About Lil McGill

Art is Healing

When I was 21, I was lying on the hospital's radiation table in a vulnerable moment, with silent tears streaming into my ears, when I knew that I was not my body -- I knew that I was a spirit that goes on and on.  This understanding has never left me since, and has guided all of my experiences and inquiries to date.

I grew up on the beach in California, and loved writing, sports and music from an early age. When I was in college as an English Major in New York when I had a health crisis that woke me up out of the path I had been on, striving and straining to fit into a life that wasn't meant for me. Having cancer at a young age catapulted me into the unknown, questioning what was next.  It was an unsettling experience, and led me to explore matters of the spirit.  Writing poetry was the way I got through and made sense of that difficult time. I was led to a work in the arts at an art school in L.A., then in northern California working in galleries and museums and managing a group of artists. I owned an art and framing company with my husband, raising two kids on a large property we shared with friends and wildlife. I continued to write, but never thought  I could be an artist too.

With the help of an encouraging teacher, I was able to overcome my self-critical nature.  It was difficult at first to face the blank canvas. It was actually excruciatingly painful. But at the same time, there was a small, joyful, kindergarten-like feeling, just playing with the colors.  At some point, I began to allow my art be the way it was.  To not try to have it look like anyone else's (because that wasn't happening).  And along the way I understood the real lesson.

When I let my art be the way it was, then I let myself be the way I was too. 

This was a big breakthrough.  And from there, with gentle persistence, what I was beginning to create blossomed, and now, many years later, has become a full body of work with its own unique expression.  I am so grateful for this for so many reasons.

I had given myself permission to be an artist. 

For many years now I have been an abstract painter, with work in shows and galleries and music events in Northern California. I have produced hundreds of paintings and have developed a teaching style that is simple and open and accessible to artists of all abilities. I also continue to write poetry, create books  (four in the last four years), lead collaborative mandala-making groups, and maintain a daily piano practice.

Emotional transformation through creative expression

When my father passed away I deeply felt our family's loss, and since he was a musician, I created a songbook of all the old standards and show tunes he used to play, and now I keep them alive with my daily practice. I also wrote a book of poems about the experience of his death, processing grief, and also a series of paintings in the blue and green colors of the watery underworld.  I know how strongly these creative practices helped me through the grieving process.

I am keenly interested in helping you use creative work to engage and transform  emotional upheaval from grief or other transitions and difficult experiences in your life. 

 For some of us, creative work is not a luxury, it is vital to our well being

Generally speaking, art and art-making is not viewed or valued as a necessity, and therefore it is not considered as crucial to your well being or to anything else. But some of us know better. Some of us have to create, and if we don't, we literally can't breathe. We feel anxious and crazy as we get further and further from our center. Our health diminishes, our time and energy is swept up in other petty affairs, we are at the whim of everyone else's needs, consumed by the stresses of making a living, tending our families, all the while our life force slipping further way from our own center of gravity, our own creative purpose and alignment with our inner being, our soul's calling.

Creativity Guidance for Deeply Feeling Souls

Now I have developed a 4-step system for maintaining a strong and consistent creative practice, based on the natural rhythm of the seasons, working one-on-one and in small groups, both in person and online.

I work with women and men who want to direct their precious energy and attention to their creative work because they know it is vital to their well being.

It is more than a hobby or a pastime.  They know the value of aligning with their inner being and creative purpose to enliven their life force and raise their vibration for themselves and everyone around them.

They often have difficulty prioritizing this important work for themselves although they feel an irrepressible longing to create. They want to help everyone and are extremely aware of the needs of others in our unstable world, and can get depleted from constantly being called on to help in  so many ways.

They know time is precious, their lives are precious, and they can't put it off any longer.

How I can help… 

You may just need a little gentle guidance to get you back in alignment with your creativity.

With a lifetime of  art making and  teaching experience, I provide simple guidelines, structure and inspiration for establishing and nurturing a unique creative practice.

 The process of opening to your creative work can be tender and vulnerable. I can be with you each step of the way, gently guiding you through whatever arises. I'm here for you, and I am delighted and excited for you to experience artistic freedom.

A few other things about me:

  • I grew up by the ocean
  • As a young person I was an athlete -- tennis, field hockey, volleyball, basketball
  • I am currently a dedicated NBA fan
  • I was writing stories and poems since I learned to write in first grade
  • I talk to flowers and trees
  • I have a rock at the river where I go to recharge my body and soul
  • Letter-writing is my favorite art form
  • I feel it's important to create gatherings and rituals to bring people together to praise and celebrate Life
  • Playing the piano is my meditation

Email me at create@lilmcgill.com  if you’d like to share where you are and connect with me

  • “Lil knows how to create a safe and nourishing space for creativity. I highly recommend working with her.”

  • “Lil McGill knows how to bring out the creative qualities of the individual or the collective group whether it be with painting, poetry or gathering women for flower mandalas to celebrate the beautiful essence of nature and the feminine. She is a magical muse like none other I have met.”