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Learning to Trust Your Instincts Through Creative Play
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Lynn Whipple is a multi-media artist who paints with joy and passion, great and small flowers, all full of expression and life. She teaches art workshops and she has authored a book called “Expressive Flower Painting: Simple Mixed Media Techniques for Bold Beautiful Blooms” that really was part of my own unfolding and blossoming when I got back into painting.
Lynn Whipple is a multi-media artist who paints with joy and passion, great and small flowers, all full of expression and life. She teaches art workshops and she has authored a book called “Expressive Flower Painting: Simple Mixed Media Techniques for Bold Beautiful Blooms” that really was part of my own unfolding and blossoming when I got back into painting.
Lynn and her husband both formerly worked at Nickelodeon in props, set decor, and art direction. She recalls Nickelodeon as being a fun wonderful time, yet she left that job because ultimately she was still creating someone else’s ideas. What she craved was the expression of her own ideas. Lynn left her dream job as a Creative Director at Nickelodeon to pursue her passion of painting colourful, wild and joyful flowers even though it meant she’d be broke - because painting the art that was inside of her brought her so much joy. In the end she realized that saying no to that was really saying yes to herself.
Lynn talks about the joy of painting; the enjoyment of the entire creative process and act of, as she calls it, “moving my hands”. She emphasizes the fun that should accompany art and creativity. She understands the fear that people have and, in addressing that, she encourages following our instincts and being brave about just jumping into expression. Fear is a sense that something isn’t right or that we’ve been told we’re doing something poorly so we avoid it, but creativity requires boldness and embracing our own instincts. Just start doing, for ourselves, for fun.
She shares her beautiful, vibrant descriptions of what creativity is and what being present in a flow state feels like for her that many of us can relate to. And she reminds us over and over again of the importance of play in the creative process
We investigate which artist archetype we each might be, developing an idea I have about archetypes, and this list will grow as the podcast continues. Lynn is a self-described rebel archetype who doesn’t like being told what to do. She knows what creativity feels like, how to embrace that marvellous, energetic feeling and let it flow, and how vital the ability to start saying yes to things can be to our expression.
My son had asked me to ask Lynn why she loves painting flowers so much and what her favourite flowers were (sunflowers) and she asked me what my son Cosmo’s favourite flower was (Cosmos).
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About Lynn Whipple:
Lynn Whipple is a multi-media artist who paints wildly in small to large formats with a combination of acrylic paint, charcoal, and colorful soft pastel. She shares a studio with her artist husband, John, and twenty other artists at McRae Art Studios in Central Florida. Lynn enjoys teaching, traveling, and sharing ways of working that encourage fun, joy, and freedom in the art making process.
Lynn is author of a book entitled “Expressive Flower Painting: Simple Mixed Media Techniques for Bold Beautiful Blooms”.
Resources discussed in this episode:
- David Passalacqua
- Amanda Evanston
- “Expressive Flower Painting: Simple Mixed Media Techniques for Bold Beautiful Blooms” by Lynn Whipple
About Creative Genius Host Kate Shepherd
FULL TRANSCRIPT OF Episode #16 of The Creative Genius Podcast with Kate Shepherd - Guest Lynn Whipple Author of Expressive Flower Painting
Lynn Whipple 0:01
saying yes is almost like a faith or belief in yourself to figure out if it works for you or not. Because then you get to say yes to not doing it to doing something else. In other words, yes isn't always yes, I remember when I finally left like Nickelodeon to just do my own work. I had to say no to them, or I would have kept getting jobs and kept their job. So I had to say no, but then what I was really doing, saying yes to me.
Kate Shepherd 0:43
I got to speak with Lynn Whipple today. This was poignant for me because it was her book, Expressive Flower Painting that helped me to unlock the wild painter inside me, after nearly 20 years of holding her back, because I feared I would not be good enough at it. We talked about that. And so many other things that I think you are going to find spark generating, and really inspiring. I've been asking you at the beginning of each show to leave me some stars and a review in Apple podcasts. I just want to know how the show's landing for you. But as it turns out, reviews are actually a really important way to help me grow the show. So I want to ask you, if you would, please take a moment right now as you're listening, and head over to Apple podcasts and leave some stars and a review. Really, I think you could do the whole thing in under a minute. And it would mean so much to me. Lynne and I talked about how we have been conditioned to doubt ourselves and how we can begin to listen and trust our instincts, and how we can begin to cultivate bravery and creativity. It's a great conversation. I think you'll really enjoy it. And if you are enjoying the show, I'd like to ask you to please consider signing up to become a patreon. I do need financial support in order to continue producing this show for you. And in exchange, I offer you Patreon only bonuses, like early access to episodes behind the scenes content, and a bi weekly secret bonus episode just for Patreon supporters, head over to patreon.com/creative Genius podcast for more information. Towards the end of this episode, there's an electric moment when Lin just lights up when she's sharing what she thinks creativity is. It's a truly special moment. I got the goosebumps. But I think my favorite part of this whole episode was when I got to read a gorgeous excerpt from her book back to her. We both cried. Have a listen. Welcome Lynn. Hi. It's so good to be here. It's so awesome to have you here. I'm so I'm so happy to meet you. I feel like I'm meeting like Elvis or something like I really well, the Elvis of the of the expressive painting world. Like I really when I when I first I mean I had, I hadn't let myself paint for about 20 years. And when I finally let myself go back into it, I was kind of on the hunt for a mentor. Just through this serendipity magical you know how life works. I came across your book and you and your work. And I have to just like tell you, you've been such a big part of my own unfolding and blossoming. And so it's such an honor to have you here today be talking to you about all these things.
Lynn Whipple 3:36
Oh my goodness, that you are so delightful to say that and I am thrilled to be with you. Because I think you are in the perfect spot to share the things that you're sharing. So I'm grateful to be a part of it.
