Learn to love
your creative time

Grow your portrait skills

Join the Medicine Circle Membership

You and your art are welcome here

Learn to love your creative time so you can consistently show up for yourself and make art you are proud of.

Find more relaxation, energy, and joy in your life.  

Spring Enrolment Closed. Join the Waitlist

build your portrait skills

Our main focus in the Medicine Circle is on enjoying our creative time and in finding a connection with what we create. Building technique is a side effect of this joy. The more you enjoy the creative process, the more you create, and the more you build your skill. You will find a confidence and ease in your ability to create portraits and will build your portrait and mixed media skills along the way.

learn from earth's wisdoms

We all belong to this earth. It is ancient. The trees, stones, oceans, rivers, mountains, animals, birds, and our ancestors all have medicines for us. Lessons in the Medicine Circle weave in themes around this beautiful earth and what it has to teach us.

move past the fear of 'getting it right'

Do you struggle with that inner critic that tells you 'you can't do it', 'other people can do it better' or you 'aren't getting it right', or it 'isn't skillful'? Many of us struggle with this and it can get in the way of our ability to sit down to create. Our focus in the Medicine Circle is to learn to be kind to ourselves as we create and to create even if we feel 'the fear'.

focus and inspiration for your creative time

Too many possibilities can leave us feeling stuck. The Medicine Circle provides a focus for your creative time. Invitations to create short 'mini medicine' art sessions or dive into full length art lessons and courses. Be inspired by the other members and their artwork.

explore your unique voice and style

Do you long to find your style and your unique expression? Your style is evolving from the beginning you start making art. We explore different symbols, story, colours, mediums and take time to reflect on what resonates for you and what brings you joy. Follow the joy and your style will emerge.

Loving your creative time includes learning to:

Create with ease and joy

Accept your art no matter what comes out that day

Be kind to yourself as you create

Build confidence in your own creativity

Find ways to create when tired, in pain, or too busy

Be proud of your own art and to not compare to others

Who is a part of the Medicine Circle? 

Mostly women aged 40+ who have a passion for nature inspired portraits.

Many have been creating art for less than a year and many for a few years or more.

How is art medicine?

Medicine can come from an experience that teaches us something. The experience may be painful at the time, but it may help us grow as a person. Everything has something to teach us and we can choose what we learn and how fast.

Medicine is... a ritual that nurtures the spirit

Medicine is...a teaching or lesson that we learn to better oursleves

Medicine is...a quality of another being or object that we can apply to our own life

Medicine is..an activity of food that helps strengthen our bodies

Engaging in a creative practice is medicine regardless of the 'product' that is created. In the Medicine Circle, we explore the different medicines of art and creativity with lessons designed to engage your playful side, find serenity, build bravery, and connect to your inner truths and the wisdoms of the earth. 

I'm here to guide you

Hi. I'm Melanie, an Indigenous portrait artist, who teaches online art classes to thousands of women around the world. I help women learn to love their creative time, so they can consistently show up for themselves and experience more joy, relaxation, and energy in their daily lives. I am a trained Expressive Arts Practitioner and experienced educator of 24 years. I am from the Squamish First Nation in Vancouver, Canada and I draw from my traditional ancestry and teachings in my art practice and lessons. I provide gentle guidance and encouragement for women, so they can experience the medicines of art and build their own unique artistic voice. I believe in you.

Melanie Rivers

I walk alongside you, so you can express what is in your heart

I am a calming and supportive guide... feel safe to ask questions, express your fears, and share your precious art. Direct access to my guidance.

What to expect

In the Medicine Circle you will discover: 

  • monthly mixed media and portrait lessons designed to support your progress
  • short lessons to get you started when you have limited time and longer ones for rich creative days
  • daily/weekly connection in a private virtual community space (sharing optional) 
  • quarterly themes and inspiring projects to focus your efforts
  • a growing library of art courses to dip into at anytime 
  • live/recorded virtual gatherings (10-12 per year) to explore and share with others
  • downloadable resources and more

Our art does not have to be beautiful or even be completed to have taught us something or helped us grow. 

We Believe

  • every one has a place in the circle

  • art is a learned skill

  • learning is deepened when shared

  • mistakes are a part of the richness of learning

  • art does not have to be beautiful or perfect to be valuable

  • kindness to self and others is vital

You Belong in the Circle

In my culture, we view our community as being in a circle. We each have a place in the circle. Women beside us for support. Women across from us to learn from. Your place in your creative journey is welcomed and celebrated.

There is a private community as a part of the Medicine Circle where you can share your creative journey and artwork with other like-minded women. It is within the classroom (and not on FaceBook).

