The Adjacent Possible

Evolve Your Art From Blank Canvas To Prolific Artist

Non-Fiction - Art/Photography
228 Pages
Reviewed on 06/23/2022
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Author Biography

Nancy Hillis, M.D. is an abstract artist, Stanford trained psychiatrist, author of the best-selling book The Artist’s Journey®: Bold Strokes To Spark Creativity and founder of The Artist’s Journey® and The Adjacent Possible® Workshops. She has helped thousands of artists transform their art from the inside out, operating from the conviction that artistic creation has as much to do with psychology as with the medium of expression.

Dr. Hillis has been featured in Inc. magazine and The New York Observer. She lives in Santa Cruz, California and enjoys conversations on art, science and the generation of novelty in the universe with her partner, theoretical physicist and mathematician, Dr. Bruce Sawhill, as well as listening to her daughter, Kimberly, sing Puccini and compose Scandinavian tunes for the cello.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite

The Adjacent Possible: Evolve Your Art from Blank Canvas to Prolific Artist is a fascinating presentation on the science of artistic creativity by the psychiatrist and abstract artist Nancy Leigh Hillis, M.D. It is written with the stated purpose to “guide, nudge, and inspire” the reader to reach their fullest artistic expression by venturing into the adjacent possible. Dr. Hillis describes this as existing on the creative edge where every brushstroke or artistic expression reveals new possibilities which didn’t exist before. The inner journey of creativity is discussed, followed by topics such as tips for artists, mistakes even the pros make, traps artists face, and the paradox of creation including the value of ugly art. A link to a website and an invitation to join the Artists Journey community are also provided.

As someone who has admittedly produced a few pieces of ugly art, I have to say that in The Adjacent Possible, Dr. Nancy Leigh Hillis has hit a home run. As an engineer, I appreciated the references to science as she explored creativity and the role of attitude. “Art is an inside job,” she tells us. “Your inner landscape, your inner dialogue, your mindset is your most important asset because it affects everything.” It’s not the refining of artistic technique that will have the greatest impact on your creativity, but your willingness to experiment. The well-written narrative flows from one topic to another, using stories that are sprinkled throughout to convey the concepts that are beautifully presented. This book will challenge you to re-evaluate how you approach your creativity and artistic expression.