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Photo Courtesy of Sidharta Pascual

I'm so excited to invite you to my 4 week online abstract painting course. The Artist's Journey: 3 Secrets Of The Masters...

where we'll explore your inner landscape that affects your art as well as the 3 concepts that make 90% of the difference in painting. These concepts will help you consistently and confidently create work that is authentically you! Save yourself years of struggle and accelerate your progress as an abstract artist. Start your Artist's Journey NOW and join the course! 

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! 


Education: Medicine & ArtMedicine & ArtMedicine & ArtMedicine & ArtMedicine & Art

  • Module 1: Answering The Call Of Your Yearning To Create

    Welcome to The Artist's Journey. The course runs for 4 weeks + 1 year of access. You receive a weekly email guiding you to the new Module. The course is structured in the following way: 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 finally 2-7 painting exercises except for Module 5 which is a wrap-up. In Module 1 you'll receive a Welcome Packet, Invitation to join our secret Facebook group, The Artist's Journey Workbook download, The Artist's Journey Vision Board download and a Material's List pdf download. In Module 1 you'll explore and reflect on your Big 'Why' for creating as well as complete The Artist's Journey Workbook which will delve into your internal landscape. Lectures on Mapping Your Way and Developing Your Studio Practice will be documented on The Artist's Journey Vision Board. You'll experiment and explore The Expressive Vocabulary of Mark Making as well as Experimenting With A Grid Understructure And Automatic Drawing.

  • Module 2: First Secret Of The Masters: Trust Yourself

    In this module you'll reflect upon your Inner & Outer Provisions and discover the 'Holy Grail' of painting. You'll further activate the surface with Automatic Drawing and Painting and then develop a history of surface with Flux.

  • Module 3: Second Secret Of The Masters: Composition

    In this module you'll reflect upon how to find your way with Composition. You'll learn how to Simplify Composition and that Composition Is ultimately Intuitive. There are lectures and video demonstrations of Finding Your Way As You Paint as well as Composing Intuitively. Further explorations include developing a painting from a Rhythmic 'Start'.

  • Module 4: Third Secret Of The Masters: Value

    In this module you'll reflect upon The Value of Values. You'll experiment with value patterns as starting experiments for creating powerful, visually compelling paintings. You'll learn how to Simplify Value and learn the common errors regarding Value. You'll experiment with creating a 4 Value/2 Color Palette that is Harmonious. This is a game changer for many artists.

  • Module 5: Further Explorations On Your Artist's Journey

    In this closing module, you'll reflect upon your ongoing Artist's Journey as well as Lessons Learned throughout the course. We'll discuss Creativity & The Unknown, The Value of 'Failures' & Mistakes, and the question of 'Where Now'?


    You'll receive bonuses for being in The Artist's Journey: The Artist's Journey Workbook, Vision Board, Facebook Group and 30 minute 1:1 call with Nancy.

More About The Artist's Journey Online Course

More About The Artist's Journey Online Course
Dr. Nancy Hillis discusses the transformation of Trusting Yourself in The Artist's Journey: 3 Secrets Of The Masters Online Course With Filmmaker Sidharta Pascual

Create Your Deepest Work

Create Your Deepest Work

Experiment, Explore & Find Your Way As Your Paint!

Experiment, Explore & Find Your Way As Your Paint!
Find Your Own True Expression. Trust Yourself. The Artist's Journey_Nancy Hillis

Cultivate Your Studio Practice

Cultivate Your Studio Practice
Cultivate Your Studio Practice With Exploratory Studies
Featured in:The New York Observer
Observer: Should Artists Fear Therapy? by Daniel Grant


Featured in:Medicine Meets Creative Expression
Art And : Medicine Meets Creative Expression. Bench & Bedside, Spring 2011.

Develop An Attitude Of Experimentation

Develop An Attitude Of Experimentation
Cultivate An Attitude of Experimentation
Nancy Hillis, MD _Artist, Author and Psychiatrist

Register NOW & Paint All Year With 3 Easy Payments of Only $247


Get Started NOW & Paint All Year For Only $697


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. The path is strewn with perils and yet you persist…because something is calling you…and it's stronger than your are intent on finding your way. 


