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Ask Kelly Rae is your chance to prompt me with your thoughtful, soulful & beautifully complex questions about just about anything! Art, love, relationships, friendships, business, creativity, home decor, where I got my cowgirl boots — the doors are wiiiide open.
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Q: What is your greatest inspiration?
My greatest creative inspiration comes from finding connections inside everyday conversations. It’s exploring the small moments in life that hold all the deep meaning. It’s finding, then releasing, my very own possibility into the world with the hope that it will do good work out there, perhaps inspire someone else, and maybe come back to me in some other moment or shift. It’s the stories of the women in my life – all the courage and tenderness and strength. I find myself (often) inside a wonderful conversation with a friend and thinking about all the ways I want to express the soul of that conversation in a painting. I am so grateful for the women who walk with me, in flesh, and in paint, on my journey into life, love, and art.
So, yes, I would say that it’s our stories that inspire me the most. It’s how we learn from one another. How we unearth treasures and wisdom inside ourselves. It’s how we connect to the joys and hurts of the human spirit. I like to think that each of my paintings express a piece of my own story, or the stories I catch from my friends, from my community, and all the women that have come before me – the broken pieces and the joyful pieces. It all matters and it all connects us.
I also find inspiration in doing things that get me outside of my normal routine and life – unique experiences and adventures. Recently, I attended a cowgirl art camp (in celebration of her birthday) where I, along with about 20 other women, gathered for a weekend of creative play out in the great wide open of Washington state.
The retreat was gorgeously styled with vintage couches (in the middle of the field), flowers, candles, and all things rustic and beautiful. I even got to sleep in the most charming pink vintage trailer you ever did see.
Our host, Terri Brush, led the creative workshops where we made fun cowgirl art projects (think funky, jeweled-up belt buckles, artful canteen sleeves, and more), sat around the fire, told stories, danced, and admired one another’s cowgirl boots and skirts. I heard so many amazing stories of love, heartbreak, courage, and creativity throughout the weekend. Truly, I marveled at the joy I experienced and witnessed in these women. They were pioneers of their own lives – creating and seeing beauty at every turn, even the messy + complicated ones.
Truly, it was a weekend that filled my well and left me inspired. These kinds of adventures lift me up, give me perspective, and inspire me to tell the story on the canvas.