Monday, January 16, 2017

Q & A Monday

Hi Everyone,

First of all I did not announce the winner of the Mini + Calendar Giveaway on January 1st!!! 
So I apologize for that, but I was doing lots of paintings in my studio so I hope you will forgive me.

The winner for January's Miniature Painting and Calendar Giveaway is: Shelley Koopman! Congratulations Shelley and thank you so much for following my work and blog since 2015. I wish you much success this year and Happy Painting. Here is your prize:

2.5"x3.5" mini oil painting "Pomegranate and Grapes"

So much has happened in the last month in my studio that I could write about, but today is Q & A Monday.  I have been getting lots of questions via Instagram, Facebook and Email so I thought I would start answering them in this blog in case others have the same questions.  Feel free to email me your questions and one Monday a month I will post my answers here. 

Q: Karen from Kansas writes: Do you use regular oil paints? I'm wondering what kind of varnish you use to get your wonderful finish?

A: Yes I use regular oil paints!

A:The varnish I use is made by Gamblin called  GamVar.  I use a cheap throw away chip brush to varnish with. Usually it takes two coats. The varnish is typically shinier on a panel vs. linen.  I encourage you to watch Gamblin's demonstration on varnishing here:

Q: Eric from North Carolina writes:
When you are working on one of ur gallery paintings (not demo or study), do you work it over a few days? Or do you finish it all in one session?

A:  Every painting seems to have it's own timeline and can depend on many factors: size, difficulty of subject  or my lack of clarity in concept. In general, most of my gallery paintings take 2-3 sessions to complete. I usually have 2 paintings going at once so that I can alternate between the two. Once I run out of steam on one I can have a fresh start on another.  It happens every once in a while that I can just see how to paint that subject that day, clarity of concept - that "in the zone" feeling and I can finish a larger piece in 1 day whereas other days it might take me 2 days to solve the problems of a 9"x12".

A painting that I finished 1 day alla prima where I had clarity of concept, time to complete 8 hours:
                                          "Rhapsody in Pink", 24" x 12", oil on linen, Sold

A smaller painting that took 2 days to complete. I like to go with the flow, so if I can tell that something is just instinctively coming together I will finish it alla prima like above and others I can tell that I am searching in the painting trying to see what I can get from more layers and time observing and adjusting.
"Pewter and Peaches", 14"x11", oil on panel, $1500

Q: Cheri from California writes: What colors do you usually use and where do you find the shorter backdrops?

A:  There are all sorts of ways to make a "shadow box".  I use a simple trifold project board in black since I typically do darker backgrounds.  You can cut this to any height that you want with a box knife.  If I don't want a black background I can drape different colors of fabrics over the back. Other ideas might be wallpaper samples taped to the back, or buying colored matboards and scoring them to make them trifold. Sometimes I pin up a drape on the back wall and just use part of the light blocker to cast a shadow onto the still life. If you have a tall still life, you want a tall blocker uncut or if you have a wide still life you can put two or three together to make a wider one.  One side of the light blocker is to cast a shadow onto a portion of the composition while the other side is used to control too much reflected light from washing out your shadows.

Thanks everyone for your support and following my work. Hope this helps!
P.S.  I am so delighted that I will be teaching a Painting Workshop at the fabulous Genius Loci Country Inn in Umbria, Italy this August! Please let me know if you are interested and want more information.


Monday, December 12, 2016

How to Paint Mini's Video Now Available!

I'm still loving the experience I had painting ALL those minis!  It was so much fun and let me tell you that people really love receiving these too!  What a great gift to give if you are an artist to your friends and family this holiday season. You have just enough time to paint some before Christmas.


If you would like to watch me paint my most popular mini, Sunflowers, I have a new video tutorial for $15.

 It is available at Open Studio Online:  , a really great place to get fantastic lessons affordably with some great artists. Listen, I am always on the lookout for instructional videos online from some of my favorite artists and I have to say I have been surprised by some that I have purchase for $30 and they give you 20-30 minutes of home video.  Sadly, I've felt like that was overpriced regardless of the name attached. At Open Studio Online you can get 30+ minutes of video with written tutorial for $15 and under. You can also get 2+ hours of video, written lesson and reference images for $30. They even have lessons for $5 and under! So please check it out, it's totally new!

Starting at $25 and Up, HERE:
Christmas Lilies Demo, 14"x11", starting on a 3 day auction for $25!
Don't forget to join as a member of my blog.
I will be giving away another 2017 Kelli Folsom Art Calendar & Paintini on JAN 1ST!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Winner of Mini & Calendar Giveaway!!!

