For thousands of years before the written word, humans learned about their ancestors and the world around them through story, passed down through the generations.
This Guidebook will:
build artistic confidence through reflections and creativity exercises
illuminate the creative journey of discovery through artists’ stories
connect scientific concepts with artistic practice to understand the nature of surprise
★★★★★ 5 Star Review by K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards
The Adjacent Possible: Guidebook & Stories Of Artistic Transformation is a work of non-fiction in the art and philosophy subgenres. It is suitable for the general reading audience and especially those who are aspiring artists, and it was compiled by author team Dr. Nancy Hillis and Dr. Bruce Sawhill.
This book continues The Art Of The Possible book series by further encouraging artists and newcomers to the genre to explore the true nature of art and its intentions as a transformative and communicative formatting of storytelling.
Twenty-five artists share their work and wisdom within these pages and explain their own experiences of applying the author’s principles to their own work, and there are also exercises for readers themselves to try.
As a creative person myself, I could get lost for days in conversations about the nature and possibility of creativity itself, and it seems that the dynamic author duo of Dr. Nancy Hillis and Dr. Bruce Sawhill are cut from the same cloth.
As such, the opening section of this work brims with inspiration and genuine excitement for exploring one’s own creative impetus, which I think is a fantastic perspective from which to start any artistic journey.
The foursection approach to artistic exploration and finding one’s own path and viewpoint is structured well for those who are used to following a set order, but the deeper you read into the work, the more room for glorious chaos and deviation there truly is, and this team leaves no stone unturned in the lessons they offer from their own wisdom and that of the other artists involved.
Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend The Adjacent Possible: Guidebook & Stories Of Artistic Transformation to fans of the existing series and new creatives looking to explore their own potential further.
The Adjacent Possible: Guidebook and Stories of Artistic Transformation by Nancy Hillis and Bruce Sawhill is an indispensable guidebook that gives insight into the science of creativity through the personal stories of artists in understanding their muse that leads to the identity and unfolding of their art.
The book’s title is a concept from evolutionary biology and theoretical physics that can be used to understand the nitty-gritty of creation and creativity in an artistic context. This book illustrates the Inner Journey and the three components of the creative process with stories from many artists, all of whom have their own share of creative and artistic enlightenment. It also introduces you to the overarching patterns in the life cycle of being an artist that profoundly affects one’s art, which has been distilled into a conceptual framework known as the ISEE Creativity.
As twenty-five practicing artists share their own stories and transformation and how they benefitted from the principles described in The Adjacent Possible, this guidebook gives you a better and more profound understanding of the ISEE Methodology and its impact on the creative process. As every artist explores their subject, medium, and material, they find the rebalancing of these elements to discover and experience the preciousness of their craft and heighten their awareness.
Nancy Hillis and Bruce Sawhill make a compelling invitation for you to interact with what is beautiful from within; to use a scientific approach to interpret its conception that will inevitably give birth to an outward expression, and your art becomes an intense mode of your individualism.
This book is highly recommended for all creatives searching for a transformational journey and in need of understanding how to better unfold their art, be it visual, literary, or performing.
Nancy Hillis and Bruce Sawhill have researched and written a concise and informative guide to help readers find their inner creative selves. Their book, The Adjacent Possible: Guidebook, and Stories of Artistic Transformation, is a thorough study of the creative mind.
Using examples from literary, artistic, and scientific geniuses, the authors have prepared an acute sense of what it really means to be alive in the deepest and most creative forms imaginable.
From the powers of the inner self, through the intense act of just starting (because nothing happens or will happen unless you start – somewhere, anywhere), the authors and their featured artists who lead the reader on an incredible journey of creative self-discovery and enlightenment.
“Art is standing with one hand extended into the universe and one hand extended into the world, and letting ourselves be a conduit for passing energy.” I love this quote by Albert Einstein. Few realize this mathematical genius was also an intuitive artist in his own right. And, his creative energies in studying the universe are second to none. Life itself is creative. Without free thought and inspiration, what else is there?