The mythologist Joseph Campbell described the hero’s journey motif which is found in great literature and films. I believe our artist’s journey is a hero’s journey.

Dante Alighieri in The Divine Comedy (1400) opened with these lines:

In the middle of the road of my life

I awoke in a dark woods

Where the true way

Was wholly lost.

This is where many of us are.

We find ourselves at a crossroads. We can stay in the status quo, in the known...and keep living and painting in familiar, safe ways...

But we yearn for something more. We want to feel alive. We want to create meaning.

So we answer the call.

And we're immediately plunged into unknown territory.

There are perils!

The perils are fear, self doubt, inner criticism, second guessing, over thinking, procrastination, and resignation, to name a few.

But there are guides along the way

Dante had the Roman poet, Virgil to light his path. We have guides too……teachers, mentors, other artists, and even ourselves.

Eventually though...

We face the dark night of the soul

This is the moment where you think all is lost. The painting is ruined. You don’t know what you’re doing. You think perhaps you’re not really an artist. You wonder what you were thinking! You feel like giving up.

And it's at this point too, that the guide falls away and you must face the darkness yourself. You must wrestle with your interior landscape, your inner demons. It may seem as if nothing is happening yet a great deal is happening...

I believe this is...

the moment of transformation...

In our darkest hour, we emerge through the terrible night and come to a profound realization...

That ultimately...

We must trust ourselves

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

Moving through this dark night, we ascend back into the known world...but this time, with a deeper feeling of self trust...

...and then the whole cycle starts all over again.

Life is like this.

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.

Join me now in The Artist's Journey online course!



Register NOW & Paint All Year With 3 Easy Payments of Only $247


Or take a few minutes to read more about The Artist’s Journey course below.

There are many good painting courses available today. You can go to workshops, watch youtube video demonstrations, take ongoing classes, and read books to learn new techniques.

But there is a serious limitation to all of these:

What happens when you are back in your studio facing the blank canvas? How do you maintain the momentum you experienced in the workshop? What is the secret to powerful, alive paintings that experienced professional artists know that eludes you?

The secret is that it’s your inner landscape that transforms your work

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.

As an existential psychiatrist, abstract artist, and creator of "Creativity and Consciousness" television program, I learned that there is 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 the "Holy Grail" of painting? What if you uncovered the secret of successful, prolific painters?

What if you discovered three major concepts you need to know in order to accelerate your progress and transform your work? How will you learn this?

Join The Artist's Journey: 3 Secrets Of The Masters and find out!

In the very first week you'll learn the first two secrets of the "Holy Grail" of painting…..we'll explore more about the inner transformation that makes all the difference in your painting as well as how to develop a robust studio practice.

It gets even better...

Not only will you get guidance on potent and transformative inner work and committed studio practice, you will also get my thoughts on the very few things…three big considerations…..that make 90% of the difference in satisfying versus unsatisfying work and the reasons behind this.

Painting can be complicated

There are so many variables and endless problem solving and decision making. Because of this complexity, I asked myself: what are the few things that make 90% of the difference?

I found that there are

3 concepts that are game changers

I will teach you these 3 key concepts. And even better yet……. You'll be able to post your works in progress and discuss your experiences in our secret Facebook group where you'll receive feedback, encouragement, and inspiration from me and others in the group.

You'll receive 4 core modules over the course of 4 weeks and a final summary 5th module.

Why Am I Offering this Course?

I’m on a mission to guide artists to believe in and trust themselves. I want my students to be freed up to show us what they love, take big risks, play, surprise themselves, experiment, and keep finding their way.

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 to register NOW and save yourself hours, months, and years of struggle and searching for solutions.

What will you learn? What results will you have?

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 Your Abstract Paintings
One Simple Compositional Constraint That Works Every Time
How to quickly fix common compositional problems
A Simple Way To Make Your Painting Feel Monumental
The Value of Values in A Painting
How To Create Visual Excitement With Contrast
Considerations on Finishing Paintings
And much, much more!

What will you complete by the end of the course?

A personal 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 go
Show us what you love
Develop a 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 tried things I had never tried.

