The Artist Within – A Guide


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 http://americanart.si.edu/mycollection/ 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!

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Let’s Talk!!!!

Click here to listen to my \”Happy New Year\” audio blog entry! Is painting THAT powerful? Find out….

Once you click on the link another window will open.  Simply click the PLAY arrow on the icon on the left side to listen!  Thanks!

Scroll down for step-by-step images of some of my paintings!  You can do it! Creative wishes, Whitney



Looking Back to Move Forward…

 I am such a go-go-goer that sometimes the most valuable thing I can do is to stop and take a look back.  As I anticipated the new year, the new goals, the new experiences heading my way, I took some time to look back to my beginning.  I found an amazing CLUE there!

The catalyst for my creative journey (currently manifesting itself as author, art teacher, entrepreneur, restaurauteur and creativity coach) began with the book Zen & the Art of Making a Living by Laurence G. Boldt.  The page that started it all went like this:

             First, there was a quote by Friedrich Nietzsche.  “Art is the proper task of life.”

            Then, Mr. Boldt writes this.  My life was never to be the same.

            “Some may find it hard to accept that Nietzsche’s statement applies to them, yet we will insist throughout this book that every man and woman is, in potential, an artist and, when living authentically, one indeed.”

For me, this tremendous journey all started with this breakthrough concept of ourselves, as people trying to find our niche, our passion, our true purpose in life, needing to embrace our “artist mentality”, not so that we would all paint on canvas and hang our work in a gallery, but so that we would take responsibility for the role we play in creating our lives, independent from society’s prescribed course.   

In other words, if we stopped listening to the way everyone else tells us we should do things and really follow our heart and what it wants to express in this lifetime, THEN we will be able to create the life we were intended to live.

 By the time the book The Secret  came out, I told friends who were recommending the book, “I understand manifesting the life you want!  I need to catch up on all of the manifesting I’ve already done!” (Image below is my biz partner and I in 2007 standing in front of the wine racks at our second wine bar we opened.  We have since sold this one and are back to our original.)

NEXT, after embracing our role as artist and creator of our lives, we THEN need to look deeper within the paradigm of the artist.  We have accepted that it is indeed US who are creating the art on the canvas of our life, but what else can we learn from how an artist creates a successful image that will help us to create a successful life?

 As IT TURNS OUT, the same exact tools that artists use as they are creating powerful and effective visual images, narratives and compositions, are the SAME tools that we can use to guide us and provide a framework within which to make decisions.  The PRINCIPLES of DESIGN are revealed as a universal blueprint for creating an effective, powerful, & fulfilled life.  Watch this video of one of my Creatively Fit Students “Before and After” her 2 hour painting class!  Amazing!

Contrast, unity, balance, proportion, harmony, repetition, rhythm, and emphasis are the threads woven through every element of our lives that hold it all together and create a whole, complete expression of our human existence.  Spiritual leaders speak of the power of contrast to transform a mediocre or “safe” life into one that is dynamic, passionate, and centered.  Business coaches use the word rhythm to explain the significant impact a daily business ritual can make in one’s work life.  Unity is the mantra of world leaders and activists seeking peace and justice.  But even all of these people seem to have overlooked the perspective that if you look at your life and everything you do to make up that life as ART, as your form of personal expression, as your imprint on the book of life, there is a formula, a key, a secret that can be applied to ALL OF IT!

What if everyone from government officials to school teachers, to CEO’s to teenagers operated under a common acknowledgement of life as art?  The art spirit has never been about personal gain, artists seldom experienced material wealth when they were living, the accumulation of power or suppression of others.  It HAS BEEN about communicating that which comes from the heart and the spirit.  It has been collaborative.  It has been a unifier.  It has inspired millions of people from a single image.  This is the spirit we need cultivated on our planet right now.

So now, we have taken responsibility for our role as chief creator of our lives, no more excuses or playing the victim, AND we have harnessed the principles of design to guide us along in the process.

 LASTLY, we discover that the physical & mental act of MAKING ART helps us to further develop the first two elements of this paradigm, accepting the artist role and applying the principles of design, by physiologically strengthening our right brain mental ability.  The right brain is the hemisphere that is able to process and put into action this philosophy.  If an individual truly wants to embrace the role of the artist and learn how to manifest her dreams on the canvas that is her life, the simple exercise she can do to get better and better at doing just that involves making her mark &, thereby, tapping into the right hemisphere.  It is this side of the mind that speaks the language of the artist, that will elevate your life to a new level, and that understands how to maneuver in this new paradigm.  Right brain thinking can handle the ambiguity of having created the vision of where you want to go, but not knowing exactly what steps to take to get there.   It balances the left brain inner critic and ego-centered voice, with deep conviction in the ability for the world to provide solutions and in the power of love, not fear.  Dr. Jill articulates this so beautifully in her TED Talk!  Don’t miss that one!