Kate Shepherd 3:47
Thank you. I started this podcast as a result of this sort of aha moment I had about six months ago that I realized that, you know, we're we're kind of I think it's, it's fair to say we're sort of I mean, I say we're glitching. And I think it's fair to say that there's a lot wrong with humanity. And I had this moment where it just, you know, when you just kind of have like this felt knowing of how something works or is I just realized that, that glitching can be traced back to these really limiting beliefs that we've woven into our culture and society and humanity around creativity. And you know, that it only exists in certain places that only certain people have access to it are entitled to even dare play with it or explore it. And that the product of it have to look a certain way in order to be good and accepted by everybody else. And I don't just mean painting. I mean, like, you know, any kind of any kind of way that that that that intelligence that is creativity would move. You know, there's all this gatekeeping everywhere around creativity and so, but I had that aha moment, it sort of came on the heels of several years of me really asking the universe or God or whatever you want to call it to be be useful to be in service to be helpful. And I kind of always was like, Well, what? What could I possibly have to offer? I mean, I'm an artist, I'm a mom, and I have a jewelry business and how like, what do I have that I could be like I wanted, I felt this calling to be in service to something big, and I couldn't figure out what it was. And as soon as I realized that, this is what I saw, but I realized I need to be I need to help as many people as I can, in this lifetime. Remember, what is true about creativity, which is that we, we all have it? And and it actually, is the intelligence that's animating the entire universe. You know, if you're breathing, you're, it's in you.
Lynn Whipple 5:37
Kate Shepherd 5:39
So that's what that's what the intention of of this work is. And I'm, I'm so happy to have this conversation with you. Because I feel like you've transcended I don't know, if it was spontaneously through years of work, we can get into we can find out. But so many of these limiting beliefs, like I just see you, and my perception of you is that you're so free creatively. And I think that's something that so many people yearn for. And I just, I'm so excited to have you here to have this conversation.
Lynn Whipple 6:04
Oh, my gosh, I can't tell you how true that feels. What you're saying. And I think of it as we could be, I always hold my hands up in the air like, like, like kids when they're artists. So it just comes straight through them. They don't know, they don't have any critics or anything. They're just like, wow, that could be green, this can be blue. And this be. So it's sort of a connection. And we're all plugged in. I mean, that's really what animates life, right. And it's, I think of it as love or just energy or juice. So we get, you know, as we grow older, we get sort of disconnected where there's these layers of static that gets in the way. And people say, Oh, that's not valuable at all the millions of stories about my teacher said I wasn't good. And then we stopped. So there's the disconnection. I have to be honest with you this morning. I hadn't been making anything. We have been so busy with holidays, and guests, and just all kinds of family things and stuff, you know, and I probably haven't been in the studio and really sat down maybe once this week. And I like to do that every day. And I was getting cranky as like, my husband's like, ooh, cranky pants. And I'm like, Ah, and I went out there to the studio. And I just know myself and I know this for every one of us, if I just start moving my hands, I got paint on my hands, I started smearing stuff around. I was like, in seconds I became who I really am, which is like a child who loves to play and see what happens. And just be in the moment and play with color play with cooking, play with gardening, whatever that is. That's what we're supposed to do.
That this feels I mean, that feels true. My kids are five kids who are six or seven, she just turned seven, my daughter ,and nine. And when they get when they get really like they're at the boy or girl and they're, you know, they fight a lot. Yeah. But they also they're both really passionate people and they love each other and they're so plugged in and but they fight a lot. And often when they get like that that's you know, we we often actually can't eat at the dining room table because even though I have my own studio across the yard, this is where you know, the watercolors on the Christmas decorations. And I just that's what what I do when they're when they're feeling that angsty kind of sad. That's the end, they resisted at first, I don't want to do art, I want to watch TV. But the second they touch the it's the same. It's the same. So I'm wondering if you can maybe share with us a little bit about how because you had what I perceive would be a dream job at Nickelodeon.
Yeah, it was really fun. Yeah.
And you you left that to pursue pursue a full time career of this, to do what we're talking about.
Yeah, we were broke to to do that to say no to Nickelodeon, because every time I show it in to be unemployed, you know, and then you'd wait for the next show to come up. It was such a fun job. I cannot imagine a better job you know, kids television, I was a prop person. Set Decorator I worked my way up to be art director. I have so many friends from that part of our life still to this Roman and there's funny talented people. But after a while you realize everything is script driven. In other words, instead of my idea I had to make you know, I was there's so many dumb things we made like a giant nose with you know, green pudding coming out and they could tear Funny Funny silly things, but it was still someone else's idea. And I we had my husband's and artists too. We had so many ideas of our own, that we thought gosh, if we spent the time and all the energy it takes to put on television, towards our own ideas what could happen and that's where we made the shift little by little, just a little and then you know, I sold the painting and it was like, Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, is this maybe this could work You know, and then it just grew and grew up. But it was it was slow going. It was a lot of faith, there was not a lot of money. It was just joy, though it was joyful. And it was hard. And it was frustrating. It was challenging. And it was like the best thing ever.
Kate Shepherd 10:16
Yeah. What, what when you first started painting painting, you know what we're wondering what some of the obstacles were for when I think about sort of where, and again, maybe I'm projecting, but I feel like a lot of us have this trajectory where we're sort of, we're very tamed. We're very like there's we were taught how to this is how you hold a pencil. This is how you hold a paintbrush. This is how you so in that process of untamed eing ourselves, how there are obstacles we bumped into. And I wondered if you can think back to that time when you were just getting into and what were those obstacles for you?
Lynn Whipple 10:50
I remember one of our studios, I remember I used to paint on the porch and my landlady in this big old wooden house that I lived in my for their artists, we had the coolest place we called the love shack, believe it or not, we had gardens in the back. Anyway, I would paint on the porch. And then the landlady didn't like that, because there was paint on the porch. But it was an obstacle because everything you see in your head is awkward when you try and get it down. So I just gave up with realism, trying to get it down. And I will just sort of express it the best I could. And it is and still is. It's awkward. My work is a little awkward. It's a little willing to try willing to fail willing, but then the cool stuff happens or I think it's cool or an AHA went off. So I I guess the obstacles or the obstacles, just learning. Just trying. It was like knowing that it really stunk, but you just did it anyway or not. I don't know not keeping up, maybe just keep at it. Kind of a thing. I mean, I painted on stuff out of the trash. We painted on parts of sets, we use house paint that was leftover from painting the sets for Nickelodeon. We just scrounged around and somehow we painted with a bar. I wouldn't recommend that it's not so healthy, but makes a really cool like, you can like age stuff with it. And so we learned a lot of techniques. And Nickelodeon being scenic and people and all that. So a lot of that we just kind of put into our art when I say we my husband, also, he was an artist there.
