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- _

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Operation Joy!

Hi Everyone! I wanted to share with you my "Operation Joy" project this month. I have recently been reading Gretchen Rubin's book The Happiness Project, which I highly recommend.  You can also get acquainted with her studies and lectures for free on You Tube to see if you are interested.

I think this is going to be a great month of joy for me.  Don't worry I'm not depressed or anything like that, but I am always looking for ways to make my life better and  trying to discover what might be keeping me from living at my most fulfilled.  There are tons of things that bring me joy every day and trust me I've come a long way in the last 9 years! The biggest decision that has brought me the most joy - and the most struggle- was to make my way as an artist. 

However, I tend to be a real worker bee, a get things done cross off the daily checklist, always planning for the future kind of person.  This is mostly because of the examples I had from my parents, especially my Mother.  She moved from task to task. Which instilled in me a great work ethic and I am forever grateful for that, but as I have become an adult there are times when I feel like my days are flying by and I'm not truly enjoying them - I'm just getting things done.  In growing up and trying to accomplish my goals I have lost some touch with that young girl who was adventurous, a discoverer, an inventor of fantastical make believe play. When we were kids I would come up with an adventure for me and my siblings to do. Something as simple as walking down the train tracks until we reached a pond where we could see turtles and huge sunflowers (something we weren't suppose to do mind you because we lived in a rough neighborhood and my parents were at work).  I would risk getting found out or getting in trouble because darn it doing the same thing as yesterday was just boring.

Anyways, this month I'm trying to be more mindful about my days and not let them slip into the abyss of  "to-dos". This is also a protective device for me creatively because if your creative process gets on the list of to-dos, why bother.   So each week this month, I am focusing on one specific way to incorporate more en-JOY-ment into my daily life.  These are not humongous life altering changes by the way, they are simple bite size additions that pack a punch.  This week my challenge is do something for 30 minutes each day that I don't normally do, that isn't on the to -do list and that won't benefit me in any other way than sheer enjoyment.  For example, yesterday I played the banjo to an online banjo lesson for 30 minutes.   I love the sound of the banjo and I've always wanted to learn and yes I even have a banjo to play, but it just sits there because it isn't on the list of things I must do. So guess what, I played it, had fun and even played it some more that night with my boyfriend. JOY!

What can you do this week to get more joy out of your day?  Life is short right? I'm more afraid of getting to the end of my life having successfully completed daily to-do's without joy and being present, than not getting everything "done".

Also, since I am an are a couple  of my recent paintings completed that really did give me great joy!

"Red Plums and a Moroccan Jar", 16"x20", oil on linen

"Farm Country", 10"x30", oil on linen
I'm pleased to announce that this painting will be exhibited in this years Oil Painters of America's National Salon Juried Exhibition
This years Salon is going to be held at The Castle Gallery of Fine Art in Fort Wayne, IN
It is always an honor for my work to be accepted among so many of the top artists in the country!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Rewards of Stretching

One thing I have learned as an artist and in life in general is that to grow you must stretch yourself.
Stretching contains a duality that is both painful and rewarding. If done well it can be strengthening  and if done poorly can be damaging.   It can be a contradictory, unpredictable and sometimes a confusing experience.  But I think if you stretch a little bit at a time and then a lot when you are feeling brave and resilient, the payoffs can be BIG. 

My strategy is always to do what I can, what feels good and natural for me to do every single day. In other words EASE into it.  Just because it feels easy or natural does not mean that it is not beneficial or productive. However, I do think if this is your mode of operation all the time then you will stagnate and your work will become dull.  This daily action really builds up and gives me the courage and quite frankly the kind of routine boredom that will push me to try new things and take on new challenges.

Goethe said it best, "Action has magic, grace and power in it."

A place to start is identifying things that are easy for you to do. This way you have a list of "go-to" actions when you're just not the mood.  ( Never fall for that in the mood bullshit. Your thoughts and emotions can easily be convinced to get in the mood just by doing. )

Here's my list of things that are easy for me to do:
  • Hop in the car and paint a sunrise or go out and do a plein air painting.
  • Doing paintings on demands for crowds. (nothing will get you over your fear quicker than the demand to help others)
  • Doing any kind of quick sketch or simple painting that I know will require less than 6 hours to complete.
  • Learning from other artists in workshops. This is super enjoyable for me and really recharges my batteries. I am not just meant to be a giver, but also a receiver. I LOVE being a student!

Here is a 60 minute demonstration outdoor landscape painting I did for a workshop.

Just being outside and painting brings me so much joy. I love the spontaneity of the moment, connection to nature and making quick thoughtful painting solutions.
A recent "90 minute Quick Draw" painting done for the Weekend in The West Show in Evergreen, Colorado. This really gets the adrenaline pumping and the desire to satisfy all parties involved prompts me to really focus and push for the best result under pressure.

In a workshop with the great David Leffel in Los Angeles. Love watching this man paint.

Things that stretch me are:

  • Working on portrait or figurative work.
  • Turning those small sketches or plein air paintings into larger works... or doing larger plein air works.
  • Taking my work into photoshop and comparing it to a master work to analyze where I can improve.
  • Changing my approach and finding ways to improve the outcome of my plein air paintings. For example, using a limited palette or purposefully trying out specific compositions suggested in how to books.

This painting started as a plein air sunrise, but I  made some changes to it later in the studio after rigorously comparing one of my paintings to a Dwight Tryon piece and taking notes on things I could improve.
"Malibu Morning", 30"x40", oil on linen
This was enlarged from a plein air study I did last year. Luckily I had taken a video of the scene which I played often while painting to give me a stronger connection again to the place.

"Farm Land" , 10"x30", oil on linen
This is a spot I found after weeks of driving around looking for new painting spots here in Oklahoma. I always love these types of scenes, they just feel like home. I did a couple of smaller plein sketches in different directions of this place. On this day I decided this extreme panoramic format would really capture that wide open, big sky feeling.
"At Her Dressing Table", 30"x24", was my first studio figurative piece.  I have done tons of failed figure paintings in open studio and art class sessions over the last 8 years.  There was a lot of thought and trial and error that went into this and many moments where I thought it wasn't going to make it. One thing I did do to make the stretching a little less difficult for me, was to set her up like one of my still life paintings. So I kind of just saw her as a large vase in a still life. Sounds crazy, but it really helped me not to get to caught up in the attachment to painting a person (which my mind identifies as really really hard!). 
 Happy to say this piece received an Honorable Mention Award at the Oil Painters of America National Show recently in Dallas, TX. 
Hint : Seeeeee....big pay offs for stretching. 

The second category are all things that take more effort on my part and perhaps feel a bit uncomfortable, but it is the combination of these two ingredients: Natural + Stretch that really have improved my work year after year.  Maybe it will work for you too.

So I encourage you to not avoid the difficult tasks, but also have some patience and wisdom to know when and how much to do them. The main thing is you don't want to get so discouraged or overwhelmed that you sink into a week or even more of not creating.

Pace yourself and celebrate your victories!