This months winner of one of my Mini's & Calendars is
Darla McDowell! 
Merry Christmas to everyone and thank you so much for your ongoing support. Here's to wrapping up the end of the year with more art inspiration.
Don't forget to join the blog as a member  for a chance to win a MINI + CALENDAR PACKAGE on January 1st 2017!
Still Life 2017 Wall Calendar - 6.5 x 8.5 - $20
just cli just click the donation button above and be sure to include your shipping information

Sunrise Desktop Calendar is available for $15
4"x8" - just click the donation button above and be sure to include your shipping information


Monday, November 21, 2016

It's That Time of Year

🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶  "When the world falls in love, every song you hear seems to say, Merry Christmas may your new year dreams come true! " 🎶🎶🎶

Even at this time when our country seems to be in uproar and divided, this time of year always makes me so happy and grateful for everything I have and I get swept up in the Christmas spirit.  There are so many out there who don't have a fraction of what I have. Like the people in Malawi or Burundi who make the equivalent of 75 cents to $1 a day!  I put 75 cents in my pocket sometimes to remind myself of this when I get caught up in worry about money or get jealous of those who have more than I do.  These three quarters remind me that there are people out there who are worried that they may not even eat that day when I complain about fighting the crowd at the grocery store or how I don't have time to shop.  I hate to be preachy, but really we have so much to be thankful for here in America.  There are those who are suffering in our country too and things can always be improved here as well, but it's important for me to have a greater world view and remind myself of these extremes that exist in the world so that I can do and give my fair share without complaint.  It's tough not to slip back into whiney grumbling so that's why it works for me to have those 3 quarters in my pocket from time to time.  I can't save Malawi, but I can do my work with a smile and use my gifts the best I can each day. 

November seems to be the month of minis for me. These are always a joyous experience because every little painting gives a little bit of light into someone's life. It makes us all feel good and brings us back to the present moment and gratitude when we can appreciate the simple beauty of life that is all around us.  A couple of weeks ago I did about 50 little still lifes, 2.5 "x 3.5", and the outpouring of love from that was tremendous.  This week I have started doing some little mini Christmas scenes, while listening to Christmas music of course!  These 5 are going to my gallery here in Oklahoma City and of course 1 for my Mom.  I'm also sharing some of my favorite Christmas minis (5"x7")  from last year.

Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Christmas Minis - 2.5x3.5" and 3"x3"

Christmas Shopping - 8"x10"

Frosted Window Panes - 5"x7"

Pretty Packages - 5"x7"
If you like my blog and want to join, please do! I will be giving away a FREE Kelli Folsom Art Calendar + A Mini on Dec 1st and January 1st!
Kelli Folsom Art Calender 2017
$20 (free U.S. Shipping)
click the donate button on top right and include your shipping address

Kelli Folsom Sunrise Calender 2017
Folding Desktop 4" x 8"
$15 (free U.S. Shipping)
click the donate button on top right and include your shipping address


Monday, November 14, 2016

It's Your Thing....Do What You Want To Do!

I'm always trying to figure out am I doing the right things to be a successful artist? What is my end result goal anyhow? Countless hours are spent journaling, planning, goal setting, searching for answers online.  I'm always afraid that maybe.... just maybe I'm not doing this thing the way I should be and often times I am doing things that go against marketing and career planning advice that I've read and even received from admired colleagues.  Sometimes the self-doubt and questions pile up so high and spin me around in circles resulting in being thrown off the merry-go-round and getting some good grass stains, scrapes and bruises.  I'm constantly wrestling with my own self awareness, what individual hang ups and personality traits might be holding me back: like my need for variety and sometimes lack of focus, my not sticking to one genre, or wondering if my work will ever be good enough to be at the top (yikes).  

What I do know for sure is that when I follow my instincts and don't worry about the rules of success or how I'm viewed by others, I always oddly find success.  Perhaps not success in terms of my name is in every magazine or winning some huge award, but success in the joy of creating what I wanted and sharing that with others. 

This month I decided to indulge my need to get away from the hard core discipline and focus, the seriousness of it all, and just have fun! I've always had fun painting minis because they are quick and spontaneous. I like the speed and rush of doing a whole bunch of little studies in one day. I just set up one after the other, don't think about how good they are or not and just paint on automatic. It's funny how taking the pressure of greatness or perfection off frees you up to just experiment, explore and in the end you usually find something really good that you can carry into larger works.  Sometimes, too I think you discover what people really like. For example, it was clear that in these 50 "Paintini's" the paintings with sunflowers or blue & white pottery were the crowd pleasers. Now, that doesn't mean I'm going to abandon my higher ideals of artistic merit and start churning out sunflowers and blue and white paintings, but when one has to pay the bills that knowledge doesn't hurt!  

In the end, following my instincts brought me great joy, not to mention a boost for the bank account! Personally connecting with other artists and art collectors who snatched up these little "Paintini's" was so much fun and they expressed their gratitude again and again for me offering something affordable to give themselves and friends. In my mind, other artists and art collectors are like an extended family. We share that one thing, the love of art, in common. We can bind together, no matter how many differences we may have,  on that one common ground!

