Friday, August 8, 2014

Ideas Don't Keep

And neither do children. I have grandiose dreams of being a writer, a painter, a designer, an illustrator, a social media master, a maker of many things; but time is short and the kids still need to be fed. So I pace myself and find time in between loads of laundry, play group and wiping noses. I won’t have this time again. When they have flown the coop I will wonder where it went and wish for them to need me again. But I have ideas now. And I am writing them down and sketching them out. And if I have a quiet afternoon once in awhile I will do what I need to do. I will create.
And I will not regret a single moment of any day. If I am wrestling monkeys or planning my next big project, then I am doing exactly what I was meant to be doing. The more I find myself enjoying the everyday moments, the more I find I am overflowing with creativity. Because ideas don’t keep, I keep a notebook and remind myself that it’s all there waiting when I finally wander down to my studio. This week was a fine balance between my two loves. I cooked yummy meals and played with my boys and enjoyed my home thoroughly. I was also lucky enough to squeeze in some time for my creative self. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

How to Follow your Dreams: Where are your Dreams?

Remember those long summer days when we stayed out late playing, salty sweat staining our foreheads, dirt under our nails, and the sun kissing the backs of our necks? Not a care in sight as we lived out the many lives in our imaginary worlds.
We were mermaids, schoolhouse teachers, roller derby gang members, secret agents, pageant contestants, veterinarians, explorers and supreme leaders of our own lands. Our heads were filled with ideas for startup lemonade businesses, movies we would make one day and the people we would meet as we sailed around the world in search of lost treasure. Whatever we could dream up, we could do.
Then one day we began packing up the memorabilia of our young lives and stepped over to the world of adults. Somehow, without even noticing, all our little ideas and stories and dreams of our future self got tied up and tossed in the box along with childhood laughter and wild abandon. All those little joys were forgotten while we got so terribly busy growing up.
And here we are. Life is good. I’ve made it this far on luck and a prayer and a whole lot of hard work. I wouldn’t trade it for any of the lives I might have imagined as a child. Some of the most important goals I’ve had for my life have become a reality. But I seem to recall a box full of summer sun sitting of a shelf in the back of my mind….where did the free spirit of my childhood go and what have I done with all her dreams?
What have you done with your dreams?
What would your eight-year-old self say about you now?

I’m asking this before it’s too late. The mid-life crisis is right around the corner, just waiting for those who’ve gotten lost along the way and forgotten to live their dreams. I know some of you are doing it right now. And many more are making an effort. But I know so many more who say that you wish you were doing “x. y. z.”
And, so then I say, why aren’t you?
It’s time. I’m putting it out in the open for you to think about and when you’re ready we’re coming back to this subject. We will figure out how to follow our dreams before they pass us by!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

At the End of the Day

The days zip by us so fast. One more wake up and one more sunset. One more chance to do it all. One more chance to sit back and soak it all in. Morning is filled with possibility. But when night falls, it’s only the hours that remain behind us. What have we done? Where did we spend our time? Who did we love? Who did we forgive? What did we let go? When did we give thanks for all that we have?

The sun is setting. It’s one more perfect day. We breathed. We laughed. We cried. We held on tight. We sat idly and rushed around like mad. We learned something new. We spent time caring for others. We shared a bit of ourselves with someone else. We created something that brings a little more joy to this life. When the sun slips out of view tonight will we be grateful for all we have? Good, bad, and all the little moments in between?

The view from here is spectacular. I have seen it with my own eyes. I have been lucky enough to enjoy another day. And tomorrow is another chance to begin anew and make right anything that fell between the cracks today. There is something glorious in these final moments of the day, knowing I am part of something larger than myself and yet these simple few minutes I have are significant enough to last a lifetime. I am humbled. I am grateful. I am blessed.

This was the best week ever. I lived a full and wonderful life. How was this your best week ever? When the sun sets tonight will you remember to be grateful for one more amazing day?

originally posted on 2012

Monday, March 10, 2014

Full Circle

Artist Kellee Wynne Conrad

I made a promise to myself. A commitment of personal growth, of significant change. One fall afternoon, more than three years ago, I made a decision to put aside my crafting hobbies in order to pursue my dream of being an artist. I made the announcement and posted it publicly and then set out to make good on my word.  It didn't happen all at once. I didn't get to jump right in. But between sorting laundry and sorting out my priorities, I began building a future in art.

The idea has been with me since childhood when I would illustrate my own stories or draw ideas for new toys. And in high school where I would skip class to hang out in the art room or spend my summers in and out of all my artist neighbors’ studios. I almost made plans as a young adult to rent a cottage by the sea and paint my life away, but I had a different destiny at that time. All those dreams got packed away as I carried on with my life. And if it weren't for this beautiful life I am living right now, the dream would not have come full circle. The opportunity and desire would not have presented itself once again.

And, yet, here I am…one step at a time down the long road, slowly but surely keeping my promise to myself. I have painted, I have submitted, I have put my heart into this and now I am ready for the world! Or at least my corner of it…In one year I have been featured twice at The Circle Gallery, put together and curated three shows for West Annapolis Artworks, been commissioned to create several big paintings and landed a contract with Maine Cottage, a national furniture company to sell limited edition gliclees on canvas. And finally, I have met with a curator from New York City and been offered a three week show in the heart of the city this October with my new wild abstract floral series. 

