Vision Mapping and Vision Maquetting are creative visualization tools that I used to realize my dream of opening an art studio, gallery and retailer of my signature art kits. After I mapped out my journey, I realized that it actually began years ago when I went back to school to earn an art degree, while raising my family. During that time I was also doing art-related volunteer work at my children’s schools and a local arts center. Things started to pick up when I landed an unpaid opportunity as an art blogger and soon after I created a mobile art teaching business. I’ve arrived at what I think is my destination: opening a brick and mortar shop. I did this all through the use of creative visualization, a little work and a sprinkle of luck.

What is creative visualization? In a nutshell, it is a technique where you use your imagination to manifest what you want your life to be. I didn’t realize that what I had been doing throughout my life to reach some of my goals was creative visualization. I used it to win a horseshow in fourth grade, to get my fairytale house when I moved to Illinois, and to adopt my dream dog, a Newfypoo.

Looking back, I realized that it was not a coincidence. My mom was a creative visualizer. Decades before Rhonda Byrne wrote The Secret and had people writing checks signed The Universe, my mom had been writing rather large checks to herself and signing them Law of Abundance. I found a bunch of them when I cleaned out her house after she could no longer live independently. While I was writing $1,000,000 checks and feeling greedy, she was writing checks for $12,000,000 and $50,000,000 and her lifestyle reflected that the universe had responded quite generously. There are many well-known people such as Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Jim Carrey, Lindsay Vonn, and Will Smith who credit their successes to creative visualization.

While I’ve used creative visualization to attain goals and realize dreams, others have used it to improve health. I recently read The Brain’s Way of Healing by Norman Doidge, MD. It’s a fascinating read and one of the people he talks about is Michael Moskowitz, a trained psychiatrist who now treats patients who have chronic pain. He uses the principles of neuroplasticity to change brain pathways back to normal function and anatomy. He works with his patients at the Bay Area Pain Medical Associates in California using thoughts, images, sensations, memories, soothing emotions, movement and belief to harness the power of their brains to begin to live pain free.

I came across the concept while researching a project on maps for my Doodle Art & Design lunchtime art class. I saw a reference to vision mapping and mind mapping and veered off in that direction. My children were home from their various schools and agreed to try my vision-mapping project with me. It was very powerful! My college freshman mapped out her entire life through retirement! I discovered that I was heading, in a strongly, albeit meandering way, toward opening an art studio.

I began my map with the first art school I attended in New Jersey. I added my second art school in Memphis and then my third in Chicago. Then came seven years of art appreciation volunteerism in my children’s school and four years on the board at the Riverside Arts Center. A quick hint here: If you are doing something for free, it may well be the thing you can do as a paying job.

Three years ago, while on a family reunion vacation, I created an art project for each day of the vacation. I was shocked that nearly all twenty-six members of my family participated. My sister said, “You have to open an art studio.” That comment was one of the things that got the wheels turning and which is on my map.

Around the same time I was given the opportunity to do a free art blog for the RB Landmark. I said yes. I was asked to create a bulletin board for my kids’ elementary school. I said sure. While installing the board I was chatting with the principal and asked if I could do a lunchtime art program. He said yes. I went home and put together a proposal. I’m finishing my second year teaching lunchtime art classes at Field Park Elementary School. I parlayed that experience into two weeks of a popular summer camp at our local recreation center. When I saw this all mapped out, opening a studio seemed the natural next step.

Once I figured out this is what I wanted to do, I contacted the property manager of a tiny empty space in my town of Western Springs. It took nearly two months for me to get the lease. During that time, I built maquettes (French word for scale model) of the space so I could show the town my design. I was living on tenterhooks! I am now in my space, which looks a lot like my maquettes, working toward building my business of providing art classes to kids and adults. It is both fun and scary but I know I am in the right place.

There are many different ways to visualize your way into the life, job or relationships you want for yourself. A lot of people do creative visualization, vision boards, vision maps or my favorite, vision maquettes. For me, the combination of all of them was the most powerful way to realize my goals.

If you are interested in trying out Vision Mapping, click on this link to my workshop, Attaining Your Goals With Vision Mapping, and together we can get you started on a path to fulfillment! These tools are so powerful that once you figure them out it is like hopping onto a runaway train! Get ready for you life to change!

Kathleen Thometz is an artist, writer and founder of Doodle Art & Design, a teaching studio and art gallery in Western Springs. She lives with her husband, kids and three doodle dogs: Rainbow, Sunshine and Thunderstorm. Check out the Doodle Art website at

Kathleen Thometz

I am an artist, writer, and art instructor with four children, one husband, and two doodle-dogs. I have contributed articles to the and Chicago Parent Magazine and wrote the Artist's Eye column...