The Artist's Journey

Bold Strokes To Spark Creativity

Non-Fiction - Self Help
144 Pages
Reviewed on 03/02/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Nancy Hillis, MD is an abstract artist, Stanford trained psychiatrist and author of the best-selling self-help book The Artist’s Journey: Bold Strokes To Spark Creativity. Nancy guides artists to create their deepest, most authentic art through her signature approach, which combines art and psychiatry. She’s helped thousands of artists transform their work, win prestigious art prizes, and land solo exhibitions in high-end galleries.

Nancy studied under renowned psychiatrist, Irvin Yalom, MD at Stanford and has been featured in Inc. magazine, The New York Observer, The Expert Called YOU book and the Lit from Within Show. Her course Activating the Canvas was named one of the top online art courses of 2019 by Nancy lives in Santa Cruz, CA with her partner and daughter.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jessica Barbosa for Readers' Favorite

The Artist’s Journey: Bold Strokes to Spark Creativity by Nancy Hillis delves into helping artists through the common frustrations and road blocks that hinder their inner creativity. It is a map that guides the struggling, the uninspired, and the lost with unique exercises, quotes, video links to videos the author herself has done to exemplify her book’s teachings, and even a look into her journey into art. It is a book that aims to inspire, guide, and help artists through the most trying parts of their creative lives.

Nancy Hillis’ The Artist’s Journey: Bold Strokes to Spark Creativity is an unforgettable, thought-provoking read, with an inspiring and determined tone. It is peppered with the author’s anecdotes and wise advice that would do a lot of good to any artist. Hillis offers personal stories and thoughts in the book and I can see how this would help other frustrated and lost artists in the same situation. The exercises offered in the book are extensive, ranging from: questions as to the reason why you do art and what you struggle with (allowing the artist to have a good look or get an idea as to why they are struggling) to easy-to-follow art activities with creative twists.

This book is brimming with good advice and instructions punctuated with fascinating anecdotes Hillis relates to the struggles of an artist, giving the reader a unique and different view on their journey as an artist, allowing them to draw their own answers from their problems, which makes the book more engaging and infinitely more helpful in my eyes. This book is a one-of-a-kind guide and is an absolute must-read for any artists suffering from artist’s block or any sort of creative meltdown. Truly worth a read.

Jack Magnus

The Artist's Journey: Bold Strokes To Spark Creativity is a nonfiction self-help guide for artists written by Nancy Hillis, M.D. Dr. Hillis is an abstract artist as well as an existential psychiatrist; two fields that equally demand creativity and intuition. Her interest in both has led her to develop art psychiatry, which concerns showing artists how to bring their feelings, fears and personal vision to the canvas. Hillis, with the aid of her mentor, began her study of art as a sculptor using clay and plaster casting, and from there she proceeded to watercolors and collage. She is the developer of the Creativity and Consciousness television series.

How does one get past the incredible emptiness of a blank page or empty canvas and finally end up with a creation that feels complete, complex and alive with one’s personal vision? All too often, artists give up on finding their own style, and remain mired in technically precise work that is ultimately lacking and unsatisfying. Hillis has been there. She understands the reluctance to go out there, face those fears and insecurities, and get past the protective guardians to the creative process within. Each chapter in this guide discusses the internal conflicts artists and other creatives have to deal with and gives strategies on harnessing those feelings and using them creatively. She demonstrates how trusting oneself and learning to embrace “ugly painting” can lead to increased creativity and artistic flow. The exercises at the end of each chapter help the reader to fully internalize the lesson’s focus: from making those first exploratory marks on paper to using art to memorialize “recurring motifs” of your life. Hillis also provides a link to a series of free videos to be used in conjunction with her book.

I had long given up on the concept of ever discovering my own artistic vision. Finding Nancy Hillis’ self-help art book, The Artist's Journey: Bold Strokes To Spark Creativity, has me wondering yet again if perhaps there is a way to actually find one’s vision. Her book is thought provoking and filled with fun and inventive ways to make creativity happen. The accompanying video course is marvelous. Whether you’re an experienced artist or have always wondered about trying your hand at painting, Hillis’ work gives practical ways to get the creative fires burning. Her instructional methods have exceeded my expectations, and I’m frankly excited to see where I can go from here. The Artist's Journey: Bold Strokes To Spark Creativity is most highly recommended.

Bruce Arrington

The Artist's Journey: Bold Strokes To Spark Creativity by Nancy Hillis is a guide for artists who need some help to find their way in the field of art. It tackles self-doubt, fears, negative inner voices and other things that stifle budding artists as well as old pros. It provides practical exercises for improving your art, as well as some inner improvement tools. Links that lead to videos also supplement the material presented. First of all, I’d like to help the reader determine if this book is right for you. If you are a confident artist and have a path you follow and are following it, you don’t need this book. However, if you have doubts about yourself as an artist, your vision is blurry, the road ahead looks uncertain, then by all means consider this for your growth and development as an artist. The author will help you learn how you can trust yourself.

The steps taken to discover a little more about who we are and how we think as artists are beneficial for self-improvement, allowing the reader to break through negative emotional habits and create more positive ones. And although the book targets painting specifically, I believe that the principles provided in The Artist's Journey: Bold Strokes To Spark Creativity by Nancy Hillis will help those from all types of creative backgrounds, be it sculpture, composing, authoring a novel, whatever, because many of the types of road blocks mentioned and addressed in this book are dealt with by all the creative types out there. Highly recommended.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Why do artists create? What is the inner drive that pushes them to express deeply recessed emotions in a visual form? These are questions artists should ask themselves, to identify their driving force, the incentive that demands a creative outlet. By identifying these creative reasonings, the artist can, and does, dig deeper to find the source and to open up more compelling means to express themselves visually. As author, artist and psychiatrist Nancy Hillis writes: "Your big Why will unleash your resourcefulness, perseverance, and motivation.”

Nancy Hillis’s inspirational chapbook, The Artist’s Journey: Bold Strokes to Spark Creativity, is an impressive and comprehensive guide to all creative souls. Using quotes from brilliant minds throughout the centuries, the author leads both the rookie and the established artist through an in-depth journey to explore the infinite possibilities of one’s individual creative powers. Accompanied by expertise from her background in psychiatry and her understanding and appreciation of the human mind and soul, the author prepares each chapter with considerable background, insight and challenges, as well as creative exercises, to help artists execute their true stroke of artistic genius. She deals with issues like artistic fears: concerns for being able to create effectively what the artist envisions, as well as concerns of being accepted and recognized as a serious artist. Like any creative individual, artist, writer, performer, musician, fear is a very real issue, especially the fear of failure.

True artists have a deeply embedded urge, need, to create. Like the author writes: “You yearn to create - because creation is connection with the immortal and the divine.” This is a very useful, informative and inspirational guide for all creative minds.