Listen to this episode as Claira Heitzenrater shares how she discovered that she was a witch, learned to paint, and embraced her spiritual identity through art.

Pursuing her dreams as an artist, Claira had a difficult start that made her switch majors in college. We discuss how she ended up going back to art school again to learn the technical aspects of painting. Learn more about the artist and her intriguing journey in this episode.

"The more I dive into my spiritual practice, the more I am uncovering about what's called 'the witch' one, and it's kind of interchangeable ancestral trauma.

Claira's current paintings reference to her spiritual practice and healing.

Claira Heitzenrater (b. 1988) is a contemporary painter, witch & educator living and working in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She holds an MFA in Painting from Edinboro University and a BFA in Studio Art from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She has been featured in issue 13 of Create! Magazine, volume 38 of Studio Visit Magazine, issue 11 of Fresh Paint Magazine, as well as various regional publications. She has completed residencies at SparkBox Studio in Picton, Ontario, Canada and the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont. Claira currently works as a teaching artist in Design at the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild in the North side of Pittsburgh. She is a lover of animals, magick, nature, good music, tea, and a damn fine cup of coffee.

Artist Statement

In order to heal the present, we must heal the past.

For me, painting and spirituality are one and the same. In my craft, I focus on healing through writing and deep inner knowing. In my artwork, I transcend the traditional still life in various formats, primarily painting. I paint antique objects of the home and hearth that take us back to those who came first. When I paint a household object, I make it my mission to give it life. These objects become sentient beings, thus delivering these pieces into the realm of portraiture. The portraits are reminiscent of times in our lives when the women provided comfort; provided safety, shelter, spells and sustenance. Painted utilizing methods of obfuscation, we are forced to accept these images as the memories they are.

The women of history are often forgotten or written out, having lived a thankless life of service, much of the time against their will. Painting these objects as women pays homage to their plight, thus contributing to the healing of the witch wound and taking the burden of that wound off my ancestors, future daughters, and myself. Each piece is a therapy session for our lineage and those yet to come. I love them, I honor them, I’m grateful for their life and all they accomplished behind the scenes, with little to no acknowledgement. May we heal the world with our art and move forward in the collective consciousness. A’ho!