This is your online Studio for creating freely and with lots of joy in a variety of media. 

"When we create with our hands and play like kids -  curious, engaged, experimenting, enjoying each moment - the  chatter in our mind subsides. We experience pleasure, satisfaction and inner calm.

Instead of being stressed and getting rattled, we are happy and live life from a place of inner balance and joy.

What we create 

- happy hand painted Clothing
 - stunning painted Fabrics
- Jewelry - with a twist
- Digital Art - the fun way
- Mixed Media - our way
 - Wabi Sabi Zen style Collages

What we wear on our bodies and what we look at on our walls affects how we feel and think.

How we create 

 proprietary, unconventional processes that are
- simple
- fun
- playful and
faster than traditional methods.

We create for the joy of creating.

Who is the Studio for?

- advanced creatives
- curious beginners
- timid beginners
- those who'd love to create, but think they are not creative. (That's a myth! We bust it here.)
- professionals who want to relax
- anyone who wants to calm down and meditation doesn't work for them.

Some photo examples of what you explore and create in this online Studio:

happy hand painted clothing - jewelry with painted paper - Wabi Sabi Zen collages - digital art from ho-hum painted papers.

What Lindsay Cash says:

"Monika, what you are offering is something so special. I haven't seen anything like it.
 I must say I quite enjoy the freedom to splash paint freely.
It took me out of my comfort zone. It is quite liberating."  

Artwork created with 3 different splashed papers, digitally layered.
The Course "Digital Delight" is coming Spring 2023.

Why I created this online Studio.

Our mental, physical and emotional well being is getting strained on the daily.

We need ways to relax that are easy, fun and work fast.

A plethora of scientific research and personal experiences show that creating with our hands calms the nervous system and resets the brain into a state of balance.  Most often faster than meditation.

We experience pleasure, satisfaction, deep calm and joy.

That allows us to deal with daily challenges from a place of inner peace and strength.

Instead of getting frustrated, tense and upset, we stay balanced and find creative solutions.

This is more than a Studio.
It is a movement to spread Joy around the World through Creativity.

I invite you to be part of a worldwide movement where we create for the pure joy of it 
The more we create with our hands - the more Joy we create.  The waves of joy radiate into our family, to our friends, into our workplace - and out into the world.

Let's inspire as many people as possible to create with their hands.
When we experience the joy of creating, outer disturbances disappear. Our nervous systems regulate into a state of inner peace and calm.

 Engaging creatively has the power to make us kinder, love and respect ourselves and each other - regardless of skin color, age, political or religious beliefs, gender, profession, status or any other preferences.

It has the power to heal separation and create acceptance and peace.

Explore fun, playful Courses, 
that make you feel joyful, relaxed and confident.

Stay updated and get
- creative tips
- fun & fast inspirations
- juicy notifications
- "how-to" tips for art and style

delivered to your inbox.

What Clients are saying:

"I always thought that your art must be complicated and involved.
But your concept is so simple. It's brilliant." Michelle B., art instructor

"I haven't had happiness or joy in my life for many years.
Your Course is giving me so much joy and happiness! Thank you!"  Dale H., scientist

"Even though these tops look like pieces of art that would be difficult to do - they are so simple and playful to make. It's brilliant!" Karla M., counselor.

How to relax into creative magic.

When you give yourself permission to let loose and play freely, without expectations of doing a masterpiece, and you engage for the joy of the process, the outside world disappears.
You enter into a state of being where the critical mind is shut down.
The frontal cortex is lit up.

You have the freedom to play like you did as a child - curious, experimenting, absorbed in the process.

That allows you to discover the ways of creating that are natural to you. And that's where your magic is.

You feel content and happy from deep inside.

 From that state of inner contentment, it is easy to love yourself and to radiate your joy into the world.

I am here to inspire and guide you to cultivate your inner creative magic.

Digital Composite Art.
The "Digital Delight" Course is coming late winter 2022/2023.
Click the button below to be notified when it is available.

About Monika Astara
I love splashing paint. But I have no clue about painting "art".
Traditional art rules are a mystery to me. Never understood them.

