The Artist Within – A Guide

What I learned today while painting…

I am consistently amazed at the life lessons that I learn while I am painting.  It is meditation for me.  Thought I would share my insight from my painting time today…

my sunflower step one

This is a painting of a sunflower in the beginning stages.  This is part of the Creatively Fit Marathon I do.  More about that below….  I had outlined the black edges of the flower yesterday (it has been hard to find painting time lately, so I just have to do what I can when I can–good tip) and today I was excited to put in some color.  Now I AM envisioning a traditional golden yellow flower, but since that is so expected (but beautiful) Idecided to lay in some contrasting colors first.  This creates interest in the painting when it is done.  SO, as I was painting in those blue brushstrokes I thought to myself, “This is a good demonstration about how anyone can paint on colors that they KNOW are not what they want in the end.  Even though the blue may seem pointless–why paint blue when you know you are going to paint golden yellow?–it will add so much to the painting when it is peeking through the golden yellow.  Hmmmm, this is just like life.  Sometimes you either spend time going one direction, only to find it is a dead end and you have to do an about face, back track all the way to where you started and turn down a DIFFERENT road.  That is so frustrating.  But, if we can choose (choose being an important word) to see it as part of the process.  That by going down the incorrect road first you actually DID gain some kind of knowledge or insight that will help you in the future.  Just like the blue will add to the overall painting when it is peeking out from behind the golden yellow.”  That is what I thought.

This happens to me all the time.  We go with “Plan A” but almost always, always end up with “Plan B”.  I remember commenting once, “Plan A never works.  It is always Plan B that is the winner.”  But, you have to go through Plan A to get to Plan B, that is just the way.  One could argue that I am setting myself up for that by using a word like “never” but I think more of us need help getting over the hump of dicouragement when Plan A does not work than getting used to Plan A working all the time.  If that is where you are–stay there!  An let us know your secret.  For the rest of us, KEEP IN MIND the blue paint today.  What is the blue paint in your life? 

Now, more about this Creatively Fit Marathon.  This has been the vehicle to getting me and a couple dozen other “runners” painting on a daily basis and providing insight into the art that is our life! 

We are getting CREATIVELY FIT by painting a marathon!  We are painting 26 paintings over and over the same canvas!  Here is the painting that I had done before the sunflower.  If you look back, you can see this painting peeking out from under the sunflower.

my right.left

This painting was “Mile #15 or 16”.  The challenge was to paint an abstract painting that symbolized right brain thinking on one side and left brain on the other.  I have not flipped this one, so in the image above left brain is on top and right brain on the bottom.  Here are a couple of examples of other “miles”.  This was mile #3  that is completely buried under all the other layers of paintings/miles.  The paintings start out easier for my “runners” as they get in shape, limbering up their right brains.  I email them the outline for them to copy onto their canvas and then my example.  This image was inspired by birds my oldest drew when she was 4 years old.

bird by Whitney

This next painting is further along in the marathon when folks are getting bolder and more confident in their painting ability.  This was mile #13.  I really, really liked her.  I did not want to paint over her, although we did decide we would prefer a slightly more chipper “blue lady”.  But it made us wonder what had her kind of down. 

#13 my painting of woman


The element of painting over each painting is really fascinating.  We tend to be so product oriented that when you take that completely out of the picture you get into some uncharted mental territory.  That is the goal.  This Creatively Fit Marathon is meant to be challenging. It is designed for people who really want to kick start some change in their life by aggressively working out their right brain muscle.  It works!  Look for comments from some of my Marathon “Runners”.  They will tell you.  Also, go to to see her blog about my book, The Artist Within and her experience as she paints the marathon!

If you want more info. about the Creatively Fit Marathon, contact us from our website 

Remember, YOUR life is the blank canvas.  YOU are the artist.  YOU choose the colors, what you paint, and how it looks.  CREATE something beautiful today on your canvas. 

Join my fanpage at to hear about the famous opera singers I had the pleasure of dining with last night at my wine bar and how they CREATED Change there!  Creatively yours, Whitney

2 Comments so far
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Hey Whitney! I am loving the marathon! I love too that I found out on the “exclusive” networking page for marathoners that my friend in Nashville, Helena, was also doing the marathon. How fun to take a class with a friend who is 800 miles away!

I love the concept of painting on the same canvas over and over. You are so right in that it makes each painting more “interesting” than the one before … so much texture and color history. Sometimes it’s sad to paint over them but am glad we are taking photos along the way to have a memory of the ones we loved!

It’s also so nice to have a project just handed to you on a regular basis … no thinking involved and suddenly the right side of the brain is in charge and you have no idea where the time went and you often surprise yourself with an outcome you never expected. ALL very exciting stuff.

Thanks for leading the marathon! It’s such a wonderful idea and so much fun for us participants! Looking forward to mile 5 and already dreading when it’s over!


Comment by lisasartjournal

Amazing, I had never heard of this marathon, and will take a look at doing something in the future myself, I could use my right brain to be more creative in the future, thanks for sharing.

Comment by Derek McCrea Flower Paintings

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