Habits of Intuition


Dear Artist,

Many artists know all about Intuition and depend on her for long-term and minute-to-minute guidance. Self-employed persons may even take her for granted. She’s a beautiful partner who goes anywhere with you. Respect for Intuition is one of the keys that can help us to be more highly realized and successful. Here are a few techniques:

Start small: Build trust in your Intuition by allowing her to make minor decisions at first. For example, simply relax your mind and ask yourself whether you want to do this or that subject. The subject your Intuition likes will always make the better work.

Pose projects: In a bathtub — or in any meditative state — pose a problem or a project and let it swim around. This gives your Intuition a chance to come up with a workable or even brilliant vision. Whether she arises from previous experience or not — she will provide your best wisdom.

Make snap decisions: Simply grab an idea and run with it. It’s amazing how fast you can get the basics down — and then take a look, and either reject or proceed. To deny quick Intuition invites a long stew on what could have been.

Be patient: The human psyche is an imperfect organ. Just because something doesn’t always work as expected doesn’t mean you should give up its regular exercise.

Here on this sleepy lagoon, without clutter or obligation, Intuition is relatively easy. It’s possible to layer hunches and plan ahead. Looking at fish schooling like thoughts beneath the surface, I’m thinking she’s just a mind-habit, and should, in theory, be attainable anywhere.


“Maternite II”
by Paul Gauguin

Best regards,


PS: “I’d like to write the way I do my paintings, that is, as fantasy takes me, as the moon dictates.” (Paul Gauguin)

Esoterica: Developing Intuition by Shakti Gawain is a convenient workbook for people who want to increase their intuitive ability. Gawain outlines methods of accessing the power, how to act on whatever surfaces, and suggests exercises for accurately discovering your passions.

The following are selected correspondence relating to this and other letters. Unused letters are archived for possible later inclusion. Almost all letters are edited for clarity and brevity. Some are translated from other languages. It has been noted that no matter what our schooling or background we may often hold diverse values, but we speak in a similar language. If you think a friend or fellow artist may get something out of this material please feel free to forward or copy it. Thanks for writing.


Not magic
by H Peddec, Prague, Czechoslovakia

Intuition may be your “best wisdom,” but it’s also possible to say that it’s the accumulation — both subconsciously and consciously — of what you’ve learned. Those of us who have been dealt a lot of lessons and have experienced much — have the best intuition. It’s not a magic facility that some are granted and some are not.


Intuition and women
by Michelle Vantreight

It’s been my experience that women are generally better at working and planning with their intuition than are men. Women, by nature, tend to look at a situation and size it up intuitively first. Men are generally more rational and reasoning. Men will frequently not trust their power of intuition because they give preference to other modes of understanding. Also they have more stubborn ego blocks, static problem-solving mechanisms, etc. Intuition is one of the vital faculties in all forms of art. This is one of the reasons why so many women are now in art, and also why they are so successful at it.


Simple habit
by Bertram Walmsley

A powerful technique for the accessing of intuition is to get into the habit of saying “My intuition tells me that…” Using this as the starter to a sentence brings out all kinds of surprising insights. Robert, you have been saying that old-fashioned, self-taught habits are greater positive determiners than some of the modern and ancient fads. This affirmation gives your mind a small surprise and you are inclined to ask, “Damn it, what does my intuition tell me?”


Lunar activity
by Hilda Nellis

Gauguin had it right. It all comes out of the moon. My best intuition comes to me on a moonlit night, in a receptive state when all is well with the world. The word “lunatic” comes from the word “luna” (the moon) — supposedly those special people were particularly active when the moon was full. And are not the lunatics close enough to the inventive, the imaginative, the fanciful, the creative? Incidentally, lots of dull people think I’m nuts.


Where originality is born
by Radha Saccoccio

Once again I want to thank you for validating my process which happens to be intuitive. Sometimes I feel a little insecure working with such an intangible process. I often fear others will ridicule or discount me for this approach. I do feel however that it is where originality is born, not in the intellect. Even though we need the intellect to sometimes help us to draw people in. The work may speak for itself, but unfortunately many people do not think for themselves and need to be helped along.


by Paula Sue Butts, Folsom, California, USA

I have been doing clearing mind-exercises for 2 weeks now. Each morning I get up and write 2 to 3 pages of thoughts. I’m working with Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way personal development course. Some days after writing my thoughts in the morning and getting rid of all my negative thoughts, it seems to free myself up for creative ideas and exploration. Actually it sort of feels like a mind cleansing. Since I started this course it has allowed me to access my creative eye sooner than if I just let time and nature take its course.


