Alumni Art & Praise for Nancy

Explore Our Alumni's Artistic Transformation & Development

Maggy went from devouring books and courses to transforming her studio, painting, exploring and experimenting with ease.

I fell in love with making marks and trying to express feelings and for 15 years, I devoured books, courses, videos and all possible to learn.

And so, the novice learnt to draw, learnt something about composition, some basic colour theory – and began to exhibit and was astonished when 5 years later I was encouraged to enter a national juried competition. The Gods smiled, and I was selected  – not just that year, but year after year

But, the fear of failure echoed loud and the light went out, I began to stumble around, avoiding my studio – I had lost my belief and compass. 

And then,  one day, when I was very close to giving up, as if by magic, a guide showed up …a guide who has quietly transformed my studio practice – and brick by brick built my self belief and courage and helped me to paint, paint AND paint and explore and experiment…

Nancy’s way of teaching provides an absolute smorgasbord of learning opportunities and a multiplicity of pathways: from core concepts and principles to guided personal reflection, exciting demonstrations, but always with encouragement for personal choice and growth.  There is a richness of sharing from Nancy the polymath, of the wisdom of the grand masters, not only of art, but also of philosophers, writers, poets, mathematicians and more.

But keystone in all has been to quietly and consistently build self belief. There is magic here and I cannot thank Nancy enough for her generosity and incredible program. The program is not a painting course per se, it is a invitation to dance in the internal landscape of magical creativity.

~ Maggy Herbert-Jobson

Vera took her painting to a new level

As for Nancy: I don’t know where to start my praise. I think I will start by saying that you are a marvelous person: it shows through in your teaching. You are full of life, full of love of life, and have a deep understanding of the “other.” You are a fantastic teacher, and your lessons are so intelligently put together! I can honestly say to you that this is one of the best workshops I have taken! You not only provided invaluable information, with which you opened doors to a new level in painting, but also you led us through with your encouragement & your belief that we can do it. You made it possible for us to venture in new territory & helped us through it!

~ Vera V. Tchikovani

Marian incorporated painting with her yoga practice

Nancy’s many years of study as an artist, practice as an existential psychiatrist, and exceptional understanding of the creative process come together to infuse and ignite her curriculum.

Mastery and joy combine and characterize her eloquent teaching.

And her painting demonstrations are incredibly illuminating, inviting, fun and beyond inspirational.

The Artist’s Journey Course Work and Nancy’s abiding trust and encouragement are the cornerstone of my artistic development.

Watching her simultaneously paint and teach is captivating and spellbinding, like the best improv theater ever.

I’ve travelled from nascent “yeah kind of” artist to one who races to her studio, eager to spend time painting, experimenting, exploring, allowing, and finally, liking my work.

My wall is strewn with starts, paintings, exercises and things unknown hang all over. No small task! Grateful to Nancy forever! Namaste!

~ Marian Bach

One of my art teachers from a few years ago was telling me that I could not do abstract painting. So I was eager to learn and valued this online opportunity, where I could experiment without being criticized.

The great structure of the course, the video demos, and exercises helped me to overcome the blockage. And having some written contents made it easy to find my way around. To get a material list with each module was also really helpful.

I opened up and found new ways of expressing myself.

Nancy had such a wonderful encouraging way to guide me through each month and still has that motivating and enthusiastic way to keep me inspired.

Even though I have not really published anything during the training, because I felt shy about it. I feel deep gratitude and I actually recently exhibited some of my paintings that were greatly influenced by the training I had.

Thanks for everything!

~ Gisela Kissing

Elisabeth went from being anxious about starting a painting on a blank canvas to selling a painting on the first day of an exhibition with over 100 artists.

At the end of last year, I was accepted into a jury-judged exhibition with over 100 artists, which was an incredible encouragement. The first day of the vernissage I sold a painting “Zornpalette” which came during my trip in the the program.

If I go back a few years, I got anxious when I would start painting on a white canvas.

I have also been a “perfectionist” which has not facilitated my creation. Since I found Nancy among all the thousands of other art teachers, my life has changed, not only on the artistic level but on so many levels.

The feeling when I first loved what I painted was incredibly strong and because it was genuine and rooted within myself. Sure, there is still often a struggle during each painting, but then I hear Nancy’s voice that it is precisely in the “ugly paintings” something new is emerging. HOW EXCITING IS THIS?

~ Elisabeth Malmgren

Eva went from not trusting her creativity to applying her own abstract art style to unique projects

Nancy’s strong belief in self trust has started to rub off on me. This has changed my work immeasurably. I feel I’m on an exciting path toward understanding more fully why the creative process is so essential in my life .

~ Eva Darrington

Renata went from freezing up in the middle of her paintings to taking risks and experimenting with joy

What makes Nancy’s courses so valuable is her background in existential psychiatry as well as her understanding of the creative process. She’s able to coax out of you, gently and non-judgmentally, your true authentic self. And she makes you believe and trust in yourself along the way.

Having come from a background in graphic design before taking up painting, I was very familiar with the principles of design that make for a good painting, but there often came a point in the process that caused me to freeze up. It could have been encountering the dreaded ugly stage, or even having created something beautiful part-way through. In both cases, I was afraid to go further, either from fear of working through that messy stage, or for fear of ruining something good. For me, now, the process of painting involves risk and experimentation, and I do it with joy and without fear of the unknown. I thank Nancy for helping me get to that state.

~ Renata Kerr

Jo went from painting as a hobby and not being sure about her style to becoming a full time artist with a unique style

I am excited to be sharing another journey with you Nancy. Under your guidance, tutoring and workshops I have developed my style as an artist and as a result of this I have now taken the plunge to be a full time artist. You have given me the confidence to be disciplined, and believe in myself . It is so exciting to be in my studio each day, putting into practice the knowledge I have gained through your tutoring , and the feeling of joy I experience when I see paintings completed that I am proud of.

Thank you Nancy wholeheartedly , it is awesome to be sharing another journey with you.

~ Jo Rankin

Nancy’s incredibly generous instruction is such a loving gift to us all. I have truly become a devotee.  She is inspiring, amazingly insightful, nourishing, life-affirming and encourages me to be a better artist. I feel connected to her and her tribe on a whole other level … a ”Zeitgeist” level.

~ Ariane Edmundson

Ngo Thuy went from worrying about painting to experimenting freely in creative ways with self confidence

The program provided me with understanding and insights into abstract paintings. It did help me to be able to experiment freely in creative ways, with no worry about how improvisational paintings are. I can adjust and refine my intuitive painting with self-confidence. 

It is obvious that joining the course made me feel like being an artist and my dream of becoming an artist comes true.

~ Ngo Thuy

Rhonda enjoyed chatting with artists and formed friendships in the Facebook group

Nancy is a very generous teacher giving great knowledge as a psychiatrist & artist. She instills in us the belief “to trust yourself “ & step into the unknown…terra incognito.

Nancy is vivacious & interesting in her presentation of the modules in the courses, which I have enjoyed immensely.

Having completed The Artist Journey course & Studio Journey, I have been provided with invaluable information, developed a very strong studio practice & the love of exploring & experimenting.

My work has indeed gone to a new level, for which I thank Nancy & am eternally grateful.

Throughout my 4 year association with Nancy, I have made many new friends through the special Facebook groups & have enjoyed chatting with these “like minded” artists & viewing their work. I have also been fortunate to meet some in Australia in person, we have formed a lovely friendship.

Thank you, Nancy for these wonderful opportunities.

~ Rhonda Campbell

Lois went from doubting and fearing her work as an abstract Artist to never doubting her creativity & expression

I had the greatest artistic experience with the program. Nancy shows great care and compassion in her work and instructions. 

The most profound thing for me is that she helped release any doubt or fear about working as an abstract artist and to never doubt my own creativity and expression. Thank you Nancy! 

~ Lois Stone

Helen went from fearing a blank canvas to believing in herself and creating many starts

I am absolutely enthralled by your course. It really has brought a lot of joy to my life, and put a spring in my step.  I think it’s your philosophy about believing in yourself.  

I  understand what you mean by many starts, mine end up being a blank canvas. Now I practice mark making before I start, getting into that stream of consciousness. This happened in my last painting.

~ Helen Tainsh

Nancy, you are an amazing woman and your sharing of art and the normal challenges of creation, lights the path for others. It often seems like the times I am in the worst cycle of self criticism are the times I receive one of your inspiring emails with messages guiding the way back to light. Learning to accept the struggle as an indication of growth.

