The Adjacent Possible® Blog

Explore The Adjacent Possible, a foundational pillar for creativity on The Artist’s Journey. Insights into intersections of art, psychology and science.

Get weekly Art & Creativity Tips on the blog from Nancy Hillis

Enter your name & email to get fresh ideas in your inbox

Stealing Victory From Defeat

Stealing Victory From Defeat

I think our lives and those of others are full of scabbed-over defeats like this, seemingly forgotten but still exerting a powerful force, a force of impossibility, a repeated litany of limits. 
Our particular example is in the realm of long walks, but we believe that it describes a common phenomenon, one of self-limiting behavior, of setbacks allowed to become permanent, a subtle and insidious ossification. 
I think that this is the kind of process that might be at work when creatives experience artistic block.

read more
A Symphony Of Life & Creativity

A Symphony Of Life & Creativity

There is a parallel between the creation of truly novel unprecedented life with artistic creativity, particularly radical changes in expressive direction. New ideas are brought into an existing context, one that is established and well defended, both in the artist’s mind and in the creative community.

read more
Art Class: Stanford Sierra Camp

Art Class: Stanford Sierra Camp

Every year I’m honored to teach an art class with my friend and colleague, Dr. Jane Lombard, at Stanford Medical Alumni Sierra Camp at Fallen Leaf Lake in South Lake Tahoe, California. It’s wonderful to work with brilliant Stanford physicians, medical students, doctoral students and their families. They’re an earnest and kind and competent group, as befits those that go into the work of caring for others medically.

read more
A Walking Retrospective & The Adjacent Possible

A Walking Retrospective & The Adjacent Possible

What if we could teach ourselves to explore the adjacent possible in creative environments in the same way that we explore it automatically when confronted with physical or existential challenges? To mute the creepy soundtrack of fear and just watch the video, as it were?

read more
Adventure & The Distillation Of Creativity

Adventure & The Distillation Of Creativity

Adventure & The Distillation Of Creativity   Stripping life to its essentials. Nancy and I just returned from a backpacking trip, which is not something we’ve done a lot together. By spending three nights out on the trail, we doubled our collective lifetime total.       The Lost Coast   We hiked a stretch of California Coast called ‘The Lost Coast,” called that because it was lost to road engineers but otherwise just as found as all the other segments of...

read more
Overcoming A Crisis Of Creative Confidence

Overcoming A Crisis Of Creative Confidence

Overcoming A Crisis Of Creative Confidence   CLICK ON THE ARROW ABOVE TO WATCH THE VIDEO P.S. Speaking of books- our forthcoming book, The Adjacent Possible: Guidebook & Stories of Artistic Transformation is getting closer to being published. Meanwhile, we're still running the cover contest and we'd love your help selecting the cover! Here are the 3 contenders. Which do you prefer? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.       Meanwhile, we found out...

read more
The Adjacent Possible: Flow & Ease

The Adjacent Possible: Flow & Ease

The Adjacent Possible: Flow & Ease     P.S. Speaking of books- our forthcoming book, The Adjacent Possible: Guidebook & Stories of Artistic Transformation is getting closer to being published. Meanwhile, we're still running the cover contest and we'd love your help selecting the cover! Here are the 3 contenders. Which do you prefer? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.       Meanwhile, we found out this week the first Adjacent Possible...

read more
Lost & Found On The Adjacent Possible

Lost & Found On The Adjacent Possible

If you search for the Adjacent Possible, it is going to require taking some paths less traveled. And if you take these paths, you might occasionally get lost. In fact if you don’t ever get lost, you’re probably not exploring adventurously enough. It comes with the territory.

read more
Swimming, Art & Zero to One

Swimming, Art & Zero to One

Swimming, Art & Zero to One   We have often spoken of the idea of Zero to One, an idea that is both mathematical and existential, of going from nothing to something. It’s about doing something you’ve never done before. Even though this concept is very relevant when you, as an artist, face the blank canvas, it has application far beyond the world of art. It comes up so many times in a typical day that it is easy to take for granted or miss it entirely. Every day is composed of many...

read more
Color & The Cycle of Life

Color & The Cycle of Life

Color & The Cycle of Life   Spring is hitting us in full force, the air is redolent with a wild mix of perfume as everything blooms in a hurry. To a plant, it’s always late. They’re all trying to be first with the result that they’re all pretty much at the same time.     We are fortunate to live in a place where something blooms every month of the year, but March and April is the crescendo in the annually performed Symphony of Life. By May things are already drying up,...

read more

FREE WORKSHOP: The #1 Secret to Creating Authentic Abstract Paintings You Love!

You question your talent. Painting becomes arduous and painful. You feel lost, wanting to express yourself but not knowing how. Learn the #1 secret  to paint with joy and create art you love.

About Nancy Hillis

About Nancy Hillis
Nancy believes that your most astonishing work comes from deep exploration and experimentation. She encourages you to find the nascent, unexpressed parts of yourself, give voice to your subconscious experiences, and finally express YOU in your art and life.