Activating the Canvas Featured As One of the Top Online Art Courses by

Activating the Canvas Featured As One of the Top Online Art Courses by
Activating The Canvas Named As A Top Online Art Course

Get Started On Your Abstract Painting Journey! Activate The Canvas With Intuitive Mark Making

Activate The Canvas With Intuitive Mark Making

A year of access to the course that will get you started creating abstract paintings. Learn how to loosen up, activate the canvas, and breathe life into your creations. Get inspired to go into your studio and paint! Register now. 

Take the Plunge Introductory Price Is Only $197!

Start Activating The Canvas Now For the Introductory Price Of Only $197!


I'm so excited to invite you to Activating The Canvas! This is a self directed, independent study abstract painting course where you'll explore and experiment deeply with your own personal lexicon and gestural expression and mark making.  

Throughout the course you'll also explore your inner landscape that affects your art as well as your life. Loosen up, play and fuel your creative fire. Take your art into new, astonishing directions by cultivating your ability to experiment. Accelerate your progress as an abstract artist. Start Activating The Canvas and begin your artist's journey TODAY!

Are you painting with aliveness and wonder? Are you listening to the yearnings of your heart? Do you long to create your deepest work?

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

I've experimented with abstract painting for years. Several years ago I created a television program 'Creativity & Consciousness' where I interviewed artists on their creative process. One of the things I learned is 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 lives…the 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 guide you too! 


  • Module 1: Welcome To Activating The Canvas

    Welcome to Activating The Canvas. You'll explore and reflect on your big 'Why' for creating as well as complete The Artist's Journey Workbook where you'll delve into your internal landscape that affects everything in your art and life. Lessons on Why Your Why Matters will lead you into video demonstrations revealing that you have your own personal lexicon, you own gestural signature and expression that is immediate, intuitive and unique. Video demonstrations of the power of exploratory studies in developing and strengthening your work will be explored in this first module. You'll further work with the concepts of Simplicity & Constraint and learn that within constraints are an infinity of possibilities for your art. You'll experiment with The Expressive Vocabulary Of Mark Making and explore the unlimited possibilities of your own expression.

  • Module 2: The Expressive Vocabulary Of Mark Making

    In this module you'll reflect upon mark making and you'll learn about the power of gestural mark making for expressing feeling. You'll learn ways to expand your expressive vocabulary of mark making and how to incorporate the concepts of simplicity, constraint & predominance into your work.

  • Module 3: Cultivate An Attitude Of Experimentation

    In this module you'll reflect upon your experience of experimentation and you'll learn the value and potency of employing an experimental mindset in your art making and studio practice. You'll experiment with automatic drawing and be challenged to continue creating exploratory studies and experimental works.

  • Module 4: Activate The Canvas

    In this module you'll reflect upon activating the canvas and allowing yourself to step into the unknown as you create. You'll learn how to work with flux, veiling and covering. You'll explore flux and building up the surface of your painting. You'll learn how to create visual contrast and how to intuitively compose as you paint.

  • Module 5: What's Next For You On Your Artist's Journey

    In this closing module, you'll reflect upon your ongoing Artist's Journey. You'll explore what's next for you and where you want to go in your art. There are bonus videos on creating rhythmic starts and how to incorporate rhythmic starts into a painting.

Or Take The Plunge With 3 Easy Payments Of $77!

Start Activating The Canvas With 3 Monthly Payments Of Only $77!


More About Activating The Canvas

More About Activating The Canvas
Dr. Nancy Hillis discusses the Transformation Of Trusting Yourself In Your Work As An Artist

Activating The Canvas

Activating The Canvas
Experiment & Explore In Your Studio

Experiment, Explore & Find Your Way As Your Paint!

Experiment, Explore & Find Your Way As Your Paint!
Find Your Own True Expression. Trust Yourself. Activating The Canvas_Nancy Hillis

Cultivate Your Studio Practice

Cultivate Your Studio Practice
Cultivate Your Studio Practice With Exploratory Studies

Dr. Nancy Hillis

Dr. Nancy Hillis
Being An Artist Is About Exploring The Mystery

Showing Up In The Studio

Showing Up In The Studio
Show Up In Your Studio & Experiment

Begin Activating The Canvas!

Start Activating The Canvas Now! Your investment is only $197!


