Carey’s Corner: The Canvas of Your Life

Posted By on March 5, 2020
Niki Woehler

Ad exec-turned artist follows signs to pursue work that she loves

Imagine for a moment that you have a massive canvas in front of you the size of your living room wall. It’s blank. Close your eyes and envision what it might look like to paint your life. What colors and materials would you use? What would the painting say about your life experience?  

For Niki Woehler, the colors are mostly bright and beautiful, with many layers, representative of the fascinating life she’s lived.

Woehler ran an advertising agency called Flavour marketing. She had big-name clients and was the picture of success — until she wasn’t.

The agency was doing well, but Woehler lost her passion for the work. That’s when she decided to become a full-time artist(!)

“The universe always has my back. I think when you are doing something with the right intent, and the right head, and the right heart, doors always open for you,” Woehler shared on my podcast, Carey Peña Reports.

For many years, Woehler gravitated to the world of art. But as a career woman, wife and mother of three, she didn’t have the time nor the energy to chase the dream.

After she and her husband of 17 years divorced, Woehler began to think more about the canvas of her life. 

The Universe Always Has Her Back

To understand Niki Woehler’s life transformation, we have to rewind for a minute. When she was in her 20s, Woehler worked at a bar in Scottsdale called Buzz Fun Bar. During our interview, she shared an emotional story about one of her co-workers named Michael. 

He had traveled to Las Vegas for a weekend getaway, and on the way back to the Valley, fell asleep at the wheel and died. 

After Michael’s heartbreaking funeral, Woehler remembers driving in her convertible, listening to music, and enjoying the wind in her hair. She happened to drive past a craft store and decided to pull in: Michaels Craft Store. She bought canvases, brushes and paint. 

Woehler found (and others recognized along the way) that she had a natural talent. But she didn’t pay a lot of attention to her considerable artistic ability for 10 years or so. “After having three children, when the stress of life came bubbling up to the surface, I pulled out the canvases and the paint,” she said. 

The universe, she felt, continued to send her signs.

Six years ago, Woehler made the courageous decision to close her agency and work on her art full-time. She gained the courage to reach out to galleries, museums and interior designers and learned how to get her work seen. 

“For me, there were some huge turning points. It was a milestone when Roche Bobois hung my art in their stores. And a gallery in Aspen, Forré Fine Art Gallery. Hanging next to some of the biggest names in art, like Warhol,” Woehler said.

Fashionably Fearless

For one of her recent art events, this ad executive-turned artist came dressed in a black slip dress. She paid $25 for the dress, a modest amount, in part because she doesn’t care as much about clothing and “things” anymore. Plus, she was going to be splattering paint all over the room. 

Snapshots of Woehler in her Scottsdale studio wearing that basic black dress while throwing paint say a lot about her life today. She is fearless, happy and her life is simplified. She’s also well on her way to becoming one of the best-known contemporary artists in Arizona while building a loyal following around the country. 

“Can you imagine a world full of people doing what they truly loved for a living?” she asked.

For Niki Woehler, doing what she loves has created a clear vision for the canvas of her life: “It would be gold, silver, rose gold, black, white, green gold, blue and orange,” she said. “The metals represent so much for me. Rose gold is everything beautiful. Gold is love and hope. Silver is the mettle in my soul. Black is for the contrast that’s shown me what is most beautiful and how I want to be and live my life. White represents the light and magic all around me. Blue is peace, my family and friends. And orange is sheer joy. Green gold is the growth and grounding, but it shines with the gorgeous warmth, like the lessons we learn along the way.”

To see more of Carey’s reporting, visit

Carey Pena

About Carey Pena

Carey Peña is an Emmy award winning journalist who majored in broadcast journalism at Arizona State University.