Now I have another of your quotes to keep: “A dead woman produces no books”. I think I will post a note to myself: “What amazing paintings are lost if you die before you create them

~ Kathy Kimball

Psych Ward

Our new serialized fiction

Thousands of Artists Have Experienced The Artist’s Journey®

Here’s what just a few of my students say about working with me in my courses:

Praise for The Artist's Journey Course: 

The Artist Journey course does exactly what is promised:  it starts a spark in each of us that ignites all the little creative parts we have been reaching for but may have been sleeping! 

It helps to have companions on this journey who can feel your pain when you work through exercises that feel awkward but so ultimately helpful.  To look at your "ugly" work along the way and cheer it just as you cheer theirs.  And see their incredible progress as they see yours. 

Nancy is amazingly kind and generous with her talent and she has a gentle way of explanation that allows you to relax and know you will be able to grasp it, if not this time then when you listen again and again.  She is a wonder.

Praise for Experimenting with Color: 

I am very happy with this course and although I "finished" it a few weeks ago I return to it so often.  Today, in fact,  I continue trying to work with new combinations and trying to focus on both the art and the color!  Sometimes that is difficult since I fall in love with the colors! 

I adored the course.  I loved the way Nancy spoke slowly enough in her explanations with the samples.  Needed.  Of course watching her paint is the most fun and I could do that all day.   

Gwen Lennox

Artist’s Journey® Course & Experimenting with Color Alumnus

I enjoyed the course and the journey that I was taken on . Exploring the different elements of painting was enjoyable and developed a self awareness of what I look for in painting and then to have confirmation from Nancy as to what was happening.

I am a very visual person and sometimes I feel more of a designer than a painter but I think now they are entwined in my mind. It was exciting to see what happened when the line happening became part of the unexpected and how with visual impact it could always lead to a work that I was visually happy with.

With fond wishes to all who contributed to the journey

~ Janet Malloch, Artist’s Journey® Course Alumna

The Artist's Journey was just the book I needed right now. I have found I am at a turning point in my painting journey, in which my work is starting to get some attention, which is exciting, but also means that I have started to feel the influence of pressure from this on my creativity. I have also wondered if I yet have what it takes to call myself an 'artist' in the professional sense. I was feeling particularly stuck, and wondered if I would ever be able to recreate the moments that brought about the few pieces I was proudest of. As a result, I had started to play it safe, with tired composition choices that I know from experience don't excite me.

The Artist's Journey helped to remind me that I am first and foremost making art for me, and to know that self-doubt is a normal feeling for all artists to have. This reminder, a theme repeated throughout the book, was what I needed to help free me to experiment for the sake and love of painting itself. I have produced some of my most exciting paintings out of this, with hope for those that follow, and similar love for the 'ugly paintings' that will also follow.

I noted Nancy's work on Instagram before seeing her book, so I have come to it with an appreciation of her own artistic results as much as of her writing. I'm on my second listen-through of the Audible version as I drive to work each day, and it has kept me going with hope for the future of my journey!
Many thanks for sharing your ideas with the rest of us Nancy!
Matt Ayer

Artist’s Journey® Book Listener

Praise For Activating The Canvas:

Straight up? I like it a lot. Without getting too deep into the weeds: a while ago I bought a Kindle and with that read “The Artists Journey: Bold Strokes to Spark Creativity.” That lead me to the website and some other things including a conversation with Bruce. While I have never before thought about painting abstracts, I decided to give it a try. Turns out Activating the Canvas is just right for me and I’m having a lot of fun with it. I strongly recommend it to anyone wanting to get started in creating abstract works.

Praise for The Book: 

I'm liking' the book so much. More importantly it is going to serve as a practical Manuel for me as will the videos.

Praise for Color Secrets of the Pros Workbook:

What I found was a concise and simple treatment of color concepts that I have found to be overwhelming in other books and manuals. I like the straightforward explanations and examples.

I’m so glad I found you on-line and registered for one of your courses. I’m having a lot of fun now painting with your approach.

Jim Oliver

Activating The Canvas Alumnus, Artist’s Journey® Book Reader, Color Secrets of the Pros Workbook

I have found the course to be both interesting and challenging.

I have not done a lot in the area of abstraction but I wanted to do something that took me away from my “controlling” self and the exercises and weekly challenges have done just that. I have deliberately chosen to spread the course out over 3 months so that I can savour every moment yet still be able to further my other art/horse training commitments.

I have found a lot of parallels in the Course and training horses which comes as no surprise as you are a horsewoman, too. Such as; to ride in harmony with a competition horse you have to be prepared to be straight with yourself. It takes courage to step out of your comfort zone but the gains are always worth it. Be prepared to make mistakes, learn and move on. Surrender yourself to the process and not get caught up in the “in order to’s”.

Each horse/painting is on a different journey to the one you rode before. Make lots of starts it improves the chances of success. Every test/painting is a WIP not the “Be All and End All” of Success. And most of all to lighten up and have fun with it.

Thank you very much for your commitment to us all.

Amanda Sophia Hocking

The Artist’s Journey® Alumnus

I am enjoying your book and working to incorporate the principles into my art making. I’m working through the “ugly” paintings. I had done the mind map for “ugly” and then painted four ugly paintings based on some of what I saw there.

Now I am up to the chapter where I need to reflect on the “ugly” paintings, and I have found that the paintings themselves are not so “ugly” in their execution as they are in their content.

I’m not sure how I feel about them right now. I think I need to sit with them longer and journal about them. Since they’re coming from a place of feeling such anxiety, sadness, and bitterness in 2020, it will be very interesting to look at them again in 2021 and see what has changed. I hope I (and the world) has moved forward toward something more beautiful by then!

Thank you again for your book. It was something I really needed right now.

Leslie McCrea

Artist’s Journey® Book Reader

I like the Artist's Journey book very much. I especially like the connections and references to work by Carl Jung! Your book is inspirational!

I loved Activating The Canvas. It directly addressed some techniques I wanted to learn... layering, veils. I love the encouragement to keep working and producing works of art and the push to use any and all tools that help express what you feel and the suggestion to stop overthinking and judging.

Nancy Hillis' work has re-ignited my passion for art. I especially like the references to Carl Jung and the important role the unconscious mind plays in self-discovery and acts of self-expression. She inspires artists to keep move beyond criticism and judgement!

Audrey Sharon Taylor-Wood

Activating The Canvas Alumnus, Artist’s Journey® Book Reader

I am finding that this book shows me how to get new inspiration on how to move forward from representational workIt has shown me how to let go, how to give myself permission to just play and see what happens.

I have tried the tips in the videos got on really well. Felt very free. It is amazing that I for one needed to be told that it was OK to just paint like you did when a 4 year old. I have painted for 50 years. Sold quite a few but have always felt ‘not Good enough’. Now I don’t worry about it.

I am enjoying the painting process now and look forward to going into the studio to paint. Many thanks for the book. 

Barbara Harrild

West Coast of Scotland, Artist’s Journey® Book Reader

This has been a wonderful course for me! Beginning with reading THE ARTISTS JOURNEY in the first days of lockdown to how I feel now is amazing.

Nancy has freed me from a more observation based working method to intuitive free mark making. A combination of the two is beginning to surface which is probably my true self!

Nancy is a true Renaissance Woman and has generously communicated so much through her teaching. I have no hesitation in recommending this course to anyone who is prepared to commit their time and energy to it.

Marilyn Simler

The Artist’s Journey® Alumnus

Gratitude, inspiration, a sense of aliveness and connectedness with my artwork is what I feel after participating in the "Creating Your Deepest Work" email course.

The artist Ana Paz recommends Nancy's article "What You’re Afraid Of Is Where The Juice Is" on overcoming creative blocks. This is how I became aware of 'The Artist's Journey'.

Nancy thoughts and questions, insights and experience are motivating, profound and encouraging.

Shelly Vega

"Creating Your Deepest Work" email course

I "met" Nancy at just the right time as I was making a media change and felt a little overwhelmed.  Signing up for The Artist's Journey Masterclass was exactly what I was looking for to help me get over the hump of anxiety I felt about this change.

Nancy teaches from a positive perspective.  Her lessons are open enough to allow for your vision but structured enough to give you a starting point.  She is very generous with her knowledge and her beginning to end painting videos are wonderful examples of that.  I don't know many artists who would share that process.

