectation and allow for the magic of the ‘act’ of creating to flow. The most healing part of any creative art is in the actual ‘doing’ and so I encourage you not to become preoccupied with the ‘outcome’ but focus upon the journey at hand, in the present, the now. To me our inner artist IS our Soul, so have no fear in expressing who you truly are on paper, through song or movement! Celebrate your beautiful self and know that we are all equal and each have something to learn and teach others!
How can people find you?
Thank you beautiful Roberta for taking the time to answer my questions and I hope all the readers have enjoyed this interview as much as I have. If you are interested in getting your own “Soul Portrait” done by Roberta you can contact her via her website and etsy store in the links above.