The Artist Within – A Guide

How does the word “artist” make you feel?
January 29, 2010, 5:46 pm
Filed under: Creativity Workouts, Daily Entries | Tags: , , ,

I am in Michigan to present my “Artist Within the Wine” Tasting tonight at Fernwood Botanical Gardens and my Artist Within Workshop tomorrow.  As I was making the drive up north yesterday, I pondered my audience for the wine tasting and how I could really get them inspired!


I have never shied away from attaching my business/mission to terms that may confuse or challenge others because the exact reason it does so is the exact reason it needs to be presented that way.  For example, The Creative Fitness Center used to get a lot of calls asking if we offered yoga classes.  I knew the name would confuse people, but I felt a stronger loyalty to my mission of creating the awareness of our need to WORK OUT or develop our right brain/creative muscle. I envisioned Katie Couric’s interview and her asking me, “Whitney, how does it make you feel that today most corporate businesses have a ‘creative fitness’ program for their employees and many Americans are conscious of how often they have ‘worked out’ their right brain?!” I believe that when that vision comes to fruition that our entire socio-economic status and personal/spiritual well-being will all have evolved to a higher, more holistic, compassionate and susatainable level.

So yesterday, as I looked out the window of my car to the snow glazed corn fields of Indiana,  I pictured my Friday night wine tasting audience and thought, “the word artist is going to instantly have some of them thinking, ‘well, this is not me.'” So, why is embracing your OWN artist within so valuable?

When we think, “I am not artistic,” or “I am no artist,” we are looking at it through the lens of our ego, our left brain. For us Americans, our first association with the term “artist” is a person that is so highly skilled at their craft that they are able to sell their work in galleries and the such. THOSE are professional visual artists, and they have my utmost respect, but for the rest of us our own Artist Within manifests itself in our everyday lives as we interact with others, solve problems, nurture our families, maintain and grow our businesses–we are CONSTANTLY creating.

The ARTIST mentality, combined with the left brain/logical mentality, will lead to scenarios within business, government, education and social sectors that takes ALL sides into perspective, that can make short-term sacrifice for long-term gains, that can innovate change (whether in healthcare, energy production, education, science, health, etc.) and produce results that defy “logic” and what is “feasible”. The “NEW” Economy is just that.  We have a lot of innovating/creating to do.

When you shift your thinking from the left brain/ego centered perspective to the right brain/holistic perspective, the term “artist” takes on an entirely new meaning. Take personal gain and individual performance out of the picture entirely and let the word ‘artist’ conjure images of an almost magical being who can defy the odds, create results never before imagined, and delight us with visions of a brighter future.

My Mother took this pic in her woods.

SO, WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY…to engage your Artist Within, simply look at the light as it shines on the trees, or the colors in the sky.  Ask your team at work to suspend logic for 10 minutes and imagine/brainstorm as many ideas as possible without considering probabilities, budgets, or logic.  Look through a magazine and pick out the images that speak to you, to which you are attracted.  Tear them out and put them in a journal or envelope to use in a “dream collage” or “vision board”.

One of my own Dream Collages

Tonight, I will be taking approximately 30 people through a wine tasting that illustrates the connection between the creative process of wine making, the creative process of painting, and the creative process in general! So fun!  I was interested to see that Michael Gelb has a book called Wine Drinking for Inspired Thinking. THAT is the subject of another blog entry!

So, my point today?  Let me know what the word “artist” does to you.  Can you make the shift from the left to right brain version? Let me know. Check out the Creativity Workouts section of this blog and get more ideas about how to engage YOUR Artist Within.

Creative wishes, Whitney


Creativity is our Future!
January 21, 2010, 5:20 pm
Filed under: 1

TODAY you must watch Ken Robinson on!!!

Ken is a mogul in the world of CREATIVITY, which happens to be my favorite of all the worlds!!!

For those of you who have been following my blog and learning about what I call “Right Brain Land”, here is some interesting background.