Kate Shepherd 12:28
Yeah. So it almost it sounds a little bit like maybe in that time, there wasn't a lot of extra resources for materials at which could be considered an obstacle. But then you were kind of scrappy and use these unique things, which I imagine lead to your own unfolding like you have it kind of probably peppered your style a little bit.
Lynn Whipple 12:49
Oh, that's I think so. And there's a very wonderful thing that happens when you do use and I I used to teach with house paint because of how I learned now I know now that has been maybe, you know, there's properties of house paint. I'm not a scientist, but you could, you know, oil or you know, higher grade paints, probably a great idea. But the thing about that was, it wasn't precious. Like I could just try it and figure it out. And if it didn't work, it's okay, because I didn't just squeeze that little tiny bit out of the tube. And it was you know, you know, that whole thing. It was the opposite of that. It's like let's let it flying. Let's let it fly with what is this happen? What is green do next to red? Oh my god, it vibrates. Whoa, okay, that's cool. You don't even know why you just, you're in it. And you it that's like what I did today, the same exact thing I get out there. I start mucking around. What if I tried that? Oh my god, that looks so cool. We scratch on top of him. It's literally the same game I'm playing.
Kate Shepherd 13:50
Yeah. You said something in the book that I wanted to ask you about because it felt like what I read it, it felt like sort of this aha moment. And it was around how when you're in your studio, you are as opposed to sort of being in this energy of trying to make something or like I'm going to go pizza. You are in a state of responding. Oh, yeah. What's happening? That's it. And I had to say that that. I mean, when I say it out loud, it just seems so obvious but like it that's something that I think is that was just such a lightbulb aha moment for me like, oh, yeah, I'm not I'm not the one doing this thing. I'm I can display it. How did that come to you? How did you realize that? And how did you cultivate an attitude towards your work where you were? Because I don't think that that's I don't think that's spontaneous and many for everybody. I think a lot of us are in that. efforting like, let's try to do this. How did you get to this playful place of curious?
Lynn Whipple 14:46
I don't I don't think I ever knew he knew how to do it properly. I think I just I did take these wonderful classes with a teacher from New York. His name is David Passalacqua. He was at Parsons and Pratt and he He brought students to Florida. Anyway, it's a long story, but he would hold the New York students who were like, brilliant, and keep them in this, this sort of hotel. And all they did was paint all day at all night, we would go to Disney and he would, and they would draw, I want you to draw 1000 people, I want you to draw this, draw that. And I would just like melt down and like, take scraps off the ground, literally trash and make some weird collage, because I didn't know how to express it. I was over my head. But I don't know what your answer was. But I all I knew was that. If I put one thing down, I would could respond to it. That's as far as I could go. Like, I didn't know how to plot it out.
Kate Shepherd 15:46
Well, yeah. And I think about this as a parallel for life. Like, I often want to know, like, I'm in this place right now, where I'm thinking every single thing I have energetically, financially, mindfully, like into this work with the with this podcast. I have no idea where it's going. Yeah, I have no idea where it's going. And I mean, there is a part of me that really wants to know, so that I can quiet that like the worry and the you know, all the all the normal. But then like you just said like, but actually, isn't it more of an adventure if I don't. So I think there's actually a lot of wisdom in, in that. setting an intention around just being willing to respond and take the next step. Because then also you get to be, you get to be really present to to what's happening.
Lynn Whipple 16:27
Yeah, you get to be in it. You're in it. So that what, what more alive place can you be, but somewhere that you're sort of familiar, but sort of not. So all your senses are oh, you know, you're not you're you're almost like trusting because you're in motion. But you you're in that great state where you're somehow your eye and your hand or like, right, I don't even know which ones ahead. But they're just moving and moving. And you're just going and going. And that's that's like, for me, that's what art is. So if I can have that dance, and do it outside, which is how I like to do it. So I've got that thing happening.
Kate Shepherd 17:04
All the senses are going that kind of leads me to this other question I had to ask you, which is around how creativity feels in your body.
Lynn Whipple 17:14
Oh, my, I would have to say it feels passionate. It feels this is gonna sound weird. It feels sexy. In other words, meaning that everything can be alive. Everything can be heightened. It feels smart. It feels like I'm shutting my eyes like I think about it. It's feels flowy or dancey or bright or in motion or like trust trusting, like flowing. It's almost like you're on some sort of a water ride or something? Gosh, that's a good question. I don't I don't even know how to say that. Howdoes it feel?
Kate Shepherd 18:03
And I asked, I asked because it's I feel like it's so important that we if if our intention is to sort of come back into contact with this intelligence that lives inside of us, and that moves inside of us, it's it can be helpful to hear other people describe it, because then we can say like, oh, actually, yeah, yeah. Yeah. I know that feeling. Oh, that's creativity. So I so that was such a beautiful description that I think we can find ourselves many of us could find ourselves in. Yeah, I love it. Thank you.
Lynn Whipple 18:32
It feels alive. I think that's sparkly alive. And then sometimes it doesn't. Like, what what am I this is a chocolate mess. But then you just tear it up and move it around. It's okay.
Kate Shepherd 18:46
But yeah, what do you do with your work that you the muddy?
Lynn Whipple 18:50
Oh, gosh, I have so much of that right now, because I've been working on paper. So you can just sort of stack it up and put it over there. And it's like, literally just I do I tear it up. And I move it around and I try and get a combination of marks and shapes and colors that I wouldn't get normally or I might tear it and turn it upside down and add it to another thing. So it's a big chunk of white or the more you can sort of invent surprises for yourself during the process. I think I think that's exciting. And then and then I thought this morning Oh my god, this is so cool. I love this thing I made and then I look at it later. I'm like yeah, no, that's not that great looking. But that little corner right there when I was smudging it and got super excited and you know that that was worth it. That little piece.
