Learn How To Create Your Deepest Art:
Art That Expresses YOU


A step-by-step five-week online course where you’ll learn to believe and trust in yourself, so you can create art with confidence, deeply explore and experiment, and embrace the unknown. 

This is for artists of all levels, whether you’re at the beginning of your artist’s journey, coming back to your art after years of not painting or you’re a seasoned professional.


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

The Artist’s Journey® Alumnus

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, The Artist’s Journey Alumnus

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

San Francisco, CA, 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, The Artist’s Journey® Alumnus

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

The Artist’s Journey® & Studio Journey™ Alumnus

“In the middle of the road of my life
I awoke in a dark wood
Where the true way
Was wholly lost.”

Do you ever feel that way?

Dante Alighieri wrote those words over 600 years ago, yet they could
have been written today by painters like you and me.

I remember as a child, I would sit in front of two Rembrandt reproductions that hung in the living room of my childhood home in Arkansas. For hours, I’d get lost looking at them: Young Woman with a Broom and The Man with the Golden Helmet.

As I looked into the sitters’ eyes, I imagined their personalities. What would they say if they stepped out of the paintings and sat down on the floor next to me? What were they like? I imagined playing with them and listening to them tell me stories about their lives.

I dreamt of being an artist for as long as I can remember.

But the swirl of life’s currents swept me away from that dream. I explored drama, debate, writing, biology, and chemistry. I became a psychiatrist. But then one day, that long-ago fascination with art resurfaced out of the depths.

At 36, I was brought to tears when I finally saw original Rembrandt drawings while on a painting trip in southern France. They were so alive, the people in those renderings reaching out to me across the gulf of the past.

That aliveness is what I’ve always loved about painting — yet it can get lost along the way.

So many painters are filled with self-doubt. They question their talent. Creation becomes an arduous, painful task. They retreat into technique, hoping to find that one last, secret method that will finally make them “great.”

They get their work critiqued…until they can no longer paint without a voice in their heads picking apart everything they do.

They compare themselves to other painters, and always seem to find themselves coming up short.

Along the way, their work becomes “dry.” Dead. Like a butterfly pinned to a board. Beautiful — but lifeless.

Do you ever feel that way about your work?

It’s a terrible place to be. To love something — painting — but to find it so painful. To feel lost, wanting to express yourself but not knowing how. To feel like nothing you create is really you.

You yearn for something more. To create. To feel alive.

Does any of this sound like you?


You want to find yourself and your style, but you don’t believe in yourself enough to do that. When you paint, your inner voice never stops self-critiquing, making it impossible for creativity to flow.


When you do paint something that feels right, you end up repeating it until you feel stagnant. How do you find your style without being repetitive?


You secretly fear that you’re not a “real” artist. You feel like a fraud, because you didn’t go to art school, you gave up your art a long time ago, or nobody believed in you when you were growing up. You scroll past artists on Instagram and Pinterest and feel like you’re not a “real” artist like them — and you don’t know how to be.


You enjoy starting paintings but feel anxious about finishing them.


You feel like your paintings lack a certain rawness and aliveness, and you’ve lost interest in your art. And when you lose that, you feel like you’ve lost a part of yourself. You’re afraid you’ll never reach the full expression and potential of who you are with your art.


You replicate other artists’ work and never feel like you’re expressing your own vision.


Something’s just missing from your art. You wonder if it’s technique, but no matter how much you learn…you’re still never happy with your paintings.

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

If any of this resonates with you, then you may be experiencing one of these three common problems:


You’re laboring under what I call the “tyranny of technique.”

Maybe if you get the technique “perfect,” you’ll finally be happy with your paintings, but that day never comes.

You look to others to validate your work

Friends, family, other artists, teachers, participants in critiques. When someone reacts with anything less than total praise, you feel destroyed. But when you’re praised, you don’t believe it.

You haven’t done the inner work

Artists’ statements, getting in the right galleries, attending the right MFA programs, getting the right residencies…none of that is what art is really about. Art is about self-expression. If you haven’t connected your work with yourself — your inner landscape — your painting will never be alive.

What’s missing in all of these problems is YOU. Your soul and aliveness coming through in your art.

