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Artist's Manifesto-The Artist's Journey Blog-Nancy Hillis MD #abstractpainting #creativity

Artist’s Manifesto-The Artist’s Journey Blog-Nancy Hillis MD


Today I’m sharing with you my artist’s manifesto.

We all know that creating brings up perils- the perils of fear, self doubt, inner criticism, second guessing, procrastination and even resignation.

These fears can stop us in our tracks.

Our job is to move beyond the fears and create anyway.

A few years ago, I came across writer’s manifestos and was inspired by the structure and the sermon-like feel of them. I loved the notion of creating a personal manifesto and in particular, an abstract artist’s manifesto imploring oneself to remember the deep underpinnings of what creating art is about.

I encourage you to write your own artist’s manifesto and send it to me. I’ll be compiling a blog post of your artist’s manifestos and featuring them all together on the blog.

Here’s my current artist’s manifesto. You can listen to the audio version by clicking on the arrow > on the left below. The written version is below the audio player.


Artist’s Manifesto


I’m an artist


I love to create


But the deeper truth is that I love to explore and experiment with mark making and paint


For a long while I looked to others to affirm and validate my art


I found myself trying to replicate the works of modern masters


I wanted to create works that astonished my real and imagined audience


Only to be disappointed by their muted response


So I’m giving up


I’m falling back in love with painting


With the smell of paint, the scratching sounds of mark making and the juiciness of impasto brush strokes


I’m done with the concerns of pleasing others


I’m done with the critics


I’m done with striving


I’m painting for myself


I’m searching and finding my way as I paint.


I’m exploring. I’m experimenting.


I’m expressing me.


Artists everywhere are re-finding themselves in their paintings.


Not in posts, tweets and gallery contracts.


But by showing up and painting.


Every. Single. Day.


This manifesto is my invitation to you to call yourself back to your art, to what you came here to express.


If this resonates with you, read on


A word of warning before we go forward together…


Prepare yourself to be challenged.


To stand for something you may have long relinquished.


To paint for the right reasons.


Artists don’t paint for the sole purpose of getting into galleries.


They don’t paint just to win prizes.


They paint for another reason entirely.


This is the one thing you must learn.


Artists don’t paint for recognition.


They don’t paint for applause, notoriety or kudos.


They paint because they can’t not paint.


They’re obsessed and compelled to create.


To imagine.


To wonder.


To express themselves.


To step into the unknown


and experience the ineffable,


the inarticulable


the mystery of who they are.


Artists show up every day to explore and experiment.


They don’t know what they’re going to paint.


They don’t know what’s going to happen


Indeed, they embrace “not knowing”


Because they know that this is where the magic is.


This is where wonder and astonishment resides.


They cultivate an attitude of exploration and experimentation.


They discipline themselves to show up and start.


Whether they feel like it or not.


Undeterred with quotidian concerns of how long it will take to create a painting…


They simply begin.


No matter what.


Whether it’s good, bad or mediocre…


Artists aren’t motivated by whether anyone admires their work or purchases it.


Nor do they lay everything upon the dream of being recognized on the street as an artist.


It’s understandable to desire to be seen, recognized and validated by others.


But ultimately it undermines the freedom, the true expression of the artist.


We must lay these ideas of external validation to rest.


They are disruptive to creation.


You must in the end validate yourself.


The true artist in you just shows up


and does the work.


Whether the work is acknowledged and valued is not what’s important.


Creating your deepest work is your driving force.


Artists do not require inspiration to begin.


They know that the desire to create deeply is essential and enough.


And they know that they’re not alone.


Artists know that there’s an underlying force that guides them.


To create every day whether they feel like it or not.


They must start.


They must show up.


Whether anyone notices or not.


Because the whole point of this is simply…


That artists don’t paint to get gallery representation or to sell paintings.


They paint for the love of painting.


If they didn’t paint


They wouldn’t know what to do.


The great paradox of all of this is that


When you finally let go of creating to please others


When you finally let go of the audience


When you finally create for yourself


The universe holds you up…supports you in your vision


And your work is astonishing


The paradox is


That the less you care about your audience’s response


The more deeply you’ll search and find your way and discover


Your own true expression


And the more your audience will be affected by your work


Because you let go of needing a response from them


Meanwhile, the task is at hand


For you to listen to the beating of your own heart


And create the work


That on your deathbed will make you smile


Because you’ll know that you explored the reaches


Of your imagination.


The sun is shining on this bright morning of Your Artistic life


It’s time now


To imagine the paintings of your dreams


To leave nothing left undone


To explore the territory of your imagination


To move beyond the daily tasks


And reach for something deeper


Something eternal in you


Something beseeching you


To express it


And to do this


Is to show up


Every day


Whether you feel like it or not


This isn’t a rehearsal. This is the Show.


Because this moment is all we’ve got.


So start Now.


This day. This moment. This feeling that wants to be expressed.


Today is the day.


The artist in you is waiting.


Give her the go ahead.


Give her a kiss on the forehead.


It’s up to you


To give permission to yourself.


To write your own artist’s manifesto.


And I’ll cheer you on every step of the way.


With gratitude from my studio to yours,




P.S. I encourage you to write your own and send it to me. I’ll be compiling a blog post of your Artist’s Manifestos. Submit yours and see it here on the blog.

To find out more about The Artist’s Journey and how you can get involved in this community of artists visit this page by clicking >>> HERE. 

Share this manifesto with everyone you think it will encourage.







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