Art teachers told me for 8 years that I have no creative bone in my body. That God must have been asleep when He created me.

Yet, I have been a successful full time artist and designer for 35 years.  

For those 35 years I have been creating with lots of joy and constantly come up with my own proprietary techniques and processes. They are fun, super simple and much faster than traditional ones.

The simple, playful methods in this Studio are my proprietary techniques. 
They are not available anywhere else.

 Since 1987 I have been creating jewelry and stunning painted clothing under the Monika Astara label.
For 13 years I had a boutique at the Hot Springs Resort in Pagosa Springs that Oprah called "a gem of a boutique".

 Monika Astara creations sell in high-end wearable art boutiques, galleries and are in private collections.  

So - if anyone ever told you that you are not creative! GREAT! 
That means that you are beyond traditional rules. You have the freedom to discover methods that are unique to you. And have more fun with it. Just like I do.

I am passionate about inspiring and guiding you to fully go for your own brand of creative genius.
This is YOUR Studio to experience Creative Freedom and Joy!

 How to engage creatively and have joy:

Joy of Creating with Papers - Free

This is a FREE online course compilations program with fast, fun ways to create with papers, splash paint, layer them into digital collage papers etc..  

Each segment is complete in itself.

We have joy within just a few minutes of creating the we did when we were kids - engaged in the process, enjoying each moment with no end result in mind.

Joy of Creating with Fabrics - Free

A FREE Compilation of short, individual designs that are pure Joy.

- Enjoy short, fun ways to paint on fabrics.
Make new clothes - it's simple and easy 
- Transform old clothes from blah to wow.
- Easy, flattering patterns.
- Fast, beautiful results.

Each segment is complete in itself.

The Ultimate Pattern and Painting Party

This SIGNATURE PROGRAM is a Shortcut to happy, high-end Art Tops and Fabulous Fabrics.

- Wrap yourself in Beauty and Joy!
- Have fun - create happy tops and fabrics.
- No messy mixing of dyes.
- No frustrating multiple pattern pieces.

The painting methods and the patterns are "brilliantly simple, playful and fast"

Do you want to sit back and relax?

Enjoy musings, inspiring stories and creative tips in the Creative Freedom and Joy blog.

Create to your heart's delight.
In whatever ways that bring you joy.
When your heart is happy, your body and mind are happy.

 You'd love to create, but you are so tired, you just want to binge watch movies? 

I get it! There is a place for that.
Yet, most of the times, when we engage creatively - even just for a few minutes - we rejuvenate.
But when motivation is in the dumpster, creating has to be playful, short and fun in order to go for it.
To make it easy for you, I created 2 FREE "non-courses".

The "non-courses" are compilations of playful, short ways to create.
One is "The Joy of Creating with Fabrics", the other is "The Joy of Creating with Papers".
Each segment is fun and complete in itself.

These Course compilations are for all the time stressed, depressed and/or drained as well as happy, but impatient beings (like me) who want to have joy.

Benefits of creating for just a few minutes:
-  it takes the mind out of hyperdrive or lackluster mode,
- it leaves the stress behind and
- it recharges our batteries.

Instead of feeling drained and tired, you now enjoy yourself, your free time, family,  friends and your life.

Signature Course 
"The Ultimate Pattern and Painting Party".  

The Course Program is a shortcut to stunning, high-end, artful tops for happy everyday life. It is simple, playful and fun.  

This Course Program is for those who love to create and want tops that are flattering and fun. When you wear these tops, you feel like you are wrapped in beauty and joy. You light up from the inside and you radiate it out.    

The best part:
my proprietary signature techniques and patterns are simpler and faster traditional methods, and you have lots of joy creating them.  
- no messy mixing of dyes,
- no endless washing and rinsing, 
- no multiple pattern pieces. 

Just simple, fun processes and patterns. Yet you get stunning results. Even though the tops look like they'd be complicated and involved to do, they are super easy to make.  

Like Priti B. and Michelle B. say: 
"It's so simple. It's brilliant!"   

