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


The Other 97%…

Scientists say that we only use 3% of our total mental capacity.  What if you could learn how to access even another 1-2%?  What might happen?

Picture a 33 lane highway….

It is immense.

Now, picture millions of cars on this highway, all right up on top of eachother, & ALL in just one lane!!!

It’s like they don’t even SEE the other 33 lanes.  The drivers even deny the existence of the other 33 lanes.  They are resolved to continue to inch along down the road, starting & stopping, starting & stopping.

What would happen if the cars just inched over to use 3 off the 33 lanes instead of just one lane?!?!?  How would that ease the burden and increase the flow of traffic?  It would be a RADICAL SHIFT!

This is what it is like inside of our minds.  We are typically conscious of only “one lane”.  This lane if very left-brain dominant because of the task oriented, linear, logistical, and busy nature of our world.  When we choose to engage in right brain activities, we are, in a sense, accessing new, empty lanes, full of potential and new promise, within our minds.

I met Dan Pink yesterday at a Belmont Univ. Leadership event and he had 400 people captivated and excited to develop their right brain thinking.  Dan Pink is helping everyone to see how important right brain skills are to our evolution in this changing economy.

Whether you are motivated by personal or business success, there is NO DOUBT that you would benefit from right brain activity.  All you have to do is buy Dan’s book, A Whole New Mind, Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, and my book, The Artist Within, A Guide to becoming Creatively Fit (which Dan Pink endorsed!!!) and work out your right brain muscle so that you can be CREATIVELY FIT!  Tap another 1-2% in your mind, then, who knows all that could happen….

Community ART Event HUGE Success!

WOW!  Was all I had to say by the end of the night last night!  Check out these images!  A picture is worth a thousand words–as they say!

Stack Box full image

Each of these boxes was two feet square!  That made it 40 feet wide and 18 feet high!  Massive!  It was assembled at The Sommet Center in Nashville, TN.  Sadly, it has already been dismantled and its fate is undetermined.  Anyone want an INCREDIBLE public sculpture in their atrium?

stack box close up

Each box was paintind by a member of the Nashville business community.  The event was a production of the Nashville Arts & Business Council, a local chapter of the Americans for the Arts national organization.  Myles Maillie and I created the collaborative sculpture project to illustrate the power we have to CREATE BIG Change when we embrace our creativity and work together! 


We even got Karl Dean, the Mayor of Nashville painting!


Nashville’s Avenue Bank President, Ron Samuels, is an amazing painter!  He had a blast!  Yeah, that’s MY bank!  Love it!  Tell Avenue Bank that Whitney sent you!


That is Myles and me handing boxes up to the guys in the cherry picker.  It was “Stack Box Art Boot Camp”!  I got a work out!  I am creatively fit in a myriad of ways!

Every one of our 130 participants left with a glitter in their eyes last night!  I have herad from several that all they talked about this morning around the “water cooler” was the event last night! 

These types of Corporate Creativity Events are my specialty!  If you would like to infuse your organization, conference, or annual meeting with creative energy (empowering your people to CREATE the  Change you need in your organization) email us at or comment on this post.

We are entering an entirely new age right now. Best selling author Dan Pink calls it The Conceptual Age.  It is one in which right brain skills are what will give us our competitive advantage.  Your organization either fosters this new spirit or faces the repercussions.  We ALL need to be Creatively Fit!  We can help.

Creatively yours, Whitney

Create Bold Action-Come to CPSI!

Whitney Ferre' PACE Presenter at this year's CPSI!

I am so excited to attend this year’s CPSI Conference, the annual conference of the CEF, Creativity Education Foundation.  Since I first learned about CPSI, only in Feb. of this year (!!!!), I have connected with several “superstars” in the CPSI world.  First, Sarah Caldicott-Miller, of How to Innovate Like Edison, agreed to speak with me on the phone.  She is so generous and inspiring.  She introduced me to John Cimino whose Creative Leaps and “Concert of Ideas” have serenaded CPSI many, many times.  Then, Gregg Fraley and I got introduced, somehow, and it turns out his U.S. home is in the same Michigan small town outside of Chicago where my parents live and where I just spoke at a library fundraiser!  There are no coincidences!  I believe that.  I am currently devouring Jack’s Notebook by Gregg Fraley and encourage all of you to order it right away!  It is a business NOVEL and is fascinating and full of great info.  John Cimino and I are meeting with a fun group in NYC next Wednesday for lunch, including a gentleman who is the Director of Arts Education at the Lincoln Center for the Arts.  So, before I have even set foot at the CPSI Conference, I am already creating such meaningful connections and look forward to the evolution of my relationship with this dynamic, forward thinking, sincere organization.  Join us in Boston June 21-24!  Go to .

