Wednesday, September 24, 2014



"Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve." - W. Clement Stone

So many times I find myself fluctuating between I can do it and I can't do it! Sometimes I can feel like a crazy person if I ride this roller coaster to much.  One thing I have learned over the last 7 years since starting this art journey is that I can't always believe my thoughts and emotions.

As Shakespeare said, " Our doubts are our traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt." I love how Michael Jordan put it, "Limits, like fear, is often an illusion".

It is amazing how many limitations we put on ourselves, sometimes even unconsciously. One day about a year ago, while sitting down contemplating and writing I realized that I was okay allowing myself to achieve a certain amount of success artistically, but that I really didn't believe I could be as great as The Greats.  It's just impossible, I hold these people up as gods, they had more this or more that than me, they were geniuses!  "I know myself, and I am certainly no genius" I thought.

 Even looking at some of the contemporary greats who come no where near (in my mind) to the old greats like Michelangelo, Da Vinci, PP Rubens, Rembrandt or Sargent, I realized that I was not even allowing my mind to contemplate that I could achieve that amount of success like David Leffel, George Carlson, Richard Schmid and numerous others.  I had unconsciously relegated myself to the mediocre, the lower tier. I am a D list artist, not an A list and unconsciously I was settling for that. After all, I thought, I am grateful to even be that because when I first started I knew nothing and was never the most talented in the classroom.

 Perhaps, I had grown so accustomed to mediocrity in my life- okay with accomplishing a little bit, but never really the best.  I was always scared of being the best.  I didn't want the spotlight on me, but I wanted to be better than the majority of my peers.  There were several instances I can remember when that spotlight was put on me, that I would somehow back out, pretend to be sick, and pull back on how hard I would try so that the person who chose me would doubt their decision and give the position to someone else.

So you can imagine the madness that many of us put ourselves through, "Oh I want to be inspiring and achieve so much and give so much to the world!....Oh wait, I'm not good enough. Who am I?  I can't be like Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Einstein or Benjamin Franklin."  Just think, though, all that time you are wasting doubting, in self pity, not trying you could have already been 10 steps closer to your dream.

I think this quote by Marianne Williamson illustrates it perfectly, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. "

You do matter!  You are not ordinary! 

I don't know why art matters, but I know it does.  I have already seen over the last few years how I do matter. My work, my sincerity does matter and it has affected others in ways that I cannot understand.

I believe our biggest obstacle to overcome is ourselves, OUR SELF IMAGE. (I suggest reading the poem Equipment by Edgar Guest)

George Carlson

Our second biggest obstacle is to take DAILY ACTION in the direction of our goals and dreams.
This is the hard part. It's HARD. Once you get momentum going though, your confidence, zeal and dedication will grow. The main thing is to be CONSISTENT. Even if you can only practice for 20 minutes, do that every day. Trust me, it will become addictive. The goal seems so far beyond us at times, but you must always plan and take action first.  What you are doing now to achieve your goal may adapt and change over the years, but you must begin somewhere.  It is way to easy to talk about what you want to do and SO much harder to actually do it!  None of us really admire people who take the path of least resistance and do the easiest things. No, we admire those who fought, struggled, disciplined themselves and worked every day on their craft to perfection. No effective change would ever take place without these people.

My action:
5 days a week I paint or draw. No matter what other duties I have to do (shipping paintings,photographing, marketing,etc.)  I try and spend at least 50% of my 8 hour day doing this.
1 day a week I teach (some weeks I teach more)
1 day a week I take off for rest
David Leffel
Every day I: 
  • Sit in silence, meditate for at least 15 minutes before working.
  • Study others work
  • Visualize myself being great!  I find this very helpful.  I really try to envision myself living my greatest adventures, painting my greatest masterpieces, loving my greatest love.
  • Contemplate my character.  I think, If I died today would I be the person I wanted to be. (I know weird) Was I loving to others? Did I give back more than I got? Did I try my best?
  • Try to do all things with the same attention and sincerity, even if it's folding the laundry. I realize now that how you do one thing is how you do everything. So I take even the most mundane tasks more seriously now and try and approach them with excellence and full attention.
  • I am far from perfect and to contemplate being so can be overwhelming, so I always think to myself how can I do just 1% better today than yesterday.
  • Don't Rush.
"Be faithful in the small things because it is in them that your strength lies." -Mother Teresa

Kelli Folsom


  1. You are welcome Larry! Thank you for commenting.

  2. That was a great post! You touched on a lot of important things. Nice to hear you meditate, I do as well. I need to stay my blog haha.

    1. That's great Andrew! I am so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Kelli you are wise beyond your years. Thank you for such an inspirational post!

    1. You are welcome Peggy! I am glad that it inspired you.

  4. Really needed to hear this! Thanks for the inspiration and openness. I'm sure a lot of people see you in this light! I think you're a great artist and have admire your work for a long time!

    1. Thank you so much Lori. I am so glad it spoke to you. All the Best, Kelli

  5. That was very inspiring for a beginning painter like me Kelli! Thank you, it helped me. And ha, I actually estimated it would take me about 7 years to paint real decent. I guess that was a good estimation then. Let's hope it will work out for me like it's working out for you.


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