In addition to technical information, Nancy shares material for contemplation and personal growth. This material supports the desire to create.  I highly recommend this course for artists and those who desire to be artist as the next step in developing a studio practice. 

Terry Jarrard-Dimond

The Artist’s Journey® Masterclass Alumnus

I’ve painted most of my life. There were so many times I’d just run out of the studio and not go back for hours, days, sometimes months. I wished to be able to have the attention span to paint all day.

It didn’t happen until I took Nancy’s classes. I had a realization that why I had the pattern of quitting painting like I did was that I’d run into the ugly paintings and fear of failure! Once I accepted them as part of the process, I’ve been able to paint indefinitely, sometimes all day! 

Those old patterns in the brain reoccur sometimes and I have to remind myself to experiment and ask myself what- if questions. 

I’m so grateful to have found Nancy with her background in Psychology which puts her in a unique position to help artists confront and work through the dark night of the soul.

Lesta Frank

The Artist’s Journey® Alumnus

You know I paint every day - I have learned a lot from Nancy - at first I was not impressed by her spontaneity (and to be honest her paintings) but I felt I was learning from her. Over the past two years I have matured and have new appreciation for both her methods and her work

I have a beautiful studio, I get juried into shows, I’m signing with a local gallery,  and I have two big solo shows coming up later in 2020.  Nancy was my quiet in the storm of doubt and gave me the confidence to start my journey.

I stay on with the yearly subscription so that from time to time when I need inspiration I can check in with her.  I have taken several ‘masterclasses’ from other artists in the past two years but Nancy is still one of my favorites.

Dana Grubbe

Artist’s Journey® Masterclass & Studio Journey™ Alumnus

I was very content with the Masterclasses. And eternally grateful for the Artist Journey year course. It was life changing for me. It helped me in so many ways. To understand concepts, learn many many things, materials, tools and also how to approach the white canvas...which was scary!

I am eternally grateful for Nancy and her Artist Journey classes all year around. And for giving me another year to keep enjoying it. 

Daniela Steiner

The Artist’s Journey® Masterclass Alumnus

In 2019, I enrolled in Nancy Hilli’s online course Artist Journey- 3 secrets of the masters.

This course has inspired and provided me with all the concepts that forms the foundation of abstract painting. A step by step guidance by Nancy throughout this course also gave me confidence in becoming a better painter.

Moreover, through the Facebook group of this course I have received multiple feedbacks from other talented artists who have contributed towards my authentic painting in this course.

I have really enjoyed this course. Thank you Nancy and the team!

Ashwini Prasad

The Artist’s Journey® Alumnus

I enrolled in the Artist Journey about a year ago. It seemed at the time a big financial and time commitment for a non- professional artist. After completing the course it became clear to me that it was a most worthwhile investment. 

I loved the clear and detailed structure of the course, the excellent instructional videos, and the reviews of important aspects of painting, including mark making, elements of composition, color, restraint, risk taking, trust etc. For me, it was especially helpful to be encouraged to trust my own creative expression and to distance from the inner critic. This process of opening and accepting was beautifully facilitated by concepts like „many starts“ and the Marquettes.

I have used everything I learned in this course over the past year and I find that my work is evolving in new and exciting  ways. 

I will be forever grateful to Nancy for offering this course and would recommend it to anyone. By the way, I also took the Color course and found it equally satisfying , informative, and rewarding. 

Last, but not least, I have been following Nancy‘s blog articles, they are food for my soul (and intellect).

Nina Thorne

The Artist’s Journey® & Experimenting with Color Alumnus

I absolutely loved The Artists Journey and recommended it to quite a few friends who want to deepen their practice or feel like they are stuck with their painting. It's actually something I would love to have access to forever!

I kept going back to different parts of the course to push it further and remind myself to keep coming back to being free to experiment. It's extremely relevant to experienced artists as well as people wanting to start creating art. Having painted for quite a few years I was concerned that it might not suit me.... so wrong... I have such a new energy to my work and a very different process, especially when painting plein air. I get a real sense and energy to the landscape which I can bring home to the studio to work up into bigger paintings.

I am about to start the experimenting with color course... I haven't accessed it yet due to family commitments etc.. but I am looking forward to it and hopefully I will get to the The Studio Journey at some point.

Ann Armstrong

The Artist’s Journey® & Experimenting with Color Alumnus

The yearning to fulfill the creative desire was something I was born with although there have been starts and stops along the way. Always the inner critic, I generally ended up frustrated and it was easier to just not do anything. I would have to say that just before signing up for the Artist’s Journey course, my creative landscape was resembling a desert!

There’s an old saying that goes something like this, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears”. In looking back at the beginning, I don’t recall exactly how the teacher, Nancy Hillis appeared (email or Facebook), but it doesn’t really matter as the call was answered. 

Enrolling in this course has been a blessing in that I really needed a creative boost.  Nancy provided insights in a clear, concise and intuitive manner that provided me the freedom to explore and experiment in ways that are still unfolding. 

Through simple and profound instructions such as activating the canvas, contrasts, a little of this a lot of that, liberation can begin.  

With each step beginning with the “Why”, I started letting go and like peeling away an onion skin, the acts of shedding the inner critic, self imposed restrictions, worn out patterns and tired techniques are continuously falling by the wayside.

In my heart I know that the journey is the experience rather than the destination. Immense gratitude to Nancy for being a guiding light along the path of this artist’s journey.  I would highly recommend this course to every artist that wants to expand on many levels.

Barbara Johnson

The Artist’s Journey® Alumnus

Reading Nancy’s book The Artist Journey has given me the freedom to trust myself and make ugly paintings. Before I would cover my “ugly paintings” with gesso and start over. I didn’t realize that being an artist was about finding your way through these uncomfortable moments. I have learned so much about my inner self and knowing it’s all ok. Thank you!

Laura Gaylor

Artist’s Journey® Book Reader

I have been a mixed media artist for 10 years. I have always been an extremely empathetic and creative person yet I have this “math and science” brain. After my health interfered with me working, I assumed that I could just turn that part of my brain off and get busy creating the mixed media art that I loved so much. I created fast and loose.

I identify with your student you use as an example in your book. Some of my best work was created in less that an hour. Within the first year of painting I had two pieces accepted in a juried show, one sold. That started my downward spiral. I tried to recreate what I had done. I tried new styles when I was told my style was linear. I took that as a bad thing? I tried doing what other artists were doing. I truly sucked at everything I tried which, in hindsight, gave me even more reason to not trust myself.

I maxed out my credit card getting the supplies that I thought would help. I thought if I could just get it right, maybe I could make money with my art. My time creating was already limited by my health. I figured I missed my window of opportunity. Depression and emptiness started taking over and I stopped creating all together.

The desire to create never went away. It was like a toddler pulling on my pant leg, trying to get my attention.  I nervously gave in and set up my art table. I tried finding creative groups where I live without any luck.

Then COVID19 came and everything is shut down. I knew I had the desire to create. I knew I had the ability to create. I knew I had done some pieces I actually loved so much. I also knew I needed help. So I started searching Amazon for books on creativity. I found The Artist’s Journey and took the leap and got it. It’s been a game changer for me.

I have taken notes, done the exercises, bookmarked pages, to say the least, I have taken it seriously. I believe the reason I can resonate so well with the book, besides that it speaks to my life as a creative, is that you Dr. Hillis talk in a language that I understand so well. The zero to one theory makes so much sense. When I read this book, my creative and logical mind blended somehow. I realized linear is okay, that’s me, as is creating quickly. I am back to getting messy and starting to play again, something I stopped doing for a long time.

Also, I have watched all your YouTube videos and enjoy each and every one.

I can tell you put your heart and soul into helping anyone with a creative journey find that path. I am forever grateful and dream of one day attending one of your retreats.

Robin Souza Rodriguez

Artist’s Journey® Book Reader

I LOVE both of the Journeys very much!!!

And I am very happy and inspired to do my work more structured than ever before. I always say to my family “my Nancy” because she became a part of my artistic life. I learn so much (also English language!) and I love the high level of her thoughts, also her exchange with her loving partner. 

Maja Jiranek

The Artist’s Journey® Course & Studio Journey™ Alumnus

The painter and art critic, Roger Fry, once asked a little girl how she set about drawing.  She replied," First I have a little "think" and then I put a line around it."  that is the great beauty in children’s art.  They are serious about what they do, and they paint with an innocent eye, not what they see but what they know.  Their emotions become the binder in the paint as they tell their stories.