Linda Thompson, wearable art designer says:
"I am in my Studio having fun! 
Monika's methods are so much fun and so much faster than what I am used to. Here you get instant gratifications."

More comments from Course Clients:

"Been watching your videos all evening! Sooo many ideas........The videos are excellent!
I used to evaluate teachers for UT (University of Texas). I can tell you were a teacher. Very organized and concise. With so many courses I feel like I wasted my time and money. I am loving your course!" Rae Dollard, jeweler, artist

"I am enjoying myself greatly! The painting lessons are really inspiring
. It is truly fun, joyful and relaxing to watch you paint. Thank you so much for sharing your skills, knowledge and creativity with us!" Diane Williams, photographer

 "The lessons are great, instructions are clear and as a retired teacher myself that counts for a lot! What fun!" Sunnee Rakowitz, retired teacher

" Monika, this is fantastic! You are a natural teacher. Enthusiastic and patient. Love it! I also love the way you are emphasizing the healing and calming effects of the joy of creating"
Lyn Belisle, artist, national art instructor

"You've created a monster. I am on my fourth top in a week. I am having
so much fun with your patterns and techniques
.....This is one of my most favorite courses." Rae Dollard

Have a look at what the Course Program "The Ultimate Pattern and Painting Party" is about.

If you get a play error, simply refresh the page. Thanks!

Do you think that you are not creative?  
Let's bust that myth once and for all.

Remember,  according to my art teachers, I have "no creative bone in my body". 

Yet - I've been a full time designer and artist, making my living with fabulous wearable art clothing and jewelry under the "Monika Astara" brand since 1987! .

However, just like you, I actually never thought of myself as being creative or artistic! 

Despite having been successful for decades and having thousands of people tell me how creative I am, I never believed it! I always thought they were just "being nice."

What I do is so natural for me that I thought any kid can do this. I thought it was "nothing".

It feels so easy and playful that I never thought it qualifies for being artistic or creative.

But that's exactly where our creative genius is: 
when it is so easy and natural, that we think it's "nothing".
It is most likely the same for you. You think you're not creative because
- you either had teachers put you down, or
- what you do is so easy for you, so you never value it.

We get into trouble with our own thinking, because we tend to compare ourselves
 to artists who we admire - and do art in ways that are incomprehensible to us. 
But when you ask that artist what she/he thinks of your creative expression, she/he will most likely be just as much in awe about your creative expression, as you are about theirs, because your unique expression is outside their scope and looks difficult to them.

Bottom line: there is no such thing as "not being creative". We are born creative. 
Just watch kids play! 

We simply have ideas what it means "to be creative" and tend to judge ourselves and what we do quite harshly, because it doesn't fit our idea of "being creative". 

Don't listen to that naggy voice in your head.
Set yourself free. Give yourself permission to play - and experience the magic!

If I can do it - so can you!

 Digital Composite Art. Created by layering photos of hand painted papers with a detail photo of hand painted fabric. Super simple.

Online Courses 2022/2023

Online versus in-person courses.

It is great to take 
courses in person. But they are limited to a few hours or a few days. Then you are on your own.
You have to rely on memory and maybe a few notes. Often the courses you'd love to take are in another location or country.
Expenses for travel, accommodations and meals add up pretty fast.

With online courses you create alongside the artist in the comfort of your own home, at your own pace.
The instructor is at your fingertips 24/7. You have indefinite access to the videos and can review them any time.
And you are supported by Monika and other creatives in the private Facebook group.

Upcoming Courses fall/winter 2022/2023 and spring/summer 2023

Course coming spring 2023


Our Home Oasis for Joy. Short, playful ways to create,
that take us from tired to rested and relaxed.

Our days are busy. Our minds are on hyper drive.
Creating with the hands calms the nervous system and resets the brain.
For many of us faster than meditation.  

 Having a few supplies ready in a box so we can create on a whim, and having gratifying small projects on video, that we can do in 5-10 minutes, does wonders for our mental, emotional and physical well being!

 It brings back sanity, joy and inner calm.
We feel happy and face daily life and challenges with confidence and  inner strength.  