The “act of creating affects existence itself,” and, like anything else in life, this elusive creativity is ever-changing and evolutionary. Even Nature, the ultimate creative force, teeters on a delicate, “dynamic balance between creation and collapse. There is an endless churn accompanying endless creativity, but there is also underlying structure that emerges from the interplay of the two.” That’s life in its most basic elements, living on the edge, waiting for the next wave to come crashing down on us. But, there are always options. When you consider that art in its visual form predates the written word, and music, predates all forms of creativity, you have a dominant theme of humans imitating Nature in its most basic, primal, and creative forms.
The book is well laid out with a step-by-step guide to empowering your own creative energies. The authors share their stories and their art to help the reader better adjust to their own inner sanctum. This is a fascinating treatise on the “adjacent possible.” Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “Without music, life would be a mistake.” The same could be said for all the arts, and all the adjacent possibilities.
25 Amazing Artists Are Featured in The Adjacent Possible
25 artists share stories of artistic transformation in their lives and art, and how they benefitted personally from principles described in The Adjacent Possible book.
Each artist forged their own path to a life of exuberant creativity.
Their stories contain lessons and wisdom on how to find your own path.
Elizabeth Vander Schaaf
CHERYL WILSON’S REVIEW
INCREDIBLE Source for Artists
I came in contact with Nancy while searching for an art teacher years ago and found Nancy’s art courses.
THEY provided the fundamentals to my art journey today!!
She says “Your action not only changes the environment you are in, but also creates it.” I have read all her books to date and this Book The Adjacent Possible” Guidebook & Stories of Artistic Transformation” is by far a must for every artist’s library. It puts into words my thoughts as an artist and how I create.
Nancy talks about a roadmap for artists, the power of those first strokes on the canvas for an artist and the incredible power of experimentation. Nancy not only shares incredible information in this book, but she shares practical applications, ones I have actually used in my art journey that took me from a beginner to selling my paintings around the global. She shares how to reduce the fear in being an artist by learning the evolution of your journey as an artist.
This book also includes stories from 25 artists that have been on THEIR own personal journey with their experiences and shares their artwork.
~ Cheryl Wilson
★★★★★ 5 STAR REVIEWS
A Brilliant Resource and Source of Inspiration!
In this follow-up to the ground-breaking Nancy Hillis book The Adjacent Possible, Nancy Hillis and Bruce Sawhill shows us through new ways of instruction and through real world examples, the power of accessing the adjacent possible.
This substantial book includes new insights on the adjacent possible accompanied by vignettes and stories from 25 widely varying artists about their experiences with the adjacent possible and the lessons of previous Hillis instruction.
The inspiration provided by a group of widely varying artists is dazzling and the new content from Nancy Hillis and Bruce Sawhill shows artists important pathways to deepen their work.
Every creative person would benefit from reading this book. I highly recommend this Guidebook and all the other Nancy Hillis books that so respectfully and inspirationally show working and aspiring artists new ways to think about their own creative processes.
I am proud to be one of the artists featured in this book but, truthfully, I would be recommending this book even if I were not part of it. The artists’ stories, ways of explaining their processes, and the beautiful images are truly instructive and inspiring!
~ Kathryn J. Deiss
You are the only one who can do your art.
I am delighted to share a review of this extremely important and very readable and useful book, The adjacent possible guidebook and stories of artistic transformation, by Nancy Hillis M. D. And Bruce Sawhill PH. D. Together with The Adjacent Possible: Evolve Your Art. from Blank Canvas to Prolific Artist by Nancy Hillis M. D., they form a “dynamic duo” of clarity, excitement, hope, and very practical ways to engage with Creativity as expressed by each individual.
I like the synergism between Hillis, Sanford trained psychiatrist, author, and abstract artist, and Sawhill, a Samford educated theoretical physicist mathematician, composer, and concert organist, as well as a dedicated swimmer.