In her program, Nancy is exceptional at encouraging her students to think and explore endless possibilities while at the same time urging them to look inside and tell their stories with freedom and the pure joy of creating.  

Donna Ernest

Studio Journey™ Alumnus

I am about 75% through the course and it is all coming together for me. Nancy's way of explaining and doing her demos have been extremely helpful. Being able to go back and forth with the lessons has been a great advantage for me.

Nancy has been very generous with what she has shared. Many workshop teachers aren't as giving as she has been. 

The course has been wonderful, am very happy I am taking it, and love The Artist's Journey book she wrote as well.

Maureen Farrell

Studio Journey™ Alumnus, The Artist's Journey Book Reader

When I started the online course Nancy Hillis was offering last year, I was looking for tips and directions but soon I found that what Nancy was providing the answer for all those questions, deep in the night, that all artists face when doing new creative work, and it was the lesson of reassurance...of ‘keep going and you’ll get there’. 

There were no answers about WHAT you were doing. But just to continue doing it because this was the way you wanted to go..and never mind the result because this would take care of itself. And it does.  

My journey continues but rather than limiting her reach only to those who take her course, Nancy has also produced a book, The Artist’s Journey, where you can read her guidelines and follow her direction in undertaking this inner journey. 

If you would like to further explore your creativity, I strongly recommend you read this, whatever your method of expression. It changed my life. I hope it may change yours.

Lupe Cunha

I don’t know what I’d do without Nancy. She intuitively offers just the right advise exactly when I need it most.

Nancy’s incredibly generous instruction is such a loving gift to us all. I have truly become a devotee.  She is inspiring, amazingly insightful, nourishing, life-affirming and encourages me to be a better artist. I feel connected to her and her tribe on a whole other level ...  a ”Zeitgeist” level.

Ariane Edmundson

Studio Journey™ Alumnus

Nancy's courses were the best online courses I have ever attended. For a long time I was looking for my own way of painting, in which I feel comfortable and which suits me. At Nancy I finally found what I had been looking for for so long.

Each lesson is supported by a video in which Nancy paints a picture from start to finish. That was very helpful for me.

It is such a great gift that I was able to experience thanks to these courses. I have finally found my way to paint as it suits me.

When I paint, I feel that I paint from my innermost source. And when the picture is done, it's exactly what I want to show. I can finally identify with my pictures. I would like to thank Nancy for that.

Cornelia Lehmann

The Artist’s Journey® Course & Masterclass Alumnus

Having wanted to paint my whole life, I have 56 years of painting energy bottled up that must come out. Having only been painting a little over two years I have painted over 40 paintings to date. As an art spectator, I was always drawn to and connected with modern abstract expressionism.

I purchased The Artists Journey on Audible around the first of April 2020. I am on my third listen. The Artists Journey has been the best art experience and technique book I've come across because it did three main things, and many more:

  • Related exactly the range of thoughts and feelings I have experienced many times during the creative process, helped me recognize where they are from, how to handle them and re-focused me on the art, through me.
  • Helped me trust myself in the creative process and reveal "me" in my work.
  • Showed me specific technique steps in the creative process that have unleashed other elements of creativity.

Most importantly, The Artists Journey has helped me identify the boredom I was feeling by allowing the artists I love such as Frankenthaler, Krasner, Pollock, De Kooning, Klee, Kandinsky, and others to influence my process to replicate their styles of work instead of focusing on the art inside of me.

The Artists Journey is a must-read for anyone, anywhere in their art journey.

Mark Freeman

The Artist's Journey® Book Reader

I'm slowly working my way through the journal and the immersion program. The way you synthesize concepts from so many disciplines is a delight to me. You instigate deeper and better thought and are a catalyst in helping me solidify my own changing art practice. 

Margi Rohde

Creativity Reflection Journal Reader

I don't know where to begin.  I will say this, no one can accuse you of hyperbole.  Your masterclass has, indeed, been a "game changer" for meSo much in life is timing and you and your message have been there for me at just the right moment.  

I am so glad that I decided to jump into your class mid-way, after speaking with you.  While the progression wasn't the orderly manner in which I would normally approach things, it was there, nonetheless.  I have just finished going through the modules and now I am looking forward to going back and completing the many exercises that I couldn't manage on my schedule.  I have never taken an online course before, and this has really worked out well for me.

Your lessons are well structured and the demos, very helpful.  Most of all, your positive encouragement and attitude helped me realize that I am in the right place, with the right "guide" to move me along my journey.  I have also enjoyed making the leap to use acrylics and paper, both firsts for me.  I have been painting with oils forever, and the change up in mediums has been fascinating.

Thank you so much, Nancy.  

Cheryl Dyment

The Artist’s Journey® Course & Masterclass Alumnus

Nancy's courses have been a fabulous investment in learning new skills and valuing my own ideas and impulses.

In November, I took leave from my teaching job for health reasons and knew that I'd better have something to keep my brain busy. Activating the Canvas served that purpose-- and then some!

In January, I resigned my teaching job and, again, decided to "double down" with the program and Nancy as painting guide during the transitional time.

Now we have COVID? Good grief... I keep returning to the videos and then painting daily and the discovery process (finding something from a blank nothing) is a positive lift. Symbolic of what we're going to need to do in the future? Absolutely.

In daily painting and painting over, I'm practicing more than the studio concepts which means the skills can be applied in more than the studio.

I didn't know what my life could be with daily art in it. Thank you Thank You THANK YOU to Nancy!

Kristy Evans

Studio Journey™ & Activating the Canvas Alumnus

Your course has made such a difference in my abstract painting.  I can’t tell you how glad I am to have found your courses! Thank you! A teacher had mentioned you in class so I googled you and signed up for your email updates.  When I was able to, I signed up for both of your classes. You have made such an impact on my life. You have helped me be better at something I am passionate about. For that, I can’t thank you enough!

Heather Zappettini

Studio Journey™ & Experimenting with Color Alumnus

I’ve just started working through the journal and I love it! I keep it by my bedside so I can make it part of my daily routine. Its really helped me reflect and discover more about myself. My favorite book purchase of 2020 so far!

Helen Davis

The Studio Journey was great! And will be for me forever great!

As a teacher myself of traditional oils and abstract concepts, I was pleased to find Nancy on Pinterest and decided to enroll to learn more techniques so I can bring them to my own work and to my students. 

I had no idea that I would be so grateful for what I discovered from Nancy. Not only is she a great articulator, her amazing continuous knowledge of how the human psyche works and how our creativity is derived from a subconscious level is tremendously effective. Her research is stunning and her delivery is spot on. The circle of creativity she brings to me continues to infinity with her inspiration which I can redeliver to others. 

Karen Weihs

Studio Journey™ Alumnus

I adored the studio journey with my whole heart. It was the best experience of my own journey so far. I tear up when I think about what that course did for me. And how I love Nancy for bringing it into our world.

It caused me to have the courage to create my own online course. Her book is my bible and I advertise it as such in my course. Nancy is a generous soul who understands the inner struggle artists face. I will never forget her. 

Jeanette Goulart

Studio Journey™ Alumnus, The Artist's Journey® Book Reader

A BRILLIANT BOOK ...No Artist Should Be Without It....Full Of Inspired And Knowledgeable Information . Nancy Is Uniquely Able To Speak About Everything An Artist Experiences. The Good, The Sad , And The Wonders Of "The Ugly " Paintings. READ IT ... OFTEN! It's life saving!

Danny Craig Cutting

The Artist's Journey® Book Reader

Praise for The Creativity Reflection Journal

This journal is beautifully illustrated and includes inspiring quotes together with plenty of space to 'think in ink' and doodle too. It's a workbook that can help get your imagination flowing, whatever your creative field, and free up new discoveries to develop or evolve your artistic endeavors.

It's full of prompts, exercises and activities to help you gain clarity on your unique way forward as a creative. Because the author is a working artist, art teacher and existentialist psychiatrist too, she is perfectly placed to guide your inner journey of reflection, exploring and opening up your creative work to what's meaningful and possible going forward.

I recommend this journal for anyone wanting to delve deep into their practice and find out about themselves in the process.

Praise for The Artist's Journey Book

Nancy Hillis has produced something rare in the cacophony of reads available for contemporary artists and creatives: A practical and inspiring call to create original, astonishing work. Highly recommend.

