The Artist Within – A Guide


This blog has moved….

We are NOW on the new & improved www.creativelyfit.com.

Please visit us there to learn how to become Creatively Fit so that you can create the change you desire in YOUR world!

~Whitney

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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!

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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



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.

"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



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



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