Thursday, January 12, 2006

I wanted to use Thursdays to chat about creativity coaching as a practice and as a profession. Today, in my first chat, I thought it would interest you to see the movement a visual artist can make after a single phone creativity coaching session. I am indebted to a new client of mine, Gabrielle Swain, for letting me share some of her images and processes.

In her email responding to my request that she tell me a little bit about what she wanted to work on, Gabrielle wrote: “This year has been a transition year for me from very realistic to more abstract work. This change arose from a conversation in which I was told I wasn't revealing myself through my work. I began to wonder if I was hiding behind the imagery and playing it safe. I have always believed art should be evocative and self-revelatory, and while I believe my imagery is evocative I am wondering if I am putting enough of myself in my art and showing enough of myself to the viewer.”

Gabrielle had been producing the following sort of quilt art:




We chatted. I made suggestions. We created some incantations to remind her of the risks she wanted to take and a plan for tackling more personal work. A few days later the following three images arrived by email.




Along with these images came an email. Gabrielle checked in: “You were so right,” she wrote. “I have been all at sixes and sevens the entire week wondering what I got myself into. The first day back in the studio I was so physically uncomfortable that I finished as soon as possible and literally fled from the room. I am feeling exhausted but suddenly while doing the incantations a sliver of awareness made it between my ears. I’m still not sure that I am being personal enough in the work and I’m still not sure that I see any progress. But I am feeling a change internally.”

This is the territory that a creativity coach and his clients inhabit. Could any work be more fascinating? You can contact Gabrielle at and visit her at


Anonymous said...


Thank you for sharing this visual representation of the powerful change that can come through creativity coaching. As a student in your October2 group I have had good feedback from my clients but have not had such a powerful powerful affirmation through actually seeing the changes in the work our coaching can bring. This is amazing. Gloria

Susan Sorrell said...

What a difference in her work. I am really impressed. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next. :)

claireHolcomb said...

Exciting. Such breaking out of the box. Cheers for her and for your help.
This is what we all hope for ourselves and our clients in any medium or process.
Good for me to SEE the breakthrough since my medium is words and probably harder to have this ZAP of recognition we get in this sample.
GREAT. claire Aella Sheyn