Ruth Crone

Studio Journey™ Alumnus, Artist's Journey® Book & Creativity Journal Reader

I am half way through an exciting month long online course run by Nancy Hillis, who is an existential psychiatrist as well as an abstract painter, based in the USA. The class is based on five modules, it  consists of video demonstrations, written course material, workbooks to keep up, and interaction with other participating artists in a private Facebook group. Each week we are given a painting challenge to put the lessons into practice. I am finding this a liberating and exciting experience.

I am loving the interaction with like minded people from across the globe and finding the painting challenges a blissful way of giving expression to my deep sorrow and fury that has resulted from nearly half the population of the UK being dragged out of the EU against our will.

Valerie Armstrong

The Artist’s Journey® Alumnus

Teresa has experienced a turning point in her art

I have a Bachelor of Arts degree, (Beaux Art de Paris), we were taught art history, painting techniques, observation, etc. But never was the key to true creativity given to us, and it all lies in our attitude, trust, taking risks, experimentation, accepting our errors and dark nights of the soul, which you reveal so well in a clear and comprehensible manner, speaking from the heart!

“The Artist’s Journey” after 50 years of painting, was the turning point in my work, I have never felt such enthusiasm with my work. 

Thank you Nancy for your truly enlightening words and videos, every artist whether debutante or established should know about your teachings.

Can never thank you enough for all you have done and are still doing.

Teresa Pisani, Artist’s Journey® Course Alumna

I am very excited about Nancy's book, The Artist’s Journey. Having started on her course I have been reading the book and I can verify that she knows the artist’s mind through and through.

Dawn Lim

Activating The Canvas™ Alumnus, The Artist's Journey® Book Reader

I am very pleased with the Studio Journey course. It is challenging yet supportive and provides a wonderful approach to doing intuitive work. Nancy Hillis is extremely generous with information. She is a prolific and exceptional writer and her Studio Journey is enhanced by all she shares.

Catherine Nugent

Studio Journey™ Course Alumnus

You are an amazing woman and your sharing of art and the normal challenges of creation, lights the path for others. It often seems like the times I am in the worst cycle of self criticism are the times I receive one of your inspiring emails with messages guiding the way back to light. Learning to accept the struggle as an indication of growth. Now I have another of your quotes to keep: “A dead woman produces no books”. I think I will post a note to myself: “What amazing paintings are lost if you die before you create them”

Kathy Kimball

Studio Journey™ Alumnus

I am absolutely enthralled by your courses. It really has brought a lot of joy to my life, and put a spring in my step.  I think it's your philosophy about believing in yourself.  

I  understand what you mean by many starts, mine end up being a blank canvas.

Now I practice mark making before I start, getting into that stream of consciousness. This happened in my last painting.

Helen Tainsh

Studio Journey™, Artist's Journey® & Experimenting with Color™ Alumnus

These are heartfelt words, and, even though I have painted continually for over 50 years, and have been successful, I never before truly felt that my art was from my heart. Now, it is flowing , and I have a show on now, with one large painting sold before it went up.  This is from paintings that I truly was not thinking of sales or who would like them, or even if they would even be seen. You and your “bundles” brought me through the extremely difficult years of my dear husband’s illness and death. The art journals that I made, and the experiments during those dark times brought me to today with light and peace. 

 BLess you and the courageous artists that follow your ideas!  They DO work!

I would like you to see what I have done In The past 6 months. You turned me on to my own deep thoughts and with the art journey I took with you, I became the painter that I want to be. Take a look at what you have Inspired.

Diane Voyentzie

The Artist's Journey® & Studio Journey™ Alumnus

I've started from the beginning of the course and am reviewing like crazy, so much great information you have shared. Your insights, particularly about composition and value, have already helped me progress as an artist, and I will continue to apply this knowledge as I delve further. Many thanks again, Nancy! You are an inspiration.

Merrimon Kennedy

The Artist’s Journey® Alumnus

I've had the privilege to work with Nancy as an artist. She paints with great passion, boldness, and spontaneity. Her enthusiasm and childlike playful freedom in the painting process is infectious. This is one infection I'd like to catch!

Annette Norris Crosby

Abstract Painter, Valdosta, GA, The Artist’s Journey® Alumnus

Betty found her own style

Nancy's course allowed me to experience for the first time an acceptance and love for my art through my mark making and my own style. Not only did I learn about the fundamentals of creating abstract art, but I learned them in a way that was deeper and easy to understand. The weekly lesons, videos, and assignments helped me hone in on techniques through practice. The FB form was an amazing group of supportive artists and Nancy's feedback, guidance, and support were invaluable. It's been the best online course I have taken and completed!

Betty Franks Krause, San Jose, California, Artist’s Journey® Course Alumna

Chrissy now understands the path to her best work

My yearning to create on a deeper level and a desire for understanding the principles of making good art were answered beyond expectation. Nancy gives the gift of soul work with intuitive abstract art, moving through fear and into the present moment with joyful experimentation. I now understand the path to my best work, to be able to paint with an expressive aliveness, and am deeply grateful for Nancy's genuine care and individual attention. The content is presented sincerely and simply, and is deeply motivating.

~ Christine Scurr, Australia, Artist’s Journey® Course Alumna

You’re an inspiration, Nancy! My dream is evolving every day, as I move from improving my mastery of technique to creating more authentic, more original art. This applies to my painting and also to my silver-work. One feeds off the other. In the past year, I felt that I have undertaken some very deep learning and I thank you for triggering that process in me and for guiding me still.

Geraldine Darlington

Artist’s Journey® Book Reader

More Praise & Testimonials For Nancy

Praise For The Artist’s Journey Course

Tammy got magical insights as she began to believe she could paint

Dr. Nancy Hillis combines a deep professional experience in psychiatry with an intuitive, creative approach to painting. Magical insights come out of this wonderful mix. Through her own personal art journey, she has thought and lived deeply the process of painting through fear and self doubt.

She teaches with such heart and enthusiasm that even people who think they can't paint begin to remember that they can!

~ Tammy Pittenger, Santa Cruz, CA

I’d like you to know you've been so instrumental in my finding my way back to painting, to exploring who I am and sharing those discoveries with others. I’m forever grateful for your clear, candid and creative teaching videos and I feel so lucky to have found you through social media. Your written words strike a chord deep within me and you have my profound thanks.

~ Beth Ojalvo,Artist’s Journey® Course Alumna

Like a junky, I powered through the first three videos for module 3 and Nancy, they are fabulous, incredible game changers, and just darn right brilliant! (I called in 'sick' so I could do this!).

The most astounding result from taking your course is that my so called 20 year studio practice of occasionally dabbling but quickly losing interest in anything that I would start now has some “legs”.

I feel a huge surge of continuous momentum and excitement about the abundance of ideas that I want to explore. And most importantly, I have insight about the creative process in general and as a result, a daily studio practice.

As a result there’s a confidence and excitement in my life that I haven’t experienced in a long time as there’s now a direction and focus which I was craving. The overall course structure as well as your compassionate teaching and wisdom- it is masterful.

Kim Swanson, Artist’s Journey® Course Alumna

I really appreciate your supportive approach. I need constant reminders to trust myself, experiment and play, which you emphasize. This has to be tempered with some technical considerations which you teach as well

I felt the lesson on composition techniques beneficial. I’ve never been taught them as clearly. The challenge is to use them, but not be ruled by them. I’m very interested in your intuitive approach. I found myself having difficulty coming up with work I liked in the composition module. I painted and repainted one particular painting , and took photos of what I came up with at various stages. This was emotional and discouraging for me, but I continued on and now feel better. I’m now trying to practice stopping when my instinct tells me to.

I love the kind of large mark making in the rhythmic starts exercise. You go on to talk about developing paintings from them. I liked that idea of cutting up to get a new composition.

I’m enjoying the exercises in the value module. I’m on the Create What You Love exercise. Your lessons on value are valuable:) There is very good information on where the eye goes and how value can help move your eye around the painting. Again, more complicated in practice, but good to know. I’d never been taught this before.

I like the direction to work on your sketchbook very day. There seems to be a freer mindset when working in the sketchbook, but I don’t want to jinx it by saying too much.

The written part of the course is new for me, but I’ve been doing it. I have a lot of limiting, negative beliefs and I’d like to change that. One of the things I write down under Your Big Why (you create) is that I feel I need to prove my self worth. I have other reasons too that are not negative, but I wonder if this sense of self worth comes up much?

Even though I’ve done much of the course, I feel I’m just beginning. I’m so glad I found your course.