Saying Yes to your artist’s journey is akin to embarking on a dangerous expedition into the unknown. You yearn for aliveness and meaning and find yourself answering the call of your desire to create your deepest work. The moment you decide to're immediately plunged into the unknown and you face the perils of creating...and yet you persist anyway because your desire to create is greater than your fear. 

One of the most important things for any artist to learn is to trust yourself so that you can allow yourself to take risks, to explore and to experiment.

Experimentation is at the heart of what being an artist is about. We're not here to replicate others work...we're here to express ourselves...our own voice, vision and truth. 


We must trust ourselves

Trusting yourself to find your way as you create and to show yourself and the world what you love.


You can free yourself up to move past fears and self doubt in your painting process and awaken experimentation, playfulness, and risk taking in your work.

Begin your own journey of exploration and experimentation. Begin Activating The Canvas NOW!


Or take a few minutes to read more about the Activating The Canvas course below.


What happens when you're in your studio facing the blank canvas? How do you create raw, immediate and astonishing paintings? What's the secret to powerful, alive paintings that experienced professional artists know but that eludes you?


The secret is that your inner landscape transforms your work


As an existential psychiatrist, abstract artist, and creator of ‘Creativity and Consciousness’ television program, I learned that there's one thing that matters more than anything else in your art and that is trusting yourself. To paint freely with expressive aliveness, authenticity, and need one thing above all else.

Self Trust

I'm passionate about guiding artists to trust themselves to paint with meaning, aliveness and wonder.

Imagine feeling freed up to explore and experiment!

What if on your artist’s journey you found out how to loosen up and actually love going into your studio and painting? What if you uncovered one of the secrets of successful, prolific painters? What if you discovered one thing that will transform your painting practice? How will you learn this?


Invest in Activating The Canvas and find out how!

In the very first Module you'll delve deeply into your inner landscape, your mindset, your big Why of creating…'ll explore the inner transformation that makes all the difference in your painting as well as how to develop a robust studio practice of experimentation.

It gets even better...

Not only will you get guidance on potent and transformative inner work and committed studio practice, you'll also get a deep understanding of the importance of risk taking, exploration, play and experimentation in evolving your work as an artist. 

As artists we're not interested in sitting still. We don't want to keep repeating what's worked before. We want to discover new things, we want to be astonished by what emerges. 


I'll teach you how to get started and keep going in your studio practice. You'll learn how to loosen up, activate the canvas and experiment. In this course you'll receive 5 Modules all immediately available. 

 Why Am I Offering this Course?

I’m on a mission to guide artists to believe in and trust themselves. I want you to be freed up to experiment, explore, play, take big risks, search and find your way in your painting practice.

In essence, I want you to be able to express YOU

I believe that the canvas is waiting for you to bring it alive with your signature, your energy, your voice. 

I want to see you, what you love, not what you think a painting should look like.

I want to see your unique expression

Click here and get started experimenting in your studio.

What results will you have if you take this course? 

  • Paint with expressive wonder and aliveness by learning to trust yourself.
  • Free up and awaken your playfulness, experimentation, and risk taking in your work.

What will you learn?

  • The one inner transformation that makes all the difference on your artist’s journey
  • The secret ‘Holy Grail’ of prolific, successful artists: (it’s a triple threat) 
  • Many Ways of Starting An Abstract Painting 
  • Common Composition Problems and How To Fix Them  
  • How To Create Visual Excitement With Contrast
  • And much more!

What will you complete by the end of the course?

  • A personal Artist's Journey Vision Board to explore your ongoing intentions, goals, understandings, insights
  • A personal art journal to experiment and take risks in
  • Many painting ‘starts’ 
  • Hundreds of painting ‘maquettes’ (studies/exploratory studies)

What skills will you master?

  • Setting painting goals and intentions and refining them
  • Trusting yourself to find your way as you paint
  • Express what you YOU
  • Develop your own personal, confident vocabulary of mark making and imagery
  • Develop your 15 minute daily studio practice
  • Creating many painting ‘starts’
  • Creating visually exciting paintings of high contrast
  • And much, much more!

You're not alone!

I can help! I've been there too! For years, I painted figures and landscapes that were beautiful, technically excellent and got into solo shows and galleries, but eventually this experience felt predictable and uninspiring to me.

Frankly, I felt bored.

I wanted magic!

I wanted aliveness and wonder. I wanted surprise. I wanted to not know what was going to happen. I was done with playing it safe. I wanted to take radical risks!