I would know, because I used to be the same way.

For years, I painted figures and landscapes that were beautiful, technically excellent, and got into solo shows and galleries…but they were predictable. I became bored and uninspired. I never surprised myself.

I wanted wonder and joy. I wanted magic! I wanted to fall in love with painting again.

So I did.

I started experimenting, exploring, and risking. I learned to trust myself. I painted like I was on fire!

The work poured out of me — I moved from force into flow.

I learned that I had to be willing to answer the call to step into the unknown, no matter how scary that might be. I left the dark wood and stepped into the sunlit clearing of my true self, my creativity.

You can do that, too.

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

Imagine Being Excited to Paint Again!

Imagine waking up every day and feeling excited to show up to the studio and explore and experiment.

Every time you pick up the brush, you hear an internal voice that says: “I can do this, I will do this”. Hours go by as the work pours out of you. You feel like a child again — before the doubting voices and criticism got to you.

You create paintings that surprise and delight you. You’re free of self-judgement and the constant questioning of “am I good enough?” You say “yes” to taking the plunge into facing your fears and creating fully.

And as you experiment, you develop your own voice, signature, and lexicon — your own unique, personal, gestural expression. You believe in and trust yourself as an artist.

Every day, when you step back from the easel and look at the day’s work, you feel thrilled. This. Is. It. You. The deepest, most meaningful, and full expression of you.

You even revel in the “ugly” paintings, because it’s all part of stepping into the not knowing: the terra incognita of your creativity and flow.

That’s where the magic is: the unknown.

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

How Do You Get Unstuck, So You Can Create Art with Confidence?

The problem is it’s so hard to get to the magic and flow.

And the reason is that so many artists are consumed by the belief that if they just learn more and more technique, they’ll be a great artist. But you know what? Technique is important…but it won’t make you a great artist.

In fact, if you get too wrapped up in technique, you can find yourself getting further and further away from your fullest, deepest, most authentic expression.

The issue is that when you decide you want to invest in yourself as a painter, many of the books and courses out there focus on technique and giving you critiques. And that’s fine, to a point. But once you have the essentials mastered, getting critiqued can actually dampen your creativity. You end up with an inner voice providing running commentary with your every brushstroke.

You make yourself small, so you can fit into the narrow confines of how you’re “supposed” to paint.

Artists grip onto technique because of the deep-seated fear that they don’t really know what they’re doing. That they’re not enough.

But the truth is this: if you’re not happy with your painting, no one can “fix” it for you with a single solution or recipe they give you.

They can only guide you by asking questions and leading you to yourself: to that inner landscape that you want to express. Because deep down, you already know the “answer.” It only has to be revealed.

That’s what I help painters do: reveal the true self inside, so you can express that self on canvas.

Once you do that, you begin to trust yourself, which allows you to experiment and create freely, to get that “magic” you’ve been searching for, for so long.

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

Hi, My Name Is


I’ve been an artist and existential psychiatrist for over 20 years and I'm passionate about creativity, aliveness, and meaning.

I've been an abstract painter for years. Several years ago I created a television program "Creativity & Consciousness" where I interviewed artists on their creative process. As I did, I learned that artists in every genre grapple with fear and self-doubt and that the interior landscape affects everything!

I believe that abstract painting is a powerful way of getting at meaning and that art is a mirror that reflects our livesthe canvas reflects back our feelings, moods, interior states, and life.

I've guided thousands of artists in creating their deepest, most alive and meaningful work, and I would love to be your guide, too!




A step-by-step five-week online course where you’ll learn to believe and trust in yourself, so you can create art with confidence, deeply explore and experiment, and embrace the unknown

Trust yourself. Experiment. Create your Deepest Work.

Learn Everything to Start Creating Abstract Paintings You Love

In this step-by-step five-week online course 

In the course, I’ll guide you to believing and trusting in yourself, so you can create art with confidence, deeply explore and experiment, and embrace the unknown. Because the unknown is where the discoveries are made and where the magic is.

If you feel lost in that dark wood, you need a guide to show you the way out. Others have been that guide for me in the past, and now I’d like to be that guide for you.