Kate Shepherd 19:42
Do you have a personal mantra around creativity?
Lynn Whipple 19:47
I believe in moving your hands I believe if you just Promise yourself that you're going to move your hands every day, which even if it's a scrub or swipe or color or something, even if it was literally five minutes or less, I believe that connects you up, and then you've got something to respond to. It's that response.
Kate Shepherd 20:14
Oh, right! You can you can trigger that if you're stuck, you can just even just one little line can get you going to get Oh, yeah.
Lynn Whipple 20:22
And then you're off.
Kate Shepherd 20:22
I love that. And then you're off. I also love that you're always asking yourself, How much fun can you have?
Lynn Whipple 20:30
Yeah, that's true, I think.
Kate Shepherd 20:32
I think that's when I read that a lot in your book, because that is that repeats a lot. And I just, Oh, my goodness, because I think we're sort of hooked up. Unfortunately, with all this conditioning that we've undergone through our educational system, and family, you know, all the hereditary stuff and all that. Yeah, we are sort of very serious creatures, right? Like fun as an adult is sort of, well, that's not serious. You can't be a serious person, if you're, you know, and so I love that. But the sort of darker side of that, that I wanted to ask you about is what do you think is at the root of all this fear, around creativity and around exploring and opening up that? That the doorway to the creative? What do you think that's about for us?
Lynn Whipple 21:17
I actually don't know, because everyone's different. But I think that when somebody gets shut down, or belittled or made fun of in a class, I hear that a lot. When I teach, everyone's got, like, you're singing, you know, it's like, people shut it down. And then there's some sort of embarrassment or shame or something, and we just want to hide it. So let's not do that again, because that did not feel good. But I don't know, it's like, the most pure thing you can do is play with color. It's joyful. And I don't know what people are afraid of, I think they're afraid of being judged or looking stupid, or looking not smart.
I want to ask you your opinion about this, I have had this idea that keeps coming to me over the last couple of weeks, around sort of archetypes that artists fall into. And I've only identified two so far, maybe you can tell me if you think there are more, but there's sort of the adventurer, who is somebody who just can't sit still and has to travel everywhere and see everything and touch everything and consume it all and make it all and they want to paint and they want to weave and they want to knit and they want to run they want to do all these, this is me, I know this this one very well, because it's and then there's the master who sort of falls in love with one discipline, and then dedicate their entire life to creating, you know, and, you know, not not just the same thing over and over again, but you know, variations of that theme and in that way and and I wanted to ask you, although I think I already know what you think you are
Definitely the first one the inventor want to try a touch you want to taste it want to see it want to go on to all that but and I'm married to my husband is even more of that than I am like he literally does. I do mixed media, which means I can do everything, or I want to play with everything really is my needs, but I need a sculpture and he's like, super, that kind of brain. So yeah, that's our whole life is done. Let's try this. Let's do this. But I think there's so valid both ones we have dear friends that are super masters and gosh, highly regarded and brilliant at what they do and no, but they are it's almost like there could be wrong, but that they're like funneling it down, you know, to a sharper and sharper point. But then they're like this, whereas I want to be like, so it's about your maybe we can be masters at play.
Kate Shepherd 24:04
I like that. Is there something about that master archetype that? Well, two things, is there something about it that you resist? Or that you find like you you're you don't want to have in you? And is there something about the master that you that you wish you could have a little bit more of?
Lynn Whipple 24:20
I mean, there's goodness to both of them. Like the focus is really amazing and sticking with it, and that building of your skills and all that stuff is I do love that. And I do actually hope for that try for that I do get sort of deep and I am I don't know I'm committed to this thing, being an artist, but someone telling me what to do. In other words, that's what's expected. And that's how that's going to be I just have to put in, you know, five weeks I don't know what the deal is what you're making, but it's it goes against my nature. It doesn't feel as in the moment and it's that up for my brain to rebel. Because I don't like to be told what to do.
Kate Shepherd 25:05
Maybe that's another archetype. Maybe there's the rebel archetype or there.
Do you feel like if we're describing like if you're thinking of the sea of artists that you've met as students and as colleagues and I mean, I just started thinking about this idea week ago and that there's just too but do you feel like there's other ones that you would name are there other kind of?
Lynn Whipple 25:22
See, I'm just pure rebel, so I don't even know the other ones. That's so rebel. No. No, it's a problem because I bristle you know, I'm not. I don't like to be told what to do. You just I who does? I don't know who does? But it's, yeah, my art. Well, the obligers. The obliger probably does. Yeah. And there's people, the other ones the one that is really good at people expect maybe that see obliger?
Kate Shepherd 25:48
Well, and you know, as as the podcast goes on, you know, to everybody listening to this right now that this list is going to grow. And also if you want to shoot me an email because you think you have other ideas of what these archetypes could be, let me know, because I'm going to add them to the list and we'll talk about them in future episodes.
Lynn Whipple 26:03
That's a cool thing. Yeah. I'm glad you're gathering that list. Because I think it's gonna be fun to play with.
Kate Shepherd 26:12
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I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about your book, the expressive flower painting book, because I mean, it's beautiful. It's a beautiful book. Thank you for putting that into the world.
Lynn Whipple 26:51
So nice to say that.