I have read it seems like thousands of books about art, artists, artwork, and creativity in the past five decades. My experience is that most books are either very very simplistic with exact directions on how to repeat the model that is shown, or so full of esoteric and convoluted theory that no three playful cats in a room full of loose multicolored yarn could make a more confusing tableau.
The Adjacent Possible is very different. Using the rubric “I SEE”, interesting and clear theory of creativity and its application to real life experience, discussed by over twenty artists with personal examples (and lovely photography). I SEE represents: Inner journey … Start … Experiment … Evolve
I can easily imagine Nancy literally restraining herself from jumping up and down as she discusses creativity, and how all of us have a particular and special, never replicated, creative presence. I SEE is the simple, not easy, path to reliably accessing our own unique creativity work.
Frankly, I am desperately tired of false hope. Too often I have followed someone else’s path, only to discover that what works for them simply does not work for me.
All in all, it’s been a rather expensive and time consuming exercise in futility. The giant difference for me is that Nancy and Bruce tell the truth, without trying to spin it in different ways for their advantage or ego. I also hear in their teaching and encouragement to follow my own inner self and intuition, and also encouragement to ask the larger group who will gladly share in whatever way they have dealt with the issue.
By generously sharing their knowledge, wisdom, successes and failures, and encouraging us to do the same, we become more whole, more ourselves.
I Apply ISEE to virtually ANY issue and find I become more clear, excited, hopeful, often with a sense of the next practical steps. An excellent and very practical ways to engage with Creativity as expressed by each individual.
~ Cynthia Jane Collins
This is the book artists have been waiting for!
I have taken several art workshops with artist and author Nancy Hillis and my ability to look at an ugly mess and know that there just might be some potential in what I just created gives me hope and keeps me going back to my studio. And even if the painting becomes collage papers or an honorary member on a stack of paintings, I continue to learn about what is means to be an artist. And I continue to create because that is what gives me purpose. These are some of the lessons and the gifts that one will find in Nancy’s newest book: The Adjacent Possible: Guidebook & Stories of Artistic Transformation.
This is a BIG book (444 pages of wisdom, lessons, and permission) and it is a book that one will come back to over and over again. More starts, mark makings and my favorite of all – the six-maquette exercise will keep you exploring while you discover more about yourself and your art.
The Adjacent Possible: Guidebook & Stories of Artistic Transformation has twenty-five contributing artists who talk about their journey which is filled with the same angst most of us artists go thru, but each one seems to find their way and it shows up in their art.
I have a little post-It on my studio wall from a class that Nancy taught and that says, “Just start. Experiment. Evolve.” It does not get much better than this.
Do not be afraid to pick up this book and do not be afraid to become the artist you are meant to be. Nancy will show you how to shed your doubts and, in its place, will be the freedom to create!
~ Elizabeth A. Cassidy
You don’t have to be an artist to open up to the possibilities!
In this amazing book by Nancy Hillis and Bruce Sawhill you will be able to reflect on creativity, the importance of evolving as an artist and as a human being.
You will immerse yourself in 25 artists stories and you will learn about their struggles and their wins. You will learn how to best navigate through your own artwork to create your own journey and story.
The Adjacent Possible is a place to grow using a different approach to let it go and feel comfortable in the uncomfortable.
I am one of the artists featured and I feel extremely proud and excited to be a part of such an incredible book … I would run and buy a copy!
~ Sandra Felemovicius
Merging science and art – Evolve your art
There are many things I like about “The Adjacent Possible: Guidebook & Stories Of Artistic Transformation” by Nancy Hillis and Bruce Sawhill. The book marries art, science and creativity together in ways I had never considered. Exploration, discovery, and evolving your art are key tenets in Nancy’s art philosophy.
I see many artists who work and work, creating the same art over and over that there is no longer a freshness to the work. To illustrate this point, this quote jumped out at me while reading the book. “Being an artist is about continually evolving your art.“
That quote is a sentiment that has driven my art for over 28 years. And yet there is still so much more for me to discover about me as an artist and my art.