On our journey together, I’ll teach you the three secrets of the masters. The first is the “Holy Grail” of painting: the self-transformation of trusting yourself and painting every day. Once you trust yourself, you’ll be free to experiment, explore, and truly express yourself. You won’t feel bound by what you’ve created in the past or by what other people are doing.

The second two secrets are two game-changing technical concepts: composition and value. I’ve simplified these concepts down to the 90% of what is most effective in your painting, so you can stop worrying about technique and start focusing on expression.

I’ve taken years of study in both psychiatry and painting and honed that all down into the few essential things that will take your artwork forward and let you experience joy in creation again.

By the end of this course, you will know that you are an artist, and you’ll have the life of your dreams. A life of joy, self-expression, and finally reaching your full potential as an artist.

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

What You’ll Learn


The one inner transformation that makes all the difference on your artist’s journey. Master this, and your procrastination and fear around painting will disappear.


The secret “Holy Grail” of prolific, successful artists who appear in galleries (it’s a triple threat).


Many ways of starting your abstract paintings, so you never spend hours staring at a blank canvas in frustration again.


​One simple compositional constraint that works every time. Use this when you’re stuck, and you’ll quickly set the “frame” that frees you to express yourself within it.


​A simple way to make your painting feel monumental so you can explore the power of scale in your art.


The value of simplifying values in a painting (believe it or not, this can be more important than color and is something all the masters are experts at).


How to use contrast in your paintings, so you create visual excitement, interest, and drama.


How to quickly fix common compositional problems, so each painting just “works” as a unified whole.


​Considerations on finishing your paintings, so you don’t get stuck in “what now?” mode and can quickly decide when a painting is done.


​And much, much more!

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

How The Artist’s Journey® Works

The Artist’s Journey® has 5 modules and each week you’ll receive an email guiding you to the new module. You’ll receive a “Focus Message” at the beginning describing what you’ll explore, what you’ll do, and what you’ll
complete in that module.

Each module includes a Reflection Exercise, a Slideshow Masterclass, How To Videos demonstrating the
concepts explored, and 2-7 painting exercises (except for Module 5 which is a wrap-up).

Focus Messages

Reflection Exercises

Slideshow Masterclass

How-to Videos


Painting Exercises


Follow the simple, step-by-step instructions in each module, and you’ll be able to create abstract paintings that you LOVE in no time at all.

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

What You’ll Learn In The Modules

Module 1: Answering The Call Of Your Yearning To Create

Map Your Way On Your Artist’s Journey

In Module 1, you’ll explore and reflect on your Big “Why” for creating, and you’ll complete The Artist’s Journey® Workbook, which will help you delve into your internal landscape. My decades in practice as an existential psychiatrist inform this work, which will help you truly express yourself in your art.

What you’ll receive:

  • A Welcome Packet showing you how to navigate the course material and what to expect.
  • An invitation to join our private Facebook group, where you can meet other painters on the journey.
  • The Artist’s Journey® Workbook download: a PDF full of actionable worksheets that guide you through the inner psychological journey so essential to accessing self expression.
  • The Artist’s Journey® Vision Board download to explore and document your ongoing intentions, goals, understandings, and insights. You can make copies and keep them in a binder.
  • A Material’s List PDF download, so you have a list of suggested materials in one, easy-to-reference place.

You’ll also experiment and explore:

  • The Expressive Vocabulary of Mark Making. Learn how to activate the canvas with intuitive, stream-of-consciousness mark making and enjoy the raw, guttural, alive feeling that emerges in your work.
  • Experimenting With A Grid Understructure. By painting with the seemingly rigid structure of a grid, you’ll learn to bring out the best of your intuition and creativity.
  • Automatic Drawing-an essential piece of truly expressing yourself in painting, as you’ll learn how to let your subconscious guide your hand.
Explore the Syllabus for Module 1: Answering The Call Of Your Yearning To Create
  • Welcome to The Artist’s Journey
  • Introduction and Orientation
  • Workbook and Vision Board
  • Reflection: Your Big Why
  • Mapping Your Way
  • Implementation: Experiment With Automatic Drawing
  • Cultivate An Attitude of Experimentation
  • Further Explorations: The Expressive Vocabulary of Mark Making
  • Further Explorations: Experimenting With A Grid
  • Further Explorations: Creating A Grid Using Tape
  • Further Explorations: Integrating The Grid & Automatic Drawing
  • Welcome to the Discussion Board

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

Module 2: First Secret Of The Masters:

Trust Yourself & Bring Out Your Inner Greatness

In Module 2, you’ll learn the first secret of the masters: trusting yourself. This will thread through all your work as an artist and inform your ability to explore and experiment deeply in your art.

