083: Sparking Creativity

By June 18, 2019 3 Comments
Nancy Hillis painting

Creativity is an innate ability in everyone. If you can think of an idea… even a bad one, you’re creative.  Creativity is just finding an idea or solution that works by experimenting and playing… and professional Creativity is when you can turn these new and imaginative ideas into reality.

It takes practice to learn to consciously drop into specific brain states like creativity, and even more practice to learn to stay there… and even more practice to override your current mood, or feelings of doubt and fear.

Our guest is Nancy Hillis, an abstract artist and Stanford-trained psychiatrist. Nancy guides artists to create their deepest, most authentic art through her signature approach, which combines art and psychiatry. She really understands how our brains work and how to work them to create what we desire.

Today we will learn:

  • All about the inner landscape of creating
  • How our own fear and resistance gets in the way of creating
  • The importance of your ugly first drafts, sketches, paintings, or ideas

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Learn More About Nancy Hillis M.D.

Nancy Hillis

Nancy Hillis

Abstract Artist, Author and Existential Psychiatrist

Nancy Hillis, MD is an abstract artist, Stanford trained psychiatrist and author of the best-selling self-help book The Artist’s Journey: Bold Strokes To Spark Creativity. Nancy guides artists to create their deepest, most authentic art through her signature approach, which combines art and psychiatry. She blogs about the inner landscape of artists at nancyhillis.com She’s helped thousands of artists transform their work from the inside out, operating from the conviction that artistic creation has as much to do with psychology as it does with paint and canvas.
Nancy studied under renowned psychiatrist, Irvin Yalom, MD at Stanford and has been featured in Inc. magazine, The New York Observer, The Expert Called YOU book and the Lit from Within Show. Her course Activating the Canvas was named one of the top online art courses of 2019 by CreativeBloq.com. Nancy lives in Santa Cruz, CA. When not painting or teaching, Nancy loves to play her cello, hike with her partner Dr. Bruce Sawhill, or listen to her daughter Kimberly sing Puccini’s O Mio Babbino Caro and other operatic arias.

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Melissa Monte

Melissa Monte

Melissa Monte is the host of the heartfelt podcast “Mind Love”. Through raw stories, personal experience and inspiring interviews, Mind Love highlights the incredible role of the mind in happiness, health and success.


  • Jennifer Stark says:

    This podcast was fantastic! It also happened to be the first one I listened to because I follow Nancy Hollis on just about every social media outlet there is. What I particularly appreciated about it was the concept of taking creative thought and action into everything. I have that philosophy and it was helpful to hear it articulated by both of you. Thanks 😁

  • A wonderful interview. Nancy’s views on the ugly painting and how some work that seems horrible at the time may be a nascent or embryonic form of something that is gtrying to be born are extremely encouraging. The expression of the ineffable is a fascinating concept which I completely understand. As one whose professional life revolved around the use of words, when I discovered painting and took the plunge into a world which had always seemed elusive to me, this opened up a door to a whole new dimension of invaluable expression.

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