Check out the blogs below of other CPSI leaders.

Creatively yours, Whitney Ferre’

CPSI Conference

Create a Life with Meaning
Speaking in Three Oaks, MI

Speaking in Three Oaks, MI

This past weekend I had the pleasure of speaking at a library fundraiser in Three Oaks, MI.  I love to speak to groups and to get them excited about the potential in their lives!  I am getting more and more excited every day about the opportunities I have to meet new people, share The Artist Within perspective, and to make people smile!

I wasn't at the Derby, but...

Since I don’t have a fancy hat collection of my own, I had a blast trying on someone else’s collection.  We had watched the Kentucky Derby the night before.  Did you see it?  It was a total upset!  The horse that won (something like “Save that Bird”–what a weird name!?!?) had odds of 52-1!  He came from behind, hugging the inside rail, and just flew past the horses in the lead in the last leg of the race!  That what is so fun about any sporting event–the fact that regardless of the past, at the beginning of the race or contest, each player is starting at ground zero.  In that moment they each have just as much a chance as the other.  How much do we love when the “underdog” ends up on top!?!?

Does that sound too Cinderella?  Well, dreams really do come true; they just don’t always play out the way you would imagine.  Last night Christy (biz partner in Rumours Wine Bar & VP of Creatively Fit) and I were manning our booth at a local event, Iron Fork put on by the Nashville Scene.  There is a chef competition and restaurants serving up samples.  We decided to be nothing but SWEET and brought a selection of our desserts from Rumours.   We probably had the simplest set-up and no table decor, but our white chocolate mousse and “Elvis Cupcakes” became quite the buzz.  Christy and I have been the most unexpected restaurateurs, starting with so little capital, no restaurant ownership experience, and with our biggest goal to CREATE an envirnoment that exudes the ART of Community . Food. Wine!  Recently we also went through the “process” of separating from the second wine bar we opened, designed, created…in order to live truer to our intentions.  It has been a humbling, learning, growing experience.  So, last night, in front of the Nashville restaurant scene we caused quite a stir with simply the energy and enthusiasm we brought to the event.  We made so, so many people smile as they bit into the “silly good” mousse and Elvis Cake that we promised would be a “spiritual experience”. 

One of my favorite parts of owning the wine bar is the opportunity I have daily to serve people.  In the moment, it has nothing to do with profit margins or bottom lines, but it has everything to do with whether or not we are providing our guest with an inspiring, fun, and memorable experience.  I truly believe you can do that in whatever you do, but it IS a right brain experience.  It is within the realm of your Artist Within. 

I am reading a new book as a part of the Big Fish women’s entrepreneur program I am in, entitled Zen Entrepreneurship, by Riz Virk.  I am only a handful of pages into it, but I can already tell that EVERYONE should read this book.  It takes the left-brain world of business and re-introduces is in the light of the “Career Warrior”.   It promotes that your life IS an epic adventure and that by weaving the spiritual (right brain/Artist Within) side of life into everything you do on the business side that you can achieve greater success both financially and personally.  It is WHOLE BRAIN stuff that leads to a life that is lived completely, with meaning, and with joy!

I had a vision this morning of “making the corporate world safe for people”.  There is a way to be a part of big business and preserve integrity, joy, meaning and spirituality!  I do believe you can CREATE a work place that you are excited about and a business mission that inspires and creates joy–regardless of the nature of the job.  YOU can start today just by looking at the ways you can serve the people in the offices or cubicles around you; how you can serve your clients and make them smile!  If those results become just as important as the numeric results, then you will have CREATED a life with meaning.  CREATE smiles today!  Thank you for spreading the joy that lies within your own mind–The Artist Within.

Creatively yours, Whitney