~ Eleanor Liebman, Artist’s Journey® Course Alumna

The course is a revolution in my life! I love everything about it, really ! I am painting everyday , but not always what I want. I have a job till the end of the year which sacks my energy and it is a struggle. But I can see already now how much freer I can paint and use the knowledge from the course.

I've read your book which I like very much. You gave me motivation to start experimenting and find myself! I have been through major traumas in my life and a very long depression and I thought my life was over... You gave me an a musing too, Nancy !

My first painting was a black tornado, so much energy got liberated !!! I am now learning how to restrain the tornado ! I am also learning basics, things I should've learned in kindergarten! My "back pocket " is half empty, I have to catch up.

I've rushed through the course because I was so impatient and curious, now I want to start it all over again, from the beginning. Thank you so much Nancy for everything !!! Greetings from Hamburg.

Christina Czarnecki, Artist’s Journey® Alumna & Book Reader

First of all, I’m thrilled to be part of this adventure. I learn, I play, I resist. Sometimes I’m confused because I feel I just waste paper and paint and I say to myself, what the hell is going with me. The bottom line is I’m having fun and I’m so happy to re-introduce painting in my life.

I enjoy all the videos you provided so far, including the Facebook live which is wonderful and helps me stay connected. I would say that, sometimes, I am intimidated by the work of other participants. When will I get there? I know it is practice but it is also a matter of creating a good amount of time experimenting things in the studio.

I have not taken advantage of the journey guides which is also a great idea. I think the community is great as well. I’m just looking forward to be much more involved.

So, in conclusion, thanks for having created this. It suits me.

Lucie Arsenault, Artist’s Journey® Course Alumna

I really love The Artists Journey: 3 Secrets of the Masters ?. Thank you for all you've done to bring it all together.

This is my first time doing an Online Course. The student log in and teaching portal is user-friendly. I've never once had a problem logging in or browsing through the modules.

I love activating the canvas , or in my case the paper. It gets me going and allows me to move freely and with confidence into the unknown. I like to just move my hand freely without thinking what will happen next. The stop (pause) and stare allows for more possibilities.

I'm very comfortable working in black and white. Perhaps just need more time to develop before I go in using colour. But I will try as I go along. I think this new journey will really help me communicate my vision.

I love the Facebook Live videos! It pushes me to do more experimentation. Nancy shares some valuable insights. And I can only grow from here.

In closing. I would just like to say that since I've been on this course I've really found a break-through with regards to procrastination. I find myself working till late into the morning hours. I sometimes find myself to be up at 3 in the morning. Maybe I have found my purpose in life. 

Veronique Van Boom, Artist’s Journey® Course Alumna

Thank you for everything! I am enjoying your class. You are so talented! You make things real and understandable. I will stand and mark make without even thinking.

I work full time and try to paint almost every day. I have painted for 20+ years, but have really wanted to start selling and would LOVE to retire and paint full time. I am starting a 30 hour work week which will allow me to paint and play more.

Looking forward to more of the class. Keep up the GREAT work! Happy painting!!!!

Kim Luther, Artist’s Journey® Course Alumna

Your course gives me the wings to go back on the canvas and experiment on a daily basis, but mostly it encourages me to listen more and more and enjoy what wants to be there, let it be and paint for myself.

Anne Clement, Artist’s Journey® Course Alumna

I would not be where I am now without your inspiration, courses and mentoring .. a big thank you .

~ Janet Simpson, Artist’s Journey® Course Alumna

I loved this. Thank you! Now I know why I couldn't (wouldn't?) do what the last artist/class wanted me to do. She was leading me away from myself, making me follow her rules with colors and lines that spoke to her but not to me. This was a very very meaningful workshop for me.

W. H., Artist’s Journey® Course Alumna

Praise For The Studio Journey Course

I'm learning all sorts of things on this journey! Lots about creating art, and lots about how I learn. I seem to absorb information unconsciously, obliquely. I'm learning without grasping or knowing?

I've been working on a painting that I've been tinkering with for some time. The last few days I've returned to it. Just laying color down, no thinking. And now that I look at it, I hear your voice: yellow vibrates with violet. I have not focused very much on the color assignments, but somehow, they have gotten into my brain! These are colors I do not normally use much.

Also, the last piece I worked on was completely intuitive. I was just playing, and found I liked dripping, something I have not done much. I kept dripping, wiping, buffing, more dripping. It was so fun and relaxing. Hoping I can remember how I did it because I was very happy with both results and process.

So I want to thank you for this class, for the space you hold us in, the support & gentle guidance. It's just what I needed to move forward with work that truly feels like mine.

~ SWB, Studio Journey™ Alumna

Even though I have not spent any time in the studio since I signed up for the Studio Journey workshop (Due to travel-- just got back), I must say I am so so glad I joined.

I find the concept to be brilliant. It provides constant stimulation and inspiration and allows members to proceed at their own pace and take their time. The visuals, demos and your presentations are terrific, and the combination of all that with the member Facebook group really give it incredible value.

Despite not being in the studio I spent much time reviewing the materials, watching the color mixing exercises and browsing through the posts members made online. Browsing was very stimulating and as you said thinking about your art is a valuable element even when not painting. Using Facebook more than compensate for the fact it is not a live workshop.

It is a 10 in my book.

I would be happy to recommend it to some artist friends. 

Warm regards and many thanks for conceiving of such a brilliant workshop.

~ Dahlia Riley, Studio Journey™ Alumna

I come from a figurative background, have been painting in the old Dutch masters style for a few years, but have been finding myself lacking enthusiasm as I paint. Abstract painting is what I am now appreciating, so your course is the perfect thing at the perfect time. How often does that happen, right?! ?

I am looking forward to your Studio Journeys course. I love the name. One of the many sayings I repeated to my kids as they were growing up, hoping it would replay in their memories, was “Remember to take joy in the journey.” Thanks for helping me do the same.

Diane Schaller, Studio Journey™ Alumna

I was one of Nancy's students this past summer, and her class changed my life and my work.

~ DM

Loving the workshops. You teach some very sophisticated concepts.

~ R.B.

Praise For Experimenting With Color

This class is a gem. This is not just for those who paint abstract as it is applicable to all mediums and all genre where color is used at all. I’m painting with some trepidation and some abandon. My earlier experiences with art were always accompanied by the mentor saying, “no, you’re doing it wrong”. This sticks with me to this day. Then I put paint on canvas and off I go. Thank you!

~ KS, Experimenting With Color™ Alumna

I'm beginning to understand color composition! This is no small thing. I have a lot of education. I have been able to learn everything I put on my plate. But I just didn't get color. Not only was (past tense) this frustrating, but my confidence was subject to small winds. Using neutrals to pull a color scheme together is my ticket to ride (Beatles song, I have very gray hair.) Oh, and you shined a light on the why of chroma, neutrals, contrast, and strong value, also big in my thinking.

Thank you for your good effort in putting this e-workshop together.

Wild Bill Lightner,Experimenting With Color™ Alumni

Holy cow!!! These colors are so freeing! Thank you, Nancy, this class is changing my life.

~ GS, Experimenting With Color™ Alumna

Praise For The Artist’s Journey Book

I read a couple of your blog posts (what could be more amazingly cogent than your “Creativity & The Unconscious In The Time Of COVID-19”?!) & I was hooked! So I downloaded a ‘sample’ of your book (from Amazon) & as I was perusing your introduction, somewhere around the 5th, 6th, &/or 7th paragraph, a light came on. Ohhhh, perhaps that’s my stumbling block (well, more ‘great wall-esque’) – not a creativity clot, but a logjam continual frustration with the mundanity (mundaneness?) of what I’ve been producing!

Admittedly, there’s a LOT more to it, i.e., lack of technical skill due to a resistance to ‘practicing’ due to an imbecilic expectation of being ‘good’ right out of the gate; a warped penchant for perfection; an abiding sense of it being ‘too late’ (at 66); & a still-inexplicable need for approval [even after all the inner-child work], but it struck me that your opus might be the very ingredient I didn’t realize I needed to complete my artist development ‘cocktail’.

I’ve never been particularly interested in ‘abstract’ art, though I can definitely see the appeal of Kandinsky, Picasso, Pollack, & other innovative geniuses who helped forge the bridge linking the representational with the abstract. But I’m thinking I may be ready to explore this route as I stumble along my own trail…

At any rate, thanks to your creative cocktail of art & psychiatry, I’m inspired to forge on with my own creative mixology.