Course coming early to mid November 2022

through making unique Jewelry with unconventional components.

This course is just in time for avoiding the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, saving mega $$$$ and instead having joy creating jewelry for the Holidays and well beyond - for ourselves, our friends and family members. 

We enjoy creating different types of jewelry that excite us and suit our personalities and outfits - as well as those of the gift  recipients.

If you are a designer, make it for your clients. They will be delighted to get pieces nobody else has.

We use unconventional methods that include us hand painting papers - the fun and easy way - with stunning results as seen the photos.

We use templates to create art jewelry with my original digital art papers.

We create our own Signature clasps.

Then we put it all together with beads, fabric and more.

It's a magical journey, where we  create jewelry as unique and as soft, sparkly, bold, artsy, sophisticated or casually elegant as we are.

Course coming spring 2023


Create art that melts away daily stress and brings you joy - without lifting a brush.

If you are anything like me and you love splashing paint, you'd love to make your own art, but you have no interest in learning traditional painting, or you are bored with conventional methods, then this course is for you!

We start with splashing paint on papers, dipping papers with my "Lift-Off Method" and then take photos of them.

Next step is layering them digitally with our own photos of nature, architecture etc. and/or free stock photos that anyone has access to.

It's like a meditative dance with endless magical possibilities.

    This Course is taught in Photoshop Elements.

We do complete projects with clear step by step instructions!
The brain retains information better this way - and it makes it much easier for you to create on your own.

Course coming spring/summer 2023

Papers and Collages

Splash, dip, roll, slash, cut, glue.
Unconventional, methods that set your creative juices free.

If you love to create papers, but traditional ways of making collages aren't your thing, or if you mastered traditional methods and are longing for new and unique ways to make collages, then you will love this approach.

It is simple as well as highly gratifying, meditative and fun to do.

Creating Wabi-Sabi Zen art like this nurtures our soul.
It feels freeing, calming and soothing at the same time.

 In order for us to be centered, grounded and able to live life with joy, the brain needs time to rest and reset.

 Engaging in creative projects - no matter how small or simple they are - gives the brain time off from constantly firing in hyper drive.

 It stimulates the pleasure giving center in the brain. We feel happy, joyful, peaceful.
That enables us to live in the world from a place of inner strength and calm.

We can now treat people and situations with respect, kindness and caring. Including ourselves!

Detail of a digital composite Art Work

What Diane Williams says:

"I am having so much fun creating with your methods. I am a frustrated abstract painter.Your ways of painting on fabrics are giving me so much joy and happiness."

Playing with liquid paint and a 4" foam brush.

It's fun, easy, fast.
Then, take pictures of your creations, put them into a photo editor and transform them into art.

 For more details go the blog that goes with the video.

"The only thing I know is, I paint because I need to." Frida Kahlo

How did we start thinking that we are not creative?
And how can we switch it?

Just as Frida Kahlo needed to express herself creatively, so do we. Being creative is natural to us. We are born creative.
Just watch kids play. They are absorbed in the process, enjoying the "doing".

When they are finished, they do not doubt or criticize themselves or each other.
They are content and happy and proudly present their creations to the parents and later to teachers.

And BAM! - that's where our natural urge to create gets stifled. 

Disregard and unkind comments feel like being whipped 
The natural joy of creating gets replaced with fear of being put down for something that brought us so much joy and satisfaction.

Many of us keep those old voices in our heads that tell us we are no good in art,  not creative, that we have two left hands etc..

But now, instead of parents or teachers judging us, we internalized it and judge ourselves harshly.
We can use that same energy, that we use to judge ourselves, and switch it to being curious, being excited about creating - for the pure fun of it.

 Go for it! Play, experiment, doodle. Take a course.
Experience the tremendous joy of creating!

Instant Joy

Painting papers and "dipping papers" is amazingly fun, relaxing and rejuvenating. 

Within just a few minutes of delightful playing you get a bunch of papers. They are fabulous for mixed media, in collage and on their own. 