If you want a fresh look at creating art in general and your art specifically, take a look at this book. As well as the narrative of the book, there are vignettes and works by 25 artists included in the book to help illustrate Nancy’s and Bruce’s concepts and principles.
~ Tom Hlas
I have been a fan of Nancy Hillis and I have been following her courses, as well as her books for several years now. I have been waiting for this fourth book with great impatience! And it is indeed an absolute gem! I am always fascinated with her depth of understanding of the creative process. In this volume her co-authorship with Bruce Sawhill, a physicist, adds a fascinating scientific depth to the concept of the “adjacent possible.”
Before I discovered Nancy I took quite a few workshops, but although I learned some aspects of “technique” I was always disappointed by the simplistic approach and lack of inspiration, and even lack any reference to the creative purpose.
When I first discovered Nancy I was immediately drawn to her focus on the creative process and to the artistic transformation. Her “artistic journey” is actually a journey of self development, a personal development where she helps and encourages us to face new doors and enter them. She takes us through the journey and progression from self doubt to self acceptance and acceptance of dark moments one passes through in life. She and Bruce provide us with a psychological map on how to engage in creativity, and see the creative process as an ability to open oneself to the “adjacent possible” which is a life affirming process.
~ Vera Tchikovani
We Are All Artists
The Adjacent Possible Guidebook & Stories is a distillation of years of research, tested insights, applications, experience and interviews. I was guided on a journey of exploration, by story of possibility and transformation.
The authors and artists’ stories reveal concrete and universal principles. Gone is the infusing haze that often surrounds the topic of creative lives and art. Living the life of the artist is for all of us.
I particularly like reading the student’s individual journeys, inspiring as only true stories can be. They demonstrate the uniqueness of each person’s life, with a familiar universal thread. Doing what they love. With pictures too!
~ Marian Bach
What I’ve enjoyed the most about The Adjacent Possible is the level of engagement that Nancy Hillis and Bruce Sawhill offer in this book.
The intention of the book is obvious – to share how a concept such as adjacent possible is used and developed in the work of 25 artist’s, as well as Nancy’s, to create an exploration and discovery of form, color, composition and line individual to each artist.
The authors of this book provide a deepen sense of what is possible beyond the reading and appreciation of The Adjacent Possible. The possibilities are limitless.
~ Kathy Lavine
A simply magical resource for artists…
This book is a wonderful resource for artists, a feel good book! Full of stories from painters who have been through great moments of dark uncertainty and somehow walked from the shadows into the sun of creativity.
I used to paint tiny watercolours…feeling not good enough far too messy…I now feel happy to come out of my closet and share my work …be it raw and messy or wild and fun. . Nancy’s courses are transformational …this book offers a taster. Sheer magic.
~ Maggy Herbert-Jobson
A MUST HAVE book for every Creative Soul
Learn how the creative mind works and how to apply practical exercises to your own art process. I love how this book makes you THINK about art as much as creating art. And, hear from 25 other artists who share their personal stories and art journeys. I think you’ll recognize some of their struggles as your own and you’ll learn what they did to overcome them.
I took Nancy’s online workshop many years ago and to this day, I still use some of the techniques taught in my own artwork. You’re going to want to add this book to your collection!
~ Betty Franks
Here’s how I’m getting over creative resistance
Seeing my own art and reading my own words overcomes me with pride and honor – right here on the pages of The Adjacent Possible by Nancy Hillis and Bruce Sawhill newly published.
Since Day 1 of this journey, I’m back to painting-flow and feeling freedom exploring my own curiosity. Just one of 25 painters featured here, we boost each other as we meet, share and talk about our stumbles and achievements learning to do away with dysfunctional brain waves of do’s and don’t’s – the bane of so many artists. Hike along with Nancy and Bruce and start your own artistic transformation!