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 is 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 is 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 a four week online course. You can take it when I guide it several times a year or you can take it independently at any time.

The Artist’s Journey: 3 Secrets Of The Masters is a step by step guide to trusting and granting yourself radical permission to paint with experimentation, exploration, and aliveness.

• Before the course starts, you’ll receive a bonus 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.

• Each Monday during the four weeks, you’ll receive access to a new module containing 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 that 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. These are 3 concepts that form 90% of the solution to a satisfying painting

• You'll receive an invitation to join our secret Facebook group so you can post your work to receive feedback, encouragement, connection, inspiration, and guidance from me and from our community of wonderful artists

• After the course ends, you’ll have access to the modules for an additional year in case you need to go through them more than once or can’t watch them all during the course. You'll also be able to take the course again and again during that year!

Praise for The Artist's Journey

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

You’ll be joining a group of artists with similar goals. Doesn’t it feel better to know that you’re not alone?

Through our Facebook group you’ll have the opportunity to connect with each other, get support and encouragement and get personal feedback.

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. Invitation to a private Facebook group. In this group you will receive feedback, encouragement, connection, and guidance from me and from our community of artists.

2. Opportunity for a 1:1 call with Nancy to discuss your Artist's Journey.

More praise for Nancy's course

"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 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

If you’re thinking…

This is a lot of money for me to 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 would be in the same place 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 have concentrated the material down to the 3 most crucial concepts that will transform your work. I will save you thousands of hours, if not years, of trial and error.

This is an inexpensive way to work with me. Two individual consulting sessions costs $500 and we’d never be able to cover all of the topics in this course. You’d have to spend over $2500 if we were working one-on-one.

Or, maybe you’re worried about the time commitment. I’m covering a lot of ground in this course, and if you’re working full time or have children or older parents to take care of or travel a lot you may think you don't have enough time to take the course.

The good news is that all the modules will be available for a year after the course ends. This will give you plenty of time to catch up or go back to any modules you couldn’t get to during the course. You can also take the course again and again at no extra cost during that year and most of my students have done this!

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

Praise For Nancy's Teaching

"I don’t find many classes I want to take anymore, but something about this one caught my attention. I was also attracted to this class because I love Nancy’s style of non-representational abstract paintings. During the month long class, we watched video demonstrations, read written course material, worked through workbooks, and interacted with other participating artists in a private Facebook group. We even had the opportunity for a one-on-one telephone consultation with Nancy. Each week we were given a painting challenge to put the lessons into practice. Nancy covered a variety of topics, such as trusting yourself, the importance of practice, and allowing yourself to be surprised. She offered lots of lessons addressing various techniques. The module on composition was invaluable, filled with game changing pointers. Module 4 covered value and how to use value to make strong and powerful paintings. The final module was a refresher of everything we covered and how to move forward. Wow. This class was worth the investment of money and time. Dayna Collins, Salem, Oregon

How Do I Start?

You can start by registering for The Artist's Journey: 3 Secrets Of The Masters 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 and paint with the aliveness that is in you.

The Artist’s Journey: 3 Secrets Of The Masters is about experimenting, exploring, and astonishing yourself.

It's about creating your deepest work

It’s about opening to your heart’s desires that have lain dormant until now.

It’s about vulnerability and creating from a place of meaning.

It’s about reimagining your life through art.

It’s about living the creative life of your dreams, the one you are meant to live...and it's about finally trusting yourself

And….there are kindred spirits and lots of laughter!

Claim your spot in The Artist's Journey now and let’s paint together. It all begins with deciding to start NOW!

Will you join me? 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. Before the course starts, you’ll receive a notification email that the course is beginning.

And, throughout the course, you’ll receive emails each Monday when a new set of modules is released.

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

Still not sure? No worries. We have a 7 day money back guarantee. 

Education: Medicine & Art

Medicine & Art

Medicine & Art

Medicine & Art

Featured in:

The New York Observer
Observer: Should Artists Fear Therapy? by Daniel Grant
Medicine Meets The Art Of Creating
Art & Soul: Medicine Meets Creative Expression. Bench & Bedside, Journal of Stanford Medical Alumni Association, Spring 2011

Begin Your Artist's Journey!

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