Thank you for your generosity in sharing the insights from your journey. Perhaps we’ll meet somewhere a long the way.

Kathleen Weishaar, Artist’s Journey® Book Reader

I have enjoyed and learned from your book (and I've only had it a few days!). I couldn't put it down. You speak to my soul. The questions you ask and answer are the exact ones I ask myself and more. You put words to help me understand my inaction, silence, resistance, doubts and frustration that I just couldn't express.

I love that it's not a "how to" but a "why to". I have followed your videos on starts, composition, and value and all. Made a small painting yesterday...what a freeing experience...faced the white scary paper with graphite in hand and just started freely making marks (even put it in my non dominant hand!), applied some paint, got to the "dark night" and eventually made my way thru!

Each chapter brings more clarity and understanding and encouragement. Thank you being such an inspiring, knowledgeable and sensitive guide. I am so grateful to you and will continue the journey.

~ Rose Staat, Artist’s Journey® Book Reader

I am just now digging into your book and it really resonates with me.

I am a potter and a painter; just retired from teaching high school ceramics and art, and have moved to a new house with my own studio. My pottery has been mostly functional, and my painting has been plein aire, landscape. Though I love these both, just as you speak of your own journey, I am looking for something more expressive and untethered to “realism” in my work. But as you also speak about, the voices of criticism, and appealing to others, crowd out my courage to experiment.

I especially liked your point about speaking to oneself in the third person!  I have been great at encouraging my students to overcome their fears, but when I worked on my own paintings or ceramic work I found my inner voice being just as negative and judgmental as my teenage students! My own workshop teachers have pointed this out to me and I have to laugh at how ludicrous I sound! 

I haven’t finished your book, but have gone online to watch your first video, and am playing with mark-making and paint and enjoying myself immensely. I look forward to continuing this journey with your book.

Thank you!

Johanna Chase, Artist’s Journey® Book Reader

“The Artist’s Journey® is an impressive and comprehensive guide to all creative souls. 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.”

Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers’ Favorite

Finding Nancy Hillis’ self-help art book, The Artist’s Journey®, has me wondering yet again if perhaps there is a way to actually find one’s vision. The accompanying video course is marvelous. The Artist’s Journey® is most highly recommended.

Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite

Nancy Hillis’ The Artist’s Journey® is an unforgettable, thought-provoking read, with an inspiring and determined tone. 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. 

Jessica Barbosa for Readers’ Favorite

Just when you think hope has left the building, someone like Nancy Hillis comes along and revives our purpose and place in the universe. The Artist’s Journey® is a game changer, a mind bender and true epiphany of purpose for every artist living in the challenges of the 21st century.

~ Janis Kirstein, Award winning artist & writer

Taking on self doubt, fear and that nagging negative inner voice, author Nancy Hillis has created a guide for artists who need help finding their way.

Sara Barnes, My Modern Met

Nancy, you are such a dynamic and insightful catalyst for the creative journey that I am certain your book will become the new painter’s bible. How often I have wished I could go back and re-read many of your inspiring passages. Now I will be able to in this format : the book.

Jan Kirstein, Artist’s Journey® Book Reader

I like it very much. Still reading and exploring. I love your approach to unleash the artist inside the individual and not expect people to paint like you. Thanks for all you do in the world to help people become truly creative from their own source!

Donna Blachford, Artist’s Journey® Book Reader

Your book really inspired me and it’s definitely one I will re-read. I especially liked the parts about trusting yourself and about the “ugly” paintings being nascent forms of our future work. I’m a beginning painter but I have a lot of blocks to self-expression, like my inner critic that tells me “You suck, you can’t paint.”

I think your book will help me silence the inner critic and dive into my paintings with enthusiasm and the wonderful not-knowing. Thank you for your book and online course!

Michelle Vaughan, Artist’s Journey® Book Reader

I do love your book and the path to reaching deeper and getting to know myself and thus express in my art. Love everything you send me as well and the Facebook groups.

I love how they all come together… book, email, Facebook ? thank you for all that you share, your passion and your generosity.

~ Nora Masters, Artist’s Journey® Book Reader

I just wanted to reach out and thank you personally for writing the Artist's Journey. I had been in a funk with my work and when friends would ask about it I would have to say I haven't painted at all.

Since finishing the book and then tonight watching the workshop I feel like I am more in touch with myself and inner knowing than ever. This is the "permission" I needed to make my own work. I am exploring and feeling and trusting myself and letting go of my academic art training.

I have been doing the starts daily. And I have accidentally developed a few small experimental series. I really liked the part in the workshop about not feeling like we need to explain or apologize for our work. I needed to hear that.

I am hopeful that I will be able to develop my own artistic "voice" in the coming months and allow it to transform over the years. It is a refreshing feeling to believe that I don't have to know what I am going to make and that in fact that is often a barrier to making my most true work. 

Melissa Noriego, Artist’s Journey® Book Reader

Thank you for the wonderful resources in The Artist's Journey. Trying to jump start your life with art (again at 65) is not easy. I am an avid reader and stumbled upon your book during an art book quest. I have repeatedly tried to pursue art as a hobby, as opposed to therapy. Your book and videos changed my direction. I have always tried to play around with technique instead of allowing myself to be free.

I have also purchased your journal. I have already recommended your book once, and will continue to do so. Thanks.

Joy Berentes, Artist’s Journey® Book Reader

Although I have been making art for many years, I enjoyed your book and took away several fresh ideas and tips. Your videos are a very generous supplement to the exercises in the book. Thank you!

Pat Kilburg, Artist’s Journey® Book Reader

Brilliant, love both your books, The Artist Journey: Bold Strokes to Spark Creativity and The Artist Journey Creativity Reflection Journal. Just what I needed during these social distancing days. We all need to give ourselves permission to explore and reclaim child-like wonder and the Art that comes forth from the freedom when we say "yes" to create. I am looking forward to what unfolds. Would love to take a workshop with you being a guide.

Susan Sabahi, Artist’s Journey® Book Reader

I like the book and videos very much. I'm having fun exploring, playing, and experimenting with paint in ways I haven't before. Producing ugly art, but am ok with it. Still finding my way and my voice but enjoying the process.

~ Becky Gunderson, Artist’s Journey® Book Reader

The Artist’s Journey is best book for artists that I’ve ever read. You provide the perfect amount of guidance, and I will recommend this to my artist friends. Your videos are terrific as well. Filled with practical thoughts, and not a minute too long. Thank you for taking the time and effort to share your wisdom.

Elizabeth Agresta, Artist’s Journey® Book Reader

Thank you for your book. I purchased it on Audible, and after listening to it yesterday at work, I came home and painted differently last night. Although I do illustrations and I am not an abstract painter, your advice allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and get out of my own way. What you wrote and speak is giving me more freedom and confidence.

Pamela Agin

Artist’s Journey® Book Listener

I loved the book - it made me think of things I normally wouldn't have thought of (mostly haven’t by to do with the courage to paint/create. The instructional videos were extremely helpful as well. Very happy that I bought the book.

Carol Whitney

Artist’s Journey® Book Reader

I enjoyed your book and it’s great that you created the videos to go with it. I write poetry as well as playing with art and it fascinated me to see how closely each follows the other in the creative process. At first I was disappointed in the book because I don’t have a problem with worrying about making a mess on my canvas. Lol. Where I am now is moving towards completing something I want to place on a wall. Getting there. The videos are helpful with this. Thank you!

Linda Hughes

Artist’s Journey® Book Reader

I love your book! There have been so many points of intersection between my thoughts/needs/experience and your thinking on these things that I am astonished and gratified and excited about finishing the book and progressing in my art.

I have seen your videos as well and am absorbing things as fast as I can feast on them. In so many ways I just didn’t know what was happening with my art and creativity, and your book is helping me to make sense of so much, to relax with it, to feel stronger in relation to my art and what I can and cannot do.

Thank you for writing the book and making the videos, and for tackling the problems of creativity. 

Lera Smith

San Diego, Artist’s Journey® Book Reader

Your book, which I’m listening to, has been a very strong stimulus to my painting practice. I’m a rather myopic painter and must admit that I struggle with your overall premise. What you’re suggesting has the potential to totally change my practice but, so far, it just reinforces it.

Recently my creative practice quickly becomes quite controlled. For example, after doing your six-starter exercise the other day, I chose one and worked it over and over until I got it right ?. When you say, trust yourself, that’s me in my currently evolved daily practice. I agree with you that more free works display more energy in the end. I have experienced the power of pieces I’ve done quickly and with flow.