I am so humbled and honored by the support I have had to get to where I am now and grateful for those who would continue to see me achieve my dreams. Thank you for taking the time to be a part of my life and my journey. Thank you for the opportunity. It’s truly wonderful to be able to create and share it with you. Now it’s time to go and MAKE MORE ART! Kellee Wynne Conrad

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Day in the Life of an Artist: A Conversation with Myself

Ms. Logic
“Yeah, you! What do you think you’re doing? Biting off more than you can chew? Going full steam ahead? Burning the midnight oil? Working harder, not smarter? Making something out of nothing? Putting in the hours of two full-time jobs and getting paid for none? Jumping on the bandwagon? Shooting for the stars and falling out of touch with reality?”
“Hey, I resent those accusations! Or I resemble them. Either way, get out of my head and let me do my thing. Why are you judging how I live my life and how I spend my time? I’m finally making progress on a few dreams I've been hanging on to, so who are you to tell me I can’t?” 
“It’s not that you can’t, it’s just that you better chill before you burn yourself out and give up. All work and no play is a recipe for disaster, even your family could tell you that. (In fact they might start telling you that they are hungry and the floors need cleaning, too, but that’s the price you’ll pay if you start cutting corners.) Maybe if you step back from the trees you will see the forest and the picture will become clear. And you could take a breath before you make yourself crazy.” 
Ms. Passion
“I guess you’re right. I could use a break from my super charged brain right now; I can feel anxiety trying to slide in the back door and creep up on me. But what if I lose momentum and all my ideas escape me? They are coming by the dozens and I only have so much time to get it all done. The clock is ticking, the years are flying, and I don’t want to let the opportunity pass me by. There is so, so much to do if I’m going to make this work!”
“No, there is only so much to do if you keep adding to the list. It will all work out but you don’t have to rush it. Enjoy the process, enjoy your first job first, and enjoy each day and each moment before THAT passes you by. It’s only your own ambition (or overzealous drive) setting these ridged standards for yourself, so lighten up a little!”
“Ok, Logic, you are making sense, but can we compromise? Can I keep putting in the effort for the goals I currently have set, if I manage my time better and remember to have fun? I promise not to add anything new until I’ve crossed a few things off my list. AND I promise to put my first job first because I know that retirement will come sooner than later and I will wish it weren’t so! Can we agree?”
“Yes, Passion, we can agree. I wouldn’t want to take your dreams away from you when that has always been an integral part of who you are. And I know it’s important for you to see the progress and share it with others right now. Just do us both a favor and finish what you have on your plate before you take a second helping, ok? Now, get on with the weekend and have some fun before we’re all worn out!”

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Day in the Life of an Artist: Desperately Seeking Motivation

I got jack diddly squat done this week. I might have made one good meal. I had a few good ideas, but they sat on the shelf while I surfed Instagram (@kelleewynnestudios). There is a pile of pictures and frames on the dining room table that have been sitting patiently since Sunday waiting to be hung, just glad they are not locked away in a trunk anymore. Something smells in the kitchen and it’s probably the garbage. My kids are bored with nothing to do – homework I say! – but at last that’s done. I don’t think I got dressed before noon once. I guess you could say I have lost focus already.

 I wake up wanting to do something fabulous with my day. The sunrise spreads little rays of hope that I will really do something creative and new and special with my precious time. But before long time gets plucked away from me. The minutes are squandered and I am stuck somewhere between fear and the internet. I have all the resources at my finger tips but what if I step out on the wrong path? What if I finally get around to writing, but no one reads it? What if I make a cute bird print, but the idea for a four foot abstract would have been better? What if the laundry still needs to be switched over?
How easy it seems to get lost in our own desperate attempts to start something new. When I was a kid the future seemed overflowing with possibilities. I could be a dancer, a teacher, an artist, a veterinarian…there was an endless parade of choices before me. Nothing has changed except the time crunch and my mountain of dreams crushing me alive. So I put them all aside and focus on the job I usually know best - taking care of monkeys. It’s easier than climbing the mountain as these excuses keep rolling in one after the other.
I’ll do it one day, you’ll see. I’ll start painting or writing a novel or start a mass media frenzy…as soon as I sort through my closets and clean out my mind, put the Kindle down and stop postponing my future. You’ll see…if you keep following me…
Tell me how you have the motivation to keep going with your dreams? How do you find the MoJo to have the best week ever? 

“Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony.
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”  -Albert Einstein
Originally posted on 1/13/2012

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Annapolis Art Exhibit: The Birds and the Bees

Art Exhibit Curated by Kellee Wynne Conrad at West Annapolis Artworks

In the fall of 2012 I decided I was ready to take the leap into showing my art publicly. I had no idea at the time it would catapult me quickly into the Annapolis art scene, showing my art in more than a dozen art shows in less than a year. It seems life as an artist is a continual preparation for the next after show. Exhilarating at times, but daunting mostly. It's still early in my art career, and I still have the "what ifs?" hanging over my head. What if I'm not good enough? What if no one comes? What if I never sell another painting? And what if I just plain and simple burn out before I even fade away?

But the challenge is right there before me and I will not back down. I will continue to set my goals and make my mark and hopefully inspire my friends and artists around me to come along and do the same. Because I believe that there is room for all of us at the top. When we rise as artists, we can rise together and make an impression on enough people that there is value in what we do. That art belongs among people, in our homes and workplaces and within everyone's daily lives.

I guess you could say I believe in art. And hopefully that will be enough to keep me motivated through the "what ifs?" and on to more doing and sharing. And painting. And writing, And teaching. And curating. And spreading the love of art....

What is your "What if?" Are you ready to let go of what is holding you back and rise to the challenge? It's time to take the next step; there is room for you at the top as well!