I met another mogul in the creativity world, John Cimino (, who is currently collaboration with Ken Robinson on some ideas for a new creative education paradigm. I met John through Sarah Caldicott Miller who co-wrote the book How to Innovate Like Edison with Michael Gelb (author of How to Think Like Leonardo daVinci).

Now, where this all gets fun, is that on January 4th I got an email from Christine Ranck, author of Ignite the Genius Within (which she co-authored with Michael Gelb), who has been following these blog entries and who somehow got to know my work from Michael Gelb.  NOW Michael Gelb has endorsed MY book that is coming out in March 2010, 33 Things to Know About Raising Creative Kids, AND Christine is ALSO sorking with Ken Robinson on his mission to elevate creativity education.

As my daughter and I were just watching Ken Robinson’s TED talk (she is still home sick) she asked me, “Do you know him?”  I said, “No, not yet.”  “Well, when are you going to meet him?”  I answered, “Sometime before this summer.”  Do I know that for sure?  No, not in a left brain sort of way.  But I do know that our paths will cross and I think we will become great friends. When you are tapped in to creative thinking, you can create the things you desire.  You become the “artist” and each day your “blank canvas”.

Watching Ken Robinson speak today (which, by the way, made me laugh so hard–thanks, Ken) sent a rush of energy through my body and a even more renewed conviction–if that is possible (!!!)–about the significance of getting CREATIVELY FIT!  We are launching new online programs in March 2010! It will be like the “jenny craig” for the right brain. I am so excited.  My passion is helping people to wake up to the wonderfully creative, inspired, and innovative person that lies within them. It is the ARTIST WITHIN and it deserves the platform.

Thank you, Ken, for all you do!  Thank you, John, Christine, Sarah, and so many others, for ALL that you do to help our global family adapt and move into our unknown future.

Here are some of my favorite points from Ken’s talk.  Go watch it now!

“I would contend that in education today creativity is as important as literacy.”

“Kids:  If they don’t know, they’ll have a go.”

~As adults we have lost that.  We are frightened of being wrong.  In educ. today mistakes are the worst things you can make. We are squandering the skill we desperately need as we move into this unknown future.~

“The arts are at the bottom of every educational system on the planet.”

“We move from the ground up as we educate our children until we are just concerned with their heads—and, then, just ONE SIDE!”

“The whole world is engulfed in a revolution.”

“We need to radically rethink our view of intelligence.”

Thank you for visiting with us today! ~Whitney

p.s. I just reached out to Lisa Nichols and her team to see if we could explore collaborative efforts in the future.  So, stay tuned to see what evolves there.  What do you want to create today?  Where do you desire change?  Reach out and connect with someone.  Ask for help….

p.p.s. Ken, can I email you a transcript of my new book to review?  ~Whitney

Sick Day with My 8 Year Old
January 20, 2010, 7:20 pm
Filed under: Cre8tiv Kids, Creativity Workouts | Tags: , , ,

My daughter is home sick from school today.  After lunch she suggested we do a drawing together.  It was fun and relaxing for both of us!  We started with a quick scribble of my own…

Then she added her own scribble.  Of course, the adult in me asked, “Are we doing abstract or a real picture?” My first instinct was to draw something “real”.  But I went with it, and we added to eachother’s scribbles.  Then, we took another picture….

As we looked at the picture on the screen, we saw an indian chief praying!  Wow!  We liked him, so we added to his costume and headdress.  Do you see him? Why did we see an indian chief praying?  It must be a message from our “Artist Within”/right brain. 

Look at him now!  He is strong, proud, yet humble.  Hmmmmmm.  We had fun with his headdress and his animal skin cloak (?).  Riley added the fun, little adornment at the front of his headdress and I elaborated on the feathers towards the back.  Here he is all finished-in all of his glory!