I created many ugly paintings, but these days most don’t remain that way. Like in my writing talent, I think it’s due to my being a great editor. Reviewing my painting experience, I’ve become convinced that my painting talent is in my ability to see what a work in progress needs next and that’s what I enjoy, creatively fixing problems, fixing ugly paintings.

That’s what I trust now, that I could make it look better. I’m a damn good painting engineer. So now, perhaps, you can see what I mean. In my creative tension, which you accentuate, I’m looking for an affirmation of my evolved practice. I thought your book, based on your psychological experience, might encourage me, as I am. And sometimes your words do that. I use your words to back me up, but not as you intend, I’m sure. I trust myself more than you.

Today, as usual -- and boosted by you -- I was painting again as I never have. I’m surprised by results almost every few minutes. Your words encourage me as I’m fixing things. Try this, wow; try this, yes. That’s how your words help me. At the same time, I could picture you vigorously shaking me in one of your classes.

I’m not sure what I’m trying to say. Maybe: thank you for your encouraging me as you do, but don’t dismiss the fun and satisfaction painting engineers have. Include a chapter for us guys. 

Dan Siemasko

Artist’s Journey® Book Listener

I'm enjoying your book and am grateful for the videos, it's good to have written reference but it's also helpful to hear and see the actual person 'performing' their art. I'll admit I didn't follow every exercise to the T but did follow the guidance and guidelines. I have been applying your freedom and guilt free painting to my abstract watercolor painting. I like the feeling and I don't care if others don't like it - I am painting for me. There's a lot of professional artists whose work doesn't attract me at all, yet they don't care and they still create what they want. You've taught me that art is in the eye of the beholder.

Olga Roesch

Artist’s Journey® Book Reader

I’ve just finished reading through your book: ‘The Artist’s Journey’. The book is everything I hoped it would be and more.

I’ve dabbled in the human psyche for a few decades now, so I loved that this journey involves working with me! I expected the book might contain a series of steps to follow to break out of the limitations of fear and to find my own artistic message, but instead, I find, once again, that this journey, like every other journey I have taken in my life, begins & ends with me! I have been completely unconscious of how ‘what other’s think’, & ‘seeing myself through the eyes of my inner critic’ have been impacting my artistic journey.

I took up my artistic journey, just ten months ago. I am 59 years of age. I have been teaching myself, through a series of books, how to draw the images I would so love to be able to paint. So far, flowers, faces & scenery, though my grasp of perspective is not at all realistic. I started working in an A5 visual art diary, and have progressed onto an A5 watercolour art journal, so my drawings & paintings are quite small. And there is still a lot of stress and tension in my work. I’m gathering this would be my inner critic, trying to control each mark, each brush stroke.

I have decided to purchase an easel, some large cardboard sheets & some acrylic paints to explore and commence the artists journey you suggest in this book.

I’m so glad you found the courage to create this book! I think it is a very special book! I’m glad I purchased it.

Wendy Parfrey

Australia, Artist’s Journey® Book Reader

Praise For Creativity Reflection Journal

Nancy shows you how to awaken your creative soul and find endless possibilities next to you in what she calls the adjacent possible.

She connects you to the eternal quest to be your authentic, self expressive, creative, alive, passionate,
joyful, productive. The transformation is endless, timeless and ongoing unique for each individual. No one could do your homework for you.

You can only learn to swim by getting into the water, not watching other people swim. Nancy’s book provides dozens of learning examples and guidelines to help you on your personal path to self discovery creativity into your true creative self.

Bob Reed

Creativity Reflection Journal Reader

Here are a few of the reasons I love this soulful new book:

  • The opportunity to take a deeper look at my own reasons for creating.
  • You bring home how my "Why" really matters.
  • This adds to my confidence about making art.
  • Answering the questions, like making art, involves a process that leads to new discoveries.
  • Your compassion helps me admit to my struggles.
  • The poetry gives me pause with their profound resonance encouraging me to take myself, in my sweet life, seriously.
  • Your book requires me to pause, breathe deep and listen deeply to myself.
  • I'm inspired by the big ideas you offer and also the practical tips to make my dreams reality. You offer a lovely balance.
Julie Dunleavy


This book is no lightweight. It is full of triggers to make me think and write about my inner journey. It is a truly an Artists Journey meditation. 

It is a gem.

It will take me some time to fully utilize it, fill it all in and fully absorb insights.

Karen Sharbo

Creativity Reflection Journal Reader

Your journal is helping me get over talking about myself as an artist and helping me to go deeper into squeezing out a ‘story’ (about me) as I’ve been hell bent on believing I don’t have one. 


Creativity Reflection Journal Reader

More Praise For Nancy

Nancy's workshop was phenomenol! I have always had a hard time getting started with a painting project as I would stare at the blank canvas. What will I paint? Will it look like what it should look like? These insecurities often led to passing up on the opportunity to paint for another day. What I've learned from Nancy's workshop is that I don't need to necessarily know what I want to paint. Simply activating the canvas makes starting much less intimidating. The abstract pieces I created in the workshop will serve as a reminder and inspiration to me that I can paint with confidence.

Julie Huang

Scientist, Stanford, CA

I have finished the course Activating the Canvas. It was a gift from two of my daughters for my 70th birthday. I have been involved in art my entire life. I majored in Interior Design in college and had my own business for 25 years. I also have taught various art mediums over the years.

Since retirement, I have taken up stained glass and renewed my love of watercolors. I found the course very interesting. It definitely forced me to examine my motives and reasons for my artistic endeavors.

What I discovered is that I can’t not create. It is part of who I am. Also, I found some new artistic freedom while doing the exercises. They opened my eyes to new ways of expressing myself.

I am sure I will revisit the exercises again. Thanks for sharing your approaches and ideas. It was enlightening, interesting, and helpful.

Ashleyn Stroud

Activating The Canvas Alumnus

I am honestly the happiest person to have come across your amazing teachings – my work and understanding have improved beyond my wildest dreams.

It seems I can trust myself and let go.....because I am now understanding what I’m doing, why I’m doing it and where I want it to go.

Your free videos are a true Blessing in my life. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I could paint like this, from my soul. Thank you Nancy

Diane Crompton

"Bringing Structure Into An Abstract Painting - Start" Workshop Video Series

I have seen your very interesting free workshop. It gave me a different aspect of, what is an artist, with the main message: be yourself, don’t please others, experiment, have patients with yourself and work from within yourself and not use outside influences.

Having made myself some notes, I have now a lot to work with and see my art in a different light, painting realistic and abstract.

Many thanks for letting us know about your philosophy, what an artist is all about.

Colin Stevens

"The #1 Secret to Creating Authentic Paintings You Love" Workshop

Nancy, thank you for the free workshop. You reminded me of what my mother always said, "You have everything you will always need inside you". You also answered why I am always reluctant to take continuous workshops and keep up with the newest techniques.

Thank you for the confirmation that being me is enough. PS. I'm going to start an ugly painting this afternoon!

Pamela McCauley

"The #1 Secret to Creating Authentic Paintings You Love" Workshop

Thank you for this 7 day email course - it was filled with great insights and prompts to help me consider my Big Whys, Fears, etc.

I liked the way you set these lessons up, not too long and drawn out, and just the right amount of 'work' to do for each lesson day, staying focused on one main thought that helped me to go deeper.

I will take time to go through it again in the days ahead and explore the 'more' that comes up during my creative times.

Evelyn VanderLinde

"Creating Your Deepest Work" Email Course

Thank you so much for the seven-day email course. I appreciated all of the ideas for self exploration… And exploring the question of ”Why”? It helped me to get clearer in my vision and actually feel some excitement about it.

Sheila Albers

"Creating Your Deepest Work" Email Course

There are so few people out there that are prepared to share their knowledge, thank you for being so generous in your offer. I'm enjoying the videos and are curious for more.

Although I have been painting for a few years in oils and watercolors before, I find that although I don't struggle to make marks or with design, in the end I always end up trying too hard and the painting then loses their initial soul.

Ann Karstel

"Transform Your Paintings" Video Workshop Series

QUIZ: What's Your #1 Artist Archetype?


Some artists create amazing art with ease, while others struggle year after year to express themselves.

What's going on? Could it be about how you approach your art?

Take the Artist's Archetype Quiz and find out.