Techniques We Explore

  • create soulful portraits
  • learn to create consistently in your art journal 
  • generate ideas and design your pieces
  • sketch front facing, 3/4 turned and profile portraits 
  • place the features in relation to each other
  • bring the eyes alive
  • gain ease with blending
  • create shape and dimension in the face
  • successfully bring in contrasting colours 
  • learn painterly style approaches
  • paint with monotone, face colours, and non-typical face colours
  • gain confidence in painting hands and arms
  • learn to see what is really there and not what you think is there
  • create expressive marks and lines
  • use stencils, geli plates, collage, fabrics, build texture, layers
  • use different substrates such as wood, paper, cardboard...

Lessons Added Each Month

In this foundational lesson called Ancient Lands, we explore the connection to the ancestral lands we currently reside on or a place that is special to us. Each month you receive an in depth lesson.

There are also live sessions (and replay) where we explore with new supplies and techniques.

Kind Words from the Community

"Being a part of the Medicine Circle is a gift on so many levels...spiritually, emotionally, creatively, and more." -- Brook Mckenzie

"Melanie is such a gentle soul with so much to give. She is very inspiring to a healthy practice involving mind, body, spirit in an artful way." -- Lynn Roberts

"Melanie is REAL and amazing. She truly understands the human spirit and the need to become part of nature and life." --- Mariana

"I thoroughly enjoyed learning. You were very precise with your instructions. You gave generously of yourself and of your knowledge. Your videos were full of details and information. I also like the pace with which you explained and approached the class. I didn't feel overwhelmed or feel burdened that I had to "get" it.  -- Anne-Marie Dekker

"Being a part of Melanie's artist orbit has given me many things. It has built up my confidence to tackle projects I would have avoided in the past. She has a kind, gentle spirit that is reflected in all that she creates. I love the projects due to the use of many types of mediums. The end result is so well worth the time spent". -Michel Puckett (artwork by Michel)
"The Medicine Circle is amazing. Melanie is so generous is sharing. The art sessions are the perfect length for nurturing your soul every month. It is set up in a way that you can take a break within a session and continue later. I'm so happy she started the group." -Sabrina de Jonge (artwork by Sabrina de Jonge)
"Highly recommend the Medicine Circle. The growth I’ve experienced in my creative process from consistent support and practice with Melanie has been unreal. Paradigm shift even in how I understand what my process is". -Deborah Wagner (artwork by Deborah)

Frequently Asked

  • I'm new to drawing and painting, will I be comfortable to participate?

    Absolutely. I love to introduce women to mixed media and portraits. There are many who are newer at art and also many a few years along and more. I provide step by step guidance and there is a library of technique videos. What's most important is enjoying the process of painting and learning along the way. Every one is it a different place in their journey, so be careful not to compare.

  • What if I fall behind? or don't have a lot of time?

    The membership lessons and courses are there for you when you have time. You can dip into different lessons/courses at your own pace. The lessons and projects will vary in length and you can see ahead of time how long the lesson is. I've also created short ‘mini medicine’ sessions for each monthly lesson that can be done in a 10-20 min timeframe. So, pick something you have time for and enjoy!

  • What supplies do I need? And do I need them all?

    I use a mix of supplies in the Medicine Circle... acrylic heavy body, fluid, inks, pencil, charcoal, watercolour, collage papers, fabrics, ..... The supplies you have on hand are the right ones! I provide supply lists outlining the ones I used, plus suggestions for alternatives.

  • Is it just portrait lessons?

    No. While heavily focused on portraits, we explore a range of subjects and techniques.... animals, birds, collage, figures, abstract.....

  • What is the duration of the membership?

    You can join monthly or yearly (with a discount). If you only want to join for a month or two you can. You can cancel anytime.

  • Can I cancel anytime?

    Yes. It is easy to cancel your membership anytime within your account. You do not even need to contact me. There is no pressure to stay if you need to take a break and you are always welcome to return.

  • Where are live sessions held?

    I host live 'paint along' sessions on Zoom and recordings are available for those who can't make the live time. I rotate times of day so as to capture participation from different parts of the world. You do not need to come on camera if you don't want to.

  • When is registration open?

    I open registration to the membership 2-3 times per year. This way you can begin along with other new members.

  • What currency is the price in? How can I pay?

    The price is in USD and it will be converted to your home currency each month based on the exchange rate that day. We only accept credit cards at this time.

  • Do I have access to all the past monthly lessons?

    Yes, while a member you have access to the past monthly lessons and live session replays and to the full length mixed media and portrait courses.

  • What if I am not satisfied with the Medicine Circle?

    There is a 14 day money back guarantee so you can see if it is the right fit for you at this time. Just contact Melanie for a no questions asked refund.

  • How long do I have access to the lessons?

    You have access for as long as you are a member. It is like a Netflix or gym membership and the price is based on what a person can feasibly do in a month vs the full value of all the courses and lessons in the membership.

My Courses Have Been Featured in:

  • Let's Face It
  • Kaleidoscope