Kate Shepherd 26:53
I feel like anybody who's ever wanted to paint a flower should own that book. But I wanted to tell you personally, for me that that, you know, for almost 20 years, I didn't allow myself to paint. I went to art school. I went to like I went to you know, fame. Remember fame show? I went to Yeah, so I went to a high school that was like fame. There was like a visual arts program. There was an art, music. And you had to audition to get in. And I mean, I went to high school. I took art classes my whole life. Like I've been an artist since I was a tiny little kid. But something happened. Actually, it was around the time I was in my early 20s. And I brought some paintings to a gallery. Not knowing how hard it was to get a gallery show, like have no having no idea just not knowing, and kind of being like, Hey, want to put these up on your thing. And they were they were like, Oh, haha, sweetheart, you don't you know, you don't know how hard it is. And I said, Well, okay, well, do you want to look at them? I'm here. They're some of them. They're my portfolio. And they're like, Okay, fine. And they we opened up the portfolio. And they were like, Oh, actually, huh, maybe we would like to do a show with you. Oh, my gosh. Yeah. And so then they were like, Okay, well, here's what we'll do like, and we were just went straight into this like, but planning out when it would be and we'll do the wine and cheese and look at the media here. And we'll do this. And this is how it works. And this is the terms that I was I remember it was I lived in Ottawa, and it was like minus rolling candidates. It was minus 35. I don't know what that is off the top my head for you. It was called a cold winter day, standing outside at the bus stop, you know, I'm 22 or something. And I've got my little portfolio there. And I that was the moment when everything just froze. And I thought, what if i What if that was the last good painting that I could ever I can't do this show? I can't I can't because what if I? What if I didn't paint again?
Lynn Whipple 28:34
No. For 20 years? You never did the show?
Kate Shepherd 28:36
No. Isn't that the worst? The worst? I mean, it led me No, no, it's okay. I know. I know. But I ended up you know, I ended up pursuing another love which was jewelry. So I have, you know, a thriving career as a silversmith. And that brought me a lot of joy for a long time. And it wasn't, you know, there was wisdom and even that happening. But what I wanted to say was that about three years ago when I just was like, Why aren't I at least just playing with paint? Like I go to the I go to the art store and I just look at the paint longingly. And I like oh, and all these paint brushes, but I don't let my what is why it's like that summarise probably spent a small fortune on paint. I started to I took some classes with Amanda Evanston. And that was when I bought your book. Ah, and it's, yeah, it's anyway, it's so beautiful. And it's got so many important reminders in it. And I want it so I want to talk a little bit about it. And before I do, I just have to I love the part of the story where you didn't know better or whatever you want to say and you just waltzed in and said, Here's I just want to share and I'm like really? And I love that part where they go oh wait, this is fantastic. Like that was brilliant of you. So Prava and I'm sorry you got scary after that but good for you to get that well and it didn't. And isn't it amazing that that you're like I love it. And I as much as I was born to do this podcast, I was also born to paint and create and I you know, I love it. And it just goes to show you that it never does leave you, you know, even though it kind of I put it away for a little while and might even say I shoved it down for a little while out of fear it never it never left me and it was always there whispering and waiting to come back. And then as soon as I like I bought your book, and I did a couple courses and it just like, roared back into life like a fire that had this tiny little ember and yeah, it's beautiful. But I promised my nine year old son, Cosmo. So he's my, he's an amazing person. And he has kind of turned into a little bit of a... he listens to the podcast. He's sort of become my number one advisor, you know, you should ask this kind of question more. And what about this? And he said today, will you please ask Lynne? Because we were looking at your book and your work and he said, Will you please ask her a couple questions for me? Because I can't be there. I have to go to school.
Lynn Whipple 31:04
What a good team.
Kate Shepherd 31:06
Yes. Very lucky. He wanted to know what it is you love about painting flowers so much?
Lynn Whipple 31:13
Wow. It's a good question. Cosmo. Aren't flowers so beautiful. I mean, are they the most delightful thing and the color the form the joy, the variety, the little tiny to the big, you know, fluffy, gorgeous through their whole lives like in the bud and then the burst and then even as they droop in, they're still stunning to me. They're just magnificent. So I love I just like flowers. I think that's it, and they make a great subject because they are all those things, you know, organic lines and darks lights, and I just, they're just a good news. There's just good stuff.
Kate Shepherd 32:00
He wanted me to ask you what your favorite flower is,
Lynn Whipple 32:03
Oh, I would say a sunny a sunflowerbig old juicy sunflower. And it's the best thing is if you can pull it off is to go to a sunflower fields, you know, with the big ones. And they're just stalks of them. My friend Karen and I. And they're as big as your head and you you know, they let you cut them at this farm or we go and you've got these stalks, and they're just oh, there's bees everywhere. But the bees don't bother you because there's some flowers like they don't want you there's some I don't know that those sunflowers are just great to paint too. You know, they're just good looking to have as big, loopy droopy pretty leaves. And yeah, I like a lot every flower just about but I like to sunnies the best.
Kate Shepherd 32:50
Okay, well, he'll find that out. Now. I was gonna say I'll tell him but he'll find that.
Lynn Whipple 32:55
I wonder what his favorite flower is?
Kate Shepherd 33:00
I don't know. I mean, he's named Cosmo. And so every year we do plant cosmos in the garden, but I don't know if that means we'll ask him. Yeah, I'll ask him. I'll put it in the show notes.
Lynn Whipple 33:11
Yeah. Yeah, we'll find out. Yeah.
Kate Shepherd 33:16
You talk in the book about how a big, big big part of following our path is about saying yes. Yeah. And you write about how yes can take you places? And how, how just how important Yes. Is and I feel like because of well, you know, if I think about maybe there's somebody listening to this right now going well, yeah, it would be great to live a life of just saying these wild, abundant, happy, buoyant yeses, but for me, the reality is I've been through some stuff, and I've had some scary life things and being you know, saying yes to everything is scary. And I think, you know, saying no, is a habit we developed to protect ourselves. Yeah. And so I was wondering if you could speak to that person right now about how to start to cultivate a habit of saying yes, what would you what would you say to them?
