The Artist Within – A Guide

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

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 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. (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— (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:

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!


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….

Feeling Overwhelmed?

me ptg at Redwoods

I have been trying to “blog” for weeks!  (This is me painting in the REdwood NAtional PArk in N. CA.) I have had a very full May/June/July.  For those of you who have been BUSY or have felt overwhelmed, this is for you!

Being creatively fit helps me handle, or juggle, everything I have going on.  It is about your right brain muscle being strong and “in shape” so that it can compliment your left-brain thinking the way God intended.  In our Modern Era, we live in a very left-brain world.  It is complicated.  We are all juggling a lot.  While our left brain voice helps us stay on schedule, pay bills on time, service our cars, schedule appointments, answer emails, get dinner on the table, etc. our right brain helps to keep us to be present, focused on the big picture and not overwhelmed by details.  This right brain voice, I call it our Artist Within, is closer to your subconscious/intuition and does not see you as separate from the world around you, as does your left-brain/ego-driven voice. 

A HUGE part of handling the stress of our modern age is learning how to stay totally PRESENT.  There has to be planning time and attention to detail, but then there is the time where you have to focus on what you can control or what you are involved in at that moment.  Do THAT really well.

To give you an idea fo my life since May 27th…I have been to the Book Expo in NYC, then a week with the kids and my biz partner in Florida, organized a week long art camp for kids in Nashville, attended and presented at the CPSI Conference in Boston, driven cross country with my hub and three kids (Nashville to NE Oregon to Seattle to the Redwoods to Mt. Shasta in N. CA and back to NE Oregon),

driving cross country

and am now in Portland to network and promote my July 30th Borders book signing in Portland, OR.  All the while trying to keep up with the blog, the tweeting, the facebook, the 1st EVER Creatively Fit Marathon (stay tuned!), co-running the wine bar and turning in the manuscript for 33 Things to Raise Creatively Fit Kids! 

I tell you all of this to say, “I have a tool that can help you handle this crazy world!  It is in your right brain.  Its voice is your Artist Within.”  My book, The Artist Within, A Guide to Becoming Creatively Fit shows you exactly how easy it is to develop this mental ability many creativity experts are calling THE 21st Century Skill.  Dan Pink’s best selling book, A Whole New Mind, Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future is declaring the Information Age over and The Conceptual Age dawning.  Right brain skills are going to be our individual, corporate and national competitive edge.  Businesses need to nurture right brain thinking in their organizations to survive the current economic climate just as individuals need to master it to handle our complicated existence. 

There are personal and corporate coaches out there to help.  The CPSI Organization, part of the Creative Education Foundation, has a wealth of resources for you.  Tune in to right brain thinking and your Artist Within.  It is a buzz right now everywhere. Then, learn how to access and strengthen this ability for yourself. 

If you are feeling overwhelmed, you are in your left brain and you need to get into your right.  Go to the Creativity Workout section of this blog and start to become CREATIVELY FIT.  Buy my book at  Enjoy a new perspective….your life is art and you are the artist!

Portland Book Signing at Borders in Tigard July 30th 7p.

Artist Within Retreat “Your Voice of Bold Action” in N. CA Oct. 9-13th

Creatively yours, Whitney

CREATE What?!?!?!
April 23, 2009, 2:33 pm
Filed under: Daily Entries | Tags: , , ,

What do you want to create in your life?  We are all familiar now with the concept of manifesting things in your life, “secret” style.  Do you have things you would like to change in your life?  Simply being exposed to a new concept only goes so far to preparing you to create that change.  What has changed inside of you that will now enable you to manifest that “thing” or “experience” that wasn’t there before?    We get inspired for a moment and then slip back into our routine thought patterns and interior dialogue.  In business, we can rally the team around a new goal, but when everyone goes back to their stations it is business as usual?  WHAT CAN YOU DO TO TRULY, PERMANENTLY CREATE CHANGE?

You have to become CREATIVELY FIT.  What this means is that you begin to physiologically strengthen your RIGHT BRAIN muscle.  Dan Pink, author of A Whole New Mind, Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future, just said to Oprah in his December interview with O Magazine, “I happen to be extremely left-brained; my instinct is to draw a chart rather than a picture.  I’m trying to get my right brain into shape.”  Here is what Dan Pink said about my book,

“Today’s world demands that individuals, families, and organizations tap their right brain skills in order to achieve professional success and personal fulfillment.  In The Artist Within, Whitney Ferre’ offers a first-rate guide to succeeding in this new world.”


If you want to truly create change in your life you SIMPLY have to work out your right brain muscle by giving it something to do.  The “Creativity Workouts” in my book do just that.  It is not about being “artsy” it is about providing yourself with the mental ability to think abstractly, envision a future goal, and have the confidence to take the necessary action.  It is about being able to suspend the “detail-mode” of thinking and to take action based on your vision of a future picture in your mind.


OK–So take action right now.  Grab a scrap piece of paper, the back of a memo or your child’s hand-out and a pen/pencil/crayon.  Now look at the clock…take 5 minutes and cover the page with marks.  Here is an example of this exercise that I did:

Drawing-is-Energy Creativity Workout


If you write down a goal that you have been meaning to do for ages and nothing else.  You have a chance of seeing that goal come to fruition.  If you ALSO take action to physiologically change the way you think and respond you will have a much GREATER CHANCE of creating that change.


It is about balancing the mind so that when we are faced with different situations we have both our left and right brain voices contributing to our conscience.  There was a recent article in a major business magazine about the value of doodling.  A lot of you sent me links to the article.  After a meeting they found some doodles on the table where the panel sat.  Turns out it was Bill Gates’ doodles.  It went on to say that if you are bored, stuck, etc. that if you doodle it keeps the mind engaged rather than checking out completely.  So, in other words, the mind shifts gears, as a result of the doodling, to keep working for you.


To become CREATIVELY FIT you have to suspend the left-brain voice that is saying, “You are not creative.  You can’t draw.”  It is not about that.  FEAR NO ART.  We are missing out on a priceless tool we all have within our minds that can propel us forward to enable us to create the change we need to see in the world.  So politely tell your left-brain voice to take a well-deserved rest and tap into your right brain voice, your ARTIST WITHIN.


(Then, go buy my book, The Artist Within, A Guide to Becoming Creatively Fit!  IT’s going to be a best-seller, you know!?!?  This “Right Brain Movement” as I refer to it is gaining momentum and is going to become a global topic of conversation.  Why?  Because we need to CREATE a platform for our right brain voice.  We need the voice of hope, change, and empowerment resonating in ALL sectors to transform any negative situation (you know of what I speak, but I do not say the “r-Word”–referring to economy) into a postive, formative, life-affirming force.


BUSINESS people…become Creatively Fit because you want to survive this economic evolution and serve your customer base to the best of your ability.

PARENTS…become Creatively Fit so that we can connect with our children in this complicated world & instill in them the “WE CAN” attitude.

GOVERNMENT…become Creatively Fit so that you can respond quickly, effectively and with noble intent to the challenges facing our country.

TEACHERS…become Creatively Fit so that you can teach our children how to innovate, grow into independent thinkers, & so that you can stay focused on your passion for knowledge and our youth as you wait for changes to trickle down from Washington.


I will be at the CPSI Conference this June in Boston.  Join me!  Check out the theme of this year’s conference….

CPSI Conference June 2009 . Boston


*Whitney Ferre’ is a dynamic speaker who can infuse her creative energy into your business or organization.  Contact her at to gather more information.