~ Libby Gilpatric
Provides Inspiration and Clear Guidelines
I LOVE the stories shared by the 25 featured artists because they make everything so accessible and real. And you don’t need to have taken Nancy’s classes to benefit from this book…you can start here!
It reminds me that making art is a life-long practice that is exciting and always evolving. I can hardly wait to get my hardcover copy! Highly recommend this book, regardless of where you are in your creative journey.
~ Kay Hunt
A treasure beyond measure
I love the combination and presentation of theory, stories and paintings from the authors and 25 artists from around the world who have taken Nancy Hillis’ classes. The book has a lot to offer and can inspire beginners and advanced artists alike.
~ Gisela Kissing
Wow! This is a guided journey into the creative unknown
Nancy Hillis has no equal when it comes to understanding the challenges facing the artist. She deftly guides each one on their journey to self-expression. It is a joy to follow the exercises and to have a dedicated Facebook community for support. The testimonies and paintings represented in The Adjacent Possible confirm the quality of this course and Nancy Hillis’s dedication to her students/fellow journeyers.
I have been on this journey for several months love everything about it!
~ Catherine Nugent
Inspiring and interesting
I found this book inspiring and interesting on two levels. First the art is beautiful and inspiring. But, like looking at nature, just looking on and appreciating is only half the story.
Why is it beautiful and why does it appeal?
Grappling with this makes for a deeper, less superficial appreciation.
Physicists, mathematicians and other scientists look at nature and see it beautiful. But they then delve in and try and explain the beauty- not necessarily in a complete sense- but in the sense of having a human understanding of the laws, logic and relations driving the symmetries and patterns, and ultimately the beauty.
This “explanation” part of the book I think is equally important to the beautiful art. It tries to open the door and give insight into the thinking behind the creation of art- its laws, logic and relations. Certainly a very wide and open topic. But nevertheless a topic essential to the art’s wider and deeper appreciation.
And dare I say, some of my work is featured here too.
~ Dana Dion (with Piet Dion), Sydney, Australia
Adjacent possible stories inspire
This book highlights what other books Nancy has written speak about – particularly, here, the adjacent possible and transformational potentials we all have. As artists, we can apply the principles she discusses and has used with many people in order to further develop our creative practice as well as our lives.
~ Karen Sparks
Learn how to bring out art from within
In her book The Adjacent Possible, Nancy Hillis is taking you through a well guided and explained process to become aware of how you might stand in your own way and how to over come this in an interesting, logic and fun way.
The exercises are easy to understand and do, the science behind her approach is well explained and her open mindset is a great reminder to stay open and kind to yourself in that process. Yes, sometimes she repeats herself, but repetition is the mother of all learning and sometimes we need to hear or read things more often to let it sink in. I will go now and get her other books, which I have not read yet.
~ Desiree S.
A gold mine…will surprise and excite you to get your paints out
To Artists Everywhere!! If you have not heard of The Artists Journey or The Adjacent Possible then I advise you to dive for “Nancy Hillis‘ and Bruce Sawhill’s” new book The Adjacent Possible Guidebook and Stories of Artistic Transformation.
Available as an ebook or paperback it is a gold mine of real practical expert information on how to travel on your own inner creative journey with unique stories and insights from Nancy, Bruce and the participating artists.
The works illustrated with each story show the effects of the steps taken, the freedom and trust in your intuition that engages with deep experimentation alongside real principals, to propel you to ever expanding consciousness of “renewed creation at each instant” the Adjacent Possible!!!
To me this book is unique in understanding the inner guidance and make up of creative endeavour and the courage it takes to be your own critic and unique artist; changing and transforming as you get into your studio each day, or as near as possible, with pleasure and expectation of deepening involvement and a stronger hold on what you were born to become!
Whether you are already a well known or practising artist or just a beginner who feels a creative surge, this book will surprise and excite you to get your paints out and like the child drawing on the pavement, go from Zero to One!!!!
~ Lesley Emine