In this module you’ll:

  • Reflect upon your Inner & Outer Provisions in order to cultivate and access your own robust psychological resources essential to creating your deepest art. 
  • Discover why simplicity and constraint is so important to experimentation and creativity.
  • Discover the “Holy Grail” of painting, which will guide you to paintings that will “wow” you. 
  • Dive deeper into Automatic Drawing and Painting, led by your subconscious so you’re able to express your true self in your work.  
  • Develop a history of surface with Flux, which will help you create paintings full of wonder and surprise. 
Explore the Syllabus for Module 2: First Secret of The Masters: Trust Yourself
  • Introduction
  • Reflection: Inner nd Outer Provisions
  • The Holy Grail of Painting
  • Video Demo: Activating The Canvas
  • Implementation: Committing To Your Studio Practice
  • Further Explorations: Activating The Surface
  • Further Explorations: Flux
  • Further Explorations: Discussion About Flux ‘Starts’ & Building Layers
  • Further Explorations: Flux: Building Up The Surface
  • 6 Exploratory Studies: Simplicity & Constraint
  • Exploratory Works As Painting Starts
  • Discussion

Module 3: Second Secret Of The Masters:

The First Technical Game Changer: Composition

In Module 3, you’ll discover the second secret of the masters and the first technical game changer: Composition. You’ll learn to simplify composition like the masters and find that composition is ultimately intuitive. This will help you create paintings you love.

In this module you’ll:

  • Learn how to simplify composition, discovering that composition is ultimately intuitive, so you can express yourself more authentically. 
  • Learn through lectures and video demonstrations how to find your way as you paint intuitively (without fear of where you’re going and with total confidence in your ability).  
  • ​Learn to develop a painting from a Rhythmic “Start” so that you can discover and express your own native, gestural vocabulary.
Explore the Syllabus for Module 3: Second Secret of the Masters: Composition
  • Introduction
  • Reflection: Find Your Way With Composition
  • Simplifying Composition
  • Video Demo Composition: Finding Your Way
  • Experiment With Composing Intuitively
  • Implementation: Find Your Way As You Paint
  • Further Explorations: Creating Rhythmic Painting ‘Starts’
  • Further Explorations: Constructing A Painting From Rhythmic ‘Starts’
  • Further Explorations: Wet Into Wet Painting
  • Discussion

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 Alumnus

Module 4: Third Secret Of The Masters:

The second technical game changer: Value

In Module 4, you’ll discover the third secret of the masters: The Value of Values. You’ll learn how value is a game-changer and how to simplify value and create value contrast that will make your paintings “pop” across the room. Value and composition are technical game-changers that make 90% of the difference in your paintings.

What you’ll learn:

  • Experiment with value patterns as starting experiments for creating powerful, visually compelling paintings.
  • Simplify value and learn the common errors regarding value, so you can fix a paintings values before it’s too late.​
  • Dive deeper into Automatic Drawing & Painting led by your subconscious, so you’re able to express your true self in your work.
  • Experiment with creating a 4 value/2 color palette that is harmonious. This is a game-changer for many artists because once you master this, your full-color paintings will have an added depth like never before.
Explore the Syllabus for Module 4: Third Secret Of The Masters: Value
  • Introduction
  • Reflection: What Is The Value Of Value?
  • The Value Of Values
  • Video Demo: Value: Create What You Love
  • Experiment With Value Patterns
  • Experiment With Value & Color
  • Implementation: Paint What You Love
  • Bonus Painting Demo: Bringing Structure To A Painting ‘Start’, Part 1
  • Bonus Painting Demo: Bringing Structure To A Painting ‘Start’, Part 2
  • Discussion

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 Alumnus

Module 5: Further Explorations On Your Artist’s Journey

Creativity & The Unknown

In Module 5, we come full circle back to the foundations of all that we’ve learned and back to your Big “Why” for creating. We further discuss how being an artist is about cultivating your studio practice and continually evolving your work. We explore the importance of tending to your inner landscape of trusting yourself so you can deeply explore and experiment- which is the sine qua non of being an artist.