Ho-hum, blah papers turn into art when we layer them digitally in a photo editor. (Check out the "Digital Delight" Course a little further up).

use the the painted papers as "printer paper" and print your photos over them. It creates very interesting art as seen in the photo below. 

Receive VIP updates and easy, fun ways to create, that you can do in short amounts of time, delivered directly to your mailbox. 

Play like a kid and let your inner creative roar.

You don't have to create works of art. Doodle, scribble, write, sing, splash color...just have fun and enjoy yourself.

Use the prompts here, in the blog and use the courses to start roaring with joy.

Follow and support this journey of spreading joy through creativity around the world  on social media.

20 minute Drama Vest - easy to do - dramatic to wear.
Instructions are in the free Facebook Club, in the FREE "Joy of Creating with Fabrics" Compilation Course and in the blog.

  Want to be connected to other creatives?

 Join the free "Creative Freedom and Joy Club" - our private Facebook community.

No matter where you are on your journey - whether you are starting out, are an experienced professional, or you think  you are not creative, but would love to create -  it is a safe place to explore freely, build confidence and boost our happy hormones.   

G a l l e r y

What we wear on our bodies affects how we feel and think.

When we wear happy clothing and jewelry that enhance our own frequencies, we literally light up from the inside and radiate it out. (It can be measured and photographed). That radiance is true beauty!  

You can easily create stunning, happy tops for yourself! The fun and simple way.
Check out "The Ultimate Pattern and Painting Party" Course Program where
- you get to splash paint freely with my proprietary, simple, fun processes. 
- you use my super simple patterns to create my top selling, flattering styles.
Together they give you gorgeous results. 

Plus: creating these tops boosts your confidence and happy hormones and you get a fabulous wardrobe on top of it.

You love the tops but you don't want to make them.
Click the button below to shop for happy Clothing and Jewelry.

The above art works are examples of Digital Composite Art created by enhancing, adjusting and layering 2 or more stock photos that anyone has access to. 

The above images are created by simply layering and enhancing photos of hand painted papers and fabrics in Photoshop Elements.
The image on the left is a detail photo of one of the hand painted tunics. Layered with a photo of some paint splashed on paper.
The 2 images on the right are circles painted with a 4" foam brush and then layered in Photoshop Elements. Applying blending modes and adjusting hue, contrast etc.
Joyful, easy ways to create art - even if - or especially if - you don't feel like you are creative. But you still get to paint, have fun and get some cool, artful results.

Uplifting, happy Art created by layering photos of details of painted fabrics, nature, abstract art and papers painted with splotches of India ink in Photoshop Elements.  Playing with adjustments, blending modes and filters until soothing, beautiful, happy images emerge.

Create your own art that melts away daily stress, makes you feel relaxed and brings you joy - 

without lifting an art brush.

Have you been longing to create your own art? 
But think you are not creative?

Or have you been wanting to make art, but don't like lengthy processes, the mess and expense for materials?

Here's your solution:

"Digital Delight" - a fun online, unconventional Art making Course. 

 First you splash paint freely on copy paper without any concern for the outcome, just for the pure joy of it.
Then you take photos of them and layer them digitally in Photoshop Elements.

Even ho-hum or downright "ugly" papers can turn into gorgeous works of Art - just look at the photos above and below.
In a couple of projects you also add your photographs or stock photos to the papers.
The Course is taught online in complete projects with clear step by step processes.
You create gorgeous works of art without lifting a traditional brush or knowing how to paint.

It's also fabulous for creating your own Signature mixed media papers.

 "Digital Delight" Course is coming in the spring of 2023.
Click the button below to be notified when it is available.

Links to Monika Astara's happy offerings for joy and inner calm in everyday life.

To shop for gifts, happy clothing, jewelry and art, go to the product website:

To check out the Signature Course Program "The Ultimate Pattern and Painting Party" Program:

Detail of an art piece created in Photoshop Elements by layering 3 very ho-hum pieces of painted papers and applying filters, blending modes etc..
It's like a meditative dance. You go inside and recharge and relax at a very deep level.