Lynn Whipple 34:03
Awesome. Question, what would I say? I found that by saying yes, even though I was scared, or didn't know how to do stuff, it would sort of set me up to figure it out. And so as I went through the process, I'm thinking of when Carl asked me to teach online classes, I was like, I have no idea how to do that. But I'm gonna say yes, and I'm just gonna see what happens, you know? And then it's like, oh, this is really fun. It's cool that I you know, you just get better at it or worse, but saying yes, is almost like a faith or belief in yourself, to figure out if it works for you or not, because then you get to say yes, to not doing it to doing something else. In other words, yes, isn't always yes, I remember when I finally left Nickelodeon to just do my own work. I had to say no to them around I would have kept getting jobs and kept in the job. So I had to say no. But then what I was really doing was saying yes to me. So I think maybe a tie, you can frame it, just those little yeses to yourself, even if they're internal, are how you build that trust in yourself, I think. Yeah, and I think I mean, I think there yes, and no, it's like two sides of a coin. Right there. Yes to one thing is a no to the other and vice versa.
Kate Shepherd 35:27
And I know that there have been times in my own past when I felt sort of struggled with, you know, how do I discern what is a true? Yes, like, you know, there's all these like pressures to say yes, it's like, how do you start to feel? And I guess it maybe it is the hint isn't the word feeling? But how do you start to feel in discern, like for somebody who just has no frame of reference for how to be in the world in that way? What are some really sort of like basic steps to start to feel the difference between a yes, and a no?
Lynn Whipple 35:55
I think it's like you said, it is a feeling for me, it's a gut. It's like, you think, Oh, I'm excited to do this, even though I'm not sure what I'm doing. I'm still excited about the possibilities. And what if and then your brain starts to expand and problem solve? And like, oh, yeah, or if it really doesn't, and you really don't, and there's not an excitement there. There's that other thing where someone's telling me what to do? And I don't want to do it that feeling, then you don't have to do it? It's um, I don't know. It's just a feeling. I think sometimes it helps to write it down and scribble it out. And not you don't have to read it. It's just like talking to yourself, but you're allowing the marks on the page to sort of let your mind figure out okay, is this really working for me? Or is it not? Is it really serving me? Is it not? Am I really going sort of, towards what, what and how I wish to be? Or am I stepping backwards?
Kate Shepherd 36:52
And, yeah, I can even imagine, as you're saying that I can even imagine like sitting down and not even just scribbling. And then taking a minute to just look at your scribble. It's just a way to listen in, I think, another thing I want to talk to you about, which is, you know, you talk about how you know, as a result of you learning how to say yes, you found your circle of friends, who are the people that you love to be with, and, and I, you know, I think that's so amazing. And I but again, my mind went back to the person who's maybe just emerging into this life of learning how to say yes, and follow their heart and, and who maybe hasn't made these connections with people yet or built those friendships. And maybe even because I think there's a sort of story that once you're an adult, it's sort of too late. Maybe even this person feels like it's too late to, to build that for themselves. What would you want to tell them?
Lynn Whipple 37:40
I don't think it's too late. I really believe it's not too late. I think it's what happens with people who are like minded, especially artists I find or people who are creative, whatever that means, is you when you're almost like kindred spirits, like you like sort of click and you have a shorthand and you both love the cooking or the you know, the color or the art supplies or, and then you just have this like joyful thing that you share, whatever that dogs walking dogs, you know, it's like, once you find that little place where you bump up against each other in a good way, a sparkling, cool way, then those are your people. I had so surprised by, like, I had a lot of good friends when I grew up, but I live in the same town. So I still have I know people, you know, when I do an art festival here, it's like, I know, people, my mom was a high school teacher here, and I had friends you know, and then I became an artist, their whole different set of friends and then been teaching, but they're still around, like they all sort of build and they all sort of overlap. And then by teaching workshops, like the friendships that happen in there are so lasting. And by taking workshops, you know, it's like, almost like you almost have to put yourself in a place where thing kindred spirits are going to be like, if you're interested in art, then maybe you are doing an art workshop. And then those are great connections. And they last they continue to happen. New ones, you know, it's really kind of awesome.
Kate Shepherd 39:13
That is that is so true. When I think I was just as you were saying that I was thinking about I mean, I've gone to hundreds of workshops in my life and it's true. There are people I can look around my life right now and think oh yeah, that's actually true. I knew her from that workshop.
Lynn Whipple 39:27
Put yourself around the people that you're like are interested in or want to learn from, you know, those are your people.
Kate Shepherd 39:37
Oh, that makes perfect sense. Yeah, instead of me you could sit at home and wait for them to accidentally walk by your house and have happened to have a conversation with you and it might take a lot longer to build up a grip them or you could just go to where there's a whole gaggle of them already and just kind of show off that and then there you go. You talk a little bit in the book about doubting our instincts. And I wanted to just bring that up a little bit here today because I do feel like so much of this conditioning that we undergo as children and as young adults and whenever in our lives. One of the main functions that seems to have is to get instill in us this idea that we should doubt ourselves at every opportunity, right that our instincts, just live with the rational mind don't. And I wanted to know if you would talk a little bit about how we can begin to tune into, and not just tune into, but start to trust our instincts.
Lynn Whipple 40:30
Oh, it's the most valuable thing that we have, isn't it? I mean, it's the thing that helps us make choices or show up or go this way or that or, I mean, our instincts, and we can ignore them. We all done it, or we try and take the better advice. But if it doesn't quite feel, right, that's your instinct. Do you know people? Sometimes you meet people or situations and there's red flags, and a little PC goes? Yeah, but then you don't? Well, then you end up later, you know, does show up? You were right. So if you if you're willing to trust that, how do you do it? I think it's like a muscle. I think somehow. I'm not sure how this happened. But it serves the people who are telling us not to follow our instincts to follow them. It serves them, but is it serving you like? Not always so you become a little more choosy, choosie? Or, you know, it's your time, this is your life? These are your hours, your days, your moments, your minutes, your, you know, this is it, this is good stuff, right? So why waste it to someone else's decision? If you can just hone in and listen at sometimes I just have to shut my eyes and go, Hmm, okay, yeah, no. And then you're off in a different direction.