We’ll discuss:

  • Creativity & the unknown: the power of accessing the state of “not knowing” in order to deeply experiment and evolve your art.
  • The value of “failures” and mistakes, so you can free yourself to explore and experiment without self-judgement or worrying what others will think.
  • How to answer the question of “where now?”
Explore the Syllabus for Module 5: Further Explorations On Your Artist’s Journey
  • Introduction
  • Reflection: Your Ongoing Artist’s Journey
  • Your Artist’s Journey: Creativity & The Unknown
  • The Value of ‘Failures’ & Mistakes
  • Where Now?
  • Epilogue: The Artist’s Journey: Lessons Learned
  • The Artist’s Journey Survey
  • Discussion

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

By the End of the Course

You Will Have Completed

  • A personal vision board to explore your ongoing intentions, goals, understandings, and insights. This will help you stay true to yourself as you continue on your journey.
  • A personal art journal to experiment and take risks in, so you never feel stuck, repetitive, or bored with your art again.
  • Many painting “starts”, so you have many options to finish after the four weeks are over.
  • Hundreds of painting “maquettes” (studies/exploratory works) to draw inspiration from in the future.

The Skills You Will Master

  • Setting painting goals and intentions and refining them, so you have guideposts to guide your daily practice.​
  • Trusting yourself to find your way as you go, so you can stop worrying and free yourself up to paint intuitively.
  • Developing a personal vocabulary of mark making and imagery, so you can channel your subconscious onto the canvas with confidence.
  • Develop your 15 minute daily studio practice, so painting effortlessly becomes part of your everyday life.
  • Creating many painting “starts,” giving you a cornucopia of options to finish!
  • Creating visually exciting paintings of high contrast, so your work stands out and grabs people’s attention.
  • And much, much more …


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:

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, Australia

Artist’s Journey® & 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

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

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

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

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

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

The Artist’s Journey Alumnus

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® Alumnus & 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® Alumnus

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® Alumnus

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

The Artist’s Journey Alumnus

Join Now & Receive these Exclusive Bonuses

The Artist’s Journey®: Workbook ($97 VALUE)

I want you to believe in and trust yourself. Only by trusting yourself will you be freed up to play, experiment, explore, show us what you love, and create with expressive aliveness.

Paintings that excite people show us YOU. We want to see you: your truth, your vision, your voice.

Your art is a reflection of you. It mirrors your life and what is meaningful to you. Your marks are your personal signature threading through everything you do. Value them. Trust them.

In this workbook you’ll explore your artist’s journey…where you are now, how you got here, what your dreams are, and where you want to go with your art.

The Artist’s Journey®: Vision Board ($47 VALUE)

Document your artist’s journey with the vision board. This will guide you to write down observations about your dreams/wishes/aha’s/’why’s’ as well as making note of your inner and outer resources and provisions. 

Make notes of your evolving ‘why’ for creating as well as noting difficulties, perils, intentions, aha’s and dreams. You can work with images, photos, and sketches as well as writing. 

Documenting your journey is a powerful tool for developing your studio practice with awareness and consistency. It sends a message to your unconscious that your creative life has value and visibility.

Color Secrets of the Pros Workbook
($97 VALUE)

Learn color secrets in abstract painting the pros know. Create visual impact using color contrast. Work with simplicity, constraint and experimentation.

The Artist’s Journey® Community
($997 VALUE)

Our fabulous private Facebook Community where you’ll meet artists from all over the world to encourage, support and inspire you on your journey of self expression.  


You’ve got paintings inside you waiting to be expressed. It’s time to finally create the art of your dreams and say yes to your artist’s journey. This is a “why-to, not a how-to” book. It’s not about technique, it’s about the inner psychological work of moving closer and closer to your deepest, most authentic self expression.


