The Artist Within – A Guide


Creative Holiday Kids!
December 18, 2009, 5:35 pm
Filed under: Cre8tiv Kids | Tags: , , , , ,

I have a book coming out in March 2010 entitled, 33 Things to Know About Raising Creative Kids.  I have officially launched the @cre8tivekids on twitter and, so now, the blog element!

I have three kids, 10, 8 & 6.  They are very “creatively fit”.  My main motivation in writing the book was to explain to everyone that it is EASY to raise creatively fit kids–well, at least you don’t have to have an art degree and you can still want to keep your kitchen paint-free.  Kids ARE creatively fit already.  We just have to maintain.  All of my efforts to illustrate this to you will be characterized by the reality that projects don’t always look perfect & messes will be made & mom will “lose it” every once in awhile.  But it is STILL worth it!  I really don’t appreciate kids’ craft books that have finished projects that you KNOW a kid did not make.  It sets up unrealistic expectations for everyone and discourages creative efforts.  NOT a “good thing”.  So here is my contribution to helping you feel optimisitic about you efforts!  Welcome to my kitchen table….

So, I have been promising the kids for YEARS that we would make a Christmas tree topper. After all, I am creative AND an artist, so I should be able to handle this.  I think I originally pictured papier mache’, but this year the product that crossed my minid spontaneously was–Model Magic!

It lends itself to the “Michelin Man” style tree topper.  He’s a jolly sort of fellow, so it should work, right? 

So, the first night (after dinner and before bed) the first step was to create the stars and attach them to the cones.  Fortunately (I am lucky this way), everything came in packs of 4 so we could each make our own. I could tell right away that I would want the one going on our tree to be a certain way and with eight hands on it…you get the picture.  So we each made our own and the kids’ teachers are going to be the lucky recipients of their efforts!  Joy!

We got the stars to stay attached to the cones by covering the part top of the cone with the Model Magic and then sticking the tip of that part into the bottom of the star.  Making the star shape was different for everyone.  Riley flattened her clay into a circle and we cut out the star.  Mason and I pieced together five different triangles, and Jordan’s turned into a cross.  She exhibited very “creatively fit” attributes when her star wasn’t “working” and she dismantled it completely without even a fuss or a pout.  I was so proud!

The next night we painted the stars and the cones. And this morning we started adding the sparkle & shine!  Everything is better with gold leaf and glitter!  That does not mean that the kids don’t pout a bit from time to time.  Here, Riley was frustrated because she thought Mason was using up all the shiny, pearlescent stickers–they are very cool!

So, the kids applied the mixture of water and white glue to the star and I added the gold leaf.  This stuff is tricky, but it looks SO good!

Then, we aded glitter glue–another “must have” in the family creativity arsenal!  The stickers were last.  Aren’t those cool?  Here is my finished star.  That is purple glitter glue on the green cone.  I added that to attempt to camoflauge the bright green a bit.  I still don’t know if this is going to stay on the tree!  I am a “right-brainer” that way.  I let the project evolve. 

Here is Riley proudly displaying her masterpiece.  THIS is a huge reason to let your kids make a mess and get glitter glue all over their clothes.  They are SO proud! 

Well, here it is on the tree!  Hysterical!

So, now we have created this glittery, sticky, gold leaf memory AND my kids have had the opportunity to “work out” their right brain muscle!  THIS is the most important thing.  Let me know what you are creating at home this holiday with your kids.  Don’t worry, perfection is not even part of the picture!  Have fun!  ~Whitney

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The Painting Progresses…

So here are images of my efforts this morning that I cranked out in between a shower, making kids’ beds and breakfast.  Again, the self talk going on even in my mind as I paint is so reflective of what so many of us face on a daily basis as we tackle any task or attempt to problem solve.  First, I am looking at the paintings thinking, “I have got to make this good!”  How often does the fear of not being able to produce stall us mid-action?  Then, I think to myself, “Just do something.  The layers are what make it great anyway.  Don’t worry.”  Once you realize that WHATEVER you are doing in life is a process and that each step along the way has lessons and information for you, then you can proceed forward, trusting that the outcome will materialize as you go.  SO, in the image above you can see I added some blue.  Step one.

Next, I mixed up some dirty orange (which you get by adding some blue–which I happened to have handy–into the orange) and painted some stripes and circles.  These markd provided CONTRAST to the wide spaces of blue and red and created UNITY (these are 2 of the 8 principles of design–they help you to design successful images AS WELL AS a successful life–more about that in my book) by echoing the marks I made with black in the very first layer.

When in doubt, squirt some white paint onto your palette, dip a finger or two into the paint, and rub it onto your painting.  I love to finger paint!  This technique enables you to leave the layers below peeking through and creating more interest.