Kate Shepherd 41:57
So again, if you got you got to write it, you got your instincts are almost I would have to say they're not usually wrong. They're almost always right. And they're right. And as long as they're right, and then the next thing will come and the next thing, in other words, you get to expand and grow. And, you know, evolve, of course, that it's better to pay attention than it is a new way of navigating. I mean, I think we do, our tendency is to want to know what the big picture looks like, and what the big steps are, we have to take to get there. When life is more like, here's a little hint, because it's going to I'm going to give you this thing that feels really good. And that's your hint. So do that thing. And then your next clue will come. And then, you know, it's like, but you don't get to know more at the end on from one perspective that's in like, infinitely frustrating and annoying and difficult to do. But from another perspective, what an adventure, you know, waiting for your next clue?
Lynn Whipple 43:02
Well, you know, here's your next here's the next right thing. Here's the next fun thing, here's the next thing you love. That's, that is a great way to live. Now, it's not easy to always do it. I know. But if we're tuning into that, all these little cool messages are a little, you know, sparks that take you this way, or that even in a store even in you know what plants you're going to buy. Which one, you have a sense of that, am I going to buy this pink shirt or this orange shirt? You know, you already have these little choices built into your head, and you know, what makes you choose anything? Those are kind of your instincts, right? So instead of crowding them out, sort of celebrate them, and you don't even have to talk about it. It's just like, Oh, I totally love that. Like, oh my god, I can't believe I just almost miss this cool, whatever, bird or something. So, yeah, yeah, it's just so worth it. It's just so worth it to listen. You can start any time. You know what I mean? It's like, you can always say, Okay, that didn't quite work. Let me just think about a teeny bit differently, what would really be the most satisfying thing, even if it's just not the long term? It's just right this second, what makes the most sense. And it's just like, a series of that.
Kate Shepherd 44:23
One, of the things you say a lot in your book is how can I have the most fun I feel like it's a very cheerful one liner, but actually, it's deeply wise.
Lynn Whipple 44:33
I feel like it's, you know, that's such important instructions for for life, you know, for living your life. Really? Yeah.
Kate Shepherd 44:41
There's a an excerpt from the book that it says, You say and painting is a wild ride, moved forward by a million tiny decisions, actions, an act of bravery, and the bravery piece. I wanted to ask you to talk a little bit more about because I feel like that's, you know, I know you talk about When you're in a painting, and actually one of my other guests, Pamela Bates from a couple episodes ago, said to me as she was kind of trying to trigger me a little bit into having a reaction, I think but she said, What would happen if you just took a big black paintbrush and smeared it across the painting guide you and I was like, No, I could never do never do his report. And her point was like, you know, stop being so precious about finishes. It's stopping you from getting to the magic, but, and it is connected to this bravery. So I wondered if you could talk a little bit about bravery with creativity. It's to show it up. It's like responding. It's like not making it precious.
Lynn Whipple 45:34
So you can be totally screw it up. And then the next thing is so much better are those accidents. I remember when I spilled this whole bottle of black ink on this thing. I'd spent a long time drawing with pen and ink. That was kind of as cool scratchy. We're drawing and I knocked the thing I was like, Oh, geez. And it was so much better. So much cooler. It was so much more fresh and weird. And I just like, oh, man, I was just I got myself all noodled in there and I thought I was happening. And then it was obliterating it was 1000 times better. But you said bravery. I think a lot of bravery comes with not caring about what other people think. It's just you and some paint, right? It's just color. It's just paper. It's just like, stop. It's just art supplies. That's all it is, like go for it. You don't have to show it to anybody. Or even if you're in a workshop. That's why you're there is to stretch and try and pool you know, and you can get those crazies. You can't make that even sane. But then some parties will be more alive when you go home. I'm glad I did them. I did. Okay, I'd go back to my little. But I'm so glad. Because you get bigger, you know, so I think I think I've said this before and I never really thought about it, it works out that a superpower can be not giving a crap on anybody else. You know? What the heck? Just do do what you want.
Kate Shepherd 47:09
Totally. There's, there's an Elizabeth Gilbert quote that you and I both really love. It's it wants to be made and it wants to be made by me.
Lynn Whipple 47:18
You yes by me. Exactly. Don't you feel that? No one I feel it.
Kate Shepherd 47:23
Yeah, no one else can feel it. And I want to ask you like when really I feel it.
Lynn Whipple 47:29
I'm glad you asked me I feel because I actually when I feel that I feel there's this like entity. It's like a living being. And it needs me to it can't make the thing without me because it doesn't have a body and I can't make the thing without it because I don't have the inspiration. And so we need to what is that? That is life that is love that is juice that is like energy that is the holding back. You know, that's everything it wants to be made. So you got to just be open, set yourself up, show up, have your stuff around, and just trust it because it's I don't even know how to explain its energies what it is right? It's like for us it's why we're here it's what animates everything it's what makes it all grow and move and you know the cycles of everything life kids, it's it's like the goods it's like the it's the stuff Yeah, it's like all of it so why not show up and play the game you know, play along. It's like everything you know, the stuff that we need to do to clear out the way or say I need 20 minutes a day no one everybody bother me or whatever that is for you. Do that. Because the more you do that, and the more it shows up and you show up for it. It's almost a two way like you said, we need each other it needs you
Kate Shepherd 48:51
Yeah, I interviewed somebody a couple of weeks ago and I think that just I can't remember word for word because I don't have that that memory but I asked him I asked him what he thought creativity or this energy would say to us if it could have if it had an actual voice or what it what it wants because that's kind of the next question I want to ask you is like what's it what is it want? Yeah, but is it so maybe before I tell you what he said I'll ask you what what do you think it what is it doing? What does it want?
Lynn Whipple 49:19
It wants to be expressed it wants to be felt it wants to be enjoyed it wants to be alive and with us and expressed it wants to just like I don't even know expand and yeah, animate it wants to live I don't know.
Kate Shepherd 49:42
I mean, you do know you've said you said it beautifully. Yeah. You want it once out it wants. It wants.
Yeah. He said yeah. He said that it wanted to be acknowledged and that really like it made me cry when he said that because I I sort of feel Like I, I had put that energy up on this pedestal where it was like this thing that was way better than me. And it was big. You know, it was like out there and I can it was separate from me. You know?