  • The Artist’s Journey®: 3 Secrets of the Masters Course PLUS ALL THE BONUSES       
  • The Artist’s Journey®: Workbook                 $97 FREE
  • The Artist’s Journey®: Vision Board            $47 FREE


  • The Color Secrets of the Pros Workbook   $97 FREE


  • The Artist’s Journey Community                  $997 FREE

(Course + Bonuses = $2,235 TOTAL VALUE)


Choose the payment option that’s right for you.


$247/3 Monthly Payments

7 Day Money-Back Guarantee

I’m confident you’re going to love the material, just like the artists like you in our community. But if you’re not happy for any reason at all, please email my team within 7 days of joining, and we’ll issue you a prompt and courteous refund. No questions asked!

Frequently Asked Questions

How is this course different from other painting courses?

It’s different, because I don’t offer a recipe or formula for you to follow. I don’t give you critiques or “painting by committee” type answers because I feel that this approach leads to predictable art that ends up being ultimately unsatisfying and unsustainable. Instead, I join you on the journey you’re already on and guide you to believing in yourself, so you can so you can deeply experiment, evolve your art and experience true self-expression. It’s like the difference between giving you a fish versus teaching you how to fish.

Because of my training as a psychiatrist, I’m deeply familiar with the psychology of what holds people back from being their true selves. My focus is on the inner landscape, the inner journey, and the mindset of trusting yourself so you can deeply experiment.

Most workshops and classes don’t address your mindset and if they do, it’s mentioned briefly. There’s no ongoing support and encouragement to work through inner doubts, fears, and blocks.

This course is for you if you’re creative, willing to take risks in your art, and love self-improvement. This is not for you if you’re looking for a formula or recipe. Each of us is different, and in this course, you’ll learn how to express yourself and find your style — not copy others!

How much time does this take? I’m not sure I have enough time.

The course has a lecture (slide talk video) and 3-6 video lessons each week for you to work through and exercises to complete — you can move through them at their own pace. You’ll have one year of access, which is plenty of time to go through the material — multiple times! There’s an introductory video explaining how to navigate the course, and all the videos after that go through the material in easy-to-manage chunks, so you never get overwhelmed.

How long do I get access to the course?

After the five weeks are done, you’ll have an additional year of access to all of the materials. After that you’ll have the option to get yearly access for a nominal fee


WATCH THE FREE WORKSHOP: #1 Secret to Creating Authentic Abstract Paintings You Love


I'll reveal the "ugly painting" practice that helped me create raw, expressive paintings that I loved.


​The 4 Traps where every artists get stuck and the proven steps I use to move beyond them.


​You'll discover the #1 shift to creating abstract paintings that are so raw, immediate, and alive that they astonish you.


​PLUS so much more...

Have Questions & Want To Learn More?

You are invited to apply for a complimentary Clarity Call where we can help identify if this is the right program for you and answer any questions you might have.

or Would you like to chat on Facebook Messenger?

Or you can email us at, and we’ll respond as soon as possible.

A Note From Nancy

How much time does this take? I’m not sure I have enough time.

If you’re like me and the thousands of artists I’ve worked with, painting is a central part of your identity.

It’s you.

Which makes it all the more painful when you feel so removed from the process.

Maybe you feel tired of copying others or repeating yourself. Maybe your art feels dead or formulaic or uninspiring to you.

You KNOW you have more inside you, and if you don’t express it, you’ll feel like you cheated yourself out of something important, meaningful, and vital to you.

You’ll be missing a part of yourself.

If you avoid the call of your art, if you procrastinate, if you feel like you have more inside you but don’t know how to access and express that inner landscape…isn’t it time to fix that now?You’ll be missing a part of yourself.

How much longer are you willing to be cut off from this essential part of who you are?

In just five weeks, you can learn to create abstract paintings you LOVE.

Paintings that express your truest, deepest self. You can experience spontaneous, joyous creation free of fear, anxiety, and perfectionism.

You can create art you LOVE again.

All it takes is deciding that you — and the art inside you — are worth it.

Nancy Hillis, M.D., Artist, Best Selling Author, Speaker & Stanford Trained Existential Psychiatrist.



Creativity is central to feeling alive.

Will you finally say YES to your dreams?

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