I wanted to fall in love with painting again

And I did. I started experimenting, exploring and risking. I painted like I was on fire! I was a unstoppable

I learned that only through continued exploration will you make your own discoveries…that you must be willing to answer the call and step into the unknown…that there a few secrets to creating art that's alive and full of wonder and mystery…and that...

the most important transformation of all is an inner one.

I've learned many things on my artist’s journey over the years and I've refined it down to a few core concepts that make the difference in creating art that's personal, meaningful, and pulsating with life versus art that is predictable, generic, and boring.

I want to teach you what it takes to create wondrous paintings that are personal, meaningful, and alive.

I want to show you how to make paintings that you love.

This is an independent, self directed course that you'll have a year of access to online and after that you can download any materials you like and want to keep forever. 

Activating The Canvas

is a self directed course for trusting and granting yourself radical permission to paint with experimentation, exploration, and aliveness.

• You'll receive The Artist's Journey workbook to begin exploring your inner landscape. Threaded throughout the course, you'll continue exploring your big 'Why' for creating as well as your interior narrative and mindset so that you become aware of these deeper influences that affect your art. 

• You’ll receive access to all 5 modules containing all lessons, reflections, lectures, video demonstrations, actionable steps and guided painting challenges to further develop your art

• You'll receive ‘The Artist’s Journey Vision Board so you can track your progress as well as your inner landscape.

• You'll explore and experience the one inner transformation that is essential for creating your deepest, most meaningful work.

• You'll learn the secret ‘Holy Grail’ that successful, prolific artists develop. 

• You’ll have access to the modules for a full year. 

Praise for Nancy's teaching

Nancy’s workshop was phenomenal! I have always had a hard time getting started with a painting project as I would stare at a 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, Palo Alto, California


"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


Praise for Nancy’s teaching

Dr. Nancy Hillis combines a deep professional experience in psychiatry with an intuitive, creative, childlike 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 moving beyond fear. She teaches playful intuitive painting workshops with such heart and enthusiasm that even people who think they can’t paint begin to remember that they can! Tammy Pittenger, founder of Lighted Life coaching, Santa Cruz, California


1. You'll receive any additional videos and resources that I add to the course during the year. 


More praise for Nancy's teaching

"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! Thank you! i hope that someday you will have a workshop where we can attend physically!" Vera V. Tchikovani, San Francisco, California


"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 lessons, 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


If you’re thinking…

I don't know if I can invest in my art. I know. I’ve been there. Some of the best decisions I've ever made were investing in courses that accelerated my painting skills and moved me further along my painting journey.

There's no way I'd be in the place I am today if I hadn’t. And, when I invested in my art, it increased my motivation to work hard and develop my studio practice. 

In this course, I've concentrated the material down to one big idea, one concept that will transform your experience of painting...and that is trusting yourself so you can experiment in your art. 

The good news is that all the modules will be available for a year. You can go over and over the material as much as you like. You can download the materials to keep forever and you'll receive any updates, new videos or refinements I add to the course.

Who’s this course not a good fit for?

It’s not a good fit, if

  •  You want a formula for how to paint like someone else
  •  You don't want to experiment with your art
  •  You don’t want to explore new territory in your work
  •  You want to play it safe and paint beautiful, predictable, formulaic paintings  
  •  You’re satisfied with the status quo in regards to your art


How Do I Start?

You can start by registering for Activating The Canvas online course NOW!


My dream is that you answer ‘Yes’ to the call of your longing to free yourself up. I want you to create the life you are meant to live. I want you to learn to trust yourself so that you can explore and experiment freely in your art and paint with the aliveness that's in YOU.

Activating The Canvas is about experimenting, exploring, and astonishing yourself.


It’s about living the creative life of your dreams, the one you are meant to live.

It's about finally trusting yourself.

Claim your spot in Activating The Canvas. It all begins NOW! 

Will you answer YES to your desire to paint with freedom and playfulness? If so, simply click the button below to check out with a secure shopping cart. Once you’ve made your payment, you’ll be redirected to register for the course. You’ll choose a username and password and you’ll receive log in information via email. You'll have immediate access to the course. 

Have a question that isn’t covered here? Simply email me at and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

Say YES To Activating The Canvas Introductory Price Is Only $197!

Register me for Activating The Canvas for the introductory price of only $197!


Say YES To Activating The Canvas For 3 Easy Payments Of $77!

Register me for Activating The Canvas For 3 Easy Payments Of $77!