I added light blue fingernails, Riley added war paint under his eyes, veins in the feathers and adornment to the back of his cloak brought him to life.  Now, I ask Riley (sitting next to me right now), “What does he make you think of?”  She says, “The indian times.”  Me, “What else? What do they make you think of? Like, what words come to mind when you think of an indian chief?” She answers, “A tee-pee and animals.”  Me, “What is it about the tee-pee and the animals that we need to think about today? If the indian chief was to say something to us, teach us something from the paper, what would he say?”  What I think is that he is reminding us to stay strong, pray, and connect to the earth and the animals around us.  “Riley, what do you think about that?”  Riley, “I think about when people had to get their own food and there was not a store that provided it.”

Well, there you go.  Deep thoughts provided by our scribbles.  Have fun scribbling with your kids!  ~Whitney & Riley

My Visit: American Museum Art – Continued
January 20, 2010, 3:45 pm
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Created by James Hampton

This is incredible! Took James Hampton 14 yrs to finish! It was his only creation! Made entirely of tin foil and cardboard.


January 15, 2010, 4:48 pm
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Made entirely of tin foil and cardboard.

Made entirely of tin foil and cardboard by James Hampton

Image is made entirely of tin foil and cardboard by James Hampton. This took him 14 years to finish. It was his only project.  This is from the Folk Art Wing.

Navaho Figures by Charlie Willeto

Navaho Figures by Charlie Willeto

Navaho Figures by Charlie Willeto

Adam &Eve by Tm Lewis in sandstone 1998

Adam &Eve by Tm Lewis in sandstone 1998 “Primitive”

Howard Finster “…I’m not here to live a normal life. I’m sent here on a mission as a man of visions.” tap into yours…

"the lord will deliver his people across the Jordan"  by Howard Finster

“the Lord will deliver is people across the Jordan” Howard Finster

Can you have your cake and eat it too?! I think so if you are aligned properly.

What would you build an altar to? Visualize it. This one by Charles Carillo

Where am I?  Where do you want to be? Incredible painting by Albert Bierstadt

Look at these four bad boys…wish we had learned more from the native Americans…by George Catlin

Life was simpler…harder, but more simple. “Water Carriers, Venice” by Frank Duveneck

Sculpture by Hiram Powers…can you imagine sculpting this detail?

Eastman Johnson had a story for this woman…she’s so real &communicates so much! The red…

by Everett Shinn. There is hope …create it.

But, WOW! The 3rd floor is incredible! I’m going to find an outlet to recharge

Amazmg sculpture of brass/bronze symbolizes “world’s communication in Atomic Age” made in 1959

What is it?!? Ellsworth Kelly said, “to he’ll with pictures.”

“Electronic Superhwy” each state represented by images on tv and neon! I’ll give an example…




“Mumbo Jumbo” by Julie Mehretu Life feels like this sometimes… Artist born in Ethiopia

So you sit in a pitch black room with this David Hockney installation & the lights change…wow

Here it is in blues…thx David Hockney. Very calming.

A cube adorned with old tin… I like it. Makes me want to buy tin objects at antique malls…

The Luce Gallery w/in the American Art Museum! nevr seen anything lk it! Signing off 4 now.Thx 4 sharing!

My Visit: American Museum Art.

"being inexhaustible, life & nature r a constant stmulus 4 a creative mind."

art by Grace Hartigan

“Where there is an open  mind, there will always be a frontier”.  Charles Kettering

Arthur Dove

“I look at nature I see myself. Paintings r mirrors, so is nature.” -Arthur Dove

Off to D.C.!~A Personal Update

Good morning!

I thought I would give you insight into the ART that is my life. It is pretty exciting right now. (I am happier than this image above, but I LOVE her!  She was one of my “miles” in the Creatively Fit Marathon.  Click on her to get more info.)

I am off to D.C. today to speak at the Capitol Creativity Network monthly meeting. I met the founder of this group and Creative Emergence, Michelle James on twitter!  She is incredible and I am looking forward to meeting her and doing some “Creativity Workouts” with her group.  I will post photos when I get back!