Buddha’s “intention”
by Jeffrey Howard, La Manzanilla, Jalisco, Mexico

A few years ago here in La Manzanilla, artist Jack Rutherford on a working holiday from his studio in Spain shared with us a comment attributed to the Buddha regarding inspiration: “Looking within, allowing the pictures to manifest, (described as ‘intention’) provides a path to conscious manifestation. Therefore, meditate upon a blank wall… your picture will appear.” And, it does. Working in watercolour (a cantankerous partner when one pushes too much) led me to a similar realization that, the medium may determine its own course — leading us to discover what we really intended.


“Practical Intuition” not so practical
by Pascal Valu, Paris, France

I don’t know about Shakti Gawain‘s Developing Intuition, but I read Laura Day’s Practical Intuition and although the book looks quite interesting at the beginning, it slowly moves to paranormal stuff that you soon realise “this is NOT serious!” I just hope she doesn’t really believe in what she wrote. If such a thing as intuition exists, I think it can help you to know more about yourself, nothing about others and certainly nothing about the future.

(RG note) I don’t know about Laura Day’s book, but Gawain’s is not so woo-woo that it puts you off. Coming from a background of skepticism, she tells how her own intuition was awakened. Then she shows the reader through exercises and examples, how to recognize it, how to develop it, and how to deal with the information arising from it. It’s pretty balanced.


Lucky now
by Brenda Bisiker

I listen to and trust my intuition more than my brain. Lying in bed in the morning letting my thoughts roam around — living in another place. I never did well in school as I never listened much and sadly art and creating only came into my life in my late 30’s. For years I have tried to strengthen the logical “other” side of my brain but I have realised that having both skills is wonderful. The more I paint the more I value intuition and all the methods of reaching it you talk about in your letter. Too bad I didn’t know about this earlier in my life but I feel lucky to know it now.


Going home
by Rhonda Hare, CT, USA

I have travelled home for personal reasons. I’m now in Nova Scotia in the midst of a snowstorm. I am with family and loved ones. At the moment I am not painting… I’m trying to get into “home” space and then derive from that a creative flow. I believe there are reasons I have come back… it was somewhat like a calling, a need to finalise perhaps a few goodbyes to the old negativity — then embrace newness and rebirth.

So much has changed here emotionally for me yet surrounding me the scenes of childhood have never really changed. It’s like a window in time — frozen — people, places, and everything familiar… untouched for the most part.


by Monika Elseroui, Graz, Austria

Intuition is a pure and shining jewel that we have been given as a special gift out of heaven. Even while admitting that I am a non-believer, when it comes to certain things in our lives I am looking with great respect at some roots or basics which we have in common. We are encompassed like in an ocean where the waves give us the joy of being taken care of. Unfortunately intuition for many has been oppressed by authority figures in childhood (parents, school etc.) In the youngest children it flows with its most natural energy. So by the time we have grown up we have all more or less forgotten that we possess such a jewel. When asking questions in later life — questions of why and when and how and so on — we find it again. Yet it has always been with us. We are merely re-learning to give it the real purpose: to shine for us.

To me intuition represents the flow of life.
The spice when everything is dull and meaningless.
The help when there is no wisdom to master the practical sides of our lives.
The light when we have forgotten to take care of ourselves.
The pick-out piece of artistry work: whether it be music, drama, poetry, literature, filmmaking or the growing video-artistry.
Intuition is the sure point where one culture got its heights and architecture is blooming.
Intuition is the listening when waves are breaking on the shore and out of nowhere a solution is found to a difficult puzzle.
Intuition is the gift with which any science is able to achieve knowledge and wisdom and see how the goal can be reached.
Look into soap bubbles with the innocent eyes of a child: full of curiosity, love and the desire to fulfil dreams.


by Lin Souliere, Bruce Peninsula, Ontario, Canada

Here, in Lion’s Head, along the coastline of a frozen Georgian Bay, I also paint. White snow with violet shadows, icy water that is still turquoise, and heavy pine trees laden with sticky snow… but it is so quiet and peaceful. No crowds of tourists here. Only feeders visited by chickadees, nuthatches and finches. And at night, by chubby flying squirrels and a screech owl, waiting. A white ermine has taken up residence by my window and I catch glimpses of him scooting along his daily path. No mice in the kitchen drawers this year! I am working on a still life, with bits of the escarpment and forest in it. A reminder of fall and of harvest. I find it soothing to work on. There is a bit of curled birch bark that is a soft sienna colour on the underside, and pinecones and a dried sunflower head. It’s a blessing to be able to collect these things and honour them in a painting.


You may be interested to know that artists from 70 countries have visited these sites since January 1, 2001.

That includes Joan Justin who had an intuitive coincidence while thumbing through a travel magazine in a doctor’s office but she didn’t say what it was.

And Intuition Coach Robert Rennie who advises, “Never give yourself a haircut after three margaritas.”

And John R Lawrence who just came in from sketching with Robert Byrne in the Elbow River Valley in pleasant January weather.



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