The Artist Within – A Guide


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