Cultivating Creativity:

Art as a Contemplative Practice


What is meant when we speak of creativity? How is creativity connected to spirituality? What's the difference between creativity and art? How can art be a contemplative practice?

Human beings have a desire to create. A look through an art history book reveals how humans through the centuries have found and developed tools and methods to express themselves, communicate in modes other than orally, and create aesthetically pleasing environments. The need and desire to create is ongoing. As humans, we create a life based on our desires. Most often that involves where we live, with whom we live, the nature of our work, and the nature of our play. As we mature, we begin to realize that we want to use our creativity in spiritual ways. We want to express through art the life lessons we’ve learned. We want to use our creativity to help others, through contemplative, communal, or social justice avenues. 

In this course we look at the life of Vincent van Gogh for inspiration. Vincent was a deeply spiritual man and his art and letters reflect that. He is a wonderful model for us, as you will learn.

Through written lessons, contemplative lectio and visio divina exercises, and hands-on art making, this course brings creativity to life.

In this course you will use your own creative ability to create a beautiful book you will treasure. Step by step demonstrations are given, yet each participant's book will uniquely reflect their own interests and style.

Plus, we will have our own Facebook Group (this is optional) so we can share what we are creating, encourage and inspire one another.

If you have suspected that there is something spiritual in the creative process and wanted to learn more, this course is for you.

If you are looking for a creative way to reflect on the spiritual side of life, this course is for you.

Come join me for a fun, relaxing, and inspiring experience. I've designed the course to be like a retreat. A time for you to get to know your artist within and a little more about the Great Artist at work in the world.

Spiral Page
Step by Step Demonstrations


You receive over six and a half hours of video demonstrations, designed to encourage you to explore your materials and interests.

VVG Illustrated Letter
Journey with
Vincent van Gogh


Throughout this course, we look at the life of Vincent van Gogh. His outlook on life and art was a spiritual one. He can teach us much about the creative process, providing us insights for our own journey.


Art of the Book


We use our creativity to create an interactive book that we can turn to again and again, plus share with others.


Book Arts are a wonderful means in which to bring together different art mediums, and express in depth a thought or idea we have.


Course Curriculum


  Introduction to Creativity
Available in days
days after you enroll
  Week 1 - What is Creativity?
Available in days
days after you enroll
  Week 2 - Time and Space: The Importance of Sabbath Rest for Creativity
Available in days
days after you enroll
  Week 3 - Presence and Delight Are Keys to Creativity
Available in days
days after you enroll
  Week 4 - Listening to Your Inner and Outer Life
Available in days
days after you enroll
  Week 5 - Intuitive Artmaking: Going with the Flow and Enjoying the Process
Available in days
days after you enroll
  Week 6 - Product: Offering Ourselves to the World
Available in days
days after you enroll
  Ending
Available in days
days after you enroll

Hi, I’m Susan Ernst


I am a spiritual director, artist, horticulturist, naturalist, wife, mother and grandmother who believes that creativity is everyone’s birthright, and that we are all artists of life.

I researched the connections between creativity, nature and spirituality at Yale Divinity School from 2015-2018. While there, I did an artist in residency at the Yale Landscape Lab. I received my spiritual direction training through the Selah Center for Spiritual Formation program.

I facilitate contemplative art (including art journaling, SoulCollage®, JourneyCircles™, MoonCircles™) and nature contemplation workshops and daylong retreats in person and online. My husband and I live in Springfield, TN.

Course Enrollment

$149

Cultivating Creativity: Art as a Contemplative Practice