So, we are getting there!  Stay tuned this weekend for more step-by-step in the abstract painting process.  It is fun!  You should try it!  Join our fanpage on Facebook, www.facebook.com/TheArtistWithinU and then you can post links to your paintings!  Inspire others to CREATE change!  ~Whitney



Paint to Create Change in Your Life

This amazing art installation popped up in the building where I take yoga.  I LOVE it!  There was not any info. on the artist and the security guard knew nothing.  So I had to share.  Each of these pieces is approx. 12 x 14 or something along those lines.  I thought, “I could do something like this–at least on a couple pieces of paper.”  Look at some of them close up…

I love the layers of color, smeared pastel or charcoal, the bold colors peeking out from the neutrals.

how fun to look at these and see what you see…What do you see?  Why does that come to mind?  How can you apply THAT to whatever is going on with you today?  There is a message from your right brain voice, your Artist Within here.

So, I took these pics a couple of days ago and I have been wanting to try my own version so I could share with you the step-by-step.

I go started this morning.  I thought I would take you through my inner dialogue as I rushed to squeexe this in between the kdis getting on the bus and a 9a meeting at the coffee shop about a community art project with the library…

First thought, “I don’t have time for this.”  (As you read the thoughts in my head, ask yourself…”does this sound familiar?”)  “I am running late, but I will just do a couple things–just to get started.”

First, I watered down some black paint, held the brush loosely and scribbled across the paper.

Next, I added some black charcoal…

I smeared it and scribbled it.  I had to keep reminding myself, “Just keep going.  With enough work, it will look fabulous!”

But I could not stop before I got some color in.  It is too grey here today.  But I found myself “staying in the lines”.  I thought–“can’t do that”.  I have to be brave!

Yes, that is red paint I squirted onto the paper.  Then, I proceeded to look around my studio for a scraper. I know I have those somewhere, but since I was in a hurry I used what was handy–one of my biz cards!

That is the image from the cover of my book, The Artist Within… (great gift!)!!! 🙂

Just scrape the paint across.  Let it do what it wants.  Don’t be afraid to make a mistake.  Amazing how often that fear bubbles up.  It can be holding you back.  Is it?  Make a “mistake” today, but practice just making it on paper.  It will get you warmed up.

Here is where I left it. I really have to go now!  Stay tuned for the finishing steps tomorrow and the next day! 

Tune in to your right brain voice today, your intuition, your ARtist Within, by creating something!  I am off to CREATE community through art and the library!  Creative Wishes, Whitney



Learn to Flip the Switch

3 Things I want to share with you today…

1st…If you want something NEW to happen in your life, your business, or anywhere, you have to do something DIFFERENT.

2nd…When you do something DIFFERENT you change the way you are thinking, making the shift from left-brain routine to right brain innovation.  This is being supported by both brain scientists and spiritual leaders.

3rd…My mission to illuminate for you the ability you possess to “flip the switch” from left to right brain thinking using Creativity Workouts and the Arts is going to provide you with what you need to create the change you desire in your world, to evolve your thinking in this rapidly evolving world, & to lead a blanced and fulfilled life.

First, let me take you on a little tour to illustrate a Creativity Workout.  Follow along with the intent of getting into your right brain (if you are sitting at your computer right now, obviously, you are engaged in the heavily left-brain dominated world and a little right brain exercise is always good.

~commercial break…Go to www.facebook.com/TheArtistWithinU to receive daily ideas about how to get your right brain “Creatively Fit”~

I recently visited UMMA.  The Univ. of Michigan Museum of Art.  I hope this motivates you all to go to an art museum as soon as possible.  It is a FABULOUS right brain workout.  Take your business team.  Take your children.  Go alone.  You will leave with new ideas, more energy, and a sense that you too can create something new.

Imagine that you are walking into this room at UMMA.  It is an art installation by Heather Rowe. http://www.umma.umich.edu/view/ (I don’t know why the pics on the UMMA site are of a different install, but enjoy that one too.)  It is a totally separate room.  I had it all to myself.  It is a series of platforms or open boxes perched upon different lengths of metal and glass supports.  Notice the glass cubes at the foot of some of the supports.  (I really liked those….).  The goal of the installation is to engage you in an altered perspective.  The key is to slow down, look around and take it in.  Throughout my tour here today, look for the reflection of the orange, metal sculpture outside the museum.

So, these mirrors were placed as close to the universal eye-level height and each open “box” had these mirrors and other “random” objects arranged differently to catch the reflections.  See the orange sculpture?  Try to really space out on these images.  Just give yoruself a little mental vacation from the to-do list scrolling through  your mind.  You can’t innovate if your mind is busy processing lists.  Now, let’s move to a different part of the room.