So, we find that the more we “exercise” our right brain muscle, the better able we are to suspend fear, doubt and skepticism, and to move forward based on optimism, inspiration, and a deep faith in humanity and our world.  Dan Pink, in his book A Whole New Mind, Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future, boldly states to american business that their survival depends on developing right brain skills to compliment the current left-brain dominated biz world.  If you want to create the life of your dreams, you have to suspend that voice whispering, “you could never do that” and tap into the voice that says, “who are you NOT to be living that life.”  When we accept our role as artist, we open ourselves up to entirely new ways of living and to an entirely new language and mental dialog that is infinite in its access to intuition, inspiration and wisdom.

So from the image of a simple artist standing in front of the blank canvas, we discover an entirely new way of thinking, living, and creating.  Meet your Artist Within!

SO, this flashback to the beginning of my journey has reinforced to me the direction I need to take moving forward!  So, find a comfy chair, kick back and harken back to an earlier time for clues that will lead you to your future!

Wishing you all a most happy, fulfilling & inspiring 2010!  ~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



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



Watch this Amazing Video!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trz5fcdVACw

I can’t tell you how supremely happy this video made me!  THIS is why I teach people how to paint.  THIS is why I introduce them to their Artist Within.  It is SO MUCH BIGGER than the canvas or the journal page.  It transforms!  Watch this video!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trz5fcdVACw

Here are some of the paintings in my studio right now. 

This painting is in its beginning stages, but I am really into owls right now.  I would LOVE to paint an entire owl series.  I just think of the “wise old owl”.  What insight does he have for me today?  When you paint, you access your right brain voice–your Artist Within.  It is directly connected to your subconscious & your intuition.  With each brushstroke, it is like you are dialing its number.  What does your right brain voice have to say to you?  Paint to find out!

This is a detail of a commission I am creating for a family right now.  I call these my “Family Portraits”.  I just keep layering and layering the colors.  There are no such things as mistakes.  Anything can be fixed.  Hmmmm, just like life!  I am reading in Esther & Jerry Hicks book, The Amazing Power of Deliberate Intent” right now about CONTRAST in our lives. 

“You know that variety and contrast (when things are going GREAT or badly) will cause you to determine the specifics of your personal preferences, and you know that each of those preferences, big or small, will be answered the moment they are born.”  -Esther & Abraham

In his book, CREATIVITY, Where the Divine and the Human Meet, Matthew Fox writes: 

“We are creators at our very core.  Only creating can make us happy, for in creating we tap into the deepest powers of self  and universe and the Divine Self.”

You may be thinking, “I am not creative.  I can’t paint.”  I am here to tell you that painting and creating is a portal, a key, to an entirely new perspective, a new way of looking at your world, your life, and your role in the creation of your life–your reality!  What do you want to CREATE?  You paint to get Creatively Fit so that you are mentally, emotionally, spiritually strong enough, tapped into this creative source, to create the CHANGE you want to see in your world.

This is one of the Create Change Paint Kits you can purchase online at www.creativelyfit.com.  Gift creativity and inspiration to someone this season–or yourself!

This is another Create Change Paint Kit design.  There is a Creatively Fit Gift Package on sale now for just $65 that includes the paint kit design above, my book, The Artist Within, the Painting Made Easy DVD, a Create Change sticker and a Moleskine artist journal.  It comes already gift wrapped in a hand painted box. 

Yesterday during yoga class, my teacher read from Deepak Chopra.  He wrote about the “Infinite Field of Possibility”.  Yum!  This infinite field is only accessible via right brain thinking.  It is not logical, you can’t put a box around it, you can’t PROVE it exists. 

If you want to be able to truly grasp and CREATE all of the potential you our have within you, nurture your right brain voice.  www.facebook.com/TheArtistWithinU is a resource for you.  The CREATIVELY FIT Program for women kicks off in January 2010 and nationally in NYC in March 2010–Nat’l Women’s month!  Want to get creatively fit!?!?  Go to creativelyfit.com and click on the link “CLICK HERE” so we can let you know more about the program!

THANK you for allowing me to create along with you!

Creative wishes, Whitney

p.s. I am going to be in Washington D.C. this Jan., San Fran and Napa this Feb., NYC & Philly this March, Portland, OR this April, & back to NYC in May!  Let me know if you have a group or company that would like to experience being Creatively Fit!