For November & December I will be giving away to
a Blog Member
(there is a join button on the right hand side)
1 Kelli Folsom Art Calendar for 2017 and 1 Paintini!
The drawing will take place Dec 1st and Jan 1st and announced here on the blog.

For now I am done with the Paintini's, but you can get a Kelli Folsom Art Calendar for $20 (includes shipping in U.S.) Just click the Donate button on top right and enter $20. Please make sure to give me your shipping address in the information.  

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Power of Line

Since I was a child I have been in love with drawing, both with the looking and doing of it. I don't know why this mysterious dream of line has gripped me for so long. It is in my bones, my cells. A good line can make me light up with excitement and aspiration of connecting reality, imagination, intuition and intellect all into a simple element called line. This fall I began teaching a drawing course for incoming freshmen at a local university. The experience has been one of frustration in part trying to get the students to understand the importance of drawing let alone the fascination and love for it. I am grateful for this experience because it has woke me up yet again from my drawing slumber. It can be difficult to invest one's time in an art world where much of what is sold, marketed and praised are mostly paintings, but I hope that like me after contemplating the below drawings or drawings of your choice we will spend more time with this nurturing Mother of art, drawing. It is hard to put into words why these images touch me so deeply, but I will try to do them justice.
Portrait of Madame d'Haussonville by Ingres
I am in awe of the restraint Ingres had in the drawing of the dress and various background elements so that the strongest emphasis is on the portrait and especially on that haunting gaze.  How with the simplest of line in the gown has he suggested the bulging, pinching, folds and specific anatomical qualities of the elbow, shoulder,forearm and graceful fold of the fingers? In a time when we are obsessed with the microscopic "real" this drawing feels more realistic and alive to me. because of it's omissions and subordination to the crucial. It also shows the humble servant, the artist, holding back on the egoistic need of proving his immense skill in order to honor the subject and the viewer.


 Peter Paul Rubens: Don Diego Messia (1627)

This simple portrait by Rubens may not arrest my attention as quickly as some of his dynamic baroque drawings, but upon longer retrospection with it the very nature of it's understated qualities reveals to me even more what a master of line he was.  I am struck again by the restraint, the putting in only the most important elements in their hierarchical order. The pinpoint focus of the eyes created with the sharpest clarity, the robust thick curls made with variations of thick and heavy; thinner and lighter lines to suggest the light highlighted on their cylindrical forms and the shadow and gravitational pull close to the scalp. I love how he is able then to show us through his line variation the difference between that hair and the thinner, wiry strands of the mustache.  The ghostlike lines of the collar shows the intelligence of the artist who doesn't put everything in with the same treatment therefore equalizing all.


 John Singer Sargent - Study for El Jaleo

Perhaps one of the first "moving pictures" this quick sketch just oozes with raw delicious line. I love in a few minutes or even maybe a few seconds Sargent wrangles on the page all of the essential qualities of this action. He could not use the same quiet line as in the above Ingres drawing to capture this. Through his line we sense the swift swirling, bouncing dress and the arms pushing up and out of the whirling atmosphere as strong thrusting solid forms.  This drawing makes us all want to run out and scribble away speedily hoping to capture the same effect. I will insert a small warning, however, that it was his disciplined study that gave him the capability to have this freedom in this sketch. Every line is knowledge and understanding of how certain lines produce different effects.

The journey is for the sensitive, humble,  patient and  relentless romantic.  

Sunday, September 4, 2016

A Love Affair with Still Lifes

Almost from the time that I started taking art lessons, about 9 years ago, I have had a love affair with the still life genre.  When I first started out learning I would go buy magazines and art books trying to discover what artwork I liked.  Of course I liked any type of genre as long as I thought the work excellent, but as I started to learn how to draw and paint in the classroom, we would often be working from still life arrangements.  The more time I spent painting and drawing still lifes the more I looked at other historical and contemporary still life works and over time it became a true love affair.  I also realized after a few years that there was this attitude, shall we say, towards still lifes....especially "pretty" still lifes.  I think once I even read it was the least respected of all the genres. I am still baffled by that hierarchy since I love it so much. At some of my first student shows I would overhear lots of comments like, "I don't usually like still lifes" or "My wife likes still lifes, but I've never cared for them".  There was also this idea implied that still life painting was sort of a woman's art.  I've never really been the type of person who cares about these sorts of things. I just go on about my way unoffended and happily doing what I love. This week as I was pouring over inspiring still life images a humorous thought struck me that all of the ones I was looking at were male artists.  So here's to the men and women who love still life paintings!  I hope you enjoy these works as much as I do.

Chardin, Jean Baptiste- Simeon
French 1699- 1779

Mortelmans, Frans
Belgium 1865-1936

Carlsen, Soren-Emil
Denmark/American 1853-1932

Pushman, Hovsep
Armenian/American 1877-1966

Leffel, David A.
American 1931- _