I do want you to visit the blog tomorrow afternoon as I will be tweeting and blogging live from the Smithsonian American Museum of Art.  I am just going on my own personal field trip (join me at 1p if youa re in the area), but I want to share with you some of my favorite pieces as I see them and illustrate how you can use images that attract you to gather valuable insight.

Yesterday  I found a very fun thing to do on their website.  Click on this link to start your OWN online art collection!  It is so fun!  You can browse through hundreds of paintings, pick your favorites to add to your “scrapbook” and even add your own comments.  Check mine out. When you go to the above link, simply click on “Visitor Scrapbooks” in the upper right hand corner.  Or if you get to the homepage somehow, get back to the My Collection by clicking on the tab under COLLECTIONS.  My comments illustrate how I use the art to spur insight into my day.  Try it!  And tune in here tomorrow afternoon.

I also wanted to share something that is really exciting!  I have met an amazing woman who is, among other things, author of the new book Ignite the Genius Within.  Her name is Christine Ranck and you all NEED to get her book!  It is incredible.  She and I spoke on the phone last week and discovered that we had SO much in common.  She heard about me through her co-author Michael Gelb (ahem, author of How to Think Like Leonardo DaVinci!!!!).  He has now endorsed my new book coming out in March, 33 Things to Know About Raising Creative Kids. Christine’s book is an immensely powerful tool that anyone can use to elevate their lives.  Read everything on her website or at amazon! You really need to check it out! After we spoke, she and I feel like we are going to create fabulous things/events/projects together in the future. I got her introductory email the first day “back” after the holidays and I took it as a GREAT sign of the magic that is going to happen in 2010!

Speaking of that, I need to get back to my D.C. trip.  My first meeting when I fly in today is with the CEO of Plaza Art Supply. Plaza is my favorite art store in Nashville. As we take Creatively Fit to the national platform, I would LOVE a corporate sponsor that sells art supplies, since a huge part of my mission is to get YOU ALL buying and using art supplies in order to get into your right brain and access all the amazingness! (or Genius) Stay tuned for an update on that meeting!  If you are not following me on twitter, find me @creativelyfit.

After Plaza, I am meeting with the founder/creator of The Little Black Dress Club!  Another Christine!  She started this group to meet new friends and it has grown and grown across the country!   Here is a quote from their website right now:  “Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.”  — Coco Chanel

On Wednesday, before the American Museum of Art visit and my presentation at CCN, I am honored to be meeting the marketing director of the  Women for Women Foundation!  They do AMAZING international work to help women.  Their motto: Helping Women survivors of War REBUILD their lives.  INCREDIBLE what some women are going through.  The 2010 goal for Creatively Fit is to create sponsorship for 100 women!  Go here to learn about how you can CREATE change in the life of a woman.

I will be on a bridge with W4W in NYC on National Women’s Day, March 8th 2010.  There we will paint a canvas to symbolize the CHANGE we want to CREATE in our world.  I am so grateful to W4W for all they do.  I am excited to explore with them tomorrow how Creatively Fit can help! 

So, check back in to see how everything unfolds.  In my “right brain world” everything happens JUST as it is supposed to and everything I need will be miraculously provided.  It is an exciting journey looking through these rosey glasses, but why would I want it to be anything different!?!?

OH!  I almost forgot (I do that).  The next Creatively Fit Marathon starts this Friday!!!  We paint rather than run to get CREATIVELY fit!  We paint 26 paintings over and over the SAME canvas.  You receive emails for each “mile” with step-by-step instructions, images, inspiration and insight into how you can claim your role as the ARTIST of your life!  Want to know more?  You can!  Click here.  Here is an image of one of my little lady pictured above  going from one “mile” to the next.  We also call it “speed painting”.  Fun! Up for a challenge?  Want to get that right brain muscle in shape?  Done!