Hi!  Here I am with my trusty iPhone (LOVE it!).  Now, see the orange?  How many times do you see my face? Look in each piece of mirror.  Or almost all of them.  Can you tell which sections are mirror and which are real?  Look again….

Now, here is the last part of the tour.

Now, even I still can’t figure this out.  See my face taking the picture?  See the orange sculpture?  I promise, that orange sculpture was BEHIND me.  It looks like you are looking through the art install to the outside and there is the sculpture.  No.  That is a reflection of the sculpture.  I promise.  Even when I was there I had to turn around and look behind me there it was.  Then I looked in front of me and there it was too.  OK.  At this point, I admit, I started fantasizing about me alone in that room for hours with a bottle of wine and nothing else.  Except that I would surely need a pad of paper because of all the new insight and ideas that would come flooding into my consciousness as I opened up more and more in my mind–right hemisphere, remember.

OK.  So I could go on and on.  I will just say that just yesterday I bought two books.  Joe Dispenza’s Evolve Your Brain (this author was featured in the movie What the Bleep!?!?–rent that if you have not already) and OSHO’s Everyday OSHO.  Within 24 hours, after only reading a total of 15 pages between the two books, I read BOTH of them say that the key to ANY kind of innovation is dependent on your creativity, which is a task of the right brain, and that your left brain is responsible for information or skills that are routine or already processed by your mind. 

Dan Pink reveals this fact as well in his new book DRIVE.  If you want NEW innovation in your organization, it is dependent on right hemisphere thinking. You can learn to FLIP THE SWITCH in your own mind.  We all live in a left-brain dominated world, so if you think, “Hey, I want to new solution to this problem.” That should trigger the thought, “I better get in my right brain.”  In which case you give your right brain something to do (go to the Creativity Workout section of this blog for ideas OR buy my book The Artist Within, A Guide to Becoming Creatively Fit, that is chock full of right brain exercises), thereby shifting the energy in your mind (What the Bleep?!?!) to the side responsible for the creativity, focus, and openness required for innovation.  I will be back with more from UMMA.  I have to dole it out because otherwise this would be a 20 foot long blog entry.

Come back soon…subscribe to this blog–look under my pic–…learn more about Creatively Fit.  We will be launching the Creatively Fit Program in March 2010.  It will be ther “Jenny Craig” for the Right Brain.  It is going to be fun….

Creative wishes this holiday season, Whitney



Mr. Fox Right Brain Movie Review

I saw this movie this past weekend with my kids. 

Some things struck me about the Fantastic Mr. Fox that I thought were worth emphasizing.

Although, I would side with Mrs. Fox as to the carelessness and recklessness of Mr. Fox’s actions, one can’t deny the creative problem solving nature of his actions once the proverbial @#$@# had hit the fan.

So, when Mr. Fox had to motivate his “team” in the face of dire circumstances and insurmountable odds, he chose the right brain/creative path of painting a picture of what that team meant to him and what they could accomplish if they worked together.  By reclaiming their own “story”–a Dan Pink emphasis for the new economy www.danpink.com— (their inherent traits and talents), the animals were able to band together to accomplish their goals.  Mr. Fox’s leadership skills are very 21st Century.

The other element of this story that struck me is how it mirrors our current situation.  Fox progresses from the pursuit of comfort and status to being grateful for diminishing resources and shelter.  At each point that his situation worsens, he finds the silver lining and emphasizes THAT to his community.  In the end, they are still have to scrap and scrape and are living in the sewer, but they are happy because of their positive perspective.

In your left brain you are all about YOU. In your RIGHT you are tapped into the global mind, the “one big happy family” and everything is working out perfectly.

Fox’s path may hold a key to our own survival in 2010 and beyond.  Might some of us have to learn how to thrive and live fulfilled lives with less?  Getting to know your right brain voice, or Artist Within, gives you so much more opportunity to maximize the potential of your mind and synergize both the left and right hemispheres.  Feeling overwhelmed or do you want to just give up?  You are surely in left brain mode.  Click on the Creativity Workouts category in this blog to learn how you can make the shift from left to right brain thinking.  Turn feelings of hopelessness into HOPE!

Check out Tina Seelig’s blog, Creativity Rulz, on the Psychology Today wewbsite: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/creativityrulz/200911/its-all-in-your-head

She writes about the power we have to interpret the same situation so many different ways, just by how we choose to look at it.  “It’s All in Your Head” is the title of the blog entry.  Mr. Fox “got it”.  Cheers to a Happy New Year–one filled with exciting opportunities, change and new beginnings!