Artist with a message

Brenda Peterson’s creativity spans painting and intuitive readings to uplift people facing stressful challenges
Ozaukee Press staff

The merging of the Volunteer Center of Ozaukee County with the Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee last year allowed Brenda Peterson to focus on two of her other passions.

Calling herself an intuitive artist messenger, Peterson, the former executive director of the Volunteer Center, creates paintings and gives intuitive readings.

Her connection to both started when she was growing up in Port Washington.

She painted rocks as a child and fell in love with the art. She tried different mediums and still experiments today.

“I’m always doing   something different,” she said.

Among her “canvases” is a wall in her home. Peterson said homecoming and other memorable photos of her children show a different colored wall in the background.

“They tease me that there’s five inches less of my living room,” she said.

Peterson has taken various painting classes which have helped her branch out and try different techniques. She said Sally Duback has taught her to be more free.

“She really, really made me step away from the canvas,” she said.

Peterson has done portraits of people and lately has been getting into throwing paint at the canvas.

“Whatever I like at the moment, I paint,” she said.

Inspiration can come from a variety of sources, from taking a walk to fall colors, she said. It can strike at any time, so her less-rigid schedule is helpful.

“It’s great that I can just do it at all times now. You can’t schedule when you’re creative,” she said.

Peterson was up at 5 a.m. the other day doing pastels while sipping her latte in her pajamas.

“I lose myself in painting, as all artists do,” she said. “Time goes by. You don’t even realize an hour has passed.”

But her schedule has one regularity.

“I have to do something creative every day. It feeds my soul,” she said.

Some of Peterson’s work is on display at the Cedarburg Cultural Center, and some pieces will be on at the University of Wisconsin-Washington County Festival of Arts in West Bend on Saturday, April 14, where she will run an art class for children on socks and rocks.

In addition, Peterson does readings for people who get contacted by loved ones who have died and is a reiki master, having studied the Japanese technique of channeling energy.

She was obsessed with angels as a child — “I just felt they were here” — and she said at 17 she began to see auroras around people.

“We’re all made of energy,” she said.

When she was 22, she was hearing messages for people. They come to people who need it, she said, such as mothers who lost their children to opiod abuse or other people going through the grieving process or other life challenges such as diseases.

Peterson said she is not a grief counselor and recommends going to counseling, nor does she give any kind of medical advice.

Results of her readings usually include one key point.

“You’re not alone. That’s what the biggest thing is,” she said. “He’s right with you. He saw you looking for that ring. I can validate someone is watching them.
“Often, people are stuck on incredible grief and focus on the moment their loved one died. They want you to remember the good times.”

Sometimes, Peterson will get images in her head that relate to the person that she will describe in great detail, and other times she will feel different symptoms of health. For the latter, she will recommend people see a doctor.

“I call myself a tool in a good way,” she said.

People sometimes forget things related to their loved ones, she said, and Peterson will leave it and move on but come back to it later. Then, she said, people remember.

“While we’re doing readings, people are really excited and nervous,” she said.

Sometimes, Peterson is invited to  family events, at which she will do a small reading for everyone.

“I guess I’m a party favor,” she said with a laugh.

Peterson said she has seen a sense of humor in loved ones who have died. Someone who lost their keys is a victim of a practical joke.

“People do it all the time. People will see you and move things,” she said.

If she finds someone in need in public, she’ll walk over and introduce herself, eventually turning the conversation to something like, “By the way, Aunt Mildred is here.”

In addition to others, Peterson said she will receive messages from her own loved ones. Her grandmother will send robins in spring If a bird dive bombs her car, she said it is her father telling her to pay attention.

Peterson helps set the mood for her readings by using colors of spices to encourage warm feelings. That wall she often used to paint is now consistently a cinnamon-like color.

While readings can be emotional, Peterson said she is able to separate herself and understand the good she is doing.

“It’s a privilege. Every day I get to feel love,” she said.

She has helped train others on how to do readings as well. She has read many books, including “The Celestine Prophecy,” “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” and works by Louise Hay.

Regardless of art or activity, Peterson recommends everyone find their zen moment every day.

“Whatever feeds your soul, you should feed it, and mine is creativity and helping people,” she said.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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