Lynn Whipple 50:10
It requires you. It wants you it needs you. It doesn't work without you. It's such a win win. Like embrace each other.
Kate Shepherd 50:23
I can't believe that our unwhole our has already gone by real can you believe that now? It seems really five minutes that five minutes. I know crazy. No, but great.
Lynn Whipple 50:33
You're so thank you. You're so good. Oh, my God here just like talk about connected you. You just saw, you know, keep that. Thank you. Yeah, it's it's really beautiful. It's good stuff. Thank you.
Kate Shepherd 50:48
I have I have one more question for you. Before we end and it's the billboard question.
Unknown Speaker 50:54
Ah, yes, I know. You're saying that how you say it. It's like, what would you put on an hour?
Kate Shepherd 51:00
And you know what? Actually, before we do that, let me let me I wanted to read. I don't know if I'm gonna be able to do this without crying. So I'm sorry. To our listeners, if I cry. I want to read. Is it okay with you? If I read your creative way? It says my creative wish for you from the end of the book. Yeah, I haven't. Okay, if I read that myself a long, long time. I may cry, I tried to read it earlier and I had to stop. Oh, perhaps it's a day like no other where the sunlight hits you so perfectly, that you feel like a varnished painting by Vermeer, where your day spills out ahead of you like so many arching fields of harvest and wheat. I want your coffee to be strong and hot like Jamaica. want your skin to tingle with the smoothness of a magnolia petal and the shine of a fresh apple breakfast. I want you to dance and I want you to sing. I want you to make things. String words together, knit stories and draw intersecting lines. I want you to submerge your mind in rich, vibrant color. I want you to make yourself laugh and take risks. I see you in full force. And I feel like you are an important part of this larger quilt of humanity. Your creative act matter more than you realize. If you can do it, then I can do it too. So we all help ourselves by example. We are in this creative stew together. And I want us to simmer and then boil over. frolicking under the blue sky. A ruckus beach party, all sea soaked and free, untamed leaving nothing held back. Okay, that's it. Go move your hands, make something play, share. Have fun. Oh, oh, that makes me sad is that I felt like creativity itself was talking to me through your words. And I want to thank you so much for that. It's so beautiful.
Lynn Whipple 53:05
Thank you. I remember when I wrote that. And it's so nice to hear someone read it. I've just never heard like that beautiful face. But that's true, isn't it? Just light and air bubbling over? It's just why wouldn't we?
Kate Shepherd 53:24
Yeah, it's the Yeah, it's the whole it's it seems like the whole point is to enjoy ourselves. Like that seems like that's kind of right. That's pretty much it. Yeah, I think it is so so with all that being said, if you had a billboard, I read on my billboard, every person in the world who longed to be more creative, right, but for whatever reason, disbelieve that they couldn't or they didn't have it in them, or it's too late or any of those stories. But you knew that whatever you wrote on this billboard would would really reach their hearts, what would you? What would you put on it?
Lynn Whipple 53:57
You know, I would want them that's a beautiful thing. And it's like, something, I should know what I was, I sort of thought about it. But then I had 12 answers. So it's something like you are love, or happy creativity or go make something or make art just make art. Just make art. Just share it. Just make art and share it. Because you are loved.
Kate Shepherd 54:23
Thank you so much. Thank you.
Lynn Whipple 54:25
Thank you. Thank you.
Kate Shepherd 54:26
Thank you for coming today.
Lynn Whipple 54:27
Thank you for doing such a beautiful thing to help all of us remember these sparkly parts of us that are important.
Kate Shepherd 54:35
So you're awesome. Thank you. Where can people go to find more about your work? Where would you like them to go?
Lynn Whipple 54:44
You can go to land LynnWhipple.com If you just put Lynn Whipple in there you can google there's lots of stuff. There's online classes. There's Oh, you know, Instagram like mobile, Instagram and Facebook and all that good stuff. It's out there.
Kate Shepherd 54:59
Okay, cool. We'll put all that in the show notes. Cool. That's great. Yeah. Okay.
Lynn Whipple 55:03
Kate Shepherd 55:05
Isn't Lynn wonderful. There are so many lessons here. My big takeaways from Lynn are, creativity needs you just as much as you need it. That the whole point of life is to enjoy ourselves that so often the people or systems that want us to doubt ourselves, are the ones most benefiting from our self doubt. And that not caring what other people think, is a superpower. And it's a superpower that lives in all of us. If you take one thing away from this episode today, I hope it's that our instincts are rarely, if ever wrong, I didn't get a chance to tell them about the card that I pulled from the creative genius deck for today's show. Until after we had stopped reporting. She was blown away because it was trust. So as I honestly, because so much of what Lynn is telling us boils down to this, it is okay to trust yourself. So I'll leave you with this thought. What would be available to you, if you were to experiment just a little bit more with trusting your instincts. Thank you for being here for opening your heart. And for listening. It takes a lot to put together this show. And I'm a fiercely independent person. Recently, though, as I was being curious about ways I might open to receive some support for this work, gratitude birds came to me. I'll tell you more about them in a minute. But before I do, if you feel inspired to make a financial contribution to support the show, please know that I sincerely appreciate every bit of support so much. It will make it possible for me to continue bringing you these inspiring conversations with these beautiful humans. Every other week. Find out how on patreon.com/creative Genius podcast. Okay, so, gratitude birds. I don't know how long I'll do this. But right now, every month I'll do a limited run of original four and a half by four and a half inch watercolors of the most adorable birds you've ever seen. They all have unique name and superpowers you can collect them for yourself. Or you can have me send one directly to a friend. Maybe somebody you want to know that you feel grateful for. Find out more on Kate ShepherdCreative.com. Just look for gratitude Birds we have a truly incredible lineup of guests coming up, do hit the subscribe button in your podcast app right now so you don't miss a single one. And I know it's one of those things that seems like it doesn't matter. But please take a moment to rate and review the show and Apple podcasts. It really matters hearing your words about how the show is reaching your heart is fuel for my passion to keep creating these episodes for you. And it also helps other people learn about the show. Thank you again for listening. May you find an unleash your creative genius